Tuesday, May 29, 2012

He awes me.

   We're still at "the commune", and we're getting to the point where everyone is pretty much over everything about each other. We still love each other but it gets hard when there's one bathroom for: 5 or 6 adults, 2 fully potty trained child and one newly potty training child.
   Not to mention we're all used to parenting our own ways and our own kids and now we're collectively watching 3 kids (the infant doesn't count, she's *singing* AWEsome) with 3 different parenting techniques until a couple weeks ago.
   To say day-to-day life is taxing, might be an understatement.
   But we're still all here, kids are all breathing and we've got one helluva built-in support system.
"you take the good, you take the bad....the facts of life"

   Yesterday, Nixon and I had a short "Mommy & Me" date. Just the 2 of us, partly because Mac wouldn't want to do what I had planned, but mostly because we used to have days like that all the time in Okinawa and it seemed like a good time to start doing those again.
   We got in the car, intending to go to one place, but wound up at a State Park instead. I paid the very reasonable parking fee and we just drove around the park until we saw an area that peaked our interest. We stopped at the marina, as it turned out.
   We walked across a wooden bridge and headed into some forest area. I was loving it! I forgot how calming I've always found trees and being surrounded by them to be.
    We spent about an hour just walking while I snapped some pictures before going back towards the bridge and the car. As we got to the car, Nixon saw a jet ski for the first time.
He got all excited and exclaimed "Look mommy a water motorcycle!"
I was puzzled at first, then saw what he saw and said, "Yep, I guess that's as good a description as any.", because really unless he'd called it a motorcycle boat, he couldn't have described what he was seeing any more perfect.
   Of course, I'm his mother, so I might be biased.

   Nixon's also obsessed with shapes. He loves pointing them out where ever we go. Now that we're back in the states with larger vehicles, he's in the middle of the backseat, as he should've always been but the Japanese car was only a 4-seater, so no middle seat. He is so happy now, seeing everything I see, even though he's sitting behind me.

This conversation we had, in the car, during a lengthy 2-way stop sign stop:  
Nixon: Look mom, a red octogon
me: Well it's red but that's a hexagon but good call.
Nixon: s-t-o-p....mommy?
me: yes, baby.
Nixon: Why are there letters on the red *he pauses and thinks for a second before continuing* hexagon?
me: Nixon, did you just read the letters off that sign???
Nixon: uh-huh (I glance in the mirror and see a GIANT smile on my son's face!)
me: Well, s-t-o-p spells "Stop" and that means I have to stop the car. Just like at a red light.
Nixon: 'cause red means stop?
me: Exactly because red means stop! Awesome job.
me: Nixon, would you like to learn how to put more letters together and make more words?
Nixon: okay, but not now.
me: Oh?
Nixon: now we're going to walk together.

Oh, he does know how to melt my heart!
Nixon, crossing the bridge

tranquility thy name is whispered in the trees

Nixon's newest, and greatest to-date, smile of achievement

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Okinawa, untold nameless stories

I've got some time on my hands, so I thought I'd write a post abut things I've learned from 3 years of living on an island in the middle of the ocean as a foreigner, a military spouse, mother and most of all as a woman. I've learned a lot about who I am and what I'm made of.

 PREGNANT WOMEN ARE SMUG (and batshit crazy)
No offense to any of my normal friends who are pregnant, but there's something in the water here on Okinawa, that just bumps up the crazy in these bitches as soon as they get knocked up! First there was FG, who didn't even WANT another child yet, but got pregnant to shut her husband up. BUT I'm the asshole in this picture, because when she's crying to me about how horrible she feels and how she just doesn't want this baby even if her husband does, I remind her there are options....I hear I told her to kill her baby because I hate all families with more than one child! What.The.Fuck! (**for the record, she had the baby and is now getting divorced, according to the wide world of facebook friends networks**)
Then there was the second woman, who was a new friend but I'd have considered a friend none-the-less. She gets pregnant and the DAY....yes the motherfucking DAY, she gets the positive pregnancy test, she parked in goddamned expectant mother parking at the fucking commissary!! I shit you not, yo! Her doctor hadn't even seen her yet, but that stick had 2 lines so she felt since she had a toddler and a pee stick, she could park there because she was SOOOOOO tired!
Same woman, later in her pregnancy (because I overlooked that first flag), we had a playdate and went to lunch. Her child is 9mos to a year younger than Nixon, and Nixon is tall for his age, we've established this. At lunch, Nixon had an apple to eat and was seated in the booth next to me. Well, SHE comes over with her son, who refuses to sit in the highchair, but since there were 3 moms and 3 kids (2 kids who are too big for highchairs: Nixon and Miss Macy) there's not really an option. She asks if one of the older kids will sit in the chair so her spawn can sit in the booth and let her eat in peace. I get Nixon in the chair, with no issue, apple in hand and he's quietly eating his apple and watching the tv that was on in the corner behind us. This crazy B has the nerve to say "Well sure, if there's a tv and food any kid will sit quietly no matter what". No bitch, they will fucking not, know how I know....look at your spawn! My son sat there, and was an angel (I rarely say that EVER, let alone about Nixon! lol) while your spawn STILL didn't eat or sit down for that matter.
Finally, after she birthed that 2nd child as "God intended women to", she was "too busy" for playdates with Nixon and I. Fine, to be honest I was quite a bit relieved. Until I heard from K, that she'd been invited to go on a playdate with crazy B and her brood just a couple days after I'd contacted cB about setting up a playdate for us. Hmmmm....I got a message from cB a few weeks later, letting me know that she's working on figuring out parenting 2 kids (her 2nd child was 4 months old by now) and she'd love to get together with us "some time next week. Let's make this happen". When I didn't/couldn't "make this happen" on her time table....cB used the delete button on Facebook, which as we all know is the end of any friendship or relationship these days.
**Look, I'm sorry but just because I "only" have one kid, doesn't mean we sit around waiting for everyone to get settled and invite us. I extended invites and either never heard from her, got blown off, or heard she was hanging with other "new" moms. I'm not jealous of that. I'm pissed off that people can't just tell me the truth..."You can't possibly relate to me now that I have 2 kids, with your life of only one child, so I'm going to stop being friends with you". I'm a big girl and I can handle it....but my son, he's a small child and he doesn't/didn't understand why he wasn't seeing his friends anymore. Thank GODDESS for K and Miss Macy during the cB shit, cause otherwise Nixon wouldn't have had anyone to play with.
And all cause, pregnant bitches be crazy yo!

Okinawa will be forever remembered in my mind for 2 things: batshit crazy pregnant bitches (by the barrel full) and the evil, cut-throat world of internet yardsalling. 
There's several options when it comes to selling/ get rid of items you no longer want. You can donate, which we did in spades. We donated books to the USO and clothes/household items/toys and more books to the base thrift store. Those of course made us squat financially. 
Then there's local flea markets, but since you have to get there before the sun rises and cock crows to get a "good spot", it wasn't an option for me. And since I'm the one who's been dealing with all the crap-getting-rid-of-for-money decisions, that was the end of that. 
Finally, there's an actual yardsale site (closed on Sunday...apparently to encourage family time?!?! or some such bullshit reason why an interest yard sale site would be closed on a weekend day) and in the recent past, several similar pages have turned up on facebook.
We (I) listed our car, for a fair price...it's a good car and has some perks to it, that really matter here on island (a year left on the japanese inspection of the vehicle...pricey thing to get done), paid road tax (similar state registration), no excessive body damage, runs good, etc. I listed it for $750, we wanted a quick, no hassle sale. Within an hour of posting it, my inbox was filling up with people who wanted it! One woman was very interested, willing to put a deposit down the next day, interested. After emailing her back and forth, I changed the listing to *Pending Deposit*, foolishly thinking this would let people know it's spoken for, but not removing it in the event the sale fell through. Smart right??
Apparently not in the very cut throat, feed your liver to the dogs world of Okinawa car sales. I got emails that offered lower money (they'd pay the insurance for us), offers to pay cash now and LET us drive the car...in other words, exactly what we'd already said would have to happen. But the very best offer was from the guy who said "I'll pay you $500 cash tonight, do all the transfer paperwork for you AND let you keep the keys until I need to bring you to the airport", so for $500 I get a new best friend/personal assistant who can make miracles happen?!?!? WOW, how'd I let that one pass me by? Oh yeah, that's right...because no one can do the transfer without the current owner and new owner present. At least, not the legal way and no way in hell am I going to give a stranger power-of-attorney to do something I can do myself!

I came, I saw, I survived.....and I left with the same number of kids I arrived with!

   Okinawa is commonly called a "2 kid duty station". Meaning you'll have a couple kids while stationed there. It's no wonder. There's nothing to do during typhoons, half the time. The summers are hot and sticky, so I can't understand all the humping going on then....but the winters are nice and sometimes it does get cold enough I'd let, or even WANT, Mac to touch me for the extra body heat. Well, that and I'm too lazy to get out of bed and turn on the heat, when I have a perfectly function-able warm body in bed next to me. 
   I guess what some people forget is: birth control is not new. According to Okinawa statistics, 3 in 1 condoms fail, 75% of all oral birth control will fail and even mirena/IUD's fail more than 10% of the time. This is not even counting the one-night stands who were too drunk to USE a condom or birth control. It's insane how many "oppsies" are walking/talking/sprouting/bumping around that island! 
   My family...we're enigmas. We spent 37 months on an island in the middle of the Pacific Sea, and have only one child. The only time I ever saw OB/GYN floor was when my primary physician thought my uterus was collapsing and I needed an immediate second opinion. (It wasn't. It turns out my primary physician mistook my tilted uterus for a collapsing one.....fucking moron!)
   But it leads me to my next point: 

Only on Okinawa, will you find yourself wishing for cancer, if only for the paid off island vacation time

I wish I were joking. But there comes a time, about a year to eighteen months, into your time on Okinawa, where you start to fantasize about any number of ways to get off Okinawa, without paying over $3k to get there and without trying to work the Space-A system to your advantage. 
   In my case, I was praying that my uterus was collapsing and that I'd need a complete hysterectomy. I was keeping fingers crossed I'd get sent to Hawaii, the closest place for major surgeries, with Nixon and Mac by my side. I was hoping I'd be able to work up tears, when given the news, to convey how earth shattering this diagnosis was.
   I was hoping for cancer! What the hell did Okinawa do to me?? WHO wishes for cancer?? Me. And I never got it either....I know it's in there!! But it just refused to give me an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii. Instead it'll lay dormant until I least expect it. Like the week before my 36th birthday, or some such random shitty day. 

Bitches be batshit crazy......because there's bat shit in the water!

   It's like a circle....
Okinawa has horrible water. Apparently, everyone drinks it, since everyone get pregnant. I didn't drink it, and I never got pregnant. 
Okinawa also has some of the LARGEST fucking bats I've ever seen! They're huge!! They'd carry a small child away, if they were inclined to do so. But since they eat bugs and other insects, the kids were safe. But these furry, winged, screeching creatures do have to poop somewhere. 
The poop get washed off of everything in the rain. 
The rain gets collected for island-wide consumption. 
Local fruits and veggies get watered with this water.
Those fruits and veggies get consumed by perfectly sane women of a child-baring age.
Those women get pregnant, and after consuming the local fresh produce and drinking the water, 
   they become BATSHIT CRAZY! 

BAM I just blew your minds! The pregnancy is the catalyst that sets off the bat-shit crazy brain waves! The excess blood flow to the uterus for the growing fetus, somehow triggers those crazy nuggets the bat ingested, and before you know it you have an island of bat-shit crazy pregnant women that no one knows how to deal with....unless by deal you mean avoid at all costs. 
Cause that worked for me, once I realized I was only sane because I wasn't eating local produce and drinking tap water.

Every wife with a camera is suddenly a "photographer"

  Beaches plus year-round sunshine plus a lack of ample jobs for military spouses will lead to an unreal amount of "photographers"! 
  Everyone who has a few bucks, some free time and a basic knowledge of Photoshop will try to start a photography business. Some have real talent and do it because they love it. Others see it as easy money and  that is their sole goal....you'll be able to tell whom is who. After a good photographer gets a good base group of loyal clients word-of-mouth is good enough to get the word out. Occasionally there will be a random photo contest or special event shoot, around holidays, but the prices and offers remain the same.
  Then we have the fake-ass photographers who are in it for the money and have no real talent. They build the same kind of loyal business, but when they've got  good group...they jump their prices up by nearly 5 times, they start claiming the photos they take are "artistic property", and they have a mini session (aka reason to make a quick $1000+ over a weekend) for nearly every fucking month of the year! This type I have issue with.
   One of the fake-ass ones happened to have been offering a live bunny mini-session. I was convinced this was perfect, since i thought Nix would be afraid of the costumed guy. So we did it. Except the day before, Nixon fell at the zoo and had a wicked brushburn on the middle of his forehead. As his mom, I didn't care too much. I figured it's a memory with some pizzazz! The photographer says "Oh I can fix that no problem." Cool, cool.
   Except when I saw her posting on other professional photographer pages about to to correct it. And then when I got the photos, I was given a corrupted disk. I had to do what I know how to do and retrieve the photos, resave them and then view them. And in the process, I got to see the raw images. (Photographers untouched images are called raw. Think of it like meat, before it touches the grill/stove/oven. It's raw.)
   Please, repeat after me....grass is green, grass is green, GRASS IS MOTHERFUCKING GREEN!!! Not yellow green with a horrible sick green tint all over everything!
   And by "fixing" Nixon's booboo on his head, she masked his forehead and erased half of his hair!!She gave him a 5head, y'all!!

Moral of the story?? Unless you're sure you know how to correct something, and a parent is asking for it to be corrected/edited...please do not offer to do so and think you're being nice. Some of us parents actually know how to take photos but choose to let someone else have the pleasure of "wrangling" their kid(s).

And then I left Okinawa so the truth could be told!!! LOL
  Mac spent a lot of our time in Oki, asking me to "play nice" since he worked with these people or their spouses.
   Guess what?? I'm not in Oki anymore, bitches!!

   Here's a tip: if you don't enjoy photographing toddlers....probably shouldn't say that to me, the mother of a toddler you'll be photographing in a couple days. Makes me a little pissy to think you actually dislike my child purely for his age. But then again, I dislike you purely for being from Texas and thinking your shit doesn't stink because you married the boy you met at age 10, while looking down your nose at my husband and I because we were in our late 20's/almost 30 when we met and got married. And yes, we've had sex....a lot of it, before each other, but if I can look at him and not see the other women, how's about you shut your prudish mouth IN MY HOME about it??? 
   And by the way....it's never okay to give "parenting" advise, from a book you read, during your 9 month stint working in a daycare! How's that book-learning working now that you have a real kid, eh??

  Forums are the devil. Forums with a bunch of wives stranded on Okinawa together?? Heads will roll! Expect to be spied on, talked about, gossiped about by people who don't know you and judged every single day! And then, when you come on to get some advise, expect to be shamed for your otherwise, private life. But then there are some cool chicks who will back you up, make it a secret society type thing and attempt to massacre the holly-than-thou bitches for being...well, cunts! Instead of asking how a person they know is going through a rough time is doing, they get on the forum and blast said person!
   Forums are entertaining....but usually only when you take an otherwise mundane post, ignore the original intent and find some likewise bored posters to have completely irrelevant conversations that last hours! 
   Kadena Air Base facebook page, check it sometime and see the pure, unadulterated level off assholeness I've been surrounded by for 3 years. It's no wonder I needed drugs!! (for good laughs, check it during an approaching typhoon...classic!!)

We have arrived....and what an adventure it's been!

   From a secret location, in the backass woods of Maryland, I am enjoying a cup of coffee with the fine company of 2 large dogs all while listening to birds chirp and cars drive by. 

   Well, we've been in the states for 5 days now, but I have barely been standing still since Friday evening. Which found me on a flight to Miami to retrieve and drive Mac's Passat home, while my brother-in-law drove my PT Cruiser. What a long strange journey that became. Which ended with (a) the Passat requiring a tow to Richmond (b) us getting lost, in the dark, after being on the road for nearly 24 hours (c) the kind of tired/crazy that happens when exhaustion would be a welcomed feeling because you've passed it about 30 miles ago. 

   Speaking of the Passat, he's now the property of CarMax and in his place is a 2010 lime (??) green Kia Soul. This Mommy got some new wheels!! More out of necessity and get-it-while-the-gettings-good, than anything else. The Passat, well it needed some engine work, which we got done....but the transmission was also on the way out and at over $4k to replace (fucking German engineering!!), it's just not in our budget, especially with it having over 90K miles on it. Once one things goes, the rest all start to follow. Good thing, though, the car was paid off before we left Okinawa so the entire trade amount was the downpayment for the Soul (aka Tic Tock). 

   And that sums up our first 4 days in Maryland. I drove the East Coast, the Passat crapped out 2 miles before reaching Virginia, we needed a guided tour to find F's house and we're now living in a commune!

   Huh?? What's that? You're a little confused. Oh well, allow me to clear things up:
We went from Okinawa, an island with only a handful of chill non-asshole people on it. To Maryland, a house filled with: 6 adults (3 have since left, but there will be at least 4 again soon), 3 kids aged *almost* 5 and under, 1 infant (the best baby in the world!), 2 dogs (a husky and a 5 month old dane puppy!) and 2 cats. See?? Commune!
    The beauty of the commune (I'm beginning to see the appeal of Sister Wives, y'all), is we're always helping each other out. Especially helpful, if you happen to be wicked ill from the plane ride and feel so congested you think you're actually drunk. Claire has helped Mac and I immeasurably since arriving here and it really reminded me of how much I've missed being around my support system. 

   And now Nixon.....oh, my poor, poor baby boy. Between the time change, the new surroundings, the having built in playmates/pseudo-siblings and Mommy gone for a day plus right after we arrived....he's a little mess. He's having a hard time learning how to fend for himself, when it comes to playing with K-bug and Peanut. Especially K-bug, who is a year younger, several inches shorter and at least 5 pounds lighter. Nixon is, and this is hard as a mom to face, a whiner. He'll cry and whine for someone to "help me" rather than realize he's bigger and can "make" K-bug leave him alone!
   Nixon's the sensitive child, I remember my parents and their friends using that term to describe the bullied/quiet/ "momma's boy" in the neighborhood. Not that Nixon will stay like this, but being as overwhelmed with newness as he is, it's put a spotlight on his clinginess. I love him to death and wish like hell I could make this whole thing easier on him, but he's going to have to deal with it and figure it out on his own. I think the problem may be, I HAVE been making everything easier on him. And that's a big, ugly pill to swallow as a mom. I feel like I may have already failed him before I even knew what I was doing wrong. And now, if we don't rush to him when he cries/whines, he acts like we've abandoned him because he doesn't see we're doing it to help him. In his eyes, what I've always done, is what I should be doing now but I'm not doing it. I'm not swooping in to pick him up and I'm making him figure out how to deal with K-bug.

   We're homeless at the moment, crashing in this impromptu commune, but we've ass deep in love and support! 

    It's good to be home. Even if we're all figuring it out as we go along.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

swinging back into reality speeding down I-95 with the radio cranked and windows down

...it might be I-75 now that I think about it. 

As it turns out, flying from Okinawa to Maryland isn't the only long trip I have in my future. Due to a ton of circumstances beyond pretty much any one's control, it looked like we were only going to get one of our 2 cars back from Miami when we got to Maryland. Plans had been tentatively made but then an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose for one family member, another family member had work obligations come up and my mother-in-law has an injury that keeps her from being able to do a long road trip at all, let alone doing the driving for it. 

But, we really need both of our cars ASAP, and it seems silly to have one person drive one car up, then pay for a plane ticket back to Miami only to do it again in X amount of time with our other car. As much as we'd said (and meant) we weren't going to fly down and drive the cars up ourselves, it was becoming obvious that either we give a little on that or we pay for a rental car for one of us, until we get the other car. Common sense and being a responsible adult won out in the end and I won a one-way ticket to Miami followed by a road trip to Maryland. Alone in the car. Without Nixon. Without Mac. For the longer than just a few hours, for the first time since Nixon's been born. And it's all happening just 16 hours after our arrival in Baltimore! 

I'll be honest...I'm scared to death about leaving mac and Nixon alone, without me to referee. The two of them have been horrible together lately. Nixon is overwhelmed by all the moving and seeing his whole world packed up into boxes and put on a truck that pulled away to places unknown, at least unknown in his little 3-year old mind. His sleep schedule is crap, his temper is quick and he's just one big emotionally raw kiddo. Mac, is just as stressed, and gets super annoyed by Nixon's outbursts, over the littlest things. Absolutely everything Nixon does seems to set Mac off about how Nixon should just behave and understand that he needs to behave better. We're all overwhelmed. We're all stressed. We're all anxious. And we all need a little space and time apart from each other, which isn't going to happen right away, but did play a BIG part in my volunteering to fly to Miami and drive one of our cars up. 

This mommy needs a break and 16-18.5 hours in the car, alone with my own music choices, thoughts and emotions should be enough to help get me started on letting go of the emotional garbage I've got growing inside me. 

As for Mac and Nixon....if they can't function for a day and half without me, and NOT kill each other, we've got bigger issues than I realized. This is good for them. They need to time together without me.
(Thankfully, my besties Franny and Claire will still be around for at least a day while I'm road tripping up the East Coast.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Parking lot Carcasses

   It's a little after midnight here (I'm still in Okinawa, in case anyone thought my hiatus may have meant I was in the middle of crossing the oceans), Nixon's sleeping on a pullout sofa less than 6 feet from where I'm cozied up in bed typing this. Mac is at the house cleaning or something else similar in nature. Amber and Arwen are at the kennel, Arwen more than likely is STILL growling and hissing at the kitten boarding on the other side of the room from her, for no other reason than he was loud and she generally hates all other cats. Amber, hopefully, is sleeping and has gotten to eat with little Miss Bitch Cat on "neighborhood" watch. Did I mention we've got 4 days, 11 hours and 15 minutes (give or take 30 minutes) left on this rock???
   We're also staying in a hotel room, until we leave, that is about the size of the bedrooms of our house, combined then shoved full with a bathroom, full-sized fridge, stove, about 8-10 feet of countertop, a queen sized bed, pull-out sofa and a dining room table with 4 chairs! There's about 12 square feet of unused floor, at the moment. Our 6 suitcases, plus cat carriers aren't in here yet.
**Once again, I do believe we're being punished for having only one child by the military. K just left (today actually) and she has Miss Macy and Lil H, who is 7 months old, and they had our 1 room times 2! These buttholes know we're leaving the island, which means we're going to have as ASSload of luggage, and we're still in this postage stamp sized room, because we only have one child.....fuck my life, I'm never getting laid before we leave this place!**

   Our house has been most empty since Monday. The movers arrived, disgustingly early/on-time. They were in the door and packing our shit a little after 9am. Just before 1230pm the truck with everything that made that house our home over the past 3 years, was loaded up and pulling away.

   We spent 4 days at the cabins overlooking the ocean, conveniently on the same base Mac's command is located, which meant he was able to get some work accomplished because he's still working at finalizing his checkout process. The cabin was small but just as nice as I remember it being, we stayed there for our anniversary our first spring here.

   Just a few things left to get done here: cats need their health certificate to travel. We're taking them to the vet Monday morning, while the house is getting cleaned and ready for the final inspection. After that we've gotta take the cats to the airport here to get them inspected or something before the flight on Thursday, then it's back to our hotel, cats to the kennel and different shit different day, life just keeps rolling along.