A Pinata Tragedy

I could not make this story up – just wanted to preface with that.

I live near a pinata store…..you read that right. There is a pinata store near my house! I am not sure how many people can actually claim that of their neighborhood….well obviously besides my neighbors.

The pinata store is named “La Pinata Feliz”….obviously. I mean who wants to go to “La Pinata Triste”? Not me, I can tell you that for sure. I like that the pinatas are happy….I consider them like free-range pinatas. They choose to be pinatas spreading happiness to families for a plethora of occasions.

Anyhoo, I have passed “La Pinata Feliz” twice a day almost every single day for the last 5 years. And every time I notice it I think ‘I need to get a pinata for our next party’….and then I drive 4 more feet and forget about it.

Well what better occasion to finally step foot into “La Pinata Feliz” than for Jack’s first birthday party. First of all, this store was awesome!. Second, they should rename it “La Pinata Feliz y Mas Grande” because those suckers are huge!!!! HUGGGEEE!!!!

Basically Jack and two of his friends could fit comfortably into most of them. They have an insane selection of types of pinatas. Jack was immediately attracted to the bottle of Corona pinata….which I had to diffuse. Good thing there was a massive football next to it. There were pooh bears and shamrocks and this weird thing that I think was supposed to be a werewolf, but I couldn’t tell you for sure.

Seeing as we chose a grizzly bear theme for Jack’s party (because he is crazy about bears right now – picks them out from anywhere, including off of a frozen food truck two lanes away on the highway a few weeks ago) I decided to ask if they could make a custom pinata…which of course they can. I mean this is “La Pinata Feliz” we are talking about, their whole world revolves about making you happy via pinata.

So I ordered a grizzly bear pinata, or an oso pardo (bringing the culture back into the blog!), Jack got handed a mexican sucker, and we went on our merry way. Sidenote: mexican candy is not my favsies. And whilst Jack loved the sucker, he handed it to me a few times to “hold for him”, getting slobbery sucker all over my hand, which I then licked and eeeeewwww. It basically tasted like slightly sweet food coloring. I just feel like if American candy makers and mexican pinata makers could team up, there would be no stopping them.

Back to the story: two days after ordering el oso pardo, I had a voicemail from “La Pinata Feliz”. Their pinata-maker had a terrible accident and wouldn’t be able to have my pinata done on-time….OMG! I called back right away. Obviously in my mind I was like ‘I ordered a pinata that caused this terrible accident!….I tried to kill “La Pinata Feliz’s” pinata-maker!’

Alas that was not the case. I don’t know what the exact accident was, but it sounded non-pinata-making related. Anyway he was going to be out for 3 weeks recovering and unable to make any pinatas. No big deal. I recalled they had a horse pinata that Jack really liked, so they set it aside for me. He is only 2 so, chances are he won’t hold it against me that I didn’t have a grizzly bear pinata for his grizzly bear themed birthday party…..although I guess I should start saving for the therapy bills just in case.

But what are the chances really? I mean, I am assuming that never, in the last 5 years of me living near the store, has the pinata-maker had a serious accident rendering him unable to make pinatas. Yet the time I finally go there to get a pinata, this happens….apparently I bring bad luck to pinata-makers. That’s all I have to say.

Now for those of you thinking “I bet that pinata wasn’t as big as she said it was…she’s a notorious exaggerater”. Well you’re right, I am, but it really was the biggest pinata I have ever seen. And look, proof!

pinatapinata horse

Seriously! He was riding on it! It was so sturdy. It took like 7 people many many hits to get it open. But I have to say, it was the most fun I have ever had with a pinata.


The Great White North

I think I mentioned about 80 years ago, how this is a big year….alright you got me, I wasn’t alive 80 years ago. It is our 30.30.10 year, aka the year Andy and I both turn 30 and we celebrate our 10th anniversary…..it might be ridiculous to clarify this, but by “this is the year” I sort of just mean a 12 month period. It actually spans from 2012-2013 if you want to get technical about it….and maybe you do. In which case, there’s the information you need.  Basically this year we okay I wanted to do something BIG like Bigger than BIG.

The original “plan” (which was no plan at all more just my brain ramblings of places we could go), was Cape Town….I would still LOOOoooovveee to do that…..someday. The truth is, we have a kid! Who knew? There was no easy way of thinking about Africa with a two year old. We were either looking at leaving him for 12ish days, asking others to get him too/from daycare or to take off work, or take him with us on a 23-ish-hour one way trip….eerrrrr…..now I love my kid and I know he is awesome, but I also admit that he has his limits. And I am more than certain those limits end way before the 23 hours of travel mark.

Also there’s this other thing, perhaps you’ve heard of it?, money. So you have to have shit tons of money to get to Cape Town…namely about $2K per person just for the flights. I was all about breaking out the old credit card for this one and then something weird happened when I turned 30…I grew up. Whoa. Sad to admit this, but I realized having credit card debt looming over you at all times sucks total ass (have I mentioned how my blog is now blocked from some computers and it lists it as “pornographic”….and I see that as a bit of an accomplishment….Could be the language).

Thinking about adding $6-10K onto a credit card just seemed like the stupidest idea in the whole world. So…I sort of pushed South Africa onto the back burner for a sec and looked at other options.

Then something amazing happened, which I wrote about yesterday, work got awesomesauce. I found out I would be working on some seriously amazing new projects and one of them happens to be in the Great White North, i.e. Alaska. Andy and I have always wanted to go to Alaska, hell we’ve even considered moving to Alaska. So when the opportunity to go came up, I decided this was my 30.30.10 trip opportunity.

It perhaps isn’t as sexy and exotic as two weeks in South Africa, but considering 1/2 the trip will be paid for…I am thinking it is pretty sexy and exotic looking now. All this is to say that we are leaving for Alaska in 4 days. Yep Alaska in November, that is our big amazing trip. I can’t guarantee that we will ever come back. We might just stay there….although they did just pass that pot thing in Colorado…sooo…..

I promise to tell you all about it….or aboot it because Alaska is basically Canada right? wink wink 🙂 I have to say my main goal is to try and see the Aurora Borealis. I hear this is supposed to be one of the best years for it, but the chances are so low it is almost discouraging….but maybe just maybe we will see it. A girl can dream.


So I tend to inadvertently decide to write a super heavy post and then I disappear for a week. Whoopsies. Sorry about that. Basically that was just a 24 hour….actually like a 10 hour dark period and then it was like it never happened.

Thank you all for your amazing words of support via comment, via text, via e-mail, all that shit. You are awesome. I couldn’t buy better support (shhh your checks are in the mail…they aren’t linked to an active bank account, but I figured it would make everyone’s day to receive a check for $1 million dollars…..please don’t try to cash it).

Let’s see. I am trying to remember what all happened after that night. Andy and I went on a date after work the next day and we sort of talked about it. In a good, even-keeled sort of way. Bottom line is, shit is not all figured out, but all is well.

I had a business trip all last week. It went great…well minus the massive hangover I gave myself and the cough and runny nose I contracted, but whatcha gonna do? You win some you lose some.

I couldn’t wait to get home to my men. Jack is getting his 4th molar right now, so basically I returned in time to not sleep, but it was a weekend, so I appreciate his timing. I laid with him on my chest listening to him trying to breathe through his stuffy nose and remembering what it was like when he didn’t span from my collar bone all the way half-way down my thigh. Baby is getting big….not really a baby anymore.

Which brings up my last news of this post – acupuncture. An appointment has been made. I am hanging my flag of surrender and admitting that my body needs something a little extra to push it along. As much as I had hoped, I am not going to be like those whores I know who easily got pregnant with their #2s. But it seems only fair when you look at the big picture. I endured a few months of acupuncture with Jack and they all had to be poked and prodded and wanded. Some of them paying 20 times what I paid to get their little miracles. So I am glad they were total whores and got pregnant with #2 easily. I basically have to go lay on a table without pants on (score!) and listen to calming flute music, while a chick burns tiny aromatherapy cones over my ovaries and puts little pins all over. Man being a hippie is sorta awesome, but mostly hilarious.

I know we will all achieve the same end, even if our journeys are very different.

Not Strong Enough Today

There are those days where things get way down to depths you didn’t expect and you find yourself feeling like the wind was knocked out of you as you were just strolling along. These days happen to all of us. I have come to appreciate them as a sort of Karmic balance. Things can’t always be up, unfortunately, they sometimes have to come down.

I was certainly not expecting what happened yesterday. I had an amazing day at work. My project outlook is really promising, I had a serious discussion with my boss about possible article ideas that these projects have inspired and found myself full of passion for my job for the first time in a while. I started thinking maybe just maybe I can find what I am looking for right in front of my face.

When I got in my car to head home, the world was my oyster….at least it was my oyster for the first half of the day. My aunt had texted me a few days before to tell me the transition for C.G. was going slowly and she gave me her new phone number. I decided to try her on my ride home….I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy talk, but I wasn’t expecting what happened.

C.G. started out by saying ‘I don’t know why I am here and no one will sit down and tell me’. So I told her what happened with the hospital and how the family wanted her down there where more people could look after her, etc. She would go around and around about how she understood and then go back to ‘I don’t understand what I did to deserve this’. She talked about it as if it were a punishment and ‘they put her away!’. She talked about how horrible the place was, how she couldn’t leave on her own, no one was there to take her outside, she couldn’t eat with these people who can’t even feed themselves, etc. The conversation went on and by the end she was in tears telling me she wants to come home, she wants to go to the nursing home here, where she had always planned to go, and she wants to be near me, her real family. She kept saying how the people down there weren’t her family, etc…..it was really terrible. I tried my best to explain what was going on to her and assure her that her house was still here and no one had done anything to her house, etc. That she wasn’t trapped down there, they just wanted her nearby for a while….I think I might have messed up with that part.

I felt really helpless though. What do you tell your grandma when she says ‘I want to come home’? I couldn’t tell her that she can’t come home….I just don’t have the ability to say that to her. I told her the only thing I could think of…..the most passive aggressive stance a person can take, really….the chicken shit way out – Okay Grandma I will talk to dad. Yeahhh…because we all know that will make it better….damn it Natalie….

I called my dad right after, he was at work, so I called his wife. We talked for a bit and deduced this was part of the transition, etc. Obviously by saying she wants to come home she means she wants to come back to her house. If we moved her to the nursing home here she would still be going through this same transition and to be honest, the facility here is not that nice. It isn’t awful, but it definitely isn’t as nice as the place she is at now.

I talked to my uncle and aunt this morniong. I spoke with them for a while and what it all boils down to is manipulation. C.G. was trying to manipulate me. The people there are all still functioning independently. It is more of an apartment complex for retired people than what she was describing. They can leave and go places any time they want. In fact a neighbor took grandma shopping a couple of days ago. The people can feed themselves just fine and she has been attending the activities there….basically I am a big old pawn. She played me like a fiddle…and I offered her up the bow.

I felt infinitely better after talking to my aunt and uncle. I feel absolutely terrible for them. My uncle is the villan here. My grandmother doesn’t even want to see him she is so angry that ‘he tried to confuse me and put me away!’. Poor guy. The one who stepped up with a proposed solution, the one who came up to see her about once a month if not more. I feel genuinely bad for him.

I really do see both sides. On the one hand, I wish we had just moved her to the nursing home she wanted. Sure we’d probably still be dealing with some of this stuff, but maybe then no one person would be the villan. Maybe it would have been a bit easier…who knows. What I do know is I need to be crystal clear in my will or something of where I want to go and probably I need to put myself there well before I think I need to go.

But back to yesterday. After my talk with Grandma I was an emotional wreck by the time I walked in the door. I talked to Andy about it and we ate dinner, laughed at Jack and his newfound love for dried cranberries “more more more more” (which come out the same way they go in). We turned on some stand-up and were just sitting around…..then shit went wrong.

I can’t fully explain what happened. Andy sort of has this amazing ability to pick fights. Not just with me, with everyone. I have told him this is why he should become a lawyer because he likes to fight about anything and everything. He doesn’t even care which side you are on, he will argue the other, even if deep down he agrees with you. He just likes to argue. It is like the challenge sparks him.

So anyway he picked an arbitrary fight. I got pissed and decided the best thing was to go to bed…it being a work night and me reaching my capacity. But Andy doesn’t always let things end. He followed me downstairs and continued to tout his stance. I continued to defend myself and try to get him to back down. Then things got ugly. He opened up some old scars basically. Obviously I am neglectful and not loving enough – that is the gist of it. I called bullshit and gates were opened. Suddenly I am staring at a scene I can’t explain.

One of the strongest people I know is standing in front of me the most vulnerable I have ever seen him and I am hitting a brick wall. He won’t come near me, he won’t let me in. He was standing there 15 feet away, but it felt like 500. The only thing I can do after this sort of thing is to try to rationalize what was happening. So here it is…maybe way off base, but here it is:

There is deep dark damage in there. Damage that I might never be able to touch. Even if I could touch it, I am not sure how I could help. Andy doesn’t like realizing that he is in someway damaged. It turns him into a wounded predator who’s only card to play is to attack.

This isn’t the only time I have peeked into that darkness and I know it won’t be the last. It happens every so often. It is the reason he drinks, it is the reason he will talk to his best friend for hours on end out in the garage, it is also the reason he has trouble making new friends. The two people closest to him are the two people that were there. There through the darkness. I get to know pieces of things because I was sorta there. I was at home, worrying and working and trying to keep believing that someday he would come home. I earned the right to know some of it, but I don’t know all of it. And he reminded me last night that I never will. That it wouldn’t do me any good to know and despite my protests, he doesn’t believe it will do him any good either to tell me.

But how could he ever get close to anyone else? How could anyone ever understand what he has been through and how could he relate to anyone who hasn’t done the things he’s done? I think that is where he stands. I think that is why, despite how I try to encourage him to hang out with new acquaintances he meets, he repels against the idea.

It is rough….this situation is rough. Believe me this dark is always smothered out by the light that occurs in our life together. I know that our tiny bandit is slowly working his charm into Andy’s life and healing some of the things that neither of us thought could be healed. Andy has smiled more and enjoyed more than I have seen in a really long time. I know Jack has been good for him. Shown him that he has the ability to do wonderful things despite his past. Shown him that it is okay to be silly and dance and show love….

But when things get to the place they got last night, I can’t help but feel that maybe – despite what I tell myself – I am not strong enough. I let him say whatever he needs to say to get to the point where he will admit this isn’t about us. This is about him. Even though the path to get to that point almost always means he tries to shove me the farthest possible distance. Even when I want to be like ‘fuck it you’re right, we’re fucked’ I think no this is a defense mechanism this isn’t about you. And so I stick to him like glue….I am the most annoying person in the world to him I am sure.

All he wants is to bite and get away and here I am standing there letting him bite me with my arms wrapped as tightly around him as possible. I get it. I am a pest. But that is all I can do. That is the only way for me to get through it. To try to turn the situation in where I feel completely hopeless into a situation where no matter what he says I tell him and show him that I am not going anywhere.  Sometimes I don’t feel strong enough….but I keep on telling myself that I am.

A Toilet Training Toddler – Lesson 1

Well well well. You know that whole concept of the power of suggestion? Yeah it will bite you in the ass. Not 24 hours after I wrote this last post, I was staring at a shit on my floor. Awesome. So that brings us to lesson 1 of toilet training – your kid is smarter than you.

Sure sure maybe he doesn’t know the nominal dimensions of a 2×4 or the order of treatment for removing mineral stains on 100-year-old stone buildings, but when it comes to him learning how to poop like a grown up, he is smarter. End of story.

First off, let’s pat ourselves on the back for a minute. Because I do in fact think that our “plan” is a good one. When we brought him home from daycare I put him in a cloth diaper and fed him dinner. Then we cleaned him up and let him run around. Andy brought his toilet (sorry folks ‘potty’ is just too much of a ‘parent’ word for me…..I refuse to admit that I am actually a parent and use parent words….whatever okay just placate me) out and he ignored it for the most part. Then a little while later he walked over to it and started trying to push his diaper down, as if it were actually underwear. So Andy busted him out and we proceeded to laugh as he ran around naked again.

He got on and off the toilet a couple of times and then I kind of decided ‘eh it’s probably not in the cards’. So back in the diaper he went. Next up was bathtime and then a diaper. I had a laundry basket full of clean clothes and of course the pajamas were at the bottom. So I just let Jack off the changing table while I put away his clothes and located the pjs. Andy was standing next to me chatting up a storm, like he does. A bit later in walks Jack butt ass naked.

Andy: hey buddy where did your diaper go?

Me: ooo check to see if he went in the toilet!

Andy: (walking out to the living room) well we have located the turd….it isn’t in the toilet per se

About a foot away from the toilet sat a little poo. Hmmm what do we do here? Well…okay….wing it Natalie. Jack look, (scooping up poo with wipe) this goes in here, see?

brain: you have no fucking idea what you are doing here do ya?

natalie: shut it brain, no one actually knows what they are doing….this just seems logical

brain: it may seem logical, but now you have to clean the floor and the toilet because you wanted to put the poo in the toilet to show him.

natalie: you know what brain? you can suck it! I don’t see any other amazing ideas coming from you

So that is what happened. I mean on the one hand: technically Jack is starting to see the benefit of not shitting in your pants…..but shitting on the floor?…hmmm. What have we gotten ourselves into with this whole ‘raising a human’ thing?

Also it was pretty much our bad in this case. If we had been in the same room, paying attention maybe we would have seen him wanting his diaper off and been able to swoop in and set him on the pot. So apparently you need to just hover over your kid like all the time….or force them to continue to shit in a diaper? Hey guess what? I have no idea what I am doing! Isn’t parenting fun?

Nat and Kate plus…poo

Something really whacked out happened this weekend. We went to this big consignment sale to pick up some more fall/winter clothes for Jackhammer. I figured we should pick up a potty….OMG guys the word potty is ridiculous. I can not believe I am writing that word and what is worse! GASP I have actually said that word. OUT LOUD….with my mouth!

Anyway, it isn’t like we were AT ALL planning on doing anything with the….the….the potty (cringe) it was more that I wanted to have it on hand just in case. I mean I don’t actually know what I am doing here, it just seemed like a logical thing to do to maybe put it in the bathroom and let Jack get used to it or whatever he felt like doing.

It must be pointed out that Andy was thoroughly grossed out at buying a….a….a potty chair (ugh) at a consignment sale. In fact he would not only not touch it, but he would stand a good two feet away from me while I carried it around. Really? Maybe I would have done the same two years ago. But I have touched so much poop and not just my kid’s but others, that it doesn’t even bother me…not to mention that the chair we picked out was completely clean.

But when we got home I bleached it just to make him feel better. Now the smart thing about Andy is as we were standing amongst the selection of potty’s he chimed in that having one that looked like a frog maybe wasn’t the best idea…perhaps the best idea was to have one that looked more like a toilet because if we bought him the frog one he might just want to try and ride it around the house and never make the connection. Perhaps Andy is right? Who knows, but despite thinking the frog one was cute, we went with the plain jane chair.

Jack was super interested in it after I got it all cleaned up. He had to take it all apart and put it back together. Sit on it, then get off, shut the lid, then open it and take it all apart, repeat basically. I just had it next to the toilet in our bathroom, but after about 20 minutes of playing I was like ‘okay buddy let’s go play in the living room’. And he picked it up and brought it out into the living room. Eh whatever. Our evening proceeded. He played with other stuff, then went back to the potty to check everything out.

Later he was sitting on the couch with us and he let out this huge toot. ‘Bahhaaa you got something going on buddy? You want to try out your potty?’ I didn’t really know what I was doing at this point. But I stripped him down and then we proceeded to laugh as he ran about the living room pantsless. Is there anything more hilarious than a pantsless baby? I think not. He went back and forth to the potty (yep still makes me cringe) and would get on and then back off.

Andy and I sort of zoned out for a sec and then I looked down and realized there was a poop in there! WHOOAAAaaa. We were not expecting that at all. Jack was standing there like ‘eh no big deal’. I turned to Andy and said: ‘holy shit, he did it!’. We started clapping for him, which he obviously loved. Then I proceeded to pick him up and run to the bathroom with him straight out in front of me….because duh, there was poop on his butt. Gross! We cleaned him off, with TOILET PAPER instead of wipes. So big. Then we both pondered what to do next….it is sort of a huge deal, but also really fucking disgusting. I suddenly realized that Kate, from Jon and Kate +8 really isn’t as crazy as I originally thought. I saw an episode where she took a picture of one of her kids with their first poo and recall saying ‘OMG that is so disgusting!!!!’

Then suddenly you are standing there realizing what a huge accomplishment this is and thinking ‘should I be taking a picture?’ I decided not to, because at the end of the day, YUCK. But Andy was hilariously cute and proceeded to call all of his parents to tell them about Jack’s pure genius.

The excitement suddenly turned to worry as we realized we have no idea what comes next. We were not prepared for this shit, literally. We chatted and have come up with a plan…which is not surprising. Our “plan” is to just see what happens. Whenever he starts wanting to play with the chair or we suspect he might be ready to “go” I will get him naked, but then no pressure for anything after that. And we will just see what happens.

I am fairly positive that I will be writing a post or two in the future saying ‘I had to clean shit off the floor tonight’, but who knows maybe our plan is a good one, we shall see.

Just Jack

As a favor for all of my “help“, Oak took pics of Jack for me. She sort of glosses over the fact that she is amazing at taking pictures….or at least it feels like she glosses over it. Probably it has to do with the fact that she makes about a billion times more money at her job then she would as a photographer, who knows? (* a billion is just a rough estimate). Anyway she got some great ones. Enjoy and have a wonderful labor day.