Friday, October 31, 2008

So Bizarre...

So for those of you who don't know, we have a small jewelery store. (Come! Buy! We're nice!) Jewelery stores have both (a) safes and (b) alarm systems. The safes are on metal plates with tons of alarm features-vibration sensors, movement sensors, damage sensors. You name it, there's a sensor for it. Benjie's safe looks something like this: It's big. It weighs like 500 pounds. Or maybe 1000 pounds. Honestly. I'm not joking.

So Benjie has intermittent issues with his vibration sensors-as in the go off all. the. time. for. no reason. The vibration sensor is supposed to register if someone is drilling into the safe. It's not supposed to go off at 4:37 am for four nights in a row. It seriously makes no sense.

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, the alarm went off at 4:31 am, 4:36 am and 4:37 am respectively. There was nothing wrong. All we got was a phone call in the middle of the night and a good shot of adrenaline, because phone calls in the middle of the night usually mean either someone was born or someone died. If the entire jewelry mall was not alarmed, and motion sensored, and barred with metal grates, I'd be really nervous by this three nights in a row alarm issue.

But because of all the security there, I'm more just completely perplexed. Because, while the alarm did not go off last night, we DID get a phone call at 4:21 am. It was Privacy Manager and no one was there. But the phone DID ring.

So why has my phone rung at 4 am for the past four nights in a row? Is G-d trying to give me some type of message? Am I supposed to be getting up then to say Tikkun Chatzos (a kabbalistic prayer that I'm not even sure what it's for)? Why is this happening?

It's so bizarre...

On another note, ADT is coming to service the alarm today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

(Alternately titled: How Sara Got High and Hated It)

So yesterday, about 3 minutes after I finished my post, I got a call from Dovi's school that his eye was swollen and probably had conjunctivitis. I was most confused because his eye had been fine when he left for school about two hours prior. I was informed that his eye was swollen and looked like it might be getting a sty, and was goopy.

I was ticked and not overly polite, more because I was about to lose yet another day of work than anything else. I will not repeat what I said to the nurse as I picked him up. It was not pretty. Then I proceeded to wait over an hour in the eye doctor's office. Sure enough, he is getting a sty, which you do nothing for. And he has a very very mild case of conjunctivitis that he decided to treat more because of Dovi's history than because it really needed it. So he's on eye drops and is going to school come hell or high water. Yes, I have a note clearing him for school. Assuming the eye is not having discharge. Which it is not.

So D and I tootled on home, stopping to pick up the eye drops. While there I asked about the status of another one of his meds that is having insurance issues. For whatever reason, Medicaid, after paying for this med for 2 1/2 years, has now decided to deny it. They are trying to get it approved but so far, no go. I guess they'd rather pay for him to be hospitalized when he gets pneumonia, being as this is a med for his nebulizer. Fab.

Dovi and I ate lunch, and decided that it was not worth it to waste a perfectly good day off. So we headed out with a friend to heaven Homegoods, where we got a few little things and Dovi broke some tacky snowman plate, which they thankfully did not charge me for.

Then all the lovelies came home, we had dinner (chili in baked potatoes-amazing success!), did homework, and I dropped them all off at my in laws and headed out to my dentist appointment.

My teeth are even worse than I thought.

Remember I got two cavities filled a few weeks back?

Well now I have four more cavities and a tooth that needs to get EXTRACTED. As in pulled out. I need an implant! I think I need to yank them all out and get dentures.

So tonight I got two of the four cavities filled. Like last time, I got nitrous oxide. Unlike last time, I had a crappy insane reaction.

Firstly, I'm 100% sure that he drugged me up and left me to go treat another patient. Who was screaming to him about how she would have never bothered him for one broken tooth, but she has THREE broken teeth! But then again I might have been tripping. I seriously had insane hallucinations? thoughts? what are they called? At one point I recall the dentist saying "wow, she's getting really twitchy". What did that mean? Yikes!

On to my reaction:

I was out for like an hour and a half. When I came to, I was soooo out of it. I honestly don't remember checking out at the desk. I think I wrote a check to them. Not sure if it was for the correct amount.

Then I went outside and called Benjie and made him stay on the phone with me as I prepared to drive home. I've never been drunk, but imagine this must be what it felt like. I still can't believe I drove home. It was not a good idea.

I got home and collapsed onto the couch, feeling really sick. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt perfectly fine.

It was bizarre. Not an experience I would like to repeat. Although I will.

In a few weeks when I GET MY TOOTH EXTRACTED.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

To Push or Not to Push

So, for the past year and a half or so, Dovi has been going to a reading tutor. He goes. He works. He reads. A little. As in less than my six year olds. He tries.

But he has such a hard time. I'm not sure why it's so hard for him. Is it because he wasn't pushed so much at school? Hi Keshet people, I know you read this. And I also know that you know that Keshet's AMAZING strength, and I mean AMAZING, MIND BLOWING strength, is inclusion and socialization. Dovi rocks the inclusion world. He has friends! Real, honest to goodness, friends at Schechter. He is able to appropriately navigate his way through social situations. Benjie was shocked one day, when Dovi, upon meeting someone new, extended his hand and said, "Hi, I Dovi. What your name?" So appropriate socialization? Keshet rocks. But educationally, academically, well, he hasn't been pushed as much as I might have hoped.

So is the reading tutor an example of too little, too late? Am I trying to get him to do something that he is simply just not capable of? I have visions of him sitting and enjoying a book. Maybe not War and Peace, but why not a Judy Blume book? Beezus and Ramona? That's what I want.

I crazy love reading. If I could, I would sit in my den, on my couch, with a cup of tea, reading all day. I could literally sit and read all day long. I want him to have that joy. But then again, Benjie...ummm...not a reader. We've been married 11 1/2 years (yikes). He's read maybe six books. And lest you doubt me honey, what have you read since we've been married besides a few Harry Potter books, a few John Grishams, The Kite Runner, and now you're reading The Book Thief? It's not a judgment. I certainly can't play ice hockey. You can. We have different interests that way.

But back to Dovi. Maybe he got Benjie's reading genes? Maybe I'm pushing him to do something that he just does not have any interest or ability in doing. He had his IQ tested when he was 6. It was not the greatest test because his expressive language was a tad lacking (as in he hadn't started the mind blowing, life altering PROMPT therapy yet so his entire expressive language consisted of "yah"). So he tested as moderately cognitively impaired. The tester felt the score was artificially low due to the lack of language. For example, he was shown a picture of a red box. He knew his colors. But since he couldn't say "red" he didn't get credit. If given choices, he could choose the right answer. But because he couldn't verbally express the answer, he didn't get the credit.

So I guess the whole point of this ramble is:

Should I be pushing him? Should he be going to the tutor after a whole day of school? Or should he maybe be going twice a week? She says he's progressing. But it's the eensy weensiest baby steps I've ever encountered. So is it worth it? Or should I just say, he's happy-let him be?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Crafty Momma

Ahhh...back to fluffy unsubstantial posts.

I love crafts. I really do. I could spend hours in the craft store, just looking at all the possibilities. I would love to take sewing classes someday. Last night Benjie abandoned me went to the calling night for Eskape (Come! Really! You know you want to!) so I decided to spend the evening watching HGTV and making the pretty princess some new hairbows. I must say I was highly productive, in a bizarre, mommy type of way.

The rubber bands were a new experiment but I must say I think they turned out quite nicely (aside from taking me 10 minutes to put in her hair this morning because I kept ending up with her pony upside down...)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Defining Moment/Not Me Monday

I'm renaming my "Not Me Monday" Post. Reason will be obvious as you read.

First I will give you my not me's:

I did not have my kids' backpacks packed up, lunches, snacks, and homeworks, all ready to go, at 3pm this afternoon. Thank G-d for the end of vacation!

Remember the car from last week that smells like something died?

Well I would NEVER still be ignoring said odor and just toodling around in the stinkiest minivan known to man. Kinda still hoping Benjie will deal with that.

Now onto my most major "Not Me"

I don't ever, ever wonder what my life would be like if Dovi had not been Dovi. As in if he had just been Dovi, and not "Dovi with FD". Ooh, deep. You didn't expect this, didja? You were expecting my usual funny not me's. Well, I gave you those. This is a blog about Life with Dovi, not Sara's life. So you're getting the Dovi crap now.

Some people can easily pinpoint the defining moment of their lives. The exact second when their lives changed forever. I am one of those people. Dovi was born at 7:31 am on November 13, 1997. At that exact moment, my life as I previously knew it was over. There's before, and there's after. And there is really no correlation, no similarities between the two. At 7:30 am, I was the blissfully ignorant, immature, clueless 20 year old about to have her cute little baby-toy honeymoon baby with her hot hubby of 8 months (yes, he was one month early, all you jokers out there). At 7:31 am I was the parent of a terminally ill child. But I didn't know it yet.

My entire life has been changed by that minute. Seriously. My child spacing plans have changed. My family size plans have changed. My career plans have changed. How I spend my time has changed. My friends have changed. My attitude has changed. Everything has changed.

I had this vision of having my kids crazy close together. Like MckMama close. (hey that's my mention back to MckMama on Not Me Monday). Like Benjie and I joked when I was pregnant with Dovi that we should just buy a double stroller because we'd be filling the second seat within a year or so. Instead I have an almost 11 year old and three 6 year olds. That's not exactly close together.

I wanted kids. Lots of kids. I love being pregnant (I know, I'm a freak). I love kids. I insanely love babies. Everyone knows that. I'm the nut at the park who grabs your baby, holds it for a while, and smothers it with kisses. While you watch to make sure I don't kidnap it. I have four kids. That's not a small family, by any stretch. But who know what will be in the future? The D man keeps me busy.

I was going to be a CPA. Instead I am a bookkeeper. I work maybe 26 hours per week, but my hours are dictated by Dovi's doctor/therapy schedule, not by my kids' school hours. I physically can not work more hours, no matter how much I'd want to. Because Dovi needs stuff.

I now spend much of my spare time running from doctor to therapy to school. Special ed school. I also spend much other time on the phone, fighting and cajoling people to give Dovi what he needs, what he deserves. It is not fun.

I have two close friends from before Dovi. That's all. I don't think anyone else was ready to deal with the enormity of Dovi meant to me, and by extension, them. Things change. Friends change. Which brings me to:

I now have a low tolerance for crap and bullsh**. Benjie teases me about it all the time. But here's the bottom line. I don't have time for crap. I've got things to do, people to fight with see, and don't waste my time.

So I wonder, what would it be like in my life, with no FD, no Keshet, no Chai Lifeline (speaking of which, if you live in Chicago, have kids, and like entertaining them, or even don't have kids but like having a good time, please come to Chai Lifeline's event this Suday-EsKape! Benjie has worked his tuches off for this event!), no Camp Simcha, no ENH Therapy Clinic, no Speech with Gail, no Walgreens, no midnight pharmacy runs, no nurse overnight in my house five nights a week, no DSCC, no fighting, no exhaustion (Dovi was up 10pm-2am Saturday night-we seem to have cycled back into a non-sleeping mode), no ...anything.

What would I do? Seriously? How would I spend my days? I can't even imagine.

But all this rambling brings me to one ultimate conclusion:

How I spend my days, how the D man is, is exactly the way G-d wants it to be. I can not, and will not ever claim to have any understanding whatsoever why G-d found it necessary to give Dovi FD. Frankly, I think it 100% totally sucks. I cannot in any way, shape, or form, no matter how much I wrack my brain, come up with one redeeming factor of the FD for Dovi. I got to make lots of friends I would never have met, etc etc etc. But that's for me. For Dovi? Not so much. Frankly, there is no good, in my humble opinion, in, for example, waking up every. morning. of. your. life. retching. As in he'd be puking if he didn't have a fundoplication. It's not enjoyable.

So instead of killing myself trying to understand, I have to say that obviously it has to be that G-d has a plan for Dovi, for me and Benjie, for my family, for the world at large, greater than me, or Dovi. If I spent time dwelling on that, I would literally be living in the loony bin. I would not be able to carry on. So, I know, I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that for whatever reason, my life is exactly how it should be. It's nothing like I planned. As you read, NOTHING like I planned. Seriously-who's life is this? Certainly not what I mapped out. But it's how it's supposed to be.

So that's that. Deal with it. (remember, I have a low tolerance for bullsh**!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm SO Cracking Up

So I was peeking at the most recent keywords that brought people to my blog. I think that I have the all time best winner:

"What do wild dovis eat"

Last time I checked, THIS Wild Dovi exists on a steady diet of Peptamen Junior

and Pedialyte Singles
with the occasional addition of

fish sticks

and the most important food group of all, chicken wontons.

That, dear readers, is

What Wild Dovis Eat.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Well that was ugly.

So yesterday we were at our friends Alita and Michael's (see, you get a shout out here) for a late lunch. Or was it more like a linner? Lupper? Whatever. It was yummy. Tomato Feta Salad. Orzo with Pesto and Mushrooms. Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes. Caramelized Onion/Thyme Pizza. Oh and some Wacky Mac and Fish Sticks for the kidlets.

So I'm sitting in the kitchen reading the paper as Alita is washing dishes, looking forward to my Coconut Cupcake and cup of tea for dessert, when I get the dreaded call from Benjie:

"Sara, can you come here for a minute?"

That can only mean one thing:

The D Man has yet again managed to mangle himself in some way.

Sure enough. He somehow fell down one or two steps in the basement and managed to whack his face onto something (floor? step? it's anyone's guess).

Then the inside of his cheek got stuck to his braces bracket. And since he doesn't feel any pain, he merely ripped his cheek off the brace. Leaving a CRATER in the inside of his mouth. It's seriously nasty. It's about the size of my pinky nail and about as deep. It was bleeding. His cheek was swelling. Images of the ER and stitches began dancing in my head.

But it was a holiday. Now now, don't get all upset. OF COURSE we'd take him to the ER on a holiday. If he needed it. Which we weren't sure if he did. I mean-it was nasty. But was it that nasty?

Situations such as this call for strolls to the local resident Pediatricians/ER Doctors who live nearby. Some of them even keep suture kits at home for just these events. For example when my sister in law got her finger stuck. in. her. immersion. blender. blade. ten minutes before candle lighting. yes. it was that bad. It was hand over the head, feeling the blood pulse out bad. Her next door neighbor the ER doctor stitched it right up.

So we dumped D in his wheelchair and strolled down the street to said ER Doctor. He looked in Dovi's mouth. Declared it a "dirty wound". Did you know that human mouths have more bacteria than dog mouths? How is that? I was mighty disgusted by that. But since it was in his inner cheek, and it wasn't like he had a hole in his mouth, he told us to swipe him with a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide, half water a few times per day, and it would heal quickly.

First he wanted us to have him gargle four times per day. I'd like to remind you all of Dovi's issues with liquid in the mouth. So we settled on swiping.

Anyway, we went to the dentist this morning (who needs to work, anyway?) Dr. Bob said it's nasty but no need to do anything further. It should heal in a week or so. But knowing our luck it'll get infected and require IV antibiotics.

That's it in Dov-land. Over and out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Look at my counter!

I'm only 13 visitors from 10,000!!

Woo hoo!

I'm in the big time, baby :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hi D!

I am superseding my "Not Me Monday" post to bring you this video Raphi, D's CSS counselor, just sent me from camp. He saw the picture here (I guess you are a NON-COMMENTING reader, Raphi) and sent me the video that goes along with it.

In all honesty I'm sure the only people who will actually enjoy this are my mom, my mother in law, and some assorted siblings. But here it is anyway.

I'm not sure this will work... OK it does. The best thing to do it to hit play, then hit the pause button to let the whole thing load up to enjoy in all it's glory...don't forget to turn on your speakers!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Not Me Monday

I would never have yelled at my kids to clean up their pigsty rooms and pick up their clothes while quickly closing my door so they could not see my clothes on my floor!

Never, never, would I break every one of my organizational rules right now as I sit on my couch blogging and my kitchen has imploded. It's awful.

I did not eat two or three bites from about ten apples today at the apple orchard...only to toss the uneaten portions under the tree.

I did not forget my camera in the car when we went to the apple orchard. Darn it!

I did not sit up until 1:30 in the morning Friday night reading. Why can't I control myself?

And then I would have never glued my butt to the couch Saturday morning until 11 am with a cup of coffee after Benjie took the little lovelies to shul (synagogue)....I think I read like 12 of the 24 hours from Friday at 9pm until Saturday at 9pm.

After having such a lovely morning, I would never have then slept for two hours on my in laws' couch on Saturday afternoon while ignoring the children allowing my in laws such precious one on one time with the children :)

I am not taking my entire dinner for tomorrow night out of the freezer. I would never serve a 100% leftover meal. To company.

I did not drink 5 Frescas in 1 day. Gross.

I did not almost break down in tears when I realized that we were out of Dunkin Donuts coffee...and be only marginally pleased by the Starbucks bag I located in the freezer.

I did not go to four different stores today that all sell flour and then when I began to make my challah dough this afternoon did not realize that I HAD NO FLOUR. Lovely.

I am not going to commit forgery on my childrens' vacation homework sheets because, darn it, I did forget to practice reading with them some nights and I don't want the teachers to know that (hopefully they're not reading this. If you are...hahahahaha....I make funny jokes)

My car does not smell like something died in it...

What about you?

Surf over to MckMama and join in!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Reward

This isn't the picture I was referring to but I was just surfing around facebook and found some pictures put up by camp guys and found this one of the D Man. Hmmm he looks a little happy, no?

HERE is the most adorable picture I've taken of Dovi in a very long time. He has his own Lulav and Esrog-after all, "I 10, Mommy!" He was soooo proud I had to take a picture. Dovi is notoriously unphotogenic, so a good picture makes my heart happy.

And here is our sukkah with its lovely chandelier. Yes, it's an indoor/outdoor chandelier. Do you think I'd risk electrocuting my crazy loony lovely family?

A Tease

I took a really, really cute picture of Dovi last night. But I'm at work and forgot my camera to upload the picture. So it's coming this afternoon. Check back later.

And I also took a picture of our Sukkah for all those inquiring minds. I'm rather proud of it-it has a chandelier this year! Hee hee. Very snazzy. So check back around 3ish for those.

And one other question-by a show of hands, who here is DYING watching all that Chol HaMoed laundry pile up? It gives me palpitations.

Also, thank you everyone for all your encouragement, both by email or comments for my day-care woes. I had a brainstorm last night that my brother and sister in law are out of town for the holidays, so I'm "borrowing" their housekeeper/babysitter for Monday and Thursday. Now I need to figure out Friday, but we're getting there!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Sometimes it's just hard.

Hard being a mom, hard being a wife, hard being an employee, hard just being.

There's so much to do, so little time, so much in the way of emotions, stress, pulling, pushing every which way.

It's like you try as hard as you can, but sometimes you just feel like it's not enough?

I dropped the little three off at the J today for vacation days. Elisha, Shana, and Jacob are on vacation FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS for the Sukkos holiday. Dovi, bless his soul, only had off Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and the same next week. But the terrific trio? Off until a week from Monday. And you know what? That's hard.

I'm one of the few of my friends who work. And when they're in school, everything's humming along nicely, it's fine. But when there is vacation, especially gratuitous, pointless vacation (next Thursday and Friday are for nothing. Sukkos is OVER. Why? Why? How am I going to do this childcare thing?) it positively, absolutely, sucks. There is no worse feeling in the world than trying to pawn your kids off for a few days so you can go to crappy work. I have no idea how the majority of my friends do not work. Yet they do not, so it's not a problem for them. But all I can think about right now is who will watch them Monday, Thursday, and Friday of next week. I'd much rather it be me.

But it certainly did suck when as I dropped them off at the J, I realized that I was confused about vacation days. As in I thought it was this Thursday, this Friday, and next Monday. When in actuality it was THIS PAST Monday, this Thursday, and this Friday. So in other words, not only is there no child care for next Thursday and Friday, there is none for Monday either.

And never mind the fact that I'm missing so much work for the holidays, and I don't get paid on my days off. So my income this month will basically be negative after I pay for whatever childcare I manage to scrounge up.

But for whatever reason, I'm a working mama, and such is life. So I've gotta stop the pity party and move along.

I'll move along to my happy Dovi, when he met a Camp Simcha Special counselor this morning at his speech therapist's house. Her son is home for the holidays, and he brought a friend. Who was a counselor at camp. He didn't really know Dovi at all because he was with the older kids. But Dovi saw the sweatshirt the guy was wearing and went nuts-jumping around, hyper as all get go. I guess that's what camp does to him.

If only it would help the gigantic, enormous canker sores in his mouth heal. D got a few new brackets put on last week. The addition of new brackets in his mouth means the addition of a few new canker sores for a few weeks. Until his mouth adjusts-remember, he doesn't feel pain. He doesn't feel the new brackets rubbing his little lips raw as anything. Yes, wax helps-sometimes. Since he doesn't feel it, he doesn't baby the sore at all. So he doesn't baby the wax at all. So it generally comes off within ten minutes. But we try. And it gives him disgusting, repulsive breath. For the first time ever, I'm actually excited about all the grooming they work on at Keshet. I told the staff to do EXTRA tooth brushing! I complain about time spent on grooming (yes, it's exactly what it sounds like) and now I'm asking for more!

Most kids get the entire upper set of braces put on in one visit, then the entire lower set put on in another. Dovi? Four brackets his first visit, two his second. Two. I'm not joking. It takes FOREVER and a day to get them on. He cries and screams. Moves his head. First, they need to clean out the junk on his teeth, rinse him out, and then they can glue on the brace(s). But rinsing Dovi's mouth is an endeavor in and of itself.

You see, kids with FD aspirate all liquids. So shooting water into his mouth while he's screaming makes me..umm...a little stressed. In a perfect world he cannot handle liquid in his mouth. But when he's stressed and yelling it's ten times worse. You know that little flap-I believe it's called the epiglottis? The thing that when you drink covers your windpipe to your lungs and when you talk covers your esophagus? Dovi's doesn't work. at all. I've explained it a million times to them but I still don't think they 100% understand that water into Dovi's mouth = water into Dovi's lungs. It's a simple equation. And water into Dovi's lungs can = pneumonia. Sometimes. Not always. But it can happen. So that rinse part before the braces application? Highly stressful for me. I try and sip my coffee and pretend it's not occurring. So far that's worked.

My great hope is that Dovi will have a full mouth of braces by the time he's 12. And I'm not joking. It's madness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not Me Monday

It's that time of week again....

I did NOT just set up my three kids watching TWO different movies in TWO different rooms so as to give my mom who is generously babysitting them a few hours to relax...

I would have NEVER just this past week bared my soul about the D man to the entire blogging community....still not sure what I think of that idea.

I did NOT spend a bloody fortune to buy my three 6 year olds North Face Fleece jackets...I might tell people that they really ARE warmer, but c'mon? Total brag tag purchase.

But having spent a bloody fortune on these coats, I would have never then proceeded to buy my boys plastic dress shoes from Payless...honestly-who would be so silly?

I did not finish 99% of my holiday cooking 4 days in advance (OK I did)...

Benjie and I did NOT drag a half asleep Dovi into our room at 12:30 in the morning Saturday night to cuddle him just because he's so cute and yummy and we need those moments...

I do not have conversations with my husband ending with..."ooh that would be a good blogging topic" C'mon who's so blog obsessed anyway?

And I certainly DO NOT check my statcounter multiple times a day to see how many people are on my loverly blog...and feel sad and lonely when less that 100 people check per day...seriously-who cares that much? Who's so vain? Umm me.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Organization vs. Neatness EDITED

I feel the need to post about my "organizational" skills.

Let me preface this entire post by a few disclaimers:

I am organized. I am not neat. I will save that title for my mom and for my friend Karen (and Michelle, and Terri). They are psycho neat. Insanely so. I once spent an entire winter Sunday at Karen's house with all my kids and when we left after dinner it was still freaking spotless. I am constantly yelling nicely and patiently asking my lovely husband and children to CLEAN UP THEIR CRAP. I am constantly cleaning up crap and putting it back where it belongs. Nothing ever seems to get put back where it came from without me either threatening it to be thrown away or me doing it myself. Sometimes I just say that I wish I could toss everything and start fresh. But I love my house so that aint gonna happen. But can we just toss all the CRAP of life? But I digress (what else is new). Back to the organizing thing.

I am HIGHLY organized. I have 4 little kids and 1 big kid (whom I adore to pieces and is the best hubby in the universe...but he and I differ just a tad in what constitutes clean). I have the Dov-man. I work 25-30 hours per week and only have 4 hours of cleaning help per week-which is a heck of a lot more than some people have so I'm not complaining. But if I wasn't organized then I would drown, literally, in both the physical and emotional stuff of life. For me, and organized life=an organized mind. I cannot function without organization. As I tell people constantly, I can do anything with a plan. In one sentence, my friends, that is my secret. plan, plan, plan. lists, lists, lists. Plan ahead, reap the benefits.

So here are just a few of my ways I keep my life organized.

  • laundry every day. There is nothing more disheartening, in my opinion, than Mt. St. Laundry, as I call it. I hate laundry-I mean, you do it, put it all away, and then. there. is. more. It's like the laundry mommy and daddy made little laundry babies when you weren't looking. So every morning, even before my coffee, I run downstairs to the scary slasher film basement and toss the load in. The load is the clothing and pj's everyone wore yesterday, plus Dovi's sheets, plus the odd towel that might smell icky. Benjie's more concerned about icky towels than me-so there's usually one or two per day. So for my family of 6, that totals about one load. If I toss it in first thing in the morning, I can generally flip it to the drier right before I leave in the morning at 8, or immediately when I get home at 3:45. Then I fold it while the kids are taking their showers, upstairs in the hallway, and put it straight away. The folding/putting away of 1 load takes about 7-10 minutes. I'd MUCH rather spend 7 minutes every day than one or two hours on a Sunday. I DO do two or three loads on Sunday, because I'm doing Friday and Saturday plus linens. Which brings me to:
  • Linens. I change them every other week, not every week. (and don't tell, I just did not have the fortitude to do them last week, so, gasp, my kids are sleeping on three week old sheets. whatevs. they're fine). I despise shimmying up on the bunkbed and rearranging all the kids' crap stuffed animals, so I put it off as long as possible. But honestly, they're just fine.
  • Plan dinner in advance. I take ten minutes every Wednesday when I'm planning my Shabbos meals and plan my dinners for the next week. I only worry about Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday because Thursday is hot dog night at Casa P (don't lecture me about nitrates. That's the least of our problems in life). So I decide what I'm making for dinner next week on Wednesday. So that way, when I shop, get this, everyone...I buy what I need for next week's dinners as well. That means that I don't need to run to the store every day to buy dinner ingredients. Shocking, I know. But it makes everything so much easier to not be like...hmmm....what's for dinner? At 3 pm. And it keeps us out of the noodles and fish sticks rut.
  • I try and not waste time. As in if I need to ________ (cook, clean, set the table, etc), I don't sit down/read a book/etc until I've done it. Because once my butt hits the couch, it's all over, folks. I like my chaise on my couch in my den with my laptop, looking up at my loverly pictures of my kids from Amy, over the mantle I made my myself and stained's my happy place, and darned if I'm going to get up from there once I sit down. So I don't. Until I've finished. Try it, it works.
  • I've said this before, and this only applies to my Shabbos-observant readers, but I set the table/set up the Shabbos candles on Thursday night. There is no better feeling than coming downstairs on Friday morning to a set table. I'm like "ooh I'm the best, look how geshickt I am!" Even if the rest of the house is a mess (which it often is) and the food is not yet cooked (which it often is not), I feel like a rock star with my set table and set up candles. I used to go to the house of a dear friend of mine on Friday afternoons. She is lucky enough to have almost daily housekeeping help. Her housekeeper would set the table every Thursday. I'd go home, feeling all upset that I didn't have a housekeeper to get my table ready on Thursday. But then I realized-I can set the table myself on Thursday! So I do. And I rock. Which brings me to:
  • Don't pile crap on your dining room table! You'll feel icky when someone walks into your house and sees a messy table. It's not a good feeling. Find another place to dump it. My crap pile of embarrassment is in my den, on my desk. Holy cow, that place is scary now. Must deal with it. But it's not the first thing people see when they come in my house. I can close it up and pretend it's not there. So also,
  • Keep the entry way clean. I have baskets for my kids' shoes. They are supposed to dump their shoes there when they come in. They often don't, but at least, when I yell tell them so patiently and nicely to put them away, they have an easy place to put them. Make the kids put away their backpacks. Often, my kids don't. But I aspire to it. They even have hooks on the basement stairs. With their initials on them. Which they generally ignore. Give them a place to put them, and try to enforce it. I need to get better at this one.
  • lists, lists, lists. If you have a lot to do, and are starting to get overwhelmed, STOP! Stop right there from the freaking, and make lists. Make as many lists as you need to until you've broken down your tasks into manageable bites. I break everything down. My mom and sister used to mock me, when Dovi was a baby, for my pre-Shabbos lists. Literally, I would write: Take food out of fridge. Put food in oven. Fill up hot water urn. Take shower. OK, I don't do that anymore, but you get the idea. It reminds me of this book. I've never read it, but that's the idea-break it down and it's SO much more doable. I also love the satisfaction of crossing things off. Whenever I get frazzled, I stop, and make a list. And then I don't sit down and relax until my task for that day is over. By following my lists, I managed to make Pesach for my family of 26 while still working a normal schedule. And without staying up until 2 am. Never did. At all. Can't remember the last time I did that.
  • HERE'S MY EDIT-I have one more pearl of wisdom (hardy har har): JUST DO IT. If you've got things to get done, don't sit around talking about how much you've got to do, how much it sucks, etc etc etc. Just get up and get it done. It's amazing how much time we can spend talking about what we have to do instead of just doing it. Get going, get moving, and finish it up.
  • This is my last one. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I like to do everything myself. But sometimes, it's just too much. Remember last Friday when the asbestos guy unplugged my fridge and ruined all my food for Shabbos and I found that out as I was walking out the door to work, and I had no extra chicken in my deep freeze? So when some people called me and offered me food and help, I took it. That's what friends are for. So I remember that concept when I'm feeling overwhelmed and someone offers to help. There's no shame in taking help. If my friend or relative was feeling overwhelmed, I'd want to help. Heck, I'd be offended if they wouldn't take my help. So when I need help and it's offered (or I need to ask for it!), I avail myself.

So that's it, my dears. Like it? All Sara's Great Organizational Secrets, spelled out. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

For Shosh

because she's such a faithful commentor...

My cookery for the day:

Mushroom Chicken

Pineapple Chicken

Coq Au Vin

Stuffed Cabbage

Potato Kugel

8 loaves of Challah

Hot Dogs in Dough

Meat Bourekas

Yellow cake

(that's the stuffed cabbage raw. It looks much yummiers and browner now)

Methinks that's all.

Have an easy fast, all Yom Kippur-celebrators...see y'all on Thursday night/Friday morning-when I shall have new cookery pics to share!

Oh and just because they're so cute-my kids are currently obsessed with cleaning-they follow my cleaning lady (Tuesdays are the est day of the week) around the house trying to help her. In the past day and a half, they've used almost an entire package of Clorox wipes...I don't have the heart to stop them-but they seem to concentrate mostly on the front door and my front stoop-yes, they Clorox OUTSIDE my house. Whateva. They're happy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How to Sabotoge Your Yom Tov Cooking in One Easy Step:

Make Macaroni and Cheese Casserole uncovered in your pareve oven approximately two hours before you plan to begin cooking for Sukkos.


I fear

That my blog is becoming boring. Mundane. A blog about nothing of substance. I mean, how many times can you all hear about my freaking basement? or the fact that despite the waterproofing, water got in last night? Do you really care? I doubt it.

So I will give you Dovi substance today. Deep, crappy Dovi substance. Substance that might make you cry. It makes me cry.

The FD family lost another member. This past Friday, October 3, 2008. He was 18.

I did not know him. He lived in California (I think), and his parents never posted on the FD lists that I'm on. They might have lurked, but never posted. So the only things I know about him are that he was 18, has an older brother with FD as well (I can't even imagine that), loved playing Uno, and went to Camp Simcha Special for quite a long time. Dovi's counselor from this summer did know him. I've been harassing him nonstop since I heard on Monday trying to get more details of exactly what happened. Was he on BiPap? Oxygen? Monitor? G-tube? Fundo? I need to know.

Because from what I've heard it's not good. He passed away in the same way that another FD'er that I know did, and I'm sure countless others-this seems to be the new way. They go to sleep and just don't wake up. That's all. No warning. Nothing. All seems fine, then they just don't wake up. It seems that in both cases that I know of (I'm sure there are more), the person in question was a little under the weather when they went to sleep. But nothing alarming-just a bit sick. But they just didn't wake up.

So yet again, Benjie and I have reason to be spazzing out. Is there any way to stop this from happening? Dovi is on BiPap. He's on oxygen. But when it comes down to it, will all this stuff actually change anything? If you want to get all spiritual, no, it will not. When G-d decides it's your time, it's your time. No amount of medical paraphernalia will change that in any way. But it's just so much more...obvious with FD.

My sister in law told me a story of her good friend's brother in law, who went to sleep fine on Saturday night, woke up at 3am vomiting, and is currently in a medically induced coma post brain surgery, and they are praying that he will have little or no brain damage. Now a story like that-it was unavoidable-there was NOTHING to be done-he was a perfectly healthy 30 year old man.

But with Dovi, who we know in advance is so fragile, and his health so precarious, it's easy to play the coulda shoulda game. Maybe if we'd do ________ then this won't happen. Will the BiPap change anything? The oxygen? The oxygen monitor? Or is it all a lesson in futility and we are stuck in this terrible limbo land of not knowing what will be in the morning? Because really, when it comes down to it, so little is known, both about the human body itself, and all the havoc FD wreaks upon Dovi's. Because, frankly, he. is. messed. up. Nothing works the way it should.

So we pile technology upon technology, hoping, praying, that it will work and Dovi will make it and not be one of the unlucky. That he will celebrate his 11th birthday. That he will go to camp next summer. That we will make him a Bar Mitzvah. That he will go to high school.

In the special needs world, there is a great emphasis on planning for when the kids turn 21. Because once they turn 21, benefit/programming wise, everything changes. But for whatever reason, I've never been so inclined to do anything at all. Zilch. Nada. And I think I've figured out why.

I'm just praying we get there.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Epiphanies for today/Not Me Monday

Here we are again...your favorite day of the week...

  • I do not absolutely adore nitrous oxide. good. very good. I got a cavity filled with it recently, and let me tell you? I could become an addict easily.
  • I do not have the mouth of a 80 year old person who has never had dental care. I have had 3 root canals, fillings in every other back tooth, a gross discolored cap over a broken front tooth (thanks to an unfortunate gym accident in the 3rd grade), and might have to have one of those root canals extracted. And replaced with an implant due to possible root degeneration. Of course now it's hurting me because I know it should. And I have another cavity waiting to be filled.
  • It did not take me 11 yers of marriage to discover online bill pay. also very good. what took me so long to try it? click click click...paid. It's a beautiful thing.
  • I do not live well in chaos. The basement has almost put me over the edge. But I'm trying to maintain perspective. Seriously. It's a BASEMENT. As Benjie said (I hope this doesn't sound awful) "It's not like someone died, Sara. It's a basement. It'll be fine"
  • It might be useful to keep track of what order the panels go in the sukkah. As in the 2 foot panel here, then the 2 foot window panel, then the 4 foot door one, then the 3 foot solid wall, then 4 4 foot wall ones, and finally the 3 foot. Why must we write it down? Because evidentially Benjie and I are idiots and we put the darned sukkah together WRONG. Three times. Until we got the correct order. Which is now diagrammed nicely on the sukkah manual. What should have taken 15 minutes took an hour.
  • I did not get locked into the sukkah. It also might be useful to locate the key for the sukkah door prior to trapping me in the sukkah. The door was locked, and as you all know, the other exit, the side porch, is no longer the side porch but an impassable repository for crap.
  • The 4th and final crack in our foundation is not under/behind the staircase to the basement, thus prompting the waterproofing guy to request from my handyman to please RIP OUT THE STAIRCASE to my basement so as to properly waterproof it. Ummm no. Figure out another way. I am not climbing down a ladder to the slasher film cellar basement with baskets full of laundry (no, we don't have a laundry chute). I've already fallen once this weekend (in the sukkah while balancing precariously on a patio chair) and have no desire to break my other knee. I really think there might be something quite wrong. Benjie claims it's just a nasty bruise. But I'm a spaz and get bruises all the time. This hurts much more. Time will tell.
  • I most certainly did not forget to call Dovi's Chai Lifeline Big Brother and tell him that no, we were not going to be home for him to come over and hang out with D yesterday. That would've been incredibly rude.
Have a lovely Monday, everyone!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oh My

So in my counter I can look at the keywords people used to get to my blog.

Here are the most recent. Some of them are very disturbing.

  • "happy dance under desk"
  • "simcha willig". He was Dovi's learning counselor at camp, and I have referenced him a few times because Dovi just adores him. Apparently so does someone else because he is googled at least once a week.
  • "blood pressure 139/97" well yes, Dovi's blood pressure was 139/97 once. But why would you google such a thing?
  • "Comcast remote not working" huh?
  • "aka insurance company"
  • "office closet" ummmm I have no idea what that references.
  • "hillel pittsburgh rosh hashanah" no idea again.
  • "child torture, pictures" o.m.g. I am so disturbed by that one. I believe the reference was from when our neighbor gave Shana a strep test at like 11 at night. But YIKES. Is there a way to track this person and report them?
Hope you all enjoyed them as much as I did. Except for the terrifying one.

And here is a picture of the Great Crap Relocation, 2008 Edition. If you've been in my side porch you will understand what you are looking at. Crap. has. filled. the. entire. porch. it is terrifying.

And on to even more terrifying things

(a) the asbestos guy left my fridge and freezer unplugged overnight. Deep freeze is fine. But all my Shabbos food? Destroyed. Yikes. Anyone have any chicken they'd like to share? and

(b) (Benjie doesn't even know this-I forgot to tell him!) One of Dovi's brackets from his braces-the front one-is detached from his tooth and has not fallen out only by the Grace of G-d and by the cute yellow rubber band holding it to the wire. Now when I had my braces (for five years thanks to extreme thumb sucking as a child) I have a distinct recollection of the orthodontist using some type of pliers device to yank those suckers off my teeth. So why are they popping off Mr. D's teeth like they're attached with chewing gum? Anyone?

A Thousand Words Thursday

Still catching up from Rosh HaShanah, so you're getting this!

Cheaper Than Therapy

It was the best of was the worst of times.

Dovi with his BFF Ezra, and Dovi with his BiPap getting ready for bed.