25 April 2010

Calmed down...

I awake this morning feeling much more calm than I was last night.

The combination of a good night's sleep and taking the time yesterday to twice write about my anger - my dosa - seems to have helped to diffuse it.

The yahoos will be yahoos. There is little I can do about them or the less-than-truths they choose to spout at me. However, if I have learned anything, it is that I can certainly do better in managing my reactions to them and in setting my expectations in our adoption journey.

It doesn't do anyone any good - especially me - for me to get angry. I've made enough suffering for myself in my 42 years...There's no need to add yet another layer of suffering. I've worked too hard in recent years to peel away my layers upon layers of suffering. To be happy and in the present moment.

So, today will not be shaped by anger, but will instead be about taking care of myself, my marriage and our home. Grocery shopping. Cooking. Helping my husband in the next steps of dealing with our wrecked basement.

Life is good and it's good to move through the world in a state of happiness...not dosa.

Best and peace, everyone.

24 April 2010

Still irked...

I'm still really irked - actually downright angry - with the yahoos employed by the adoption facilitator.

I set aside these feelings for a good portion of the day, but tonight while I am trying to wind down they have bubbled to the surface again in a most unpleasant way. In fact, I'm feeling a bit sick to my stomach because I am so angry...

Vipassana Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdal has the following to say about anger in his book The Issue at Hand:

The Buddhist word dosa, usually translated as anger, might more accurately be translated as "hostility," provided we recognize that hostility can be present in emotions ranging from minor aversion to full blown rage...Dosa burns the one who is angry. Classic Buddhist teachings liken being angry to holding a red-hot piece of coal. For Buddhists, acting on dosa is never justified; dosa is a form of suffering that Buddhist practice is designed to alleviate.

Hostile anger seems to have its roots in recoiling from our own pain...

Anger is always a signal. Mindfulness helps reveal what it signals. Sometimes tells us that something in the external world needs to be addressed, sometimes that something is off internally. If nothing else, anger is a signal that someone is suffering. Probably it is you. Sit still in the midst of your anger and find your freedom from that suffering.

I don't wish to suffer in this way.


It doesn't move me forward in my journey.

So, I'm sitting still in the midst of my anger. Trying to breathe. Attempting to be mindful. Working on letting go of my dosa towards the yahoos and of the anger I'm directing toward myself for wanting to believe them.

Time...and lies

A mourning dove is awake early on this sunny Saturday...cooing its sad and mournful coo... giving voice to how I'm feeling this morning.

Yesterday...I speak with R from our adoption facilitator's office. She is yet another person there who is here to "serve" us through our adoption process, apparently by checking in with us once a month (now that the first three months of waiting have elapsed) to review our stats (which we can already review ourselves via an administrative website...) She is another person there whose salary we are paying with our adoption fees.

I ask R about what we should do to update or change our profile, which we had been told we could do after the first three months.

"Oh, I would give it at least another three months before you do anything to your profile. Really, it's so early yet."

Early yet?


That's funny. Our original adoption "consultant" (read: sales person) J indicated that the average wait time was 2-4 months. Three months certainly doesn't seem like early days at all in a 2-4 months wait scenario, so I ask R, "So, what is the average wait time that you're seeing?"

"Oh, gosh...I'd say like 6 months to a year and a half."

"Really?...So I guess 3 months is kind of early days," I respond weakly, a bit too stunned to point out to R that her colleague J had told us something entirely different at the start of this process.

I feel as though we have been lied to.

In truth - I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up based on J's original statements. I had certainly done enough reading on the web that I think I knew that the wait could and likely would be significantly longer than 2-4 months. But when the "expert" throws out those time frames. When the adoption consultant gives you the sales pitch...

I heard what I wanted to hear and stupidly got my hopes up.

My heart got in the way of what my head really knew.

R tells me that there are some changes we could make that might move things along a little more quickly like "some of the medical stuff." She suggests that we consider "birth moms who smoke" because "so many of them do because they're so stressed about this process."

Oh, you think they're stressed out? Really? I can't imagine why.

"And, really, the doctors we work with say that smoking doesn't really affect the babies all that much. So, y'know, it's something you could consider."


Apparently, those numerous studies over the years linking smoking during pregnancy to low birth-weights, a higher incidence of stillbirths, underdeveloped lungs and organs, and other serious health problems don't apply to expectant mothers who are considering adoption...

I decide at this moment that I really dislike R.


Because she's either (A) so dumb that she believes the crap she just spewed at me about smoking during pregnancy "not being so bad," or, (B) she's just knowingly lied to me to sell me on this concept.

I do not think that we'll be taking R's advice at this time (or at any time in the future...)

Still, unfortunately, as much as I might dislike R and J...and as much as I might feel that we have been led astray by these "adoption professionals" there's just no turning back now. We've made our choice and our investment in this particular facilitator. We simply can't afford to pull out now.

So, we move forward and we wait.

And we'll dutifully check in with R.

And we'll make changes to our profile now (against the very knowledgeable R's advice) and again in three months if we're still waiting.

Time will pass.

And we'll continue to fix our house and be in the present moment.

And eventually....this will all be worth it.

22 April 2010

That could be us...

I'm sitting in my booth at Minerva's Pizza reading my book. Waiting for my Greek Salad.

"We need to sit at a bigger booth," I hear a woman's voice saying and a child responding, "Why, Mommy?"

"Because Daddy will be here soon and we won't fit in that small booth. Come over here. We can sit in this booth by the window so we can watch for Daddy to come down the street."


The woman is about my age. Long brown hair, black sweater set, black & white skirt, black tights and black Dansko patent leather clogs. Her little daughter is probably about 5. Hair pulled up into braided pigtails, pink sweater, little jean skirt, multicolored tights, and sneakers.

Very, very adorable.

And very likely adopted.

Her daughter is black.

They're obviously regulars here at Minerva's. The waitress greets them with a friendly "the usual?" but tonight they order something different - Greek salad and a large spinach calzone.

The little girl has a coloring book, but is reading it rather than coloring in it. And chattering away.

"Daddy" turns out to be about my age and white as well, confirming my original thought that their daughter must be adopted. He is wearing a corduroy blazer, button down shirt and jeans. Looks like a professor.

"Hey there, Buddy," he says to his daughter.

"Hi, Daddy!"

The man greets his wife and then returns his attention to his daughter, "You were a little sad this morning when I left for work. I wanted to find out a little more about that."

The little girl shrugs.

"Are you feeling better now?"

The little girl nods and starts chattering away to him.

As they work they're way through dinner and conversation about their days, I find myself openly staring at them. I know I shouldn't be staring, but I can't seem to help myself...hoping fervently that if the parents notice my rude behavior that they also notice the huge smile on my face and forgive me just a little.

I just keep thinking as I watch them, "That could be Chris and I in a few years. That could be us."

And then I wonder if they are used to getting stared at in restaurants and at the mall and at the movies and wherever they go as a family. I imagine they must get stared at a lot. Then I also wonder how many of those stares are hostile and rude, versus the stares of people like me who think that their daughter is such a cutie-pie and that they make a nice looking family. I'm hoping that the friendly stares outweigh the hostile ones...but somehow I can't help but think...

A little part of me wants to approach their table to ask them all about their adoption experience and tell them all about ours so far, but, of course, that would be totally inappropriate. They're out to enjoy dinner together, not to hash through their adoption experience with a total stranger.

So I simply try not to stare, but fail (also inappropriate on my part) and enjoy watching them.

That could be us in a few years.

20 April 2010

Lost...(and then not so much)

I keep sitting down to write a blog post and then....


There is mucho buzz out in the blogosphere about a few hot and controversial adoption items, but I can't seem to work up the interest to write about them.

No. Just feeling a little lost at the moment.

Chris says last night, "I feel like I'm living in this little eight foot space between the desk and the couch."

And it's true.

While our house isn't what many would call "large" or "luxurious," losing half of our space to flood damage has certainly highlighted the fact that the house is perfectly spacious enough for two. And without that space - we're feeling kind of cramped and just a wee bit cranky.

And on top of the house...

It's been more than three months now. More than three months since our adoption profiles became active and still nothing. Now, I know...three months...in the grand scheme of things not so very long at all.

Really - it's practically a blink.

But when I think about the fact that we started this process a year ago...three months feels like a long, long time.

I'm feeling kind of lost...and sad...and very whiny...and apparently quite sorry for myself...and sorry for Chris.

[pausing to re-read what I have just written]

Oh - for heaven's sake!!!

If you've gotten this far in the post then you deserve some kind of award for making it this far. A f@#$ing medal! What a bunch of self-pitying crappola I've been writing!!!!

Oy vay!

As Loretta Castorini famously says to Ronny Cammareri:



I'm snapping out it.


The house will be fixed. Not maybe as quickly as we'd like, but it will be fixed and we WILL have our space back.

My ridiculous illness was intense, but temporary and if I think about it pretty short-lived at 6 days AND I feel much better.

Somebody will see our profile and think that we'd be good parents. We WILL get The Call. Maybe not as quickly as we'd like, but we will eventually get the call.

Life will get better.

Hey, life is actually pretty good right now. Not perfect certainly, but when ya think about it...we have a nice place to live in a beautiful safe neighborhood. We have family and friends who love us. We are fortunate enough to have money in the bank and jobs during one of the hardest economic times on record. We have time for each other...And, on top of it all, it's a GORGEOUS day today with sun and blue skies. And our gardens - the gardens that we have planted over the last five years - are starting their miraculous spring transformation.

It's all good really.

OK, so enough whining.

I'm snapping out of it. I promise.

I'm going to be in the present moment and enjoy it...

You, too...yeah?

18 April 2010


I have a bit of a meltdown today.

It's all of our STUFF and nowhere to put it...it's just making me feel totally overwhelmed.

I've managed to clear off most of the kitchen table, but there's still more stuff.

And I don't know what to do with it.

I don't know what to do with all of the soda cans.

Soda cans? This is the cause of your crisis today?


Chris drinks Diet Pepsi. He buys one of those long, narrow boxes of them - the 24-pack. They don't all fit in the fridge. Pre-flood there was a spot on our kitchen desk where we kept always the box.

Not anymore.

So, I'm standing there trying to figure out where to put this damn box of soda cans and THERE IS NO SPOT FOR THEM. It's the last straw.

I have a meltdown.

Chris isn't here to see it thankfully...me standing there holding this perfectly harmless box of Diet Pepsi cans and swearing up a storm at it. Crying. Storming around the kitchen like some crazy lunatic. Crying more.

How f@#$ing stupid is that?

15 April 2010

Still here...kinda

Have been rather neglecting the blog for a bit.

Still here.


If you're checking in - thank you, I really appreciate it.

Struggling with the house and some health issues and so haven't had the energy or motivation to write anything. There are some posts floating around in my head, but they'll have to wait just a little longer.

Will be back soon.


10 April 2010

Making home livable...part 2

Everything I wrote in the first post of the day...


Turns out that our wonderful and loyal Fisher & Paykel super energy/water efficient washing machine bit the dust as a result of being under water for many days.

"Yeah," says the very nice repair guy this morning, "the flugalherman is completely rusted out. I've never actually seen one that rusted before. So is the whatchamajiggy and the thingamahoojy. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that the computer board is a total loss."

Cost to fix: $400. Possibly more. (He didn't have prices for all of the parts.)

The original cost of the F & P washing machine 5 years ago: $600.

Um, yeah, we're not fixing it.


"Um, Jenn," says Chris after the repair guy leaves, "I'm not sure we should be spending any money at IKEA if we have to go out and buy a new washing machine."

Oh, BITE ME, you stupid flood!

So we head off instead to Gil's to look at washing machines. An hour and a whole lot of moolah later (minus the $225 mail in rebate), we are now the proud owners of a Bosch front loading washing machine.

On a 15 inch pedestal!!

Take THAT water table!

Our plans to purchase a larger and more functional side board are scrapped for now. We'll just have to make do with what we have and figure out where to store some more stuff.

Oh - and I also made a trip to the consignment shop where I found a very nice $30 round coffee table that has opened up space in our living room. Yay!!! Our rectangular coffee table is now taking a hiatus from daily duty and is living or a while with everything else in the guest room.

Gotta run. I cleared off bookshelves in the bedroom (mysteries now in storage...except Martha Grimes, Lee Child, John Dunning, Laurie King and Craig Johnson) and am about to haul up our sci-fi/fantasy collection from the basement...some to go in storage and our favorite most-often read series (David Eddings, Dennis McKiernan, J.K. Rowling, Garth Nix and Suzanne Collins) to live in the bedroom.

I'm having so much fun.


Making home livable...

Now that my sister has so kindly and lovingly kicked my butt out of Pathetic-Feeling-Sorry-For-Myself-Ville, I have to get up off of that same butt to help Chris make our home livable again.

While we have made progress in getting our home into a state of order, we still have a long way to go and this weekend is the weekend that it will happen.

We cannot spend one more week living in semi-chaos.

Chris has been up for a few hours now getting things done - like digitizing even more of our - er yeah not - more of his - ginormous music collection. (I could listen to the same 6 CDs for the rest of my life and not really miss new music very much - I'm sure, to the dismay of my music loving husband.)

Me...well, apparently I needed the sleep and my wonderful and very kind husband let me sleep late today. And now he is kindly letting me play on the computer for just a little while before diving into the madness of our day.

So, here's the schedule for the day:
  • Eat something
  • Wait for repair guy to come look at washer & dryer
  • Rent van from place up the street
  • Load van with various and sundry ruined pieces of furniture from basement
  • Take van to transfer station where the Town is allowing people to dump for free today (last day to do so...if we had to take what we're taking to the dump on a normal day...hundreds of dollars in expense)
  • Drive van to IKEA in Stoughton, MA
  • Look for and hopefully purchase good size side board for kitchen to replace little dry sink (pretty, but not very functional because not a lot of storage space) and baker's rack (purchase 10 years ago at Christmas Tree Shoppe for $12. I think we've gotten our money's worth out of it...) with more functional storage space for the kitchen
  • Return home to unload and assemble side board
  • Collapse and watch a movie or something recorded on the DVR
It seems like a doable, although tiring day. I just realized that I forgot to include dinner in there somewhere...

It feels good knowing that by the end of tomorrow we'll have a home that is tidy and livable so that when we come home from our stressful jobs we have a place where we can relax. It also feels good knowing that we'll have this place in order should we soon (hopefully!) get The Call about the arrival of our little Schmoopie.

08 April 2010

Reality check....baaahhhhh

Sisters are great ones for providing firm, but loving reality checks.

Just when you think that you've got it all wrapped up and figured out, your sister comes along to kindly give you a gentle kick in the patootie. The kick that says, "Hey, snap out of it!"

The e-mail I received from my sister today:

Hi There,

I just read your blog this morning regarding M & J. Jenn, please keep in mind that it has been 2 years since they started this process of adopting their son. 2 YEARS!!!! You also have to remember that this is the same agency and orphange that they went through the first time with [their daughter.] Initially, on their first adoption they wanted a baby, but because it was taking so long they decided to increase the age of the child that they would adopt. Once they said they would take a toddler they received the call to come get [their daughter] (thank goodness they did because she is just the best).

You and Chris have decided to adopt here within the States (which is wonderful) and you have said you want an infant (which is also wonderful), but given your criteria it's going to take time.

Please also keep in mind that this is still quite a process for M & J. They have to travel half way around the world to try and work within a completely archaic system for several weeks before it's all said and done.

I'm not exactly sure what there is to envy about that...

Hang in there,


"Baaaahhhhhh" [this is me feeling just a bit sheepish...]

Yeah...I know what you're thinking: She's right.

And you'd be right that she's right.

Here's my reply:

Hi there,

Thanks for the e-mail, Sister-o-mine. Please accept my apologies if what I wrote offended or upset you. That certainly wasn't my intention. The blog is my journal and, as such, it's the place where I think out loud, share my thoughts and express my worries. They're not always great and noble thoughts (obviously...) and sometimes they're kinda whiny and pathetic (like today...) and not necessarily a reflection of what I'm thinking or feeling beyond that particular minute or day.

Thanks for pointing out all that you did about M & J's adoption. As I said on the blog - I don't want to have feelings of envy for them. They're ridiculous, pointless and completely unfair. I totally know that M & J have gone through SO MUCH to build their family and that it's taken LOTS and LOTS of time. It's just sometimes when you're the one waiting and waiting (it's been a year for us) and you see other people getting the calls to go - you have this moment where you forget that those people waited a really long time, too. For that moment it just seems like everyone else is having success at building their families but you (not true at all...and stupid...) Of course it's going to take time for us to get through this adoption. Every once in a while it's just hard.

Really - I absolutely could not be happier for M, J & [their daughter]. It is AWESOME that they got the call to go pick up their son. And I truly hope that their trip half way around the world is smooth, safe and without incident. And that they come home with a healthy happy little guy.

I'm just having that ridiculous moment of feeling really pitiful.

If our house wasn't completely wrecked by two floods in one week... if we weren't struggling against the disgusting and toxic mold that is now growing downstairs...if I wasn't overwhelmed by the chaos of trying to make the upstairs livable again...if I wasn't feeling so stupidly sorry for myself otherwise...if I wasn't worried that we are going to have to spend all of our remaining adoption funds to pay to fix the wrecked house...I probably wouldn't be having this moment.

See? Pitiful.

Anyway - thanks for reading the blog and for responding and for reminding me to hang in there.

Hope you and M & T are well.

Love you,

Thanks for the reality check, Sister-O-Mine. You're a good and very smart egg!

Envy is a four-letter word...part 2

Still feeling a bit appalled with myself for feeling envious of M & J's upcoming trip abroad to be united with their 6-month old son.

Tried not to think about it last evening...which turned out to be surprisingly easy since I came home from work feeling pretty wrecked and passed out on the couch.

"Sweetie, you're asleep. Why don't you go to bed?" Chris says a third time at 9:30 p.m. to which I reply, "mmmph...OK" and finally stump off to the bedroom mostly already asleep.

This morning I awake after strange dreams.

And now I am here and what's on my mind again??? That we haven't gotten The Call and that other people we know have.


Awful. Ugh. These are not the thoughts that I want to be having right now...or ever for that matter. I can't even believe that this ridiculousness is still rolling around in my head!! Especially with everything else (our ruined house!) that's going on.


Off to work.

Perhaps getting some work done will get these ugly and unnecessary thoughts out of my head.

Hope y'all are having a good day.

07 April 2010

Envy is a four-letter word...

Found out last night that my sister's sister- and brother-in-law just got the call from their agency to head off to parts foreign in three weeks to be united with their second child. Their oldest daughter is going on the adventure with them.

I'm truly excited for them. They are obviously thrilled.

But I admit that I had "a moment" last night just after I found out.

"Sometimes," I say to Chris feeling just sick with envy, "I wonder if we should have gone the international adoption route."

"You can't think that way, Sweetie," he replies in a kind tone, "it's going to happen for us when it's supposed to happen."

We continue watching the U-Conn/Stanford women's basketball finals with no further conversation about adoption...me still feeling envious and at the same time horrible and disgusted with myself for feeling that way.

I never thought that I'd be one of "those women" who get jealous when they hear about another woman's impending motherhood. I must admit that when I've read other women's blogs, I've always been appalled by those struggling with infertility or adoption who get really upset when they find out that friends, family members or co-workers are pregnant. "Why them and not me?" they lament. "It's not fair!" They express their upset as such in their blogposts.

Never thought I'd be one.

And yet here I am. Totally appalled with myself.

Ugh. This feels lousy and I don't want to be like this.

Envy is pointless, useless and it's just plain mean of me to be envious and not joyful for M & J. They're really good people and great parents. So I DO set aside my own ridiculous feelings to wish them joy and happiness.

Envy really is a four-letter word...

06 April 2010


I'd like for Chris and I to just feel normal again.

I'm certain that most other flood victims feel the same way.

Yesterday another colleague, P, whose family experienced the joy that has been the Great Flood of 2010 and I went to lunch with a third colleague.

"All I've been eating for the last week is sandwiches! And donuts! I NEVER eat donuts!" exclaims P. "I just want to go out to lunch and feel normal!"

So we go to a favorite Japanese restaurant for bento boxes.

As we're walking into the restaurant I say, "OK. Let's NOT talk about the flood over lunch."

So, what do we talk about for the entire meal?

The Flood.

What else is there to talk about?

Pre-flood when I was feeling "normal" I'd come home and get so very aggravated with myself for the accumulation of the piles of mail, assorted junk and books on our kitchen table. And the baskets of clean laundry that make their way to our bedroom, but never seem to get from the baskets to the drawers and closet (where are those d@#$ laundry elves when you need them???) Or the mess on the kitchen counters that we forgot to clean up from an earlier meal.

But now - looking around at the post-flood chaos of our house - I am longing for the messy normal we had before.

And I'm kind of longing to be obsessing about Schmoopie and not "where the h@## are we going to put all of this stuff?" or "How the h@## are we going to pay for all of the demo and construction in the basement?"

Chris says to me this morning, "Y'know, I haven't even looked at the adoption profile since before the flood. How many hits do we have?"

I check the site and tell him.

"Hmm," he says.

Sad that we can't even work up any excitement for the adoption at the moment.

And now my latest obsession is that we need to get this house put back into some kind of order ASAP because we might get The Call and then where would we actually PUT this kid? Future baby room has been converted to packed storage room. And our bedroom is such a mess that there would be no room for a co-sleeper. And there's certainly no downstairs right now to house a play area.


My head hurts.

Our pre-flood normal was far from perfect. However, I'd take that normal in a minute.

04 April 2010

The day after Cecil's grand day out...

Poor Cecil.

She isn't taking any of this chaos well.

In the aftermath of yesterday's terrifying outing into the world via the bulkhead, she is grumpier than ever.

"If you're planning to sit on the couch," Chris tells me upon my return from the grocery store, "just be careful because Cecil is there."

I look at the pile of blankets on the couch. Seeing no Cecil anywhere I look at Chris again.

"Oh, she's in there," says Chris with a little grin. "Just lift up the blue blanket."

I gently lift the blue blanket to reveal one slitted blue cat eye looking angrily up at me. Cecil is burrowed deep into the pile of blankets. Sleeping. And when not sleeping...sulking.

She is not pleased at my intrusion. "Meh!! Meh!!" she croaks.

I return the blue blanket back to the position in which I found it leaving Cecil to her sulk and siesta.

She remains in her blanket cocoon for the remainder of the afternoon.

I check on her once more.

"Meh! Meh!"

Poor thing.

Her life really sucks right now.

03 April 2010

Cecil's grand day out...

As you may know from previous posts, our cat Cecil is grumpy.

Super grumpy.

And very neurotic.

And kind of a major wuss.

Cecil is an indoor cat. Always has been. She's very content to spend the day sleeping, the evening in a lap, and the night burrowed under the covers next to Chris.

She's not exactly what you'd call an adventurer.

She's more like a big useless grumpy lump who we love dearly.

So imagine our surprise this afternoon as we're dealing with gathering up damaged stuff from the basement to haul up into the backyard that we find Cecil OUTSIDE crouched at the top of the stairs of the bulkhead.

"Mrow," she moans low, looking pitiful and extremely frightened.

"Cecil!" I exclaim.

"WHAT?" exclaims Chris, who cannot see Cecil from his vantage point.

I go quickly up the stairs hoping that Cecil won't bolt.

"Cecil is out there?" Chris asks.


Luckily she doesn't bolt, but instead comes right into my arms like the big fraidy cat that she is.

"Omigod! The dutch door [at the top of our inside staircase] must have come open," says Chris.

I bring her back into the house, through the basement and up the inside staircase. She bolts out of my arms and into the guest room where she turns around with an angry "Meh!" I close the dutch door firmy behind me making sure it's secure and head back down cellar for some more cleaning relieved that our grumpy lumpy useless cat is safe inside.

It's taken quite a few hours, but Cecil has finally recovered from her ordeal and is currently dozing along the back of the couch behind me.

Cecil's grand day out indeed...

The clean up...

"I can't believe I'm going to say this," says Chris, standing in an area of the kitchen where a few hours before there had been stacks and piles of basement stuff, "but I REALLY hope that we do NOT get the call from the agency saying, 'We have a placement for you! Be ready in two weeks!'"

His eyes look a little wild as he says this.

I can't believe that I would ever say that I DON'T want us to get The Call, but at this point in time I'm inclined to agree with my husband. I can’t even imagine what other families with infants, toddlers and school-age children are going through in the aftermath of the flooding. My heart goes out to them.

As much as we want Schmoopie in our lives, it is such a blessing that it's just the two of us at this moment dealing with post-flood clean up.

What a mess.

Although I have to say that Chris and I - compared to other people around the state - have been very lucky. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would feel "lucky" at having had a foot of water in our beautiful finished basement. But lucky I do feel because we still have a place to call home, while many Rhode Islanders from Warwick, West Warwick and Cranston have no place to call home because their homes were flooded under 6 feet (!!!) of water - some remaining that way - and the rest while no longer under water just too damaged for habitation.

Good heavens.

So, we're gratefully starting the clean up process.

Last evening when Chris arrives home he is please to see that I managed to overcome my paralysis of yesterday afternoon and that I have cleared up much of our kitchen and parts of the living room. I've moved the stuff in an orderly and organized fashion into our guest room.

Now that some of the mess is cleared up and we have some mental room we can start plotting our return to "normal life."

Chris mentions that he’ll use half of the kitchen table as his desk.


I have no idea how long we'll be without half of the finished space in our house. It could be weeks, but judging from the damage down there – I’m guessing that we’re looking at months. In that time I want to be able to have people over for dinner if we choose. With half of the kitchen table serving as office space that’s going to be mighty inconvenient. So, instead I say, "Why don't we just clear off the built in desk [the one in our kitchen that we just use for junk storage] and then we can grab the tall chair from my drafting table for you to use?"


Luckily, I never use my desk top computer system. Instead I happily tote my laptop all over the house to write, so we don’t have to worry about creating a desk area for me. (In fact, when all of this is over…I may just get rid of my desk downstairs. I never use it and we could use the space for say…an exercise bike. Yeah…)

"So, here's what I'm thinking," I continue, "I'm thinking that we can move the TV from the basement up into the living room because we have that cable behind the grandfather clock that we've never used."

"There's cable there?" Chris asks, immediately heading into the living room to check behind the grandfather clock and on finding said hidden cable exclaims, "Honey, you're a genius!"

I'm really not, but thanks.

“We can go to IKEA or someplace and buy a cheap TV stand and then move the TV up here. So at least we can watch some of our favorite shows or a movie and feel like it’s our regular life.”

Chris points out that our one and only television set is GARGANTUAN, which is true. It was purchased at a time when flat screen TVs were still outrageously expensive. So our current TV has a huge picture tube off the back. Chris is right – it’s a monster. And our living room – while comfy – is, shall we say….cozy.

Actually, by living room standards today (or really, by any room standards) – our living room is teeny tiny. The television downstairs would take up a good chunk of the room and require a very large TV stand. Even temporarily it would be an incredible eyesore.

So, looks like we’re getting a new flat screen TV out of the deal. Go figure…We have a flood and as a result Chris gets the new flat screen TV he’s been salivating over since seeing my brother-in-law’s back at Thanksgiving.


[Please – don’t think that I’m not grateful, because I am. I really am. We have the resources to make this purchase and for that I know we are truly fortunate.]

Clomping around Target last night I’m amazed at how the cost of flat screens has dropped so dramatically since we purchased our TV five years ago. A new flat screen – a really, really good one! – is going to cost less than half of what we paid for our old GIGANTOR set. They're not exactly cheap, but not terribly expensive in the grand scheme of things. Thank goodness for small miracles.

The cable guy is here this a.m. trying to fix our modem and also looking at the cable in the living room, which is very old cable and needs to be replaced with more up-to-date coaxial cable that can carry the digital signal (this according to technically geeky husband. I’ll take his word for it…) Needless to say, I’m locked in the bedroom writing while Chris deals with the Cox Cable guy. I can hear them talking about the best way to wire up the living room so we can once again have access to our beloved Project Runway, Chuck, In Plain Sight, and Leverage – oh – and of course, What Not to Wear.

Have at it, Boys.

The schedule for the remainder of today:
  • clean out the rest of the storage room and laundry room
  • remove any damaged stuff to the backyard
  • go to my mother-in-law’s to borrow their Trooper
  • load Trooper with all remaining damaged items from our basement
  • bring damaged items back to my mother-in-law’s to place in the 30-foot dumpster they rented because of the damage to everything in my mother-in-law’s mother-in-law’s basement (my mother-in-law’s mother-in-law lives directly across the street from her.)
  • go to Best Buy to purchase new flat screen TV
  • go to Target to purchase new cheap TV stand
  • assemble TV stand
  • hook up TV, cable/DVR box and DVD player
  • collapse in bed and prepare to do it all over again tomorrow
Just a few things to do.

This clean up is all terribly inconvenient, but truly I am happy and grateful.

The rain has stopped. No significant rain the forecast. Our basement is drying out. TV is on the way. Husband has his computer back and is happy. We can walk through the house without killing ourselves on piles of stuff. Clean livable space is right on the horizon.

It’s all good.

02 April 2010

The aftermath...

Wake up this morning feeling LOUSY.

Headache. Dry eyes. Extremely upset stomach. Not quite feeling like I'm going to barf, but knowing that if I do I'd probably feel a whole lot better.

Physical? Psychological? A little of both?

Who cares?

I stay home from work.

Basically I think the stress of this week - which I must say that during the flood I handled really well and stayed quite calm in the face of Chris being the one with the very upset stomach - has finally caught up with me.

Big time.

My prayer this morning: Dear God, please let me barf and I promise that I'll be a good person forever and ever. I promise that I'll be a great wife and a great mom. I'll help the poor. Give all my money away. Just please let my stomach stop hurting.


No barfing, but thankfully more sleeping.

I sleep the morning away while Chris heads off to work. Me and Cecil camped out in our darkened bedroom - the only room in the house that's moderately clean and not filled with the chaos of the flood (although there are several laundry baskets of clean clothes needing to be put away...that might count as chaos under normal circumstances, but not today.) Cecil curls up tightly in a ball on top of the comforter (in Chris' spot) while I hunker down underneath the covers, both of us in something of a coma.

When I finally pour myself out of bed at noon, I feel somewhat better. Stomach not quite so upset and roiling around. Head not pounding. Eyes still dry, but that's manageable.

Cecil pours herself out of bed and heads out to the living room couch for her afternoon siesta.

I've just returned from a trip to Benny's where I purchase some plastic bins - for storing the various piles of stuff that we hauled up from the basement over the last few days. Our guest room is slated to become Flood Central Storage.

I have to start moving and organizing stuff in Flood Central Storage.

The problem:

I'm feeling distinctly overwhelmed by the chaos that is now our house.

Kind of feeling paralyzed by it all.

So I'm sitting here writing a blog post about getting cleaned up instead of actually engaging in the clean up.

And my stomach is raging a roiling up again.

This time I know that it's stress.

Wish me luck.

01 April 2010

Chatty Cathy...

I've become one of THOSE people.

Those people who type things like "OMG" and "LOL" and use those annoying and very perky smiley-face emoticons.

OMG, how did this happen to me?

I always made fun of those people and now I'm one of them!



It's this f@#$ing flood.

We haven't really been able to leave the house much since we've had to man the pumps. We have no television and didn't have our landline for a few days. Cell service here is sketchy at best so couldn't really talk to family or friends. Texting was OK. Luckily we've had access to e-mail and the web thanks to Chris' cell card and now because our WiFi is back up and running. (All hail the gods of WiFi technology!!) So I've been on Facebook kind of non-stop reporting out about the various water levels in the basement, our freaked out cat, my new tattoo, etc. and I've been "chatting" with whoever has been online. Just desperate for contact with the outside world.

Discovering that I LOVE chatting online.

However, as I've been chatting suddenly I'm finding my chats peppered with OMGs and LOLs and those damn smiley faces.

I guess it was bound to happen at some point that my fingers would just get tired of typing out "Omigod." That my fingers would automatically realize that "LOL" is just easier to type out than constantly typing things like, "that was so funny" or "I know, I laughed about that."

And that when you type out a " :-) " in FB chat, FB very kindly and automatically transforms your simple :-) into a cheerful yellow smiley emoticon.

Who knew?

And so now here I am. An OMG person.