le sigh

It’s Sunday night and I have to go to work tomorrow, just like most of everybody else.

And I like my new job, but I always feel now like I get home so late that weekend evenings don’t even count as free time… there’s only barely enough time there to, like, go to the bathroom and change out of my work clothes and feed myself and ask the kids if they fed themselves and make sure there’s a work outfit for the next day at work…

that I feel really pressured, each weekend now, to get as much personal stuff done as possible…

and by Friday at 6 PM, I’m already overwhelmed by the futility of it. I already know there’s no way I can get it all done.

Then, Sunday night, I’m kind of crying. Or would be, if I weren’t so dehydrated from running around like a maniac in the 105-heat-index heat, trying to get stuff done.

At least I got the kids haircuts, and got one of them new shoes. And did half a birthday for the other.

Just typing that out makes me realize, anew, how much I didn’t get done.


Long Division

I can’t remember what else I wanted to tell y’all.

There was stuff — semi-clever observations of life sorta stuff — but I can’t remember while I’m sitting here stressing over how little time I have.

I just taught someone long division, because he didn’t learn it in school. This person told me today, “Mom… Can you teach me long division today? I still don’t understand it, and I don’t want to go back to school in two weeks not knowing it.”

So I taught him, with much empathy, because I remember not being able to get that shit straight when I learned it in fourth grade. And then the 5th grade teacher pairing me up with some dude I didn’t like so that he could teach me, because she didn’t have time to teach me while the rest of the class was moving on to something else.

So it’s apparently genetic, this hard-time-with-long-division gene. So now I can expect my son to have the same trouble with calculus, because I didn’t understand calculus at all until the end of the year, when a kindly Rice professor volunteered to teach it to me the weekend before finals.

My son said, after I taught him, “They taught me, but with a bunch of little stories that just made it more confusing. Like, there was something about Santa Claus going up on the roof and dropping remainders down the chimney. I couldn’t understand.”

Me: “Oh my God. How can anyone learn math from crappy, unseasonable metaphors?”

My son: “Right.”

And, in teaching my son long division, I noted other math skills he needed to learn. So now, some time during a break at work tomorrow, I need to find some teaching tools online and print them out, then take them home with me and hurry up and teach my kid more math skills tomorrow, in the 2.5 hours between my rush hour commute and bed time.

Oh, yeah… and then I have to finish writing a novel.


My oldest son, meanwhile, just turned 16. So, of course, 9 billion people have told me this week, “I can’t believe you have a 16-year-old son.”

Really? I can. I’ve been living with this kid for 16 years now. I can totally believe it.

I guess it’s supposed to be a compliment — that I look too young to have a kid that old. Unless, of course, you take it as shock and the dawning realization “OMG, this was a teen mom!

Or, unless you take it as people telling you that you don’t seem mature enough to parent a teen?

Some time after that, I was at a social function where more than one person made witty remarks about the fact that I drink and say curse words in front of said 16-year-old son. Like, “Nice parenting skills, Gwen,” said with sarcasm-dripping voices.

These were all people my age who had toddlers or babies only, mind you.

So I just didn’t say anything. Well, eventually, I did say, “He’s on the honor roll. Is your kid on the honor roll?”

But even that was too much. In the same way that I used to ignore criticism from kidless people, I’m now having to ignore criticism from people who only have babies and toddlers. I don’t know what these people are thinking — that they’re awesome for cursing and drinking only when their babies are tucked away safely with their babysitters?

And what happens after that, when the babies get older? What am I doing wrong — being myself in front of my kids? Failing to lie to them about how grown-ups have a good time? Failing to shelter them from reality? Failing to put on an alternate persona whenever they’re not at the babysitter’s? Or failing to leave them at the babysitter’s in the first place? (That last item is probably the real answer.)

I’m so far removed from the conformist social mindset, as far as parenting goes these days, that I don’t even know what that mindset is anymore. And, as far as I’m concerned, that’s nothing to lament.

A while back, someone had a party and I was there with my kids, and someone else was there with her toddler. And people drank, and the toddler got sleepy. So the toddler went to sleep on the couch.

And, of course, someone who only had a baby had to make a remark about that. “I feel sorry for Toddler,” she said.

“Why?” I said.

“That’s so terrible that she has to live like that,” NewBabyMomma said. She pointed to the toddler, asleep on the couch, then pointed to the toddlers’ parents, who were having a good time. Then, noble point made, she walked away.

A guy next to me said, “What is she talking about? When I was a kid, I fell asleep at grown-up parties all the time.”

“So did I,” I said.

And then, silently, we both felt sorry for NewBabyMomma’s baby, who we assumed won’t be getting to go to grown-up parties.

I see parenting I don’t approve of, but I keep those opinions to myself.

I don’t approve of the style of parenting that ends up with teenagers putting on a big phony innocent show for their parents, then getting drunk on the weekends with their friends, God knows where, without their parents’ knowledge.

I don’t approve of the style of parenting that involves telling your kids phony words about yourself, then proving yourself a liar with your behavior. If I tell my kids I don’t drink and I don’t curse, and then they stay up late one night and see me doing it when I think they’re asleep, aren’t I only teaching my children that they’re supposed to grow up and lie?

I see other parents do this shit, and I just think, “Better them than me.” You know? Because I’m taking care of my family, and I don’t have time to monitor anyone else’s.

I had a duel with an old man.

One of my neighbors, an elderly gentleman, came to my yard the other day and started lecturing me about my lawn.

I don’t like to be rude to old people, but I also don’t like strangers telling me what to do. So he and I argued, as heatedly and yet as politely as possible.

In the end, we reached understanding. I think we even acheived mutual respect. We were very much alike, this know-it-all old man and me.

The funniest part is that, while we were having it out in my front yard, one of our other neighbors (one who hasn’t spoken to me since asking me what church I attended and hearing the answer “none”) was standing in his yard, gawking and eavesdropping like old Mrs. Kravitz from the Bewitched TV show. I would have pointed at him and laughed, if I hadn’t been busy making my points to the old man who was trying to make his points to me.

The old man was trying to convince me that:
1. I have chinch bugs, not fertilizer burn.
2. I should have known that I had chinch bugs, not fertilizer burn.
3. If I had no way of knowing the difference between chinch bugs and fertilizer burn, I should have preempted their existence by seeking the advice of neighbors with nice lawns.
4. Since I failed at numbers 1, 2 and 3 listed above, I had proven myself an uncaring lawn mistress who was unworthy of neighbors coming by with friendly advice.

I tried to convince the old man that:
1. I obviously had fertilizer burn, not chinch bugs.
2. The knowledgeable, helpful neighbors were obviously the ones who had already helped me determine that I had fertilizer burn, and were not the ones who avoided me until this day.
3. I was not uncaring — I was busting my butt at a job all day and had already spent a considerable amount of my paychecks trying to fix the fertilizer burn, and therefore needed no unneighborly old men lecturing me this late in the game.

In the end, cold logic won out. I have chinch bugs, and so do my two friendly neighbors. The old man does not, and therefore we all should have applied to him for advice.

Also, the old man was not in the wrong for avoiding us all. Because, seriously, how could you expect him to visit people who don’t seem to care about their lawns?

Today I met up with my two friendly neighbors and informed them that they had chinch bugs. Then, I told them how to fix it, just like the old man told me. They told me that they’d seen me having it out with the old man, but weren’t sure whether or not to intervene, since our arguing was so polite that they couldn’t be sure that’s what we had actually been doing.

I like the old man now. He’s pretty awesome. I’m going to buy him a plant and write him a thank-you note, I think.

The hardcore Christian guy across the street, though? I have to say I’ve lost a little respect for him. A little more, I guess.


That’s all.

Time for bed now. I’ll spend a few minutes at my new hobby, first, though.

My new hobby is so terrible and borderline OCD-ish, I’m not even sure I should tell it to y’all.

Should I?

My new hobby: Checking out cookbooks from the library, marking the recipes I like, then xeroxing them and putting them into a Recipe Binder I made.

Why am I doing that? I don’t know. I don’t even like to cook. Everybody knows this. My kids are like, “Uh…” and then they’re thinking, “Don’t say anything aloud about mom’s new OCD-ish hobby, which is totally nonsensical since she totally hates to cook.”

And yet, this new hobby soothes me. So I do it, when I can, for a minute or two before I sleep at night.

I hope y’all’s OCD-ish hobbies are soothing, that your lawns are chinch-bug-free, and that you all sleep well tonight.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in chinch bugs, domestic, neighbors, obessions, parenting on 08/11/2008 02:54 am

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.