Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Final Chapter

My year long maternity leave is close to ending. I return to work in less than a month.  I have spent more time on maternity leave over the past 2 1/2 years than I have spent at work. Admittedly I am a little bit (or a lot, depending on the day) stressed and overwhelmed with the ginormous change that is about to take place in my life, in my family's lives. Obvious things like getting kids ready to be somewhere every morning at 7am.  Not being home during the day. Not having the "freedom" that I have now.  My kids adjusting to not being with me all day.  ME adjusting to not being with my kids.  Organizing the cooking and cleaning and maintenance in my home that I do now during the day. 

But there's also other stuff. 

Like, the realization that I'm now entering the real world and the rest of my life. No more babies.  No more maternity leave. This chapter of my life is coming to a close and will never happen again. I hope I've made the best of it.  I hope I can look back on it with fond memories and be proud of myself and how I spent these first years with my babies.

It's also made me think a lot about this blog.  I find myself writing here less and less.  Often I struggle with what to write in this space and how often.  Lately, more often than not I've used it as a place to bitch about my inlaws or my husband - boo!  I have found this blog to be a wonderful place to get support and help and suggestions from some of the smartest women in the world (you guys!). I would be sad to let it go. But... I think that's where I'm headed.  Mixed feelings about that.  I have been a part of the IF community for many, many years.  I think I've been holding on to this blog to continue to hold on to that part of me but maybe it's time to release it all. 

I will not be totally gone, however. I do have another blog that I have been writing for years and years (long before the IF years). And I will continue to write there.  I have always been open on that blog about my IF, however I have left out some of the nitty gritty details and many of the deeply personal struggles.  Obviously I've also omitted the private matters with my ILs and battles with my husband (only because they read it). Lately I have found myself to be more and more open and honest and "naked" when writing on that blog, regardless of the fact that so many people I know IRL (including family) read it and that can be a bit scary sometimes.

I invite you all to join me at  Tarable and to comment your little hearts out, no holds barred.

I also plan on still keeping tabs on all of you.  I will continue to read and comment, however I will be ever so cleverly disguised as "Tarable" instead of Tara.

Feels strange to be moving on.  It's good though.  Change is good.  Moving forward is good.

Moving forward.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Long Weekend

Steve's soccer team is playing in an annual tournament in a town about a 6-7 hour drive from our home (Vernon) on the May long weekend.

Originally I planned to go too, with the kids. Then I changed my mind, thinking it would be too much work.

Then this week I realized that next Thursday morning, Steve will leave and be gone for 5 days.

That's 5 days as a single mom with a 2.5 year old and an 11 month old...

Naturally I went into panic mode and required sedation.

So it turns out that it's NOT too late for the kids and I to join in on this little trip. Heh... *phew*

Except that while I blocked out all Steve's planning and trip details over the past couple of months, he made arrangements to leave on Thursday morning to go golfing in a neighboring city with a teammate.  Which just means that I would have to drive to Vernon, alone with the kids on Friday.  Which... I'm going to do.  But I'm a little bit nervous. But kind of excited about the trip too. The hotel has a pool and free breakfast and we have a kitchenette and there are restaurants and a mall nearby.  With a little luck the weather will be decent and we have have some fun.

My concerns are these -
~ the drive, alone with two little, bitty kids.
~ Lincoln's sleeping (I don't want to mess it up)
~ being stuck in the hotel room every night from 7pm on because kids need to go to bed.
~ sticking to my diet
~ getting obsessed with planning for the next week.

Anyone who has any tips, suggestions, tricks, assvice for me? I'm all ears.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Child Care

I believe I may be on the path to eradicate one of my big wake-me-in-the-night worries.  Child care for my return to work which is next month.

Quite a few months ago Steve told me of a co-worker who was hiring a nanny from overseas. This co-worker was interested in doing a "nanny share" with us.  The plan was that my kids would go to their house every day and their nanny would look after my kids while her kids were at school all day.  It would have cost us half of what sending them to a daycare would cost. 

I agreed. Reluctantly.

See, I never felt good about it. A few things bugged me.  Their house was in the opposite direction of my house and my work.  My kids would not have any other kids to interact with all day.  The nanny was yet to arrive in the country and nobody knew what her communication skills would be like.  Nobody in this country had ever met her before so who knows what she is like. Nobody to ask for references.

Then things started getting irritating.  There was a nanny coming from Amsterdam. Then Vietnam. Then finally the nanny was flying in from Hong Kong.  She was going to arrive in March. But then not. Then she was getting here in April. Then April was over and she wasn't here.  Then it was May.  Then we were supposed to get together with the other couple to finalize everything but that fell through. Nanny was to arrive May 9th (today) but last week that was pushed back yet again. 

None of this was helping to make me feel any more comfortable with the situation.

Finally, when the story changed again last week, STEVE (of all people) put an end to it.  He told his co-worker that we are out of the deal.  She wasn't happy (now she has to pay the full price for the nanny) but I was thrilled - although a little panicky about finding a daycare for a baby and toddler in such short notice. But not to worry, Steve was told by another co-worker of a woman who has two openings for June 1st.  STEVE phoned her and arranged for us to go visit the daycare.  STEVE did all this! 


We went today.  When we first got to the daycare Ruby walked right in and sat down and started playing with toys like she'd been there a million times.  The woman took Lincoln out of Steve's arms and my Mama's Boy didn't burst into tears!! There were a couple other kids there and they looked content. We looked around and I asked my questions.  She had all the right answers.  She was very accommodating.

The going rate for my kids would normally be about $1400 per month, but she will charge us only $1100. She will also provide all food and snacks. 


When we went to leave, Ruby cried. She wanted to stay. The woman gave her and Lincoln both a cookie and helped them to the door. 

It all seems good. 

There's just a few small things that bug me and I'm probably being petty.... First, the place is a bit run down.  It's an older basement and while it wasn't dirty, it was just in a bit of rough shape.  Then again, as I look down at my once clean and plush area rug in my living room I realize, kids wreck shit. As long as they are being cared for in a proper manner and the place is clean and safe, I really shouldn't worry about it not being a fancy, pretty place. Actually one of the mistakes I made with Ruby when she first went to daycare was that I allowed a fancy, pretty place to overshadow my gut feelings and Ruby's reactions to the daycare.

The other thing that bugs me is that maybe the woman was too nice? I mean, she was super accommodating and helpful and I thought, "Is she really like this or is she just trying to get our business?" Sad that I can't trust people and take them at face value.  Am I too cynical and untrusting?  Steve loved her and thought the place was just fine.

I do think that this will be the daycare we go with.  I think I'd probably be able to find some fault with any and every single place I looked into to.  It seems like this is the right place.  The way it came about, the price, how my kids acted when they were there - I think, I *hope* it is the right place for us.

I want to start sending them there part time in the beginning of June to break them in so that when I go back to work full time near the end of June, it is not such a traumatic event for all of us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Me, lately

I am so tired of unloading my dishwasher. I hate it so much. I feel like my head is always inside that motherfucker. Along with sweeping, vacuuming, wiping counters and picking up toys. These are the things that fill my days and I am growing very tired of it.

Ruby will NOT poop on the potty.  No matter what I do. No matter what I try. She asks for a diaper every time she has to go.

I hate my new haircut.

When I did my taxes I was getting $575 back. I already owed $300 from a mistake made last year. I have been waiting for the difference for 3 weeks now.  I need money so bad.  I just discovered that my taxes were "reassessed" and I now owe a total of $635. 

Every penny I get goes to bills and food.  When Steve adds extra cheese to his veggies I want to scream. And when Ruby says she wants applesauce and then when I open it she won't eat it because she says it's "dirty" I want to cry.

I bought Nabob coffee because it was on sale and I hate the taste of it. I haven't had a cup of coffee in the morning for over a week.

I bought my mom some nice birthday presents and called her on her birthday but she didn't have a nice day anyways, I guess because my dad is sick and he didn't do anything nice for her.  I feel responsible, like I should have done more because I knew he'd fuck it up. 

My bathroom is filthy.

I bought cheap shampoo and now my head is itchy and my hair is dry and frazzled.

My bank account is wayyyyyy too far into the red. It makes me feel sick.  I can't even afford to buy myself a cup of coffee.

I feel like I'm failing at everything right now. Every single thing.

I'm depressed and I just want to be alone, but my kids hang off me and won't leave me alone for a second to release my tears in peace.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I felt sorry for myself yesterday so the Universe plotted and gave me a reason to feel sorry for someone else.

Last night (or this morning actually) some motherfucker tried to break in to my 72 year old, recently widowed MIL's house by kicking in the front door at 1am. 

She said it sounded like someone drove a car into her house.  She got up and turned all the lights on - which likely scared the motherfucker away.  When she saw that her front door had been smashed off it's hinges and paint chips had been scattered right across her entryway, she called 911. 

It took the police 9 minutes to get there.

She has a bad heart and so on top of being petrified of someone assaulting her, she was scared she might have a heart attack.

The police found a giant shoe print on the front door and some matching footprints in the back yard.

There was apparently a rash of break-ins last night in her area. 

WHY her house?  Why?  That's so not fair. 

I feel just awful for her.  I can't imagine the level of fear she must have felt.  And how insecure she will feel in her own home now.

Steve is going out there tonight to secure her windows and replace her door (which is shattered). She has a house alarm which she doesn't know how to use, but he is going to teach her and insist she start using it.

He may stay the night with her if she needs him.

I don't know what will come of this now.  It's a pretty big setback on the road to healing if you ask me. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Been feeling a bit tired and blue lately and can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is.  I guess it's probably a combo of a few different things.

My birthday is this Saturday.  My Mom's birthday is on Monday.  My Dad's 60th birthday is the following Saturday. And then Mother's Day is that Sunday.  Busy time.  And expensive.  And I'm broke. And not a lot of time to shop. 

Want to hear my selfishness?  I just want to enjoy my birthday and not have to worry about planning and shopping for everyone else.  I feel terrible for feeling that way.  It's just that I haven't had a decent birthday in quite a few years.  Last year I was hugely and most uncomfortably pregnant. The year before that I had a 4 month old baby. The previous year I was disgustingly nauseous and pregnant. And the year before that I was in a severe depression after my first failed IVF.  Not to mention this past year has been a really rough one. I just want to be a princess this year but there are other people to think about and consider.  I'm tired and overworked and worn out and I just want to be selfish and only think about myself. 

Otherwise I'm getting tired of being stuck in my house every day. I usually don't have a vehicle and my getting out depends on the weather - which has really sucked for a really long time.  Lots of rain and cold air.  Hard to take the kids out in the stroller in those conditions.

Happy note - I've lost 20lbs on Weight Watchers.  Still lots to go though and sometimes I just want to eat and not worry about trying to be healthy.  Also, since dropping some weight my clothes don't fit. I have nothing but oversized sweat pants to wear which is normally ok since I don't get out much.  But on the odd occasion that I do go out, I have nothing to wear and feel frumpy and not overly attractive.  No extra cash in my pocket to get new clothes, and scared to buy anything because I plan on losing more weight.  What to do. I just want to feel good about myself. 

Worried about Lincoln.  He's really into making strange with people who aren't me or Steve.  It is difficult and annoying and frustrating and also quite embarrassing. He screams bloody murder if I leave the room and he is with someone else. He will not calm down and his freakout escalates until I return.  I don't know how to fix this and I am worried about what hell we are going to go through when I go back to work in June.  This one keeps me up at night.  Suggestions?

I suppose these are the trials and tribulations of being a mom of a 10month old and a 28 month old.  Nobody said it would be easy, I know that.  Just in a bit of a slump and trying to work it out so we can all be happy. 

PS: On a really positive note, Steve and I are doing much better. He has changed so much in the past few weeks and I'm so thankful and happy for it. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


There has been a marked and drastic improvement in Steve's mood since the The Great Blowup of 2011 - although in this house we are never to speak of that night ever again.  Any reference on my part to our big fight is met with a blank stare.  He's remarkable that way.  He is so good at denial that I swear he has the ability to almost entirely wipe the incident from his own mind.  Gone. Sometimes I wish I could do that - instead of reliving it and rethinking it and second guessing and regretting.

He played in a soccer tournament all weekend this past weekend and stayed at his Mom's house.  He went to a soccer party Saturday night.  I was a single mom all weekend and by Sunday afternoon I was D.O.N.E. Tired and emotional and depressed that my weekend was gone and I didn't get any sort of break to reset myself.  As hard as it was, I didn't take it out on him. I mean, he plays on a soccer team and there are commitments that go with that and the tournament was planned well in advance.  But when it was all said and done on Sunday evening, I was in tears and told him that that was two weekends in a row that I suffered and didn't get to enjoy myself much.  He said (in all earnest), "Why? What happened last weekend??"

Yesterday my dad came for a visit during the day. I was cleaning the house and while vacuuming I lifted up the area rug to clean under it and I said, "OH LOOK! Here's all Steve's problems!"

Steve came home for lunch and we all had lunch together.  After Steve went back to work, my dad commented that he noticed a HUGE difference in Steve. 

So it's real then. I'm not just imagining it because I want it so badly.

I'm doing my part to make things better too.  I am actually listening to him tell me how his day was, or about what he read on some sports page, or about how his mom is doing.  How can I complain that he never talks to me if I shut off just because he's not talking about what *I* want? 

I'm working hard at not playing the part of the bitter, resentful twat.  It hard because I'm really good at it, and I've always believed in investing in the natural talents that we're gifted with. 

It feels good to be connecting again.  It's so important to me.  I'm scared that it's temporary.  That it will fade, or that the next big catastrophe will hit soon and we'll be struggling through our next battle.  For now though, I'm just so fucking happy to have a little peace and love that I'm soaking in every bit of it and doing everything in my power to hold on to it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dreams, letting go, trying harder

I had a very symbolic dream last night. Amazing, really.

Steve and I were walking down a hallway.  We were tired and holding on to each other for support. I felt love for him and coming from him.

A person from my past walked up behind us in the hall.  This person is someone that Steve and I almost allowed to come between us in the past. Someone who caused us trouble and pain. I have held on to regret and guilt about the role I allowed this person played in our lives for a a long time.

In my dream this person walked past us. Ahead of us.  Looked back at us. And then walked out a door into darkness.  Gone.

Steve and I kept walking, leaning on each other. Arms draped over each other. Feeling worn out like we'd been through something physically and emotionally exhausting. A bit damaged. But together. Supporting each other.

It was a good dream. It felt right.

My SIL phoned the other night crying. Furious again with Steve.  Her relationship with my BIL is over. She has to be out of their house by Friday.  She's looking for an apartment to rent.  I felt horrible about it.  Can't help but feel somewhat responsible.  It was an email exchange with ME and my HUSBAND sent it to her spouse. I had a heavy weight on my chest.

But I'm letting that go.  This may have been the straw the broke the camels back for them but the camel was on his knees. I am not responsible for their demise or her pain.  I am stepping back from both of them. Whatever happens is up to them. I have so much struggle in my world right now, I can't take on their troubles.  And what good would it do anyways? I would just be making myself an easy target for blame or resentment - because that would be the easiest way to deal with their problems, blaming someone else. 

The past few days have been better for Steve and I. He seems to be trying to be happier and kinder towards me.  In turn I am trying to be less resentful and bitter and not so much of a bitch.  I know I can be a bitch and I know it doesn't help things.  We have been trying to talk in a civil and kind manner but that fact that there is talking at all is a good thing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On the Rocks

How I wish I was talking about cocktails... 

My last post is almost embarrassing considering how far I've gone from any positive feeling in my core in a very short time. 

Having two young babies so close together is very hard on a marriage.  Having your husband's father die is also very hard on a marriage. 

We've been distant. Bitter. Sad. Angry. Distraught. Frustrated.

Or at least I have been. I am only guessing that Steve has been too.  I wouldn't be able to say for sure because he does NOT talk about things. Not about anything.  It's hard for me.  Particularly hard since I am in my house with two kids 2 and under for most of the day. My only means for transportation is usually a stroller.  When it rains - which it does a lot here on the West Coast in winter/spring - I am literally trapped here inside my four walls.

I get lonely.  I crave support, love, discussions, kind words, emotional progress.  But when Steve gets home from work he's not able to provide much of any of those things. 

I have felt that he's been harboring resentful or angry feelings towards me.  There has not been a kind word offered. There is no touching. No kiss on the cheek.  No hugs.  Communication only when absolutely required.  And even then, it's been cold. 

I have been figuratively banging my head against the wall. Not sure what to do.  I've tried everything to get him to give it up. Talk. Tell me what I've done wrong. Tell me what's bugging him. He was maintaining that everything is "fine". When asked if he'd go to marriage counseling his response was "absolutely not" - even though he has been seeing a grief counselor to process his dad's death.

Hopefully I'm not sounding too martyr-ish when I say I have given my everything, my all, all my energy and then some, all my emotions, all my goodness - my EVERYTHING to try to be supportive to him and his family, to be a good mother, to be a kind and loving wife - during a really bad time.

However I've been feeling like, to him, I am not worth an effort on his part.  I have felt taken for granted. 

The other day an email exchange started between myself and my BIL's girlfriend (SIL) as we planned out our MIL's birthday dinner that was to take place this Saturday.  Well, as we started going back and forth with our emails, things started to come out. We started talking about the things that have been bothering us.  Things that MIL has been doing that have been making our lives very difficult. How our spouses are completely absorbed by her and her grief and how they dote on her and her occasional dramarama.  My BIL is the executor to the will and he had told SIL about some financial issues which she was supposed to keep silent about.  She confided in me in those emails. Honestly it felt good to have someone to talk to. Someone who understands what I'm going through, who is going through something very similar to me and who knows all the players in the game.  Someone to relate to. Someone who was willing to offer a sympathetic ear. 

Sometime in the afternoon my phone rang.  It was SIL.  She said, "Steve's been reading your emails".

In typical Steve fashion - instead of calling me and discussing it, he called his brother.  Told him what we were talking about, essentially ruining two relationships instead of just one. 

Steve feels that SIL and I are vindictive, evil women who hate his mother. 

I have explained that I do not hate his mom.  Not even close.  In fact I don't like some of the things she does.  And I said nothing in my emails that I haven't already said to him. 

He told me he's been watching me for a while.  Reading my emails and my tweets. He says he knows I talk about him "behind his back". He told me he didn't love me anymore and has been thinking of leaving me for a while. 

I explained that what I occasionally say about him on twitter is my way of communicating - in a joking fashion - to like minded friends who can relate to me.  Everything I tweet is out in the open and I would never say anything malicious abut him.  But he felt otherwise. 

Likewise with my email exchange with my SIL.

Besides having to explain and defend myself, I am furious and upset and devastated that my husband has betrayed me and violated my personal life. My personal conversations. My privacy. I am broken hearted that we are in that place.

Obviously there was a lot more detail than this but I care not to get into it.

My BIL and SIL are pretty much done.  This was the straw the broke the camels back for them.  Why Steve had to involve my BIL I don't know but it was a bad move.  My SIL is/was really, really mad at Steve.  He apologized to her and she did not accept his apology - which made things worse for me because I know it bothered him but... of course... he wouldn't talk about it. And also, she is my friend and I feel somewhat responsible for what's happening to her on her end of this mess.

To make a really long story a little less long - I had a really big breakdown.  Reiterating all the stuff I've been saying to him over the past few months. 

He told me he'd make an effort to be a better husband.  That he was going to make big changes.

The next day he got off work early. I had errands to run (since I offered to take a birthday lunch/cake to MIL the next day since her dinner at BIL and SIL's was cancelled) I managed to talk to SIL and we decided to meet for a beer with another girlfriend.  Steve said it was no problem. I brought him a 6 pack of beer before I met the girls and told him I'd bring dinner home.  I was out for a couple of hours. I sent him a text asking if he was doing ok with the the kids.  He didn't respond.  I called him. He didn't answer the phone. 

When I was on my way  home he finally answered. He was short with me. I asked what he would like for dinner and he said he already ate - even though it was just dinner time. 

When I got home he was back in that bitter, quiet mode. He'd obviously had a hard time with the kids. I know he was frustrated. *I* know what that is like - it is my daily life.  He was in a bad mood and quickly so was I.  We started to argue again.  It escalated.  Really escalated. It got ugly. I pushed him to the limit. I knew I was doing it but couldn't stop myself. I wanted him to react to me in some way. I couldn't take the passive aggressiveness anymore. I was so desperate I was willing to take the aggressiveness without the passiveness.

He lost it. I lost it. His eyes were dilated and he was in such a crazed state that I've never seen before. I was scared and mad and sad and very hysterical. Our yelling woke Lincoln from his sleep. Ruby... my precious, intelligent Ruby saw and heard everything.  For that, I will NEVER forgive myself. I even have a difficult time typing it out.  I HATE MYSELF when I think about her big blue eyes staring at me laying on the floor bawling. HATE. MYSELF.


Steve ended up leaving. Saying he wouldn't be back for two weeks and I would be hearing from a lawyer.  He returned a short time later when he had called his mom and she wouldn't come pick him up...

In a panic I called my SIL who came over and took Steve downstairs and had a really big talk with him while I cuddled Ruby in bed.

Eventually things calmed down and SIL left.

Steve and I slept in the same bed, with Ruby in the middle. I layed my head on his chest and sobbed. (Ruby was deeply sleeping by then).

Now... now... Steve has once again said he is going to try to be a better husband.  And I'll admit today has seen an improvement.  But there is some heavy underlying tension.  I am afraid to be anything less than smiling and happy even though my heart aches so badly. 

We have been torn apart and we need to rebuild. I just hope we have the ability to do it without ruining ourselves.  I know that my kids may see us argue again but they will NEVER again see anything so obnoxious as Friday night's events.  I grew up seeing that over and over and over. That was my childhood. It's not theirs.  It will never be theirs. I promise.

Steve's dad's death has done more damage than I thought it would. And my efforts to help and nurture and care for Steve have been sadly, futile. I cared for him the way I would have wanted to be cared for in such a situation. I've never been through a family member's death before and I did what I thought was best. 

I desperately want to have a happy life, a happy marriage. I deserve it. I deserve better that what I've been given recently. I can only do so much, be so much, give so much of myself.  It will take me a very long time to heal from this. I don't really know how or where to begin. I am just trying to take small steps forward in whatever way feels the most right.

Note: I do not know if Steve reads this blog or not but I have written this assuming he will read it and I have been completely open and honest and fair and regret nothing I have said here.

Ok, here goes... publish post.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In the cards...

Long time, no write...

I continue to struggle to balance my life.  Being a wife, a mom, a housekeeper, a woman.  Needing love, friends, socialization, affection, fun, freedom, quiet.  I am busting my ass to keep it all together. Some days I feel like I am rocking this shit - and other days I feel like I'm failing miserably.

I guess that's life though, isn't it? I mean, really - everyone has their own set of challenges and we all just have to find a way to live life the best we can.  Life is not easy.  Not by any stretch.  We have to be able to find joy in the small things, to roll with the punches, and to suck it up and make things work.  Let things go that don't matter.

In the past few months I have felt a great surge of spirituality within my self.  I can't say that it's a religion or a specific set of beliefs - it's just something that I feel inside and it's hard to explain. I have my own beliefs and feelings and thoughts and I'm working every day at trying to be peaceful within myself - no matter the challenges (yeah, sometimes it just doesn't work no matter how hard I try).  It's very interesting and very freeing to challenge my previous way of thinking and to release the thoughts and feelings and beliefs that were not serving me well.

I recently visited my Wiccan girlfriend and had her read my tarot cards for me.  I had been feeling like I was losing my... "zen" or my "mojo" or maybe just my inner, underlying positivity. Certain things had been getting to me that I would normally not allow.  I was emotionally and physically tired and not feeling as mentally "sharp" as I would like. (Sorry for all the quotation marks but I'm not sure any of these words are exactly what I'm looking for.)

Anyways, she had been dreading reading my cards because of how I had been feeling.  But the reading showed that I have a very strong, very positive core. There was indeed a card indicating grief which since we lost Steve's dad only a month ago now, was not surprising.  There were some cards indicating that I am seeking a male figure to lean on or to absorb energy from - which I found very interesting because there is no real strong male figure in my life right now and damn, do I ever crave that.  There were some cards indicating that there are a lot of people coming at me from all directions and that instead of tuning everyone out (which I do a lot) I need to listen because someone is apparently going to give me something that I need to think about which will bring about a choice I need to make which will make me do a big balancing act and have some difficulty in my life but that will eventually be good for me because I will learn from it.  She didn't feel that this had anything to do with my return to work in a few months - she thought it would be much sooner. She felt it had to do with education. 

In all, it was a very positive reading and her and I both felt very happy after it was over.  Her because she didn't have to give me any bad news, and me because I feel like I'm still on the right track and still all good on the inside.

One of the things she said to me that I have carried with me is this: Negative thoughts and feelings are just that - thoughts and feelings. They do not affect the positivity in your core. 

So despite those negative thoughts and feelings (resentment! anger! bitterness! sadness! pissed-offedness!) intruding upon me - I'm still all good deep on the inside.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lately, in random form

I had one more little brush with my FIL in the days after his death.  A couple days after he passed I had been having a challenging morning.  I was standing at the stove, ready to steam an egg in the frying pan, I sprayed the pan with cooking spray and added just enough water to cover the bottom and turned the burner on.  When the water heated it separated and formed a heart in the middle of the pan. I suddenly had a strong feeling that he was responsible for it and that he was sending me some love and encouragement.  I started to cry but felt better knowing that he was there for me.  Since then, the "signs" have subsided. 

Death is a strange thing when you're expecting it. It seems that when we lose a loved one unexpectedly, we are hit with all the grief and struggling to deal with it all after the death.  But when we lose a loved one when we are expecting it - like we just did - it seems that much of the grief is doled out in a sporadic torrent in the time leading up to the death.  Waiting for someone to die is horrible. The anxiety of it, the anticipation, the overwhelming sadness of watching someone deteriorate and imagining/dreading what life is going to be like without them.  Then when they do pass, there is almost a relief (accompanied by guilt) that the worst is over. But the feelings of loss and sadness and that aching place in our hearts remain.   

Steve and I are struggling in our relationship.  Or maybe I should say that I am struggling, Steve seems to think everything is ok.  I feel lonely. I feel unloved, unsupported, unimportant. I realize Steve just lost his father and he's grieving but I am still his wife and I need some love too.  There are no kisses on the cheek, no hugs, no cuddles, no encouraging words, no thank-yous. Yesterday I had a shitty day and was feeling blue and I mentioned it to him and his response was a snarly, "Why!?" He was clearly annoyed that I showed a crack in  my Stepfordness.  Steve is a wonderful father and loves his kids so much and for that I am ever thankful.  But he could step it up in the husband department.  He doesn't seem to think I need it - despite numerous discussions/arguments in which I tell him how I feel and he ignores me by watching sports on TV or pretends to be sleeping.  I've suggested/begged that we go for some marriage counselling and he flat out refuses - even though he is seeing a counselor about losing his dad.  One more thing that makes me feel like I'm not important enough to him.  My only hope now is that I get some counseling on my own - if only I could afford it. (Steve's is covered by his company). Most of the time I just block out my feelings and keep on doing my thing - because it's easier to just accept my fate than to try to fix it sometimes. But sometimes it just really feels bad. 

In happier news, I've lost 11lbs.  I joined Weight Watchers back in January and it's been working out really well for me.  I hope to be able to keep going and get to a place where I'm happy and comfortable with my body.  It has been really hard with having 3 other people who usually get put before me, but I've managed to stick to it.  I am determined.

Steve's 40th birthday is this Friday.  I've planned all kinds of things.  I arranged to have someone come over on Friday and watch the kids so he and I can go out for dinner.  I arranged a surprise lunch/beers at the pub the following day with all his friends.  And I bought him a trip for two to go to Calgary, stay in a fancy hotel (cashed in my airmiles), and great tickets to go see the Canucks (our hockey team) play.  My mom and dad are looking after the kids for the weekend.  I hope he enjoys it and appreciates all that went into it.  I am looking forward to a weekend away.


Just got a call from my MIL. She tells me that her and my BIL put some money together to buy a travel voucher for the friends who helped nurse my FIL during his illness.  They are both retired nurses and they never left his bedside during the last week and they were simply amazing.  I knew that they were going to buy them a travel voucher to thankt hem and I had asked if we could contribute to it.  So MIL just called to tell me that the voucher was purchased and they were putting all our names on it.  I told her that we would have liked to contribute and she laughed at me.  No, we can't afford it but we could have found some money for it. It would have meant a lot to me to contribute. I feel embarrassed and sad that they left us out - even though our names are on it.

She also told me that the funeral home called and told her that FIL's ashes are ready to be picked up.  I knew she would have a hard time with that so I offered for Steve and I go collect them.  She told me that she hoped I wasn't offended but that she wanted his ashes spread on his birthday and she only wanted it to be her and Steve and my BIL and that they would pick up the ashes that day.  I told her I'm not offended and she should do what makes her happy.  But since I can be honest here, I'll tell you that I'm sad and yes, a little hurt.  I loved him too and I did all that I could during his illness to help everyone and be as positive and loving and caring as I could.  I feel sad that they don't want me there for his final goodbye.  I will be ok, I will get over it.  It just adds to the hurt that I'm already carrying right now. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011


My father-in-law went into a hospice last Thursday. Sunday he became unresponsive.  We spent the past week at his side. At one point I had time alone with him and I talked to him and told him everything I wanted to say (including the score of the Canucks game that was on that day because he would have wanted to know). I recorded Lincoln blabbering and gurgling and squealing and Ruby saying "Hi Grandpa Stan. I love you Grandpa Stan". When I played it for him he responded to it and turned his head towards my phone and tried to talk and reach. It was bitter sweet and heart wrenching.

He passed away on Thursday morning at 7am with his best friend at his side.  I am glad he wasn't alone.

That morning at exactly 7am, Lincoln started crying. He had been awake for 20 minutes already and had been happily playing with his toys on the floor. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.

The hospice placed a butterfly on his door as they use the butterfly to symbolize a person's natural transformation from life to death.

The next day after I got home with the kids, I put Ruby down for her afternoon nap.  Oddly she was up within 10 minutes knocking on her side of her bedroom door.  When I opened the door - she had a butterfly in her hand and held it up to me. It was a beautiful handmade butterfly that she got when she was born. It has been hanging on the back of her doorknob and this was the first time she's ever taken it off.

Steve was given his dad's watch the day he died. The next day the watch stopped.

In my dreams that night I saw him from behind, walking, holding Ruby's hand.

We will miss him. He truly was a special man.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The end is near

I can not believe the support I get from you guys.  You are amazing, amazing women and I can not thank you enough for supporting me through everything I write about. It makes me feel so much less alone.  And so much less like an asshole.

After this past weekend I can't help but feel guilty for writing that last post though.  Things have changed again and now Steve really does need my support. His actions have become truly genuine.

Steve took Ruby to visit his dad in the hospice on Saturday morning.  He was really tired and a little bit confused but he was able to talk a bit to his visitors and he was watching sports on TV.  Then yesterday, Steve, myself, Ruby and Lincoln went in to visit him.  We were taken aback at the dramatic change in him.  He was basically unconscious the whole time we were there.  He is skin and bones.  He's barely there.

I found it really hard being there with my kids because they don't know what's going on and I obviously had to mother them and try to keep them quiet.  It is no longer bringing Steve's dad joy to bring them to visit.  He didn't even know they were there and I struggled to keep them quiet amidst my own grief.  Steve's brother and his girlfriend then showed up as I was getting ready to take the kids over to my parents house for their naps. They were obviously shocked at the state FIL was in and things got confusing with people trying to figure out what to do and what to say and who should do what and in the kerfuffle we kind of got ushered out the door (by SIL) without me having the chance to properly say goodbye with the kids.  I always put Lincoln's cheek up to FIL's cheek and Ruby always gives him a kiss.  We didn't get to do that. 

And it was the last time they will ever see him.

They aren't going back to the hospice, it's not right anymore.  That kinda bugs me - but I know that it only matters to me. The kids don't know any different and my FIL likely wouldn't have known.  But maybe he would have.  Anyways - the important thing is that I took them for every visit I could while he could still enjoy them.  And they said goodbye and gave kisses every time they left. Except that last time - fuck that really does bug me and I'm pissed that I allowed someone else to rush me out before I did what I needed to do. 

Steve and I took the kids over to my parents and then returned to the hospice.  By that time it was just MIL and FIL there so we had a bit of time to just sit in the room and chat a bit with MIL and just be with FIL.  A couple of times FIL stopped breathing and we all held our own breath.  But he started back up each time after a minute or so, but it is very laboured. 

We know that the end is very, very close. Likely within a couple of days. Almost surely before the weekend.

When we left, I kissed FIL's cheek and told him I loved him. I rubbed his hand and he squeezed mine and then kind of shook it.  Then Steve kissed his dad's head and told him he loved him and hugged him.  His dad then lifted his arm and wiggled his fingers to wave goodbye to Steve.  Both Steve and I believe that he was saying goodbye to us for the last time.  It meant so much to us both.  But at the same time, rocked us to the core with overwhelming sadness. There have been lots and LOTS of tears since then. 

Steve's mom isn't sure she wants to be in the room with him when he passes.  But she doesn't want him alone.  Steve said he doesn't want to be there either - he just wants to get a phone call to say that it's over. 

I do NOT want him to die alone, I don't think anybody does.  I would happily be there with him to hold his hand when he passes. I think I am the strongest, most spiritual person in the family for this situation.  The problem of course, is that I have two little kids to look after and I have no options for child care.  I feel really helpless with being here, an hour away - and being limited as to what I can do to help. 

I'm making a pot of turkey soup right now.  Because in the aftermath we'll have something comforting to eat.  And also because I need to do something wholesome right now to ease my hurting soul.

As if a pot of turkey fucking soup can do shit to make any of this better.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm a jerk.

At risk of sounding like a selfish, mean, ignorant, cold bitch and alienating all my readers - I am going to go ahead and unload a shitload of thoughts and feelings here that may not leave me in the best of light.  I have no choice - if I do not let it out I may implode or explode and I can think of no other "safe-ish" place to do it.

Now, where to start...

I guess to catch you all up on the situation, I'll tell you that Steve's dad took a turn for the worse.  His body is riddled with cancer. He has it in his brain, liver, lungs, adrenal gland, spine and likely his colon.  The doctor who said he would be back on the golf course by the spring gave everybody false hope and I feel he was very irresponsible in doing that and I would like to personally find him and kick him in the balls.  Steve's dad was home but is back in the hospital now as he can not stand up and he is too weak to even hold a newspaper.  He's been given a catheter and has a bedsore already.  He's got minimal appetite and has lost a load of weight. We were last told that he's got about 6 weeks left. We are all completely fucking devastated. It just sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

My MIL has been outstanding. She really has. She's been so strong and I am amazed and impressed by her. Sad that her and I have never gotten along better than we have since my FIL's diagnosis - but I do feel that good will come from bad and I'm happy with this bit of goodness. I have been calling her regularly to check on her, bringing her meals whenever I go visit (which is once a week), and bringing her little gifts and treats whenever I can.  She seems to really appreciate it and that makes me feel good.

I wrote my FIL a letter.  I wanted him to know how I feel about him and the great job he's done as father to Steve. I wanted him and my MIL to know how I feel and I would never get the chance to say it verbally.  They both loved the letter and said my words were beautiful.

I bring the kids to see my FIL at every chance I get. They bring him (and my MIL) such joy and I want him to have as much joy as possible. I also want the kids to spend as much time with him as possible even if they won't remember it later in life.

Where my issues lie are with my husband. (Here's where I make myself look like an asshole.)  I feel like he's not dealing with his father's illness very well at all. (I know, I know - we all grieve differently but I think it's more than that) He's always been a softy and an emotional person and he is VERY close with his dad so I expected him to be really sad and to have some struggles. I expected tears and emotions.  But I am starting to think that it's getting out of control and that he's perhaps being a little bit... selfish about the whole thing.  Last weekend when we went to visit in the hospital we had a nice visit until we were ready to leave and Steve absolutely fell apart.  I stood off to the side of the room with the kids, waiting for him to hug and kiss his dad but he started sobbing and waved me out of the room.  I had to pack Ruby and Lincoln (who is now over 21lbs, by the way) out of the hospital and load them into the van by myself.  Steve showed up a while later, a complete wreck, sobbing and saying he's never seen his dad so upset. Well, darling... that is because you were so upset in front of him.  The man is dying - can we not give him the gift of at least restraining ourselves from falling apart in front of him? He wants to know that we're going to be ok after he's gone - I feel it's unfair to unload our sorrow onto him. He then had me drive to his moms house so he could bawl on her shoulder.  She was a bit chuffed at him and told him that we have to just deal with this shitty part of life and he needs to keep his chin up. I also felt that that maybe wasn't fair for him to do to his mom - she's dealing with SO MUCH already.  I feel like Steve still wants to be a little boy and for his mom and dad (and brother) to take care of him. He needs to man up a bit. 

His family has started leaving him out of decisions and family meetings and discussions because he can't seem to handle any of it.  But he gets upset to not be involved.  I honestly don't blame them.  Everybody is dealing with their own grief and their own problems and trying to make the best of the time they have left and it's hard for them to have to deal with Steve's sobbing on top of all of that. 

And if you think that sounds cold... just wait. I've got more.

Steve will use any and all opportunity to elicit sympathy from people.  My mom asked him the other day if he's busy at work and he replied that he had to go for a little walk by himself to sort out his thoughts.  Uh, not what she was asking.  He gets all weepy at the drop of the hat.  He'll call me to talk about banking and it somehow gets turned around to him being sad and he'll get all choked up.  I mean, I've been nothing but supportive to him.  He has been seeing a counselor and everyone around him is trying to help him.  And I kinda feel like he's liking it, too much.  He seems to LOVE people giving him sympathy. I sometimes think he uses this situation to get attention. 

...I'm going to hell.

He is mopey around the house.  He cries in front of our kids.  He isn't supportive of me. He hates it if I say anything that isn't 100% sympathetic to him and his needs. He is distant from me. He wants me to care for him and the kids and the house and he gives nothing in return - all in the name of grief.

I work HARD all day every day.  The added stress and requirements with his dad's illness have added to my physical and emotional work load.  I don't complain. I don't.  I feel it is my job and I suck it up and I do what I have to do.  At the end of the day when I'm tired and yes, sometimes depressed and sad over the situation - he rarely notices. He's too consumed with his own self. It's not about ME, I know that.  But I'm lonely and tired and sad and need some sort of comfort and companionship.

Yes, his dad is dying but Steve is still a husband and a father and he has responsibilities to me and to us. 

To add to the misery - he recently cracked a rib while playing soccer.  Good lord, he's on about it every chance he gets.  He cries and complains and fucking whines about it all day and night.  The other night he woke me in the middle of the night to tell me he slipped off his pillow and could I adjust him back onto his pillow because it hurt him too much and he couldn't move.  Really?  And even though he's been to the doctor and he's been told there's nothing they can do for a cracked rib except have him take lots of Advil - he still keeps threatening he's going to take himself to emergency because it hurts so bad.  Oh for fuck sakes, suck it up!  I realize how painful a cracked rib can be but good lord I am so sick and tired of hearing about his fucking painful ribs and watching him mope around wallowing in self sorrow. 

I'm running out of Mrs. Nice Wife.  I'm starting to get short with him and frustrated by the little things - like him breathing too loud, or scraping his teeth on his fork, or getting sucked into fucking Facebook like a bloody zombie while the house falls apart around him.  Sometimes my kids get on my nerves because I've been so frazzled by everything else and have little support. 

Ok, that's enough - kids are fussing and Steve has called saying he's on his way home for his lunch (which I need to make). I've said enough to guarantee myself a spot in hell now anyways.  I had to get it out though.  Thanks for listening/reading.  Try not to judge me too harshly.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sleep Training - Progress Report #2

At risk of writing about it and therefore having it all fall to shit....


I just can't keep that to myself.  I am so so soooo happy about it. 

Naps are coming along very nicely too but are definitely not cemented yet.  This means that I'm still a bit of a prisoner in my own home (particularly during the week) since he needs three naps a day and they need to take place in his own bed.  But if I have to be a prisoner then at least I can be a prisoner who is getting more sleep at night! 

Hell yeah!

My mom was over on the weekend and I went out for a couple of hours (FREE! I was FREE!!!).  She put him down for one of his naps (the first person besides myself to put him down since sleep training started) and there was absolutely NO problem. 

I went to the gym yesterday while Steve watched the kids and Steve put him down for his afternoon nap (also a first since nap training) and there was no problem. 

Progress.  Serious progress, my friends.

Next weekend I have tickets to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (a little Christmas gift from me, to me) and I really would like the kids to stay the night at my parents house.  I'm so worried about Lincoln and possibly screwing up his sleep schedule.  Also it is a pretty big job to make sure naps are taken at the right time and handled in a particular way and I feel a bit bad putting that on my mom - although she says it's no problem. 

It needs to start happening though - Lincoln sleeping elsewhere, particularly at my moms since she is currently my only babysitter. 

But... right now I'm pretty excited about where we're at with the progress.  It's really very exciting and makes me really quite happy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where I'm at...

The sleep training continues with Lincoln.  I have made so much progress from the days of hourly wakings through the night and two 30 minute naps.  However, at only 8 (or is it 9?) days into it, we're still a far way off from having healthy sleep habits cemented.  What does that mean?  It means I continue to be fairly housebound.  Linc needs to be put down for each of his three daytime naps within 2 hours of waking from his previous sleep.  In those two hours he needs to be given a bottle, fed solids, played with, exercised, diaper changed and whatever else a 6 month old requires.  Have I mentioned he's passed the 20lb mark now??  (Oh my aching back!) And in the meantime I have a two year old who doesn't stop talking (bless her intelligent little heart but sometimes I just want quiet) or going and going and going and who hasn't quite mastered the skill of independent play yet.


Then there is the devastation of my father-in-law's terminal cancer diagnosis.  It has been so trying (not to mention heart shattering) on the family.  My husband and his dad are particularly close and it's so sad to see how much this hurts him.  I have been busy trying to be everything I can be to those who need it during this time.

Yesterday there was a "big" doctors appointment.  My FIL was going to find out if the treatment to shrink his brain tumor is working and if it would be worthwhile to continue treatment.  We were all sick with worry what the outcome would be.  Steve and I had been to the house with the kids to visit him on the weekend and I was a little bit surprised at how sick he was.  He could barely find the energy for one word sentences.  He was in and out of sleep the whole time were were there.  He had been refusing to eat and fighting with MIL to take his medication.  So you can understand how shocked we all were when the doctor told him he was very happy with his progress and that he should be able to golf a round within 3-5 weeks.  I did not understand how this could be!  But apparently in the past few days he's gotten stronger and has eaten a bit and scans show that his tumor is shrinking a bit.  This has offered up some hope for everyone (especially Steve) that we all might get a little more time with him, some of it quality time where he is physically and mentally able. 

My girlfriend who is starting up her own photography business has offered to do family pictures for us for free once FIL is a bit stronger and able to be up and about.  I hadn't thought of it but what a wonderful idea.  I am so excited about this and hope that we can make it happen. 

And, because I don't like things to be too easy, I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers.  I figured my life struggles aren't going anywhere anytime soon and I am packing around a lot of extra weight which I truly do not like - so why not just go for it now. I'm a bit of an emotional eater (understatement) and with all the stress and emotion that I have in my life right now, a bit of direction and control is just what I need or I could really be in trouble.  No, I can't afford it nor do I have the extra time for it but with some encouragement from a friend I decided that I needed to do this, now, for me.  It is hard for sure with everything else going on around me, but I deserve to feel good about myself and my appearance and so I will pinch pennies and find the time to do the program and I WILL be successful at it. 

Right now I have both kids napping.  It takes a bit of work but I have been able to make that happen every once in a while and I enjoy it so very, very much.  A bit of quiet time during the day is so very needed by me right now.  And so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to lay here on the couch and stare at the roof for whatever quiet time I have remaining...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sleep training - progress report #1

I gotta say, sleep training is going really well.  Like, amazingly by-the-book well.  Lincoln is catching on beautifully and his crying is minimal.  I never expected it would go like this. I like to think that it's at least partly because I'd done some reading and some sleep training before officially implementing the sleep consultants sleep plan.  I'm already aware of sleep cues and the white noise machines that I bought for both kids' rooms are also a huge help. 

Sometimes I feel a bit silly that I paid all that money for a sleep plan and wonder if I maybe jumped the gun.  But then I remind myself that there is indeed valuable information in Lincoln's plan that I wouldn't have had otherwise.  And I would have continued to doubt my strategies every time he cried.  Now I know what to do and the plan, written by a professional, gives me the confidence I need to be sure that I'm doing the right things. 

I know it's only day 3 and things could go blatantly wrong at any time - but from all I've read the first 24 hours are the hardest, and they weren't that hard, and it's gotten better each day.  We're working on making him go through two sleep cycles for his naps instead of one.  And we're down to two feeds in the night (this includes his 10:40pm dream feed), with plans of cutting out the middle of the night feed next week.  His crying has really scaled back and he doesn't scream like he used to.

For some reason with all of this, I am more tired than I've ever been.  Even though I'm starting to get a little more sleep. I suppose the stress is maybe catching up with me, and it's probably going to be a long time before I actually feel rested when I wake up in the morning. 

But honestly, it just feels really good that something that is going right right now.  It's been a long time since something positive has happened. I am desperate for something to just go right for us and I'm clinging on to this, our sleep training progress amidst a whole lot of wrong.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sleep Training

I got Lincoln's "sleep plan" this past weekend.  Sleep training is the last fucking thing on earth I feel like doing right now.  The last thing.  However, I paid the money for the plan and having Lincoln sleep better would greatly improve our lives.  And so today, I put the plan in motion. 

I am scared though.  With the heaviness in this house lately I have been so stressed out.  Almost to the point of being manic sometimes.  I get sooooo wound up, feeling like there are a million things I need to do. I recognize that I am feeling the need to control everything I can because of the things that I can not.  Still, I can't help myself.  I'm afraid I won't be strong enough to handle the crying that is going to inevitably come with the sleep training. I'm afraid the stress will overtake me.

We've been doing a lot of driving back and forth to the hospital over the past two weeks and I that has been making me feel even more out of control.  I've been doing all the driving - which is an hour each way through city traffic.  I've been trying to manage kids naps and meals and playtime and behavior through all of it, which has been no easy task.  Sleeping in the van and eating drive through chicken mcnuggets is ok once in a while, but I stress that it's happening too much.  I try to plan ahead but there is so much going on inside my head and out that it's all I can do to just hang on by my fingernails.

Hopefully now that the holidays are over and there is a bit more structure, things will level out a bit.  Also, Steve's dad is likely going to be sent home from the hospital tomorrow.  So our visits will become weekly and they won't be at the hospital anymore (God willing). It will make things a little easier visiting at their house.

Over the past couple of weeks I've pretty much weaned Lincoln from breastfeeding.  It's been beneficial to me and him.  He's sleeping better already with the increased calories - and I'm less tied down and able to function a little more effectively.  I've also started him on solids which he loves (except peas, that's my boy!). He's "only" awake 2 or 3 times a night now.  Still his naps are junk.

As much as I don't want to do the sleep training, it's now or never.  I need to start within one week of getting the plan. And really, what would I wait for anyways?  It's not like things are going to change any time soon. 

I'm hanging on to the fact that today is as close to a fresh start as we're going to get so I'm going forward with whatever needs to be done to get Lincoln sleeping better.  While I'm at it, I'm going to take advantage of this being a "quieter" week and working on getting everything clean and organized and my family in a better place (along with my headspace), so that we can go forward as best we can with what we're given. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year

Well, it's now 2011. We've finally moved past 2010 which was such a difficult year for us.  I am very excited for a fresh start.

It seems though, that the cancer in my father in law's brain (and now lungs, back and kidneys), didn't get the memo that we were starting fresh this year.  The cancer is still there and it is refusing to respond to treatment.  This is usually one my favorite times of the year - after all the hoopla of the holidays is over and I can get down to improving my life in various ways.  I love January and the fresh start that it brings. 

But at the end of December 31st, 2010, when the clock struck twelve and the calendar rolled over - the pain and sadness and heaviness did not abate. The cancer is still there.  We are all still hurting.  And how can we look forward to 2011 with too much hope and happiness when we know it will likely be the year we lose Steve's dad, my father in law, the kids' grandpa?