Thursday, April 28, 2011

Enough already!

Sorry, internets. I haven't been deliberately not blogging. Life has just been...interesting lately. Interesting is usually good for the ol' blog, but not this time. This time it's just been draining and time consuming.

First, storms. I won't whine too much because, hello, we're alive and our house is intact. I lost a trampoline and some tulips. With nearly 300 confirmed dead from these storms, and whole neighborhoods completely leveled, a trampoline is a minuscule price to pay. However, as grateful as I am that our area was mostly spared, we still had tornado warnings night after night. And spending those nights wedged into a tiny bathroom with three kids and no sleep was less than pleasant. I was pretty much a zombie--a scared-we-were-going-to-die-in-a-tornado zombie--most of the past week. Wait, can zombies even die in tornadoes?

The storms left many county schools without power and roads too debris covered to drive on, which meant that for two days my kids were unexpectedly home from school. And on a third day they had a delayed opening and an early release because of the severe weather. You know how I feel about my kids being home when they should be in school.

And because this seems to be the storm that keeps on giving, today I was informed that my neighbors want me to pay for damage to their siding. The people renting the house told the owners that they were "pretty sure" our trampoline hit the house and ripped off siding the night it ended up in my front yard.

While I can't be certain that it didn't fly around and hit things before eventually catapulting itself over my house, neither can they be certain it did. There were numerous foreign objects strewn around both of our yards and the street in front of us that morning. Lawn furniture, whole sections of privacy fencing, trees from the other side of the neighborhood... There's no knowing what hit their house. And we had 65 MPH winds that night. Just the force of the wind could have been enough to peel away siding. So, while I feel bad for the owners, I'm not paying for damages that no one really knows how they came to be. I've had a visit from both the property manager and the insurance adjuster today. Both essentially said I should just pay for it to help out the owners, and insisted I was a bad person and would create neighborhood animosity if I didn't. I was polite at first, but eventually ended both conversations by firmly telling them that unless they could produce unequivocal proof that it was my trampoline that did it, I wouldn't be paying a cent. I may need to speak to legal, though, just to cover my bases.

And non-storm related, but equally as inconvenient, Ben was suspended for three days. He had been fighting daily in the bathroom and finally got caught.

I would like someone to please explain to me how a suspension punishes the child? Because I'm pretty sure it was more a punishment for me. Sure, I made life as unpleasant as is legally allowed for him for those three days, but doing so created more work and stress for me. Essentially, I was forced into being a prison guard at a hard labor camp and a home schooler all at once. So, I may have shiny bathrooms, windows, floors and base boards courtesy of his punishment, but I also have a forehead tic and extra gray hairs.

And then rounding off this magnificent couple of weeks is my new and improved terror that Will is going to get blown up and/or shot. He's in a war zone, so that's always a niggling fear at the back of my mind. But the reality has been that he has a pretty safe job. He's not out in the villages. He's not riding in convoys. He's mostly in his safe little office getting his geek on. He occasionally hops a helicopter to smaller bases to fix equipment, and those little trips terrify me, but really, he's pretty safe.

However, if you've been following the news lately, you'll know that Afghan soldiers/security force members have been blowing people up and shooting them. And this has been happening in what are normally considered very safe situations. Like meetings. We've lost 14 soldiers from here in two weeks to this. Nine of them were simply in a meeting in an office, and an Afghan walked in and detonated an explosive vest.

So, nowhere is safe now. And I'm pretty sure I'm getting an ulcer.

And while I'm whining, let me add that I'm tired of parenting alone. I have lots of offers for babysitting, and I'm really grateful for them. But babysitting is not what I need. I need a second parent. Babysitting just puts off the inevitable. I need someone else to dole out punishments once in awhile. I need someone else to feign enthusiasm over hearing Amelia read the same book 500 times. I need someone else to decide which tattles to act on and which to ignore. I need someone else to put them to bed, help Amelia wash her hair, get up on Saturday morning to get breakfast, keep them semi quiet in church, make sure homework gets done correctly, answer questions about photosynthesis and trim fingernails. Because it's wearing me down doing it alone.

O.K., I'm done. Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, but on the bright side, I've pretty much met my blog-whining quota for the year now.

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