It's happened. My daughter's intellect has finally surpassed my own.

Today she and I went grocery shopping. Due to the allergies and the stress and the work and the house, I've been a little off. When I'm distracted like this, I tend to repeat everything S says in an effort to trick her into thinking I'm actually participating in the conversation. I know, Mother of the Year Nominee, right here!

So, as I'm taking her out of the car in the parking lot at the store, she says:

"Grandma calls me 'Boo'."


"No," she says, "Hoo!"

"Hoo?" I ask.

"Don't cry, crybaby!" Then she falls into a fit of giggles.

Sure. Kick me when I'm down.


Attachment Parenting

I admit I lost my sense of humor when I found out that the check from my client that I assumed was on its way has not actually even been issued and would now be in next month's pay cycle.

And I admit that I used words that would make my mother blush when I received the email from said client this morning informing me that the delay was due to them not being able to open the attachment which contained my invoice. THREE WEEKS AGO. So, let me get this straight. You could not open the attached invoice THREE WEEKS AGO so you then decided that rather than calling me, or emailing me, or faxing me, or sending a damn homing pigeon, you would instead IGNORE the submitted invoice.

Until. I. Asked. About. It.

What would you have done if I had never followed up? Never paid? Considered the 54 baskets a gift from the kindness of my bleeding heart?

Okay, well here's my new delivery process on your baskets. I'll deliver them, not when you place your order, but once you call and ask where the hell they are. How does that work for ya?

Did I mention that I have about 45 cents to my name which is only about $1,299.55 cents short of what I need in the next 48 hours to get my house ready for the market. I didn't? Well, now you know why I'm shoving a pencil through my eye right now.


Your Clarification, Should You Choose To Accept It

I've gotten quite a few emails from you guys asking what Club Mom is and how my writing for them affects my current blog here.

Here's further clarification.

Club Mom is an online community for moms to meet other moms with similar interests. You join, complete a profile, and then you can search for other moms based on what's important to you. Like for instance, for me I looked for other moms who like to drink Stoli from their water bottle during playgroup and then lie about it. I'm joking of course!

I never lie about it.

I did actually do some random searches, like for other moms with young daughters, moms who live in California, moms dealing with stress, etc. Then I added them all to my network to harrass for advice later. It's a pretty cool way to immediately connect with another mom. Sort of like online dating except without the part where your new "friend" is actually a 60-year-old man with a foot fetish who lives with his mom.

Club Mom also has advice columns, articles, and, now blogs, on every earthly subject written by...uh, moms. Enter me.

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you know that when my new site is launched Club Mom will be redirecting my traffic from this web address to the new one at their site. So, my address will stay the same. Do not remove me from your link list! All traffic will be redirected. Unless of course, you want to remove my link. Then in that case, knock yourself out. I probably don't like you anyway.

Hopefully, that clears up all the questions I've received regarding my vague description of what the hell was going on. So much for my attempt at being all mysterious and interesting.

Also, I've seen my new setup and I am relieved to see that they changed very little on my banner (Hear that sound? That's Kelly yelling "Damn right they did!"). My new blog looks very similar to this one. Just...smaller. Think Mini-Me.

The content, of course, will stay the same. My ulcer will not.

In other words, next week is the beginning of Writer's Block Fest 2006.


My Bologna Has a First Name - It's B-R-O-K-E

Hi. My name is Lena and I'm a stressaholic. No, really.

The moment that life seemed somewhat normal again and I actually started sleeping at night instead of propped at my desk in my nightgown doing "people searches" on my old elementary school teachers, and my hair finally stopped falling out in tufts the size of small pets, and I could even start a sentence with "I feel..." without bursting into tears, I apparently decide life is now boring and needs to be shaken up.

You know, so that I can have something new to lose my hair over and cry about.

That is the only explanation I have for why in God's name I would decide to start a new job, overhaul my existing job, buy a new house, and sell this current house. All. This. Month.

The way finances sit in this house right now (as if they freaking have time to sit; they hardly have time to wipe their feet and take off their coat before they are rushing off to more important things like mortgage payments and insurance), we are in need of extra cash.

And by extra cash I mean for those days I really want to spoil myself with, you know, Tide instead of All.

But, I've been mooching off my husband for awhile now and while I now know I should be making $134,00 a year, I keep checking the mailbox and I'll be damned if that check hasn't made it's way here yet. Maybe they misspelled my name. That always happens.

So, mama's going to have to get busy. More writing, more gift basketeering, more ebaying, more budgeting, more organ harvesting.

Because if we do not sell this house within the next few months, we will have two mortgages. That's right, I said TWO. Which just so happens to also be the exact number of days for which we could afford to do that.

I hope bald and weepy is the new look this season.


Manic Momday

I'm sure you've heard about The Study that was just released that evaluated a stay at home mom's workload and what these duties would be worth in the real world of employable skills.

$134,000 a year.

That would be your salary if you were doing all the things you do already (you know, those things no one ever notices unless they don't get done?) for a stranger instead of for those little people you birthed.

However, this study only looked at the menial labor.

For me, the hardest part of leaving a successful career and staying home was not the diapers, nursing, and cleaning.

It was the sobbing, loneliness, and sobriety.

I chose to have a baby at the worst possible time in my life - a period of two years where I had next to no friends. I quickly realized after four weeks of being home all day that my "friends" had all been work-related. This hadn't always been the case, but alot had recently changed in my life and my old friendships were practically non-existent and my work friends were, well, working.

To this day I'm not sure if I had post partum depression or not. I never had visions of harming my baby, but I did feel utterly despondent. Completely alone. Isolated.

I would fight tears from the moment I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night. For. Two. Years.

My house was mostly clean. Dinner was always on the table. My baby was happy. See? Even if her mom was a bit manic.

Me, I was broken. I felt like I was screaming inside and no one could hear me. I would go to playgroups and the other moms sounded like Peanuts' parents. Wah-wah-wah. I was in a thick fog of confusion and sadness.

How much was that worth? How much was my sanity worth? My joy? My laughter?

How much would I have paid in those hours to get up, put on a suit, and walk out the door with my husband in the morning?

See, what sociologists will never get is that the physical tasks of mothering are not what make it so difficult and precious. It's not what we're doing. It's what we're not doing. And how we feel about that.

The "jobs" we perform pale in comparison to the heartache, guilt, and joy our pendulum swings between. And that's just before breakfast.

Here are the things you get a steady dose of at home that you cannot possibly compare to the office:

Guilt - When was the last time you cried yourself to sleep because you thought that spreadsheet didn't get enough attention today?

Loneliness - Could you ever go entire days at the office without talking to or even being seen by a single adult? Even when you wanted to?

Self Image - Did you ever detect smirks at a dinner party when you said you were Director of Operations or Manager of Sales? Probably not. You probably also didn't get this response: "All day? I don't know how you do it."

Thankless - How unexpected would it have been for you to go to the office every two hours throughout the night? Think that would've gotten you noticed?

Body Image - A long day at the office never produced vomit on your shirt and ginormous leaky breasts. And you probably never went into your boss' office and asked "Do you still find me attractive? Can you hold me?"

Pride - There's no promotions and no raises. You're sure to get fired in 18 years with no pension (unless he's going Ivy League). Yet, there is no greater responsibility than the one we have as mom.

There's so much more at stake with this new job. And we know it. That's our value.

Sweeping, mopping, dusting, coloring, vacuuming, cooking, scheduling, scrubbing, wiping, creating, driving, shopping, bathing, playing, tickling, talking, yelling, laughing, singing, reading, threatening, weeping, hugging, dancing : $134,000

Knowing you've gotten through another day without giving up: priceless


It's Not the Size of Your Shamless Plug, It's How You Use It

I wanted to write something amusing today, but I've been busy Clubbing Moms and, well, my arm hurts.

I did want to update you all to let you know that it looks like my new blog will be launching next week. (So, go join! And find me and add me to your network.)

This pleases me to no end to get this kind of news because I was starting to worry the Head Mom Clubber - who I'm pretty sure is her and I'm pretty sure she was up late deciding on my new template - had changed her mind about me. Perhaps due to my anemic posts. Or the world's longest run-on sentence.

This makes me realize that I'm a little insecure for internet employment. I'm always assuming every communication is my last communication. (How do I know they got my email though Chris? But, how do I REALLY know?).

Fortunately, they are willing to overlook my virtual neediness and we've been working on my new home this week. I am mostly pleased. I can't wait to hear what you think. Because without knowing your opinion of me, how would I know how to feel about myself?

So, save a baby seal and Club a Mom won't you? Personally, I think my pelt would make a lovely purse. I moisturize alot.


Wait, Watch Her

If you’ve ever been to a Weight Watchers meeting then you know how weird they can get. I’ll be the first to say that I am impressed and inspired by people who have faced their addiction (or in my case, their boredom) and overcome this weight demon. I truly respect the effort put forward and how important a sense of community is to any challenge. I cry at Extreme Weight Loss Challenge – I get it.

What I don’t get is the melodrama.

I re-joined Weight Watchers this week and yesterday was my first meeting. I know you’re all thinking I must have some sort of eating disorder because I appear thin.

Well, you’re right.

I think about food ALL THE TIME. From the moment I get up until I go to bed, if I’m not eating, I’m thinking about eating. And the organic berries topping the all natural yogurt with homemade granola I have in the morning? Yeah, that’s just to appease the Angel on my shoulder when I reach for the Doritos ten minutes later and hand them to the Devil. And that bitch can eat.

Although I am currently at an average weight, it is not average for me. The last time I weighed this much, I was pregnant.

I think that bears repeating.

I was growing a human the last time I saw this number. Awesome.

Plus it really isn’t about the scale. It’s about arresting this bad new habit before it gets out of control. I’ve gained 10 pounds in two months! That is not okay. After my dad died last year, I comforted myself with food all year. I allowed it to assuage my fear and sadness.

But, now it is time to reconnect with the old Lena. She was active. She ate smart. Her ass was perky. Most of all, she was happy and funny. This one, not so much. Cranky and gassy mostly.

So, I weigh in last night and as expected everyone is looking at me with a furrowed brow like I’m Nicole Richie in the donut shop with her bag of carrots. For this reason, I stay pretty silent during the meeting. I figure I don’t need to explain myself. I know I have a problem and just because I’m not “as big as” doesn’t change that.

Well, the consultant kicks off the discussion by congratulating people on things they thought about.

Consultant: “Now we have someone who did something very special. Jennnnniiieee! What forces did you put in motion this week with your adjusted behavior?”

Jennie: “Well, (pause for effect) I woke up one morning and realized I hadn’t written down the baked chips I had the night before. They were only one point, but I went back and wrote them down.”

We applauded this. Yes. Then Jennie got a sticker.

What the hell?

Don’t get mad. I do understand that you should encourage yourself with the little things and take it one day at a time, but I guarantee that by the looks of Jennie, baked chips are not what got her where she is today. The reality is that where a major overhaul is needed, tiny baby steps are just going to frustrate you and prolong the process.

Don’t condescend Jennie, or me, by celebrating every damn thing we do. That only takes away from the real achievements. Like refraining from licking the frosting off of every single leftover cupcake after (or during) your daughter’s party, or shouting your Starbucks order from across the room in order to avoid the sample tray. Those are accomplishments.

Something just tells me that if Jennie doesn’t get real, she will one night soon end up on the floor in front of her fridge surrounded by “two point bar” wrappers, face covered in chocolate and pound cake, rocking back and forth mumbling “four plus the five at lunch minus two, carry the one, add the six…”.

The Weight Watchers program, the point system, all of it, are guidelines. They are to be incorporated into your real life to help you change your habits. Not replace your real life.

So, at the end of the meeting when the consultant got out a Tupperware dish and said “I brought you all something” and then opened it to reveal magnets, I leaned over to the lady next to me and said “Oh, I thought they’d be cookies.”

Then I laughed quietly to myself. Apparently, cookies are not something to joke about.


Anniversary, Happy

Today would have been my parents' 30th wedding anniversary.

That is, if my father hadn't alternated between abusive and weepingly apologetic for 25 years causing my mother to finally leave him for the 84th and final time taking me with her and cutting him off, causing him to suddenly and urgently need me in his life and then continue to manipulate me for five years including, but not limited to, agreeing to walk me down the aisle and then backing out two weeks before my wedding, compelling me to cut him out of my life until I had my daughter where he showed up at the hospital with big promises and then made himself scarce for three more years until 18 months ago when he called begging for another chance in my life, which I was so emotionally wrought over I almost went out of mind, but ended up agreeing to, only to have him call the following week to tell me he was dying. Which he did, four months later. And I was the only one there.

Happy anniversary mom and dad.

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