Self-Checkout Line

It’s been a hard week. Inexplicable sadness. Despair over my never-ending depression. Unwanted thoughts. 

I decided on Sunday that I needed to make a change in my medication. Rather then go up yet again, I decided to drop it 5mg in case it was too high. No verdict out on if this is better or worse.

With my sister and her toddler visiting since late Monday night , I have had almost constant company. This is nice, considering that she is my sister and therefore allowed in my introvert bubble. Despite this, all of Tuesday I was in a haze of depression. Energyless. The thoughts continued. Only when I was able to attend my watercolor class that evening was I able to feel myself coming out of it. Of course the dread is still there, but I can bear with it now.

The same can’t be said about anxiety. Just yesterday at Wal-Mart with my sister and the kids I had a minor anxiety attack over the stupidest of things. My sister decided to use the self-checkout line. I typically avoid this, but decided that I may as well follow. We each had a handful of items. 

Then I remembered why I avoid the self checkout. “Item not bagged,” blared the machine. It was right, I had not been able to bag the box of emergency-chocolate-stress-cookies in time because the grocery bags would not separate. Dear Son leaning against the weight-sensative platform probably didn’t help the matter though. Unsure of how to fix it without looking like I was trying to shop lift, I cancelled the item. After a moment the guy in the back, who must have witnessed my struggle, allowed the computer to follow through with this action. Okay. Annoying.  Stressful.  Stupid. 

After removing DS again from the platform, I scanned my knock-off Girl Scout cookies yet again. “Item not Bagged.” “Unexpected item in the bagging area.” I turned to find DS sitting on the platform. I don’t know if this was the cause of the error or just a coincidence but my stress level shot through the roof. I was sick of my kid not listening to me. Sick of the stupid, useless machine not working and the bags sticking together and the baby choosing now to start crying. 

I could feel it. The creeping beginnings of an anxiety attack. Because of an unexpected item in the bagging area.

Nope. I wasn’t going to deal with that crap. Away I pulled the cart, turning without so much as canceling my order, and sped to the nearest manned checkout line. 

… which had a woman whose credit card wouldn’t work. For what felt like five minutes I took deep breaths as I tried to be patient and keep DS from putting his germy little hands over all the impulse-buy toys and candy. In and out. Why did it upset me so much? In and out. The other lines were opening up but all my stuff was already on the conveyer belt. In and out. Surely this woman would find a way to pay soon. In and out. I can’t see my sister anywhere. In and out.

At last it was my turn. The cashier asked if I was okay, having noticed my deep breaths. I was that obvious.

Why? Why, body? 

Am I really to be cursed with this nonsense for the rest of my life?
This new med change had better help. 

Juggling on Fire

I read a blog recently where a mother admonished others for scaring parents of one how difficult having two is. Her claim was that people say it’s 200% harder than one, while it’s more like 150%. Okay. 

She had a point. The routine baby stuff is easy peasy the second time around. And yes, it’s always annoying to be told how easy you have it now and how much more difficult things are going to be. But…

The article, more than anything, made me feel jealous. 

Parenting a clingy baby that needs a diaper change every five minutes and hyper, extroverted kindergartener obsessed with said clingy baby while dealing with both the mental and physical symptoms of chronic depression and anxiety… feels a bit like juggling twenty balls while frying tacos all the while on fire.

It’s hard. I don’t necessarily mean the diaper changes and chores and being woken every night between three and four. Though that has its toll. I mean the sheer exhaustion of depression. The lack of motivation to do anything. The anger that comes from post-partum depression. The anger that comes from your kid tearing up the house while trying to get the baby to nap and dozing off yourself because you’re so darn tired. The guilt and feelings of worthlessness because your kids deserve a better parent. 

It’s hard.


I don’t like bees.

Logically, I know the worst they can do to me is give a brief sting but they can fly and buzz around me and are super fast and scary and evil and ugh. Bees.

These days I tolerate their existence better than I used to but there was a time my fear bordered on phobia.

I was eight or so when I got my first sting. There I was, minding my own business on the swing in my backyard when some flying monster came out of nowhere and stung me. Why? I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t poking their nest. But the evil creature thought it best to cause me pain.

The second time, I can’t exactly blame the bee. I was camping with my family about a year later when I stepped on one. Ouch. My fault though, I suppose. Still, it seemed out of nowhere.

The third, and final time, was when I was twelve. On a hike at a camp with my youth group from church, the beast injured both myself and the girl behind me. Up ahead some girl must have disturbed their home, and the insect decided to retaliate against me.


They aren’t fair. They come out of nowhere. They hurt. They fly. Fast.

And a few years ago several HUNDRED wasps filled up my sun room.


You know those ridiculous horror movies where the girl stands in shock and screams? Laughable, right? Funny. Always so funny. Silly dumb women can’t make themselves move and are useless.

Well uh



There may have been a moment like that when I first saw them.

I think I had enough sense in me to close the french doors to the room before I completely fell apart but there most certainly was a scream, hands on my face and everything.

Towels were stuffed under the cracks in the door. Frantic texts were sent to my husband.


The terror wasn’t limited to the one room, either. Stray wasps could be found throughout the house. The fact that they were mostly lethargic helped but still. They were in my house.

Armed with a fly swatter and a bottle of Windex, I hunted them before they could hurt either me or my young son. Sprayed with cleaner, their wings were rendered useless. Disabling the creatures before I crushed them made it so much easier. To this day I use this method whenever I see that one has broken in.


We kept the doors closed. Dear Husband found the crack they had gotten in from the outside and sealed it. We waited for them to die. And die they did; but not before the rest of those hiding in the walls swarmed the inside of my house.

When my father-in-law visited he fearlessly sucked them up into the shop vac. We continued the quest ourselves as more drifted in, each time wadding up a ball of paper towels so any survivors could not escape.


I hate them. I hate them so much.

But at least now I have ways to cope. So maybe it’s more hate now than a phobia?


Last Friday my Lego Obsession was able to move to a new level. After a week of hoping their buyer would back out, my wish was granted and I had the wonderful opportunity to buy a large tote of used Lego for just $50. This wasn’t just random bricks either. From what they said and from what I can so far see, they are mostly complete sets. All have vehicles, something Dear Son will absolutely love, and most are either Fire Truck or Police Car related. Can you say: a little boy’s dream?

The majority of my great bounty matches these booklets.


After two evenings of sorting out the larger chunks of pieces I was left mostly with loose bricks at the bottom of the bin. It took me 3 1/2 hours to sort them last night.
My poor back. I need a better way of doing this. I enjoy sorting, but not the accompanying back pain. I have mild S-shaped scoliosis and so lots of bending and I don’t get along.


I need about 50 more containers


There is still so much more to do. It feels like I’m basically working on thirty or so puzzles at the same time. All the pieces are mixed together and dome of them don’t have boxes to go off of. A few pieces are broken and others are certain to be missing.

Am I up for the challenge? You know it.


I just have to keep DS out of my closet where they are hidden and continue to spell out the word whenever I need to mention them.


I hate to sound anything like the stereotypical millennial, but I have a trigger. Constantly I am having to block out stories on Facebook or district myself in conversation when anyone posts or says anything about a child dying. I can’t do it. To me, it’s too real. That child who was dragged into the water by a crocodile at Disney World last year. That article I stumbled upon about the fatal results of her child repeatedly getting out of the car seat. A college friend’s niece who drowned in the pool. Casey Anthony. Sandy Hook. So many more. I can’t allow myself to process these stories, or I lose myself in despair. Images that shouldn’t be in my mind return again in again, heightening my anxiety. All five of these were particularly hard on me, and in all I allowed myself to be absorbed in the story.

And so I block them out. I know they are still there. I see the article titles and hide them, trying my best to move on with my life. I still don’t know the story about that Charlie who apparently recently died. I don’t want to. I can’t.

Sometimes though, you can’t block it out.

Sometimes the story hits a little too close and you have no choice.


My best friend recently had a baby. My own Little One was born this past March, and hers, prematurely, in May. I’ll spare you the painful details, but her little Marie made it only a week. That awful series of events combined with her already existing depression and anxiety has been more than difficult. Watching it has been no picnic either.

Nonetheless, I have not turned it off. Not blocked it out. I was there from the day she knew something might be wrong with her baby, doing my best to support. Trying not to feel the awful survivor’s guilt I have at times for having a healthy baby in such close proximity to hers. There’s still something I’ve had to build up to not let it entirely consume me, but I’ve still be able to be there.

Saturday evening I spent my night painting, wanting to contribute somehow in any way I could. This painting was the result.



I am not sure I could make it if it happened to me, but at least it’s good to know I can find a way to not lose myself when being there for a friend.

Chickety Chick

This is a story about why.

At the dentist today, Dear Son went in alone while I was in the waiting room with the baby. Hesitant to go back with the hygienist alone, she got his attention by mentioning the one thing he had been talking about all week.

The Dentist Treasure Chest.

You probably know of them. Every dentist I went to as a child had one. A box full of cruddy toys ordered from Oriental Trading by the gross. This kid, despite not even being quite five, can still remember not only the cheapo car he picked out from it last year, but the one he chose the year before. His long term memory, when related to things he cares about, can be a little scary.

What he brought out was not expected. Instead of a cheap, plastic toy car that I would have to piece back together a handful of times after it broke came a cheap, rubbery, squishy, magenta chick.


This stupid pink chicken became his best friend. For a brief day, these two did everything together. DS went on and on about how lucky he was to get Chickety Chick. How wonderful it was that got the last one out of the treasure chest. They played on the swing together. Went down the slide together. Bounced together on the kitchen floor as I tried to unload the dishwasher. Chickety Chick was his best friend.

And then, something tragic happened.

Chickety Chick was not only rubbery and squishy, but wonderfully fun to squeeze too hard and make his head bubble up.


This was part of the wonderful appeal of his new pet.

In the middle of a family game of Cars 3 themed Monopoly Junior, Chickety Chick popped.

You would have thought someone died. DS fell apart, sobbing with all his might for the next half hour until I managed to tuck him into bed. I promised to try to fix him. That I’d make the attempt even though I doubted I could do so. Still, he sobbed on. “I’ve never been this sad before,” weeped the melodramatic child. “I hope I don’t cry all night!’


I set to work. I tried everything I could think of. I even found the original hole, no easy task considering there was no other way to get air or water in. After cutting a hole in the bottom and blowing air back into the little beast, I attempted to cauterize the material, ending in utter failure.  With nothing to show for it, his perfect little spikes are melted in several locations.

I checked Oriental Trading. They didn’t have it. Then, a google image search for “Magenta chick squeeze toy.”

Like magic, a photo of Chickety Chick’s brother was there. Amazon. Amazon carried it. … well, twelve randomly sorted chickens for $12.

I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. Even if I buy the set… Even if they listen to my request for only pink ones… he’s just going to break them. One by one, the clones will fall, and then what will we have? Nothing.

Even so, as I have written this post I have gone back multiple times in “one more attempt” at cauterization.


Well, for one I don’t like seeing my child sob over the loss of his best friend.

Beyond that, though… I remember being a child.

I remember being ten years old with a ridiculous toy of my own. His name was Sparkly. A ladybug-shaped bean-filled toy about 2 1/2 inches wide. I was a fifth grader, just moved across the country for the 2nd time in my elementary school years, back to the same school I had started at. I was shy. Unable to start conversations with anyone. Hurt that none of the few girls I remembered from my 1st Grade Brownie’s Troop recognized me. I had no friends. But I had that stupid toy bug that I tied a piece of string to and would “walk” around the house. And when it went missing, I had lost my best friend.

Things I Worry About

I worry about a lot of dumb things.

There are the usual fears: Dying without finishing a book. That my husband resents me for my obnoxious mental health issues. Wasps.


But then there are the ridiculous things.

I worry about what other drivers will think if they see me turn on my headlights when I’m already driving. I try to time turning it on to when no oncoming traffic can be seen and no one is directly in front of me.

I worry about taking too long to pick out a new brand of spaghetti sauce. Does that person nearby on the aisle want to pick something out too? Am I in their way? Do I look ridiculous? Maybe I should come back later and decide then…

I worry if my husband takes five minutes longer than usual to get home that means he’s in a car wreck.

If that friend of mine in high school still remembers that stupid and mean thing I said out of curiosity in like… 9th grade.

What my online friend will think of me if I suddenly start talking to him again after practically months of silence.

Why I’m still browsing the Facebook marketplace for Lego sets.


You know, dumb things.