Thursday, February 28, 2013

Totally Worth the Money

Today, Blair and Scott from Picasso and Sons came to my house to do my pre-sell painting. I've used them three times prior and have loved them each time. They give me an honest estimate, they show up on time, they're communicative and they're amazing.

It took the two of them from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. going up and down ladders, mudding things down, making sure my old house paints from when we moved in were an actual match, but they got it done, and it was money well spent. They know what they're doing and it took them a full work day.

I am not the world's best painter, so we can estimate that it would have taken me five full working days and I would have done a mess of a job.

So, people who may buy my house this spring... if you're out there... be grateful. You got a first-class interior paint job. I left their name and number in the binder with the rest of the housing information.

Be wise, use Picasso and Sons. They're worth EVERY stinking penny.

As it is, my house should hit the market by Thursday. I'm both elated and in a state of panic. But, if I remember correctly, this is normal.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

She Works Hard for a Living...

You know one of the most uncomfortable things anyone has ever said to me was to welcome me to the "Mommy Club" after X-man was born. It not only left a bad taste in my mouth, it made me vomit a little bit.

I hated the idea that now that I had given birth that there was a small, but loud, group of women who were all about the thrill and adventure of reproduction. Yuck. (Have I mentioned that I'm an introvert? So group activities are not really my thing.) Anyway, today was one of those days where I was able to exist without hearing my nickname "Mom" 5,002 times.

It was that way because my lovely spouse took X-man to the Children's Discovery Museum in Bloomington. I was alone for six hours, and I spent every moment of it doing housework (minus a few online communications during lunch and bathroom breaks).

The garage is now orderly. I managed to find takers for two of the three things I put up on Craigslist. I walked my dog. My garage is organized, washed down and swept clean, except for the area where the patio furniture is currently residing until the winter weather passes.

I even dropped off some things to a friend and another two bags and a box to the Savoy Goodwill drop off (the usual guy there fell down on ice at Parkland and is in a sling, so help him out a little for the next few days if you're going).

I cooked a crazy good dinner of roasted vegetables and orzo with chickpeas (never mind that my orzo had a best by date of 2012 -- Ssshhh), lit a fire in my fireplace (gotta use up that wood, right) and cracked open a bottle of wine (gotta drink that before we move, too). :-)

I haven't felt this -- efficient in a long, long time. Darn it. I really want a merit badge, but not for being a parent... I guess I want a homeowner merit badge. Think my realtor will make me one, if I ask her?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sweetness of X

And no, I don't mean the drug. :-)

Today, X-man, MacTroll and I sat down with his new "Jedi Quest" assignments. He went from Padawan to a member of the Jedi Council in about 8 weeks. It was a good way to reinforce our talks about what are "expected behaviors" versus "unexpected behaviors."

So now we have a list of quests for him to go on. Tonight, he was coming up for rewards for each of the 8 levels. He came up with laser Tag with my dad, balloon jousting with three friends, having more books read to me at bedtime (but keeping my bedtime), playing tag with Mommy and Daddy, got to the Y to swim with one friend, and then he said he needed time to think of more. But he came back and said, "For the last one, I really want it to be unlimited Wii time after my homework's done but before bed for a week."

I'm kind of excited about most of his choices. He's never asked us to buy him anything, just to do things where we spend time with one another or spend time with friends.

I kind of love that about him.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Learning from X-man

We joined the Y in April of 2012. I needed a pool with more than lunchtime, early morning and late night hours -- particularly one with childcare -- at the height of my restriction from using my feet for more than walking so that my peroneal tendons wouldn't rupture.

One day, X-man and I went to the pool where he was told that in order to go down the water slide, he would need to pass a swim test. He figured it would be like the one at the Aquatic Center in Urbana, where he had to be able to show he could swim across the small pool that the little kid slide dumps into. It's maybe 15' across.

But it wasn't. The Y swim test was 10 seconds of treading and the child must be able to swim about 25 yards without touching the side or bottom.

X-man tried. And he failed. And then he fell apart. He's in the middle of his third set of private swim lessons at the Y. Before that he took two sessions at CIRCE and before that he had group lessons at the Aquatic Center and at Sholem. And he always seems to stay in the same place at a level 2. Not because he has any fear of the water, but because swimming requires some sort of relaxation. You have to be able to be still to float. X-man has a hard time being still.

I'd ask him periodically and his instructor at the Y would ask him if he'd like to retake the swim test for the water slide. He'd always decline. "If I want to go down a slide, I'll just go to Urbana or Sholem."

But at a Y Night last night, they asked the kids there if they'd like to take the test. And he said, "Yes."

So when I went to pick him up, he had an orange rubber bracelet in his hands. I was so very proud of him. He swam the 25 yards and he did the 10 second tread. He told me that he was the slowest out of all the swimmers who took the test. I told him it didn't matter.  It was pretty awesome.

On that same note, I had it in my brain that I was going to go to the Armory today and try running after I tried yesterday, and had a pants malfunction... (too big at the waist means almost exposing your backside to the other walkers/runners). So after my Body Pump class, I came home. But now, I'm running around doing housework and avoiding.

I'm scared. I don't want it to hurt. I'm scared of how my body is going to feel when I start. But I know I need to break down and do it. At the same time, I'd like to take a lesson learned from X-man. You'll do it -- when you're ready -- and not a moment sooner.

Until then, I'm organizing like mad.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The "Too Much" Problem

Last Friday, X-man had a hard OT appointment. He couldn't be motivated to do anything. He got up and left the table. He whined. He bitched. He was an all over hot mess. I know that our OT has worked with many, many kids with different learning disabilities and developmental disabilities, so she's worked with all kinds of kids. But my kid was stubborn and rude and really, it was all I could do not to blow up at him. She was calm and encouraging but firm. But it was frustrating for everyone.

After she left, I was ready to take everything in the world away from him for being so awful. I sent him to his room so that I could sit down and think about how to get through to him that we all understand that fine motor skills are hard for him. But being an obstinate jackass just makes things worse.

MacTroll and I called him down and we talked to him about his behavior. Of course, there were lots of promises not to be disrespectful and about how sorry he was and about how he just got so angry about having to constantly be reminded to start his letters from the top and to bump lines and that he hates that  he never seems to naturally do it right.

And then instead of hearing that we were taking electronics away, he heard me say, "Well, now you get to do more fine motor skills every day."

This was not what he had thought was going to happen. If it's too hard to sit in a chair after school and do one more hour of pretty fun stuff (she has games and sensory items and made-for-X-man writing sheets) to work on something he needs help with, then apparently, we need to do more, so that it comes easier to him when he's doing it with her on Fridays.

We're on day 3 of that plan, and so far it's going okay. MacTroll and I made a list of two weeks of fine motor activities for him. And then, depending what kind of homework he's doing, we grab something off the list that is different.

For example, yesterday he came home and had to cut triangles for homework and do some math facts with them. Then he had to write his spelling words. So it would have been too much to give him more writing or cutting to do. So instead, I pulled out a 211 piece Star Wars puzzle and sat with him and talked Star Wars with him. This was more like playing with Mom than doing fine motor skills (Ms. K has her own Star Wars puzzle that she brought for him to play with once).

Today, we'll do his spelling words using Bananagram letter pieces, he'll write his math homework and then we're going to cut out pictures in magazines for a collage project. I bought 7 10x10" canvases for us to use. He's got stacks of children's magazines, so I thought we'd collage a bit to take art to the new house whenever we move. And then we could recycle the rest of the magazines.

There's a fine line that we're walking here about how to get him the services he needs without overwhelming him and making him happy. At the same time, I'm hoping that he's understanding that we're not doing all of this to torture him, but how important being able to do things like twist open a cap on a water bottle (without using your teeth) and tie your shoes and those kinds of things are. I think he's afraid he'll never be able to do them. And sometimes, in our rush to get from place to place, he hands me the bottle and uses "Please" and I instantly do it for him. It's easier. It doesn't start any fights or whining. But then on the other hand, it helps continue a problem.

Sometimes you just have to pick your battles.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rain, rain... I get it. You're here to stay today.

Yesterday, I was feeling kind of yucky, so I decided to skip my cooking class at the Co-op and stay home and do yard work. I spent two hours outside cleaning up the front yard gardens. I have more work to do on them, but the Black Lace bush and Thyme bush got trimmed. All the dead ends from the sedum and hostas were removed from the prior year. I pushed around the soil and mulch. I dug up some grass that had grown into the garden beds and yanked all the dead weeds that I didn't get to in the fall due to surgery.

I'm annoyed that when they made the empty lots to continue our subdivision behind us, the vole population moved north toward the houses rather than south. So we have trails through our yard. The Terminex man came out, and he's not able to help me himself (because I guess they're ornamental annoying rodents versus structural), but he did tell me what I could do about them.

The yard looks better. But it doesn't look grand -- yet. Right now, it's warm outside. It's 45 degrees and it's pouring like some kind of early spring rain. Everywhere else in the country has heaps and heaps snow, but we have rain.

MacTroll and I also spent yesterday packing some things up and putting them out in the garage to continue getting the house ready to put on the market. We're cruising right along. I guess I'm mentally ready to go through it, but it feels like time is dragging its feet getting to the point where it's really going to happen.

But my brain hasn't been able to do much else besides focus on our big change and the stress of it, even though we're all looking forward to it. I'm nervous and I worry.

And the rain just makes me want to go back to sleep!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Four Minutes Before I Walk Out the Door

Life has returned to it's normal manic pace. I spend my days "off" teaching running from place to place. And honestly, since it gives me less time to live in my head, I've had less to blog about. For example, today is Friday. MacTroll returns from three days in NYC and two days in Austin by noon today. That will be lovely.

But basically, I've gone from getting X-man up and off to school, to throwing in some laundry, doing the dishes and putting some stuff to drop off at Goodwill in my car. Now I'm about to take Lily to doggie daycare and them I'm off to physical therapy (which has been ranging from a 75-minute to 2hour appointment lately) and then I'm having tea/coffee with my favorite Aunt T.

Hopefully, I'll be home in time to shower, switch out the laundry and meet up with MacTroll when he arrives. I also have to go to Meijer today, and work on doing some organizing/packing of both the garage (where we're going to start storing stuff we plan on taking to California with us) before I get X-man at 2:15 p.m. and we work on Valentine's and finishing is "Illustory" before his Occupational Therapist shows up at 4 p.m.

I was hoping to be more physical since I've been sick for the last three days with some kind of fever, chills and sore throat (I've sounded like a long-time smoker for three days). But I think it'll have to wait until at least Sunday. I'm usually running out of steam by 2 p.m. and no amount of Vitamin D supplements and Iron supplements seems to change that. Maybe I need to eat a lighter lunch and a heavier breakfast? Or maybe it's just SAD. :-)

Good luck to all the east coasters with their snow. I remember when we used to get the white stuff here. But after two years of pretty much nothing and our planned move to California, I'm likely to not see much of it again.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Supinator

I saw Dr. K today about my supination issue. He agrees with my PT that it won't help things down the road and he took the inserts my last podiatrist made via scanning my feet and fixed them up to try out. If they appear to be working and feel good, he'll make me a custom orthotic. The updated ones try to make me push off using my big toe for power rather than the outside of my foot. But my foot is not cavus enough to need surgery. But the minor issue is enough over several years of hard workouts to be the structural reason why I jacked up my peroneal tendons. Bad biomechanics!

I've also got PT appointments through the rest of this month. It's not that I don't enjoy the fact that I'm progressing, I just wish -- I was back to full throttle. Not that I can complain. I'm working out with a trainer twice a week on evening out my leg strength and working on my core since it's still lagging from the 8 weeks in bed. I figure this is like anything... It takes you almost no time to fill in whatever it is you wish hadn't happened and at least three years longer to get back to "normal." When pretty much being abnormal has become your normal.

In addition to the trainer, I've done two Body Pump classes and some cardio. I've also inserted three rest days a week, so I don't over do it.