Pickles & Pedicures

how to change a diaper when your nails are wet…and other tips and tales inside the glamorous life of a working, single mom

Gay Pride June 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — picklesandpedicures @ 10:18 am

PrideRainbowTriangleLogoAs I walked hand in hand with my 2 year old towards the flicker of multi colored flags and drag for the first time in my life I felt like the minority. As we gathered closer to the celebration, I noticed the laughter and happiness that surrounded the crowds and felt an immediate rush of pride and a sense of peace and equality. A group of gay and lesbian motorcyclists kicked of the Gay Pride Parade and the energy just radiated off the participants like hot red fire and I felt a sense of jesoulsy come over me.  One time per year this community has the chance to spread their cause and reach out to many others who may have once thought of them as oddities, like myself. Don’t get me wrong there were some strange ducks amongst the crowds, but it wasall in the name of fun and Pride – Gay Pride.


We sat next to a lesbian couple from Duluth that attends the parade and festival every year. Donning their rainbow colored tie-dyed t-shirts and peace necklaces they informed me they were the first couple in their home city to be recognized as a domestic partnership. Basked in my own naivety  I shook their hands and offered them a congratulations because I didn’t know what to say. They accepted my thanks, but also told me they don’t do it for fame and recognition they do it for their own personal gain and happiness.  I watched the two exchange happy glances and fit one hand into the other. They were happy and comfortable in their own skin.  I understand that every couple, no matter what their sexuality may be, has obstacles and heartache, but I couldn’t help but have floods of envy for the couple to my left seated next to my daughter. 


We made our way back to the booth my ex-husband was hosting and took a seat. The rushes of people piling in to this fabulous festival amazed me. Black, white, asian, gay, straight – it didn’t matter. Sometimes you would find the occasional cowboy hick amongst the masses, but it was mainly the young drag queen dressed in hot pink fish net stockings and female couple pushing a baby stroller. 


To some of you my words may seem narrow and ignorant, but to be honest, I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life and I am so glad I was able to expose my daughter to something I never was privy to.  I want her to treat people all the same and to understand what walks of life make up this lovely thing called The World. She will witness equality and human rights only grow into more of an up-front and important issue in today’s economy. 


Love is not black and white – it’s filled with many different colors and options…


“cause I’m busy, Mommy” May 28, 2009

Filed under: Mama-hood,Parenting — picklesandpedicures @ 2:24 pm

Today my energetic toddler refused to take a nap at day care, again. I knew right away when I saw the look on the supervisors face – it was of mere disgust and exhaustion.   I immediately apologize for her nap-time failure for I fear it is becoming a major problem.


On our way home I gave her the usual snack, but before I knew it she was shoving the last bit of the cinnamon and sugar doughnut hole into her mouth and drifted off to sleep.  As I carried her inside and laid her on the couch I was worried this was becoming a habit – a late afternoon nap before dinner. 


My child is very busy and social -she fears that she might miss something if she takes a nap. I know this only because when I asked her why she didn’t take a nap, she mater-of-factly replies, “cause I’m busy Mommy.”


I hope this is just a phase she is going through or even worse an end to her nap time ritual.  Oh, God let it not be true.


one year later May 24, 2009

Filed under: divorce,Self Discovery,Stuff I think about — picklesandpedicures @ 2:39 pm

peace_3I stood alone on the end of a cedar hand-crafted dock that was carefully floating atop of a lake in Jacksonville, Florida. The sun was intense as it left a great sun burn all over my body, but I didn’t care I was lost in my thoughts and tears. My back was to the crowd of people congregating on the patio and feasting on smoked homemade barbecued ribs and potato casserole so they couldn’t see the sadness in my eyes and the loneliness that reaped from my soul.  I cried thinking about the turn my life had taken in the last few months. I was to be divorced by the 4th of July and I couldn’t stop it from happening. In the blink of an eye I lost the love of my life and became a single parent – I was living a reoccurring bad dream filled with loneliness and heart ache. I was bound and determined to leave some of my turmoil at the bottom of that lake – so I cried. I cried so hard my sunglasses fogged up.  I wanted to get rid of all the sadness, hatred and emptiness that I had balled up in my mind – I was literally wondering around my life like I had no idea who I was without him. I knew I had to gather up all the strength I had left to be there for my little girl and stop dragging my feet along this dusty trail of sorrow and get it together. The sun was setting over the crowded lake and I made a vow to myself that I would have faith in myself and the universe. As I watched it set I wiped my tears away and joined the party. This is life and when life gives you lemons, find someone who has vodka and throw a party.


Exactly one year later…


Today I woke up and enjoyed a cup of coffee on my deck and listened to the birds making crazy music in my backyard.  There was no vacation to Florida this year, there were no tears dripping into the lake – it was just me a cup of coffee and happiness. This year has given me back my independence and hope. I’ve learned how to rely on myself and enjoy alone time with a glass of wine and a good chick flick. I’ve learned to enjoy a night out with friends. I’ve learned to breath deeper and slow down. I’ve learned how not to get discourage when something doesn’t go my way. I’ve been able to watch my baby girl grow into a healthy, well adjusted toddler. I’ve watched her red stubble turn into a beautiful bed of bountiful curls. I’ve re-kindled friendships I thought I lost. I’ve learned to embrace single parenthood and not be afraid of it. I’ve learned to leave my anger about what has happened in the past and concentrate on a happier future. I’ve learned to do things for me. But there is one thing that will just take time…love.  Love hurts when it’s lost, but feels great when it’s found – this will just take time, this I know.



Tonight I sit under my circular gazebo on my deck listening to great music by the light of my first bonfire of the season and only wonder what the next year might bring.


empty cubicles May 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — picklesandpedicures @ 2:52 pm

The company I work for laid 22 people off from my corporate campus on Friday – 3 of whom were my best-work friends. As I watched them pack up their desks and load wheeled carts full of pictures of their babies, tennis shoes, and coffee mugs I couldn’t help but think why was I sparred? My job is considered a duplication and it would only make sense to lay me off too. It’s not that I don’t value my position or worth, but it’s the honest to God truth. I don’t even know where to start my understanding of this execution-style lay off.



I work for a large company with small a business culture and persona. We care about the earth and community we live in and value our business partnerships. However, I am a smart person and very realistic – I understand that in these tough economic times businesses need to cut costs any where in order to stay buoyant. This is a smart business decision – but with one smart decision comes several bad ones. For one, you don’t hire new management for the only purpose to rid executive level people of responsibility. When a department finds a need to hire more bodies you have to weigh the costs associated with it – like salaries, productivity, and benefits –long term. Unfortunately, these costs ultimately cost my dear friend her job at the sole expense of someone else’s poor business decision. It sends the message that playing dirty gets you ahead in this company and it sets a weak example for future management.




The announcement of the lay off’s sent tidal waves of shock throughout the office on Friday. Emotions ran high and the talk at the water cooler was anything but cheerful and happy. Everyone is worried about their jobs too. We were told this may not be the end to the job cuts – we were told to wait and in the meantime, do our jobs.




I am scared, worried and unsure of the days to come. I spent years trying to get employed with this firm and now that I have found a company and career that doesn’t make me want to commit sideways by the end of the day leaves me content professionally. Now that my skilled future is being threatened I wonder where I fit in the grand scheme of things. I do not have a spouse to rely on if I lose my job – I am it, the sole provider. My job is the cornerstone of the well-being of my family if I don’t have it, I risk losing everything.


For now, I am thinking positively and concentrating on dotting all my I’s and crossing all my T’s. I vow to arrive at work promptly and not to leave any earlier than I am supposed to. I will go above and beyond my assigned tasks and duties. I promise to pay close attention to detail and to continue to treat my co-workers with the respect they deserve. I vow to keep my recently adopted office plants watered and the leaves green. But is this enough? Understanding corporate motive would be ideal, but no one is safe, not even me.




New Ears May 6, 2009

Filed under: Health (ha!),Mama-hood,Parenting — picklesandpedicures @ 3:53 pm
Tags: , ,

I woke my drowsy soon-to-be-patient at 5:30 AM. I picked her up with all my weight in her purple, flannel Dora jammies. She asked me if we were going to the ‘hosible.’ I said yes.  She picked her red gnarly curls up off my shoulder and told me the Doctor was going to fix her ears. I replied with a yes and kissed her nose. 


It surprises me every day – she understands life and can communicate her fears and frustrations. She didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I did. This surgery is very routine for children her age, but not for her. This is the first time she has endured any major medical intervention with the exception of her birth. I find myself strong for her and the whole situation, but when I step back out of my body I wonder how I endure such difficult experiences without a spouse, another parent to voice my worries, fears and thoughts to.  She has me – and I won’t let her down.


Fortunately my support network was meeting us at the hospital to provide moral discussion and guidance, my mom.  We pulled up behind my mom’s white Escape at the traffic light before the entrance to the hospital. She says, “Grandma!” She doesn’t point to every Ford replica like my mom’s car so I knew she remembered that I told her Grandma would be joining us. Her memory amazes me.


I gathered our things, more importantly I grabbed the Nonny. The eternal link to all things holy and sane in her life.  If it wasn’t for that ratty lump of fabric and green thread her life wouldn’t be complete or serene – I couldn’t forget the Nonny.  The three of us stood in the lobby and I noticed another mother behind me with sack of pajamas and curls. I noticed the same look in the mother’s eyes. We graciously smiled at each other and returned our attention to our similar aged children. 


We were guided into an office to fill out paper work and affix her hospital bracelet. I was given pamphlets instructing me on how to care for her when we get home. They told me she will wake up cranky and very confused. I also hate the question when they ask you if she is allergic to any medications. I tell them the same thing every time – she’s two, she hasn’t been around long enough to see any medications other than the usual antibiotics to treat ear infections. I immediately go to a bad place – what if she is allergic to the general anesthesia? What if they give her something in her IV and her body rejects it and something happens during the half hour she is alone?  The nurse handed me a pair of purple, thin hospital pajamas. I am told she needs to change into these for sterility reasons.  


Then we wait. We wait in the out-patient child’s waiting room for the men in white coats to whisk my baby away in there arms. I have had visions of the hospital staff coming to get her from me and prying her out of my arms while she kicks and screams to take her in to surgery. But it wasn’t like that at all. They didn’t even give me the opportunity to linger or even kiss her. She didn’t even cry. I didn’t cry. If I did, I knew my mom was there to hold me, but I didn’t even need holding.


I got a cup of black coffee and sat down and watched the Channel 9 news.  We had a polite conversation with the couple across from us. They were waiting too. Together. We exchaned stories about ear infections and late nights with our sniffly 2 year olds – I didn’t even get through my first cup of coffee and the nurse was calling my name. Calling my name to tell me I could be with her and she was out of surgery, already.  But I had to do this part myself. Only one person was allowed in the recovery area. I kissed my mom goodbye so she could go to work and I could be with my baby girl. 


I followed the nurse to the recovery room. She told me I had to take a good look at the nurse holding Grace because they could be related. I was confused until I saw her – a red-headed nurse holding my daughter in her arms, comforting her until I could get there.  There were about 5 different nurses scurrying around checking stats in an open room with several other stations being occupied by other patients.  They told me to sit down and hold my baby. They were right, she was confused and very upset. She had an IV wrapped in white gauze and an oxygen clamp on her baby pointer finger. I simply just held her while she drifted in an out of bouts of anger, sadness and frustration. Her lips were dry and chapped and she had dried blood just beneath her nose. I tried singing to her, cracking jokes and rubbing her back. Nothing worked. I was helpless. She was pissed off and confused. I felt like crying too and I could tell my face was getting read – I didn’t know what to do. There was all this activity going on around us and all my job was to comfort her. Tell her everything was going to be OK. And it was. The surgery was successful and she did great. The Doctor removed her adenoids too and one of them was as big as his thumb! This is crazy to me.  With the thought of success and the fear forgtten about her surgery I had to just hold her and reassure her everything was OK until she realized it herself.  


We were pushed, together, into another recovery room. At this point she started to settler down a bit – but she kept telling me she wanted her IV out.  Eventually the IV was removed, she got something to drink and a blue popsicle. Things were looking better, they told me so.  Her oxygen levels returned to normal, her blood pressure stable.  They reviewed with me her after care and numbers to call with questions – that was that.  The red-headed nurse asked me if we had anyone with us to help us to our car. I said no. It was just her and I. She carried my bags for me to the car while I carried her.


We were half-way to the parking lot and she lifted her head and said, “Are we going home?”

“Yes, yes we are.”

“Do I have new ears?”

“Yes, yes you do.”


This picture was taken on the way home – the epitome of bravery and strength. 



i am sorry April 27, 2009

Filed under: Stuff I think about — picklesandpedicures @ 2:18 pm

i am sorry, Internet, but i am at a loss. A loss for words. there is so much going in life and in my head right now, i am struggling to find the words to share with you. until i find the words and pictures to share with you here are some random thoughts suffocating my brain right now…


…my baby had tubes surgically placed last week and an adenoid removal…


…my finances are straining due to the fact my ex is struggling financially and I am at risk of possibly losing my house…


…my baby is sick, again…


…i am busy at work…


…my dishwasher is on the fritz, again…


…i’ve learned that I am totally a commitment phobe…


…i was asked by one of my bestest girls to be her son’s god-mother…ahh….preasure…


…my mom had to buy me groceries last week…


…paying one mortgage meant for two incomes has finally caught up with me…


…somewhere, somehow i’ve become a baby whisperer as all my closest friends have recently become mothers they think I have all the answers…


…i hated the newborn phase and i am secretly envious of my own eight hours of uninterrupted sleep i get each night…


…i am worried i am forgettable…


…i watched my child read US weekly while trying to go tinkle on the big-girl potty tonight…


…how far do second chances take you….


i have so much going on i cannot find the words to elaborate. This is what you get for now – my apologies.


Tested April 20, 2009

Filed under: Health (ha!),Parenting,Stuff I think about,Uncategorized — picklesandpedicures @ 2:37 pm

In the past week I have had my patience tested by my past, good friends and my pocket book. I’ve arranged and attended doctor visits clearing my daughter for her surgery tomorrow.  I’ve managed to keep all my professional deadlines and then some. Kept the clothes on my back clean and my nails trimmed and finely manicured.  In between I’ve been able to catch up with old friends over cold hops on the deck on a cool afternoon. I’ve planned, organized and orchestrated a baby shower for one of my best-est girls.  


I’ve had intense conversations with my ex about things we could’ve changed when we were married – things that could have been different, things that could have kept us together.  I’ve also managed to some how pay all my bills for the month and have $56.00 left over in my checking account to buy my baby girl a new book for her surgery recovery and to put gas in my car. 


I’ve watched my dog escape my grip in my very own garage and forcefully run into the street and attack two Jack Russell terriers. With all my might I tackled him and ignored their owners threats of calling the police and pressing charges.  Embarrassed, I chased the only man in my life back into my oak leaf blanketed yard. I glanced over my shoulder at the man and his dogs, with fear still nestled inside the whites of his eyes, he glared at me and shouted – telling me things I already know about being a dog owner. What do I say, he accidentally escaped my clutches while I was balancing a toddler, 2 overnight bags and a cooler loading my truck for an overnight stay at my parents house?  Sometimes I wish I could grow another appendage so I could stop using my teeth to balance things in my life that don’t always fit.


I don’t ramble on like this to seek pitty from you Internet, but only to reassure myself that I really can stand the test of time.  To prove to myself how strong I’ve become and nothing can push me down.  Some people in my position would have crumbled in to a million pieces already with the pressure of financial devastation threatening their home, the first time your child will be forced be put under general anesthesia for surgery, planning a party, attack dogs, emotional confusion, a wild sleepover with the wrong person and my parents 30th wedding anniversary. Yes, this all happened in 7 days.


Tonight I sit here in front of my computer reading and writing trying to keep my thoughts from running rampant. Tomorrow at 7:30 AM my only child will be put under with general anesthesia for the first time in her 2.5 years of life and it is completely out of my control.  It is a routine tubal placement for chronic ear infections and an adenoidectomy, but it’s the overwhelming fear of the unknown. I am thankful that my own mother will be joining us at the hospital – she has been through this with my sister four times nearly 20 years ago. I would imagine not a lot has changed medically, but you never know. 


Please, keep her (and us) in your thoughts and until tomorrow…



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