Tag Archives: TLR

Bee Ess En.

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So about eight years ago I made the decision to go to nursing school.

I made this decision because I was at a kind of a crossroads, and I needed a profession that would support me and my daughter.  And also one that I found interesting and satisfying.  And?  It had to be fast.  Because the crossroads wasn’t somewhere I could stay for long.

I applied to an associate’s degree program in nursing at Clark College, which takes so many prerequisite courses that it really ought to be a bachelor’s program.  I didn’t have to take that many prerequisites because of all the math and chemistry I’d taken for my first degree.  I got into the program fairly readily and I did well there.  In December of 2009 I graduated, and a few weeks later passed my NCLEX.

Voila!  Registered Nurse.

Along the way I met The Lovely Rhonda.  She was one quarter ahead of me and graduated in June of 2009.

A year and  a half ago Rhonda got this wild hair and decided it was time to go back and get the BSN.  I was reluctant.  There was a lot of heavy shit going down in our lives, particularly mine, and I didn’t really want to go back to school.  But I did.  Because Rhonda made me.

It hasn’t been easy.  It turns out that I suck at saying, But honey.  We can’t go do the fun thing.  We have to stay home and do the schooling. 

Instead I say, DO ALL THE FUN THINGS!  Until a month before I have to wrap the term up, and then I say SHIT I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO!  YOU DID THIS TO ME!  And I make Rhonda feel terrible about making us go back to school.

A couple of days ago I turned in my practicum paper, which is the final project for the BSN.  And then I commenced with the hourly checking of the computer.  Did they grade it?  Did I pass?  Would it need revision?

I sent my mentor an email this afternoon.  Still no results.  Am losing mind.

Hang in there, she emailed back. They’re grading it right now.

We went to a concert this evening and afterward I checked again.  I fully expected it to say, This paper sucks and you’re bad and you should feel bad.

Or at least the dreaded Needs Revision. 

But what it said was, MEETS REQUIREMENT.

MEETS CRITERIA

So I have my BSN.

And I’m sorry I made Rhonda feel bad.  It was the right thing to do, going back to school.

You were right, darling.  And I was wrong.

Thanks for being right!

 

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Moving is Such Joy

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So last weekend we moved into the new house.

Actually we moved on Friday, but I was absent because payroll was due and then there was a training that nobody else could do.   So The Lovely Rhonda was forced to begin the move without me.

We hired some thugs and a truck because a) we have a lot of crap, b) some of it is very heavy, and c) I have these terrible feet.

I have new orthotics but they only help so much.  The last time I saw the podiatrist I told her that I had accepted the fact that even with good shoes and orthotics I still have only so much foot-time on any given day.  She told me that it was good that I had accepted this because it was true.

Pretty much from this point forward, this is my new reality.  Trips to Disneyland will always involve a rented scooter.  Big projects in the house or yard will always involve painkillers and more than likely, hired help as well.  The temporary parking pass may become permanent.

At the end of a typical day, my feet might be a little tired but I don’t require pain medication.

But, moving house is not typical.

So the hired thugs stuffed our crap into the truck and moved it and then they went back for more crap.  They worked hard and they didn’t slack off at all, and we tipped them pretty generously.  At the end of the day, most of our crap was in the new house, and anything that wasn’t a piece of furniture was piled in the garage.

You really get to know who your friends are when you’re moving.  Kimberly came over on multiple occasions and helped us pack, which was so enormously helpful I can’t even form words around the concept.  My mouth just hangs open when I try.  Another friend, Jerry, came and helped us paint the kids’ bedrooms in the new house and hung curtain rods and such, and then helped paint the old house (which is now a rental).  He won’t accept any money for this.  When we posted on FB that we needed a plumber and couldn’t get anyone to call us back, he came over and fixed a leaky sink at the new house as well.

The day after the main move we had a bunch of friends and family volunteer to come over and help with various things.  Heather helped me unpack a lot of boxes.  Anhata and Frank and their kids came and packed up the last of the junk at the old house, along with friends Sarah and Joni and my cousins Carmen and Emily.  Between Frank, Jerry and my Dad, we got all the appliances hooked up.

And of course our Best Handyman Kenny is in the house (literally), installing the baseboards and the new dishwasher in the rental.  He’s not a volunteer but he’s family anyway.

At the end of the weekend we had the basics sort of unpacked — unfortunately, since I wasn’t there to grab the last-minute essentials (hair product, Minecraft game disc, etc) we have all been without a few of our Favorite Things for a solid week.  I’ve had to find other methods of taming my hair, and the kids have been forced to entertain themselves by going to the park, unpacking boxes in their rooms, and playing on alternate electronic platforms, but somehow we all survived.

Essentially I’ve been on my feet about three times as much as usual in the past week with painting/packing/moving/unpacking, and some of that time I’ve been shifting boxes around, so the moral of this story is rapidly becoming the following statement:  codeine is my friend.  The temporary disabled parking permit has gotten a workout, because any step saved is a blessing to me right now.

Also?  The new house is nice, and I think we will all like it here.

Home Rearranged

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So we here at The Swamp are pretty much packed in like cordwood, and so The Lovely Rhonda and I have been discussing the merits of moving house.

Three years ago the conversation went thusly:

TLR: I think we should look into buying a bigger house and moving.

Me:  NO I HATE THAT IDEA IT STINKS WE ONLY JUST GOT COMFORTABLE HERE WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA.

Two years ago, it was more along these lines:

TLR: I think we should look into buying a bigger house and moving.

Me: YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW.

A year ago:

TLR: I think we should look into buying a bigger house and moving.

Me:  DAMMIT WOMAN WHY YOU GOTTA DO ME LIKE THIS OMG.

A few weeks ago we were coming home some random Sunday afternoon and noticed an Open House sign three doors down and totally on a whim went and had a look.

Oh, internets.  The.  House.  Was.  Beautiful.  Gourmet kitchen!  Travertine in the bathroom!  Open floor plan!

Also: no back yard to speak of, so definitely unsuitable for us.  We have dirt farmers for children, and we have dogs and cats, and everything about this house was grown-up and polished and lovely.  We are not Those People who could live in such a house.  We would live in constant anxiety about the carpets and so forth.

But, we went home and babbled incessantly at one another about the whole thing, and then we had this conversation:

TLR: I think we should look into buying a bigger house and moving.

Me:  WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG TO SUGGEST THIS AMAZING IDEA.

The next house we looked at was so shabby in comparison that we couldn’t stomach it at all, but the third house was gorgeous.  But we couldn’t get it because mortgage blah blah blah FHA blah blah blah no.  The fourth house was pretty awesome except a) giant lake in basement, b) yard a complete bog, c) backed up to busy street, d) funky cobblestoned driveway unsuitable for motorcycle enthusiasts.

By the way, always look at houses when it’s raining if there is a basement involved.  Pro tip.

Then we went back and looked at the second house again.  It wasn’t really shabby, just not drop-dead beautiful.  It was like meeting Mary Ann right after you’ve met Ginger.  Or Rhoda, after Mary.  It had everything we wanted, the yard was good, and it was nicely situated to the school and a park and blah blah blah new roof blah blah blah new water heater blah blah blah basically perfect for us.

So we put down an offer and the inspection was yesterday and we move in a month.

The End.  And also The Beginning.

 

Room-cleaning day: a comedy in three parts

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So The Lovely Rhonda and I give the children an allowance every couple of weeks, allegedly for chores that they do.  There are assigned chores (cleaning the catbox, taking out the recycling, etc) and there are “other duties as assigned,” such as filling the cat food dish or picking stuff up in the living room so I can vacuum.

Also a large part of allowance is cleaning your room, which we are dismal at enforcing and the spawn are equally, if not more, dismal at actually doing.

This morning TLR announced that rooms would need to be cleaned in order to receive the blessed allowances, and thus began our Morning of Travail.

As luck would have it, the eldest spawn cleaned her room yesterday at my behest, so she’s happily playing CADsoftwarewithastorylinecraftTM while the other girls toil away.

A sampling of the day’s activities thus far:

Madeline, the youngest at age 6, approaches clutching a calendar.  (We often refer to her in shorthand as M2 and Molly, age 8, as M1, denoting birth order)

M2: Mama, can we pwease put this up?

TLR: Yes, just put it on your desk for now.

M2: But my homewowk is on my desk and I can’t put this on top of my homewowk because my homewowk has to be on the top

TLR: Okay, so put this underneath your homework, on your desk.

M2: ‘K.  (races off)

Shortly thereafter Molly, the middle child, comes showing something else that must be looked upon immediately.  I can’t remember what because frankly it was so mind-bogglingly trivial that it barely registered in the first place.  TLR, a paragon of patience for reasons that I still cannot fathom, acknowledges the item and gently bids the child return to her room.

Approximately 90 seconds passes, after which Madeline returns announcing that she has cleaned her entire room.

TLR: That seemed kind of quick.  Did you clean the whole thing?

M2:  Yes.

TLR: So, everything is up off the floor?  Like, under your desk, and back by your toybox, and in front of your closet?

M2:  Well, no.  Not in fwont of my cwoset.  Because I never go there.

TLR:  You need to clean in front of the closet.

M2:  WHY?!

TLR (calmly): Because I said so.  Now go clean in front of the closet like I said.

M2 sighs heavily and trudges down the hall.

A moment later Molly appears.

M1: Mama?  I think Madeline is whining about something in her room.

TLR:  Oh?

M1: Yeah.  It sounds like she’s saying, like, “But I didn’t even do it,” or something.

TLR:  Well, why don’t you just not worry about it.

M1: But, it’s really hard to clean my room with her groans distracting me —

Me (at this point I cannot help myself): SO CLOSE YOUR DOOR.

At this point all of the rooms are reasonably clean and the youngest has bathed.  She emerges wearing a pair of jeans and complains to TLR that they are too big.  See?  And the jeans are touching my socks and I don’t like it when my jeans are touching my socks —

There is a beer-and-wine-thing tonight in downtown Bedroom Community, and TLR’s favorite vintner will be represented at a local independent theater we like to go to.  I think it’s safe to say we’ll be going.

 

Let the festivities begin!

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So this morning we ventured forth into the 22 degree weather to get our annual Christmas tree.  This marks the fifth straight year that we have done so as a family, going to the same tree farm each year.  We like this tree farm because although the trees are somewhat more expensive than the ones at the gas station, they have a petting zoo and free cocoa and they drill a hole in the end of your tree and stick it on a patented “Marriage Saving Tree Stand” so that when you get it home you just stand it up and it’s ready to decorate.

Note: feeding farm animals a handful of oats for 25 cents — thereby transforming a fifteen dollar bag of oats into a veritable gold mine for the farm (note to self: THIS IS WHERE THE MONEY IS EARNED, THE TREES ARE JUST TO LURE YOU IN) is a major draw for the children, but it’s the tree stand that brings The Lovely Rhonda and I back year after expensive year.  No price is too high to pay to get out of having to apply a rickety pot-metal stand to the nether regions of a majestic fir tree, and furthermore get it to stand up straight.   It’s a miserable hobby that nobody enjoys, least of all me, the designated spider-killer, lawn-mower and tree-erector of the household.

Each year we have also had to find our way to the tree farm as though we had never been there before, because we can only remember the vaguest details about it — “it’s the one with the goats, and I think there was a guy in suspenders?” — and certainly can’t be bothered to recall useful information such as, for instance, its name?  Or perhaps general location?

And so it was that we once again this year performed the traditional Festive Annual U-Turn when we realized we were, as with the previous three years, on the right road but going the wrong way.

Within moments of embarking from the Minivan of Justice we found a worthwhile adversary and, as always, I was elected to dispatch the thing.  We dragged its gory remains back to the van:

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Then as we drove it up to the barn for embalming shaking and baling, TLR said, Um, guys?  Look out the back window?  What is that?

And there was a llama being walked around the estate, all splay footed and knobbly kneed, and we had to pile out and meet it.

Her name was Shania Twain and we dutifully had a photo op.

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Once we’d exhausted the possibilities of the llama-tree-farm juxtaposition absurdity factor, we crept onwards to the barn.  We allowed the children to ride sans belts, on the floor if desired, and the eldest enjoyed a heretofore unprecedented joyride in the forbidden front seat.  Such is our carefree existence that this relaxation of protocol made them all giddy and unmanageable.

At the tiny guard hut where you pay for your kill tree, the cashier informed us jubilantly that the car ahead of us had gotten their tree for free.  One of the local credit unions was handing out envelopes with coupons in them for varying amounts off of the purchase price of the trees, and these lucky bastards fortunate holiday shoppers had received a fifty dollar coupon.  Ours was for twenty dollars for which we were pretty stoked, right up until we heard that.  THANKS FOR THE BUZZKILL, CASHIER LADY.

I kid.  The whole thing was pretty magical.  We had no idea they were doing that today and it was a really nice bonus to get the tree for basically one-third off.

We had that sucker shaken, baled and stuffed in to the MOJ in no time and proceeded on, as is customary, to the petting zoo.

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Then we piled into the MOJ and drove our trophy home, to display it in all its grisly splendor until the day after Christmas, at which point I will become physically unable to stand the disruption for ONE. MORE. SECOND. and strip it of ornaments and lights and dump it in the side yard.  The end.

Neville Stinkybottom

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So we adopted this cat a little while ago.  We had been discussing such things and then some friends posted a plea on Teh Book of Face about a stray who needed a home.  So it was that we arrived at the house of total strangers and collected him from them.  They couldn’t keep him because their stodgy adult cats were lodging complaints about the whippersnapper in their midst.  We could relate: we wanted another young cat to occupy the attentions of our kitten who was righteously pissing off our old lady cat, the Traditionally Built Hermione.

He’s a lynx-point Siamese, or looks like one.  He’s stripey and has Siamese markings and coloration, and the end of his tail is kinked like a fishhook.  His dazzling blue eyes are ever so slightly crossed.  He’s about half grown by now, and we’ve had him a couple of months.  We friended his interim-caretakers so they can see the pictures we post of him.

Nev

He’s an odd little thing.  He will allow you to cradle him in your arms like a baby.  He licks your hands too.  I once had a cat who did this and she was bottle-fed, so I have to wonder about Neville.

A conversation was had this evening about him.  The Lovely Rhonda and I were remarking to one another about the cradling and the licking.  He was in front of me on the desk licking my hands.

“Why is his butt always so stinky?” I asked, and TLR replied, “Well, it’s not just his butt.  Have you smelled his fur?  He stinks all over.”

“Now he’s licking my sweater.  It’s sticking to his tongue like Velcro.”

“And he’s not smart,” said TLR.

This is not an unusual conversation for us to have.

This thing which happened, part 4

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So anyway, at last the day arrived.  Dad and I had spent Friday afternoon (before shopping for helmets etc) frantically cleaning out the adorable miniature garage.  This used to be a normal two-car garage, provided the cars were small and didn’t mind being very close to one another, but we had built a bedroom out of half of it.  The back half.  So you open the big rolling overhead garage door and are met with a space that only goes back half as far as it used to.

Coincidentally, this depth exactly accommodates a motorcycle front to back.  Or two, if it comes to that.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish in an hour and a half given a bit of assistance and a great deal of motivation.  I’ve been moaning about that filthy garage for months but BAM!  It was reasonably tidy by dinnertime.  Dad even installed a rubber flange-thing across the bottom to keep the worst of the leaves and dirt from blowing in as they have for all the years we’ve lived here.  One cannot subject one’s brand-new motorcycles to such tawdry conditions.

Finally after breakfast when we were just starting to wonder if we’d dreamt the whole thing up, the man with the trailer phoned ahead to make sure we were home to take delivery.  And half an hour later, here came a truck with a big enclosed trailer behind it, and then a very nice fellow unloaded two of the shiniest, most ridiculously clean and bright motorcycles to the curb.  IMG_0488

We ooh’ed and aah’ed and took photos, and then Dad and the delivery guy stood around and swapped stories and lies for a little while.  Finally off the guy went and we were left in the street with two shiny, perfect motorcycles.  Two shiny, perfect motorcycles that I was terrified to touch.  They looked bigger than I remembered.  Also?  They were completely unspoiled.  Who was I to smudge them all up and very possibly damage them in some way?

Luckily Dad was perfectly willing to garage them for us, because not long after delivery we had to run off to some errand or another.  When we returned, we prevailed upon the neighbor lady to watch the kids for a short while so that we could go on a ride.  Dad rides a Gold Wing so he took The Lovely Rhonda with him while I rode my own bike.  The one with twelve miles on it, eight of which I had put there myself on the test ride.

I managed not to embarrass myself too much, and re-learned an important lesson.  We hadn’t gotten the mesh jackets yet and it was just as hot as hell, so I rode in a t-shirt.  (Yes, after all that discussion about safety gear, I rode in a t-shirt.  It really was hot as blazes and it was a short ride.  Don’t judge.)

At around forty miles per hour, a t-shirt will ride up in the back.  Like, all the way up.  Like, Hi there fellow highway travelers, please check out my foundation undergarments.  I rode most of the way back with my left hand on my hip, holding my t-shirt in a death grip.