So, I turned 39 a couple of weeks ago. Really, it was no big deal. I don't FEEL 39, whatever that means. I feel like I look pretty good for my age. I'm probably in the best shape of my life (cardio-wise anyway) due to my awesome KG Ladies Running Club (that's the cheesy name we gave ourselves) and the 3.5 miles we run 2-3 times a week.
I wasn't freaking out about turning nearly 40, is what I'm saying.
But then. Then I started getting what I would call "wild hairs." And no, I'm not talking about chin whiskers or anything like that. I'm talking about crazy ideas.
Like getting my nose pierced.
Or having hot pink hair.
See, I've always wanted to do those things and now I feel like it's too late. For one, I can't really have either at my job. I could probably swing the nose stud, but should I? Really?
For Halloween this year I did a modified Goth girl costume. I spiked my hair and put fake studs in my lip and nose and ears. Several people who saw me said "Wow, you really pull that off. I bet you've got a little bit of rocker girl down inside." And you know what, I DO!
There are so many things I wish I'd done when I was younger that now I feel like I'm too old for. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying I'm OLD, just too old for these particular things.
I feel like I want to do SOMETHING to prove that I'm still young, still wild at heart if not so much in action. I just don't know what that SOMETHING is.
"Beep beep beep" if I don't attend immediately to whatever the microwave has finished heating. Ninety seconds later "beep beep beep." I'll leave my reheated coffee in there all damn day if I want to.
Also with the beeping is the iron if I leave it too long in one position. Cheesey Pete! Leave me alone! You won't steam otherwise!
And don't even get me started on my coffee maker. It's such a Whiney McWhinerson. "Cleaning Needed" it flashes EVERY DAY. I could clean it every five minutes, make a pot of coffee and it would still say "Cleaning Needed." Needy much?
They say that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I should be as strong as freakin' Hercules after all this.
The sun'll come out tomorrow and all that jazz. Tomorrow is another day.
What I'm saying is that I feel better today. I think I need to take this opportunity to say that I sometimes use this blog as an emotion dump. I think everybody in my real life is sick of hearing me worry about this stuff (not that you guys AREN'T! heh.) and this is a convenient place to just dump everything I'm thinking and feeling.
After my last "woe is me" post, Mr. Daddy asked me "Why do you put all that stuff out there for everybody to read?"
"It makes me feel better for one," I said. "Also, I got at least two "YES, me too!" comments. So it helps me feel like I'm not alone in this and maybe by posting that I'm helping somebody ELSE feel like they're not alone either."
"Oh. Yeah. I can see that," he said.
And that right there, in a nutshell, is why I still blog, even if only occasionally.
So, apparently I do this thing? This thing where I withdraw when I'm feeling stressed. From everything. Even stuff I enjoy? I don't know what this is about, but I'm doing it right now.
We didn't even go to church on Sunday because I felt like I just couldn't deal. I'm only at work because I HAVE to be.
This morning I sighed one of my patented "dragon breath" sighs and Mr. Daddy asked me what's wrong. "I'm stressed," I replied.
"About Punkin." And although he reminded me that really, she's fine, she's healthy, she's smart, she's sweet and really we have NOTHING to worry about, I can't help it.
She breaks my heart. I want the world for her. I look at her little face and she wants to do big things, I can just tell.
Last night I had to nix the violin lessons she's been talking about since she was three. We were at our second lesson and she just wouldn't do anything, again. She picked up the violin and was picking at the strings as the instructor asked her to, but only barely. And when he laughed -- not at her -- she thought that he WAS laughing at her and she melted down. I thanked him for his time and said that perhaps we would try again when she was older. At that point I saw her making an effort to pull herself out of her shell. She reached over to the violin sitting in its case and began plucking at the strings, but when I told her that we were done, she got mad and stormed out of the room.
We went outside and sat on the bench. "Are you sad?" I asked her.
"I wanted to play it," she said, "but I was just so nervous."
I pulled her into my lap and wrapped my arms around her. "You have years and years to learn how to play the violin," I assured her, my quivering voice almost betraying me.
Am I making mountains out of molehills? Maybe. Who knows. I think I feel just as lost as she does.
Yesterday did not start off well. I had a bad mood hangover that was exacerbated by Bubba's refusal to help walk Punkin into school because he would be "embarrassed." So, instead I made him walk in with his MOTHER (oh my GOD!) and I even made him hold my hand for a few feet. That'll learn him!
But last night when I picked them up, I was resolved to make it a wonderful evening. I asked them if they had a good day and Bubba said "Yeah, except for this morning." I apologized for my irritation and vowed to do better.
Punkin had a great day. In her class they have a Green/Yellow/Red behavior system, but they also can move UP on the ladder to blue and purple and she had moved up to blue. She didn't know what she had done to get moved up, but I guess it really doesn't matter.
When we got home I asked if she wanted to help me make dinner. I thought this would be a great way for us to spend some time together, doing something fun. Well, fun-ish. She poured water for the rice, she used the can opener to open the beans and dumped them into the pot. We made corn muffins from a box (Shhhh! Don't tell my grandmother) and she cracked the egg and poured the milk. She stirred them and then I held the bowl while she spooned the batter into the muffin pan.
The whole dinner itself was delightful. Everyone ate their food with no complaints (somebody mark this date on a calendar!), nobody was fussed at for squirming or standing up. Everybody used their utensils properly. Over ice cream dessert we divided into Team Vanilla (me and Bubba) and Team Mint Chocolate Fudge chunk (Mr. Daddy and Punkin). The look of betrayal on Punkin's face when she realized that Mr. Daddy was in fact eating vanilla was priceless and sent us all into fits of giggles.
All in all, it was delightful. And stress free. And there was no yelling.
Lost. That's how I feel. Frustrated. That's another good one. Confused. Inadequate.
For the first time in a long time I feel like I don't know what in the hell I'm doing as a mother. I don't think I've felt this way since Bubba was a newborn and that "Who made me a parent" panic set in.
We're still struggling with Punkin's behavior. There are some issues going on at school that have spilled over from last school year and there's her behavior at home and I don't know if the two are related, but based on several things that happened last school year, we are having her evaluated for ADD/ADHD.
I just know that I'm tired. So tired of having every interaction with her be a struggle. Nothing is ever easy with her.
You ask her to go get dressed. Ten minutes later I go upstairs and she hasn't done anything. She's playing or just sitting there. Ask her to brush her teeth and ten minutes later you go up there and she "getting some water" or she'll say "I just started thinking and I forgot to brush my teeth."
You say "Punkin, time to take a bath." Her response, EVERY TIME "I don't wanna, I don't wanna."
No matter what you say or ask her to do she has some kind of push back -- "But I just need to (insert stalling tactic here) first" or "but I don't want to."
I let her choose sometimes whether she can stay up a few extra minutes and watch a little tv or she can go to bed right then and get a bedtime story. If she chooses the tv option she will invariably beg for a story. If I hold to my guns and say no she will ask and ask and ask and ask until I lose my temper. I don't know how many times I've said "I've said no and that is my answer so stop asking." "I can't stop thinking about it!" she'll wail!
And sometimes I probably make things worse by giving in but my God I get so tired of the struggle.
Today I feel at the end of my rope. Things seem to have gotten worse lately and I don't know if it's school starting back, the new school and new teachers, the new routine.
Today is Bubba's last day at the Y, finishing up his 3rd year there. He loves it just as much today as he did on his first day there 3 years ago when he got in the car and said "I had the best day ever!"
We are no strangers to camping. Believe me, we know the travails that can come with 4 people piled into a what amounts to a large tin can. Believe me, we know. So it's not like we went into our trip as greenhorns or anything.
We made our reservations for St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in February of this year and we were really excited because the place looked beautiful. It's on Cape San Blas which has been voted best beach in America two years in a row. And we were especially excited because we were supposed to go there last year, but we canceled at the last minute because of the predicted path of the oil spill.
So we were stoked, is what I'm saying.
We had planned to break up the drive by spending one night in a town along the way and so we made a reservation in an RV park, sight unseen. It looked nice enough on the website. However. HOWEVER, upon pulling into the "RV" park (and yes, I'm using air quotes) it quickly became evident that it wasn't so much a campground as a trailer park? Only, instead of regular trailers they were campers? But permanently attached with lattice work attached and small, semi-permanent porches? There also didn't appear to be any predetermined spaces for us to put our camper and to top it all off, the office was closed with only a note on the door instructing us to put our money in an envelope and slide it through the slot on the door.
As we pulled through the campground trying to figure out what in the hell to do, we passed a sign that said "No overnight campers past this point." Uh, what? We meandered through the "campground" passing a couple of cars up on blocks until we finally had to turn around in what was obviously someone's back yard.
Um, no. Or as we say in my family, not only no but hell no.
We drove to a nearby hotel and briefly stole borrowed their wifi and found another RV park down the road. Guess what? Also a trailer park. Apparently "RV park" in south Georgia is code for trailer park? Who knew?
Hellloooo Best Western.
After hanging in the hotel room for a while we ventured out to find something to eat. Before we left home I had scouted out a couple of restaurants in this town, but when we arrived downtown we discovered that everything was closed because it was Sunday. We drove around for a good 30 minutes before we found the strip malls and the chain restaurants.
We spotted a Ruby Tuesday, headed inside, and as we sat down I reached for the beer menu. After 5+ hours in the car, getting lost in trailer park, and trying to find some place to eat, I needed a drink.
"I'll have a Red Stripe with a lime," I said to the waitress, when she showed up to take our drink order.
"Um, is that a beer?" she asked me timidly.
In my head I thought "Oh my God. Are you an idiot? I need to know right know if I'm dealing with an idiot" but I smiled politely and said "Yes?"
"Oh, you're not from Georgia are yewwww?" she drawled. "We can't serve alcohol on Sundays."
For the love of....
I resisted the urge to run screaming from the restaurant and kindly informed her that yes, we were from Georgia but that the city we lived in had voted to serve alcohol on Sundays in restaurants. I started to tell her how each city could vote on the issue, but she really didn't seem like she was up for a civics lesson, so I let it go.
Fortunately, a fairly decent steak and some delicious mashed potatoes helped me get over my sorrow. And to prepare me for the next day's adventures.
One of the things I love most about my kids is their bodies -- their tiny, perfectly compact little bodies. Sometimes I look at them and marvel "I made that." Well, I had some help, but you know what I'm talking about.
Punkin is getting taller by the day, fast losing the last of her baby belly. Bubba, so tan from being in the sun at camp every day, loves to walk around the house in just his underwear as he prepares for bed and I swear he looks just like Mowgli with his floppy hair and knobby knees.
I hope I can say this without sounding pervy, but I especially love their butts. They're just so cute! I have, over the years, developed a habit of smacking them on the butt. Not in a spanking kind of way, but in a "Hey there Sparky", coach-to-football player kind of way. Or if they're walking up the stairs behind me, I just can resist giving them a little goose.
Well, the kids have now decided to return the favor. I'll be cooking supper and all of a sudden - whap! And you know what? That shit is HELLA ANNOYING. So. No more put pats. No more gooses. LESSON LEARNED.
I'm having a little trouble getting back into the blogging groove, so I'm going to use other people's blogs as my inspiration.
Yesterday on Twitter, AndreAnna was talking about how much she hates butterflies -- well, anything with wings, really. And that made me think of Metalia's post the other day titled The Sum of All Fears, which I thought was brilliant and of course made me start thinking of what mine would be.
And then on the way home, Mindy of Absolutely Mindy on XM Kids' Place Live was playing their new game of "Would You Rather" and some kid came up with this doozy: Would you rather swim in a snake infested lake or a cockroach infested swimming pool?
One the one hand, I'm not really afraid of snakes. I don't love them, but as long as I can keep my distance I'm okay. I'll even hold one at a wildlife show if I know it's non-poisonous. But have you ever seen Lonesome Dove? Like, the first episode? The one with the water moccasins? Ay yi yi. Nightmares forever.
All I'm going to say about the other is whispery, feathery cockroach wings. Enough said.
However, the sum of all my fears? Would probably go something like this:
Being in a dimly lit room with Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers both just standing behind me, looking at me, not saying anything, with spiders covering the entire floor and cobwebs touching my hair.
Well. Now that I have sufficiently creeped myself out, I think I'll try to get some work done.
When we last left Madame Queen's family, they were in the midst of negotiations for purchasing a home. Remember? And remember how she said the whole thing was fraught with discord? Yeah, well, it was a sign. That house was not meant to be.
We had the inspection done and the inspector found some problems. Not a ton of problems, but enough and of a nature that it triggered my own PTSD from the time the sellers didn't disclose a bunch of a problems with the last house we'd owned and well...I just couldn't do it. We didn't have a contract and so we told the sellers we didn't feel comfortable buying that house. The sellers were not happy, to say the least, but what could they do.
A few weeks later we made an offer on another house, one that I'd kind of had my eye on since the previous October and within a week the sellers accepted our offer. This was in February? I think? But because of our foreclosure history, we had to wait until three years from the date of our foreclosure to buy another house, so we had to wait until May 1st to apply for the loan. You want to talk about some months that simultaneously flew and dragged by? And I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs the whole time that something was going to wrong.
But May 1st came, we applied for the loan, it was approved, we had the closing, and we moved in.
I'm not sure I can fully describe the feeling of owning my own home after what we've been through over the past 4 years. In that time we've paid off all of our debt with the exception of Mr. Daddy's car and I think, for the first time in a long time (ever?), I feel like a grown up. No, I'm not proud of what happened 3 years ago, but I'm not ashamed of it either. It sounds like self-help mumbo jumbo to say that if it hadn't happened we wouldn't have learned so much about ourselves, but it's true.
The most exciting part about living here, though, is our neighbors. There are tons of kids close by and Bubba and Punkin have loved being able to head out after dinner every evening to play with whomever is around. And I and three of my neighbor friends have started a running club, meeting 3 nights a week to run together. And did I tell you about Halloween? It was Halloween last year that I fell in love with this neighborhood. It is THE place to trick-or-treat in our area and everybody opens up their garage doors and goes all out decorating and dressing up. We came last year because several of our church friends live here and it was so much fun -- such a sense of community.
So, if my autobiography used to be called "How I Went from Living in Tree-Lined Suburbia to a Double-wide in My Daddy's Back Yard," I think I could now add the subtitle, to steal a quote from Bilbo Baggins, "There and Back Again."
You might not believe it, since I seem to have abandoned it so readily, but I miss my blog. I had lunch with the lovely Mir yesterday for the first time in about a year and she commented that I had retreated into my cave for a while and I suppose I did. My online presence has certainly diminished.
There was a period there where things were just kind of blah. I wasn't sad, but I wasn't really happy. I didn't really have anything that felt worthwhile to say to the larger world.
I also "quit" blogging for another reason. Now, this is going to sound extremely egotistical and self-centered, but hey, you're getting the real me here. I quit blogging because I quit getting comments. Oh, I'd get a few from my lovely, loyal readers (you know who you are!), but the traffic that I used to get was gone. And it hurt, I'm not gonna lie. My self worth as a writer was tied to the number of comments I received or how much traffic I got that day. I couldn't help but compare myself to those bloggers that I considered my equal whose traffic only seemed to be increasing. And I was jealous. And I didn't like feeling that way, so I just quit. That's the easiest way out, right? Instead of working to be like them, I just quit.
I was having lunch with a new writer friend a week or so ago and I was talking to her about how when I was younger I always wanted to be a writer and she interrupted me to say "You ARE a writer." And that stopped me cold. Am I? Maybe I am.
I'm not going to make any promises about posting here regularly. I hope I will. My intentions are good. But we all know what road is paved with good intentions, right? So. I'm back. Sort of. Maybe.
My pastor's sermon was very thought-provoking and very timely for me yesterday. She was talking about the virus of violence in our world and how what we, right here in our very own lives, can do to help stop it. Her suggestion was to follow the three rules of the Methodist Church:
1. Do no harm -- While on the surface, this seems like it would be pretty easy, right? I mean, none of us go around hitting or otherwise physically harming others. But what about those words we use? They say "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me," but we all know that's the biggest lie there is. Words are sometimes more painful than actual physical hurts because the sting of words can last far longer any physical ailment. The pain of childbirth is but a distant memory, but I can still remember the emotional hurts of years ago.
2. Do good. This, too, at first seems easy. I think the majority of us go about our lives trying to be good people. There is a difference between being good and doing good. "Doing" implies activity, not passivity. It is not enough to BE good, we need to DO good.
And 3. Stay in Love with God. This one seems easy, too, especially when you've just left a particularly moving sermon or a great worship service. But when life gets really busy and we get stressed out, it is easy to feel one's self losing that close relationship with God, losing that connection. We start to feel as though God has left us, but it is generally we that have left God.
All of these messages struck home with me yesterday because my own home hasn't been feeling particularly peaceful as of late. I don't know whether it's the continued lack of any kind of schedule because of the Christmas holidays and then no school for a week because of the snow, but Punkin's behavior has deteriorated. It seems as though we had a great couple of months and had a lot of forward progress, but lately we're back into the daily tantrums and the yelling, oh the yelling -- it kills my soul.
Yesterday in the car on the way home from church, I made a vow to my kids: No more yelling. BUT, I also said, I needed them to do their part and do what they're told when they're told. Now for Bubba, this isn't really a problem. Bubba is a model child. If I'd ordered him from an order form, I don't think I could have done any better.
But remember that "mind of her own" of Punkin's? Well, that mind rarely, if ever, wants to do what it's told to do. It never puts on it's pajamas when asked. It never brushes it's teeth, instead piddles in the bathroom forever. It doesn't put on it's socks in the morning, pretending intead that it doesn't know how. It falls down (in the most melodramatic fashion possible) to keep from having to do something it was told to do.
And y'all? I don't know what to do. I've tried everything. Knowing that reward works better than punishment I made a chart, complete with little pictures of all daily activties. Punkin got a sticker if she completed her task when asked. Once the chart was filled, she would get a prize. Guess who got a prize? Bubba! Who also got a chart in order to head off the "why does she get a prize for doing something I do all the time" complaint.
I've threatened to send her to school in her pajamas/sockless/naked if she doesn't get dressed.
I've used a timer, which works, but which causes so much anxiety and tears in Punkin that it's really not worth it.
So, I turn to you. What's a non-yelling mom to do? Englighten me, O brilliant readers.
So, after a gentle nudge in the comments of my last post from a longtime reader, I realized that I haven't posted in a while. I realized that this happens to me when I have something unbloggable going on. It's like my brain thinks that if it can't blog about x, then it can't blog at all. But I think it's safe now to blog some of the details, so here goes.
We have made an offer on a house.
Let's all let that sink in for a moment, shall we? Now let's all do a happy dance!
But don't get all Saturday Night Fever on me just yet. The reasons I haven't blogged about this happy occasion are these: 1) the possibility of jinxing the whole thing and 2) the fact that the whole experience has been frought with frustration and negativity. Except for the part where we loooove the house.
I still can't get into all the details because you just never know who is related to whom around these parts, but the sellers have been somewhat....difficult. Yeah, that's the word I'll use. There's no realtor involved and the sellers have poured a crap ton of their own money trying to save this house from going into foreclosure for their son and they have what can best be described as PTSD in regards to this house, which I totally get, by the way. However, every time we have tried to negotiate the best deal possible for US, they view it as us trying to screw them over.
We have almost walked away from the whole deal twice and it could still happen. We should see the attorney's contract today and depending on what's in it, the whole deal might be off. The weird thing is, if it is? I'm totally okay with it.
So, obviously, I'll keep you posted.
Most of y'all are probably aware that we are currently experiencing Snowmageddon 2011 around here. For those Northerners among us, please attempt to refrain from guffawing at us and our inability to deal. In our defense, I can probably count on both hands the number of times it has snowed in my entire life, and yet in the last three years we've had two snowfalls that have basically crippled us. Both times, including this one, the snow turned to ice once on the ground. When you live in a hilly geographical region as we do, well, ice and hills just don't mix. To sum up, we are not prepared.
So, I am basically looking at the 4th day in a row in the house with the kids. TV has been watched, video games have been played, books have been read, Wii bowling tournaments have been played (and lost! #$#$%)#$%) and I can slowly but surely feel my brain turning into mush. The truly sad thing is that all these negative experiences with snow (you might remember this one) have killed my love for snow. It feels like part of my inner child has died.
Happy New Year, y'all! Last night the family and I capped off the year (at 7:30 p.m. no less) with a sparkling grape juice toast that highlighted our hopes for the new year.
Quick aside -- Dear Welch's, WHY did you do away with the champagne-like cork on your sparkling grape juice? That was the fun of the whole thing -- getting to pop the cork! Unscrewing a top is just NOT as celebratory. Get on it!
Anyway, when I made my toast, I said that I had a feeling that 2011 was going to be a banner year for this family. We've got lots of things in the works, and I can't wait to share with y'all everything that's coming up.
This feeling, combined with the word I've chosen to signify the new year, renewal, have me feeling very positive. What do think is in the works for you in 2011?