Jan 25, 2013

Hating The Cat.

Don't judge me on that title just yet. Hear me out and then judge and post your "shame on you you should be loving the cat comments" to your hearts content :) But I must warn you that I use the word hate in conjunction with the cat in this blog way too many times :)

In my growing up years we always had pets mostly a dog here and a cat there. But at one point when we lived in Snohomish  my parents took the definition of pet to the hobby farm level replete with pigs, cows, sheep, dog, cats, and horses. There is one thing though that was always certain, no matter what, the pets were always outside pets. I have not thought or ever will think that pets belong in the house.

But somewhere along the meandering trail of life I became a sucker and ended up being part of a "cat in the house" kind of family. I have hated it every single day that it has gone on. I hate changing cat litter, which curiously is my job. I hate cat litter. I hate that the cat scratches on my old furniture making it so I have no chance of ever getting new furniture. I hate that it has an obsession with chewing on plastic grocery bags and ziploc bags that get left out. Yes, it will search through the house for hidden Christmas or birthday presents in, oh so delicious, plastic shopping bags. I hate that it has adopted the kids collection of old stuffed animal Pound Purries and Pound Puppies and carts them around the house like they are real, choosing new places to plop them and protesting if you disturb them. Talk about crazy... the cat thinks these stuffed animals are her babies. I hate the cat hair. I hate inconveniencing people who come over who are allergic to cats. I really hate that occasionally, in a most random way, the cat will decide her litter box is not good enough for her poop. I hate that  I have to close certain doors because of the cat. I hate that every year I have to veto her being in the family picture. I hate that the kids think this cat is picked on by me. I hate that there are no longer rugs on my bathroom floor because of the cat. I hate that I always have to make sure it does not get outside. I hate that it broke one of my favorite vases. I hate that it knocks breakable things over all the time. I hate that it acts like I owe it something. I hate that when I am not looking it gets on the counter. I hate that it thinks it can sleep in the laundry baskets on top of clean clothes.Whew, I had no idea I had so much hate to let out about the cat....as uncomfortable as all this hate may be for you pet lovers I think this is working out to be healthy for me :)

I am just going to confess up front that we are not the best pet owners in the land. No cat toys. No engraved cat dishes. No blinged out collars. No fancy cat food. We feed them and house them and that is about it. When you have seven very expensive human kids are you going to pay for shots for a indoor cat? Well maybe you are but sadly I am not. I know I am probably breaking some "loving your pet" law. And believe me if any state is going to have one of those laws it will be Massachusetts :) I am secretly hoping some important cat law enforcer reads this and comes and takes the cat away which is why I am going to totally share it ALL right here... for all 29 of my blog followers :)

 Are you ready for more scandalicious cat confessions? The aforementioned cat is not even fixed/neutered/whatever it is called so about three times a year she is in heat for about a week and she makes the most awful "yowling for a boyfriend" sound you have ever heard. It cracks up people who are visiting us but that is because they do not have to live with it. It mortifies me when I am on the phone with a doctor or a school and she happens to make this awful sound. It is so embarrassing. We could probably add this to the hate list.

So why do we have a cat? Good question. When we first moved here things were not pretty and Miriam wanted a kitten so bad that I thought it would be a good thing, you know, something to take their minds off the move that we ruined their lives with. Not something that dictates which doors of my house stay open and which doors stay closed. NO that isn't what I signed up for :)

 Can I tell you my children L.O.V.E the cat. My husband L.O.V.E.S the cat. And yes I am going to say outloud that they ALL love this cat way more than they love me. No, I am not being dramatic, I would never do that :)They have never defended me the way they defend this cat. The cat can just be sitting somewhere all cat like and they will all freak out about how cute the cat is and they will ooohh and ahhh over it and take nine thousand pictures of it.They think I should give all control of my house up to the cat. IF this cat does something wrong in this house that was built for humans ( not cats) my whole family wants me to adapt as quickly as possible. They will say things like:

"Well just keep that door closed and she won't do that anymore"

 "Well just don't leave any ziploc bags or shopping bags out and then she won't chew through them anymore"

I feel like because I am the human and I am married to the person who pays for the house I should not have to make accommodations for the pet.

I promise, with all my heart, I would like the evil cat in a second if it were an outside/occasionally garage cat. But it is not. I am not completely heartless I really like our six chickens. But they do give me eggs and they do live outside. And their poop is the best in the land for my compost pile.

I know I sound selfish and most likely cold and heartless but maybe just one of you understands my pain :) Can you believe as I am writing this the cat is sauntering around my laptop trying to get my attention? :) I hope you all will still be my friend even though I have serious unresolved issues with Kittromney Baird :)

Jan 21, 2013

Musing About Dying.

Isn't it strange how someone dying can make you think about so many things? I have yet to have someone super close to me pass away. We always lived far away from our grandparents when I was growing up so I loved them but was not close enough to them to feel overwhelmingly sad when they have passed away. A lot of people on the peripheral of my life have passed away. People I visit taught years ago, people I knew but was not close enough to be best friends with, people I knew for a few years when I lived somewhere but then we moved on and did not keep in touch. Sigh..... what am I getting at? Well this weekend my very first roommate from college passed away.

 Up until I went to college I obviously was just roommates with my sisters. So college was the first time I lived with someone outside of my family. I did not choose to room with someone I knew when I headed to BYU in 1986. Which means the resident assistants decided who I would live with according to a form I filled out about how neat I like to keep my room, how late I like to stay up, and what kind of music I like. Funny that those three questions pretty much can sum up who you are compatible with :)  When all the answers were compared I got paired up with Stacy Sneed from Norman, Oklahoma. We lived in Helaman Halls in May Hall in room 2123. We hit it off right away. I was so fascinated that she kept all her shoes inside the box they came in all stacked neatly in her closet. She had all colors of Keds and matching bandannas to go with them. She would roll her bandanna up and put it in her hair like a head band by tying it under her hair at the base of her neck. Then she would put on a pair of jeans and choose the pair of Keds that matched the bandanna in her hair to complete the outfit. We shared clothes. We stayed up late and talked. We tried to figure out boys. We ignored our homework the same amount. For the most part it was a great year. We sadly did not stay in touch after that first year at BYU. I did go to Stacy's wedding reception a few years later. And she and I ran into each other once at Lagoon amusement park in Utah sometime in the 1990's. Then Facebook came along and one day I received a friend request from her....good old Facebook :) We started exchanging Christmas cards but the friendship was obviously never the same as that first year at BYU.

Because we were Facebook friends her posts would come across my news feed and that is how I learned she had cancer. But I never knew what kind or how serious it was until this weekend when I learned she had passed away. I could not help myself when I saw the news and I immediately went to her Facebook page and was amazed at how it had become a memorial to her. I read post after post of memories and condolences for Stacy and her family. She left 5 kids and a husband behind. She lived a whole year fighting the cancer when she was only given 7 months to live. It always makes me wonder when I read what people remember about someone when they die what people will remember about me? What one memory will they choose to associate with my life and who I was? I didn't really know who Stacy was. We think we know who we are in college but we rarely do. She lived a whole bunch more of life after college and so did I and we are constantly evolving :)

I am not sure why this news has made me think about so many things and why it has hung over me all weekend but it has. Each life that touches ours teaches us something. Sometimes it is little things and sometimes it is big things. I keep my shoes inside shoe boxes in my closet to this day because of Stacy. I know all about how to roll up a bandanna to make a headband because of Stacy. Near the end of our first year of college Stacy made some choices that affected my life and helped me to learn that I was brave enough to stand up for something. Years later when she and I ran into each other at Lagoon she wrapped her arms around me and whispered a most heartfelt, teary "I am sorry" in my ear for the incident that we sadly ended the year on. Of course I had not dwelt on it and was immediately able to assure her it was more than fine. But she seemed relieved to have finally been able to say it to me. And I am so glad she got to.

I feel sad for the struggles her family will face because of their mom and wife's passing. I suddenly realize how young 44 is. I wish I was rich enough to just randomly fly to her funeral in Highland, Utah tomorrow even though no one would know who I was.

 It is curious to me that people only say good things about you when you die. We all have faults we all are dysfunctional in some way and I do not want people to  miraculously forget those facts when I die. Why do the bad things we have done immediately fade away and instantly everyone talks about all the amazing things we did and the great marriage we had and the perfect kids we had. Why do they remember those bad things and hold them against you when you are alive?  I worry about who will speak at my funeral. I worry about what song the person planning the funeral will think I want sung :) I am a silly goose I know :)

Jan 18, 2013

Neuro Psych Evaluation.

Did you know we all learn different? I have seven children and some of them are naturals at school and some of them aren't. I have seen the cycle of "not being able to succeed in school and thus giving up on school" a few times at my house...actually one of my darling kids could write the book. I recognize this cycle because it is how I was when it came to school :) School was oh so hard for me and I never understood why. I had some successes. Enough that I know I liked that success feeling. But I was never able to figure out the reasons why I had some successes and some not so much successes :)

My child number seven is one of the Baird kids who struggles in school. She has an individualized education plan and has had it for a few years. Through a long chain of events last year our pediatrician finally decided to get involved in Natalie's school struggle. She used her pediatrician authority to decide we needed a neuro psych evaluation. I have finally learned that in this school game everyone has a part...the school...the doctors...the mom..the insurance... and no one can cross the lines and step on the other peoples parts. It is a little frustrating that they can not all simply just talk to each other but there are so many laws about who can say what, when and how. The pediatrician is the one in this quest who can do the "order a neuro psych evaluation" part. I confess, I was not really clear what exactly a neuro psych evaluation was but I was "in" nonetheless.  I called to make the appointment for this important sounding evaluation in April and was stunned and disheartened when they told me they were making appointments for OCTOBER. But what could I do? So I waited for October and guarded the day of the appointment with my life.

It was an all day appointment where they did test after test with Natalie so that they could learn how her brain works. I sat in the waiting room reading, studying and listening to other peoples conversations...duh :) I got to see her when she got a break from the testing for lunch. I was so curious about what they did for the test but I never got to watch.

Before we left the doctor office that day he made an appointment for me to come back in November and discuss the results of the test. In the meantime, I got a very thick, long envelope in the mail with the results from the test. I was so curious to read those results but imagine my surprise when all the words in the letter were words doctors who give neuro psych evaluations use....silly me, what did I think? That the report would be written in professional ice skater words? Which, by the way, I would totally understand :) It, honestly, felt like I was reading goobeldy gook. I gave up on page 4 or 5 as I struggled to make sense of ALL those words. Do they have to use all those words? Can't they just say according to the results of your child's test it looks like:

 This child will be very successful at being a fireman
 You need to make sure they always have lined paper since no lines will freak them out
 You should never, ever show them a picture of just part of something because they will never figure out what the   picture is of.
Never give this child a rubix cube for Christmas.
Every day of their adult life this child should have a Franklin Day Planner in their pocket.

There were so many neuro psych words and so many references to such and such a test and way too many percentages. It was clear that you had to have information I did not have to understand what it all meant.

Finally, the deciphering appointment with the doctor came and I confess I really did not understand much more after meeting with him I think he may need a neuro psych evaluation himself :) He showed me pictures Natalie drew after looking at a picture he showed her. He showed me the results of her doing puzzles. He drew a bell curve on his yellow legal pad and made marks on it. All joking aside in the end I really was amazed at all they can learn about someone and I wished with all my might the pediatrician could order a neuro psych evaluation for me. I know it would have been extremely helpful to know how I needed to hear directions when I was a kid in school.

 My next step was to meet with the school and figure out what to do with the information we had. There were seven people at this meeting. And as we sat there and discussed Natalie for 45 minutes I had to smile to myself as I observed each of these peoples little quirks and realize that every single one of these people learned differently. I joked at one point that we all needed a neuro psych evaluation and they all laughed and agreed.

 The information once it was deciphered was very useful and helped the teacher to understand how much time Natalie needs to understand something and how to best deliver directions to her. So lets all cross our fingers that she can have some successes. I remember how it felt to notice that all the other kids were having academic success and that it seemed so easy for them and to wonder what was wrong with me. I wish I passed on just my hair color to my kids and not this :)

Jan 15, 2013

Sister Power.

This Christmas I got the most perfect, touching, and unexpected surprise ever...my three very dear sisters sent me an Amazon gift card. You may live in a family where all the brothers and sisters exchange gifts at Christmas all the time so this may not seem out of the ordinary to you. But in our family we do not exchange gifts with each other during the holidays. We all live so far away from each other and have so many kids that we banned the gift exchanging practice years ago. Frankly, we very rarely even exchange birthday gifts. Yes, we love each other. No, we apparently do not feel the need to show our love by giving gifts :)

I was going along through the 2012 holiday season minding my own business trying to figure out how to make everyone around me supremely happy for Christmas (don't judge...you do it too :) and I happened to notice very late one night an e-mail in my inbox that looked unusual... I was wondering why this e-mail had all three of my sisters names in it....thank goodness it did because otherwise I may have deleted it :) I think it was the day before Christmas when I saw it. When I opened it and saw what it was I felt so very many emotions. The first emotion was those gosh darn tears...I mean how on earth did they know even though they live in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia that I needed to know someone was aware of me? I felt a little guilty that in the midst of a holiday season they had all sacrificed money for me. I even wondered for a very brief second what had brought the conversation up that had concluded in this decision. I felt so loved and it was such a nice feeling. I did not even know I needed this feeling until it was there.

Lately as life has been teaching me (the hard way) all kinds of fabulous things about myself I have found my heart almost bursting at the joy of having sisters as I have needed way too many "someones" to lean on. I can not imagine life without them. I call them WAY too much. Sometimes, I confess, I have no reason to call them I just make one up to hear their voices. I think they know that because sometimes they don't answer :) I am so grateful I can tell them everything and not worry about them judging me. I am grateful they have forgiven me for making their lives miserable until I was at least 21. I cannot imagine life without them...did I already say that?

I am sure I have told you before that I was definitely not the world's best big sister example to them. I made it very easy for them to look perfect in every way. I was often making poor choices so that they could have no trouble looking good :) What a thoughtful sister I was :)

I have two brothers and I think they are pretty awesome dudes but no one can deny the bond sisters have. Women out in the world can be so mean to each other. It is so discouraging and confusing to me. Sisters don't do that actually technically they can't do that because you can tell your mom on them. Tattletale? Who me?

When I have questions about chickens, or American Express Costco cards, or running, or sewing, or decorating, or killing garden pests, or good books to read, or canning, or paint colors, or pie crust recipes, or just a need for some plain good ol therapy at least one of them will answer when I call :) When I want to talk about the dvd's in the dvd section in Costco I always know I can call them and they already know what is there :)

I love that we all garden. I love that we all shop at thrift stores. I love that some of us have jars in our cupboards full of sharpened pencils and some of us don't. I love that we all can food from our gardens.

It took me three weeks to figure out what to spend my Amazon gift card on. Did you know how much there is to buy on Amazon? I thought very carefully about it and finally decided I needed something that would last for a long time since gift cards to Amazon rarely happen for me :) So I chose magazine subscriptions to three different gardening magazines. I googled "top ten gardening magazines" and carefully and deliberately read about each one and tried to get three that would all serve a different purpose in my gardening life. Can I tell you about the joy of getting a magazine in the mail? :)

So here's to Rachel, Rebecca and Sarah...I hope that when they need something I can be as aware of it as they were when I needed something :) And I am so glad that as the oldest child in my family I can finally say I am so glad my parents did not stop having kids after me :)

Jan 13, 2013

Seabreeze and Comet.

 Every night, most mornings, and sometimes three times a day if it is a hot summer day and I happen to have been outside a lot I will walk into my bathroom and get a cotton ball out of my cotton ball jar, then I will open my bottle of Seabreeze and pour some of that Seabreeze onto my cotton ball and wipe it all over my face.Then with satisfaction I always notice the amount of dirt that came off of my face onto that cotton ball. Tonight as I was getting ready for my nightly "Seabreeze ritual" I could not find my bottle. You see, Baird children often take their moms bottle of Seabreeze to their bathrooms if they have run out of their own. I made a mental note to myself as I found my bottle to remember to get Seabreeze to go inside certain childrens stockings for Christmas. Then for some reason I found my mind wandering and I thought about the fact that I have been using Seabreeze since I was a kid and I have passed this habit onto my children...not all of them...but most of them. I do not even know how I got started using Seabreeze. But I do know I love it and definitely can not live without it. There have been a few times in the past years that I have not been able to find Seabreeze in the store and I have had to try another kind of astringent but it has NEVER been the same and has always made me sad. I love the refreshing, clean feeling Seabreeze gives me. (Geesh, I sound like a silly commercial. Hang in there, there is a point to the, "addicted to Seabreeze" story :) In the middle of a hot miserable week at Girls Camp I have been known to offer friends a cotton ball with Seabreeze on it. And I am always thrilled with their wonder and awe at its fabulous-ness :) Anyway, the point of this Seabreeze conversation was that I found myself wondering...What else do I buy that I am very loyal to just because I always have been or because my mom always did?

Comet. Yeah, there have to have been a million more products made since Comet first came out each possibly improving on Comet yet, here I am buying Comet every couple of weeks and using it to clean my bathrooms and kitchen. Will my kids buy Comet? And will they sing that gosh darn comet song (from the movie Parenthood) in their head when they use it? Drat, did I just tell you I do that? :)

Crest toothpaste. Yes, I grew up using Crest. There have been moments where the Baird family has had Colgate in our bathrooms or sometimes even Aquafresh but I do adore the flood of memories that come with a tube of Crest.

I found myself understanding how if a company can catch you early in your life then they could be in the family forever. If you are the loyal kind, that is :)