A note to stepmoms everywhere

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One Woman Team (Just Don’t Check the Score!)

courtesy  Does anyone know what happened to this kid?

courtesy Does anyone know what happened to this kid?

Back to my old “single mom” routine. When my husband goes away, people will ask “you have the kids?” and I will always reply “I didn’t have them, but I got ’em!” Oh, I can’t stand myself, I’m so witty!

So the oldest child is generally exhausted, pale, cold and out of breath. I’ve been telling her for MONTHS she’s low on vitamin D and she’s either close to anemic or full blown anemic. I kept trying to keep her on vitamins, she didn’t seem to understand what a vitamin deficiency can do. When she insisted that she eat ice during all hours of consciousness, then I insisted that she needed a blood workup, but in the meantime I gave her multivitamins and iron tablets.

She finally got her blood test results. She says “they told me I’m anemic, I’m so glad I wasn’t just lazy!”


Her boyfriend tells her “you should listen to Jessie, she seems to be right a lot”. Too bad the only kid that’s figured that out doesn’t live here.

That’s not entirely true. The middle child, the one who gave me the hardest time, the one who was just mean and hurtful to me, the one who cried every time I said anything at all to her for about 4 years, suddenly values my input. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the logistics of that, but she listens to me, she talks to me, and she genuinely understands I have only her best interest at heart. I truly believed we would never be here!

Now, on to the youngest. I’m worried about her, and I’m worried in a way that I wasn’t worried about the middle child. The youngest doesn’t have the same support structure around her that the other 2 had, she also hasn’t received the same discipline, she’s been more spoiled, and is more entitled, rebellious and (sorry to say it) intelligent. People are always underestimating how smart she is. Sometimes she undermines her own intelligence with her sheer stubbornness, and that will also be to her detriment. I feel like if I can’t reach her when she hits that critical pre-teen realization, I’m not sure who will. I wanted her to get evaluated because she has crazy mood swings, and is constantly swinging between groups of friends, pitting them against each other. The youngest that comes through the door one day probably won’t be the same one the next day. You never know who you will be coming home to, a gremlin or interpretive dance queen. I thought if she were evaluated, we could find out if it’s hormones, if she’s just manipulative or if there’s something else that we need to be aware of during the stresses of her teen years.

But *one* of her parents doesn’t want people to think there’s something wrong with her, so they don’t want it done. The other parent doesn’t want to argue.

Part of me wants to throw my hands up and just tell them “good luck!!” I want them to see that their action or inaction led to problems.

And then I look at her, and I know it’s not fair.

I’ll be ready, because I can see what’s coming, and I’ve been where she’s going. I’ll know how to handle it, the depths of craziness and bad decisions. The highs of accomplishment and overcoming obstacles. I look around, at her options of who else is ready for the fastball pitch of her teenage years to come, and I’m the only one with the mitt.

Play ball!

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Zombies and Dudes



I accidentally inherited a gecko about 7 years ago. He’s been a mean little cuss. But he looks cool. Lately, though, he had decided he didn’t want to eat anymore. I didn’t want to force him because he had a rough life, and if he was done, I was going to let him be done.
This morning, he was done.
It was one of those days where I went ahead and turned off the alarm and went back to sleep. I was running around in a hurry, trying to not be even later, and I did my daily check on him, and he had obviously run out of gas. Forever.
I couldn’t deal with that at the moment, so I went to work.
It was just a weird day. I was cranky and unpleasant and gross. Then while cooking dinner, I began to feel like I had been hit by a bus, and I realized; the kids got me sick again!!! What the heck!! Bringing home their professional strength yuck. And the middle child is always leaning on me and rubbing her face on me (don’t ask, she’s 13, I don’t get it, but I don’t argue), and she looked half dead for church on Sunday. I told her she was going to become a walker by dawn.
Now I’m next for the zombie transformation. Radical.
The oldest went to the store with me to get medicine, and I was so out of it. All I could keep saying was “I can’t even think”. It was a mess.
So my husband took care of the gecko. I never really named him, I just called him ” the dude “. If anyone asked why, I would just say “because the dude abides”.
We are going to a water park this weekend, and I don’t care how sick I am, I’m going. Because I’m clearly losing my mind.

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Friday Ride On The Crazy Train


From the youngest, the caption says it all...

This week has just vaporized, I swear. It’s fine so fast, I’m still not sure it’s Friday. We haven’t had the kids, so I’ve been trying to get caught up on things I didn’t do when they were here.
I guess the trip to the mall was a big hit with the kids. The oldest is still talking about her “exciting weekend” with me. I guess she was just tickled to hang with my mom and uncle. Super weird, a teenager that wants to hang out with adults all the time. But I won’t complain.
She had told me that she had to quit talking to some friends because she found out they were doing drugs and they were racist. She’s half Mexican, so that whole racist thing doesn’t fly, and she’s not a fan of drugs either. She felt like they were the only friends she had, so we had a talk about that.
I suppose high school isn’t the place for a girl with a big heart.
The middle child has secretly pierced a second hole in her ear, by herself. I’m just glad it didn’t happen at our house.
The youngest had her conferences last night. She had drawn a portrait (the pic at the top, supposed to be a self portrait but she’s blond) and her caption says. I swear, that girl makes me Facepalm twice a day.
But I never tell her to change. Only to be herself and not be afraid of it. Can’t stop a crazy train like that.

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You Know, It Was A Very Gary Christmas (I Mean Strange)



I have to get this all out because my Christmas was just stranger than fiction. Seriously. I’m super tired and pretty sure I’m sick again, but it was just outlandish.
Every year, we do Christmas Eve with my family, and this year it was at my brother’s house. I volunteered to bring plates, cups and silverware because I had to work and was getting up early the next day to make breakfast. I didn’t want to cook any more than I needed to. The party started at 2, and I worked until 3. In my wisdom, I didn’t foresee a problem with bringing eating and drinking utensils late. Duh.
So by the time I got off of work, changed and ran down there, it was about 4:30. No good. But everyone was happy to see me, and I was happy to see them. My cousin was there, and due to family complications, and a cross-country move, I haven’t seen much of her in years. I wasn’t sure she’d make it. I walk in, and her father tells me she’s pregnant. Now there were a few reasons why I wouldn’t believe this, but mostly because 90% of everything he says is a joke. So I laughed.
Well, she was pregnant. Oops. I hope we don’t go another 10+ years with silence. I didn’t mean anything, I just thought my leg was being pulled.
Dinner was great, and there was lots of champagne. I noticed my dad had on a pinky ring, and he said it was a gift from my late grandma, then promptly lost it. We looked all over for it, then it mysteriously rolled out of his pant leg. Still no idea on the logistics of that one.
We had an awesome white elephant gift exchange (I got a grill for camping) and then everyone started the mass exodus.
My husband and I weren’t sure if we should leave, it was just us left. Then my brother came in with the game Apples to Apples, and we put on some old school hip hop (I don’t get it either, we always do this, and it’s something none of us listen to alone, I think). We played late into the night and then came home and flopped into bed.
I woke up the next day feeling like I had some champagne the night before, but I had breakfast to make. So I tried to suck it up and rehydrate myself, and I got to cooking. The southbound tummy train was set on express, and I had to hit the station a few times (tried to not make that graphic). I felt awful. Then the kids came home, and I was trying to cook, answer questions and not puke on myself all at the same time. It came time to get out the corned beef for making the hash, and I opened the crock pot and almost tossed my cookies. I stared at the awful, smelly thing, trying to figure out a way to get it out without getting sick.
Couldn’t think of one.
So I grabbed two utensils and wrestled the beast out. All 3 kids are in the kitchen when it slips away, bounces off my sweater and splats on the floor.
Meat sprays everywhere. It was horrible.
A silence falls over the kitchen, and we all stare at it for a second. The middle child says “it’s still good” grabs a piece off the floor and eats it. I grab two forks, salvage the beast and then clean the floor.
Then I had to go change my shirt before I threw up.
The beast was inspected and approved and turned into a delicious hash, which we all ate (including me). After a quick shower, I returned to being human and had a great time at my house on Christmas, and got to have some good conversation with some in laws I don’t get to talk to much. We all had a really good time. And the drama drama was checked at the door. It was a Christmas miracle!
The next day, we left for a trip, but that’s another entry. At least I squeezed in a little vacation. I was getting tense!

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This Birthday Tastes Funny



This birthday thing for the youngest child has only been in the works for like a week. I haven’t made a payment to the place we are going, haven’t bought invitations. I haven’t nailed down the exact time. I first needed to know how many children she wanted to invite so when I went to pay I could figure or how much time we needed, thereby solidifying the time of the day for the party.
Before I even knew how many people she was going to invite, she’s on the phone with her friend and says “my friend wants to know when the invitations are going out”. I shrug and say, ” OK.” She stares at me and I respond “I don’t know. I don’t even know how many people you’re inviting”. She starts to walk away, then whips around and says “when will you know?” Facepalm.
Today; “what time will the party be?” Me: “I dunno, did you finish your guest list?” Silence. “Uuummm, yeah”.
There’s a mass of scribbles on a sheet, some of them have question marks next to them. Facepalm.
Me: ” I just need to know how many kids you want to invite”. She tells me she thinks nine, but she’s not sure, and then she put herself and her sisters on the list. “Do we count?”.
I just need to know who she wants to invite, not to get a complete head count of all friends and family to attend. It seems like normal kids do this all the time.
She doesn’t know what she wants for presents. She’s not sure what she likes. She’s not sure who she wants to go to this party. She is the hardest part of planning a party for her.
When she gets married, I’m moving away.

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The Confusion Is Yours!


I’m so loopy today, that if someone asked if I was on drugs, I would not take offense. It took everything I had to not slur like a drunk all day. I got no sleep people. I wish I were exaggerating, but literally NO SLEEP. LIKE AT ALL. Gross. It was a rough night at the new job.

I got to see the sunrise on my way home today, then I got home and had the fat girl fight with my clothes. I seriously just wish it was permanently sweater time. I’ve got a lot more things I can hide in.

I threw myself together and slithered off to my other job. I get there and my brains are just like crumbling out of my ears. I’m trying to keep it together and hold coherent conversations with people. And for some reason, today, everyone wants to talk to me. Awesome. I wish I was popular when I could have an entire thought at a time.

Then Pastor has a serious ADD attack, which was made even better by the fact that he’s at a conference of some kind. Some pastor secret society stuff. I don’t know. But he’s coming up with this grand, deluded image of these wonderful documents he wants me to pull out of thin air. He’s trying to describe them to me, but since I don’t know ANYTHING about confirmation, I just sat on the phone with a horribly confused look on my face. At least someone was there to laugh at it. I hung up the phone just completely befuddled and stared at it in horror for a second, then turned to see an associate pastor red with her face in her hands, eyes peeking at me. She was quietly chuckling so hard I think she was crying. Confusion is always amusing for someone.

Just normally not you.

So now I’m off to finish the blur that I think is Wednesday.

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I’m Just Excited To Be Here

Hooray! I’m so glad that Monday and Tuesday were such complete clones of each other, I actually got confused enough to have to figure out what day I was trapped in today. Both were just chock full of inanity, and kept paces that made my head spin. Oh, and let’s not forget the bossy people totally blowing a simple Sunday breakfast into smithereens. It’s horrible. It’s like watching someone trying to dig a grave for their cat in their backyard with a bulldozer. Gotta love misplaced intentions.
So after the crazy time, and the super odd guy dripping some mysterious fluid from his moustache on to my desk (horrifying, I still don’t know what it was, but he dripped like 5 times on my stuff) I run (literally) out of the building.
Off to pick up kids and make dinner. In the process of making dinner, the youngest dances and prances around the tiny room, seemingly making it a point to always be where I am trying to go. She is talking to me, along with the oldest, then she does that thing that every parent on the planet adores; she looks at the ingredients of what I’m making, something she’s loved a million times before, and scrunches up her face and says “oh, that? I don’t like that.” I look at her like she must have lost her mind to stand in my kitchen and say that, and reply “that’s nice. Get out of my kitchen.”
You know, when you’ve had a discussion about something a million times before…
But oddly enough, even though I tried to tell her, when it came out of the oven she gasped “oh! It’s that! I love that!”
This is dinner almost every night all school year long. I can’t wait. On the plus side, my husband is driving them to school this year, so I have some extra time to clean in the morning. Which might sound unpleasant, but I seriously had no time and no idea how I was going to get it all done.
Which is also nice because I have an interview on Friday, so if I get the job (my second) I will definitely need the time.
Every now and then, things work themselves out before you even realize that’s what has happened.


I Think We’ve Overheated


Holy cows and chickens people! I have spent the last 2 hours applying for jobs. That my sound like a lot, but I only successfully got one whole application in, and the other let me almost finish, and chucked a server error in my face! Finding a job is a job! I don’t have time for this, I need a job!

All facepalms aside, it has just been a horrible, hormonal, emotional rollercoaster. After all the dog drama, I happen to notice that my car must be starving because it’s eating my tires. Well, I’m glad we can just pile that on top of the other bills. Fabulous.

School is starting soon, and we have dumped a small fortune on the kids because this is the first time in years they really had NOTHING to start school with. So they got new wardrobes. And we got lighter wallets. Everyone is happy.

They were so excited to get their new digs, they wanted to show us everything, then show each other everything. The middle child took fashion credit for everything the oldest got (they all insist she doesn’t know how to dress, she’s just not flashy). It was SO funny, when we went to church today, the oldest wore a lace blue sundress with combat boots (hello 90’s!) and the youngest had crazy printed leggings with a crop top and undershirt and ankle combat boots. I almost die whenever they come downstairs pre-grunge. It just kills me!

The middle child had her debut as a cheerleader today, she was just beside herself. She had a great time, which was good. We were in full sun on a horribly still day (my own breath was a welcome breeze) and the sun was blaring so hard I think it was making an audible sound. Or maybe that was my brains sizzling in the heat. Whatever.

So she did fantastic and we were proud, then I came home and had some kind of super meltdown freakout. I was hot and hungry and tired and there was still so much left to do, I just lost it. I have been unstable under the weight of the recent drama in our house. Then, halfway through the grocery store today, it hit me; my husband will be gone all this week. So after all this stuff going on, all this activity and spending money and trying to get a job and psycho dog drama, I will be alone in the vacuum of a starkly silent house for a week. I hope I can get some projects done, because I feel like I’m losing my mind.

But all work and no play make Jessie a something something.

Homer courtesy 21st Century Fox

Homer courtesy 21st Century Fox



Let’s Go Racing Thoughts

What a Sunday. It was so super nutty, it felt like a Monday. Last night I got to go to the RACES!!! YES! I’m a Midwestern girl, so I like, no I love, the smell of racing fuel and clouds of dust raining down on you and the thundering roar of engines… you know, racing stuff. I bring safety glasses to keep the dirt out of my eyes, a blanket to sit on, and try to get there early to get the best seats. I’m not an amateur. My mom got my brother and me into it when we were kids, and I still like most of the things I liked as a kid. So we went and watched the sprint cars, and it was pretty nuts (like high speed bumper cars).

I got home around midnight with the oldest child (she likes racing too, so awesome) then my husband woke up around 3am to catch a flight for a business trip to Florida. Ugh. My alarm went off for church this morning, and apparently my sleepy brain said “no” and shut it off. I jumped up at the last second and made it just in time with only one child in tow (again, the oldest). I came home, took middle child and youngest child shoe shopping, then to the grocery store. Then back home to create and print a newsletter, make dinner, clean the kitchen and then off to one of my volunteer services (I make the newsletter for them) which I fell asleep during (oops). Back home to cram dinner in my mouth then go pick up oldest child.

You know what? I’m not good at this single mom stuff. The youngest child had too much sugar and then did the thing where she melts and everything irritates her and makes her cry, and I just cooked my lunches for the week. I had no brainpower left to come up with a real solution to that problem. She fell hard and hurt her butt and was overtired and oversugared and melting all over the couch. I tried to giver her ibuprofen for her sore butt and she cried the she couldn’t swallow pills. She will be 11 in a few months, perhaps now is a good time to learn. She didn’t understand why I didn’t keep children’s pain reliever on hand, and why she was near the weight limit for it to even work anymore. I stayed out of the room and let her older sister coach her through it, and for the first time, she took pills!!!  It was such a victory!!

Almost everything with the youngest child is mind over matter. She is always deciding she can’t do something or she doesn’t like something before she has any idea for sure. If I can show her she can do something, or get her to try something with as little prodding as possible, then she can go “Oh, this isn’t so bad!!” and add something new to her list. She is afraid of a lot of things, she doesn’t like change (at first, she always changes her mind, immediately disagrees) she doesn’t trust anybody, she doesn’t think anyone else knows how to do anything, even if she asks them for help. But she has an amazing imagination and she is incredibly (I mean incredibly) smart. She reads and draws and writes amazing things. I don’t want all of that intelligence and creativity to be stuck inside a little box of fear. I want her to be free, and bold and brave. I want her to dare to do crazy things and be different and try new things. Push ideas that others tell her will not work. I want her to do those things because I know she can.

I don’t have a key for her box of fear. I don’t know how to get her outside of that and see it. See that she is turning things down with out a chance, and see that she is keeping herself from doing things that might be great.

I feel secure in knowing the other two are growing up and becoming responsible and mature. They are good kids and have a solid foundation of early teen years to build upon for early adulthood. I just have to figure out how to make some building blocks for the youngest one. She could be so amazing, but that also makes her the most complex to work with.

I started this off trying to talk about my exhausting day as a single (step) mom, just winging it and barely making it work. I ended up talking about child development. So weird. Sometimes it’s like I’m a mom but not a mom. I’m the unmom.

I’m going to bed. This was way too productive of a Sunday.

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More Dangerous Things to do With Dad

Guess which one is my dad?

Growing up, I had young parents. They were growing up with us, in a way. My dad was a big kid, and wanted to make everything a game. Sometimes he took things seriously (the “moderately insane” dad kind of serious, I think all of our dads have freaked out at some point) but for the most part, he wanted to have fun. He wanted to have fun with us, specifically.

My parents were divorced and we were with dad on the weekends. We went on lots of adventures and did lots of interesting (crazy) things. Many of which there is NO WAY I would do with my stepkids. It seemed perfectly sane at the time, but I have my woman pants on now, and those things look crazy pants to me. Growing up really screws with your perception of things, doesn’t it?

We went on lots of car rides. Money was tight just about my entire childhood. I just assumed that no one had any, and this was the kind of stuff they did. We would get bored and drive down country roads or dirt roads and listen to the radio. Might sound lame, but I’ve always loved a good car ride.

Sometimes we would just try to find new things to do, sometimes it was the scenic route home. It depended on the scenario. We planned our weekends on a whim most of the time.

One night we were on a ride home from somewhere, probably our cousins’ house. It was late and we were back in town, close to his apartment. It seems like we were driving past our old apartments. They were the place I first grew up in, and my first “home” that I remember. That was where my parents were married the longest, so it held a lot of memories for us, and we would drive past from time to time.

It was near an old business park, and most of the buildings had been abandoned and some were partially demolished. It was creepy there, and I loved creeping myself out, so I asked if we could stop there. Dad gave his “Sure, why not”. Which is something I say to this day.

We drove over to a place that had been a cookie factory at one point, and we drove around the building to check it out. It looked abandoned. There was not much there. Then, dad had a moment that will go down in infamy.

“Hey, look at those old train tracks”

We stopped, looked. I thought he was just pointing out something antique and wondered what they were for and why they were there. They were pretty much just 2 rails standing on the ground. There was only a little bit of an incline (more like a wedge) so you could get over them, not like a regular crossing at all.

“I bet I could jump them!”

I was in awe “In the truck!?!” I gasped.

“Yeah, how fast should I go?”

“Gun it! Go fast!” I was so excited. I totally thought this would be like a Dukes of Hazzard moment. I was amped. My brother seemed a little nervous, and rightly so. He was older and smarter than me, and he knew a lot about cars. I think he had some insight into this experiment.

He gunned it and the little 4 cylinder truck rattled off towards the track like a wild pony. We gained speed and I was so excited. We had never done anything this cool! This was going to be awesome!

We hit the incline at what immediately seemed too fast. The truck got air. All 4 tires totally off the ground at the same time. I believe I heard my father say “uh-oh”. Indeed.

We. Hit. The. Ground. The springs under our bench seat compressed and all 3 of our butts hit the floor of the truck. We all groaned at the same time from being spinally compressed. The wind knocked out of us.

Dad could only groan “that was a bad idea” in pain.

We took a minute to try and recover, dad looked over the truck briefly, then we took the thankfully short ride home.

I don’t remember what became of that truck, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t keep it long after “the incident”. I think we broke that pony’s leg that night.