Update on the Orphan Mouse

So Hubs discovered “Bruce Lee”‘s (whoa! Not sure what to do with all that punctuation there…) mom. It turns out she had moved her little mouse family up under the wheel well of his truck the night before. When he started the truck to drive to work the family fell out. Mom was sadly killed. We looked for Bruce’s siblings, but none were found. If they weren’t eaten, I’m sure they died from lack of care.

PSA: Now that it’s cold at night, be sure to check under your vehicles for the little critters that seek warmth.

A Mouse in the House

On Sunday my kids brought a baby mouse into the house. They found him abandoned in the driveway. They wanted to give it to the cats, Lexy and Lucy, but I thought that was mean.


I searched the driveway and yard for other wee mice, but found none. This little dude was all alone. So I put him in a small container with a wash cloth and set him in a sunny spot to be warm. I assumed there was something wrong with him, which was why he was abandoned. I just figured he would die soon.


But the little guy hung on the rest of the afternoon. So…I fed him. I found a medicine dropper and diluted some milk and gave him a few drops. But, I still had little hope for him. Google says that you have to feed them every 1-2 hours. That wasn’t going to happen. I fed him his last meal at 11pm and put him in a shoe box with a book on top (to keep my overly curious cat away). I assumed he’d die by morning.

I was wrong! The little guy was up and peeping away, so I fed him again in the morning. Hubs is against keeping the baby, but we’ve grown attached to each other. I love him now. I named him Bruce Lee because he’s a kick ass little dude.


Yesterday I kept him in my sweater pocket. (Did not tell Hubs This as he already thinks I’m crazy.) This way he could stay warm, be safe from the cats, and I’d hear his first peeps when he woke up for food. Oddly, he slept most of the day and ate very little. Again, I did not expect him to make it through the night.

But I was wrong again. Bruce Lee has been very active this morning, has eaten several times, and is noticeably larger than when he was found. His eyes are still shut but he has begun grooming himself.


So yes. I now have a pet orphaned mouse named Bruce Lee.

We got the fever!

The Plague has hit my house. You know those colds and stomach bugs that always float around right at the end of summer and then WHAM! your otherwise perfectly healthy offspring drag it home from school with them. It started with AM over the long weekend, which was super unfortunate because we had a LOT of stuff to do. He was a trooper though and with the relief of children’s Advil, he survived. It started with the wicked headache and a mild temp that gradually climbed to an all out fever. He was unwell off and on Friday night (woke up at 5am, so he was given some Advil) and Saturday (Advil administered at some point in the mid-afternoon after soccer practice). He napped for a bit and then swore he was fine. And he seemed fine. And so we went to a Labor Day party at the lake. But then he was totally not fine once we got home. I held off an any medications until his fever spiked to 104.5 F.  Then he really WAS fine. Hubs was all worried and kept wanting to give him more Advil but I had to stand my ground. The fever was necessary to kill the infection. Hubs wanted to take him into the ER, but I figured they wouldn’t be able to do anything, except just off more fever reducers. Hubs wanted the kid to sleep in the bed with us.  It was a long night.

Sure enough, Tuesday morning (yesterday) my little IM wakes up bleary eyes and clammy. He too is complaining that his stomach, head, and throat hurt. His temp is only 100.8 F, but I know what’s brewing so I called him out of school. He was totally okay with this. He had to come with me to a doctor’s appointment 45 minutes away. He was totally NOT okay with that. As the day wore on he wore out and his fever got worse and all he wanted was sleep. Once his fever hit 104.3 F I went ahead and gave him a dose of Advil. He was fine within an hour.

But, of course, today, Wednesday was wee RM’s turn. She has spent the morning with an immense headache and moaning that she’s fine and is ready to go to school. Except, there is vomit everywhere; on her, in her cereal, on the floor, on the cat… you really can’t come into my house without a hazmat suit right now. There were lots of tears when I informed her that pre-school was out of the question for today. And, her temp shot up to the 104 F mark as well. She too got a dose of Advil and within an hour dropped back down to 101.7 F.

It sucks seeing my kids sick. I just hate it! But more than anything I hate not being able to do anything about it. It’s a virus, I know that, but I also know there isn’t anything to be done except to make them comfortable and wait for their bodies to kick it’s butt. I always get anxious when they get fevers, after all, we are taught to fear fevers! We all “know” that if it gets too high it could cause brain damage…but how high does it have to be?…but they are kids! just bring the temperature down!

I don’t like this route. I truly believe in the human body and just how well it can function. The thing is, it is highly unlikely that a normal, otherwise healthy body is going to produce a fever high enough or long enough to cause brain damage (which is 106.7 by the way). In most circumstances the body will get as hot as it needs to kill the virus and then return to normal (of course monitoring is a super good idea!) My six year old kept being fed fever reducers and he was sick for three days! The other two however, showed improvement when I just let it run it’s course and brought the fever down after it got high enough to kill off the little germies that were making them sick to begin with. Their illnesses kept them out of the game a mere six hours compared to my eldest’s 72. The take away: Put the “medicine” away and let the body do it’s thing for a bit.

Which leads me to the next phase of The Plauge: When the Parents Get Sick. Dunn, dunn, DUNN!

There’s a 50/50 chance of me getting sick. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding stuff, but I am pregnant (again) and I catch things more often if I am pregnant. Hubs on the other hand? He WILL get sick. Probably Friday. And because he will insist on downing a bottle and a half of “medicine” he’ll be sick until Sunday. This, I am not looking forward to!

Time to Get to Work – But First, Must Organize…

School started less than a week ago for the kiddos and now even #3 is off to the great world of education! Okay, she’s in half day preschool, but still! That’s almost three hours, five days a week of ME TIME. Which means, finally Momma can get to work —  you know, that thing called writing?

I have been experiencing all sorts of excuses for the past, well, for a long time now, when it comes to the writing gig. At first it was the kids underfoot and being too tired to commit to it at night. Then it was the computer crashing issues. Then it was because my keyboard wasn’t good enough. Then, then, then….let’s face it, I’m just not as motivated as I’d like to think I am. I did get back in the right direction last Spring and worked most days, even on the weekends to keep the word count going. It wasn’t great, but hey, that’s what editing is for, right? But then school let out and I had all three kids home all the time. And then Hubs had to take his laptop to work on a regular basis. And then we opted to forgo cable & Internet (except for our phones) to save some money over the summer. All blogging, journals, and manuscript writing came to a halt.

Hubs is great. He saved up several pennies and got me a new laptop. All mine. No games downloaded for the kids, no keyboard issues, no sharing with work. BAM! Like, six excuses were taken care of with one purchase.
wpid-wp-1441130270654.jpg Yay!

I played with it a bit here and there. I got Windows 10 loaded up (still not sure how I feel about that). I got a new phone and figured out how to use it as a WIFI hot spot and get online. I set up a cute background and screen saver. I really looked forward to the first day of school so I could devote my “free time” to writing again. So I could be “productive” again. My goal is to finish the manuscript before school is out for the summer next year and use the summer (evenings) to edit and re-write. I made notes in my head, organized my outlines, came up with some awesome plot lines. Finally the first day of school rolled around!
wpid-wp-1441128899549.jpg This was the most welcome sight!

But you know what? I got nothing done. I didn’t know how to readjust myself to this new routine, even though I’d been obsessing about it for three weeks! I tried to get all my chores done in the morning (while my daughter was still home) and tried to sit down right after I dropped her off at school. But there was always something; a load of laundry needed to be folded, chickens needed to be dealt with, supper needed to be planned out. I’d run errands instead of coming straight back to my desk. It’s easier to go to the farm to pick tomatoes or forage for wild grapes if you aren’t dragging a three year old along. It’s faster to return those over due library books and DVDs by yourself. The canning, pickling, baking, etc. needs to happen sometime, right?
wpid-wp-1441128930115.jpg About to be ketchup.
wpid-wp-1441129010331.jpgThe cuteness of homesteading.

My goodness. I’ve created even MORE excuses due to my “free time”! So, before I do anything, I am going to knuckle down (while my tomatoes are simmering on the stove) and create my own plan of attack. My kids have a schedule. My husband has a routine. Heck, even the animals have a check-list. Since I’m the ring master running this show, I suppose it is only wise if I adhere to one as well. I will be putting my calendar reminders and list making skills to good use so I can get a lot of the distractions out of the way and keep my time on the clock actually focused on writing, and getting that dang story on paper and out of my head!

Being a Mom Causes me to Live in Fear

This past weekend I stopped into a Barnes & Noble with two of my kids in tow. One of my sons had been invited to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese and we wanted to kill some time in a quiet place until IM & Hubs were done with the festivities. Their little legs were getting tired from all the browsing and became more and more aggitated as we neared the back of the store where the kids’ section was. They sat down at the little Lego table and began to play and build. After a couple minutes of mindless standing around, I stepped over to the closest shelf of adult fiction. Being twenty feet away from my kids didn’t bother me – they were quiet, engrossed,  and happy.

I quickly found a book I wanted and stepped back to the Lego table as an employee approached.
“Are you their mother?” she demanded. After I confirmed I was, she let out a huge puff of air. “Oh thank Gawd! I had someone complain about the children being unattended.”  Wow, that was fast, I thought. She must have been waiting for me to do SOMETHING! I laughed and asked if she was serious. Her face made it clear that she was.
“What are you talking about? I was right there, for like, 30 seconds. I saw them the whole time.”
“Look,” she said with a hint of a snarl beneath her ‘I’m here to help’ grin, “I’m not trying to make it into a big deal. I’m just looking out for the safety of the children.”
“Thanks. They are fine.” I was uncomfortable,  embarrassed. I was being put on the spot in a confrontational manner and I didn’t know why.
“No. You don’t understand.  Anything could happen in 30 seconds. I mean – I’m standing right here and you don’t even know me! I could have done anything to them.”
“They. Are. Fine.” I started gathering up our things.
“Well I had customers complain and I have to take these things seriously because…”
“You know what? I’m a customer, but not anymore. You are ridiculous. ” I shoved the stack of books I was going to buy at her and hauled my kids out to the parking lot.

I was so mad. She basically called me a bad mom simply because I wasn’t looking at my kids. I came up with a whole bunch of things I should have said after the fact:
– “I am not comfortable with your tone. May I speak with someone else, like a manager?”
– “You’re right! A bookstore IS too dangerous for children!” Look around nervously,  then make steady eye contact a little too long. “Especially with all you perverts swarming all over the place.”
– “You’re right; I don’t know you, and you’re talking about taking my children?!” then hysterically call 911 and demand mall security for a woman threatening to kidnap my kids.
– “Fuck off.”

Instead I went to Facebook to vent sarcastically. B&N responded with a number for me to call to make a formal complaint. I had every intention of giving them a piece of my mind.

But, I didn’t call. What was I going to say? What was I hoping to get out of it? While I felt I had certainly recieved blatant harassment, did I really just want to call and bitch about it? What would they even do? Fire her – that’s not really what I want. What I want is to be left alone.

As a mom, I get shit on all the time. People have pulled over on the street to tell me that my kids are playing in the front yard – and isn’t that dangerous – and shouldn’t I bring them inside? I’ve gotten nutrition lessons from ladies evaluating my shopping cart contents – don’t you know that much dairy will make them fat – you are teaching them poor eating habits by giving them whole milk. Are all these children yours – can you even handle that – you’re too young for so many – you do know how to avoid that don’t you? Children really ought to wear hats. I only assume I get this much “advice”  because I look incredibly young, therefore people must think I NEED their direction,  input, or scolding because I’m too young & nieve to know what I’m doing.

Ugg. Go away. Leave me alone!

We now live in a society where parents are jailed for letting kids play in their own yards. Children aren’t allowed to play simply because something might happen. Is someone going to abduct TWO children from a bookstore? That’s 80lbs of squirming, screaming child, so I highly doubt it. Are kids going to be molested just because they are playing in the yard? Maybe, but statistically speaking, no. We are living in a society that is being driven by blind panic. Society needs to calm the fuck down.

I hear, read, and see many comments about “kids these days” & how pathetic they are with their gadgets and their fear and not growing up with mud and jump ropes and rocks like they did back in the good old days before Internet and cable TV. Oh yeah? Screw you. The folks that grew up in the “good old days” were the ones that invented the technology that distracts kids now. They also propagated the fear that keeps them inside. It’s not the fault of children that they aren’t growing up outside, it’s the fault of the helicopter mom who can’t let her kid out of her sight, so it’s easier to prop him up with an ipad. It’s the fault of our neighbors who call the cops if mom doesn’t keep her son inside with an ipad.  More fear = less curiosity about the actual world. If parents constantly hover and micromanage their child’s every breath, then curiosity will be bred out of children. If kids are never afforded an ounce of responsibility for themselves they will grow up needy and afraid. We are so concerned about the safety of children, really? It looks to me as if we are crushing them.

The world isn’t any more dangerous than it was a few decades, quite the contrary, yet for some reason we are so damned afraid. And on top of it we have a nanny society that takes pride in bringing people down and pointing out everyone else’s “mistakes” just to prove that they are doing the “right” thing.

I’m mad because this society doesn’t work together to help parents or families. Instead they go out of their way to belittle & discriminate. I’m mad at that Barnes & Noble employee because I wasn’t viewed as another customer who might need assistance finding something; I was viewed as a young mom doing it wrong. I’m mad because I live in fear too – not of kidnappers, rapists, or danger – I live in fear that some nosey do-gooder is going to call CPS & I’ll be thrown in jail because I turned my back on my kids in a bookstore. We need to break the chains of this fear. We need to stand up for our rights as parents and the right to parent however WE feel is best.

When Flirtation Becomes Harassment

I have a good friend who is a great coach. I’ve known him for almost 20 years,  but with going to college, moving out of state, getting married, etc, our relationship kind of ebbed and flowed. We would reconnect randomly at a 5k or call each other out of the blue and chat for a few hours. Sometimes we wouldn’t even Email for months. Thanks to Facebook, we’ve “friended” again and have been in fairly regular contact for the past couple of years. The thing I have found with messangers and texts is that you can pretty mucb keep the same conversation going indefinitely.  When you speak with someone on the phone or face to face there is a definite beginning/greeting and end/closing to any conversations.  Sure, they may be picked up again the next time,  but the ritual of greeting and closing is always there. Because my friend (let’s call him A.D.) and I chat through Facebook Messanger (which I hate, loathe, and despise, but that is a different topic), we have an on going, day to day, open ended conversation. This is cool because he’s been virtually coaching me for an upcoming half marathon that I’d really like to do well in.

Even though it is through a series of texts, the conversation meanders a bit and often, and easily gets off the topic of running. We’ve talked about his marriage problems and how to deal with demanding women, and why I thought it was a REALLY SUPER STUPID BAD IDEA to leave an argument and spend the night in a hotel. We’ve talked about his desire to get back into modeling and whether he could pull it off at his age or not. And we’ve talked about sex. Or rather, he has. He’s asked me to see him naked (for modeling purposes, of course) as a trade for coaching. He’s made lots of immature jokes about his own penis and my prudishness. I told him I wasn’t interested and I just didn’t find it funny since I wasn’t 14 anymore. I figured that because he’d been around high schoolers for the past 20 some odd years, he’d become one of them. I’m sure he’s surrounded by immature phallic comments all day long and after awhile they just stick. Whatever.

But then A.D. kept at it. Every couple of days I’d get a message and my heart would sink a little. I began dreading that little ding of the messanger on my tablet. No matter what we talked about or how strongly I would try to stear the conversation,  it would almost always end up talking about sex or his sexual organ. Then I would get a curt comment along the lines of “I’m bothering you because you don’t like that kind of talk, haha”. Usually I would claim I had some motherly duties to attend to and end it before it got too out of hand. It bothered me, a lot, that guys could remain so dumb and immature. I didn’t text him for several days.

A few days ago he started with a hello.  I didn’t want to talk, but I did have some coaching questions. First, my new shoes suck…what can I do about it? Second, I have terrible calf pain, do I need a foam roller? I had heard about them in running forums but knew nothing about them and Amazon had so many options. I just didn’t know what I needed, if I even really needed one. Did I need the thicker roller or the thinner massage stick? And away he ran with penis jokes. And no, he never answered my question.  I tried to pull the conversation back a few times to no avail.  I simply ignored the jokes. He made the comment that clearly he was bothering him and that was up setting him. (Right, the fact that *I* didn’t care for his sexual advances bothered him.) Then he said “so, good luck with the running.” And we haven’t spoken since.

Ugg. I spent the whole rest of that day pissed off. Why was this immature jerk going to get all upset and give ME the cold shoulder just because I didn’t “LOL” at some stupid penis joke. Because hes5an immature jerk, that’s why. Whatever.

That night my husband wanted to get frisky, but his come-ons were lame and juvenile.  Suddenly A.D.’s conversation hit me. Ew. I did NOT want to have sex with my husband because he was being just as lame! And then I got mad again. I realised that this guy’s actions were affecting my relationship with my husband, and that just wasn’t right. Oddly, it didn’t even occure to me until then that he had been sexually harassing me.

I tried to explain it away. “But he’s your friend,” I tried to tell myself. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it like THAT, it was just flirtation” and “It couldn’t be sexual harassment; that would hurt his marriage. He could get fired!”


A.D. is NOT my friend. He knew that the comments and jokes were bothersome and unwanted, but he said them anyway. A real friend would never intentionally make me feel uncomfortable.
Yes. Yes, he DID mean it like that. Why ask to exchange naked pictures for coaching tips? Why ask to meet up? Why mention staying at a hotel? Why talk incessantly about your penis if you aren’t thinking about sex? Why continue to have a conversation about sex with someone who is clearly not interested?
Yes. All of it WAS sexual harassment. I was being too nice about it and giving him too many excuses for it.
Yes. He is now blocked on Facebook.

I used to always wonder how people were perpetually harassed, especially among friends. Why didn’t they shut it down, or say something, or block them? But you know what. Now I get it. There is a very grey area between flirtation and sexual harassment, especially when it comes to friends. I know I don’t want to hurt a friendship,  so I was hesitant to put a label on something and call someone out for bad behavior.  I was already embarrassed by it, so why make a bigger stink if there was a possibility that it could in fact be a non-issue? For months I just hoped that I was wrong.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is only flirtatious, joking, or complementary if both people are having fun and are ok with it. As soon as one person is uncomfortable or unreceptive of the attention then the flirt, joke, or complement are no longer innocent fun. And yes, even among friends.

Ladies and gentlemen; I know you hear this all the time, but you need to stand up against harassment. It should never be tolerated, even between friends, especially between friends. If you have made it known to the other person that they are making you uncomfortable,  then it should stop right then and there. If it does not, WALK AWAY. That person was never a friend anyway.

Honest Valentines Won’t Make You Popular

Raise your hand if you enjoy a good popularity contest.

Really?  That’s what I thought.

No one likes to admit that they actually like popularity contests, yet we participate in them all the time!  Who gets the most thumbs-up, Yearbook superlatives, Prom King & Queen, Bachelor shows, etc, etc, etc.  There are contests like this all the time and in all sorts of forms.  Most of the time we shrug them off as entertainment or harmless.  And maybe they are.  I think it truly is part of human nature to strive to BE popular and to LIKE the popular person.  I am okay with popularity competitions, as long as the winner is the one competing.  What I hate, loathe, and despise are parent centered popularity contests.

I have a cousin who’s daughter often participates in beauty pageants.  Once she pleaded with everyone for DAYS on Facebook to go and “like” her daughter’s picture.  The child with the most “likes” would win the “Most Photogenic” category.  My cousin was hell-bent on her daughter winning.  And she did.  However, my cousin had to badger her large collection of Facebook “friends” several times a day to do it.  Persistence won that category.  But really, was her daughter the most photogenic, or was it really just a popularity contest?  It had everything to do with the popularity of the parent and how many friends they had that could be swayed to go and click on something–not how photogenic her kid was, nor even how popular the kid was!

I’ve noticed this trend at my kids’ school as well.  The kids who’s parents bring in the best cupcakes for birthday parties are the well liked kids.  The kids with the parents throwing the more lavish parties, supplying more activities in the classroom, and sending in the fanciest Valentines are the more popular kids.  Popularity via Mom & Dad’s time and money.  Shameful.  Mostly because these kids are in Kindergarten!

Now, I have to admit that I do spend a great deal of time worrying about my own kids’ popularity.  I feel silly when I do, but I don’t want them to be lonely.  As they get older, I am aware of all the crazy stuff they are going to have to go through and experience, and they are going to need shoulders other than mine to rejoice with and cry on.  And I certainly don’t want them to be bullied.  However, they are going to have to seek out their popularity on their own merit and not through fancy Mommy-made cupcakes.  Or Valentines.  I don’t believe in giving candy to five-year olds and I am not about to buy a box of bland puns on expensive cardboard so my son can attempt to win a class worth of affection.  My kids are going to make their own heart-felt sentiments.  My kids will prove their worth and gain their popularity through creativity, hard work, and honesty.

Honesty.  It turns out that that means a lot to a five-year old.  And it was honesty and creativity that kind of backfired on me.  My son made some very cute cards for all of his classmates and wrote something unique for each individual, then stuffed them in his backpack.  Thankfully I had the wherewithal to take a peek before I sent him off to school.  Sometimes honesty can be so mean!

We ended up (trying) to have a long discussion about hurting people’s feelings with words; if you don’t have something nice to say-don’t say anything at all; white lies; being a good friend and including everyone.  My son only got out of the conversation that he did something wrong and would have to re-do half of his Valentine work.  He was not pleased.  But he also didn’t understand why he had to make Valentines for students he was not friends with, for kids he flat out didn’t like.  He didn’t understand why he couldn’t just tell them the God’s honest truth.  A good person wouldn’t lie.  A real friend wouldn’t lie.  He couldn’t equate honesty with malice or hurt feelings.  In the end, he chose to color in a few hearts, paste a few stickers, and write nothing.

And you know what?  It kills me a little inside.  I think my five-year old was on the right track with his honest, albeit hurtful, Valentines.  At least I think so in theory.  He shouldn’t have to lie to anyone to be liked.  He shouldn’t have to include the kids he doesn’t get along with.  And he shouldn’t have to strive for popularity.  The time and money put into anything shouldn’t equate to friendships down the road and “likes” on Facebook should be worthless.  It’s about the few kids that he does like that should matter.  It’s about the nice things that automatically come to his mind when thinking about friends, not being stumped on coming up with something “good” to say about someone else.  My kid is right; Popularity is stupid.  I can relax.  He won’t be lonely since he already knows it’s about the quality of his friendships, not the quantity, and I’m sure it will be those quality friendships that will get him through anything.

So, on that note, I want to wish everyone an honestly happy Valentine’s Day.  Don’t feel compelled to pass out admiration or friendship to people who aren’t enhancing your life.  Be truly thankful to those friends that really matter to you, because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.