When is SLEEPY time?

As a single parent who’s already strung a little tighter than a banjo string, other single parents have to relate to me when I say, “There is no such thing as ‘me time’.” Single parents have to borrow time to borrow time by making so many promises to people that the next thing you know, imaginary friends and mentors are insisting on taking up portions of time as well. Single parents MUST be both parents most of the time. Even if you’re a single parent, I’ll bet you haven’t given this much thought — mostly because you haven’t TIME to think about it. Twice as many tasks in half the time with little thanks.

As a single parent, you’re probably the ONLY one the kids have to get parental advice from–twice as many interruptions. As a single parent, you’re more than likely the one running the errands whether taking the kids to doctor appointments or special activities. No lie, yesterday I took the day from work for three doctor appointments. I had to work the previous Sunday so I could afford the time, which meant even less time with the kids. If I’d have known I wouldn’t be able to spend any time with them, I would’ve handed my pass to some rich old biddy who had all the time in the world–and time for cosmetics. I have no time for applying them, much less buying them. My daughter refuses to paint her face with stuff needing to wash off before bed anyway. But she’s a different sort.

My 13-year-old daughter is involved in the military and as ecstatic as one can imagine

Nikki Ready for Service
Foraging her own path.

that her uncle is coming into town this weekend, as he is in the same branch of the service–Navy. He’s promised to accompany her to her special congressional segment on Saturday at 7:00 a.m. Even though her father won’t see her, her uncle from Cali will. And she’ll be wearing her dress whites. She’s very excited for that. As cute and proper as she appears, her attitude sucks rotten eggs. I sure as hell hope it’s a temporary phase. And by “temporary,” I’d be satisfied in knowing it will only be for three to five years. I feel as if I’ve just condemned myself to a prison sentence with hard core criminals who aren’t serving as much time and dedication. I sure hope to feel some sort of exoneration will take place.

My son, however, managed to entertain me last Friday — yep, another half a day from the office–made it up by working Saturday. (Single parents don’t ever get a day off.) But his entertainment was a once-in-a-lifetime pass to hours of unprecedented fun. I can’t bear to go into all the details, so I’ll just show the video and follow up with our trip after.

Now imagine this kid, looking just as he is, except with bloody drool leaking from the side of his smiling mouth. That’s how he was at Jamba Juice after he showed me his certificate from the dentist allowing him a free drink. Granted, his mouth was so numb that he couldn’t taste anything anyway. But that didn’t stop this young, annihilated and mentally scrapped Don Juan from trying to work his magic. Imagine my speechlessness, while ordering his drink, of turning to check on him and he’s giving one of those finger-wiggling waves to someone beyond me–and don’t forget the gauze, wrap, and dangling drool. Turning to my left, I saw a horrified young girl donning headphones with the appearance of having seen a ghost. It was clear she had a moment of deciding if she really wanted a drink after all. I suppose she felt safety in numbers because she stayed.

And then there’s our cat Lucius, the one that made me so proud by being trained to use the plumbing. Yep, I was so proud of that–until she became angry at me for not combing her one night. Okay, okay, I ignored her. I had a lot on my list of things to do that night.

I get it, don’t worry. I know how everyone thinks she is the most lovable feline ever. But don’t be fooled. For every Yin there’s a Yang. And believe me, she has a very large Yang! Check her out in my foam-filled chair that allows me to plop down after a hard-day’s work to fall immediately into a field of slumber. See how she enjoys it with the tv remote all to herself? Yessir, she’s the queen!

Lucius owns the roost
See her here on my extremely large foam-filled chair? Just about every night I plop into it, I’m out within 15 minutes. But the other night, another “plop” beat me to it.

One particular night, she was upset that I didn’t comb and cater to her after a nearly 12-hour shift. After finally making it to to bed and climbing in, I heard Cameron scream, “Bad kitty! Bad, bad kitty!” I dragged myself into the living room to see the gift she’d left in gratitude of all the attention she wanted to return to me–right in the center of my huge, heaven-sent, foam-filled chair. With a well-hidden energy, I sprang into action and crawled beneath Cameron’s bed, grappling with remaining calm, getting the cat, and still being able to get up when I was done making an ass of myself red-faced and breathing like a fireplace bellow.

Speaking of making an ass of myself, the big showdown will be this weekend. I got four passes to Lagoon. With three of us, I figured one of the kids could bring a friend. With four of us, no one would have to ride alone–pretty genius, eh? I had them play a game for the fourth ticket and my son won. The following day, Cameron announced Will had a season pass and would join him. I could either throw the other ticket away or allow Nikki to invite her friend. Actually, I couldn’t because she already took the liberty. She invited the last friend I’d hoped she’d invite. Still, I gotta remember that Lagoon is for having fun. If I say it over and over again while riding some death-defying ride alone, perhaps I’ll believe it. Then again, I may very well fall asleep. Lagoon may be just the nap I need.

 

Another One Bites the Dust

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Freddie Mercury of Queen

Queen has always been a great band, and brings about the glorious memories of high school–when I was considered “cool.” Okay, I was cool in the sense I was an uncover cool kid masquerading as a geek, but no knew the true me. I recall the substitute bus driver playing Another One Bites the Dust during the last week of school one year and the whole bus chimed in, pounding on the seats and bellowing with their heads out the windows. No, I didn’t say it was safe, but it certainly was memorable. We should all have memories like that when paying a mortgage is the last thing on your mind.

 

Speaking of stressful situations, my teenage son has his drivers license. He got it last week. And while Cameron is extremely thoughtful, sometimes it doesn’t pay off. For example, I asked him to make a U-turn after he missed a driveway. Pulling into the center lane, he paused and then cranked the wheel while accelerating. My face smooshed against the window while we whipped around. I clawed at the door the way a cat does entering a vet’s office, desperately grabbing at the handle as Cameron spun the car around to the parallel lane the other direction. “What the hell was that?” I screamed after catching my breath, “You’re supposed to turn into the outside lane on a U-turn!” Cameron got angry and flustered at the same time. “But this car can do it easily,” he said. I explained that all cars must follow the same rules of the road. Now I ride in the middle of the back when he drives. But if anyone asks, I still say Cameron’s a good driver.

Cameron and I have also had conversations about how good drivers are born from experience, not just the manuals, classrooms, and illustrations with arrows on a board. There are a lot of “unwritten rules” as well; rules like, if you’re in an accident, never immediately admit fault because often times people will take advantage and claim injuries that aren’t real for the sake of garnering a higher settlement.

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Big brother will get paid for serving sister.

They don’t teach that wisdom in school! They also don’t teach some of the maneuvers I do while driving that my kids refer to as “stunt driving.” There are times and places where what I do has a legitimate purpose—such as realizing I entered the exit with tire rippers and quickly back up for a do-over in the correct lane. They don’t teach that at driving school. As much as I want to protect my son, he’s going to drive. He is maturing with a job now working at The Old Spaghetti Factory–on his road to pro chef success.

 

Since Nikki will be thirteen in about a week, she has begun planning ahead for those “special” moments and I’ve only experienced one so far. The screaming rage and arguing are more than any mother should have to endure–it’s worse than when I menstruated! On the dresser is a pair of clean underwear with a pad carefully inserted. Disgusted, I asked her if her season hadn’t ended the beginning of the month. She said it had, but she wanted to be prepared for when it hits again. Typically, this is not something I would advocate, but I’m relieved she’s finally planning ahead. I’ll take whatever I can get.

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What do you think Lucius is thinking?

Did I hear you ask about Lucius the Wonder Cat? We got all excited yesterday–the kids actually texted me–to tell me she took a dump on the toilet. Yeah! I boasted her up yesterday when I hung her photo up on the pet board for Pet Week. And everyone told me how beautiful and brilliant she is, trained and all. I’d prefer to have them think I’m some sort of lion tamer by not revealing the gift she left this morning. It’s better that way.

 

New about me? I’ve begun studying The Inner Temple of Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak. Don’t worry, I only use it for medicinal, meditation, and peaceful purposes. And I’m considering creating videos instead of typing–I don’t have the amazing images of other YouTube star moms, but I have humor! BTW, screw those companies that don’t want to hire me as a quizzer at the bars, even though drunks laugh at anything until you tell them it’s closing time.

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“Screw balance!” Kristina Kuzmic says.

 Juggling work, school, and kids (not to mention the pooping cat) are about all I can handle. But now, we’re preparing to move–AGAIN! A bittersweet notion. Moving is not something I ever look forward to, but this time it’s an exception–that’s how miserable it is getting situated. After the flooding in days of yore, the health department coming to take a look at the growing mold, and those little gnats that have roosted throughout the apartment, I can’t imagine the 100+ heat with no air conditioning! So, we’ll let you know the final results with photos later.

 

Whether we’re talking about Queen, Cameron’s amazing driving, the cat’s remaining 8 lives, or this crappy apartment being left in the rearview mirror–it’s clear that another one MUST bite the dust! Sayonara, sweetie!

Am I Dodging Responsibility or Making Way for Better? Let the masses decide.

The jungle is closing in! I used my income tax return to purchase the new Macbook Pro I’m typing on right now for the first article written on it. (Secret “Yay!”) It feels like I seldom purchase things with myself in mind, so it’s about time. and when I bought it, I did it with the wholehearted idea of bribing myself to complete Vermill!on Beach. After all, I’ve had a few people interested in shooting, acting, and creating the score for the trailer. That’s why I felt as if this computer would be an investment.

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A bit of a gear shift, but one that can definitely be mastered.

But at work, someone mentioned that with my annual review, I should contemplate furthering my education. The great news is that it’s monetarily paid for 100% through my employer and grants, (You can’t beat that!), with the caveat of maintaining a 3.0 GPA. When I graduated with a 3.7, that nearly seemed like all I needed to do was commit to the workload. Of course, then I was a substitute teacher, not working full-time. Bonus: as a student, I can utilize my brand new Macbook Pro as a tool for school as a tax write-off @ Ashford University!

Comcast wants me working as much time as I can afford, but I’m not sure how much time I can afford. It’s come to a decision of working tons of overtime to move into an apartment that doesn’t resemble the inside of a tomb and getting terrible grades, or remaining in this rundown apartment to do my best and hope for a better position.

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If being sulky were truly this delicious, life would be grand!

Meanwhile, I finally gathered someone’s attention with screenwriting and we’re talking about pairing up to create something mystifying. Finding time for that will be a chore. School is 20 hours a week; work is 40+. The last time I worked 70 hours a week, I was a truck driver. I had to choose between having a full stomach, sleeping, bathing, or doing laundry–never more than two. Drivers work their butts off — there’s a reason they’re pushy on the road.

Nikki met with her Big Brothers and Big Sisters representative for the first time. I hate to jump to conclusions, but something seemed a bit off. Nikki has a tendency of trusting adults, which sounds weird when I say it aloud, but there are some adults who don’t deserve trust — especially for the love of a child. I want to be fair but cautious. Tomorrow night she’s going ice skating with her new Big Sister and she’s excited. Could I simply be jealous of someone with free time?

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Cameron making his way back from yet another vendor. Lunchtime!

Cameron is a pretty great kid, but he’s also a teen. I think the only real reason he accompanies me to Costco is so he can frequent the sample trays. Of course he tells the service people he needs one for his mother–although I rarely see the samples close up before he devours them. But, like I said, he’s a teen. So when he’s up to something, it’s bad. I found out today he’s still communicating with a “nice” girl from Ogden named Olivia. Ever seen the guy with the tattoo of the name “Olivia” next to a phallic and half naked picture of a girl? Yep, that’s her! And he has some odd friend named “Stanton” I’ve never met or heard of except for Cameron telling me the kid is super tall, skinny, and has no friends. This is supposed to make me feel good? Ever heard of Slender Man? I wonder.

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Should we REALLY be nice to everyone?

And for Lucius fans, our cat still urinates on the toilet with no problem, but the splashing of the poo is another story. She’s gotten to the point she’ll literally hold it all day until we go to sleep and run behind the toilet to relieve herself. Without the luxury of full communication, I think we’re at a standstill right now with the full on toilet training.

For St. Patrick’s Day, we made it a point to visit our very old, but spunky Grandma Bev. We brought home delicious food after Grandma splurged at Apollo Burger and sat us down to eat. When we were finished, I grabbed a container to box up the 1/2 burger and fries she had left on her plate. As I maneuvered around the table to place the sandwich, etc. into the box, she quickly halted me. Instead of picking up the food, she determined trimming the edge off, so the entire plate could be placed into the container was a better plan. “Go for it, Grandma!”

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Grandma needs to make this plate fit into the plastic container. How else?

All of this brings us to the question I posed as a title. Am I attempting to escape reality by attending school or is my purpose truly to create a better life for my family? I wish I knew the answer. Instead of an answer, I hear my cat snoring at 11:50 p.m. as she awaits my disappearance so she can undoubtedly run for linoleum behind the commode.

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A little alone time (in the restroom) is what an adult needs at work to send a loving message.

Realization — People you work with on a daily basis are nice because they need to get along for functionality. They don’t generally give two stinks about your home life, and they certainly aren’t friends. However, if they invite you out to have fun after work — you may have the seedlings of a longtime friendship.  Be nice to the people you work with!

The Twisted Tail – Surprise!

For those who’ve never lost your mind, you don’t know what you’re not missing. And yes, I can tell you from firsthand experience. The hardest part about losing your mind is never knowing when you can expect it back again and if it will ever be the same. So far, it’s taken about 30 years and I’m still not who I used to be, but I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. I certainly don’t appear the same—oh boy, I wish I did. I never knew how attractive I was at the time, or I’m sure I would have grown up much differently. But things are what they are – and here I am; a mom with two kids and a cat – all of which are toilet trained. That’s right, there’s not a lot of normal about our home.

This past week was pretty eventful. From all of us being deathly ill and using up part of my vacation at the beginning of the year recuperating, to finding out one of the days I missed may end up costing me my job. But that’s another story. What I will tell you is that we finally took Lucius to the vet to ensure everything was true about him when we got him. We bought him at the pet shop and got a card with a whole bunch of information about him and even told he had been fixed. That was a relief.

But Dr. Holly seemed not to agree. We gave him all of his shots, got a thorough exam, and were just about to tell Dr. Holly that we didn’t want to fish his stool sample out of the toilet because he was toilet trained when she broke some news of her own. Lucius wasn’t a male. He was a female. Or I guess I should say, she is a female. And obviously, none of her goodies have been removed. But, at least she’s toilet trained. We went through all the hair-pulling ideas of translating “Lucius” to Lucy or Luscious, but in the end, it’s the name she’s used to. I suppose if a guy can be called “Sue,” a female can be named Lucius. We don’t care, as long as the seat is down when she leaves the bathroom. (And don’t worry, she uses her own seat.) But now the quota is back to one solitary male again.