Gregor the Overlander – Go Forth and Read

Gregor the Overlander is the dashing young (11-12yrs old) hero in a series of books written by Suzanne Collins who also brought us the Hunger Games. I must say for as long as the prospect of giant bugs put me off of reading these books she really did an excellent job. Gregor is a preteen young man living in the city that never sleeps, New York City, New York. He lives with his mother, sisters and grandmother is typical New York fashion for the working class. His father seems to have disappeared into nothingness a couple of years ago and Gregor is helping his mom keep everything together while they eek by on her salary. Gregor is a little mature for his age which makes sense as he is the oldest and he helps to keep his siblings fed.

All that changed the minute he fell through a dryer vent with his sister Boots. Gregor discovered a whole new world far below New York City. This world is completely different from the one he is used to and incredibly dangerous. Over the course of five books Collins introduced a number of different creatures and Gregor has to make a lot of tough decisions. I’m a huge fan of Rick Riordan and this series is at least as good as the Percy Jackson books. When they make the movies I’ll surely be just as disappointed. What I love about this series is that Collins doesn’t treat Gregor with kid gloves. He is the warrior, In tough situations he has to make tough decisions, all the while dealing with the fact that to his parents he is still a child and will eventually have to go back to life in the Overland. They are quick reads, and well worth acquainting yourself with.

In the last book Gregor comes to realize that while he has been named the warrior by a strange series of prophecies he does not have to let that influence the rest of his life or even his decisions in the moment. What a novel concept, just because someone old says something does not make it so, does not make it prophecy, does not make it inevitable. May we all come to realize we are the harbingers of our own happy or sad endings.

I’ve enjoyed a lot of youth fiction this summer, perhaps it is because I have been immersed in children’s programming or perhaps it is because there is something lovely about a plot that doesn’t involve silly sexual tension or needless death/rape/death scenes (I’m looking at you George RR Martin). I enjoy adult content and complicated plot lines as much as the next person but there is something clean and fresh in seeing the world from the perspective of a child too young to know yet what the real monsters are.

I’ve linked the books below.

Gregor the Overlander

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane

Gregor the and the Curse of the Warmbloods

Gregor and the Marks of Secret

Gregor and the Code of the Claw

Over and Over again

Me in 2016:

Why do I put a clean onesie one my little one first thing in the morning? I know there is an 80% chance he will have a blow out within an hour of getting his first fresh diaper and change of clothes and yet I always out him in a clean onesie after he eats breakfast. I know why. I want him to be clean. I am a little unhealthily obsessed with making sure he is clean and looks like someone loves him.

Isn’t that what we all want? To look like someone loves us. To feel like someone loves us. So I do a little in hopes that one day he will know that indeed someone loves him enough to wash the same poopy onesie a hundred times.

Me two weeks ago:

I wrote those first two paragraphs years ago. I can firmly say that not much has changed. He is potty training now and while he can pee in the toilet like a champion, doing number 2 seems to be harder. Maybe it will finally happen with consistency soon, but until then I washing a lot of poopy underwear/throwing away a lot of poopy underwear. Oh motherhood.  The things we do that we never thought we would be doing, like judging how much poop is too much to clean out of a pair of undies.

Me now:

You know what, my little champion has been pooping in the potty all on his own for about three days. He hasn’t had an accident in a few days now. I updated this just to say, take heart all of you moms and dads in the trenches of trying to teach a tiny human not to poop behind his bedroom door on the ugly shag carpet(yes this happened last week) Your child probably wont start kindergarten without being able to take care of bathroom stuff on their own.

As far as methodology goes, I started having him pee in the potty on and off at 18 months. I should have followed through as soon as he caught on with it and tried something like the three day method which is what we did at 26 months. The three day method is about 40 page worth of ebook that tells you to throw away the diapers and do nothing but help your kid learn to use the potty while you in turn learn the signs of when they need to go. Its pretty intuitive. In addition to that I also gave him a prize for every successful go which eventually has turned into only a prize for going number 2, which is almost weaned off of entirely. He does know what a prize is now so there is that but I will take spending 20 bucks on a tub full of kid goodies in exchange for not having to change a diaper. Carl did not learn to use the toilet in three days, It was probably another two weeks before we went all day with no peeing accidents and another month before we successfully made it all day with no poop clean up. Honestly though I expected that. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Toilet training is simply a habit.

If I could share one bit of advice with myself a year ago it would be to savor those moments before he can say damn it and just clean up the poop explosion.

If I could tell my month ago self anything it would be to buy one more packet of underwear, and relax.

 

What on earth is all the swiping about?

Perhaps it is my age or the age of a lot of the ladies I know but everyone seems to be getting a divorce around me, which is fine. I am a firm believer in how healthy divorce can be for a person and relationships. But then I have to ask how do people conquer the next step? I had been comfortably being intimate, wearing sweatpants around, not wearing any make up, and generally just being a comfortable, casual version of myself with one person for years. How do people up and move on? I don’t remember how to do any of this. I tried dating and that bombed pretty hard.That was almost a two years ago.

A few months I had the bright idea to try Tinder which seems like the beginning of a sad dystopian young adult novel. May the odds be ever in your favor and for god’s sake have a clear, child free, gun free, semi decent picture since I’m supposed to judge our compatibility based on that and a three sentence bio. What I have so far learned is that this was easier when I was younger. I’m not old, but this certainly makes me feel that way. Tinder is at times interesting, almost always amusing but I live in fear of the day I happen upon one of my friends ex-husbands or even worse than that, my own.

Of course there are other online dating options, or I could happen upon a single, semi interesting, able to hold a conversation man in real life (….This did recently happen to me so unicorns do exist). After Tinder I tried Ok Cupid because it was recommended by a friend. It isn’t any better. The straw that finally broke my desire to seek out those methods in finding any sort of personal relationship pairing was the propensity for married people to use those sites and apps to cheat. In particular I found a friend of mines husband.

How are people in their 20’s supposed to meet other single, eligible, people to coexist, date, and partner with? Well a friend of mine has made a commitment to getting out more, by going to local events and such which does seem logical. Others I know rely on the buddy system. They meet people through other people they already know. I did recently have coffee with a nice young man that way so it does sometimes work. For the most part I think that perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from the online dating craze is that if we have to go through that much silliness to find someone perhaps we should find other ways to content ourselves. I’ll be over here completing the library’s summer reading program for adults.

On Home

Florence, Alabama is such an interesting place. I have loved it almost from the moment we moved here 13 years ago. I could write many a loving platitude to Florence. I love early quiet mornings. I love being one of the first people at Rivertown at 7am on a weekday. I love walking downtown at night. I love getting a drink at Wildwood Tavern even though it is always too crowded. I love that I can go almost anywhere and run into someone I know. I ran into someone I know today at Starbucks.

I’ve had an interesting summer. Summer is always a blur but this summer is probably the biggest blur to date. You see we finally took the plunge, finally bit the bullet, finally invested in a home here. Its an old home, with stately columns, a lot of history, and ugly carpet that will eventually have to come up. Its a good size for the small family that now resides in it. Eventually I will have to get it together enough to have a priest come and bless it. My favorite thing about it so far is my room. At one point I’m sure the room I call mine was a living room or a sitting room or something of that nature. The house is old and the room doesnt have an overhead light fixture. Its a big, wide open square which is almost the best part. After spending the better part¬† of the last five year crammed into tiny spaces I love having an almost bare room. I’m sure given enough time I will fill all the space but for now I’m happy to have it be empty. The best part about this room is the windows. My room has the largest windows in the house. They look out on the street. At 5am, before the light starts to peak through, looking out those windows just makes me happy. I love everything about it. The cure to a dull life is surely an interesting window.

I grew up in a trailer. In hindsight I realize it was a tiny space. At the time it didn’t feel as small as it looked the last time I saw it before it was hauled off the be thrown away or recycled or whatever happens to such things. There were two, sometimes three bedrooms where my siblings and I would reside. Sometimes we would all share a space, and other times we would have our own rooms. The room that was most often mine had a square window that didn’t open up to the outside and was made of something that wasn’t quite glass, but wasn’t quite plastic. It overlooked a bunch of timber land like everything else where I grew up. I loved that window. I liked to watch rain fall outside of it. From then to now I’ve never had another window that made me as happy as the one I have now. We all go through life trying to find the one job, or person, or addiction that will make us happy. I’m pretty sure I was just looking for a window.

 

 

 

A hunting we will go…

Buying a home is not all its cracked up to be.
'How do you like it as a whole?' - 'As a hole it's fine. As a house it's lousy.'
If one more person tells me that this experience is supposed to be fun I might just lose my shit. Faith and I decided to try and buy last year. To quickly save money we decided to move in with our mom after the lease ran out on our house. Let me tell you nothing will motivate you to find a home or save money better than living at home/driving 14hrs a week. That’s been pretty miserable. Add on to that a commute with a toddler and it is just that much worse.

We have seen no less than three dozen homes, probably closer to four dozen but Faith could tell you exactly. This doesn’t even begin to factor in the ones that were off market or in contract when we tried to go see them. If you have a list of ten houses to see in an afternoon be prepared to sacrifice 3 hours and only see 8. On a typical house seeing day the first house might have no roof Information available and funky insulation but hardwood floors under the carpet and a nice backyard, the second house will have carpet with concrete underneath, funky 50s tile, need complete repainting, but have plenty of attic storage and large bedrooms. The third house your Realtor will have trouble with the lock box, the house will have a broken attic ladder, small rooms, linoleum, and best of all a drop away, dirt floor scary basement with no access other than a ten foot drop. House number four looks great on the outside, the neighboring houses are cute, the upstairs living area looks pretty good except the one round air vent running through one bedroom from the obsolete coal stove in the basement but when you get to investigating said basement it has an unadvertised unfinished bathroom and extra room with concrete floors, block walls, mold, a chair in the corner, a single light bulb and an unidentified stain on the floor. House number five is off the market, and house number six has unfinished floors. House number seven was gorgeous online but when you go to see it there is an old car with a flat tire in the garage area, a broken glass door, a two tone badly painted storage area all before you enter the house which is supposed to have a central unit but instead has a window unit insulated with trash bags, the floors are halfway finished and several windows have not been installed. House number eight only has one picture online which is never a good sign. When we arrive to see it we learn it’s occupied and the owners are home which is super awkward. The fuse box is also not up to code.

All of this happens with a screaming toddler after house four that ends up being bribed with a sucker.
And the hunting continues….

Growy Changy stuff

Lent Cartoon

I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while and it has been almost a year today since my last bit of writing was published. I don’t think anyone ever stops writing if that is something they enjoy but I shelved this blog last year for a hundred reasons only a few of which will I expound upon. Last year I was on the cusp of a divorce and that was all I wanted to write about which is kind of depressing. I felt like I might regret using this particular public avenue for that. A year ago today I was also pretty boring. I had sort of lost myself in babyland as lots of new moms do. Between new baby and new divorce all that was on my mind was how to keep from drowning.

My first divorce anniversary inst for another few weeks and my toddler wont have his second birthday for another month but I think I’ve gained enough perspective and have enough life going on to open myself back up to writing. So here I go.

I always like writing during Lent. There is something beautifully cathartic about this season. Lent is a time to grow and change (or at least that’s what I put on the bulletin board). We give things up or take things on for Lent in order to gain a closeness with God or to deepen our spiritual connection. Sometimes that is pretty great and it actually works. For instance I gave up Facebook which I have mostly stuck to. I have not posted anything since Lent began and I am beginning to think it might be a habit after Lent. The purpose of that was twofold. One, I could have more time to read and study the Bible that I usually wasted in internet land. It has definitely fulfilled that purpose. I feel like I waste much less time. The other purpose was to distance myself from the drama of other people. While Facebook, and social media in general may have had the original purpose of bringing us closer together I feel like it often drives me further away from people. I don’t want to know that some family member I love and respect could actually share the views of our current president. It makes me want to run far, far away. I’d rather not be solicited by eight different mom friends selling everything from lip products to weight loss shakes. I understand everyone has to make a living. Trust me I know the struggle, but its hard to not let something like that put distance between people. We see such a limited window of a persons soul on social media and frankly I would rather see that person in real life. I think they would be much better that way. We may not be as pretty, or as thin as our profile picture would suggest but in my experience we are much better human beings.

Here’s to actually finding the time to write again. Next week maybe I’ll share my house hunting experience (Its super hilariously awful)

Over and over

It’s 3am again. This particular time of night and I have become familiar in the last year. Poor little Carl has a stuffy nose so I am awake. He is finally drifting off after being put down twice and soothed for an hour. It’s funny. Well funny in a sad way, but when I thought about having kids in my teens and even in the last few years I always imagined night shift as my partners duty or at least having someone else there to watch the moments with me. A year of being a single mom has taught me a lot, including how rare that fantasy is. Even happily married women end up doing most of what I do which is pretty sad.

Imagine a world where instead of waking up with the baby every time he woke up that first year, someone else took some of the burden. And please don’t mistake my meaning, because there is not a whole lot of warm fuzziness to be found at 3am when you have to clear the snot from an unwilling babies nose by yourself while he screams like he is dying. I have had my mom or sister take him for a few minutes or a few hours while did something or slept a little, but every night of this first year, save one where I left him late and got him early, I’ve been dayshift, night shift, and everything in between.

I love this child. I didn’t make him alone, but somehow he became more mine than anyone elses. And that’s a pretty powerful thing. He and I have a bond. It’s probably fragile and definitely codependent, but it’s there. I’m a lover. I tend to love one person more than makes sense, or is healthy, or logical. Nothing will cure you of that quicker than a baby. I suppose my bit of encouragement for anyone, who like me is listening to the sounds of a toddler talk himself into going back to sleep, is that you can do it by yourself. And you will have to. That guy that was your rock, your special human who professed to love and adore you… He might, but it all might be smoke and mirrors and nothing will help you figure that out like a baby.

Babies are hard, but you can do it. Adulting is hard, but you can do that as well. And if your person isn’t who you expected or isn’t living up to what you need then dump that dude like a bad habit. You and that baby that keeps you up at 3am deserve better.

It’s 3am again. This particular time of night and I have become familiar in the last year. Poor little Carl has a stuffy nose so I am awake. He is finally drifting off after being put down twice and soothed for an hour. It’s funny. Well funny in a sad way, but when I thought about having kids in my teens and even in the last few years I always imagined night shift as my partners duty or at least having someone else there to watch the moments with me. A year of being a single mom has taught me a lot, including how rare that fantasy is. Even happily married women end up doing most of what I do which is pretty sad.

Imagine a world where instead of waking up with the baby every time he woke up that first year, someone else took some of the burden. And please don’t mistake my meaning, because there is not a whole lot of warm fuzziness to be found at 3am when you have to clear the snot from an unwilling babies nose by yourself while he screams like he is dying. I have had my mom or sister take him for a few minutes or a few hours while did something or slept a little, but every night of this first year, save one where I left him late and got him early, I’ve been dayshift, night shift, and everything in between.

I love this child. I didn’t make him alone, but somehow he became more mine than anyone elses. And that’s a pretty powerful thing. He and I have a bond. It’s probably fragile and definitely codependent, but it’s there. I’m a lover. I tend to love one person more than makes sense, or is healthy, or logical. Nothing will cure you of that quicker than a baby. I suppose my bit of encouragement for anyone, who like me is listening to the sounds of a toddler talk himself into going back to sleep, is that you can do it by yourself. And you will have to. That guy that was your rock, your special human who professed to love and adore you… He might, but it all might be smoke and mirrors and nothing will help you figure that out like a baby.

Babies are hard, but you can do it. Adulting is hard, but you can do that as well. And if your person isn’t who you expected or isn’t living up to what you need then dump that dude like a bad habit. You and that baby that keeps you up at 3am deserve better.

What a difference a year makes

I have an almost 1 year old.

image

Go me! I kept him alive and fairly healthy a whole year!! I feel like that’s an actual accomplishment. We’ve had a few colds and one really nasty stomach virus but it’s been a great year.

Everything sort of flew by in a blur this year but I remember those first few minutes after I brought him home from the hospital. I was still living in a tiny apartment so things were crowded but it had beautiful windows. I opened the curtains, sat in the rocker with Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, and read to him while he nursed and napped the afternoon away. That was the first peaceful moment I had found in days. I hated the hospital. I appreciated the care we recieved but being stuck in that room away from all of my familiar things was probably the hardest part of the birth experience for me.

This has been a year of learning, growing, and changing. I’m grateful for all the help I’ve had and for a healthy, happy kid. Whatever the future holds, may he have a hundred more years to grow and explore.

It’s getting really real

Proceed with caution. Things are about to get real.

I had a nice visit with a friend this morning. We talked and ate peanut butter crackers, and watched Carl walk everywhere and visited. It was great. Then we talked about the men in our lives.

I’m so close to my divorce I can taste it (if divorce had a taste :P). And that’s pretty great. In 11-26 days I will be completely free of this weight that has been pulling me down. However that doesn’t take away the scars. I’ve known women who stayed with men who cheated on them. I’ve listened sympathetically and thought “man, that sucks” or “that poor unfortunate woman” and in the back of my mind I wondered what it was they had messed up in their marriage for that to happen to them. That’s pretty terrible right? I know it is.

People cheat. It’s a fact. Most people cheat in one way or another long before the actual physical act and I knew I had been cheated on emotionally, and abandoned, and treated like something to be thrown away but I never wanted to deal with the reality that I had been physically cheated on. I wasn’t always as faithful as I could have been. I wasn’t always a great wife. I mothered too much. None of those things makes the rest of it OK. The reality of knowing that someone that was supposed to love me strung me along and did something so intimate with another woman, a woman that claimed to be my friend, is a mind fuck. Every memory is tainted by it. Every good gesture is up for questioning, every moment I have with my friend gets revisited in my mind so that I can drive myself crazy trying to figure out how I ignored this for so long.

I’m lucky. I know I’m lucky. I have a good life. I’m happy. I have the best part of what turned out to be a pretty shitty human. None of that changes the hurt I’m dealing with. Knowing that someone did that to you makes you question everything. My friend told me that it stays with you your whole life. Unfortunately she has been in the same boat. I hope it doesn’t stay with me. I hope given enough time and distance I can trust another human not to completely abandon me. I hope because I made the decision to break away, to run as far and as fast as I could from that particular bit of toxic sludge that it can be different for me. I hope that my little boy grows up respecting women as something more than sex objects, knowing what he has when he has it, and doesn’t think he is too old for his mother to embarrass if he is ever this much of a douche.