Thursday, December 12, 2013

I was never good with the titles so I'm not giving this post one

I keep reading things on the computer about Advent and the need to slow down and listen and relax and get ready for Christmas. Except first we have to go out the day after Thanksgiving, or really the day of Thanksgiving now, and buy as many things as we can. And then we can slow down and relax and get ready for the reason for the season. As an aside, I saw a woman on the news on Thanksgiving Day and she was rushing into the store to buy...a toaster! And I felt sad and looked at my husband and I could tell that he felt sad too, because really, if you are going to charge through the store with herds of people on the day that you should technically be stuffing your face and unbuttoning your pants half way  through your meal, it should not be to buy a toaster. There is no toaster on the face of the planet that could lure me away from eating too much stuffing and apple pie.

I'm always worried that during this time of year, when we are told to slow down and savor the meaning of it all, someone is going to take me aside and tell me, Ann Marie, darling, you cannot slow down, you have been slowing down all year and you need to get off your ass and actually do something now. I have a sloth like quality to me and there really isn't any point in the year when I think, oh gee, thank God it's this season, because NOW I can finally slow down. Yes, I have children and yes they annoy me on the daily with all of their never ending wants and needs, but what can I say, I'm a pro at relaxing and nary a day goes by when I don't manage to spend a good portion of it sitting down and doing nothing more than staring off into space, picking my lips. Even my most favorite hobby, bike riding, involves sitting. 

Speaking of riding my bike, I'm doing a ride for diabetes in March. Well the ride is not FOR diabetes as no one in their right mind would ride their bike to get diabetes. The ride is meant for raising money to find a cure for diabetes. Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to give me money. I'm saving my change and using that for my fundraising. I love riding my bike and I hate diabetes so this ride will be a pleasure. Not a pleasure really, but more a time where I spend the entire day wondering if I will die, with smatterings of panicky texts to my sister about the state of my numb ass and various other complaints. Sister of mine, you have been warned! I suppose if I make it to the finish line and don't die, then there will a moment of pleasure. The ride is a hundred miles, or what is known in the cycling world as a century, but I've always felt like a bit of a poser calling myself a cyclist, so I just call it a hundred mile ride. I'm hoping I can make it through the entire ride without falling and knocking out my teeth for good, although I have had my eye a lovely pair of dentures I found for real cheap on ebay, so who knows, fingers crossed, those babies will be mine real soon.

There is a bit of training that goes along with getting ready to ride a hundred miles and I have decided to bore you with only a little bit of it. It involves riding your bike a certain amount of miles on many days and then on the days when you can't ride too long you are advised to ride as fast as you can, or find hills to ride (nearly impossible in Florida but I do okay). These short and intense bursts of riding are meant to help you increase your speed. So far no good. Speed on the bike will never be my thing. Anyway,  after you do all of this long riding and short intense riding you are then advised to gas up on oreos. No, I'm kidding about that part. I wish it were true but it's not.

Speaking of gassing up, that's the term my husband uses to describe a form of eating that entails consuming large quantities of food in a short amount of time and then not eating again for many many hours, sometimes a full twenty four hours. When we started dating, Greg would tell me he had to gas up and when I mistakenly assumed he meant he had to fill his car up with fuel he corrected me and explained the entire concept to me and I thought, gee I wonder if this fellow really is as weird as my parents think he is. You would think someone of my sloth like character would be on board with the concept of gorging, and I am, but I'm not keen on the part where I have to wait many, many hours, sometimes an entire day, to eat again. Anyhow, I've been with Greg for so long now that I do that thing where all of his weirdo behavior suddenly seems normal and the last time I mentioned gassing up to people there was confusion and then laughter when I explained what it was and then I remembered Greg really is kind of weird. I still don't entirely understand the point of gassing up but Greg says it just saves time and frees up his schedule on those days when he doesn't have time to sit down and eat three meals. He is apparently much busier than me.

Well dear reader, I must go now. I don't quite know the point of this post but I haven't written in a bit and I figured I would get some thoughts out. I hope you are finding time in your day to relax and enjoy the season of Advent. If you need any tips on how to go about that, shoot me an email. And in my next post I will regale you with all of the things I have learned about life in the past year. And that post will be all of one sentence long.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Courage, please

One of my most admirable qualities is my ability to sweep things under the carpet for long stretches of time until they become big problems that can't be ignored, at which point many other people have to become involved in what could have otherwise been an entirely preventable problem if I had addressed it when I should have. I really excel at this. One time when I was in college I got pregnant and ignored it for seven whole months until I lovingly sprang it on my parents one day. Honestly I didn't really spring it on them. It was more like my mom looked at me and said, are you pregnant?! And I said probably. That was fun for everyone! And then there was the time I ran up credit cars bills and just kept hiding it from my husband until one day he came home from work and I said guess what I did - again!? That was also fun for everyone! There have been minor offenses too, like the time I swiped a mailbox when I was a paper carrier and my husband noticed the scratch marks on the side mirror and when he asked me about it I just said, huh, not sure how that got there and then I pretended I need to go poop and I ran inside. Or the time I gained 95 pounds when I was pregnant with Maggie because I refused to look at the scale for my entire pregnancy and even when I got to the point of nearly needing a forklift to get me off the couch I just kept saying, I will deal with this issue later, first I need another sleeve of Oreos. I haven't mastered the art of being a great person yet but I'm trying hard. I really am.

A month or two ago I was riding my bike in Tavares and my front tire caught the railroad tracks the wrong way and I ended up having a scary bike fall that landed me flat on my face. I was mortified of course. I spend half my life assuming everyone is making fun of me and then I give them opportunities like this. I lay on the ground with my head on the pavement a little bit longer than needed because I knew once I rolled over people would be standing over me laughing and pointing at the loser who still hasn't mastered how to ride a bike in a straight line. If you think I'm being hard on myself, I'm really not. This was the second fall I took on Lakeshore Drive in less than a month.

As it turns out people are nicer than I give them credit for and everyone wanted to help me, which made me feel even more stupid. The fire chief happened to be there that day and he came running over and told me I was bleeding from my mouth and asked if I had lost any teeth and I said no, I hadn't, I just cut my lip and that's where all the blood was coming from. He was nice enough to offer me a ride home. When he pulled into our driveway my daughter was outside and saw my bloody face and knees and shoulders and seemed quite upset, but I told her to just go inside and mention this to no one, I was fine, please just stop freaking out.

I took a shower and cleaned myself up pretty good and decided that I would just spend the next few weeks looking down at the ground, hopefully ensuring my fat lip and scraped up chin would go unnoticed by my husband. If he asked me why I was suddenly refusing to direct my gaze upward I would mumble and tell him I was in a pissy mood and he better leave me alone. It was a great plan, except for it only lasted for about two minutes, until I accidentally looked up at him when he walked into the bedroom. Then I had to confess my awful fall and he just kept saying that he couldn't understand why I thought it would be a good idea to keep my accident a secret. Mostly I didn't want to tell him because I knew it would lead to the inevitable talk about my obsession with riding and how I was getting carried away and really why couldn't I ride in safer places. And that is exactly what did happen. He told me he leaves for work everyday and worries I will get hit by a car and he and the kids would be devastated if anything ever happened to me on my bike and I just looked at him and all I could think was, oh wow Greg, how much more selfish could you be, but I figured I would keep my mouth shut and not share that thought with him.

I spent most of the day crying, not because I was in pain from the fall but because it had become clear that my riding needed to be altered and my entire life was now ruined and destroyed and I may as well just throw my bike in the garbage because I would never, ever ride again. I carried on like that for several hours and my husband just kept walking by me saying nothing. It was pissing me off that he wasn't caving into my nonsense and then it occurred to me that after twenty years of marriage he had worked up a complete tolerance for my bs. At some point over the weekend I had a moment of clarity and realized he was right and I decided to switch my routes up to include safer places and I have continued to ride everyday and keep up my miles and life doesn't suck and everything wasn't ruined and my bike never landed in the garbage.

But this story doesn't have an entirely happy ending. It took at least week for my mouth to start feeling normal again and for my lip to really heal and once it did I decided to kind of look at my teeth and touch them again and I noticed that my front teeth are just a teensy weensy bit loose. Nothing that anyone but me would ever notice and honestly it's almost imperceptible, accept for the fact that it is true, they are clearly just a teensy weensy ( very teensy weensy, trust me it's the teensiest of weensiest) bit loose. Do you like how I have reverted to using words that toddlers use? That's because I kind of act like a toddler and so it suits me to speak like one.

This is where denial and sweeping things under the carpet is getting me into some trouble. For weeks now I have been thinking I need to go to the dentist, but I can't make the call. I don't even have the name of a dentist I trust. My older kids go to a good dentist except for he's abrasive. My kids don't mind him because they have great teeth with no issues, but I do have issues, both with my teeth and my person. I cannot tolerate a dentist who is harsh. One time I was at the dentist and he was merely coming toward me with a mirror to show me something and I swiped his hand away. I apologized and he was nice about it but that is the kind of behavior I exhibit while I'm sitting in the dental chair. Maggie has a wonderful pediatric dentist but I'm pretty sure I couldn't fit into his teeny tiny cute whittle chairs, but really this is the sort of dentist I need because he has laughing gas that he gives Maggie and she likes it so much that she routinely asks when her next root canal/tooth pulling will be. I need to find a dentist who makes me that excited about jumping in the chair and getting my gums drilled and pulled and shot up with Novocain, but the truth is, the dentist has always been a source of extreme anxiety for me and my going is usually the result of me being in complete and utter pain.

I wish I could tell you that plans are in the works to call someone today or tomorrow or very soon but honestly I most likely won't take care of this issue until my teeth are dangling like a loose thread and who knows, that could be next week or it could very well be several years from now. Part of me is still convinced that everyone has loose teeth every now and again and they just have to sort of harden up a bit. All I ask now is for you not to leave horror stories in the comment sections. That will not help move me in the right direction at all. Don't even leave a comment telling me I really need to take care of this. I already know I need to take care of it. I mean it. Please do not tell me something horrible. I KNOW this needs to be addressed. Just do me this favor. It's simple really. Just pray that I get some courage. I have no greater fear than going to the dentist and no greater flaw than a complete lack of courage. My problem is always my lack of courage.

PS . To clarify,  feel free to leave fawning comments on this post, just not comments related to how I need to call the dentist. To clarify again, I know, I really know I need to call the dentist. Courage! That's all I need. And fawning comments too. I need those too.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Anthony turned thirteen yesterday. So here are some random things about him

- He told me yesterday that he thinks Maggie is going to be a feminist because she is bossy and independent and always thinks she is right about everything. A slightly unflattering view of a feminism perhaps, but Anthony meant it as a compliment so I didn't bother saying anything to him other than, good, I hope she stays that way. He does too. He thinks girls who let boys dictate how they live are idiots and he keeps telling his sisters that if they date boys they better not lose who they are.

- At some point during the past year Anthony decided he liked The Grateful Dead. This makes me a little sad because I always associate this particular band with the most obnoxious kids in my high school, but thankfully Anthony isn't like any of them so I will just sit and hope this phase passes.He also wears tie dye just about everyday. He has not started smoking pot yet so that's a plus.

- Last year his endocrinologist told him that now that he was getting into his teen years he would probably be tired a lot more and may even find himself sleepy during the day. So as soon as we got home from that appointment Anthony was suddenly very sleepy and said he needed a nap and he has kept this trend going for the past year. He needs five or six naps a day. At that same appointment the doctor also told him he was old enough to now take responsibility for much of his diabetes care but Anthony didn't hear that part of the conversation and every time I bring it up he says he's pretty sure I'm wrong about that.

- Anthony loves cooking and has become quite good at this year and whenever I tell him this could be a potential career choice for him he says, "Oh I only cook for the love, not for the money." He does have the idea that Mount Dora is lacking in men's thrift stores. According to Anthony, everything in town is geared toward old ladies and he wants to fix that. So who knows, someday soon you may find yourself shopping in a men's thrift store run by my son. If he keeps it anything like he keeps his bedroom you're in for a real treat!

- During a recent youth group meeting the kids were asked to think about what their greatest fears were. They were given some time to consider this and Anthony took it very seriously and of course he decided to be the first to share his thoughts. I can't tell you his fears because they were pretty deep and when he told me I thought wow, worry much Anthony? The rest of the kids said they were afraid they wouldn't get into a good college and then Anthony felt maybe he had "gone too deep with the whole thing and I wish I had said something like I was afraid of snakes, but I'm not afraid of snakes, but you know, maybe I should have kept it lighter." I told him not to worry, his friends were worried about all of the same things he was, they just weren't as comfortable sharing. So then he asked if he should start being less honest and part of me wanted to say, oh yes, for sure you need to be less honest, but instead I just said, I don't know, do what you think is right.

- If you would like to see Anthony really engaging in honesty give him a gift he doesn't like or want because he will not be able to hide in anyway his sheer disappointment and disbelief that you could be so foolish as to think he would like the piece of crap you are trying to give him and if you think it's rude of him not to appreciate it, well you are wrong, you are the jerk who got him a crappy gift and you are the one who should feel bad. I can't hold this too much against him as he inherited this charming quality from me.

I'm sure I could sit here and write all day about Anthony but it's time for math, Anthony's most favorite subject ever! When I just told him to get his math book out he told me he had to take a nap first.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All my honest thoughts for your enjoyment

Have you noticed people saying "all the things." Like I want to eat all the things, or I want to read all the things or I want to buy all the things. It makes me want to throw all the things when people use that phrase. It's right up there with people.putting. periods.after.all mean.something. Sorry not sorry. Another phrase I hate! All of these phrases are used non stop on the interwebs. If nothing else, the blogging world and instagram and twitter have given me ways to make fun of people more than I already do ( which is pretty much any hour I'm not sleeping), so there's that (that phrase right there's that...another phrase I hate). I don't know why phrases catch on and why people have to beat them into overuse and why everyone wants to sound exactly like everyone else.

Kate and me are going to see The Avett Brothers in a few weeks. I won't let the fact that Seth Avett divorced his wife and is now dating an actress ( who is not as pretty as his ex wife) ruin this concert for me. I'm quite pissed off though. I mean can't people just stay married? Seth Avett wrote a lovely song for his now ex wife back when they were engaged. It was called January Wedding and now he says he won't be singing it anymore and every time I hear it on my ipod all I will be reminded of is that Seth Avett was just full of shit when he wrote the lyrics. 

Now this one will get me into trouble. A few weeks ago a particular post was circling the internets and it was written by a man and it was all about how we should worship moms, specifically full time moms. He didn't call them full time moms, he called them stay at home moms, or something like that. By the way, just to assure any mom who may be reading this about whether or not she qualifies as full time mom...if you have a child, you're a full time mom, regardless of how many hours of the day you are with them. Anyway, the post was all about how we should put moms on pedestals, but what he really meant was, moms who stay home with their kids should be put on pedestals. Now you would think that being a legitimate full time, stay at home, homeschooling mom, this post would have been right up my alley, but no, all I could think was, gee this guy really wants to get laid. I don't need a man telling me how awesome I am and I certainly don't appreciate a man trying to garner attention and create drama by writing about moms and which moms are better and how we should kiss the ground stay at home moms walk on. If you read the post and enjoyed it, good for you, but I found it gross. Respect people because they are fellow human beings, not because they stay home with their kids. I ended up reading a few more of this guy's blog posts and realized he thought he knew everything about everything and then I felt sorry for his wife.

Speaking of humility, Greg and I were in a conversation recently with some people and the topic of children came up. People were saying all these things about raising kids and how to get them to be good and proper and well behaved and successful and Greg and I just glanced at one another. We've run the gamut of issues with our kids and if I thought I knew nothing about raising children before, the past year has confirmed for me that while Greg and I love our children as much as any other parent, we usually don't have all the answers. We usually have none of the answers. Anyway, after the conversation went on a bit my husband sensed my unease and he titled his head to the side a little and looked up and said, well, they are their own people and they're going to make mistakes no matter how much we want them not to. And everyone agreed and we went on to talking about something else, much to my relief. Later on I was reminded of something Greg told me last year when we were in the midst of a crisis with one of the kids and I was feeling distraught and hopeless - "They aren't done being people! They won't be done till they are dead, Ann Marie." So really, that's all I have to say about parenting. If you are in the midst of a crisis with your kids and you start to sink just remember, they aren't done being people. And either are you. I know, you had no idea this post filled with rage and venom and hate would turn into a pep talk. I'm always surprising people!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Driving Circles

Today I spent three hours driving children to and from various places when suddenly I realized I was just driving in a  bigger and bigger circle, getting further and further away from home. Every day the driving circle seems to expand, which really is counter productive since all the things I need to be doing, like making dinner and folding laundry and taking a nap, are at home. Even though Jane is old enough to have her license she doesn't (I'm sure my revealing this completely unrevealing fact is going to get me in trouble with Jane. Hi, Jane!), so I'm still the person left to drive the kids most places and I almost always say yes to taking them wherever they need/want to be. I was talking about this today with a friend. We are yes parents. Our kids appreciate this about us. I don't mean saying yes to them smoking crack, although given time I suppose I would back down on that one too, but yes to all the things I don't want them to miss out on, which hopefully will never ever include smoking crack.

I have my sister to thank for much of this. She has kids a few years older than mine and I would call her when her two oldest were in high school and she would mention in passing that she had spent approximately twenty two hours in the car that day. I wondered when she slept but she seemed happy enough so I left it alone. I would think, oh I guess this is normal; when you're a mom of teens who don't drive yet you take them everywhere. Having younger children does require plenty of driving time as well, but something about the teen years ramps everything up ( and not just the time spent driving). Anyhow, my sister did all of this driving stuff and she didn't make a stink out of it so I thought, hmm, she seems as though she likes being a parent, maybe I should like being a parent too. But her kids were older and so I decided to wait on liking being a parent until my kids were older too.

The time has come. My children are older now and I like being a parent, but the truth is as much as I'm enjoying it I really feel I can no longer write about it because teens require privacy. That's unfortunate as some of things I could discuss are wildly entertaining, although not nearly as entertaining as the expanding driving circles you all had the pleasure of reading about just now. This is what it's come down to - me making up ridiculous things to talk about because I can't talk too much about the real things.

So anyway, your kids will get older and with each year the driving circle will get bigger and if you are lucky like me and live in Central Florida than you can't complain too much because you have limited space with which to expand the circle. If you live someplace like Nebraska there's a good chance you'll spend  years and years expanding your driving circle until your husband calls you one day and asks if you are ever returning home, because the laundry is piling up. By then you'll be in Canada and you can tell him, dear, this is why you should have learned to do laundry years ago - don't you remember when I told you that wise woman from Florida warned us about the expanding driving circle?

Don't fret. I still have a child and a dog who have no idea how to get on my blog so I can write about them all I want. And if I beg and plead I may even convince the older kids to let me tell you a few amusing things about them too. Otherwise this here blog doesn't stand a chance. It would be nice if I was interesting enough that I could write about myself, but the truth is, it's not really fun to reveal things about yourself when you can reveal them about others.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The post you have all been waiting for - or not.

It's been a while. Is anyone still there? Probably not. Many weeks have passed since I last wrote and I can't even remember half of what happened during that time, but I'll try and come up with something for you.

I turned forty four at the end of May. If you haven't turned forty four yet and you're wondering if it's as boring as it sounds, it is. There is nothing romantic and exciting about that number. The kids all made me birthday cards. Jane and Kate wrote out some lovely sentiments. I can't reveal what they said because if you know me you won't believe anyone could think all those nice things about me and you may just think my two oldest children are complete bull shit artists. Anthony composed a card only after one of the girls guilted him into it. He taped a dollar bill to a piece of paper and below it he wrote, Mom, here's some weed money. I wasn't really sure what to think of that but I am never really sure what to think of Anthony. He said it was a joke, but that still didn't give me any clarity on the card's meaning. Maggie drew me a pretty picture of a birthday cake. 

Greg and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at the end of June. We went out for dinner and a walk and then made a trip to the bookstore. It rained, which was lovely because it rained on our wedding day and believe it or not I'm a bit sentimental every once in twenty years and I thought, oh how sweet, this is just like our wedding day. Well, our wedding day plus four kids, several dogs, many friends and moves and houses and telephone numbers later and also a couple of  rather upsetting medical issues regarding a few of the kids, the births of many nieces and nephews and the death of a few loved ones and a hundred million other ridiculously good and bad things. So it was better than our wedding day. On June 26, 1993 Greg and I had only known each other for three short years and the amount of history between us was so small that there really were no stories to tell. There was the one about how we met and how we got engaged and how my Nana told my mother, upon meeting Greg, Barbara Ann, that boy is going to marry your daughter and a few other funny tales but really there was no meat like there is after twenty years. There is no way to talk simply about two decades of being together and now that I've written that I realize I'm a bit nervous about the next twenty years together. It's insane, people. Marriage is insane. Having children is insane. Insane in a good way and occasionally insane in the exact way you picture insanity to be, but it's still worth it and now I'll end my marriage thoughts with a sappy quote from an Avett Brothers song... "True love is not the kind of thing you should turn down. So don't ever turn it down."

Kate and Maggie are now both in public school. Maggie is in first grade and is extremely happy. Kate began her freshman year of high school after much worry and obsessing from me. I prayed, too, but never one to completely trust God I  gave into my worry on a regular basis until finally I had no choice but to accept the fact that I was sending her to school and things would either work out or they wouldn't, but worrying about it was not helping. So as soon as I entered that phase of acceptance I encountered an unpleasant secretary in the guidance office who made me feel as though I was trying to get Kate into Harvard rather than the local public school system and I started worrying again. There really is no other way to describe the secretary from guidance except to say she was a huge and royal pain in my ass and because of her I wasted an entire Sunday writing down detailed notes of Kate's curriculum from last year. After spending hours doing this I realized Kate has done an enormous amount of work and I was proud of myself because I'm not nearly as pathetic at homeschooling the kids as I thought. So then I had less ill will toward the guidance secretary because if not for her I wouldn't have known how truly awesome I am at homeschooling. But as luck would have it, I brought the many pages of detailed curriculum information to the guidance secretary on Monday morning and she went right back on my shit list. I need to remember to not take people off that list for any reason. As Oprah told me many years ago, when people show you who they are, believe them. When I handed the curriculum to her she reacted as if I had placed my own feces in her hands, which now that I think about would have been kind of fun.

After the woman I will now refer to as Guidance Ass told me she didn't think Kate would be enrolled in school by the first day I went out to the parking lot and picked up the phone and called my friend So and So and burst into tears. I don't ever call So and So. I text her and we get together for coffee, but I never call her. I never call anyone, so I can only describe my calling her as some kind of God thing and yes, I fully accept that all this blatant talk of God is making me feel not at all Catholic, but it's true people, God made me do it and he gets all the credit and trust me when I tell you, he has been fully thanked every single day. Within fifteen minutes of me calling So and So she found several people willing to help me and then she met me at Starbucks and talked me off the ledge and I suddenly knew everything would be fine. A friend of So and So's knows important people at the high school and so Kate was enrolled before her first day and she got every single class she wanted and even got all the best teachers, because So and So's friend made sure of it. Thank God and thank So and So and her friend, but definitely do not thank Guidance Ass.

The best part of this story is that Kate seems to be loving school. She told us tonight at dinner that she wakes up every morning excited to go. She is enjoying her classes and teachers and seems content and comfortable and has already met some people she likes very much. I can't convey how thrilled and relieved I am for her.

On that note, I must end this so I can get to bed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

This riding life - a longish post in which only the riders will be interested ( but only mildly)

I love riding my bike. Even when it's 95 degrees outside and I'm exhausted and riding up someplace like Sugarloaf Mountain ( yes, we have a road in Florida with the word mountain in it) and the top of the hill seems to be getting further away instead of closer; even when my water bottles are empty and I'm miles from anywhere and suddenly starving and wishing I had packed a little sugar, and the sun is beating down on my face and I remember I didn't put sun lotion on, which means my dark spots on my face are going to get darker and my wrinkles are going to come faster, even then I love being on my bike, especially then.

When it rains all day and I can't ride, which happened several times last week, I complain endlessly. I go out into the garage and open the door and pull my bike to the front, like maybe Mother Nature will see me do this and she'll be nice to me and act accordingly. I'll say listen Mother Nature, don't do it for me, do it for my family - you know I will make them suffer if you don't give into my demands. Sometimes Mother Nature can be a real bitch though and she decides she does want them to suffer and the rain just goes on and on. But still, I stand in the garage and stare up at the sky and look for any glimpse of sunlight breaking through. I know, I'm such a hopeful soul!

Last week was a tough one for me and my bike. So much rain. One night after dinner, despite the fact that every news station was reporting storms approaching, I decided I didn't care and was going to take a ride anyway. Greg told me not to go, but I ignored him. I left and headed toward Tangerine and  felt like I could will the storms away from my little area. Usually when I try and will things into happening it involves me closing my eyes and holding my breath, which is hard to do on my bike, so I just kept saying over and over, go away rain, go away rain, go away rain. I knew it wasn't working when someone pulled along side me in a car and asked if I was close to home because a big storm was about to hit, to which I could only say, "are you kidding me!? I had no idea! I wish I knew before I left!"  It was hard for me  to turn around though. Before I left for my ride I spent several minutes mocking Greg and his trust in Doppler radar. Going back home would mean he was right, but I knew if I didn't turn around he would just come looking for me. That's the kind of person he is. Caring, selfless, concerned.  I'm the kind of person who would rather risk getting struck by lightening than admit her husband was right, but I turned around and went home anyway.

Sure enough, as I was turning into my street, I saw Greg in his truck headed toward me. He rolled down his window and I rode over to him and in my most serious and sincere tone I asked him if he was going downtown for a walk. I couldn't help myself. I had to keep it up and keep pretending I didn't think it was going to rain. He said, no, he was going out to look for me, and I couldn't resist telling him that the only reason I came back home wasn't because I thought it was going to rain, but because I knew he would be looking for me. I know. I'm not nice at all. I made up for it a couple of days later though when he was leaving to play golf and I asked him if he had lost weight. This made him very happy. And it was true, he did look like he'd lost some weight (which can probably be attributed to my laziness lately regarding meals - we've had salad every night for the past week and half and not much else. And really calling it salad is being generous. It's more like lettuce, with a drizzle of olive oil on top.)

Sometimes I talk about riding my bike and people assume I like it so much because it's relaxing and peaceful and relieves my stress, which is true to some extent, but I'm still Ann Marie when I'm on that bike, which means I still act like the ass I am when I'm not on it ( those last two paragraph highlight this point nicely), just slightly less so. Like last week when an elderly person almost hit me. This happens a lot with the elderlies. It's like they think stop signs and traffic lights are optional. They've lived a long life and I guess at some point they believe they've earned the right to ignore traffic laws. Usually I don't care about having to dodge them, but last week  I yelled out, "old people suck!" I knew I should have felt bad for yelling that, but I started laughing at myself instead. Unfortunately I am the kind of person who sometimes thinks old people suck (mostly just when I'm on my bike trying to dodge them) and then I start thinking about all the things that remind me of elderly people, like butterscotch candy and perfect lawns and all the old people at the 4 o'clock Mass on Saturday evening who always leave right after Communion because they need to hurry up to the early bird special. If I'm on my bike having all these thoughts I'm generally filled with a sense of amusement, whereas if I'm off my bike having these same thoughts I feel complete annoyance - not about the butterscotch and perfect lawns, but definitely about leaving Mass early. Obviously being on my bike is beneficial for everyone.

My love of riding means going on Mapquest and spending too many hours looking up every road and trail in my state and figuring out how long it will take me to ride some of those routes. It means being in my car and seeing someone out riding and becoming overwhelmed with jealousy that I'm not out there too. Sometimes I  want to roll down my window and just yell, "I love you bike riding person!"( The more intelligent among us call those people cyclists, but I like my phrase better.) It means waking on a Saturday morning and telling Greg, in all seriousness, that I'm just going to take a quick four hour ride - and thinking this is completely reasonable and not understanding why my family thinks I have a slight problem. Mostly though, riding just means a few hours a day of peace and quiet and freedom. That's really all it is for me. Nothing bigger than that.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fun with Anthony!

When I'm stuck for something to write about I can always count on my son for material.

Anthony continues to delight me with his  laugh out loud antics. Oh it's all laughter over here, yes it is. Nothing but knee slappin' good times! Yesterday he came inside with a large wooden pole that was previously used as a door jam for our old sliding door. Since we no longer have use for the pole, Anthony told me he was going to make the world's most awesome pinata smasher with it. He was headed for the garage as he was saying this and immediately the thought entered my mind that the world's most awesome pinata smasher, according to Anthony, may include putting nails into it, so I said to him, "dear and wonderful son of mine, what exactly are you going to do to make this the world's most awesome pinata smasher" and he said, "oh, I'm gonna put nails in it." Do you see how well I know my son? Although, let's face it, anyone reading this post probably could have guessed the same thing - he's not exactly a puzzle, is he? Call me crazy, but something about the whole idea of hundreds of nails sticking out of a wooden pole seemed dangerous to me so I told him no, he would not be able to make the world's most awesome pinata smasher.

With his nails in a wooden pole idea shot down Anthony moved onto more productive things. He grabbed my kitchen blender and about fifty sheets paper and went into his bedroom. Greg was home by this point and glanced up at me with a look of concern on his face. I told him about the previous pinata smasher idea and then he looked at me like, oh, okay, so whatever he's doing with that blender is an improvement over the last idea. This is how it goes with Anthony. He comes up with so many ridiculous ideas that eventually whatever it is he has finally settled on seems normal.

It turns out he was blending water and paper and flower seeds together. He made little balls with this concoction and then let them dry over night. This morning he placed the dried up paper balls out in our back yard where they will sprout wild flowers all over the place. This is a real thing. He read about it on the Internets and after he told me what he was doing I was kind of grateful because our backyard needs a little sprucing up and I had no intention making that happen.

Now don't go getting all jealous of me. It's not all fun and games over here with Anthony. Would you like to know the most horrific part of my day with him? Math time. If I die of a heart attack I know exactly when and where it will occur - in my kitchen, with Anthony's math book clenched in hands, at approximately 10:30 on a weekday morning. And when the ambulance comes to take me away, Anthony will be sitting at the table still trying to figure out 3 times 4 and telling everyone within ear shot that I never taught him his times tables and when one of his sisters points out that yes, I did teach him, he'll move onto his next excuse which is that he has short term memory loss and he can't help it, he just can't remember anything. This is our routine. Me teaching him something and thinking he's got it and then three minutes later when I ask him to do a problem showing what he just learned he looks at me and asks if I'm sure I taught him this and when I nearly explode he tells me I shouldn't get mad because even though it seems far fetched, he really thinks he has short term memory loss, which is why ( according to him) he should never, ever go back to school.

Oh look, it's almost like I wrote a real post here, minus an introduction and conclusion, but who needs any of that. I'm tired. Good night.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More stuff

Oh look! Another post and it hasn't even been a full week. I'm ambitious.

We're on spring break this week and the weather is not spring break weather. It was in the 60's yesterday. People are saying how refreshing it is. It isn't refreshing. If this was the middle of August and we were having 99 degree days with 150 percent humidity, then it would be refreshing. But people, really, what on earth are you being refreshed from? The weather has not been warm here. Stop being careless with your words. This weather is the opposite of refreshing - it's annoying. Someone said yesterday, "well, it could be worse, it could be snowing out." No, actually it really couldn't be snowing out. We live in Florida. We don't get snow, so no, please just stop making ridiculous arguments. I want warmth. I want to be out walking in the morning and actually break a sweat. I want to get off my bike and be drenched. So come on Florida, get your act together and get warm.

Speaking of walking in the morning...I was out the other morning finishing up my walk and while I was on the corner of Highland and Liberty, I happened upon a man laying face down in the bushes, covered in toilet paper. Thankfully I was in my car when I saw him. Sometimes I leave for my walks straight from my house, but other times I get in my car, drive down the street and park somewhere. I do this so that on the way back home I can avoid the slow walk up my hill in which neighbors see me and wave and sometimes talk. If I'm in my car I can just drive up my street and get out of my car and look down at the ground, avoiding contact with chatty neighbors. So anyway, I was in my car pulling out of the parking lot on Liberty and Highland and that's when I spotted what I was pretty certain was a person. Because it was so early out and still quite dark, I decided to flash my high beams and sure enough, up popped a person's head. Said person just stared at me as though I was rude for waking him and honestly I did feel kind of bad about that once I realized he wasn't dead. I asked him if he was okay and he made some remark about having had a fight with his boyfriend the night before and so I guess he found his way there to that nice cozy bush.And really, who among us can claim to have never fallen asleep in a bush? No judgments from me on that one. I asked if he needed anything and he said no thanks and went right back to relaxing face down, right in that bush. I hope he worked it out with his boyfriend. Sleeping in a bush for one evening is okay, anything more than that and it becomes somewhat uncomfortable.

Speaking of men and their boyfriends, did you hear that the Supreme Court is hearing arguments regarding same-sex marriage? I know, you hadn't even heard about this and now you have me to thank for informing you! I like to stay on top of things. Okay, I admit, I didn't know any of this until about five minutes ago when I went on Google and something about it popped up and I thought, hum what's going on, should I make myself aware of this, should I educate myself and become involved and concerned? Well, as it turns out, the way the Supreme Court works it doesn't even matter what I think about any of this ( RUDE!), nor does it matter if I am at all educated on the matter, so I decided to just check back in a  few months when all of this will be decided. Yes, it's true. It seems that a ruling on the matter won't be given until June so we only have two to three more months to listen to people on both sides give profound and moving insights into why they are right and you are nothing but a complete ignoramus. Do you care to hear my insights? Oh please, you should know better. I don't talk about this stuff. Rest assured though, if you feel like giving me your thoughts on the matter I will listen and then, depending on your stance, I will either think you are brilliant, or an ignoramus. Roll the dice and take you chances, people. You just never know where you'll end up with me.

Well, children are getting restless and my behind is getting numb from sitting here so I will end this. Don't forget to watch  the Florida Gulf Coast/ University of Florida Gainesville game on Thursday night. While we may not all share the same views on gay marriage, there is one thing I know we can all agree on - Gator Nation is filled with the largest number of arrogant jerks ever to roam the face of the earth so with any luck, Florida Gulf Coast will win. GO EAGLES!!!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Some things

I keep on letting way too much time pass between posts. Here is some stuff from recent days.

Maggie - I'm going to be an astronaut when I grow up.

Me - That's awesome, Maggie. Why do you want to be an astronaut?

Maggie - So I can blast off into outer space and see the whole world!

Me - (trying not to melt from her cuteness) Well, that's great. You have to work really hard in school and do all your work if you want to be an astronaut.

Maggie - (stares at me for a minute) I don't want to be an astronaut, I was just kidding.

Um, we may have an underachiever among us, but she sure did make me laugh hard with that one.

And here is  a typical conversation from Anthony that we have just about everyday.

Anthony - Mom, do we have hydrogen peroxide, bleach and matches?

Me - No. Just no.

Anthony - No we don't have those things, or no, we do have them but you won't let me have them?

Me - Get out!

He's a royal pain in the ass, but he makes me laugh. A lot.

Kate and I went to the library to see a talking presentation of two actors portraying Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. Would you care for some highlights?

First, the audience. Kate and I were just about the only people in the room not eligible for AARP. We expected this as it was 2 pm and honestly, the only people who have leisure time at that hour are old people, and me and my kids. The crowd shook their heads yes and no a lot and laughed at all the right parts. By the way, who knew Abe Lincoln was such a hoot? I kept looking at Kate because I found the whole scene somewhat amusing and then she turned to me and told me to stop it. Yes, my fourteen year old does routinely have to tell me to behave.

Lincoln had a parenting style I quite like. He let his children do whatever they wanted because he believed children shouldn't be too restricted by parents and their rules. Parenting is hard and exhausting and I've spent an enormous amount of time and energy trying to get out of actually doing it. I don't mean I want to get rid of my kids, I just want to get out of having to parent them. When I learned today that the same man who championed the 13th amendment was lax in his parenting style I decided, hey, if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me. This frees up a lot of my time.

Mary Todd Lincoln was a rather unpleasant person on occasion. She was given to ridiculous fits of hysteria over things that would have had other people simply shaking their head in mild annoyance. Oh Mary , you had me at ridiculous fits of hysteria. This particular behavior of hers wasn't news to me, but the following was -  one of the main reasons she wanted her husband to win re-election was because she had gotten herself into so much debt buying all manner of fancy things that if her husband won the race she would have four more years with which to hide her money troubles from him. Is it possible I am Mary Todd Lincoln reincarnated? The fits of hysteria, the hiding of money woes from spouse. If I had learned she picked her lips it would have been all over and I would have had no choice but to get up and leave. It would have been too much to bear.

The actor portraying Lincoln recited a few of Lincoln's speeches and would you believe I nearly cried while I was listening. What can I say. I am a hopeless sucker for the well written speech. I may also be getting my period soon.

I have included all of my children in this post except for my eldest. Hum, I think I can sum up the past few weeks from Jane by saying she has asked me to drive her to at least 4398 places. I said no to most of those requests. She's also been out and about with friends and since she's fresh out of babysitting money,  right before she heads out she asks me or her dad for money and she always says this, "but I mean I probably won't need it, it's just in case of emergency, I'll bring home the change." We all know how that ends.  Also, she wants her haircut and every night, right around 11:30 PM she asks why I haven't made an appointment for her to which I always say, why are you bringing this up at 11:30 at night. Remind me during the day. Then, the next day, around 11:30 pm, she asks me again when I will make her appointment. This has been going on for several days now. I guess since I have just written about it I should go make the appointment now while it's on my mind, but then I will miss her asking me tonight at 11:30 if I made the appointment, so no, I think I will not do that.

So there you have. A brief glimpse into my life the past few weeks. And yes, it is exactly as glamorous as it seems here in this post. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dear Maggie,

Someday you'll grow up and you may not remember much about being six. I'll be old and there's a possibility that I will have lost the rest of what is left of my mind by then. When you ask me about this time in your life I won't know what to say, so I think I should jot down a few things now, while I still I have my wits about me.

You were very excited on your birthday this year. You woke up and came bursting out of your bedroom door, skipping and yelling, "I'm six! I'm six!" It was such a happy show of complete joy that I almost started crying. I don't get to see that kind of unbridled enthusiasm anymore with your three older siblings. Two of them are teenagers and the other is twelve and something happens around that time. They believe overt displays of happiness and glee are a bit gross.  Dramatic exits and entrances are much more their style, and if they really want to make a statement they're prone to sit in a room and stew and seethe in silence hoping  that I finally beg and plead of them, "What is the matter? Please tell me what is wrong! I must know!" They sigh and say, "oh nothing" and then they get up and slowly walk into another room, but not before turning around to see if I am following behind to ask them just one more time what's wrong. (Maggie, I hardly ever follow anymore. )

Someday you too will stew and refuse to tell me what's wrong, but right now you are at a point in your life where you have no inhibitions. Whatever is on your mind, whatever emotion you are feeling, it just spills out of you. If someone has a blemish on their face, you are the first one to point it out ( you're sisters and brother don't find this as amusing as I do) . When you asked a few months ago how I fed you when you were a baby and I told you I fed you breast milk, you gagged. You found the thought of it so revolting that you ran in your room and sobbed for a full five minutes. When you finally came out you told me you were mad at me and said to never talk about that again. Then you got over it and went back to talking about unicorns and pink dolphins and the giant lollipop I promised you earlier in the day. You move on from upsetting things at a brisk pace. There is no mulling over and discussing and obsessing and that's good because someday you'll spend entire weeks mulling over things as ridiculous as whether or not someone you knew saw you and tried to pretend they didn't see you ( even though you were doing the same thing to them). Enjoy your carefree days while you can. They are fleeting.

You came home from school last week and told me you wanted to invite everyone in your class to your birthday party, except for that one girl who doesn't want to be your friend. You weren't mean about it though. You know she doesn't like you and so you realized she wouldn't want to be at your party anyway. It hasn't entered your mind yet to try and make her like you. People either like you or they don't and it's of no consequence to you. Your feelings aren't hurt by this. Embrace this for a little while Maggie, because unless you are like your dad, you will come to a point in your life when you will try desperately to get someones approval. Sadly the person who you are trying to get it from will probably be a total ass not worthy of your time, but I won't bother telling you that because you would only raise your eyes and tell me I don't get it, I don't understand. Of course the good news is that as you approach mid-life you'll go back to not caring who likes you and you will hardly ever go out of you way looking for approval.

You tell me ten times a day that you never want to move out of this house. When Jane or Kate or Anthony mention things about going away to college someday, or getting married eventually and moving into their own home, you say no, no one can ever leave here, and then you cry and sob until we all say, okay, okay, no one is ever moving out. It's incomprehensible to you that we won't always be together forever in our tiny little house. The logical part of my brain, the part I try to ignore, knows that someday you will not feel this way, that you'll want to leave here and you'll want to start making memories that have nothing to do with all of us.

Life moves forward regardless of how much I keep telling it not to. Next year, you will be different from this year, and every year that passes after that will put your six year old self at such a distance that all you'll really have is feelings of this age. I know this because that's what has happened to me. I have a picture of me and Nana DeVito hanging above my desk. I bet I'm six years old in it. My hand is on Nana's shoulder, I'm standing behind her and she's sitting down opening a present. I have no memory of that day, only a feeling. I was excited and happy. If every memory of this time in your life vanishes from your mind I hope you at least can remember the feeling of it, the feeling of being adored and cherished.

One last thing. If you're reading this as an adult, you by now have encountered someone who felt it necessary to tell you that you, Maggie Hacic, are not the center of the universe. If that person was me, please remind me that I spoiled you more than I should have and made a much bigger deal out of every one of your accomplishments than was appropriate and that it was I who created the monster who now thinks she is the center of the universe. And if it wasn't me who told you that,  tell the person to kiss your ass and then send them my way.

We love you, Maggie! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Maggie started school in January. I know school starts in August around here, but I didn't feel like sending her then, so I didn't. Someone asked if I could even do that, just go ahead and pick a time and month for school to begin and I said, well I did it and no one stopped me, so yes, I can. Around here we kind of do what we want regarding the kids and really, everything else. We do this so that in fifty years parents the world over can look at our family and see what not to do. We consider it our public service to all future generations.

Maggie started school on the Thursday after Christmas break ended. Greg and I brought her in together. (The rest of the family begged to come in as well, but I refused to let them as I worried it may create a Hee Haw effect.) We hoped to meet her teacher, but she was absent.  One of the other kindergarten teachers came to greet us and she looked at me and immediately recognized me as the parent of one Anthony Hacic. I laughed and said oh yes, there's no denying it, that lad is all mine!

Greg then took it upon himself to give this teacher some random information about our daughter. He mentioned that Maggie is almost always barefoot so getting her to put shoes on this morning was a huge struggle. She's never been to any kind of school and her very best friend is an 80 year man from West Virginia, and oh, she doesn't really like to go to bed before eleven PM. I couldn't make him stop talking by staring intently at him, so I finally talked over him until I was drowning out the sound of his voice and the teacher was forced to listen to me talk about the fact that we've done some school at home, and Maggie was  so excited and eager to be here and she does wear shoes more often than my husband was making it seem, she wears shoes at least once a week for sure when we go to church. We left. I didn't cry. I felt happy knowing that we hadn't met the real teacher. I knew if I could get in there without Greg I could make a good impression and not make Maggie sound like a mountain goat.

I went to school the next day and again, the teacher was absent. I wanted to say, couldn't the teacher have gotten sick on vacation? I mean I was showered and dressed and wearing make up two days in a row now hoping to meet this woman and the chances of me being able to pull this off a third time seemed unlikely, but I left and put the whole thing out of my mind. Finally, on Monday morning I was able to meet her. She seemed nice and I made no mention of Maggie's aversion to shoes or her 80 year old best friend from West Virginia. She told me Maggie would be fine and not to worry about anything.

Every morning I drove Maggie to school and every afternoon I went to pick her up. She was always excited to tell me about her day but she always started by telling me she had some worksheets to finish because she hadn't finished them in school like all the other kids. I said, are you sad that you are the only one bringing work home and she said, NOPE! After this happened several days in a row, I wondered if maybe I should go ahead and ask the teacher if Maggie was the only child not finishing her worksheets. I sent a note in. A few days passed and I heard from the teacher, who said, yes, please feel free to come in, so that's what I did. This made four days in one month that I had showered and dressed, and put make up on, and done my hair, and worn something other than yoga pants, all before 8 AM. No matter what the teacher would tell me about Maggie I was proud of myself. School was turning out to be good for me.

I got to the class and sat down in one of those tiny chairs and waited to hear what the teacher would say. She said, "Maggie knows everything she needs to know. She is really cute and kind to the other kids. But she is slow. Not as in mentally slow, as in, she does what she wants at her own pace and doesn't seem to be at all bothered by the fact that she is slow. I tried to get her to work faster by bribing her with rewards, but she just looked up at me and told me she didn't feel like doing these worksheets because they are boring and instead why doesn't she just go and play in the centers. ( here the teacher laughed as though this was funny and not annoying. A good sign) Maggie talks about centers a lot. She puts her pencil down and wanders over to the centers and when I direct her back to her seat she says, very politely, those are boring, I think I should do centers instead.  And when she does agree to do a worksheet she is slow."  So I said, "hum, is she confused?" And she said, "no, she is not confused, she just doesn't seem to see the need to hurry and she really doesn't like the worksheets."

So then I had to do it. I had to tell the teacher about Maggie's 80 year old best friend from West Virginia. I had to tell her how Maggie gets up and walks over to Jack's house in her bare feet and goes into the chicken coop with Jack and they take several minutes to gather the eggs and then they go into Jack's kitchen and Maggie washes her hands and gets the bacon out and they separate it and fry it up and scramble some eggs or sometimes they boil them and yes, boiling takes some time, but these two have nothing but time. Sometime around two hours after they've started breakfast they are ready to sit down and eat  and that takes about two more hours. I'm really sorry about this. I think Maggie would probably be perfectly suited for West Virginia mountain life,  but I could see how her ease at letting everything happen at its own pace was probably not too much fun for the teacher and I would be willing to do whatever I could to make things easier for both her and Maggie.

The teacher seemed to be amused by Maggie and her best friend and said, well, I have to tell you she isn't even the slowest child here. There's a group of them who are quite relaxed,  and I said, so they are special like Maggie and she laughed and said, yes, I think someday I'll stick them at a table together and see what happens. I said I thought that would be a terrific idea, could I come and document it. We agreed that we were both okay with Maggie only doing one worksheet and not the five that the rest of the class was doing. She felt confident that in a few weeks Maggie would be fine and doing everything on time and there was nothing to worry about. Sure enough, today Maggie she got into the car and said she finished all her worksheets and when I opened her backpack to make sure she was telling the truth this time, she was. Success!

Next time I'll tell you about Valentine's Day and Maggie's attempt to steal the fancy chocolate I bought for her teacher.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Writing and riding and living

This blog is in need of a major update. My mood in December took quite a long time to lift, but I've been feeling relief the past couple of weeks so I will force myself to sit and write.

Although I haven't been writing lately, I have been doing a lot of reading about writing and every book says the same thing; in order to get better at writing you need to write everyday, even when you don't feel like it. This piece of advice ends up applying to many things. The more you do the thing you should do (but that you have no desire to), the easier it becomes, the better you get, the more you enjoy what it is you are trying to master. As a woman mired in mediocrity and doing just what I have to do get by, I find all of this irritating. Even though I know there are many things I should be doing every single day, it's just not going to happen because all of that doing is hard.

Writing is hard. Even bad writing is hard. I know because I've been doing it for years now. This is when you all come in with the comments about what an amazing writer I am (please!) and I fend off the compliments with my self deprecating wit. Did you know that using cheap gimmicks like I just did right there is a sign of a bad writer? That's the great thing about reading books about writing. You learn about all the things that make for shitty writing and then you become gripped with with fear to the point of not even wanting to write and then when you do decide to maybe put something down on paper, you have no idea what you are doing anymore.

So yes, I read several books about writing and the only thing I can remember is all the stuff about what to avoid and now I just want to start using bad cliches, and switching tenses, and adding useless words like very over and over, and just being wordy in general. I always feel some compulsion to do what I was told not to do. I think many people are like this. Like when people see me drinking diet coke and tell me it causes cancer. I  want to drink more and sometimes I even want to throw some diet coke in the face of the person who feels compelled to tell me how to live my life. That's  the kind of person I am. I seem pleasant enough, but most likely if you piss me off I'm thinking about ways to inflict some kind of humiliation on you. It sounds cruel and petty, I know, but really it amuses me and keeps the rage at bay.

Speaking of which, I went for a bike ride on Saturday and I was feeling ragey for a solid three hours. It was windy and grey and awful outside. Rage can ruin a bike ride. I started yelling out things as I was riding like argh, and son of a bitch, and I finally succumbed and dropped a loud  f bomb over on 561. It was so windy that it honestly got to the point where I could barely pedal and I thought about giving up and calling Greg to come get me. But that would involve admitting where I was and then he would have given me a lecture about how he needs to get more life insurance on me because I ride in places I shouldn't be riding. I would have said, please, this is perfectly safe, plenty of people ride over here, and he would have said he isn't married to plenty of people. I would have looked at him and imagined throwing a huge diet coke in his face or maybe even a bike, since I do like to keep my imaginary acts of violence related to the topic at hand. And I probably would have called him a dream killer too. Suddenly, having him come get me didn't seem worth the trouble. I finished the bike ride and ended up being happy at the end, which is always what happens when I finish a ride.

My bike ride was much like the past several weeks of my life. Things sucked and I wanted to quit, but then things got better and I was happy again. I kept calling people and annoying them. People like my sister and my dear friend, X ( not her real name), who just sat and listened to my nonsense. At one point I  told X to just go and find new friends because I was lousy and would only infect her with my lousiness. This was X's first experience with my truly horrible and immature behavior and although she was probably shocked by my awfulness, she thankfully she didn't let on and didn't run away. She will never get rid of me now. My sister, she is used to me, but still, the phone calls filled with negativity and feeling sorry for myself and lamenting every choice I ever made must have been tiresome. If you manage to find people who sit and listen to your foolishness and resist giving you unsolicited advice, you should be grateful. My sister and X are the opposite of the diet coke police. They are fully aware that I'm acting like an ass but they know enough to just shut up and listen and make some jokes now and again to try and alleviate some of the misery. They know how to avert having an imaginary diet coke thrown in their imaginary faces.

For the most part, so does my husband. He was forced to live with me and endure hours and hours of my obsessive worry. He listened and every once in awhile he would say something and I would think, oh whatever, what do you know. So I went and talked to Fr. Robert to get some expert advice and he kept saying things which sounded vaguely familiar, and at one point it hit me and I said, oh, you know what, my husband said that. And then he said something else and I said, oh yeah, my husband said that too and after this went on for a little while Fr. Robert looked at me and said, Ann Marie, maybe you should start listening to your husband. What a novel idea! Ladies, have you ever heard anything so interesting before? Listen to your husband? Who knew? Anyway, I went home and told my husband and he didn't even gloat, he kind of laughed for a second and went on doing whatever it was he was doing and I realized I really do like him of a lot. That's the thing about marriage. You wake up in the morning wanting to throw diet coke at your spouse and by the end of the day you are wondering how you would have made it through the past twenty years without him or her.

So yeah, the past several weeks were not so great and I complained about stuff a lot and didn't write anything, but then, because life is the way it is (thank you, God), something happened and suddenly things looked brighter and less hopeless and there was some relief. There was a little shift that made getting out of bed much easier and it made me thankful I had gone through some weeks of agony because what's the point of life if you are always living on a high. It gets boring. At least for me it does. And hopefully for a little while now I will I write more than once every couple of months. Thanks for listening, capicola farts! I hope I didn't lose you all in my absence.