Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Move it or lose it.

Moving SUCKS.

As far as I know, no one likes to move. If there's anyone out there who does, come on over and pack my house up for me, will you? Because I'm about 1/20th done, and I want to stop right now.

I'm overwhelmed. I cleaned out the closet in my bedroom and gave away 4 trash bags full of clothes. The closet in the second bedroom yielded another trash bag of stuff to give away, and at least one bag of just stuff to toss. I cleaned out the closet in the bathroom (another bag of stuff to toss), and that's ready to go. I cleaned out the junk drawers in the kitchen and got rid of all the excess junk, expired vitamins and prescriptions (yet another bag of stuff to throw away). When I think about it, there's not that much that needs to actually be packed -- but then I LOOK at it, and I have a ton of stuff that needs to be packed.

I hate moving. I hate packing. Unpacking is better, but not by much.

Next up is the filing cabinet full of bills and statements from the past 5 or so years. I'm shredding a bunch of that stuff and getting it out of the house. Then I'm packing up the bookshelves, getting rid of a ton of books in the process.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can actually pack some stuff, instead of either throwing it away or giving it away. I have to get my act together well before November 10th -- that's moving truck day and my goal is to have the house emptied of everything but furniture.

Wish me luck. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Working and sleeping are totally overrated

Why I'm not working: Because I, like 85 brazillion other people, am online NOT getting World Series tickets. Not for me, mind you, but because the boss wanted as many of us as possible to get online and buy tickets. I spent most of yesterday also not working, for the same reason. Clearly whoever assured everyone (multiple times) that whatever stupid company is running this clusterfuck had the servers to accomodate the traffic had their heads up their ass.

Why I'm not working part deux: Because I'm writing this entry - duh.

Why I'm not sleeping: Well, I didn't sleep much on Saturday night, because Chris was out of town and so it was just me and the girls. This is obviously totally fine with me, as we always have fun. And we did, except for when Abby accidentally shut the garage door on Riley's head. It sounds worse (and more complicated) than it actually was - they were playing with a bouncy ball in the garage with the door partially up. Bouncy ball escaped, Riley went after it, Abby tried to help by making the door go up, not realizing it would go down first, door caught Riley and Abby hit the button again, averting horrible injury. There was some hysterical crying (on Riley's part) and some hiding in the garage (on Abby's part) before everyone got it together again. Riley was fine, and the crying was mostly fear vs. actual injury, but that did not stop me from googling "symptoms of a concussion" and making sure that she didn't have any of them. She didn't, which of course did not stop me from getting up a couple of times in the night to make sure she was still breathing, as I have seen enough CSI episodes involving seemingly innocuous head injuries that end in death to make me paranoid. On top of that, Abby was sleeping with me, and spent a lot of the night having bad dreams, which involves tossing, turning, whimpering, talking in her sleep, and hogging the bed. Good times. All culminating in my having to get them ready for their mom to pick them up, which is less about getting THEM ready and more about getting ME ready - mentally. It was fine - we were very civil (as I have met her quickly once before) and chatted amiably for a few minutes before she left. I told her about the garage door incident, and she seemed wholly unconcerned. This may change when she talks to Chris and tells him that I'm obviously unfit to be alone with the girls. Hey, he asked her if she wanted to have them for the weekend and her answer was "Can't Amber take them?"(I know, right?), so I say it's on her. Because in my defense, I can't possibly hover over them at all times during the day and kids are bound to do stupid things. Right? Anyway. I also wondered if she was weirded out ringing the doorbell at the house she used to live?

Why I'm not sleeping part deux: Because I'm moving to Castle Rock in 3 weeks. It's not the moving there that makes me lose sleep, it's the fact that I have so much to do at my condo before I move. I found a family who wants to rent it for a year, and they are moving in on November 15. This is all very awesome, because they're renting for my asking price, they seem stable and rent-paying, and also have lived in their other place for six years. AND they want to rent for a year, which makes me happy because I don't have to search for renters at random. All good signs. But I can't help but wake up in the middle of the night and think about all of the stupid packing I have to do. And the cleaning. I hate moving so very much.

And that, my friends, is why I'm yawning up a storm and wishing that I could take a nap. I suppose I could, as I sit here and wait to NOT buy tickets.

Friday, October 19, 2007

There are no secrets here

A conversation I had with Abby this morning:

Abby: "This is your middle finger. If you stick it up by itself, it means you're saying a bad word"

Amber: "You're right. Let's not do that."

Abby: "Riley did that one time."

Amber: "Did she get in trouble?"

Abby: "Yes. But don't tell Riley I told you. It's a secret."

Amber: "Ok. I won't tell her."

Abby: "But you can tell the people at your work."

After further conversation, it was established that I could also tell Chris and my mom and dad. Apparently, the only person it's a secret from is Riley.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

These are days to remember

Chris worked late last night, so I picked up the ladies from school, and we went home. As I chopped cucumbers and carrots to dip in salad dressing (for those who didn't want asparagus) the girls colored and did homework, asking me how to spell words and telling me about school that day. Once that was done, they ran outside to ride their bikes in the crisp evening, raking leaves at the neighbor's house and jumping in the pile. They came back in as it got dark, and sat down for dinner, washed their hands with no complaints and no faking and tummies growling from hunger and the smell of roasted turkey that filled the kitchen. The three of us ate dinner together and chatted some more. After dinner, we baked cookies and played chess until it was t.v.time. At bedtime, Abby and I did our nighttime ritual of my stroking her face (but only me, because daddy doesn't do it right) until she drifted off to sleep. I tiptoed in Riley's room, kissed her goodnight, and went downstairs. I snuggled up with Chris and watched "SVU" and we called it a night.

I know not all days can go like this, but it reminded me of when I was a little kid and how my house used to be. I was a happy kid and I want that for the girls. When they're with us, I want them to know that they're at HOME. Where we cook dinner and bake stuff and eat together and we have bedtime rituals and family time and stuff we do to make their little lives less hectic and more stable. Sometimes it may take a little more frustration and patience than I have at that moment, but it's important enough to me to keep trying. Days like yesterday remind me that it's all worth it in the end.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kid Fears

I was listening to the radio the other day and they had one of those "dream doctors" on who will interpret your dreams. I wanted to call, but figured I'd just listen and see what other people called in about. Sure enough, someone called and said they had dreams of being chased by people. I ALWAYS have those dreams. Creepy people, murderers -- they've all shown up in my dreams.

According to the dream interpreter, being chased means that you're trying to let go of something and having a hard time with that. You're struggling with letting go, and it's chasing you. This made a ton of sense to me when I thought about the time frame that I'd been having a lot of chasing nightmares - like every night. They started right about the time that I started spending time with Chris' kids.

I can't remember if I said this on the blog or if I said it a lot in my head and never really out loud, but as much as I love Chris' kids, I did have a hard time at first. Not because I didn't like them or because they were bad kids -- I loved them right away and they are really good kids. Not because I didn't want to be with someone who already has kids or because I didn't want to be a mom -- the first one has never bothered me and the second one, well, if you know me AT ALL, you know I've always wanted to be a mom.

What it was was the suddenness of it all. I went from being a single person to having a boyfriend, which is a big enough transition. We dated for four months before I ever met the girls, so I at least had time to get a little bit used to being part of a pair. Then we added two more people to the equation -- and not just any people. LITTLE people. Who need lots of attention and care. So then I had to get used to being part of a family. To being a mom figure who has to think about what to feed these small people and how to get them to stay in bed and then get up in the morning and how to amuse them all day and teach them things and holy crap I need a drink but then again I suppose getting wasted in front of them isn't the sort of thing I need to teach them.

So I started having chase dreams. Because I was trying to let go of the idea that I only had to care about me (and of course the cats, but seriously, I have low maintenance pets for a reason) and all of the sudden I had to take into account things that affect the small people. I seriously think I was being chased by my single life. And maybe my independence and selfishness and the quiet evenings alone in the house. Pretty much I was being chased by the things that have been my life for the past five years - living alone on my own terms with no one to answer to but myself. And sometimes my mom, but that's a whole other post. Anyway.

I spent a lot of time being afraid that I was losing myself -- that I wasn't "fun" Amber anymore, but that I'd been taken over by "mom" Amber, who is considerably less fun because of the way she makes people eat their vegetables and not drink pop all the time and to go to bed at a reasonable hour. That all I had to talk about was the girls and what they said and did and how I didn't want to be that person because I used to be so BORED by those people and also? Your kids are never as funny to everyone else as they are to you. It's a fact, I know it, and yet? I STILL can't help myself. And because of all of those things, I was afraid that I'd be phased out by my friends who didn't have kids.

That was my biggest fear -- my best friends have been my best friends for 16 years, and in one case, 25 years. If I lost that, I'd be devastated. Apparently my mind glossed over the fact that we've been friends this long for a reason and I wasn't going to be phased out. I mean, they had a million other chances to phase me out - when we were much younger and stupider and fought more. I finally got up the courage to tell them my fears, and they said (I'm paraphrasing here) "You're an idiot. OF COURSE you won't get phased out." Whew. That was a relief.

So now more time has passed and I no longer have the chase dreams. At least not nearly as often as I did before. I have my mom to tell all the mom-related stuff to, not only because she is a mom (and a good one!) but also because she spends a lot of time with the girls and knows their personalities. And as their pretty-much-grandma, she finds the things they do to be as funny as I do, because really, that's her job now. I have my friends to talk about some kid stuff, but also the multitude of other stuff we can come up with. I'm still not totally comfortable in the realm of mom, but I'm feeling better as I learn more. It's not easy for the kids to have two different houses and two sets of rules and so right now our biggest job is establishing routines and creating stability. Also not easy, but TOTALLY worth it in the end. Because seriously, how cute are these small people?