Sunday, May 3, 2015

Honestly I'm a bit surprised he didn't pat me on the head

I went to the doctor on Saturday because I had a deep and terrifying fear that I was cursed with strep or the flu.

This is because, of course, my son tested positive for the flu and my daughter had strep.  I had a sore throat and stuffed up head and ridiculous coughing and sneezing and so I was pretty sure I had something.

We'd just come off a week of staying away from home while we ripped up the gross carpet that covered our original wood floors, then scraped off glue, then said screw it, we'll just sand it all off, then sanded, sanded, and sanded them again.  And then stained them.  And then added coat after coat of polyurethane.  It was all hard and painful work, full of bruises and tears and sore muscles but it is so worth it because they are gorgeous.  But we were in disarray.  No furniture in the kids' bedrooms or in our living and dining rooms, and other areas of the house piled high with furniture.  I do not do well in disarray and I do not do well staying away from my own house and it makes sense that my body was like, screw you, I'm going to punish you for all the trouble you've brought on us.  And my children are just like me, so it was a given that we'd all end up sick.

So, as I said, when I found out my children had contagious sicknesses I figured that since I felt so incredibly shitty I, too, was a harbinger of the icks.

But it turns out that no, I've just got a cold.  A miserable, achy cold.  A cold that wants me to lay in bed all day and sleep.  But still, just a cold.

The doctor I saw wasn't my normal one because that office is closed on the weekends.  I went to Urgent Care and waited and waited and waited, which I expected and so brought a book with me to pass the time.  I'm currently reading How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran, which I highly recommend.  I discovered Moran after picking up How to Build a Girl, which I loved, loved, loved.  It was funny and sad and uplifting and vulgar and all the things I look for in a book.

How to Be a Woman specifically deals with issues of womanhood, or what it means to be a woman and "why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself," according to the back of the book.

So I've been waiting in the exam room for 35 minutes, reading.  The doctor finally comes in, and asks me what I'm reading.  I tell him the title, and he looks at me in the most offensive way - as if to say "Oh, honey. How stupid do you have to be to read such a thing?"

I felt a little insulted, and I do what I normally do when I feel insulted - I attempt to explain away my behavior that has caused such insulting derision in the other person.  "It's essays," I said, as if that makes my reading more flippant and less bra-burning feminist.

But what is ironic is that the chapter I was reading was entitled "I AM A FEMINIST!" and encourages readers to take back the word feminism as something positive.  For example: The more women argue, loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy its hard-won privileges. 

What she's saying is that without feminism, women wouldn't have the ability to argue in a public forum at all.

Because for all that people have tried to abuse it and disown it, "feminism" is still the word we need.  No other word will do.  And let's face it, there has been no other word, save "Girl Power" - which makes you sound like you're into some branch of Scientology owned by Geri Halliwell.  That "Girl Power" has been the sole rival to the word "feminism" in the last 50 years is cause for much sorrow on behalf of th women.  After all, P. Diddy has had four different names, and he's just one man.

So I'm in the doctor's office, apologizing away my reading habits, and he then informs me disdainfully that "All you need is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T."

And then I punched him in the face.*

*Not really.  Actually I waited there a lot longer for them to do tests and determine that I am, in fact, not cursed with the plague so I looked like a hypochondriacal woman who needs to be patted on the head and then he wrote me a prescription for codeine-laced cough syrup that I told him I wouldn't even fill, much less take, because if I'm not truly in need of antibiotics then I will power through with hot tea and not drugs.

But I wanted to punch him in the face.  Or at least kick him in the junk.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Motherhood & More: Loss provides gift of time*

I’ve recently been gifted extra time at home.

I say ‘gifted’ because for the past while I have been sad and upset about the loss of my job, but I would like to stop being quite so negative because it’s bumming me and everyone around me out. So, thus, I am focusing on what I gained instead of what I lost.

I gained more time to be available for my children. I can cook more and bake more and spend more time getting household work finished during the day so that when the kids are home I can pay more attention to them. I can volunteer more at their school. I do not have to worry about summer childcare.

I’ve gained more time to work on our wood floors, which we have been in the process of refinishing for a few weeks now. This means that they will be done sooner and my house will be put back in order sooner, and my brain also will be put back in order sooner because it doesn’t like it when the house is in this much disarray. A little bit is ok. What we are living with is ridiculous.

I’ve gained more time to focus on things I enjoy, such as sewing for myself or the kids, and making jewelry for my Etsy shop, or knitting because everyone needs wool hats right before summer. And maybe, possible, I will sew things to sell, as well. Anybody need a dress?

Or I can write more for enjoyment rather than employment. I can focus more on being a creative person, which is where I find the most joy. Maybe I’ll attempt to write a book.

Nevermind. Books scare me. Maybe I’ll write a short story.

I can have more time for running. Running makes my body hurt but keeps my mind from self-combusting, so when I don’t have time or motivation I feel worse. And then I don’t run because I feel worse. And I feel worse because I don’t run. Vicious circle and all that. So I can be better about running most days, and be stronger for it, mentally and physically.

I can plan more things to do with the kids, other than just letting them watch television until dinner time. I can have actual activities to keep them entertained until they beg to watch television.

So. Good thoughts. Budget cuts are a horrible thing to the people they affect and I am not the only person this has ever happened to. I have wallowed for a while but am working on my attitude. I will find another job, but in the mean time I plan on enjoying not working.

Because not working can be awesome. Just look at all I’ve gained.

(P.S. I've gotten freelance work since this was written. So nevermind!)

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on April 22, 2015.

Monday, April 13, 2015

It will get better

I try not to complain.  I really do.  Or rather, I may complain but I hope it's in such a way that people know I'm generally not a negative person and don't let my complaints ruin my outlook on life.

But this month has been hard, y'all.  Like HARD hard.

It started in the beginning.  I found out on April 2 that I had two weeks left of work.  My job has always been sort of up in the air, which is a horrible way to work, actually.  I never knew how long it would last.  It was part-time temporary, but was a new position and frankly, one that not everyone saw the value in.  So when it was time for budget cuts my job was seen as not important enough to keep.

So that put a black cloud over everything.  I stopped running as much and I've been eating my feelings with Easter candy and wine and staying up entirely too late because I'm not sleeping well.  Which made me feel even worse.

Plus our house is in incredible disarray because we are in the process of ripping up our carpet to sand and refinish our wood floors and everything everywhere is covered in this yellowed glue that was under the carpet.  Tiny pieces find there way into everything - everyone's socks and shoes and clothes and it's even in rooms that didn't originally have glue.  Which is stressful enough.

And last Wednesday my cat got sick.  I had Susy since before we had Sebastian.  She wasn't the friendliest of cats, but she was my cat.  She loved me, and I loved her and she was kind of my first baby.  I got home from picking up the kids Wednesday afternoon and found piles of, well, bloody stuff.  I searched for her and tried to make her comfortable, not really knowing what was going on.  And then that night she went missing.  Since we're redoing the floors there are some holes where boards are being replaced and she crawled in one of them and got under the floor.

Chris managed to find her on Thursday morning, but she wasn't really moving around.  I tried to give her some water with a syringe, but she wasn't all that interested.  But then she started moving around more and seemed better.  But it turns out she wasn't.  Chris took her to the vet on Friday and he said she more than likely had a form of blood cancer and had to be put to sleep.  It was awful.  I didn't really get to say goodbye to her.  And then we had to tell the kids.  Adele still doesn't understand.  She thinks Susy is sleeping and will be back sometime, when she's done.  But Sebastian took it really hard.  This is his first real experience with death.  He cried and cried and has said over and over again that he wishes Susy was still alive.

Me, too, buddy.  I keep expecting her to walk in and jump on my lap, or jump on our bed at night and curl up, or come downstairs and meow for her "Susy snacks."  

So, I'm still processing that.  And on Saturday, while I was waiting to pull into a parking space by the redbox at McDonalds, an elderly gentleman decided that backing into the driver's side door of my car was an excellent idea, in spite of my honking and waving.  And my children were in the car.  And he drove off without stopping.  And I had to sit there and wait for the police to come with two children, the older of whom was still dealing with the death of his cat and who was convinced that we could also have died in that car incident.

Good times.

So, I've complained.  I've been and still am pretty down.  I am trying and trying to get out of this funk that I'm in, to be positive, to be happy.  It's so very hard.  But I will get there.  I know I will.  I'm planning on running after work, which is a good start for me. And I began preparing the gardening beds and planted some seeds and weeded.  It always makes me feel better to have my hands in the dirt.

But what I really need to do is take some time and sew, because that allows me to only focus on what I'm making, or on the next stitch.  But as I mentioned before, my house is a disaster and we don't currently have a dining room table set up, which is were I like to sew.  But I think I'm going to have to improvise because I have to do something.

Three more days of work and then I will sew.  And I will feel better.

Adele and sunglasses and a worm.  It made me smile yesterday.
(If it weren't for my anniversary this month or my sister's birthday, I'd give the month of April a giant middle finger.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Motherhood and More: Introducing chore charts to teach responsibility, get stuff off the floor

I’ve started researching chore charts for my children to strongly encourage them to stop being the ungrateful heathens that they are.

I know they need chores and we should have started this years ago. I know, I know, I know. It’s important for them to understand life doesn’t revolve around their every want and need and we all have to work together to keep this home going. For goodness sake, would you please stop throwing your socks all over the living room floor or at least pick them up yourselves without waiting for me to do it for you?

We’ve made good efforts in the past to enforce chores and whatnot. And the rule still is if they keep their rooms clean for a week, they get a dollar on Sundays. Guess how many times that has happened?

I am not out all that many dollars, is what I’m saying.

Occasionally, my son will want to earn money to purchase weird, zombie-type game apps and is willing to sweep the floor and unload the dishwasher.

But I think it’s time to be more serious. We need to have a schedule and rules and consistency.

Implementing a regular chore chart is going to be difficult. We’ve been talking about it for a while and how we expect them to start working around the house more since my husband and I spend 70 percent of our time at home picking up all of the random junk that ends up on the floor. But the kids don’t seem to be too keen on the idea.

My youngest, my daughter, has no concept of money and the fact she can buy things with it. We very rarely take her to the store because she’s insane and we lost her one time in a huge, packed store. No one has recovered yet. Since she hasn’t seen actual money transactions very often, I think she thinks toys and books and fun stuff just show up in her hands through no effort of her own. Which is true, actually.

Both of the kids really enjoy helping, though. Setting and clearing the table can sometimes be a battle to see who can put the most dishes on the table and clear the most off, which has obvious ramifications.

I mean, there’s only so many glasses that can be broken before we’re all drinking out of Spider-Man cups.

Although, now that I think about it, their excitement with helping probably has more to do with competing with each other than actually helping their parents. I’m willing to accept that, though.

But they do like to feel included, like they’re doing something that contributes, like they’re responsible members of our family and that we appreciate their contributions. So I think it will be good.

I think they’ll adjust well in spite of all the whining and complaining about me being the worst mom ever and why can’t they just watch television instead of dusting. Having responsibilities will be good for them and for all of us.

Plus it means less work for me, which leaves me more time for watching television. 

This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on March 25, 2015.