Nightmares

We’ve had a string of bad dreams over the last week and it’s making me realize that having adult problems sure makes me feel old.

Audrey woke up Saturday morning and told me that she had a nightmare. I asked her what it was and she told me, “I don’t want to talk about it,” and flat-out refused to discuss it any further. Her resolve is insane! Later, I overheard her telling Tyler about it while we were driving to Monster Jam. She told him about how Pepper, our black lab-mix (interesting how I call her a black lab-mix, instead of a pit bull-mix), was on fire and burned to death. She struggled to say it outloud and it was clear that she was on the verge of tears.

Tyler, possibly in an attempt at making her feel better, told her that it wasn’t real and how he had a nightmare a couple nights before that. He dreamt that people had broken into our house and were trying to kill us.

As I think back to my childhood, I remember having a recurring nightmare about a 50 foot tall Frankenstein’s Monster chasing me through my elementary school. His feet would crash through the roof and rubble exploded all around me. Inevitably, the nightmare would nearly always transition to me running away from the same monster, but normal-sized this time, through my backyard. But the backyard was a swamp and I could neither run fast nor scream. It was terrifying and haunted me for a long time. I wonder if I’ve ever shared that with my parents; they may not even be aware of this childhood trauma.

But as an adult, it’s different. I had a dream that was mentally horrible for me a few nights ago and felt like a nightmare at the time. I’m in my car, at a stoplight. It feels as if the light has been red for longer than it should and that I’ve been sitting still for a near lifetime. Finally, the light goes green and I hammer on the gas pedal. But just as the front bumper of my car enters the intersection, it happens… I see that the light didn’t actually turn green. It was the left turn signal that went green. I slam on the brake pedal and screech to a stop. All eyes are on me as I sit, utterly embarrassed, waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. It was mortifying. Why my brain interpreted this as a nightmare is beyond me, but it certainly elicited those emotions from me.

And then it happened over and over again. The exact same thing. I’d get to the next light, sit there, see a green light, hit the gas, realize it’s the left turn signal, slam the brakes, sit embarrassed and wanting to die…. wash, rinse, repeat. Oh, the humanity!!!! The only thing that could have topped it is if Frankenstein’s monster was sitting in the passenger seat laughing at me with his stupid giant feet.

Memorial Day Camping v. 2012

The inaugural camping trip of 2012 was a success. Since I’m having all sorts of troubles finding my ability to write complete and wordy blog posts, let’s take baby steps through a picture story, shall we?

Our little home for the next 3 days.

Picture

Typically, we drive up on Thursday, and home on Monday. Unfortunately for everybody involved, Audrey had hand, foot and mouth disease and had a 103º temperature earlier in the week. We had actually discussed cancelling the entire trip. On Thursday night, she bounced back and was her usual adorable self on Friday morning. So… we camped!

Audrey gets her hair all prettied up inside the camper.

Picture

Tyler and Grandpa used walkie-talkies all weekend. Tyler’s handle was “Little T” and Grandpa’s was “Big G”.

Picture

Audrey was her gorgeous self

Picture

The dogs played (Delilah, and my parents’ two dogs, Molly and Max) and got FILTHY!

Picture

Picture

Picture

Picture

Picture

Poor Audrey was VERY tired from all the playing…

Picture

Tyler and I caught a baby snapping turtle!

Picture

Audrey got dirty… she loved it and still managed to look beautiful!

Picture

Tyler got filthy! He loved it and looked like a raccoon.

Picture

Audrey got thirsty and had a nice, cold Coors Light.

Picture

Tyler and Grandpa Little T and Big G caught a 16” bass with a Spiderman fishing pole.

Picture

Did I mention that Audrey got filthy?

Picture

It was fun! An absolute blast. Unfortunately, Tyler caught Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease from Audrey and became very lethargic on the last day of camping, and was an absolute miserable mess for the next 5 days afterward.

But, it was all worth it! It seems that everybody in our family loves camping, so I think we need to plan a couple more outings this season!

But, I don’t want a third kid.

trouble

How are the announcements supposed to start? “We are excited to announce…”, “Three’s company…”, or “Sarah and I want you to be the first to know…”?

I can’t say that, because I’d be lying to you. I have two beautiful children. A toddler son that is a ball of nuclear energy, and a daughter that is just receiving her first tooth and just taking her first steps. The simple truth is, I’m happy with two kids. Happy is actually an understatement of epic proportions. I can’t imagine how I could possibly be happier with the state of my life.

Two kids are enough. Sarah and I are two humans. We have created two humans to replace us on this rock as it hurtles through space. Two in, two out.

For me, having two kids is exactly perfect.

And Audrey is ruining everything!

Audrey… precious little beautiful little Audrey. My little cupcake. The tiny little darling that crawls around the house and drools. on. EVERYTHING. Her babbles are the most adorable noises. And it’s her babbles that have me terrified.

8 months ago

“Isn’t she the cutest ****ing baby on the planet?” Sarah asked. It was, of course, a statement disguised as a question.

“She really is,” I replied.

What proceeded was a discussion about how happy we were to have both a son and a daughter. There was a time where we both wanted two sons. During Sarah’s pregnancy, she jumped over the fence and began wishing for a daughter. I kept my strength, however, and kept hoping for another boy. Needless to say, when I first saw Audrey’s beautiful face, my heart melted. She held out her tiny little hand, extended her tiny little finger, and I became firmly wrapped around it.

“If she says ‘dada’ first, we are having another baby.”

So, as I said, it’s Audrey’s babbling that has me terrified. I tried, I swear. Over and over again, I’d say to her “Audrey, can you say ‘mama’? ‘Mmmmmmaaammmmmaaaa’. Can you say… ‘mama’? See her? That’s ‘MAMA’ over there. Me? I am not ‘MAMA’. But her, she is your ‘MMMMMAAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAA’.” Then I’d whisper to her, “Don’t you screw this up, little girl.”

Even Tyler tried helping me. “Audwee, don’t say ‘dada’, okay? You haffa say ‘mamma’ first.”

I really don’t understand why she keeps crawling around babbling, “dadadadadadadadadadada” over and over and over again. I find myself wondering if Sarah is running around the house shouting “DA DA DA DA DA” eight hours a day, five days a week. And when I come home from work, she gives me the “remember, ‘dada’ equals baby in my belly” look.

“AUDWEE!! You HAFFA say ‘mama’, not ‘dada’. You’re so silly!”

So Audrey, please, knock it off. Our house cannot fit another full-time child. You can have a bunch of girl friends, and Tyler can have a lot of guy friends. They’re all welcome over here any time. They can even stay the night sometimes, but then they can go back to their own home.

For the love of everything that is still peaceful in this house… MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMama.

Homeless

Since March 1, 2011, I have been in a state of limbo. I was a married-bachelor-father. On Monday, I’d load a duffle bag into the car, drive to Michigan, and spend the work week living with friends. When I left work on Friday, I’d drive back to my home in Indiana, unload a week’s worth of dirty clothes, and spend the weekend with my family. The following Monday, I’d do it all over again.

We had pipe dreams that our house would have sold before my start-date in Michigan of March 1. Sadly, this didn’t happen, leaving it necessary to spend months with this lifestyle. I spend 5 days a week away from my almost three year old son and my newborn daughter, while Sarah spends 5 days trying to raise these same two children as a married-but-single mother. Oh, and she also had to keep the house SPOTLESS for any house showings.

After numerous heartbreaks, we were all reaching the end of our ropes. Sarah was stressed to the point of nearly breaking, Tyler was beginning to act out, I began falling into a state of depression, and Audrey… well, she’s just happy to exist, so she seemed just fine.

Then we finally got the offer we were waiting for.

We spent the next six weeks dealing with more hurdles and heartbreaks. The prospective buyers had to have their hands held during every step of the process, and required numerous phone calls before they’d take care of the next step. Meanwhile, we’d put an offer on a house in Michigan, and were steamrolling towards closing… contingent on the sale of our house, which was not going well at all.

“I’m not built to be a single dad, Sarah,” I told her during a phone call. “I just don’t think I can continue this lifestyle much longer.”

And then things would start moving again. And then they’d stall again. Move and stall, move and stall. It was like a teenager learning to drive a stick shift. With lots of crying.

Finally, we had a scheduled closing date for both houses. We quickly put together the logistics. We’d pack everything, load it into the moving truck, sign the papers to sell our current house, drive all of our worldly belongings to Michigan, sign to purchase a house, and move in. We were nervous during every second leading to the sell of our house. We didn’t dare speak too excitedly of the fact that things were finally happening. We just cautiously moved ahead. We packed, we organized, we cleaned, and we kept our fingers crossed. We loaded up the moving truck until the only things remaining in the house was a blow-up mattress for us, a mattress for my step-dad, and a couple random items needed to eat breakfast the next morning.

Closing day arrived! We got things around, packed up some last minute stuff and drove to the closing. Anxious and slightly excited, we parked and walked into the office… and the buyers didn’t show up.

THE BUYERS DID NOT SHOW UP!

“Listen,” I said to the closing officer, “we must have a very specific piece of paper signed today, or we can’t buy a house this evening.”

The agent went on to explain that the wife got “called in to work.” There’s a lot of things I don’t know, but I’m fairly certain an employer would understand that you couldn’t come in right away if YOU. ARE. BUYING. A. HOUSE! Where are your priorities at when you make the decision to email the office mere moments before closing and say “oh, by the way, I won’t be there TO. BUY. A. HOUSE! this morning because my boss called and asked me to come in. I said yes even though I’m supposed to be BUYING. A. HOUSE!”

“Is the husband coming? Is their Realtor coming?”

The answer was no. There aren’t words in my vocabulary to explain the feelings I was having at the time. “Devastated” comes to mind. I explained again the fact that we quite literally had all of our belongings on a truck and were scheduled to buy a house in just a matter of hours in Michigan. The closing officer, bless her soul, was determined to help. She explained that we would sign all our papers and that she would then drive to the buyer’s employer to get her to sign the papers. With no other option, we signed the papers and went back to the house, deflated. At a time we should have been celebrating, we were in yet another state of limbo. We contemplated all the nasty things we wanted to do to the house, to punish the buyers for being such royal pains in the butt. The best idea was to leave an upper decker for them. There were two problems with this plan however. One, we weren’t even sure they were going to sign the papers, which would have meant that we just did something very nasty to a house we were stuck with. Two, deep down, below the cynicism and sarcasm, we’re both good people. But that didn’t mean that we all didn’t laugh maniacally when Audrey spit-up all over the living room floor!

My phone rang about twenty minutes later. “Hi Joe, this is Jen.” Jen was the closing officer.

“Please tell me good news, Jen.”

“The papers are signed. I’m faxing over the information now. You’re homeless.”

I mouthed the word to Sarah “signed” as Jen continued singing sweet, sweet music into my ear about us no longer owning a house in Indiana. And finally, we could hug each other for overcoming such a huge mountain of an obstacle.

The closing in Michigan went smooth as silk. We were homeless (and 100% debt free and off the grid) for approximately seven hours. Then, this:
Picture

Picture

And I now get to come home to my family after work every single day. Life is good.