Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bakfiets boom

I finally had my bakfiets fixed. The brakes barely worked at all, and I had to pretty much jump off every time I wanted to stop - not ideal when your precious crotch fruit is riding in front of you depending on you for their safety.

I rode it away from the shop (without the kids) and I thought "hmm, something is up with the gears." So I hit it hard so I could switch the gears back and forth.

Well, it had just snowed, and though there was a lot on the sidewalks most of the roads were clear. MOST of them.

I hit a patch of ice, and for the first time EVER, I bit it on the bakfiets. Fortunately, it could have been a lot worse, I just skidded to the ground, catching the bike before it hit, but hitting the ground myself. (Screw the mama - SAVE THE BIKE!)

I tell my mom this storty and she's horrified: "Oh my GOD! Did anyone help you? I mean, how did you get up? Were you hurt?"

ME: "Mom, I fell down and I got back up. What do you think I did, roll around on the ground moaning? I didn't need help."

HER: "No, but someone should have helped you!"

ME: "Help me do what?"

HER: "I don't know - get up?"

Nope. I've been in Holland long enough that I know to stand up, move on and act like nothing ever happened.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Purgatory or just Groundhog Day?

I promise I'll put on my happy face and write you all some more nice Amsterdam anecdotes this weekend. I have a nice story from a friend that I will post about Holland's favorite cookies: Stroopwafels.

If you want to read my depressing Christmas musings, highlight the text below, which I have blacked out in honor of those who don't want to be brought down. If not, I can't say I blame you in the slightest. Have a great Christmas!

I was hoping for a little warmth on Christmas. We got snow here in Holland. What a nice thing to wake up to on Christmas morning...only it's not Christmas morning, because we're waiting for my stepdaughter to get here before celebrating.

There are presents under the tree for everyone. Except me of course. Thankfully I had the foresight to buy myself some consolation prizes in place of being thought of; or even in place of the sense of obligation MOST partners feel to at least buy some kind of token gift. I grudgingly got a Christmas hug with about half the enthusiasm of hugging a friend's mother.

At least at my new job I get to hang out with people from all over the world who are just as homesick as I am. An English guy misses fish and chips; an East German misses the snow; everyone misses the people who cared about them.

I feel like I am being crushed by my own grief.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I can't do it anymore

It's probably over. I can't do it anymore. I feel like my life is ending and I am heartbroken. I am sorry that I need love to survive, but I am tired of living without it. I am tired of what a lie it has been for so long.

It's not good enough. It's not good enough for my kids. I'm destitute and desperate, but breaking my back trying.

I know why you can die of a broken heart. I know why we get old. It's not the passing of years, it's years of grief, worry and heart-sickness.

I feel like I should at least make some kind of joke about the last couple sentences being Haikus, or something...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Could it be?

Yesterday I gave the kid a bottle at 3:30 - he screamed for an hour, then slept until 8. This morning I gave him a bottle at 5:30, thinking "shit, I think he's up now," and he went back to sleep (or at least pretended to) until 7.

I could get used to the extra couple hours sleep, especially with my new job starting next week. Please, please, please, please don't let it be a fluke. (I do most of my praying at 5 a.m. these days.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back to work...!?!

Sorry I have been so quiet of late. I got a job. An honest-to-good, out of the house, in the office, non-drug-selling job. Not even a McJob. An editing job - you know, like I used to do BC (before children).

I am still a little stunned to have been hired. They gave me an editing test, then invited me back for an interview. Then they asked me to meet the manager. The manager gave me the "do you have any questions for me?" question about 30 minutes into our conversation. I said "Yes. How do I stand up to the competition?" She says, "Well, I can congratulate you, because you're hired."

I acted all cool, but I am inwardly thinking "WTF?! Can she do that? Now? I'm hired NOW?" Then I though "Fuck, fuck, fuck - the KIDS." I was sitting there all nonchalant while my heart is screaming to me about how I am going to be such a traitor to my children. The guilt washed over me in buckets. I'd wanted the job, but did I want it this badly?

She wants me to start the 14th - as in, in less than two weeks. I calmly told her "no problem." (FUCKFUCKFUCK.)

I am getting the daycare arranged, I am almost there, but I feel like such a bad mother. I'm giving my kids to strangers - all of a sudden - so that I can go to work. They are going to hate me. Not baby M, he's used to daycare already, and the belle of the ball there. It's little Mr. V. He's never known a babysitter in 4 years. I have no family nearby to watch him. He is totally unprepared for this. I am throwing my baby to the wolves.

Everyone says he'll be fine, but I can't shake the guilt. Drop him off early to school, take a bus to Amsterdam Centraal, then a tram, then reverse it and pick him up after dark. How can I do this? On the other hand. How can I NOT do this? It's a great opportunity, and I was chosen from a pool of 200 candidates. Two hundred. They wanted ME. Do you have any idea how good that feels after being nothing but a food source, housekeeper and dog-walker for the last 4 years?

I love the kids, but I've had it. I need something else. But do I need it like this? I understand why working mothers have it so hard. This is heart-wrenching. And the logistics are back-breaking - Bike, bus, tram...pick up from the sitter in the freezing cold on a BIKE, then back to the daycare center to pick up the baby...on a bike. Dinner and tub and bed all before D gets home from work. Can I do this?