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I’ve got so many flecks of Dusty Moss in my hair, I look like a premenopausal chia pet. And I feel just like an emotionally unstable Van Gogh, except I typed this with two ears.

I’m sorry I haven’t been around lately.

I’ve been busy having an emotional breakdown or two. Or thirty.

God, those things are exhausting.

But I take a breather every so often to paint!

Painting is so much more constructive than losing my shit, even if it is sweatier.

No portraits or landscapes or still lifes for me, though. I’m painting walls. A lot of them. Just in case you were wondering how a simple watercolor brush could make my right bicep look pregnant and cause my entire arm to hang lower than my kneecaps.

If I had known that the collateral damage from having my life implode would result in me acting upon those sudden and irresistible urges to splash some color on all the walls of my house? I would have asked Nate to lose his mind years ago. As it is, my family room and my bedroom now look years younger. And bonus! On days I forget to shave, I am being mistaken for a lopsided primate.

Go ahead. Be jealous.

Soon, I hope to show you our new photo wall in our freshly painted family room. I have to make sure that all the frames are absolutely, utterly and perfectly aligned because otherwise, THE WORLD WILL TOTALLY END. Also? It’s damn near impossible to take a picture of an unaligned photo wall when my left eye is twitching and I’m having a seizure.

In the meantime, I wanted to thank you all again for your comments, thoughts and prayers. They have brought me such comfort, you would not believe. You guys are like warm, gooey macaroni and cheese, without all the belching and quadruple bypass. To maintain a few shreds of dignity in this mess, I won’t be writing about what’s happening over here except to simply say that if you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that my family, even the furry, pooping member, is my life. Nothing is more important to me. I’m willing to fight tooth and nail for us. To keep us, us. I have no idea if we will survive but I can’t live with myself if I don’t try. So? Here’s to some big, fat globs of hope that I don’t wind up walking this earth alone with bloody fingertips, gumming baby food, for naught.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

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Thank you. And? My mother-in-law opened her mouth and a potty came flying out. Who knew?

You know how it is when you struggle with how to write something and then you type it, delete it, type it again and then delete it again? And you do this again and again and again until the eyeballs in your fingers glaze over?

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and it’s itchy.

So I will simply say thank you.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.

For offering them up to my family without demanding details or an explanation in return.

For lifting my family up and wrapping them in the warm and comforting embrace of hope.

Your words have brought me a sense of peace amidst the screaming chaos. They have made me smile when I thought I had forgotten how.

I am humbled.

It is inevitable that I will come out of this darkness a changed person. It is my hope that I will come out a better one as well.

We are taking each day as it comes and hoping that one day soon, the good ones will outnumber the bad ones. Until then, I am trying to stay positive and, for the time being at least, avoid analyzing the male psyche because I’ve come to learn that analyzing the way men think is kind of like giving birth to an angry porcupine without drugs … it’s no fun and you bleed a lot.

I’m also trying to find my way back to writing as that has always been my comfort zone. I hope I stumble across the funny along the way. It’s got to be somewhere around here. I’m thinking it might be hiding underneath that moment last week when my mild-mannered, good-natured, docile, sixty-four year old mother-in-law yelled OH MY GOOD GOD FUCKING SHIT two seconds before she yelled DAMMIT, DID I JUST SAY THAT OUT LOUD?

See you soon.

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Broken

Sometimes, something happens that is so sudden, so jarring, so gut-wrenchingly cruel and soul shattering, that I cannot find the funny because it’s all I can do to simply breathe.

Please forgive me if I cannot find the words right now. It might be awhile before I do.

If you could spare them, my family would be ever so grateful for your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you so very much.

 

Weekend regurgitation: Musings on Lady GaGa in the outfield

I’ve mentioned before that Mother Nature has been busy peeing all over our area for about two months now. Yesterday was no different and found us sitting for an hour and a half in the cold, pouring rain, watching Helena’s softball game. Any other year, the game would have been cancelled but seeing as how almost all of their games this year, as well most of their practices, have been cancelled, rescheduled and cancelled again for rain, I think the softball league was just bound and determined that everyone would see this one game through, even if it meant that the girls needed to grow gills to catch a fly ball.

But once the thunder boomed, it was over. The field horn blared, the game was called for rain, the kids swam off the field and everyone sloshed their way back to their cars.

Once we successfully reschedule all of these practices and games, I estimate that this softball season will end sometime in the spring of 2013.

I leave you with a post I wrote last year about Helena playing softball. And yes, I’m aware that Friday’s post was all about softball too. I’m sorry about that. But it was either softball or the ginormous abscess that suddenly appeared on the back of Helena’s ear and screamed SURPRISE and tried to hug me when I went to change her earrings earlier this week.

You’re welcome.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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Vertigo sticks and their relationship to softball. Or lack thereof.

(Originally published June, 2010)

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Helena, my nine year old, has played softball for at least five years now and she’s doing pretty darn well. She even pitched a game this week where she struck out the first batter with her first three pitches.

I didn’t get photos of it because I was too busy programming all the Division I and II colleges for women’s fast pitch into the speed dial on my cell phone.

However, there are still moments when I feel like we’ve been transported back in time to her very first season, when the girls were clueless as to what to do, how to do it, why they had to do it whilst standing far away in a field where nothing ever happened and, most importantly, who could land the best cartwheel while wearing a glove?

Sometimes I wonder if Helena is really paying attention? Or is she mulling over the lyrics of Bad Romance and wondering what a vertigo stick is and why Lady GaGa wears big, wooden, bedazzled jock straps on stage? And should she ask her mom about it?

I’m glad she hasn’t because Lady GaGa confuses me. I don’t know why she wants anyone’s psycho or vertigo stick and while there’s some debate as to my possession of the former, I’m pretty sure I’m not equipped with the latter. I’d rather avoid the entire subject so I wouldn’t have a clue as to what to tell Helena other than HEY, I KNOW! HOW ABOUT WE DISCUSS HOW DADDY PLANTS HIS SEED IN MOMMY’S BELLY AND MAKES A BABY GROW INSTEAD? WITH PROPS? AND A POWER POINT PRESENTATION! AND THEN WE’LL EAT COOKIES!

Its just seems to me that sometimes, Helena appears … preoccupied.

You know … daydreaming.

Somewhat distracted.

Otherwise engrossed in other, more riveting activities.

Sometimes she’ll even do something that makes me break out in a panic sweat while envisioning her head engulfed in a swarm of creepy crawlies but then she’ll telepathically holler RELAX, MOM. I DIDN’T WEAR ANYBODY ELSE’S HELMET. I’M JUST I’M BORED OUT OF MY GOURD to calm me down.

Thank you, Helena. Now please stop touching your head because it freaks me out.

Sometimes, I simply worry that Helena just isn’t actively engaged in what’s happening around her.

But then, something will happen, such as a pop fly will soar overhead and travel in her general direction like a heat seeking missile and suddenly, my worries are lessened, my fears are alleviated and my concerns are put to rest because there is no doubt in my mind …

Helena is totally in the moment.

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By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be scratching your head and not just because I sound a little insane

Softball season is upon us once again and you know what that means!

Time to get my panties all tightly wadded up into a bunch over helmets!

Yay!

Anytime I can wad my panties into a bunch without having to actually remove them to pee or have sex or get a pap smear, I get all excited.

I have this thing about helmets.

Fine. I have a thing about most everything, like never walking barefoot on hotel carpets and never soaking in my own filth in a bathtub and always saying “God forbid” before mentioning anything unfortunate and always using my elbows to open the doors of public restrooms and …

How much time do you have?

But I especially have a thing about helmets.

I don’t allow Helena to use any helmet but her own. EVER.

I don’t allow anyone else to use Helena’s helmet. EVER.

And ever and ever and ever.

And so forth and so on.

Until the end of time.

The end.

It’s a residual effect from the PTSD I suffered almost eleven years ago, back when I was multi-tasking by lying to the nurses about passing gas (I just let one rip not ten seconds ago! I did! I swear! Ask the patients on the floor above us!), going over discharge papers, bundling up our newborn Helena and her diaper bag, and pressing a pillow to my abdomen in case my staples sprung a leak and my reproductive system exploded out of my stomach and splashed onto the floor. Nate was multi-tasking as well, having crammed himself into the corner of the hospital room with his back to me and frantically whispering to my mother on the phone and periodically stealing sideways glances at me.

I knew something was up. It’s female intuition. That, and the fact that Nate declared Something’s up as we were leaving. However, he refused to elaborate until we got home because I was already somewhat weepy and hormonal and he was afraid I’d change my mind about the whole second child thing, stuff the baby back up my bahoodle doodle and pretend the last nine months hadn’t happened.

We pulled into the driveway and the big secret became crystal clear when six year old Zoe ran up to the car, whipped my door open and excitedly shouted I HAVE LICE! WELCOME HOME, HELENA! CAN I HOLD HER?

I really don’t remember too much about those first few days after we brought Helena home. It’s pretty much a foggy haze of picking nits and live bugs out of Zoe’s hair one minute and then turning around the next to clean up bodily fluids which oozed out of both Helena and me, thanks to my leaky boobs. And vagina. And incision. It was just an endless stream of nits, bugs, poop, pee, milk, blood and pus. Then more nits, more bugs, more poop, pee, milk, blood, pus, OH MY GOD, HOW MUCH LIQUID CAN ONE HUMAN OWN?

All the while there was crying and blubbering and wailing and collapsing to the floor in big puddles of mess going on all around me. Not to mention Nate, Zoe and the baby were pretty emotional too.

It took back-breaking hours and hours of tedious patience and persistence and ultimately a doctor’s prescription but the lice were finally eradicated. As was my will to live. Which was no biggie, seeing as how the lice had taken twenty years off my life anyway.

For years afterward, I was hypersensitive to possible re-infestations and everyone knew that by simply walking anywhere near me, they ran the risk of having me yank them down onto my lap so I could go all Gorillas in the Mist on their heads with a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers.

When Helena first started softball about five years ago, I slapped bright, fluorescent orange labels on her helmet emblazoned with the words “HELENA’S HELMET” and “I’M HELENA’S, NOT YOURS” and “DANGER: POISON” in big, capital letters. Helena soon asked if it was possible not to try so hard to humiliate her so I toned it back a bit and kept one big sticker reading “THIS HELMET WILL MAKE YOU LIKE BOYS” on the back with an admonition that she had better not share her helmet with anyone because I had spoken with Santa and he was totally on board and slept with one eye open in the summer.

Oh, yes I did.

I’m willing to bet that if Mrs. Claus had to stand for hours on end, pulling disgusting creepy crawlies and larvae out of one of her elves’ hair only four days after having a squalling, mythical creature ripped from her guts, she wouldn’t waste a second before demanding that Santa paint a big ol’ skull and crossbones on all 6,932 of their Little League helmets. Right after he slathered everyone’s heads with olive oil while yelling STOP COMPLAINING, AT LEAST IT’S EXTRA VIRGIN. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING, BLITZEN?

So don’t judge me.

Or Santa either.

Nowadays, Helena is older and wiser and by wiser, I mean she’s smart enough to know that if Santa stuffed coal in her stocking and smeared or otherwise ruined that stocking? The one that Yia Yia, her grandmother, her mother’s mother, slaved for days to make her after she was born? Santa would find an extra large can of Whoop Ass under the tree for himself, together with an industrial strength can opener. Wrapped with a big, red bow and tag that said Go Ho Ho Ho Yourself. Love, Yia Yia.

Today, Helena has a simple, small “Helena” placed discreetly on the lower back of her helmet and when that helmet is not on her head, it’s securely zipped in her equipment bag. And if anyone asks her to borrow it, she simply smacks them in the shins with the bat and hollers I JUST SAVED YOUR LIFE. MY MOM WOULD HAVE AIMED HIGHER.

So, the whole potential lice scenario is pretty much under control where softball is concerned.

Except for one thing.

One small, ever so tiny, little detail.

This is Helena’s helmet.

The one that has her name discreetly written in the back.

The one that sits upon her head and no one else’s.

The only one she wears during a game.

Except when she is the catcher.

Because then, she wears this helmet on her head.

The team helmet.

Which has no one’s name on it and, at some point, sits upon everyone’s head when they play catcher too.

If Helena starts going to school smelling like tossed salad, you’ll know why.

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