Thursday, September 24, 2009

How big was that piece of straw anyway?

You know how there's always the straw that broke the camel's back?  I don't even know where that saying came from.  All I know is that it means that there was one little thing that was added to everything else and the weight of that one little thing caused the camel to go sprawling on the floor in pain.  His owner probably then had to shoot him and sell him to the glue factory because he was no longer useful (I assume that's what they do since that is what they do to horses with broken legs and camels are just horses with humps, right?).  But my point is that there is always that one little thing.  The one thing that makes a person realize that it's just too much.  That something is wrong and needs to change.  One little thing that causes everything else to come crashing down. 

For me, it was laundry.

I opened the door to the laundry room, after having tucked the kids into bed, knowing that I had to wash some jeans to wear to work the next day.  When I opened that door, I was greeted with a pile so large and so right-in-front-of-the-door.  That pile of laundry caused a reaction that was both completely out of the blue and yet completely foreseeable at the same time. 

I stopped breathing.  Tears flowed from my eyes.  And I broke down. 

The straw had broken the camel's back. 

And in that instant, I could no longer deny the fact that there is something wrong.  Something big and scary.  Something that makes me feel broken in ways that only those who have experienced it can imagine.  Something that is so hard for me to say and to admit to that I can barely even think the word.  It's taboo.

But it's familiar ground for me.  I know what I am talking about and I recognize the symptoms. 

I am irritable.  Beyond belief, really.  I snap at people.  I yell at the kids all the time for things that aren't really in their control.  My punishments to them are too severe for their crimes (grounding for a day just for 10 minutes late being home?  Over react much?).  I am more of a control freak than usual.  People get on my nerves when I should be able to just let it slide off my back.

I don't talk.  I think of a lot of things to say but it's too much energy to say them.  I don't listen either.  I have to ask people to repeat things constantly because I have tuned them out.  And not because I have something better to listen to,but because there is literally nothing going through my head.  It's blank.  My mind is never blank, so this scares me a lot. 

The smallest things make me anxious, make me sweat and shake.  Garage saleing with my Aunt, three people walking into my office all at once when I was alone, writing a to do list of things that need to be done that day, balancing my checkbook.  It all causes me great anxiety and stress to just think about. 

I haven't been reading even though I always carry my book.  I obviously haven't been blogging or doing any other writing for that matter.  My home office remains in a half finished state even though I was once completely excited to have my own space and need it to be functional by next Tuesday.  I don't text or talk to my friends or family unless they make first contact.  I don't doodle and mind puzzles make me anxious unless someone else is helping me with them.  I am not excited for a girl's night out even though it's already been planned. 

I don't eat much or drink much.  I am craving something that I can never identify.  I am tired constantly.  I fall asleep around nine and then sleep badly all night.  Waking up several times just to sigh and try to return to sleep.  I could cry at the drop of a hat. 

When I am driving, I am not paying close attention because sometimes when cars pass my thoughts go to what would happen if I swerved over into their lane or they into mine.  My thoughts always end there and I go about my day but the thoughts scare me because they aren't normal thoughts, right? 

Not that anything about me is normal when I am feeling normal but the point is that I'm not feeling normal. 

Does that make sense? 

I guess the point is that this is me, admitting that I have a problem.   It's not the first time in my life.  I've been medicated for this same affliction twice before. 

It's called depression

I'm calling the doctor tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can you be youer than you?

It's easy for me to make friends.  It always has been.  My secret?  I talk.  A lot.  To anyone and everyone around me.  I tell people more than they want to know, always.  I make sure that every detail is fully covered and talked about and it disrupts my inner being to be cut off in the middle of a conversation with someone.

I love having those hard talks that no one seems to want to have.  The ones where someone ends up with tear tracks on their cheeks because the emotions are just too much to bear.  I love to argue my point until the other person understands where I am coming from but I also don't shy away from admitting that I am wrong.  Because sometimes, I am.  In fact, I am often the wrong one. 

I am an over-sharing kind of person.  If you have spent any real amount of time in my presence, you know the things that I have issues with (loss, abandonment, infidelity) as well as, the things I fear (spiders, death, my father) and love (my husband, my kids, myself).  Some of those topics come readily to my lips and others take a bit more coaxing depending on who I am talking to and what kind of image I feel I must present to that person.

I want to be who I am-fully and without apology-but some situations call for me to act in a certain way that isn't really in my description of me.  There are times when I have to be guarded about the things I say and the way I act. 

Girl Scouts, for example.  I have to  reign in the cuss words and the antics to present a more well-rounded and responsible adult or the girls would never take me seriously. 

At the kid's school is another example.  When I know that I will be entering the school building for a conference or on official Girl Scout business, I try to dress and act a certain way.  I look very young for my age (I am 29 but look as though I am barely 17) so I try to portray a rather mature adult so that the teachers take me seriously as a parent and a leader.  That is often rather hard to do. 

But other than in official parent or leader situations, I am less likely to worry about the way I am portrayed to the people around me.  I am who I am and you are either going to love me fully or hate me just as completely.  I accept that.  It's fine with me because I know who I am and what I stand for and as Dr. Suess said so aptly...

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind."

I try to be real.  I try to never be perceived as something I am not.  I know what I am and I want you to know it, too.

I am loud.  I can be obnoxious.  I think I'm funny, playful, even witty at times.  I am smart, outgoing, hard-working when I feel like it, lazy almost always.  I refuse to clean the toilet or do the dishes, but will always do the laundry.  I like to have fun as long as it is not immature antics.  I love to talk and meet new people.  I love to hear about your life and your problems as long as you don't expect me to fix it all for you. 

What I am not is perfect.  At all. 

I have a wonderful loving husband and two beautiful children.  I have two dogs and a house that is just short of having a white picket fence.  I live in small town America and work at a job that affords me the luxury of being home for my children everyday when they get out of school.  My husband makes enough money at his job to support us financially in a way that is more than comfortable.  I have a good relationship with my mom and live close enough to see her every day if I choose to do so.  I have extended family that is always willing to babysit for the hubby and I to go on date nights.  I volunteer my time as a Girl Scout leader.

That's the surface.  Look a little closer.

My husband and I have not always been so loving and wonderful together.  Our almost eight years together have been fraught with highs and lows.  The death of his mother helped us (me) to realize where the important things in life really lie and taught me to grab hold tight of the good things.  My husband is a good thing. 

My children are great.  But they are children and they annoy the ever living hell out of me.  I resented having to be a stay-at-home-mom and learned the wonderful habits of yelling and sitting on my ass constantly.  I still yell more than I should.  I can't keep a constant discipline (not that they are bad enough to need it) nor can I keep up the routine of chores and allowance.  I am a lazy parent with potential.

I hate my dogs and never spend enough time with them.  And my house sits directly behind a car wash on a dirt road.  There is always trash in my front yard blown in from their garbage cans. 

My job is boring and my boss is passive aggressive.  Since I am lazy, that isn't a great combination.  I tried to quit and they told me I couldn't so we worked out a deal and now I only work part-time and get to be there for my kids whenever I need to be.  Everything is a trade-off.  I deal with the job because it benefits my family.

My husband has a great job...but it takes precedence sometimes.  It's hard to get him to take time off because he cares so much.

Living close enough to my mom to see her everyday is a blessing and a curse.  It means that I am the one responsible for her and that I don't get that "oh I haven't seen you in forever" hug that the others get when they come home. 

Extended family to babysit is nice but it also means there is always other people to worry about and deal with and plan around for every occasion.  That gets stressful.

Leading a Girl Scout troop is more work than I ever cared to deal with because I don't like kids.  I hate them.  Stinky, sticky little creatures that argue and can't pay attention and break things and did I mention they are stinky?  Teaching them what they need to know is difficult work.

So, see?  I am not perfect and you shouldn't perceive me to be.  Ever.  I have my issues, I just may not have laid them on the table for you yet.  I am not interested in coming right out and saying "Hey.  Guess what the biggest fuck up I've made in my life is."  But if the conversation arises or if you ask me point blank, I will tell you honestly.  And you may or may not be surprised. 

Every thing that has happened in my life has brought me right to this moment so I wouldn't change a thing.  I regret that people have been hurt tremendously by me.  I hate some of the things I have done.  But it is all me.  It's my life and I will own up to my mistakes.  If not for my own benefit, then for yours.  Maybe you can learn from the mistakes I have made. 

That is my road less traveled. 

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.
--Dr. Suess

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blocking a writer is like reminding you of childhood memories that you may or may not have even had.

You remember when you were a little kid and you sat out in front of your house on the curb right after a rain storm?  How you would pile up rocks and pebbles making a dam in the water flow?  How you would get mad that you had to pile the rocks even tighter every couple seconds because the water would find the tiny cracks between the rocks and flow through it?  And then, just when you thought you had gotten all the cracks, the water just began to flow right around the dam you made, so you would have to make it wider and higher?

I wish that is how my writer's block worked.  That no matter how blocked I was or how great of a dam was built, my words would always find a way to flow through the cracks or around the edges.  But it just doesn't work that way for me.  When I am blocked, I can't even come up with a halfway witty post to write.  Well, at least I don't think they are even halfway witty. 

I mean, I could write about the spider that invaded my office space yesterday and how I texted my husband for moral support as I killed the little bastard (since I was all alone in the office and there was no way him and I were going to co-exist peacefully in the same space).   And how, when I scraped that little bugger off of my desk, he left a trail of blood in his wake for me to clean up (while completely gagging, of course).  Or how, when I tried to flush that sucker down the toilet, he miraculously stayed in the toilet bowl even when the water drained out and refilled. 

But that just isn't witty enough for a blog, right?

I could write about how the chiropractor asked my son if he was suffering from any headaches since his last visit and in response, Bubba laid his hand gently on his head and said, "Yeah.  Everyone in my class has headaches and has gotten swine flu."  I subsequently had to roll my eyes.  Later that evening when I was relaying the story to my husband, Bubba came in and exclaimed rather excitedly that he had caught the swine flu bug.  He had physically picked up a bug in his room and was convinced that it was the "bug" that caused one to contract the swine flu.  I could also tell you how unhappy I am that the school and it's teachers are placing such an extreme view in the heads of my third and second grade children that they are terrified by every cough and sneeze in their immediate vicinity.  Haven't you people heard that swine flu is a hoax?

However, that, too, isn't really blog worthy, right?

I could write you a story.  Well, no I guess I can't.  I can't think of one right now.  My mind is too full of thought of spiders crawling back up the toilet.  I think I will be holding it until I get home from now on. 

I could tell you my shopping list, but that would be pointless because then when you went to the grocery store to do your shopping, you might remember the things that I needed instead of your own things and then you would get home with all these bags of groceries that you didn't really need.  Then you would have to invite me over to pick up the groceries that you bought thinking they were for you when they really were for me and I don't know where you live and I don't have one of those new fangled GPS systems because I still live in the decade of the 90's and therefore would get lost without directions and even if you gave me directions, I am horrible at following them and the food would all go bad or your dog would eat it before I got there and then it would have been a wasted trip.  So there is no point in me telling you my shopping list.  (Yes, I live with the "If you give a mouse a cookie" mentality every day of my life.)

I could remind you to drink more water in your day to day diet, but then you would smack me upside the head because I am not your mom and only your mom is allowed to tell you what you can and can't eat on a daily basis.  Unless you have a which case, screw you, you rich SOB for rubbing it in my face that I am fat because I don't know which foods to eat or how to eat them properly (and I am sure if I had money for a nutritionist, I would listen to him/her better than I listen to my own head when it's telling me not to eat the whole box of Wheat Thins in a single sitting).  But wait.  If you have a nutritionist because you need to for medical reasons, then you are exempt from the rant above because clearly you are not one of those snobby rich bitches. 

I could...
I could...
I could...

But obviously, having writer's block is exactly like that little dam that you built in the gutter as a child.  The flow leaks through and around those rocks but the thoughts are stilted and confusing and just plain unusable in a productive, witty blog. 


I guess i will just have to go back to square one.

Job Opening...anyone interested???

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment.Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed.Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The rest of your life.Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, or until someone needs $5.Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mentaloutlooks.Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.POSSIBILITY FOR

ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: None.Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this: you pay them!Offering frequent raises and bonuses. When you die, you give them whatever is left.The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.


You interested?


September 16th is WORKING PARENTS DAY! So here is to all the people who chose to step up to the plate and take on the most demanding job in history. If you are a parent, you have a job. All parents are working parents. I hope you all get as much enjoyment out of it as I do. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do mythical creatures have childhoods, too?

My kids believe in a number of mythical and magical creatures and symbols that help them to navigate through their days as children.  Things that helps them to make sense of the world around them, and keeps them feeling safe.  The Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa, bring them special things.  Gargoyles keep their bedrooms safe from predators and bad things.  dream Catchers grab hold of the bad dreams before they enter the children's heads.  The Sandman fits in there somewhere, too.  They were first introduced via an episode of Baby Looney Tunes where Baby Daffy keeps trying to see the Sandman who puts sand in the corners of his eyes while he sleeps.

Unlike Santa and the Easter Bunny, the Sandman's appearance is left more to the child's imagination because of it's obscure popularity.  And it's those types of things that torture the mind of Teensy.  She likes to have a clear picture in her head of the things lurking in her bedroom in the middle of the night. 

"Mom?  Is the Sandman big or little?" 

"I don't know, baby.  I've never seen him." 

"I did, on a movie."  *

"Oh yeah?  Was he big or little?" 

"He started little, then got big."

"Like he grew up?" 


"Why?  Was he in your room last night?"

"Yeah.  I think he's big."

"I didn't hear him so he must not be too big." 

"Maybe he's medium."

"Maybe.  I didn't hear him."

"Maybe he's still little."

"Hmm.  Could be."

She crinkled her nose in thought and was silent for a few minutes.  Then out of nowhere, the room got brighter and she stated with the seriousness only a child could pull off...

"Maybe he's big with marshmallow feet.  you can't hear marshmallow feet!"

...and she tiptoed on her little blue stool to demonstrate her point. 

* I am still wracking my brain as to what "movie" she is referring to.  If  you come up with it, please do let me know.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On this, the day of my birth, the third day of the ninth month in the year of two thousand and nine…

Did you know that a birthday is a celebration not of the child but of the parent?  I learned that the day my son turned one and it has been reiterated in every birthday of my children ever since. 

I have officially been alive for 29 years (yes, folks, I am that young or old or whatever else you have been assuming all this time).  The sad thing is that they have gone by so fast and I don’t recall most of those years. 

Do I feel older today?  No. 
Does my mom feel older today?  Probably. 

In the past 29 years, I have…

…been the first in my family to graduate high school.
…birthed two beautiful, healthy babies.
…watched the live birth of two babies that were not my own.
…graduated from college with an Associate’s Degree in the field of my choosing.
…owned my own home (if having a mortgage until I am 98 counts!)
…travelled to six foreign countries.
…gotten 8 stitches.
…held the hand of a newborn baby gasping for air.
…buried a parent and two grandparents within the span of a year.
…stood up as a bridesmaid in a wedding.
…attended a senior prom, just to walk out after pictures were taken.
…held down jobs as a cashier, a wood grader, a secretary, a sales woman, and a temp.
…been self employed, twice.
…purchased several large items without the need for a co-signer.
…flown in an airplane.
…ridden on a jet ski, a snowmobile, and in a boat.
…tried riding a motorcycle.
…gotten into a car accident.
…explored the city through the drain pipes.
…smoked cigarettes.
…drank myself to puking.
…made a mistake so large it collapsed an entire circle of friends.
…made friends and kept them.
…made friends and lost them.
…pirated music off the internet.
…been in the back of a police cruiser.
…been in handcuffs (even if just for a joke).
…played countless card games, board games and mind games.
…written story after story after story.
…gracefully accepted gifts I didn’t like.
…gave gifts that made others cry with joy.
…received gifts that made me smile.
…told the truth.
…told a lie.
…held a crying friend until they could speak again.
…held a friend’s secret locked into my soul.
…helped an elderly neighbor.
…been the leader of a girl scout troop.
…been the co-leader of a girl scout troop.
…helped at school parties for my children.
…been trick-or-treating in costume, and out of costume.
…danced upon a stage.
…won first prize in a contest.
…sang karaoke.
…played a drum in a band.
…laughed so hard I cried.
…cried so hard I laughed.
…blew kisses in the wind.
…felt the rain on my face.
…stood in the ocean during a hurricane.
…experienced the magic of Disney.
…hurt myself.
…hurt someone else.
…walked away and never looked back.
…walked away and kept looking back.
…connected with an old friend.
…been to a pajama party.
…loved with everything in me.
…been a bitch.
…fought with all I had left.
…let go.
…kept holding on.
…lived the American Dream.
…been happy to be home.
…lived simply.
…spent extravagantly.
…been on a shopping spree.
…owned something very old.
…bought something at auction.
…purchased a vehicle just to give it away.
…lent money with no intention of collecting payment.
…helped someone in need.
…slept in the desserts of New Mexico.
…talked on the phone for hours.
…attended classes that were not mandatory.
…spoken another language. 
…read more books than I can count.
…been abused.
…been neglected.
…sheltered and adored my children.
…taught someone something.
…opened a bank account.
…made someone smile.
…made someone cry.
…collected something.



I have done a lot, accomplished some, endured my share of heartache, made my own bed and lay upon it, had my cake and ate it, too, and learned from my mistakes.  I can generally say that I have been successful at this life thing.  At least I have made it 29 years, so far, and have planned for many more to come. 

Happy Birthday to Me. 

But today isn’t really about me.  Today is about her.

Thank you, Mom.  Today is your day to shine.  You brought me into this world and without that, the entire list of things above would not have happened.  Those are your accomplishments, your heartaches, and your experiences as much as they are mine.  You made them happen.  You gave me the gift that only a mother can give…LIFE.  You are the reason I am here.  You continue to be my strength, my idol, and my mentor which allows me the confidence to try new things, fail, and raise to my feet to do it all again. 

Happy Day of Your Daughter’s Birth to you.  I hope it’s a good one.  :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dumping it all out…

Brain spinning, swirling, tumbling
over thoughts,
like rocks in a river bed
Smoothed over time
but jagged in the beginning.
Water rushing, cascading
falling noisily through the crevices in my head.
Once again mouth ran away with words
brain in tow, lagging behind
like a tugboat in rough waters.
Wondering how
to make it stop
and float
even keeled.  

Do you ever wonder how it is that you get yourself into so many things that you no longer have time to sit and think and plan what it is that you are supposed to be doing in the first place?  Yeah?  Whew!  I thought it was just me!  I am doing that on such a constant basis that it is pretty much just a way of life for me.  Today, I find myself cranky and irritable at the mere fact that I have so much going on.  And you know me…the best way to settle my head on these matters is to let it all out, where it will organize itself before I store it all back inside the wrinkles of my brain.  So here goes.  This is what I have going on. 

A minor car accident insurance claim (we were rear-ended a few months ago) in which the other guy’s insurance company is refusing to contact my medical providers to pay any of the bills and therefore, I am having to go thru my insurance company for an accident that wasn’t in whole or in part my fault just so that the medical providers will stop calling me for information and for payment of the bills has me livid and tense every time I walk into the chiropractor’s office, which is finally down to twice a week for me and once every two weeks for Bubba (who was whipped forward and hit his head on the seat in front of him causing a neck strain and headaches in his 8 year old little body during the crash).  How do I deal with this one? 

And that folks, has to be the longest run on sentence in history.  But that is how I feel when I think of it.  Like I can never catch a single breath just to finish my thought on the subject. 

Also, there is a home owner’s insurance claim to deal with due to a hail storm the day after I arrived home from my Germany trip.  Do we fix the minor damage to the roof or do we chance just taking the money and leaving it be since it isn’t all that bad to begin with?  The money could pay for the truck that I just went to the bank to get a loan for since in this household we seem to need yet another vehicle to clutter up the back drive.  But if it hails again, they will deny our claim and we will have to pay for the damages out of our own pocket…or out of our equity line which would be okay, I suppose.  How do I deal with this one?  Or two, since it is a new truck and an insurance claim.

Girl Scouts is about to start up again with everything that entails.  Planning of a first meeting and then a product sale immediately following that.  A leader meeting at which I will declare that I am now the sole leader of the troop.  An astronomy camp that I want to attend but need to send in the information for.  Calendars to make, forms to fill out and turn in, parents to call.  How do I deal with this one? 

We have a family reunion this weekend.  I need to gather scrapbooking supplies and a table that I volunteered to bring, figure out and purchase gifts for the White Elephant Exchange, pack everything needed for three nights of camping, figure out a tent in which to sleep in for those three nights since ours is ripped and I definitely don’t have time to repair it, make a menu and pre-make at least some of the stuff for the weekend’s potlucks and meals.  And I need to do all of this in an orderly fashion so that I can relax and enjoy the company of my family over the weekend.  How do I deal with this?

My husband has been having chronic nosebleeds and needs to see a specialist but hasn’t made an appointment.  I have to go in for my annual pap and mammo this month which freaks me out because of last year’s mammo scare.  The kids and I are due for a teeth cleaning this month and I have to go in to get a permanent filling in my root canal tooth.  Dear Hubby needs to go in for a teeth cleaning and to start on his dental work.  How do I deal with this?

My new office at home is still only partially completed which means that I can’t find anything.  Half of it is upstairs and half is downstairs cluttering up the whole place.  I have to finish painting, build a shelving unit, make and hang curtains, decorate and move everything in and organize it.  I am loving the space but wish it would just magically finish itself so that I could get work done in it and not on it.  How do I deal with this?

Of course, you have the usual stresses of everyday life, as well.  The laundry, the schoolwork, the house cleaning.  The trying to fit 3 hours of work into a two hour workday (although that will change on Tuesday).  The meal planning and cooking and buying and the bill paying and checkbook balancing.  How do I deal with this?

The answer to all of those is simple really.  How do I deal with this?  I just do.  I just keep on keeping on and do my best to get it all done in a manner that is acceptable to me and those around me.  I keep going…even if my brain feels as if it will explode at a moment’s notice.  Because sooner or later…

It will stop
and float
even keeled
once again.

(The beginning poem is an original piece of art written exclusively by me.  Please do not copy in whole or in part without express written permission from the author.  Thanks.)