Archive | July, 2013

Living off the Land

26 Jul

So as I mentioned, the Bishop and I are feeling teh poor.  Oh, it’s entirely our fault, and involves escapades like how I accidentally bought Gucci eyeglasses, and we hired two babysitters last weekend, and one was because we went out to a super spendy, super delicious dinner and the other was because I had a cold and the Bishop was tired but mostly because having Awesome Emily here made the kids so, so happy.  So it’s not like any of those expenses couldn’t have been avoided by not having a fancy dinner out, asking the price of eyeglasses before saying, “I love them!  Put my prescription in them at once!” or playing with my kids myself, cold or no cold, but anyway.  

And really, we should be economizing all the time because we are living partially off our savings which shrinks every month despite both of us working.  I always blame daycare, which is, in fact, so spendy that I think they should be lining Toddler’s diapers with diamonds, but maybe it is our fault.

So on Monday I looked at our bank account and I went, “Gulp.” (I actually said, “Gulp.”)  I said to the Bishop, “Don’t buy anything until Friday.”  I transferred a little money to cover incidentals and to clear a few auto-pay bills, and set out to not-spend any money and to live off the fat of the land, or in this case, my full stocked fridge, freezer and pantry.  MAJOR first world problem – can the Mishegas Family go one week without buying NEW groceries but instead making do with the massive amount of perfectly good groceries that they already have?

I have kind of a famine mentality about groceries.  I developed it when Chaos was a baby, and I’d take her shopping and it would be so HARD that I’d think that I better buy a lot because who even knew when I was going to get to the store again?  So I’d buy about 20 of everything.  Way more than we could store.  Then, periodically we’d discover mouse poop in the pantry, immediately become squicked about all the SEALED SHUT groceries in the pantry, and toss a bunch of perfectly good uneaten food.  I mean, maybe you wouldn’t want to lick the outside of the box, but the contents had not been compromised.  Oh, I’m not proud of how we live, but it’s the truth.

So, all week this week we had the hardship of living off the contents of our well stocked freezer, fridge and pantry.  How did it go?  Well, as you know, I did have to break my resolve mid-week because we ran out of Pediasure.  However, I went to the store with a list of four items and I only bought those four items.  I walked through that store, passing up items that I *knew* we were out of, that I *knew* we wanted!  It was hard.  But I got the 4 items on my list. (paper towels, yogurt for Chaos, bananas, and Pediasure.) I spent $25.  A normal grocery run is AT LEAST $100.  

And we did just fine.  Nobody starved, or even suffered.  When I left work, I was feeling so frustrated with the whole thing because I was thinking there was nothing in the house, we were out of produce, and what was I going to make for dinner?  But then I found a zucchini hiding in the produce drawer.  And there was a package of tofu that had been frozen and was now defrosted in the fridge.  And I had a bag of rotini, and some tomato sauce.  And an onion.  So we had a pasta primavera with tofu, which is pretty much the same kind of thing that I make when I go to the store four times a week.  And the whole week was like that.  Last night I made veggie burgers and roasted cauliflower.  Normally I’d make fries with that, but since we didn’t have any fries, I didn’t.  And we didn’t miss them.  We had buns with our burgers, and I even had a can of baked beans.   Another day I used up two bags of Trader Joe’s falafels from the freezer, with a can of chickpeas and a chopped cucumber, and some tahini dressing.  Not too shabby. 

I will go to the store tomorrow.  I told the Bishop that we should probably try to live off the land most weeks, and he said, “Yeah, OK,” because I’m the one who is always shopping and as long as he gets regular meals, he’s not really bothered if the groceries are brand new.  And I got an alarmed post-it on Toddler’s cubby informing me that he is OUT OF DIAPERS.  “But we’re living off the land!” I wanted to write back.  I didn’t.  Instead i looked through the house.  It’s amazing how many clean diapers are just sitting around.  I put together a small bag of diapers for them.  

Do you think I can live off the land for another week?  I do.  After I stock up, of course.  What?  I may not have another chance to get to the store after this!

One day

24 Jul

The bishop and I spent too much money so we decided to economize for the rest of the week!  No trips to the store!  Eat food from pantry and fridge! (Which were stocked, so it’s not like it’s a hardship.) We made it one day!  

Then we realized we were out of Chaos Peanut’s precious Pediasure and also paper towels and bananas. And so Chaos and I went off to the store to get those things. 

So yeah.  We economized for one day.  

There is this rapper his name is J. Cole

23 Jul

So, rapper J. Cole, who I have never heard of before he got the autism community all grumpy by calling his rapping enemies “autisic” and the r-word, has apologized for offending me. That is sweet.  He says, “”To the parents who are fighting through the frustrations that must come with raising a child with severe autism, finding strength and patience that they never knew they had; to the college student with Asperger’s syndrome; to all those overcoming autism, you deserve medals, not disrespect,” he wrote. “I hope you accept my sincere apology.”

It’s sweet that the J. Cole recognizes that I deserve a medal, which I do.  And I don’t even mean to sound cynical, because maybe suburban autism moms weren’t his target audience, but on the other hand, now I know that there is a rapper named J. Cole and I didn’t before.  

And if he were really sorry, he’d donate his profits to a worthy charity.  Like me!  Or, you know, some Autism group.  Or he could give the profits to an autism charity, and give a medal to me, since, after all, according to him, I deserve one.  

Really, if he wants to make amends, I think he should offer to babysit for a while.  

I think Chaos Peanut and rapper J. Cole would have fun on a play date.  He could take her to the pool. She loves the pool.  And then he could teach her how to rap.  She would probably like that a lot.  And they’re both musicians, so they have more in common than rapper J. Cole could ever imagine, even now. Yes, I think this could work.

This can’t end well

20 Jul

So, let me tell you about what happened last weekend when the Bishop decided that it would be really really fun to go to the beach for the day! I did put this on Facebook, but it was abbreviated because I was typing on the iPad. I am usually typing on the iPad. I am so grateful to have an iPad, and I do like it, but it is just not conducive to writing lots and lots of words.

And sometimes, not very often, but sometimes, I do want to write lots and lots of words just like my Old Self.

So first, we had to Skype with the grandparents, and we got on the road an hour later than we had planned, which is really on time for us. You know, if we say we’re leaving at 10:30 and we actually leave at 11:35, that’s pretty good. That’s not bad. We drove to Ocean City, NJ. I had it in my head that if we took this one bridge, it would put us right on the Atlantic City Expressway, and I was actually thinking of a different bridge. So we got off the bridge and we had to drive for about an hour in order to get to the AC Expressway. There was this bagel place that the Bishop wanted to try, and that was fine because Chaos needed a bathroom, but they did not even have a bathroom, so we had to stop again at a WaWa. It took forever. When we got to Ocean City we (OK, just me) were fully grumpy and bickering, and we could not remember where you had to park in order to be near the boardwalk so we just grabbed a space on the street a few blocks from the beach and loaded all our crap into the stroller and we walked to the beach…

… the beach and not the boardwalk because we had managed to park about 900 miles from the boardwalk. At least, the part of the boardwalk with the toilets.

And there really is no place to go down there other than this one public rest room.

Which was about 900 miles from where we were parked.

At this point I was so grumpy, (’cause I had to go, OK?) that I just started stalking down the street and eventually the boardwalk. And I did not even stop to generously apply sunblock to myself or my progeny, so the sun had its way with us until the Bishop said, “Hey, did you put sunblock on the kids?” and no, I hadn’t. So everyone got sunblocked. But it was too late.

After we finally arrived at the bathrooms, and everyone went, and the Bishop bought some pizza, and we set out our blanket, Toddler Peanut got his buckets and his shovels and started digging away zestfully and dumping shovelfulls of sand over his shoulder…. and Chaos was lying on the blanket behind him. So he dumped a shovel full of sand into her mouth.

This would probably be upsetting to anyone, but multiply that by 10,000 for orally defensive child with autism. Chaos was really mad. Couldn’t blame her so we did our best to wipe the sand out of her mouth and eventually she calmed down. She drank some Pediasure, which she loves, and then she wanted to go in the ocean. I changed her and walked her down to where the Bishop was playing in the water with Toddler and everyone went in the water and cooled off and the kids ended up having a nice time. The End!

Just kidding!

So, after we trudged the 900 miles back to the car, and we got on the road, Chaos said, “I want potty!” We said, “OK, hold it in!” because we didn’t WANT to stop! And then Chaos said, “I want potty! I want poop!” And then she went ahead and pooped her pants. Well, that was not so comfortable, but no problem, Chaos undid her seatbelt and took off her pants and underpants. She even kindly fished out the poop and threw it at me, and let me tell you, until you’ve been pelted with poop in a moving car, you haven’t REALLY lived.

This was one of those times that I just felt so YOUNG. Yes, I know I am in my 40’s, but there are times where I feel young. Not young as in “sprightly and energetic,” young as in “lost and incapable.” I mean, here we were rushing down the highway, Chaos has no seatbelt and no pants on. We had spares but she’d already had one accident in them during our long walk to the beach, and I was just… yeah. I didn’t know what to do. And..here I was, I’m the mom, everyone’s looking to me like I know what to do, like the second you become a mom, you’re handed a book of What To Do, and somehow my copy got lost or mangled or Chaos spilled yogurt on it but whatever happened to it, my innate Mom sense of What To Do was just… Gone. I wanted to call my mother. I don’t know if she’d know what to do.

OK, well. First things first. I reached over and rebelted the now pants-less Chaos Peanut back into her booster seat. OK, well, at least everyone was safe. And Chaos Peanut was no longer freaking out, having fixed the problem to her own satisfaction. The car smelled terrible, of course, but that wasn’t a problem for Chaos, who was humming and looking out the window, or for Toddler, who was calling for crackers from his carseat (!), so, OK. I grabbed an old plastic bag from the floor of the car and picked up the poop and wrapped it up. Then I found another bag and wrapped up Chaos’ clothes. OK.

“Maybe we could find a store?” I said. “A Walgreens or CVS or something. Even if they just have Pull-Ups, that will work until we get home.”

“OK, sure,” said the Bishop. He handed me his iPhone and I asked Siri, “Where is the nearest CVS?”

“I’m sorry,” Siri said, “I don’t know what a Speedy Zest is. Would you like to search the internet?”

“CVS!” I said.

“I’m sorry,” Siri said, “I don’t know what a Seedy Pest is. Would you like to search the internet?”

So we kept driving until we spotted a Dollar General. “Stop!” I hollered.

The Bishop was tasked with the unfortunate task of cleaning up the Chaos while I went into the store to try to find something to put onto her. This was actually pretty straightforward… they sold the brand and size of underpants that I buy for Chaos. I looked briefly for shorts too but they didn’t have much and money is tight and I made the executive decision based on my authority as The Mom that as long as her down-theres were covered, that would suffice until we made it home.

Understand, we were only about 40 minutes from home. And we live in the woods, and the neighbors have all, no doubt, seen Chaos stark naked many times, (don’t ask), so theoretically, we could have just made it home without anything and brought Chaos into the house. But she was asking to go again, and it seemed if we COULD get something on her bottom half, we really ought to. So I put some underpants onto Chaos and brought her back into the Dollar General store wearing just a t-shirt and panties and the lady behind the counter was kind enough not to look at me funny and Chaos went to the restroom. We made one more rest stop along the way, and we did get some looks, but hey, at least her butt wasn’t hanging out. So I think we did pretty well by her. And really, it was funny. It was even funny at the time, because, come on! It was funny. So yeah. The Bishop’s beach day. It was then that I decided that when I finally do write my autobiography/next novel, I will have to call it, “This Can’t End Well.”

You will be so proud of me because Chaos has a cold and I have not mentioned it until now. The fact is, Toddler has a cold too, but it doesn’t slow him down the way it does Chaos. I do not have a cold. I do not get sick. Ever. I’m not allowed. I did not have gastroenteritis a few weeks ago, which is why I was not lying on the floor in Chaos’ room gasping out lullbyes and trying not to throw up again. Because I wasn’t sick. I just had mild indigestion. And the unpleasant sensation in my nose right now is not a symptom of the cold that I caught from Chaos, who likes to use me as a Human Snot Rag (Actually, she’s not that picky… she’ll use you too if you want to come over.) and from Toddler, who likes to sneeze on me and play the “spit on Mommy” game and stick his grubby fingers into his mouth (which is how I caught the bout of mild indigestion). No, I do not have a cold. I have mild nasal congestion caused by Not Germs and best treated with Not Resting.

Oh, when we got home from our beach day, I put both kids into the bath to get the sand and, you know, other things off of them, and they *loved* it. Now they are obsessed with bathing together. Tonight, for example, Toddler asked to take a bath “A bass?” he said. “I wanna bass!” Chaos was sitting in the living room being grumpy and disorganized and angry at her nose. Periodically she would yell at it and hit it. But I ran a bath for Toddler and I said, “Chaos do you want to take a bath with Toddler?” And she jumped out of the chair and ran into the bathroom tearing off her clothes as she went. And she was in a better mood afterwards, and less angry at her nose. It was their fourth bath together in a week. They don’t even mind getting their hair washed, at least, they mind it less.

It’s just so cute to see them playing together. It makes me feel so joyful. They like each other. They get it, about each other.

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