lessons learned the hard way

So, the past several days have been sort of a whirlwind of emotions for us, dealing with the whole Brittany situation. (I can’t link to her blog anymore, since it no longer exists.) I’m betting that the majority of you who read this blog already know the situation, so I won’t get into it. If you don’t know it, you can email me (see my little “Contact” page above), but chances are, if you haven’t heard the story by now, it’s probably none of your business.

Suffice to say, the whole thing has left Dave and I feeling very hurt and angry. We feel manipulated. We feel used. And we also feel very sad for a young woman who is severely messed up and needs a profound amount of help.

I wrote last week that I won’t let one bad situation keep me from feeling compassion for others. I absolutely stand by that. If a person seems to be in genuine need, I will try to help them out whenever possible.

But, I have learned one valuable lesson through all of this. And this is a big lesson. I feel like I should cross-stitch it onto a pillow or something, it’s that important. And the lesson is this:

Don’t invite people from Twitter to your house.

Seriously. Just don’t. No good will come of it.

You’re welcome.

P.S. Yeah, I’m trying to find the humor in the situation. It’s difficult. I’ll try to be funnier next time.

a hacky photo entry that requires no real forethought or editing

Catie & I doing downward-facing dog
A little toddler yoga. (Catie’s request, it’s her new favorite thing.)

At the top of the stairs.

Catie playing with "Britty's Bear"
Playing with “Britty’s bear.”

Catie loves her PB&J sandwiches
It’s peanut-butter-jelly time!

playing dress-up in Mommy's new shirt
Want a sneak preview of one of the shirts I bought for BlogHer? Here you go. Catie thought it’d be fun to play dress-up in it.

I love the contrasting hair colors
Contrasting hair colors.

Catie says "CHEESE!!"
Catie says, “CHEESE!!!”

More about the weekend later; I gotta get to work.

blogging as a means to not think about lasers in my freakin' eyeballs (which, FAIL)

My eye surgery is this afternoon. It occurred to me while I was getting dressed this morning that it was probably not the best day to apply both eyeliner and (non-waterproof) mascara, but it was too late by the time I realized it. I guess I’ll just look like a raccoon later when my eyes water it off.

And I forgot to say it earlier, but thank you to all of you who left kind words when I freaked out about the surgery last week. But I need to clarify, the surgery I’m having is not lasik. I’m still going to need my glasses after this is over. Basically what they’re doing is using a laser to poke a few holes in my iris (shudder), which will ensure that the fluid in my eyes can circulate. (If the fluid can’t continuously circulate, the optic nerve will die, hence the blindness.) You can read all about it here if you like – I started to read it and freaked out and had to close the window. But I think it’s relatively accurate.

Btw, I have no idea if they’re planning to drug me for this procedure or not. I forgot to ask beforehand. So I’m bringing my Klonopin with me, and if they don’t offer me any drugs, I’ll just go ahead and knock myself out, thank you very much.

And I have to say, it’s been a lot of fun having Brittany here this week. She has a great camera (that I totally want to steal) and we got some fantastic pictures of Catie, which I’m going to try to upload soon. As an added bonus, my sister flew in for the weekend last night, so I’ll have both Tracy and Brittany here to take care of Catie while I’m out of commission (and Dave will be, presumably, taking care of his drugged-up wife). Catie is in Happy Toddler Overload, she doesn’t know what to do with all the attention. So no worries on that end.

Oh, one random note: yesterday Catie was in a bad mood and I asked her if she wanted to watch a movie. She walked over to the shelf where all of her DVDs are stored, and pulled out “E.T.” (which I bought before she was born, but the cellophane was still on it because I rarely feel the need to reduce myself to a sobbing mess). I wasn’t sure if it would be too scary for her, so I skipped the beginning and started it at the point where Elliott and E.T. meet for the first time. She loved it. She walked over to the TV to pat Elliott and reassure him that he shouldn’t be scared, because E.T. was his friend. I can’t really say how great it is to see your kids enjoying movies that you loved when you were little, but yeah, it was fantastic.

random Wednesday stuff

1. It looks like we’ll be staying pretty busy with company for a while. My brother spent Saturday night with us, and shortly after he left on Sunday afternoon, Brittany came to visit. (Which, if you read her blog, you probably know exactly why she came on Sunday instead of on Thursday, which had been her original plan.) On Sunday night, my sister called – she had travel plans for this weekend that fell through, and she was wondering if she could change her plane ticket and come to Raleigh instead. Sure, why not! So we’ll have a continuous stream of visitors for over a week, which is actually kind of cool. Especially since it distracts me from the fact that…

2. Our house closing date is going to get changed. The closing depends on us receiving some funds from the UK (we’re taking out a business loan against a couple of pieces of property that Dave and his mom and brother own together), and we just found out from my mother-in-law today that it’s going to take longer than we thought, due to the fact that we have to wait for lawyers and surveyors and all sorts of legal mumbo-jumbo to finish up. And you know, that’d be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that we have to be out of this house on July 31st, and if we can’t close by then, we’ll have nowhere to live.

So, we’re asking the sellers if we can rent the new house for the month of August (along with a letter from the bank in the UK promising that the funds are, in fact, on their way… at some point). And I’m crossing my fingers and praying that they say ok and don’t decide to walk.

3. In other real estate news, for the past two days I’ve been trying to help Brittany find an apartment in the Raleigh area. It’s been fun – her arm is all banged up and she’s taking Vicodin for the pain, so she’s been very giggly and stoned through the whole process. I’ve been her designated driver, and I’ve been taking lots of pictures of all of the apartments because I wasn’t sure she would remember anything that we saw. But we’ve found a few apartments that she likes, now we just need to narrow it down and pick one.

4. Today’s date is 07-08-09. Funny.

because sometimes there IS such a thing as a geographical cure

I mentioned last week that we had a visit from my friend Brittany. What I didn’t fill in was a little of her backstory. Brittany shared her story on a website called Violence Unsilenced, which provides an outlet for survivors of domestic abuse to tell their stories. If you don’t know Brittany’s story, go read. I’ll wait.

Ok, then. Now you probably understand why I want to go back in time about 20 years to rescue toddler Brittany and to kick her father’s ass. Actually, I’d be willing to kick his ass in present day too. Doesn’t matter. But more than anything, I wish I could spare her some of the pain and suffering that she’s experienced.

Here’s the rest of the story: Brittany currently lives with her mom, three doors down from the father who abused her. He continues to be a threatening presence in her life to this day, and she lives in a constant state of fear and anxiety. It’s a completely toxic situation, and she needs to get the hell out of there.

The problem is, despite having a job (two or three jobs, really, if you count the work she does at summer camps with special-needs kids), Brittany doesn’t have the money to move. And like a lot of abuse survivors, she is not the most adept when it comes to asking for help. So yesterday, Brittany’s friend Aman enlisted my help to set up a PayPal account on her behalf, without telling her about it. Well, actually, he set up the PayPal account. All I did was send direct messages to every single one of Brittany’s friends on Twitter who I thought might help us out.

And you know, the Twitter community is pretty amazing. Aman opened the account in the morning, and by yesterday evening, we had already raised over $500. And I had several emails from people pledging to give money as soon as they get their next paycheck. We decided to go ahead and tell Brittany about the account, since it was obviously going to be way too big a deal to keep a secret much longer. She was pretty shocked, and I think I might’ve made her cry a little bit. (It didn’t help that we were on a video chat on Skype, and I had Catie in my lap, and I was having Catie say things like, “Britty, move here!” Manipulative? Moi? Never!)

If any of you want to help Brittany out, the link to the PayPal account is . Even if it’s just a few dollars, it all helps. I just want to help my friend get to a place where she can finally feel safe, and where she can start to heal. Because absolutely nobody should ever live in that kind of fear.

weekend recap, pink hair edition

This past weekend we had a visit from the lovely and delightful Brittany. She and I have been chatting online for a while, she lives in South Carolina, and she was in dire need of something that approximates a vacation. So yeah, I invited a stranger from the Internet to stay at my house. I met Dave on match.com, so it didn’t seem like that big a deal to me.

And of course, she’s darling. I want to adopt her as my, um, well I’m not old enough to be her mother, but I guess she could be my little sister or niece or something. And Catie freaking loved her, as I expected.

Catie & Brittany

Catie & Brittany
Seriously, they totally bonded in less than 5 minutes. The only problem was that Brittany’s name was hard for Catie, so sometimes she’d call her “Britty” and sometimes she’d call her “guy.” As in, “C’mon, guy, let’s go this way!” (I swear, that’s an actual quote.)

Catie & Brittany working on their laptops
I think Catie is ready to sign up for her first Twitter account. (“OMG my parents suck. They made me sit in time-out and all I did was throw my toast butter-side down on the carpet! Injustice!”)

showing off her toy lizards

Brittany has an insanely nice camera, I’m really jealous of it. We got some fantastic action shots of Catie.

Toddler On The Run

chasing Mommy around the house

And one extreme close-up for good measure.


We had a great time. We ate a ton of food, we played with Catie, we geeked out with our cameras and computers, we had lots of long talks. And on Saturday night, after a couple of cocktails, we ended up on Room 704’s blogtalkradio show. (If you decide to listen to it, we’re on in like the last 5-10 minutes. And it’s mostly Brittany, not much of me. I was too busy refilling our beverages.)

So yeah, it was a great weekend. And I think we even convinced Brittany that Raleigh is a nice enough place that she’s now trying to find a job and an apartment in this area. Which would be very cool, I’m always in favor of having friends that live nearby.

P.S. To follow up on the last blog entry, we’re officially making an offer on house #2 tomorrow morning, but I don’t want to talk about it for fear of jinxing it, so SHH! We’ll talk more about it later if the guy accepts our offer.