Cute mommy blogger.. nope.. Mr. Mom here..

Ok.. so I'm not a "Mr.".. but I'm feeling like I need to watch that movie again. Visions of making grilled cheese sandwiches with a clothes iron and the whole vacuum cleaner scene mark incredible parallels with the past few days of my life.

I had grand ideas of blogging this transition. I still may.. but it won't be as I had originally planned.. which involved sitting peacefully at 8:30pm after Benji had gone to bed typing while smiling and laughing as I told about the adventures and antics that had filled our day. I thought -- hey.. maybe I'll blog every day for a year.. really journaling this experience for me to look back on (fondly of course) in the future.

Well.. it's Wednesday.. we're 3 days into it and this is really my first real update. If you're friends with me on facebook, you've seen some general updates and if you're savvy enough to follow twitter, I may keep up with that through my cell phone, which has been my only link to the outside world for the past few days... thank god for internet access via cell phones and text messaging.

Ok.. in short. We had a rough start. The transition is an absolutely huge ten ton heavy thing of change to cope with. As a change-a-phobic (there must be a word for that), I was prepared for my role change from full time engineer/acoustics consultant to full time mom to be like bunji jumping.. you know.. mostly incredible thrills that are worth the "oh shit" moments when you realize that the little shit beautiful 3 year old has cornered the cat with a lightsaber.

Ben started off the week with a bit of a cold and a low grade temp. Just enough to be cranky. It was POURING outside.. so plans to get out of the house were derailed as I didn't want to expose him to the elements (um.. i'll get over that quickly) and in general.. i was in a haze. As a result.. the house sort of blew up.. toys everywhere, dishes undone, cats laying on unmade beds, benjamin running through the house like Max from "Where the Wild Things Are" (one of the top 10 best children's books... movie is great too.. for kids over 25).

Shiela came home and of course took one look around and smiled nicely and made a comment about wow.. it must have been an interesting day. I, in return, snapped her head off. How dare she criticize me for not having things perfect.. i was tired, damnit! I had spent the day with a sick child who was pretty much running things and making his own rules while I ran after him saying "no honey.. don't pour your yogurt on the hamster". It was the first day... Shiela did swoop in.. we had a steak dinner and took it easy.

Day 2 (Tuesday), wasn't much better. I had progressed past the daze of "oh my god, I'm not going to my office.. the office I had been in for 10 years.. oh my god.." to "holy crap.. the house is a mess.. we're moving in a few months.. and what do I start with first.

This is where things stuck with the overwhelmed Mr. Mom kicked in. I had a headache.. Ben was still sick-ish.. he is adjusting to not being at daycare and has about the same reaction to change as I do. he is ok.. but wants my sole attention 24/7. i don't blame him.. i'm cool. BUT.. this is hard to do when the house looks like a tornado hit and the cats are kicking cat litter around the kitchen. Plus.. still raining.

We picked Shiel up from work for an excuse to get out of the house. I dropped the two of them off and headed over to my spa to use my gift certificate for $150 from Shiela.. I opted for some extreme hair removal. Pain.. is an understatement. I forgot that I usually take a vicoden before those appointments (just kidding). I did take an anxiety med so I could relax a little.. it's seriously painful. At the same time.. once the endorphins kick in.. you actually walk out an hour later feeling like you had a great workout. I was feeling clean and pampered (with smooth legs) and got home to a VERY flustered Shiela dealing with a VERY flustered Benji.

Turns out our psycho neighbor got pissy again and came up yelling at Shiela to "turn it off".. um.. the only thing that was "on" was the 3 year old.. and they don't come with off switches. Plus.. we do everything we can to minimize his noise because we know we share a duplex with another person. The guy is just a loony jerko. The second time he came up, he banged on the door and then ran down the stairs back into his apartment. Shiela decided (and I agreed) that he's run out of chances and the cops will start being called. We've already given our notice to the landlord that we're moving at the end of our lease.. but I'm sure he will side with us regardless anyway. I just want to fluster the jerko (neighbor) with the big Arlington police dudes telling him to cool his heels.

SO... I put ben to bed.. he was asleep by 8:30 for the first time in months. No nap and lots of tantrums will do that to you. Shiela and I were asleep shortly after hoping for a new day.

Today was a LOT better. I'm starting to lose consciousness, so I'm going to blog about it tomorrow.. but the short version is that Ben and I had a great day.. he had a post-op appointment with his ENT that went great and a visit with his audiologist that also went great showing passing threshold of hearing tests in both ears (good thing) and played at the park.. had a nap.. I got some paperwork and cleaning done.. and took a short nap myself.. then we went off to pick up shiela at work again. All is happy in our world today.

I've only touched the tippy tippy top of all the change we've got in store for us for the next few months. I'll leave one teaser. We'll be moving "home" (for me) within a month or two.. we have a single family house lied up about 30 minutes from my hometown (go Raiders! woot!) and it will feel WONDERFUL to be back closer to my family again.

Ok.. I'm falling asleep.. goodnight.. good night moon.



For those of you who don't frequency mom blogs or mommy-message-boards.. a SAHM is a "Stay at Home Mom". There are so many things to think about and absorb. I think my first order of business is to detox from 13 years of acoustics consulting.

Stay tuned for my adventures as an acronym!


Change.. good Bowie songs

David Bowie is a strange dude.. but one of the best songs of all time was recorded by him in April of 1971 in London. It's one of those songs that you just crank to 11 and it makes the world's unknowns make sense.

Plus.. it was quoted in the movie The Breakfast Club in 1985 when I was about 11.. and I'm on a kick of 80's movies lately.. they all seem very deep.. maybe I'm just REALLY ready for my extended vacation.

From the Breakfast Club opening

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through...

Seriously.. download the song to your ipod and crank it on your car stereo with the windows open while stuck in traffic at rush hour and you'll get it.

So... I digress.. My blogging frequency has declined lately.. I've been busy. I keep wanting to write.. and need to find a way to write while doing other things.. easier said than done. Maybe I can hire someone to walk behind me and take notes.. or hey.. I've tried from the cell phone.. but it's too hard to keep a 3 year old from running into the street (his new hobby) and/or drive while blogging.. so you all will just have to wait until I have ten minutes in the evening after Benji is asleep and before I have crashed for the night.

In my last post, I made a mention of "How much change is too much change".. I suppose most of you assumed I was talking about the huge ass changes I have that are all obvious and right out in the open.. like leaving my career of 15 years to be a stay at home mom and all the upheaval that goes with that decision. To be honest.. I'm at peace with all of that. I've felt better in the past two weeks during brief periods between panic attacks than I have felt in years. The panic has started to decrease as I've wrapped more and more things up at work. The more that is no longer unknown makes me feel safer..

At the same time.. everything seems to be coming together in a weird strange nutty sort of way that you'd never plan for. I just have this feeling that we'll look back in five or ten years and think "damn.. that was nuts.. but that was the beginning of everything really settling down for us".

Could I ::BE:: more vague?

Some random items. We're moving. We won't be renewing our lease at the end of June. That, in itself, is huge. I get very attached to my home and it means a LOT that I consider the building and the street and the town that we're living in right now to be "home". Moving from "home" is hard. At the same time.. there are some things about where we live now that we are very very VERY ready to distance ourselves from. City living is not for me. City living is not for Shiel. Some of our friends who actually live in Boston and not in the suburbs laugh at us for calling Arlington, MA "city living". We live in yuppie-ville.

For comparison.. we've been looking around at apartments. One of those apartments was in a town with a population of just over 1000 and it doesn't even have a middle or high school.. the elementary school has 100 kids.. one class per grade. There is no trash pickup. There IS electricity. It's in the middle of a forest.. literally. The outside of the house is nothing special.. it's another duplex. There aren't really other houses around.. one or two.. then a forest.. then another one or two. It's a ten minute drive to anywhere. But... BUT... when you stand out in the dirt driveway in the evening and look up at the sky? There are more stars than I remembered even existed. Will we go that drastic.. who knows.. we have several months to figure out where we will make our new home.. but it's exciting to think of the possibilities.

We're also ditching the minivan. It's on the expensive side and we're trying to cut costs where we can. Wanna know what we're looking at? A ford eff-ing pickup! I was the proud owner of a Ford Ranger XLT ("Harvest Gold".. i.e. tan) before Benji was born. Now we're thinking of going with the next step up.. an F-150. Part of the logic behind this is that we may move to no-man's land and need to haul our trash to the dump. Since I married a dirt worshiping granola crunching tree hugger.. we don't have much trash (besides diapers).. we have a LOT of recycling.. but that stuff still would require hauling.

Plus... we're lesbians. The minivan has been a hoot.. we played the soccer mom thing for a bit.. but I want my truck back. The truck was more "me".

In other news... I have TWO days left at work. Then I'm out of there. The next chapter will be starting soon and I hope to blog as much of it as possible so that I can look back and remember this time years from now.

I have very few memories from Benji's first six months. I was very ill when he was born and we had the hectic crazy world of NICU time and by my two week post partum check, the post partum depression had started to kick in. It wasn't until March when things got really bad, but still.. I look back over photos of Ben's first months and while I remember some of it.. I don't remember so much. It's something that I still grieve.

Shiela is giving me an incredible gift of giving me time to be with Benji now.. I won't be able to reclaim those first few months.. but I will be able to go an explore the world with him and collect rocks and feed ducks and play with trains and all sorts of fascinating wonderful things that I wouldn't have the time to do if I was working 40+ hours a week and racing on the weekends to catch up on housework. Shiela came right out and told me, a few weeks ago when I was worrying about money, that this was something that I needed and that she needed to give to me. I can't tell you how much it means to have a spouse who gets it. We have to make a lot of life changes (like I can't get an iPad) to make this all work.. but we have a plan and to be completely honest.. I feel like we are hitting the "restart" button and the entire world is in front of us.

Oh.. and I get to go to Kentucky for 3 weeks to visit Grandma and Grampa Illick with Benji.. that will rock.

Now that I'm starting to ramble.. I'm going to draw this to a close and let you know that next week my camera is coming back out and our new life starts..


Minus work stress... what's left?

Ok.. so we made some major progress today at my work. As you may have noticed for the past week.. I've been cranky. There was one last hoo-rah of just chaotic nonsensical nothingness that would have a major impact on my days.. I just need a set plan.. I'm a complicated person.. no doubt.. but if you take the unknown out of the equation.. just about everything else in my worried mind settles right down.

So I finally have an end date. I HAD an end date a week ago.. but then it all got shaken up with questions over whether there was enough work to keep me useful (what-evah..) and disagreements over the color of the sky and the speed of sound. Tack on crazy schedules where we couldn't get 4 people in the same space at the same time and it took a week to figure out a "transition plan" for my official exit (re: kicking down the double doors).

My last full day will be next Friday, the 19th. I'll be on call for the rest of the month and 100% officially done on the 31st. Well.. with the one exception that I have one project that will have me back working for the company on a contract basis sometime later this summer... but extra cash is always welcome.

So you take all that stress away and what happens?

I spent the remainder of today at work being ultra productive.. got a LOT done and enjoyed doing it. I then had an appointment with my therapist where I didn't cry.. and I actually didn't have any worry/panic issues to discuss.. no tragedies to solve.. we just chatted, very logically, about how I interact with others and what my weak points are and what my strong points are and how/when I manage to stand up for myself (which I did this week.. *clap hand on back*).. Assuming no major catastrophes over the next week.. I will actually be leaving the company on good terms and with the feeling that they treated me with respect and dignity during my exit.

After my appointment, I half walked and half took a bus over to the new pizza place near our house and had dinner with Shiel and Benji. Ben was in rare form and had been beating up on Shiela and with her FMS, she was hurting from head to toe and was done by the time I got there. I had a piece of pizza and then headed out with Ben and we walked home.

We jumped all of the cracks on the sidewalk and held hands the whole way. When we got home, we went into the front yard and he "picked blueberries" from the from shrubs (pretend blueberries). Then we played for a few hours and he's now sound asleep.

Subject of tomorrow's post... "How much change is too much change...?"


One of the hardest things I didn't do..

Yesterday, we told Ruth and the folks at Ben's daycare that I was going to stop working and he wouldn't be going there (at least regularly) anymore. When I say "we" told her.. I mean that I sat in the car and cried and Shiela told her.

I may have to break my rule...

..about not posting about work shit. Seriously.. once you give your notice and one foot is out the door.. is there any reason for them to make your life hell? Oh.. sorry.. not hell.. just limbo.. I don't have an end date yet. It was March 31.. then it was the 15th.. then it was the 19th. My office is packed and at any moment I may kick down the double doors and head out and pump my fist in the air like Judd Nelson's character in the Breakfast Club.


Too many taboo topics...

Ok.. so I was on a roll.. blogging every day-ish.. enjoying writing again.. it was great. I quit my job to start this great and wonderful transition in my life (mid-life crisis? I'm hoping I'm not at mid-life.. that would have me knocking off at 72.. actually 72 sounds like a good goal.. so bring on the mid-life crisis!!!)

Ok.. so then all this stuff starts happening. Some of it I can blog about. Some of it I can't.. yet. I may start a competition with some huge fancy prize like a handmade clay sculpture made by Benji to the first person who can guess all the blanks in our madlibs life.

SO.. on top of there being items that I just wasn't comfortable blogging about and tacking on Benji's rough time post-surgery with a nasty secondary infection and antibiotics and all sorts of chaos and days home from school. Then there's the fact that while I've blogged about quitting my job.. I still stick by my "no blogging about work" rule.. it just seems like bad form. So when I am in my last month at the place, some of my coworkers are pissing me off and half of me finds it funny and half of me wants to kick crap.

Some things I'm just not comfortable blogging about. My brother-in-law and his wife are having problems and it's caused all sorts of chaos down in Texas causing lots of worry up in our neck of the woods. I could write pages and pages about all of the ups and downs and emotions that go along with being in a family where your nephews are pulled out of their home by protective services. I don't feel like I can write about our feelings about the situation because it clearly violates my brother-in-law's life story.. he doesn't read my blog.. but Shiela's mom does and this is all very hard on her as well.. it just doesn't seem like a container of feelings that I should write about.

I could write about the apartment hunt. You'll probably be hearing much more about that over the coming months (our lease is up in June). I plan to start my time after I finish up at work just throwing stuff away and donating so we don't have to move it all. We're debating locations to live in. We have a price range and some criteria.. we basically want to be in a more suburban environment with a little bit of a yard (hopefully fenced in) and other things like washer/dryer hookups. We've spent time driving around different towns to get a feel for areas we are interested in and areas that are just ghetto. I've done the ghetto thing in Malden.. no more Brazilian gangland territories for us..

I could write about how addicted I am to the game Mousehunt on Facebook.. it's awesome. I won't.. that addiction irritates my wife.

I'll probably write about Ben. That never gets old.


Ear tubes in - check. Adenoids out - check.

I want to share the whole story... it's really quite amazing.. Benji is doing amazing.. I'm a bit too tired to do more than post some photos now.. I'll try to fill in the blanks of the story at some point tomorrow..

In the waiting room...

Getting ready -- minutes before Benji started itching from being allergic to whatever detergent they used on their linens.. that johnny didn't last long..

Mommy and Benji in recovery just waking up...

Benji at Anna's birthday after-party on Saturday (2 days post-op)...