Friday, July 30, 2010

Anticipation is Keeping Me Waiting

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'.

I have that Carly Simon song stuck in my head. Is it stuck in yours now, too? Oh good. I'm just that kind of generous.

So we're still playing the waiting game on training so we can bring K, now to be known as Kismet, since it seems the most appropriate, home eventually. They told us we'd start training in August because we would be training with the group home foster parents that she lives with (I think that's who is training us, anyway) and everyone was on vacation in July. Okay, well, today is July 30th. The second-to-last day of the month. And has anyone scheduled training for us yet? With August being just 2 days away? No, of course not! Surely, since it's the second-to-last day of the month, people are home from their vacations now, right? Or is it that since it's a Friday, maybe no one's home from their vacations until Sunday. How selfish!

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway...

I mean, really. Is it so much to ask to be scheduled for training? Am I being unreasonably impatient? We've only been at this whole process since January. And since the whole training process might take us several months to complete, thereby making it quite possibly near December before we can even meet Kismet for the first time, let alone bring her home, am I being unreasonably impatient? I'm ready to get this ball rolling, already. Let's git 'er done!

I'm not exactly famous for being patient. Oh, I know. You read my posts and you think, "Gosh, you've got to be the most patient person on the planet! Look at the people you live with!" And of course, you would be right to think that. But I have been bashed for not being patient. By people who don't know the meaning of the word! But the old saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder? Not always true. Sometimes absence makes the heart wander. Not that I'm saying I'm not anxious to bring Kismet home by any stretch of the imagination. No no no! I'm just, ya know, having a hard time maintaining that same level of enthusiasm. Like knowing you're going to take a long vacation in Europe in a year. It's hard to be excited now, even though it's a great thing to look forward to. But you got a lot of preparations to make in the meantime and can only get excited as you get closer. That's like what this wait is doing to me.

And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet, I don't know natures way
So I'll try to see into your eyes right now...

I want to meet her. I want to get to know her. I want to bring her home and have her be a part of our family. When we're all joking together and laughing our fool heads off about something or other, I think of her and I think, "She's going to love this family." Coz we're cool that way. No, we're not cool like hipsters or gangsters or trendy rich people. We're nerd-cool. We're dork-cool. Maybe you don't think that's cool but I do. Probably coz I am a dork. But that's okay, coz we're still damn fun. And I want to share that fun with Kismet. She's had such a rough life, she deserves to have fun with a family who will love her. She deserves happiness, joy, laughter, and good times. I want to give that to her.

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'.

So yeah, I may be impatient but I think it's for a very good reason. I want her to be able to be with us and think:

..these are the good old days.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stupidity: Chemical Poisoning or Contagion?

Over the last almost two weeks, I have continued to struggle to have any sort of thought in my head. Normally, this is a situation that I would enjoy, not having any particular thoughts entertaining, worrying, distressing, or otherwise affecting my daily mood. Existing without any thoughts can actually be a bit peaceful. Picture a tree by a stream. The tree's leaves are falling into the stream and being slowly carried away. That's how my mind has been lately. Except at night when the peaceful little stream turns into a raging river with many whirlpools and eddies and my thoughts turn into a violent vortex of randomness, lightly sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, spinning crazily out of control. They keep me awake for what seems like an endless amount of time, possibly due to Brad's fidgetiness that helps keep me awake and incapable of corraling my thoughts. My thoughts be like wild sugar-coated ponies, yo!

Anyway.... I was talking to Brad last night about my inability to string enough thoughts together to write something in my blog. I was all, "What should I write about?", and he was all, "How about you write about Buster (the foster puppy we just had)", and I was all, "But we just returned him. How am I supposed to write about a puppy we just returned?", and he was all, "Well, that's what you should write about", and I just stared at him and during that time he completely forgot I'd been talking to him and, I'm not even kidding, two minutes later, he's totally engrossed in his work again, not helping, and I'm all, "Dude! What should I write about? You're not even helping at all!", and he's all, "Sorry, I forgot. I don't know what you should write about." That's why I'm the one blogging and not him.

So this morning, while I was showering (which seems to be the only time I can string a few thoughts together), I was thinking about how not only am I couch okra brain but Brad has been more unfocused during work lately and he's taking meds to help his focus! And I wondered if there was something in the air that's making us both major space cadets. Well, Brad is always a space cadet but I mean more so than usual. The other night, Brad, Moon Unit, and I all had trouble sleeping. Was it something in the air, I asked myself? And if so, is there something in the air that's currently making us stupid?

Then I started thinking about how sometimes people seem to be in the same sort of mood all at once, even when they're scattered across the country or even in other countries. And I wondered how that happens. People's moods rubbing of on each other? Phases of the moon? Or.... a military cover-up with chemical poisons polluting our air and making us all sleepless or moody or stupid all at the same time?

Normally, stupidity seems contagious. Get a couple of stupid people together and they seem to attract more stupid people. This is particularly prevalent when it comes to politics. (I cite the Tea Party as a perfect example.) However, due to the severe lack of thought processing going on in my head these days, not to mention Brad's inability to focus while being medicated for focusing, I am starting to feel like perhaps the military cover-up is the best explanation for all things unfathomable. If you can't fathom it, it's a military cover-up.

So, what should we all do about these chemical pollutants affecting our daily lives that the military is covering up? Should we write our senators? Sure, if you want your senators to know that you're on to them, since military cover-ups are condoned by our government! Then they'll come into your house at night while you're sleeping, drug you, poke and prod you, and plant false alien abduction memories in your head so that no one will ever believe anything you say ever again coz you're a total crack-pot, dude!

You shouldn't do anything. Please don't be stupid. I'm trying to get over my stupid, I don't want yours, too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Couch Potato Brain

I have been struggling since my last post to come up with something worth talking about. I just haven't had much on my mind lately, I guess. Well, that's not actually true. I actually have a lot on my mind but just because you have something on your mind doesn't mean you need to blog about it.

I started to write a post earlier in the week about all the things I had on my mind but as I struggled to gather my thoughts into something coherent, well, quite frankly, nothing happened. This is a rarity for me. I rarely have a hard time expressing myself, which I'm sure many people wish would happen more often than it does. My brain has gone on a bit of a vacation, it appears. If my brain were a person rather than a brain, I would say it's become a couch potato.

Have you ever wondered why a potato is used in this context? Why is a person who is slumming it called a couch potato? Oh, sure Wikipedia has a definition of couch potato but it's boring and uninstructional (that's probably not a real word but I don't care). This link here gives you what it claims is the origin of this idiom. And just for the fun of it, you can go to Will's Word Origins, which, while not actually giving the origin of couch potato (and therefore seems a bit useless), does give the origin of several words in a couch potato's vocabulary. And this site claims that a person can also be a mouse potato, which is essentially the same thing as a couch potato but the person is settled in front of a computer all the time instead of a tv. According to that definition, I would say Moon Unit is a mouse potato. But none of this explains why the potato is denigrated in such a fashion. If I were going to use a vegetable in such a negative way, I would choose something less appetizing, like maybe okra or eggplant or brussel sprout.

How many other vegetables out there are as versatile as the potato? And before you tell me something inane like a potato is actually a tuber, don't. Okay? Save us the trouble.

I think that I shall never see a veggie as lovely as a potato. I know it doesn't rhyme, so sue me.

Besides all the incredibly delicious ways you can cook a potato (fried, boiled, baked, roasted, scalloped, au gratin, mashed, stuffed, in stews and soups, potato salad, hash browns, tater tots, potato chips, pancakes, and some scary ways that I find incredibly insulting to the poor potato), the potato has many other uses as well. Oh yes, it does!

This here website lists 12 ways to use a potato, such as medicine for burns and headaches, removing glue on hands, as a shoe polish (!), and a few other odd ways that I would never in a million years have thought of. And this glorious website lists 60, count them, 60!, ways to use a potato. Some of it is a bit redunant with the first website, but it also lists foods and even beverages (!!) that can be made with potatoes, lists home and garden usage, crafts, games and school projects, as well as some unusual uses for the humble potato, such as an aphrodisiac, a battery (!!!) and, AAAAND, using a potato to make a fire!!!! (It doesn't actually list instructions for starting a fire with a potato although, since Google is your friend, instructions were really easy to find.)

Well. Seems to me, this has to be the most versatile veggie in the world. In our solar system. I would even dare to say, it is the most versatile veggie in the whole universe! Oh yes, I went there! And when you think about what this hard-working but humble veggie can do, I ask you again, why is a lazy person a couch potato? That is an insult to potatoes everywhere! I vote to change this idiom from couch potato to couch okra. Who's with me?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Second adoption committee met yesterday and approved us to adopt K. Training for her needs starts in August. All I can say is....


Sunday, July 11, 2010

That's How Much I Love You

(Scene: Bedroom, 11:30 p.m., lights off, Brad lying on his back in bed, me snuggled up against his side with my arm flung over his chest, chatting. Then all goes quiet for a moment before...)

Me, singing: You are so beautiful to me...

Brad: For realz?

Me: For realz. (singing again) You are so beautiful to me. Can't you see? You're everything I hoped for, you're everything I need....

Brad: You're supposed to flail your arms about like Joe Cocker.

Me: (flails arm for a sec, then puts it back down on Brad's chest) You are so beautiful.... to meeeeee!

Brad: Awww.

Me: Awww.

(Pulls back arm to wipe a hair out of my face, smacking Brad in the nose)

Me: I love you so much, I smacked you in the nose.

(Romantic moment dies a painful death)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fluffy Butts

I have two kitties. Ralph is an approximately 10 year old grey tabby. Binky is a 6 year old white kitty with a grey saddle. I adopted Ralph when he was 4 years old and I got Binky some time later, as a kitten. Ralph has carried a bit of a grudge against him since the beginning. He kinda reminds me of the way an older sibling will act towards a younger sibling.

Sometimes they will cuddle next to each other while napping and will stand as a united front against the dogs (with Ralph even coming to Binky's rescue if he sounds upset by one of the dogs). Other times, Ralph likes to kick Binky's ass, sometimes just for the pure pleasure of it, it seems.

Ralph will act like the big brother, licking Binky's face and ears, Binky totally enjoying this. Then he stops, stares at Binky intensely for a minute or two, and attacks him. After a few years, Binky finally learned to expect this and generally will jump away from Ralph or bop him before getting attacked. Of course, bopping Ralph generally gets him into trouble.

I was getting ready for work this morning and I was watching them in the bathroom mirror; Binky lying on the floor, Ralph standing over the top of him. He leans over and starts to lick Binky's head. Binky was having none of this and bops him. Ralph stands there, staring down at Binky and I can see he's getting ready to pounce. So I intervene and Ralph stands in the same spot, staring at me for a couple minutes, all innocent-like: "I wasn't going to do anything. I'm just standing here, minding my own business." I turn back to the mirror and watch them, intervening two more times. After the 3rd time, Ralph turns and starts to walk away, "Fine, fine. I'll go over here." But right after I turn my back on them, Ralph whips around and pounces on Binky. The brat was just biding his time, waiting for an opportunity to beat up on Binky when he thought he could get away with it!

You gotta admire the wickedess of this little punk. I don't know of any other animals capable of waiting for an opporunity to strike after being diverted 3 times!

... and the Pleasures

Brad really did a lot to get me off on the right foot this morning. It was such a simple little act and yet it really brightened my morning. I used to tease him about the fact that he hasn't a single romantic bone in his body. Not that I'm overly romantic, mind you. But he'd never given me flowers for no reason at all, never bought me a little gift "just because", that kind of thing. It kinda bugged me for a while but when I would stop to think about all the other things Brad does for me, I really couldn't complain at all.

A few weeks back, I woke up early one Saturday morning. I had been having a dream that Brad had left me and I woke up crying. I'd go back to sleep, the dream would continue, and I'd wake up. After that happened several times, I finally decided I was not going back to sleep, that I was getting up and out of bed for the day. I walked out to the living room where Brad was already and stretched out my arms to him. He got up off the sofa and walked over and gave me a hug. I told him about my dreams and he was all, "Awww! Honey! You know that will never happen. I'm never going to leave you, you're not getting rid of me that easy." After he comforted me, he said my getting up early had ruined his surprise. He'd intended to go to the store and pick up some pastries for breakfast before I got up. So he ran off to the store and came back with not only pastries but a bouquet of flowers for me! :-o I don't think he'd ever done that before, it's usually always been flowers for special occasions. I was floored. What a wonderful, sweet thing.

This morning, I was heading back to work after 5 glorious days away. I had spent probably 3 of the 5 days daydreaming about what it would be like to have every day off. It was a beautiful dream. :-) Brad walked me out to my car like he does every morning and when I opened the car door to my little black Beetle, I saw a rose he'd picked off the bush and put in the flower holder-thingy by the steering wheel. My sweetie was trying to perk up my morning. Once again, he surprised me by showing me that he does, actually, think about me.

I smiled all the way in to work today. What a great start to the day!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Pains...

(Previously posted as The Difficulties and the Pleasures; edited because it was so darn long!)

Yesterday, Brad, Moon Unit, and I were sitting at the dinner table, discussing an email we got from K's caseworker. We were going over her questions regarding how we would handle different difficult situations that may arise. They both brought up that they didn't feel like Dweezil and Frank were properly disciplined. So I asked them about this and what they thought needed to be done that wasn't being done already.

The thing that seemed to come out of this was that it's not so much what I'm not doing right as much as it is trying to overcome the influence (or lack thereof) of being in their father's home, where discipline seems to be severely lacking. They get yelled at a lot but not really disciplined. It seems to just roll off Dweezil's back. Add to that the fact that they are usually only up every other weekend and it's maybe 4-6 days a month that they are with us vs being at home with their dad. Discipline is such a difficult proposition when this is the case. I can't have much impact on their behavior. There have been some improvements but more needs to be made.

I never wanted to put them in a position of uprooting them from their home, disrupting their lives, when they were more or less happy. I think I've made the assumption that they are happy. But when I think of how things are at their house - the frozen dinners instead of home cooked, how messy their house looks sometimes, the way their dad yells at them but never really disciplines them - it really bothers me because I really think they would be better off here. Okay, so my house isn't always perfectly clean (who's house is and are they normal?) and I don't always spend as much quality time with them as I should. But still, I sometimes think maybe I've done the wrong thing by letting them stay where they are. And I really hate second guessing myself like that.

To top that off, part of the email we got from K's caseworker asked why the boys live with their father. We've been split up for 8 years and I have always waited for that question. I guess for the most part, the general population is polite enough not to ask. But the caseworker is not part of the general population. She has to make sure that we are going to be a good family for K so she had to ask. So I answered her question, trying to be as completely thorough as possible while at the same time trying not to be defensive. Because this is a horribly sore point for me. I have never regretted anything like I have regretted not having the boys live with me. And it's just so very difficult to talk about because of the second guessing. But I guess there's very little that's sacred when you're trying to adopt a kid who's been through the foster care system.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


From time to time, I look at Brad and see that he has some minor injury that he doesn't seem to notice or be aware of. Whenever I ask him what happened, the majority of the time his answer is, "I don't know." He even seems surprised to find the injury there, as if it was some sort of spontaneous occurrence. Like we're living in the Twilight Zone, where injuries magically appear on your body, having no connection to any event in your life.

Today, he was sitting next to me on the sofa, wearing a pair of shorts. I noticed a huge yellow bruise on his thigh. I said, "Holy cow! That's a big bruise! What did you do?" I should have expected the answer. By now, I should know that his answer is always going to be the same, yet I guess I hold out hope for the time that he will have a logical explanation for his injury. "I don't know."

I said, "How do you not notice these things? You could be spouting blood and your answer would be, 'I don't know what happened'. Your arm could be broken and you probably wouldn't notice. You could probably cut off a finger and be like 'Hey, why is my hand blood-soaked? Oh, I cut off my finger. How did that happen?' "

He said, "When I die, you'll probably say at my funeral, 'Brad is so oblivious, he probably doesn't even know he's dead.' "

And yet somehow, despite being completely oblivious to his surroundings, he manages to get through each and every day without dying. I don't know how he does it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Being a Family

It's been 8 years since my ex and I split up. Life has gotten better over time and now that I'm with Brad, I have discovered real happiness. Probably the first time in my life, I'm happy because Brad and I have a solid relationship. But if I have any regrets at all, it's the decision I made to leave the boys with my ex.

My life with my husband, the life I thought I wanted and had worked so hard to have, was unraveling. I was in a pretty deep depression when we split up. I thought about what I should do about the kids but I felt incapable of properly caring for my children emotionally. I know that leaving the kids with their dad was the right decision at that time in my life. It was only a year or so after I left before Moon Unit was living with me again, but that doesn't mean that I don't regret that decision every single day of my life.

They were at our house most of last week and while they were doing a lot of bickering and fussing and hitting each other, there's something about having them here longer than a weekend that makes me feel like a parent again. By that, I don't mean that I haven't felt like a parent to Moon Unit, although she hasn't responded well over the years to being parented. But having us all together, the boys, Moon Unit, Brad, and me, I feel like we're a family. I feel like we're more of a family when we're all together. To me, this is what I think a family should feel like.

We played some board games a few nights in a row. We even got Moon Unit involved, and it's a lot more fun when she is involved because she is clever and has a wicked sense of humor. Brad is too cool for board games, though, so he wasn't playing. We play Wacky Words and Imaginiff, which are hilarious games. Some of the stuff we come up with for Wacky Words has us laughing for days, and even weeks, on end. We also painted the hallway, went out for pizza for Dweezil's birthday, and went to see Toy Story 3 together.

I started to wonder last night what kind of parent I was when I let Moon Unit play Grand Theft Auto, but she is 19 and if you know anything at all about that game, there's a heck of a lot of humor in it. Moon Unit is particularly funny when playing games like this because she deliberately goes overboard with some of the violence in such a way that you can't help but laugh at what's going on. For instance, she kept choosing to have her character steal a scooter because she would run it into something and he would go flying into the road. I suppose if you're going to be overly serious about the game, it might not be that funny to you, but we find the humor in most things and we were all laughing our heads off. She gets a bit giddy with these things and it's just fun to watch her and laugh. Then of course, Dweezil picks up the game and is having fun with it, too. And I go, "Hmm, should I be letting him do this?" But to me, the best part of being a family is not about being a hard-ass about everything, getting down on your kids, telling them all the things they can't do. Sometimes you have to do that, of course. Sometimes you have to tell them how things are and discipline when rules are broken. But the best part is creating a loving, happy environment for them, being there for them whenever you can, and creating happy memories.

I love sitting around the dinner table with them and cracking jokes and having burping contests with Frank. I love being able to make them laugh with stuff that's just off the wall. I like the fact that when they come to our house, even if they still haven't figured out that being with us is better than being at home with their dad who yells at them all the time, they can still have a good time with us and feel loved and accepted for who they are and not get judged or yelled at, that maybe they can be inappropriate some times with the things they say or do something that maybe somewhat inappropriate for them to be doing and not get in trouble for it. Maybe I'm a little too liberal with them but their happiness is of the utmost importance to me. I want them to feel like our home is a happy home, a place where they can go and know they are loved and the world is an okay place.

Should I have been letting them play GTA? Technically, probably not. But I look at our interactions with each other and I like, for the most part, how we are with each other. I sit at the table or the sofa and watch our interactions with each other, when we're laughing and laughing and everyone is feeling good, and I think, "This is going to be so good for K. She's really going to enjoy this family." Because I enjoy this family and I wish for all the world that we were together all the time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Waiting and Wishing

It has taken a few days since meeting with K's caseworker to absorb and process the info we received. Plus, my boys, who live with their dad full time, have been up visiting this week and I've been trying to spend quality time with them in the evenings after work. So posting the update was put on hold for a bit.

It turns out it was a good thing my boys were up when the caseworker showed up because she got an opportunity to talk to them a bit about K, her needs, and their feelings about it. Dweezil, at this point in time, seems to be indifferent. I guess it's hard to know how to feel about it when you don't know the person who is going to move into your parents' home, co-op their time, and become your adopted sibling. Adopted step-sibling? Is there such a thing? I guess so and I guess it would be weird. Moon Unit and Frank seem to be a bit more enthusiastic. Moon Unit has wanted a younger sister and I think she likes the idea of K because I think she hopes to be able to make a good connection with her. Moon Unit doesn't really have any friends, offline, anyway, which is understandable since she's a recluse. And K is going to need a lot of attention. I just hope that Moon Unit is able to maintain enthusiasm over time because we expect there to be some hard times with K to start with.

Frank is a really active little guy (okay, so he's not so little, he is almost 11) and he likes to be busy, going outside to play, swim, etc. Unfortunately for him, he can't get Dweezil or Moon Unit outside with him very often, and they haven't made any effort to make friends in our neighborhood so he gets really bored. I shouldn't complain too much about them not making friends. It can't be easy when they don't go to school or church in our neighborhood. I guess it's the sort of thing that's easier for very young children than older children. Anyway, I think he likes the possibility of having a playmate in K, particularly since they are close in age. She also is pretty active and likes to be outside. We are really hoping that K and Frank get along well. There is great potential for them to have a good relationship.

So, I'm a bit unclear still on the next steps for us. Seems we have to go to another committee to get our petition approved. Then I think there must be some sort of legal thing that takes place. I'm not sure what that would be, maybe transfer of guardianship? I don't know, they said they would contact a lawyer, but we are a few months out still from bringing K home so I'm not sure about that. I asked the caseworker if there was anything that would cause us to not be approved and all she said was that we would have to meet again to go over safety plans.

The biggest concern is that her bio family lives in the same general area we live in. Although they are in a neighboring town, there is still the possibility of running into them at the store or movies, etc, because it's a rather small county we live in and there are not a lot of shopping choices. K is particularly afraid of her uncle. She had lived with him for a little while and he severely abused her, the bastard! So our biggest task is going to be to provide K with a strong sense of safety. Which means that for any activites that we want to indulge in outside of our neighborhood, we'll have to take her to another town, which will be farther away. But she needs to know that we'll take care of her, that we do care about her and her fears, and that we won't let anything bad happen to her. She also needs to know that no matter what, we'll always be there for her.

To me, that's the biggest factor in helping her feel feel good about us. We have to make the decision, not just in our heads but in our hearts, that we are her permanent family, no matter what comes. Because if we have made that decision deep in our hearts, we can convince her that we will always be there for her. She's had no stability in her life, she's bounced around between relatives, between foster homes, all her attachments have been broken. She was neglected and abused and no one seemed to be able to handle her for long until she moved into foster care. Even then, she bounced around between group homes and the hospital. She just needs to know that someone out there cares about her, wants her to be a part of their lives. She needs a real family. That's what we need to provide for her.

Anyway, we need to get licensed as foster care providers to have her placed in our home until the adoption becomes finalized. This surprised us. We had checked around and had been operating under the belief that we did not need to be licensed. But it seems that because of K's specific needs, we need to be. Kinda wish I'd known that a while ago, we could have been licensed by now. We've had the last 6 months we've been waiting to be chosen for a child that we could have taken care of that already. But apparently not all children being adopted need to be placed in licensed foster care. After that, we will get training specific to K's needs. Then after the licensing and other training is done, we'll finally get to meet K. When I asked about the timeline, we were told maybe by Christmas. Christmas??? Seriously?!? Ugh! That's so far away! Here we are, all enthusiastic to bring K home and now it might take us another 5 months til we can bring her home. I totally understand the need to make sure we are as prepared as possible for her but that is so long.

Brad wants to try to see if we can expedite this process in some way. He says that since we are her chosen family at this point that we should be busting our butts trying to bring her home. I agree with that but also realize that our training is going to have to take place on others' schedules. We might be ready to do 8 hours of training a week but that doesn't mean we're going to be able to do that. We might not be able to do more than 1 class a month. That's my impression at this point, anyway. We won't know until we meet with the caseworker again.

In the meantime, I have put the only picture I have of K as the background on my cell phone. I need to have a daily reminder of what we're going to be working so hard for over the coming months. It's going to be a long wait. Wish it wasn't.