Friday, June 22, 2018

So far so good?

I should have known any new endeavor was going to have a few bumps in the road.  Things are going a bit slower than I had hoped and certainly less than perfect.  I am also find myself getting a bit sidetracked. This is ironic as hell since the whole point of this adventure was to improve my daughter's ability to focus! Personally, I blame the mouse. The result of the unauthorized party in my pantry was me cleaning the whole thing like a crime scene and also reorganizing everything into plastic boxes. It also got me looking at my other cabinets as potential havens and then they had to be cleaned out and reorganized, too. Hey, wait a minute, what about our daughter? Oh, right, the honey bun, I did make a teeny bit of progress with our video game addict.  I found these write on wipe off wall stickers. They are not the most attractive things but they don't damage the walls. Directly across and at eye level from where her majesty likes to sit and play on her computer I wrote the dreaded list. It says "Before technology, did you: get dressed, brush teeth and hair, do chores (hamper patrol, dishes in sink), eat breakfast, read for 30 minutes, and be outside for 30 minutes or Wii fit, dance, or board games.
Score one for mommy and Claire's therapist! She has adhered to this list so far twice with only moderate whining. We use this on Saturdays and days off from school. The real test is coming. Can we survive this new schedule for an entire week off for Spring break? I have a nice bottle of white waiting for me but I digress. We, as a family, have had all the willpower of last week's pancakes when it comes to this kind of stuff so naturally, any real change is going to be painful for all of us. The "No Pain No Gain" part only works when you attach enough importance to the "Gain" part to tip the scales. I'm already sitting on one side of the seesaw with my best friend, Anxiety.
Things have a way of working themselves out, God forbid I should remember that, despite the evidence. I am referring to a handwritten journal I'd been keeping in which 95 plus percent of the things I was freaking out over worked out fine. They say you can't believe everything you read, but what if you wrote it?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Promises, promises

  Well, here it is, six months into the new year and so far I've managed to write every day during the week, at least. It hasn't been easy coming up with ideas, weird since I live with a walking wealth of material. I am embarking on a research project for executive skills. I have a long way to go but I am making progress. We all could use some reminder about these "new habits" we are trying to acquire. Instead of those "Live, Love, Laugh" decals people put on their walls, I need ones that say "Are your dishes in the sink?" and "Have you hugged your spouse today?".
   One thing that my source of inspiration reminded me of was how much fun she is the morning. My little fourth grader is about as lovable as a cactus before school. This particular morning we were grousing about having to pick out clothes, among other injustices.  Since she was a toddler I have always tried to limit her choices to between two things in the morning but no, even that was too much for her majesty. Then I remembered the advice we received from her specialist, make life as organized as possible. I'm sure plenty of you are already doing this but it looks like it is now necessary to get our outfits picked out in advance.  As usual, we're just late to the party.
   I would love to have one of those California closet sort of bedrooms for all of us but sadly, that is way not my house. Our daughter's room is a small library with stuffed animals, a bed and dust. Her closet could best be described as "groovy" or maybe "totally tubular". Our house, like its owners, is a bit older than most. I am not able to put one of those hanging tiered shelves in the closet so it looks like I'll have to see if I can figure out a substitute. We also get to have to have to establish another new habit, yay! How many write on wipe off things can you put up before it starts to feel like we live in a memo pad?
   I dream, of course, of that mythical creature, "the clean room" like any other mom. Luckily, I can attach a profit motive to this dream. If I can convince her majesty that she can sell some of her old junk at our yard sale and make money, I have a shot at thinning the herd of crap, and dare I say it?, see a clean dresser surface? Yeah, I know, get your head out of the clouds! We dream big around here. It looks like more things will have to disappear by stealth. I'm waiting for things to start emitting distress signals and suddenly become fascinating to my girl. She seems to "know" when I'm thinking of selling some old toy.
   Generally, despite popular opinion, I try not to get rid of anything that is not mine without consent. I'm sure my spouse would make Sanford and Son look like a shaker family. It's always been up to me to bring up the subject of disposition with him. I'm guessing it's  because my family has had yard sales since I was a kid. Whatever we were done with was either sold or passed along to someone else. We also shopped at flea markets regularly. Economic sense has no stigma. I'm hoping I can set our daughter up with her own table, assuming she can sit in one spot that long. (See "dream big" sentence earlier.)
  What's the big deal about the yard sale? It certainly isn't the money, although that helps. It's the cheap excuse to see our friends and the aftermath. We plan breakfast that day, I end up getting my garage cleaned out, and everything we want to get rid of gets herded into one place. I look forward to having more space and hopefully, the less crap we have, the easier it will be to organize, right? While I'm  fantasizing, I may as well go the whole hog and think that maybe our girl will catch on to the concept of selling her old things to make money, making proper change, and if I get really crazy, the idea that working gets you money! I'll keep you posted on this dream, wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

EEEEEEEEEEEKK, @#$%×÷!!!!!

   There was a party in my pantry recently, and I was not invited. In hindsight, I should have suspected it from the beginning but my brain just didn't want to admit it.  I discovered a torn open package of muffin mix on a shelf. Don't  ask why I thought my husband had some strange accident and didn't  clean it up. I assumed this was because he frequently does things that make no sense to me, is not exactly famous for cleaning up after himself, and we live in a house with three people. The process of elimination usually fingers our daughter but since we don't keep cheese sticks in there, she was ruled out. Thus began my brief trip down the river denial.  Roughly two days later I was confronted by irrefutable evidence. I found what we'e definitely NOT chocolate jimmies on my counter. What the F??!! OMG!! EEEEEEWW!!
   I felt violated, and rather skeeved out. This was also a personal affront to my housekeeping. I thought these things only happened to "dirty" people, you know, the kind you see on the show "Hoarders". I was able to get a grip long enough to contact the exterminator. My spouse and daughter were oblivious to my freak out, probably because I was upset enough for all of us. Since this was a weekend I was forced to wait until Monday for the cavalry. That left me with the task of cleaning up the crime scene until then.
   It turns out that the pantry is the computer keyboard of our house. We use it every day and don't  realize how bad it gets until we need to clean it. I began an archaeological dig in my own kitchen, no shovel required. I discovered a "poopageddon" on 2 shelves, a shredded paper bag, 2 chewed on granola bars and a violated pudding cup. (See `What the F??!!` sentence above.)
   I pulled out everything we had in that small closet, which, by the way, is really smaller than my linen closet near my bathroom. Somehow I managed to defy the laws of physics and fit a colossal amount of crap in there. I discovered a frightening amount of plastic shopping bags for one thing. I had a daymare about my daughter telling her friends one day 'They found mom under a huge pile of plastic Shoprite bags, she was crazy!'. Suffice it to say, the heard was thinned.
   I've heard the term 'vintage'  applied to wines, pantry items, not so much. If the question 'Who was president when we bought this?', strikes you as a legitimate question when you're sorting through your pantry, grab a trash bag, close your eyes, and heave ho. Parting is such sweet sorrow, especially when you find the idea of throwing out FOOD contrary to every fiber of your being. Remind yourself how expensive a hospital stay can be versus that can in your hand.
   The purge spread to the vitamins and medicines we keep and continued to a neighboring microwave cart. I have to admit, I wasn't  thrilled about how it happened but it was needed and I felt a lot better when it was done.
    It turns out, I was wrong about a few things. When the exterminator arrived, he set out some old fashioned mouse traps, nothing with any more technology than I'd  seen on Bugs Bunny. Rodents, it seems, are looking for warmth and moisture. Cleanliness, has nothing to do with it. The little bastards were probably coming in through the garage, whose doors could use new rubber bottoms. I never did find a mousehole either. Thanks, Bugs.
   EPILOGUE:
   This hunting and crime scene like cleaning continued for about two  or three more long weeks. Then it finally happened. I was out at a gym early one morning and when I got back there it was. The body of the 3 ounce field mouse was on the kitchen counter (dude really - the counter?!) in a Chinese food container, packaged like nuclear waste. My startled husband beat it to death with a shoe once the trap went off. Ding dong the mouse is dead and there was much rejoicing!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The new old crusade

  God forbid anything be simple. I'm going to be sprinkling my posts with my latest mission. Once again, it's  all about the  honeybun.  I am, oddly enough, "lucky" enough to be unemployed so I have time to do this. Our beautiful, brilliant girl has been officially declared an ADHD kid. What does that mean? I don't know either, but I aims to find out, pardner. Hence, the new mission of research will begin.
   I will be hanging out with my new best pal, Google. I may also have to treat my local librarian to a few drinks before this is over, too. So far, I have identified my quarry. I plan to begin with what our specialist called "executive functioning". What this refers to is one's ability to initiate, plan, and follow through on a task. Think the execution of a game plan, not a white guy in a suit driving a bmw.
  I have discovered there are differing opinions on what exactly Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is in the first place. Some are claiming there is no such thing. Personally, I take issue with the word Disorder. It implies there is something "wrong" with my child's brain. I have explained to our daughter, it's a label grownups slap on people when they don't understand your brain. First and foremost I don't want my girl thinking there is something "wrong" with her. This is very important to me. Her brain is just different, that's all.
   The specialist explained it this way. She occasionally gets "gunk" on neurological pathways in her brain. Medication can help clear these up. Notice I said "can". A wonderful side effect of us all being unique like snowflakes, not all medications work. It turns out, for those who believe, there are 6 different types of ADHD and each one responds differently to medicine. Now I get to research which kind I'm dealing with.
  Mercifully, I was pointed to an author named "Amen" who has done a lot of research on this topic. I will keep you, dear reader, posted on what I find out. There is also some good to come out of this for someone's electronic addiction. When I asked our girl what she knew about ADHD, besides her favorite author having it, she said "My brain goes crazy".  I used this chance to explain why too much screen time was bad for her brain. I told her that when you want an overcaffeinated squirrel to calm down, you don't put him with another excited squirrel! She needs to be reminded a lot of how the video games affect her. Whether she really understood that remains to be seen but she has tried to abide by some therapeutic rules we've set up, so far, anyway.
   We gave her a list of what needs to get done first before screen time. Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The perfect squirrel

  I am going to go off my typical topics and basically whine, sob, complain and otherwise gripe. I got some bad news from my daughter's specialist.  Our brilliant, beautiful, and funny bunny has Adhd. In fact, she's lousy with it. This is hardly a surprise. I guess the label makes me sad. We are currently choosing to abstain from medication. I blame my husband's DNA. Nonetheless, this is the way God made her and I certainly don't love her any less. She will also not be doomed to a life of living in our basement, by any means.  The very fact that my spouse has managed just fine in his life so far is reason for hope.
   It was also a good thing that we went through the testing, expensive and exhausting though it was. I did get some tips on how to make our lives easier and learning about what areas our girl needs help with gives me some direction for research. Another good thing we learned was that our school is largely doing a good job helping her. This is also not a surprise since we moved here just for the school district before she was born.
   The only downside is the specialist recommended that we organize our girl's life as much as possible. This should be interesting. I don't even have my s**t together, how am I supposed to do it for someone else?! I never thought I would consider myself lucky to be unemployed.  It's going to take us a while to get our collective ducks in a row. Right now, it's more of a mosh pit. I am also somewhat grateful our house is small, although that has bugged me in the past.
   Of course the biggest thing to hang onto is that things could be worse. I was not told that she needed pantloads of medicine immediately, or worse yet, hospitalization.  There are also plenty of famous successful people with Adhd, thanks Google. Sooner or later, we will get things better organized, even if I haven't quite figured out how yet. My problem is that I'm a fine one for telling others to eat your elephant one bite at a time but when I have to do it I feel like I'm getting trampled by the herd!
  Thank you for sticking with me through this rant. The pity party is over, for now. It was sadly lacking tequila anyway. It's now time for me to put on my big girl bloomers and get on with it.


Monday, April 2, 2018

My behavior chart

   Those that know me know I'm typically late for everything. New Year's resolutions are no exception. We are already a few months into the new year and so far I've managed to establish one or two new "good habits" but it appears I could use some more help. It feels like I'm supporting an army of therapists between myself, my daughter, and the two of us as a couple. You'd think we'd be the most well adjusted people on the planet. The problem seems to be remembering to follow the advice we're given.
   I'm  guessing the primary problem is laziness. Routines are comfortable, after all, and changing them takes effort. It also takes presence of mind. Frequently, we either forget what we've been told or remember ten minutes before bed. So how do I remedy the problem? My daughter has a behavior chart, do we need one, too? Do I make it neon, blinking, and about the size of a manhole cover? Should I completely cover the television? Do we build in rewards?
   I need to prioritize before this gets too overwhelming. It would also help to get an idea of what exactly the grown ups are trying to pull off here. I may even have to do something crazy like involve my spouse.  I'm a big fan of lists, as long as I remember where I put them.  Maybe I could start small to medium say, with something bright and eye level on the refrigerator. If I went any bigger I would have to move our daughter's art gallery and God only knows where I'd find space for that.
   What are these lofty goals that are so vexing? Oddly enough, it's nothing we're not capable of so much as making time to do them. I would say our problem as a family is our ability to unplug from technology. I'm finding out that the grownups have issues as much as our daughter. Ironic, since yours truly is the harasser in chief for our daughter to take breaks from her majesty's screens! I may try to keep a little diary of my own time just out of curiosity to see how much I'm spending on Facebook, and my gem game. Should I consider a diet? Do I go completely insane and try to survive a whole day cold Turkey? What's next, a polar bear plunge? Strange to think I'm a member of the last generation to have grown up without technology being so ubiquitous as it is today.
   It doesn't take long to get used to these new toys though. Despite the fact that we survived up to this point without them, it's remembering how that gets fuzzy. It's a  lot like life before our daughter was born, I know we had one, but how was it, exactly? Seeing as how our lives do seem to revolve around our offspring, it does make me want to look at the fish pond she swims in as well. She is the child of a couple of dinosaurs. We remember 8 tracks, for you fellow relics.
   Most fellow parents are younger than we are, and it seems the technology addiction is everywhere. It has also invaded her school. We are being forced to sign up for apps to join activities now. Whatever happened to sending a note home? (Use recycled paper for all you tree lovers out there.)  I use my phone too much already.  I also don't need WiFi to read a piece of paper. Computer science is also a subject taught in fourth grade, and I believe she's had it for years now.
   This will be a struggle, but somehow I will find a way to get us all less plugged in and more connected - to each other. I'm open to suggestions, feel free to email me!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

And so it begins...

  Recently, my doctor discovered that I allegedly have the spine of a 112 year old person and is amazed I was not writhing on his floor in constant pain. My husband diagnosed me as being extremely Polish years ago, but I digress. All I was grousing about was what I thought was a minor annoyance that wasn't going away. It felt like I was having a hot flash down one side of my leg when I moved a certain way. He sat me down and explained the results of my MRI in English and then developed an expensive treatment plan. It was the most polite robbery I'd  ever been to.
  The "treatment plan" involved me handing over three copays a week for 8 weeks or until the new golf clubs are paid for. Seriously, I found this practitioner from the recommendations of knowledgeable friends so I can't call the guy a "sheister" by any means. I'm just more annoyed/depressed by the expense among other things. I was also informed that exercise was verboten for two weeks. I was not even allowed to take a walk.
   For most normal humans, this is not that big a deal. Yours truly lasted three days before the antsy pants set in.  Who, in their right mind, loves to exercise? How are running, tire flipping, or burpees anyone's definition of a good time?  Herein lies the rub, it's  not the activity itself so much as what I get out of it. I had no idea how much I've  come to rely on the stress relief it provides until I wasn't  able to do it.
  A few weeks back, our area got a ridiculous amount of rain. We had water in our basement and the room I take my workout class in was also flooded. It also happened to be the week the hormone fairy hit. O joy. Earth was getting on my goddamn nerves. When even I notice I'm extra cranky, it's bad. I even asked my ob about it, suspecting I may be on the verge of menopause. She assured me that if I were, the grumpiness was supposed to decrease, not increase. Is there anything I can do to help this?, I asked. Her response was, you guessed it, exercise! Oi fucking vey.
   I have now almost survived two weeks of doing not much. My sanity was questionable to begin with but now I think it's close to packing its bags and leaving altogether. Besides the stress relief, the exercise allowed me to keep some very old beasts in their cages. When I began the high intensity interval training, I was somewhat in shape. Several months in, however, I began to lose weight. This was not intentional so much as it was taken off my hide. This past summer, for the first time in I couldn't tell how many presidents, I wanted my picture taken in a bathing suit. I don't think this ever happened to me even in my twenties, when you would have wanted to see the picture, much less twenty five years later! Mind you, last summer's suit was "age appropriate" but stylish.
  I have to continuously remind myself that my idea of no exercise has so far meant sneaking off to a gym on a friend's membership and doing some pedaling and eliptical stuff. I maintain my what's left of my sanity for your protection. My "beasties" are also old, crazy, and have lousy eyesight. These creatures  have been in my brain since my late teens. They criticize, catastrophize and are completely unrealistic. "It's been two weeks, you must need your own zip code by now!" Do I look any different than I did two weeks ago?, of course not. Rational thought has nothing to do with them. They do nothing but generate annoying swamp gas bubbles in my brain.
   I would love to evict these tenants, any ideas?