Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Love Jobs!

So I got a part-time job for fun. Yeah. For fun. I NEED forced kid-free time, even if that kid-free time comes at the cost of half my income. Plus, it’s a super sweet ART job in a peaceful setting. Can’t beat that in my book. It’s an amazing studio in an adorable house built in 1897 in adorable “downtown” Smalltown, USA that offers art lessons to all ages in a wide variety of media; they just opened a few months ago and I really hope the business succeeds. I only work on Wednesdays, and will be teaching painting and sculpting to adults and teenagers (Score! No little kids!). Right now it’s just private one-on-one lessons with hours between each one for me to work on various projects by myself. Alone. With quiet. Or music. Of my choosing.

Anyway, it’s lovely. Except…*sigh*…except. The kids have to go to daycare until after 7pm, and that means I’m paying to go to work. (Duh, so does every parent who’s ever worked.) So. The goal is not to make money—the goal is to get some me/art time. You would think it would be an obvious de-stresser.

And it is…mostly. Except that I can. not. handle. tutoring non-artists. Well clearly I can, because I did (with what I hope was perceived as patience and understanding), but O…M…G it is excruciating to restrain myself from grabbing the freaking paintbrush and doing it for them. I thought I was explaining things in the simplest of terms but the non-artist brain simply could not grasp and/or execute a right-to-left brushstroke or comprehend the deformity in their horse’s foot. How do they not see it? HOW? And it K-I-L-L-S me to sit quietly and watch the slow, painstaking progress. Loosen. the. hell. up. 

I know, I know. I’m being a big jerk. I am aware that it’s a matter of experience. What I was not aware of is my apparent lack of patience. I mean, I totally know I lack patience with my kids, but who knew it was actually absent in general? 

One of my “students” is a man in his 60s who’s never painted before in his life. Evidently he used to be a jockey of some renown, and is appropriately tiny. (Seriously those guys are tiny! I felt like a beast, and I’m only 5’4”!) I admire how much he’s thrown himself into this brand new pursuit, and it cracks me up how concerned he is with publicizing himself as both “jockey” and “painter”, now that he’s completed 2 ½ paintings. It is commendable how proud he is of his work though…whether it’s unfamiliarity or overconfidence I’m not sure. (Maybe there’s some residual fame-induced ego.) He is one of those cute old guys who speaks his mind, politely, seemingly oblivious to the chance that his thoughts could be offensive. He said my haircut was unusual and my daughter’s name was weird. Although he did say I looked too young to have kids, so that was nice. 

The other two I’ve had thus far are both teenage girls, both very nice, but the contrast between the two of them is stunning. They are the exact same age, but one is home-schooled and one attends the public high school, and they truly fit the stereotypes. Although I went to public school, I found the sweet, unassuming home-schooled girl much easier to relate to, as her counterpart is forcefully confident and fashionably dressed. Plus homegirl seems eager to create art, while the other acts like she’s too cool to show any enthusiasm. I’m not sure if my feelings speak to my distaste for seemingly self-involved girls in high school, or the fact that I am more introverted, generally speaking. 

Then it gets me thinking what environment I want to subject my kids to as they grow up, and how much those choices can shape the people they become, and I get all kinds of stressed out. I want them to be humble and self-assured; not overly sheltered but not fakely/prematurely mature. I sure as shoot don’t have the patience to home-school, but if our little rural town produces high school students of such worldly caliber I don’t know where to send them. 

But I digress. As usual. If nothing else my new diversion gives me more to talk about, eh? And gets me out of the house, away from the kids, and I get to do art. Woot woot! (What the eff is “woot”, anyway?) The jury is still out, however, on whether or not this job is a stress reducer. Because…

When I pick the kids up after leaving them at an in-home daycare for 8 hours, they are wound up and cranky and ready to let loose on Mom all their incessant questions and whining. I want to be happy to see them but they make it…challenging. They are hungry and tired, and so am I***. I don’t get home until nearly 8pm, when I set to making dinner, watering the garden and lawn, feeding the dogs, and cleaning the house (since the husband is working nights and was home unsupervised all afternoon…clearly he spent all that time making messes for me). 

Tonight I made the ultimate dinner of champions: macaroni and cheese with hotdogs in it. The epitome of health food. And class, of course. (Actually, it had whole wheat noodles and turkey dogs…does that help? Ooooo and I added peas! And real cheese! Win!) Then came the “take a friggen bite!” and the “stop picking your nose!” and the “no begging!” routine of dinnertime around the coffee table surrounded by dogs, then the toothbrushing and the “stop talking and sit still so I can read your friggen story!” routine of bedtime.

Just can’t win. On second thought, I’m totally winning. Pain-in-the-ass kids that I love, pain-in-the-ass husband that I love, great pain-in-the-ass house, and great pain-in-the-ass job(s). Yes, plural. My primary job is Mom, which, at risk of being cliché, encompasses maid, cook, teacher, nurse, referee, etc., etc. My other jobs are art instructor, freelance artist, and baby-grower. I have a huge mural project in the works, if the non-communicative engineering firm would get their stuff together. And the other huge project I have in the works is, of course, a baby. I get my first ultrasound for this surrogate pregnancy this coming Monday, to further verify the two positive ***pregnancy tests that were taken two weeks ago. “Cautiously optimistic” is the name of the game.

So that’s that.

P.S. "I love jobs" came from an SNL Weekend Update featuring James Franco that I find hilarious. Unfortunately I can't find the right video clip for you. So sorry.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stiletto Surgery

Pinky toes are gross. Like a little popcorn shrimp on the edge of your foot. Allegedly they are critical to your balance but I don’t buy it. All they are good for is stubbing. My dearest husband has broken his left one so many times that it looks like the detached, flapping limb of a parasitic twin. If I removed my pinky toes I could fit in way more many cute shoes. WHICH PEOPLE DO. Yikes.

But that’s beside the point. However, I’ve forgotten what the point is since all my brilliant ideas come to me in bed and I’m always confident that I’ll remember them the next day but never, ever do. I had so many great things to discuss and here I am discussing pinky toes. Did I mention it’s super hard to put nail polish on the pinky toe because it’s so stupidly tiny?

For those of you that just want updates on the surrogacy process, it is ongoing. The second transfer attempt was May 7th, and this Thursday the 16th I will go in for blood work to see if it stuck. I’m less vocal about it this time because A) it would become quite monotonous to read about each try if it takes a few, and B) I was naively optimistic the first time and blabbed all about it so I’m a bit more restrained now. The intended mother is kind of a downer too, which is completely excusable considering all the things they’ve gone through, but she seems to have no hope that it will ever work. Clearly it’s a defense mechanism—not wanting to get her hopes to high because then the fall is too hard. In any case, I’m trying to stay positive. There’s no reason it shouldn’t work. 

In other news, potty training for my baby girl is going swimmingly. At least for #1. She managed to dump a load of #2 on the carpet just the other day, despite the fact that she was wearing underpants. Quite the feat. It’s true what they say about waiting for your kid to be “ready”. I never really pushed the potty training until like a week ago because each time we tried previously the only result was a pile of wet undies and a sad girl. Even with frequent reminders to go potty, she couldn’t anticipate the arrival of the pee until it was too late; then she’d scream, “I’m going pee!” in the most distressed little voice imaginable as she stood helpless and watched it fall to the floor. And of course I’m helpless too, because I can’t whisk her away mid-stream. That just makes a whole path of pee to clean up instead of one puddle. 

I got to clean lots of poop on Mother’s Day, which was delightfully festive. Our dumb dogs think the unfinished basement counts as outside, and I had the pleasure of discovering several massive piles of gag-inducing dog crap on MY day. Pssshhhhaw. (The hub was working so I couldn’t demand that he do it, for anyone wondering.) My other Mother’s Day activities involved cleaning a totally nasty toilet and vacuuming the house. But enough bitching and moaning. We had a lovely dinner with my in-laws, and I got cards and flowers and cookies, so win-win. The kids were abnormally sweet and lovey and even sort of compliant, as if they KNEW it was Mother’s Day, so that was nice. Plus outside was the very definition of perfect: warm sun, cool breeze, with green grass and abundant chirping birds. It was in the upper 60s and I was permitted (by my children) to recline in the lounge chair on the lawn while they played happily and incident-free-ly. Well, incident free until later that evening, when Tuesday bonked her mouth and bit partway through her bottom lip and I had to rush her into the house while cupping my hand under her chin to catch the blood, and until Dirt ran his eye into Dooley’s elbow at full speed after dinner so now he has one helluva shiner. Sort of.

Today is annoyingly hot out though. It’s 80 degrees in my house right now. Uck. And with the heat comes the bugs, which I loathe. However the hell the houseflies get in, they’ve arrived. In. My. House. [I just trapped a big, fat, loud one in the window and now I can’t open it again…not that opening it helps anyway since it’s 86 outside with no wind.] The kids have been thrilled with all the caterpillars they’ve been finding, which is all good and fine until they all morph into a plague of miller moths. Doom. Then the spiders decide it’s too hot outside and come in—probably using the same secret entrance as the flies, or maybe not, since they’re natural enemies and couldn’t cooperate enough to share a secret entrance. Whatevs. And the first mosquito of the year tried to get me a couple days ago. Not that mosquitoes are that bad out here in the wasteland of Colorado’s semi-arid plains, but still. Oh gawd it's oppressively hot in here. I need to move to the mountains. Or Canada. Also need to hook up the giant swamp cooler ASAP but we were shoveling snow like a week ago so it's hard to know when it's time...we still have snow boots next to the flip flops.

Miller moth plague time, that is.

New Year New Me: Pony Progress

Today I thought I’d mix up my morning “internesting” ritual (coffee and computer time, usually comfortably nested on the couch); I brought ...