Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My bestie?

   Recently my daughter has been watching the movie "Captain Underpants." It's a great film, too. We really enjoy the music from it. It's a story about two best friends who pull pranks at school. Unfortunately, this got me thinking. Do I have a best friend? I used to when I was growing up. I also had another good friend in my singles group days. My daughter has one good friend in the neighborhood here. Currently though, I can't say that I have a friend I hang out with on a regular basis.
   There is one friend in "our circle" who comes close. We have a lot of fun together and she is incredibly easy to talk to, and drink with. She used to babysit our daughter and she does our yard sale with me every Spring.  I think the problem for me seems to be making time to make friends and trying to keep up the friendships I have. (All one or two of them!)
   I have a lot of small commitments during the week that take up time during the day. The problem is that before I know it, the day is gone. It's making the time for a text, or God forbid, a phone call, that seems to be my biggest issue. What's funny is, that my daughter took a game off of her tablet that I had been playing. I was disappointed at first, but now I realize that she did me a favor.  Those little games are great, but they can really eat some time. It's true what they say about writing things down. If you ever want to know where your time is going, try keeping a diary for a day or two.
The same is true for calories, but that's a whole separate discussion!
   It is true that when you have a family, your friends change. You seem to start hanging out with the parents of your kid's friends or other parents. It's clearly easier to relate and certainly easier to coordinate schedules. Best friends, or close friends, however, can be a bit different, I think. Individual outings can also be a lot tougher to manage, too.
   This brings me to the issue of parental guilt. You have a lot of nerve scheduling something that does not involve your child, don't you? My issue seems to be remembering that if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else, right? Nonsense, Superwoman can do anything! I should be able to do it all, shouldn't I? I really need to stop "shoulding" on myself. Why does it feel like being a full time mom doesn't entitle one to breaks that last longer than a cheesecake commercial?
   Not getting paid doesn't mean that I don't have a job. Funny thing is, it's an accepted fact that being a full time parent is the most important job you can have. The problem is that I need to be the one to accept it. This is no small task. It means valuing myself and my time. Where's my cape and phone booth? I would settle for a microscope to find the value I'm placing on myself.
   I have an opening for a friend and possible drinking buddy, any takers?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fnar b qs and other gatherings

   As of this writing it is about a week or so after the Superbowl and amazingly the Philadelphia Eagles were in it and won! We, as a family were lucky enough to have friends over to watch the game. I am far from a rabid football fan. I'm a fan of people bringing food to my house and cleaning up. Mostly I enjoy the commercials like everyone else and the cheap excuse to get our friends together and get the house in order.
   We also have a blast at these little events. You know you've had a great evening when you've been laughing so hard your stomach hurts at least once. It also gives us a chance to use the games that would otherwise collect dust in our basement. I am hopeful that eventually we can get the kids to put the devices down long enough to actually join us. I know, I've always been a dreamer.
   Another upside for me is the leftovers. Since we have a habit of making enough food to feed Zimbabwe when we having more than two people coming, I am guaranteed to not have to worry about dinner for the next few days. The downside is the plethora of junk food that comes to the house. Thankfully, once a month is just about enough for me to keep up my mood and not ruin my waistline completely.
   These gatherings for me are also a huge help in fighting the winter blahs. February,  March, and April were never my favorite months. Granted that is mostly because of tax season but also because I seem to be someone who needs something fun on my horizon, even if I have to put it there myself.  It's also a lucky thing for me that we have great friends willing to travel to our house.
   This is assuming, generally, that people aren't sick and the roads are passable. This year, oddly enough, the weather hasn't been too bad in terms of snow. While our neighborhood looks great snow covered, the white stuff was much more fun when I couldn't drive. It also never seems to be enough. My feeling is either bury me in the house for a few days or leave me the hell alone. Despite this year's flumageddon, we have escaped so far, largely unscathed.
  Basically, we sit around, eat, drink, and make fun of each other. Sometimes we even fit a game in. It's usually cards of some form. So, dear reader, how do you fight the winter blahs?
 

Friday, January 26, 2018

I'm Baaaaaaaack!.

   I was the lucky recipient of a new nifty tablet for Christmas. It's a sensitive sucker and I'm finding I have a lot to learn. I keep doing things I'm not trying to like open pages and delete things, muting, and turning the damn thing off when I'm  trying to increase the volume. The good thing is it's helping me meditate, of all things. There's something about having another voice in my ear reminding me to stop and just breathe for three, five or ten minutes depending on the setting I choose; it helps me actually get a grip.
  After some searching, I was even able to find my blog and blow the dust off it, electronically speaking. Now that it's a  new year, I've decided to make some anti resolutions. I'm  sticking to my first usual resolution to not make promises I know damn well I won't keep. I plan to stop beating myself up over things I don't do. Baby steps are still steps (I should probably have that tattooed somewhere).       Slowly but surely I will get there. Where exactly "there" is is my problem. My focus will be on what I want to be when I  grow up. It's  going to take help for me to figure out what that may be. It may even take something completely crazy like going back to school. Let's just eat our elephant one bite at a time, shall we?
  While we're on the subject of lunacy, I plan to ask for help! Admitting, however, that my spouse is oblivious to house messes will most likely require a cape and phone  booth on my part. Did I mention baby steps? Can I make a behavior chart for myself? My daughter has one. There are even rewards for good weeks.
  I can only imagine what mine would look like. Item one, did I write or look for submissions? Item two, did I drop the F bomb less than 10 times today? Item three, did I not hit anybody? Item four, did I keep my snarky comments about others to less than four? Item five, did I remember that perfection is a strictly theoretical concept both in and for my house? How much alcohol qualifies as a reward before it becomes a problem?
  Resolutions? No, thank you. I need something  more concrete, and realistic. Patience with myself (another theoretical concept) and others will have to be another item for me to have on my chart, mostly for visualization purposes. The next question  would be where to put the thing. I'm guessing, the refrigerator, since six pack abs are definitely not on the list.
   Happy 2018, everyone, here's hoping.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

TV or Not TV?

       The day the earth stood still, sort of, began months ago.  Our television, like so many of our possessions, was old. It was also big, heavy and people were starting to look presidential orange. It took some research with Consumer Reports and a trip to our local big box, we found my husband’s dream model. It’s huge, by comparison to our old bessie. I didn’t really understand how huge until a box the size of a Volkswagon Beetle was delivered to our house.  
  Now that we could stop chewing our nails (at least over that) out came the electronic spaghetti. This part was way not my domain. My husband bravely fought the techno beast, deciphered the instructions and managed to get the thing to turn on. Then we hit  a brick wall. Our new smart tv was too smart for us. There, in four thousand high definition pixels was the “unable to connect” text in sharp full color. I started to miss the old set.  We just spent a pantload on a new television we couldn’t watch.
   We called the manufacturer, who referred us to our “service provider” who referred us to our internet service provider. We just had to start this crap on a Sunday evening. It looks like we were in for one quiet Monday. Egad, would we actually have to talk to each other like barbarians??!! This was a crisis of epic proportions!! 
   The thought hit me that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad without the tv for a little while, right? We were about to find out. 
   Monday morning came and mercifully my daughter slept in so I could get caffeinated before I had to deal with anyone naturally perky. I noticed that I walked up to the television that didn’t work and had to stop myself. It surprised me to realize how much I had gotten used to having it on. By eleven am, or the end of the “Today Show”, as my brain knows it, I realized that our daughter wasn’t the only one with an addiction! 
   The second amazing revelation came when I discovered that by about two in the afternoon I was actually getting s**t done at home! Don’t get me wrong, I was never one to just sit and watch anything longer than a weather forecast during the day but I noticed that I went about my business faster in the quiet. 
   My daughter was largely oblivious to the lack of television since the internet was fine. I’m knee deep in the battle over technology and sugar. Had the internet gone down the planet would have come to a crashing halt. We really would have been forced to have a “conversation” or God forbid “read” but let’s not get crazy. 
   My husband called me that afternoon to ask if I had any further luck getting the new monster to cooperate. Honestly, I wasn’t in as much of a hurry to get it back as I thought. Maybe it was just the thought of having to contact “Customer Service” that slowed my progress. I found the appropriate number (1 800 UPY OURS) and tap danced my way through menus to find a person who spoke english. Miraculously I got enough help to enable us to get 2 channels I care about albeit sporadically. It was time to stick a fork in me by about 5:30 that evening. 
  The ball was now back in my spouse’s court. The next evening, he took another shot at joining the twenty first century. When I got back, he was on the phone with our “service provider”. Good news, we found out we qualified for a free upgrade because our box lasted over two presidents! Ok, that sounds good. I just had to ask him as he held the phone “Free, for how much more per month?”. Things went downhill from there. 
  My spouse was actually contemplating going with the more expensive plan until we were ready to finalize the “new arrangement”. That was when we were informed that by consenting to this, we would be agreeing to a two year contract. Wait, what??!! We weren’t told this in the beginning. The Dastardly Conglomerate number two was politely told that they could keep their upgrades. We consulted some neighbors and decided to join the number one Cable Company.
  We are now customers of the “Other Evil Empire” but I have to admit that we can watch a bunch of channels clearly without having to talk to each other. Whew, we really dodged a bullet there.    
   

Friday, July 7, 2017

Once a year, whether you need it or not....

   It occurred to me that we, as a family, only take a vacation once a year for one week, whether we need it or not! That’s not  a lot of time off. I am a stay at home mom and my spouse gets three weeks off each year. While it’s true that I try to get him to take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s that leaves one week untouched. What the hell for??!! Are we waiting to make the news? “Suburban housewife goes on crime spree, film at 11!”  “She just snapped and started throwing canned goods! I had to fend her off with the floor attachment to the vacuum, it was awful!. her husband reported.”
   I know we have uses for that “third we My husband has to use vacation days when I have to take a class and can’t pick up my daughter, for example. I don’t think those occasions should eat a whole week. What’s wrong with a padded weekend or two?
   There is another thing I can do to help relieve the stress of daily survival. It starts with a “Yo” and ends with “ga”. I have been hounded for years to make time for Yoga because if its mind boggling mental health benefits and the physical ones, too. Yoga relieves stress, tones your body, helps grow hair, enables you to leap tall buildings, whitens teeth and gives you a shiny coat. OK,, I have my doubts about the buildings but I know it couldn’t hurt and beats the crap out of still more medication. Some of the side effects of the junk prescribed are worse than the conditions they’re attempting to cure. We’ve all heard those commercials for drugs where the narrator has to list the side effects like an auctioneer to fit them all in.
  You’ll never hear “Can cause your spleen to fall our, spontaneous human combustion, or random machete attacks “ in any yoga studio ad, not even “Hot Yoga”. So what’s my problem? My old nemesis, getting up, is my biggest obstacle.  I find the idea of shoveling my sad ass out of bed at ten after dawn to exercise is downright revolting. While I am far from averse to exercise, I just need to be awake and reasonably caffeinated first. That is basically, my biggest barrier. God knows I have no problem with the wardrobe. I already wear t-shirts and stretchy pants to work out now, so what would change? 
  The problem is flexibility, not in my joints, largely, but my schedule. I spend a lot of time working out as it is, so adding another thing is daunting. Hope springs eternal, however, so I’ll look for a slot of time when my daughter has an activity and maybe I’ll get lucky. I did notice I need to leave my house for this to make it happen. I could also cut something out but the problem is if I do that, that time needs to go to my husband so he could start to go out himself. I’m thinking of some time during the day maybe just once a week would work.            
  You’ve got to start somewhere, I just wish it wouldn’t take a cattle prod.
   

Sunday, May 28, 2017

There goes another one.

   Out of the mouths of babes can come a lot of honesty and not all of it cute. It was recently Mother’s Day and my family planned to take my mother out to breakfast.  We usually don’t bother with dinner because of the crowds and I got my usual dark chocolate and flowers from my spouse.  This was my eighth Mother’s Day as a parent and things are improving with my offspring, albeit slowly. 
   Last year had to be an all time low. My daughter pitched a real Oscar winner that Sunday because no one was available to play with her majesty.  Our little Captain Clueless refused to grasp the concept of a holiday devoted to Moms. “Why isn’t there one just for kids?”, she asked. “We call that Monday through Friday!”, I fumed. I heard Roseanne Barr’s voice in my head saying “This is why some animals eat their young.”
    I left the house by myself to make sure we didn’t make the local news. There is a small record shop where an entire section of used Cd’s are a dollar apiece. Cheapskate that I am, I closed the place. My husband, God bless him, ironed, made dinner, and cleaned up the kitchen. I was even able to take a nap. I still felt frustrated with my offspring and myself. How could we be raising such a self centered beastly hemorrhoid?? “We spoil this kid, it’s my fault.”

    I was finalizing my plans for bread and water and deciding on shackles when I spoke to our family therapist.  She was able to calm me down and help me understand that my grown up brain is not understanding how our girl thinks. While there is some spoilage, she is not far removed from most other kids her age. Nevertheless, the day left a bad taste in my mouth.
   Mercifully, since time heals all wounds and also flies, a new, unspoiled Mother’s Day was here before I knew it. I am double whammied in that my Mother was born that day, too. We made plans to visit my mom to take her out. I bought a nice flower arrangement and a few small things but when we got to her house, she wasn’t feeling well. “I’m sorry but I’m not going to make it,” she said. 
   She sat in her recliner and my daughter sat next to her in the other chair. We talked about her activities that week and her neighbors. Finally, my daughter says “Are we just going to sit here and talk all day?”. Clearly diplomacy is nowhere in the DNA. It was decided, after we stopped laughing, that we would go to breakfast and bring food back for my mother. “Just get me pancakes from McDonald’s”, she said. I had a daymare about spending Mother’s Day at a fast food place. 
   Thankfully, we reminded my mom that since we’re going to be at a diner, we can just place and order while we’re eating rather than make a separate stop. Luckily, the lines at the restaurant weren’t that bad and we were back with takeout for mom in no time. The rest of the day was uneventful and blessedly tantrum free. My daughter even understood the fact that no one was around to play because it was a holiday!  Progress can be slow as a glacier but I’ll take it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Clearance Continues...

  The last few weeks here have been nuts. This has been a good thing though. I worked to gather all the crap I could in the time I had. It worked out well, albeit not smoothly. I was sweating small stuff like getting the house clean first before the company came and will I be able to make it out for class? It took some doing but actually I was able to pull off most of what I wanted. I just had to stay focused and keep in mind that I wasn’t going to be able to get everything done. 
  I completely blew a therapist appointment. I felt bad but it also worked out time wise because I needed that time to keep working. I had fantasies about going through each room of my house with a rubbermaid bin or box and disposing of crap from each room. Yeah, right, after I train local birds and squirrels to do the laundry and dust my house. Thankfully I get rid of junk all year so I had plenty of stuff gathered, waiting to leave anyway. When you add the boxes from my mom, we had more than enough for a respectable sale.
  I was looking forward to hanging out with my bestie and the bonus was that 2 family friends finally made it. They brought a few things and even sold one item. I’m hoping that now that they’ve seen how much stuff you can sell, they’ll join us for real next year. Of course, after the sale I found more things to get rid of but I’m enjoying the space. We got 2 rockers out of the basement and my shed got reorganized. The neighborhood yard sale was underwhelming but we did really well. The receipts this last time set a family record. 
  This was gratifying as long as you don’t think about it too much. Analytically speaking I would have made more money per hour sewing sneakers in Mexico than I did at my house. The labor was three days to set up and one more to put things away and donate. So why go through all this aggravation? I mentioned I’m enjoying the space but it’s also how I got said space. It’s a bit cathartic to get rid of junk we’re not using and certainly making the house look better helps my ego a lot. I’m in a never ending battle to cut clutter at home and the prospect of cash at the end of it makes for a nice carrot.
   A tax deductible donation to Purple Heart is also fabulous. It doesn’t get much better than putting the remote down long enough to schedule a pickup at my house. If it’s been for sale twice and no one bought it, it’s a good candidate. All I have to do is snap a few pictures to cover my ass for our 1040 and take some notes. I highly recommend it. 
   My daughter seems to be handling things better, too. Maybe my judgement is improving as to what she’s done with but I doubt it. Sadly, I think the video games have replaced most of her toys although I don’t think she’d admit it. We still use some board games when there are “forced breaks” from the small screen but I miss the early days. Just going through her board games was a great excuse to play them to see if they were still “keepers”.
  I make sure she’s aware of what’s going so I don’t have to deal with any oscar winning hissy fits the day of the sale. She’s also been pretty good about coming up with substitutes for things we just had to rescue. I will ask her to be reasonable about it. Don’t save a stuffed elephant and hand me a marble to sell instead. She’s also old enough to understand that it’s not just her old toys we’re selling, at least not in the spring. Every fall I do a consignment sale for mostly clothes and shoes she’s outgrown but some toys leave then, too.
   The fall clearance comes in handy to deal with anything that got missed in the spring. It helps that she still believes in Santa. “We have to make room”. I don’t know what I’ll tell her when that changes but for now that’s one thing I can still hang onto.