17 December 2018

Happiness in an Envelope

It's my annual struggle: Christmas cards.

I love Christmas cards.  I love getting them, I love choosing them in the store, I love the idea of them.  I think it's a lost and important art.  A moment for two people to connect and remember each other.

One month ago I brought out the Christmas basket that holds all of our cards.  It has an assortment of cards, super random envelopes, glitter, and mailing labels.  Oh, and a green and red pen.   Every tool needed (except stamps) that a person needs to complete this joyous chore.  This year I even bought stamps ahead of time.

It's the 17th today and I'm just starting.  Every single year this happens.  Every single year I have the best of intentions.  I had the goal of having this task completed over the Thanksgiving weekend and now we're a week from Christmas.

I have no excuse.  A little bit of the Can't Want To.  A little bit of I left them in my office and "out of sight, out of mind." Otherwise I can only blame the Hallmark Christmas movies that are on constantly right now.

Last year I had the epiphany that it was because I have too many cards to choose from.  I have church cards, Santa cards, pretty cards, kid cards.  I try to cover all the bases.  What I should have is a huge stack of the exact same card.  If I just would do that, this task would be over in about thirty minutes.

But what fun would that be?  I like finding the Santa card for the families who have kids.  The doggy cards for our friends with dogs.  I like honoring someone with a church card because I know it's special to them, even if I'm a little meh.

I see the photo cards and I love them.  Each year I think "I should do those."   Photos of Kevin and I together are few, I'm the one usually taking the photos.  I don't want to be the childless couple who sends out a photo of their dog, even though Lucy is pretty cute.  Maybe some year I will do one and I'll probably love it and wonder why I ever did it any differently.

This year and last year, actually, I have an extra challenge: Christmas cards for Kevin's staff.  Yep, I've become the typical boss's wife.  I try not to make all the cards the same because I know they will probably see each other's cards.  I worked on what to write and decided with a simple "Thank you for all you do" and our signature.

Here is a Christmas mystery I have every single year:  where do all the envelopes go?  Every year I run short of a size of envelopes.  Yet I have a stack of too small envelopes.  How does this happen?  It's not like I make a ton of mistakes.  My guess is that I've too many times bought extra envelopes and each time buying the wrong size.  Because: I am clever.   I also have the tendency to hoard birthday card envelopes.  And yes, you're right: those are much too big for Christmas cards.  Yet, I continue to do it.

So, then it's prioritizing.  I usually start with my BFF first (your card reminded me of your house!) and then family, and then friends.  I should start with our Canadian friends because it takes weeks to get the cards to them, even though most of them are less than an hour away.  One year I'll accomplish that but this is not that year.

Family and friends who are smart asses get glitter or confetti in their cards. This has had consequences over the years as I have glitter all over my desk, or in my car.  One year the bag of confetti broke open and I didn't know it.  A lovely confetti trail went from one end of the old house to the other.  Sometimes Karma is instant.

Years ago I wrote a loving post about our address book.  This is another delay that I encounter: time has to be spent looking through the address book and remembering.  Each year someone is crossed off the list (usually sad reasons) but maybe sometimes people are added too.

And in another classic example: here I am writing about a task instead of completing it.

So, if you ever want a Christmas card, hit me up.  It will probably be late or last minute but look at all the thought I put into it! 

Image result for christmas card quotes

08 December 2018

It's Not His Job

Couple friends of ours have hit a rough patch.  They have two young children  and at that horrible time when neither of the kids are in school yet. Also, her Pinterest perception of what motherhood should look like is wrong.

(I will preface this with I really like her, I really do.  She's almost twenty years younger than me so my perspective has experience behind it that she doesn't yet possess.)

And then there's Jesus.   

She'll talk about praying to understand why life is so hard, or for strength, or whatever, quite a bit.  Then she'll mention not finding the help/solace that she's looking for.

I just want to grab her by the shirt and say "JESUS isn't going to FIX THIS" while gesturing wildly. This is not broken, this is difficult. This is what life looks like. Her life is exactly the life that every stay-at-home mom with young kids has.  I  want to dial my nephew and niece with the six kids, three pets, and two jobs then hand her the phone: "Talk to them about your problems.  I think they'll find your problems Adorable." 

She has this perception that if she prays hard enough that suddenly her kids won't act their age, or that her husband won't have to work 8+ hours plus commute so she can be home, or that the puppy will stop doing puppy things.  Also, Jesus didn't make any of these choices so yelling at him about it seems misguided.

I'm not demeaning that it's difficult, I'm demeaning the approach that he's going to suddenly notice her and make it better.  She's a SAHM with little financial worries and a good support system. I know this is surface level and thou shalt not judge and all that but it's not like she's the opposite of all that. 

None of our kids are religious so we haven't really bumped into this situation.  Also, It's a confident guess that her upbringing was vastly different than what our kids experienced.

It's just astounding to me when someone has a skewed perspective of their life then gets frustrated that Jesus doesn't fix it.  a) it's not his job 2) it's not broken: it's life and c) let's look around at others lives and find some perspective. 

This is the part that I find ironic.  Wouldn't life be just a little bit easier if you're not waking the kids up on Sunday and dragging them to church for most of the day?  Or to bible study during the evenings?  They are younger than six, I think their tiny souls will be alright.

This is one of those situations where I find religion frustrating. She believes that if she just prays enough and is dedicated to the church enough that life will get easier or she will suddenly gain insight.  Umm, no. that's not how any of this works.

I always imagined praying was meant for the big stuff.  I imagine God/Jesus/whatever thinking "Really?  This?  This is what you're asking for?"  Let's keep prayer in reserve for the dying parent, the sick kid, the gratitude when things are good; not just because kids are messy and loud.  The rest of the work is on us mere humans.

If you're a believer, you don't get to know why things happen.  He considers it none of your business, he has a plan.  Stop interfering, stop asking.  Just suck it up, buttercup.

Image result for even if the prayer is just thank you

06 December 2018

I Can't Want To

I'm learning something new at work and usually I'm all in with this situation. 

Today though, man, I just can't. 

So far, I've more frequently than necessary checked email and social media.  I've completed other tasks of my job.  I've decorated for the holidays.

I'm not normally like this.  I usually like learning new things.  But I've had this project since right before I went on vacation and it keeps getting bumped (unintentionally and intentionally) to the bottom of the pile.

I started today with the intention of completing it.  I have thirty-five minutes left of my day and here we are:  Off task.  And sure, I'll be pouty and resentful when that folder is staring me in the face tomorrow.

Now I'm being all self-analytical.  "Why? why don't you want to do this?"

To be fair: I haven't been fully trained in this task.  I know about half of what I need to know.  I'm referring back to training that I had years and years ago: "If there is a field asking for info, fill it."  Which is helpful, but the documents don't match the screen; which prompts a lot of "I know I just saw it. *flipping pages* sonofa...Oh, here it is."

Oh, and some of these forms are in Spanish.  I get extra Challenge Points for that.

AND, I can't refer to the University of Google and YouTube because it's a specialized database.  Nothing in my bag of tricks is making this work.

If I really think about it: I don't like things that I'm not immediately successful with.  Not to be all Miss Smarty Pants, but stuff like this usually comes super easy to me.  So when it doesn't, tantrums ensue.  And I make mature decisions like "Hey, I'll write about this and then at least I accomplished that."

27 November 2018

Scenes from a Marriage

Everyone who knows me in reals knows that I am not human in the morning.  It takes me a little while to think clearly and successfully quash the need to throw things at you. 

We had to meet a friend on Sunday morning  and it required a bit of travel.  It's even more difficult to get your brain firing on all cylinders when you're in a vehicle for an hour.

While traveling through farm land, I noticed a lone Angus sleeping in a field. (Angus are the giant black cows)  I think I noticed because usually cows are in gangs and he was alone.

Kevin off-handedly says "There's Big Dave."

With slowed synapses, I'm trying to figure out how in the world of Carmen San Diego Kevin knows that the cow's name is Dave.  Let alone "Big Dave."

As I turned to ask him, I spot a cattle truck across the road.  He was talking about one of his drivers. 

I kind of laughed and said "I wondered how you knew the cow's name but it's one of your drivers."

"You just sit over there and look pretty." he says. 

"And everyone knows that cow's name is Dave."

Image result for angus cow
If we're being honest, he does look like a Dave

22 November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Related image
                             I hope this finds you happily with whatever family you have: given or chosen.                                  (If you're alone, there's a Friends Thanksgiving marathon on right now. It's                                                    surprisingly soothing) 

21 November 2018

I am Not Going

Warning: this is ranty.

I didn't go to Vegas this year, again.  Last year I had the shiny new job and deadlines so I didn't go. This year, I had the same job and the same deadlines and still didn't go.

The socially accepted reason is that leaving the parents alone is not a good idea.  While the kids did a great job during the last adventure, it's not fair to expect that from them.  Also, the Niece is in Arizona right now.  So, that is a very valid reason to stay behind.  The other is that there isn't anyone to stay with the puppy right now.  Being a shelter dog, she doesn't like it much when her humans go away.

The real reason is I cannot. CANNOT. No, really I can't, travel with the brother-in-law.  At this point in life, it is difficult to be in the same room with him; let alone being on a trip.

*Pause*  (perfect example forthcoming)

Just now, I got a text from the sister-in-law looking for the name of the Japanese restaurant that we go to while down there. It's a local place, not on the strip.  I am assuming that the google doesn't work down there.  Because you know what's super fun?  Making plans for people who are on a trip that YOU AREN'T ON.   And, they've been there about seven times now so How in the Name of Dora the Explorer do you not know this information by now.


Of course Kevin can't say "Well, Surely isn't going because she hates traveling with you."  And, the b-i-l already knows I don't like him so the fact that he is PUZZLED that I didn't want to go on this trip makes me want to kick bunnies.

One of Kevin's best friends is traveling with them on this trip.  On the second day there he told Kevin "Dude doesn't trust street signs or nav."   I KNOW, RIGHT!?!?!   He questions everything and he is right and you are wrong. Street signs are wrong. I'm here to tell you: He is Never Right.  The last time I went, he nearly caused a traffic accident because he was certain that Kevin was turning the wrong way and shouted over me who was giving directions, from my nav, while Not yelling.  Our friend Mike doesn't suffer fools at all.  He makes me look like Gandhi.  Fortunately, he goes on this trip also so there is another buffer.  I love when he is with us because he renders the b-i-l powerless.  We have perfected eye contact high fives over the years. Meaning: it's not just me that has this issue.


Kevin just phoned, equally as frustrated as me, to say that the restaurant is on a different street than before and this apparently caused a systems meltdown. I double-checked and it's the same restaurant but hold onto your socks: In a DIFFERENT location!!!  Inconceivable. What is happening!?!

Meanwhile, Kevin is at the racetrack with his friends and his brother stayed at the hotel today.  Let's see...who has time and resources to solve this problem...thinking, hmmm...it's a puzzler, oh! I know! the person who isn't on the trip and four states away.  I suggested to Kevin that he tell his brother to pack sand, which is actually pretty regular for us.


The b-i-l is the kind of guy who is curt to the wait staff then is puzzled when his food isn't exact or he's served last.  He orders steak at a pizza joint and complains  that it isn't good. (It's a G.D. pizza joint. "but it's on the menu", is his logic.)  They left 45 minutes earlier than the two-hours already planned because he was worried about traveling.  They left at 2:45 in the morning because it was easier than to argue with him.

Last weekend the brother in law was sick with the MAN COLD thus was completely disabled, as often happens with the sniffles. Everyone knows that.  Then the sister-in-law got it the day before the trip and instead of postponing, she decided to fly on an airplane. While I wondered about exploding sinuses, a friend wondered about spreading her cold throughout an airplane. But this is the same person who needed a cane to walk but left it behind because it "was inconvenient on the airplane." You know because it was super convenient for me to go buy one the next day.

Tell me, why wouldn't I want to sign up for that? it sounds like so much fun! These are just a few examples and I can go on for DAYS with more. It's a constant stream of stuff like that.  Here is a quick list, I can't help but share because it's comedic level nonsense:

I drive when we're there and the s-i-l wants to valet the car.  Okay, great.  But all the tips shouldn't be my responsibility. She eyerolls that I'm overly-solicitous to the valets, waitstaff, etc. She walks really slow, like people are annoyed slow.  She alternately laughs and/or scorns homeless people. (I stopped that when I quietly said "It must be hell to live like that.  Imagine what landed them there in the first place.")  She likes to gamble all day and I would rather eat my hair. She likes to shop and see: eating my hair.

They are a dream team.  No one can ever be as tired or as sore or as anything as they are.  The amount of heavy sighs and groans are like traveling with unmedicated old people.  Oh, and I missed that she now has ptsd from her car accident. (from four years ago) She now gasps and clings with every bump, stop, turn, movement that happens while in a car.  Dude, I'm so bummed I missed that!

But back to the b-i-l.  His codependency on his brother is a psychologist's dream.  It is the worst kept secret amongst our friends.

I mean if Kevin goes to the bathroom to wash his hands, there goes the brother.  If Kevin buys a t-shirt, he has to buy one too. (this makes packing for a trip fun. I call it "Which shirts won't make you twinsies with your brother.")  If Kevin makes a joke or uses a catchphrase, his brother immediately adopts it as if he invented it. He'll tell Kevin's stories like he was the one or was there when he wasn't.  If someone takes Kevin's attention away, there is pouting or interference.  (once he thrust his cell phone between the two of us when we were in the process of HUGGING.)

You might be wondering about Kevin's role in this.  He really is between a rock and a hard place.  He was raised to coddle his brother because "That's just him"  The fact that "That's just him" is part of the reason "That's just him" is completely lost on the family.  We've been together 28 years and it has been A Thing the whole time. If I think about it too much, I get angry that they would mantle Kevin with that kind of pressure and responsibility.

Essentially Kevin is like a battered spouse when it comes to his brother.  He HATES this analogy, and I get that. It's taken me years to make that connection.  If he rebels, there are consequences.  (Pouting, yelling, silence.) If he goes along, then it upsets me. If I do participate, then I have to squelch everything I am because hims feels gets hurt/offended by most of anything I say or do. If I withdraw then the b-i-l wonders why I'm not participating.

Reminder: he knows on a cellular level that I don't like him. There have been epic arguments about it. (none including me though because also: a coward.)

 Kevin explained that I wouldn't enjoy the trip because he would be gone for 75% of the time.  "But it's still a vacation" the brother-in-law states.  This is the awareness he possesses. In  a marriage, a vacation isn't an activity where your spouse isn't with you, you moron.  But it would never occur to  him to do something his wife likes or wants.  Wouldn't even be a blip on his radar, thus the complete bewilderment when Kevin wants to spend time with his wife.

And, pulling the psychology hat on a little tighter: he is so codependent upon his brother that he WOULD do something that he doesn't want to do because his need to be with his brother overrides the unpleasantness of whatever it would be that he didn't want to do.  He doesn't want to be at the track 24/7 at all but because Kevin does, there he is. He's been asked why and he gets defensive.  "I am having a good time!" he invariably non-convincingly snaps.  If I could post any photograph taken while they are there, you would see that indeed, a good time is not being had.

Again, we can't say "It's not a vacation when you're spending it with people you don't like." Because people are sensitive.  hahahaha...sigh...   I'm Sisyphus pushing to the rock up the mountain in this situation.  "She can't go because there are responsibilities...But she could...She can't go because she doesn't want to...But why wouldn't she...She'd rather have a pelvic exam... Wait, what?"

Kevin was originally okay with the idea of going solo because it makes his life easier and the purpose of this trip is based on his being at the racetrack almost 24/7.  Until he had to be solo.  It's not fun being separated for almost a week.  I know Kevin didn't get out our door to leave before he was already regretting it so I don't imagine it will happen again next year.

If they didn't go, I would go and spend some time at the track with our friends and the rest of the time sleeping in and doing stuff I want to do alone. (which is my heaven, frankly)   So, maybe next year I'll figure something else out, like leaving early or traveling separately.

Again: Sisyphus:
But I just remembered that I did do that the last time we went. We were scheduled to fly out alone, have one day alone, then everyone else would join us.  And they CHANGED THEIR PLANS. Kevin hasn't seen me so mad, like, ever.  Their reaction was feigned regret and uncomfortableness.  "No, you go ahead and do your thing...we'll figure something out..."

So that's why I'm Not Going.

And guess what?  They found the restaurant.  And there's a photograph and he looks miserable.

18 November 2018

Adventures in Painting

In the old house I could paint and I didn’t care one ounce if it wasn’t perfect.  It was an old house.  Thus my getting banned of ever painting in the new house. 

But now the house is thirteen years old and things need painting.  This is one of the situations where Kevin and I shouldn’t be together because we both turn into small children.  “I can’t WANT to!”

Also in the old house, when Kevin left for a trip, I would paint.  Once the poor guy left with a 1970’s harvest gold and gothic kitchen and returned to 1990’s country blue wonderfulness.  When I bored of that color, I painted it light green.  He wasn’t a fan of that one at all.

I set a hesitant intention to paint the bathroom while Kevin is gone.  I didn’t realize how big of a job it was going to be.  Let’s just say I’m 5’3” and it has vaulted ceilings.  And a garden tub.  Then I thought okay, I would just paint the laundry room instead.  It needs it too.

So, of course I’m prepping to paint the bathroom.

I thought I could get away with a household step ladder, but 5’3” so I went outside to get a ladder.  Two things at play here:  Kevin’s parents are home. (that’s why I’m home, kinda) and I forget that we live in the woods. 

Kevin’s dad is gone so I was in the clear there.  If he finds out I’m doing something, I am going to have his not-whistling person over here all.damn.day.  (We’ll check in on this decision later)

The ladder is stored outside. Dude, so gross.  November is dark and wet here so everything is soaking and slimy.  SUPER.  Now the ladder is in the common folk bathtub, soaking in scrubbing bubbles. 

Here’s something to know about me: I always underestimate how long and complicated these kinds of tasks are.  Like ladder soaking in the tub right now, thus rendering both bathrooms into a messy state. Vaulted ceilings vs. short person.

Yesterday I went to Ace Hardware because I’ve become a Shop Local human over the past years.  The young man who helped me was really good at explaining how things are done now unlike in the olden days.  Not having to prime the walls is MAGIC.  It was worth probably spending a little more just to have someone help me like that.

I did forget to buy drop cloths and I know that there is probably some in the shed.  But I really can’t want to go dig around lawnmowers, garden tools, and racecar stuff to find that tote.  See: ladder in the tub.  I did read on the interwebs to use plastic wrap so we’ll see how that goes.   Guess who took paper to the recycle yesterday?  *this girl!*

The new intention is to start in the shower and work outward.  I believe I’m only going to do the wall where the shower lives because other wall has the counter, mirror, medicine chest, window, garden tub.  I predict disaster awaits there. But I swear the contractor didn’t paint that part beyond primer so it needs to happen.  Also, I usually begin with the most difficult part of a project.  This I regret every time. 

The interwebs also says it should take an hour to paint a bathroom, once the prep is done.  I started a hour ago and haven’t even cracked a can.  I make good decisions.  Oh, I researched painting a bathroom, you ask?  Have you met me?  Research Nerd.

Okay, well, it’s now the same time the next morning.  I am not dead and ninety percent of the bathroom is painted by some paint miracle.  Or stubbornness.  It wasn’t as terrible as I thought.  Oh, wait, well the shower was terrible.  Super high ceiling plus 4x4” shower stall made for some sketchy balancing.  Only fell once.  *high five*  
Forgive the dirty shower floor. I can't scrub it until tonight

It looks pretty good.  I can see in the morning light a few places that will need a second coat but that isn’t happening until Kevin gets home.  Also, no form of applied physics and geometry was making painting above the toilet happen.  Welcome Home, Kevin. Missed you. Here’s a paint brush.

You might be wondering if I have a paint handle extension.  I do. Do I know where it is?  I suspect it went next door and never returned. Because that is what happens to our stuff.  This will be Kevin’s cross the bear.

And wow, if this doesn’t get me Get Out of Jail Free cards for a while.  Gesturing widely in response to anything “Painted the bathroom By My Self”  (I know “myself” is one word. It looks more emphatic this way)

If you’re curious what paint I used, here is a photo:

I really liked it.  It didn’t smell painty, it cleaned up easily, and covered nicely with one coat.  I chose Magnetic White, which is in the yellow section I think.  I grabbed a paint color card at Home Depot then found it at Ace Hardware.  At Home Depot, it’s called Glass of Milk.  It’s a pale/soft white (not bright or sharp) with a tiny shade of yellow. 

Now the laundry room is giving me side-eye because it really needs painting.  I don’t know that I have it in me today though.  Maybe when Kevin gets home.  It really will be one of those “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie” situations.  Painting the bathroom was singular, it doesn’t affect the look of any of the other rooms.  The laundry room (also known as a Mud room) will make the kitchen look shabby and the exterior door too.  (it’s 32 degrees here today.  Painting anything exterior has to wait until May)

I bought adhesive tile at Home Depot too so that’s another chapter.

08 November 2018

What's Too Much for a Little Peace?

It's not news to anyone that life has been stressful around here.  I mean, take away the whole elderly parents thing, just the state of 'Merica right now is stressing. And it's getting to me.

A few weeks ago I went to a conference about trauma stewardship.  I'll post that bloggity later.  It really kind of cracked my head open a bit.

Lately, I've been avoiding the news and the twitter and I've been, let's just say, hibernating and not say avoiding.  I've been perhaps, maybe, eating some emotions. (Oh, hello Halloween candy)  I've lost some interest in things that usually help me process life.   This space, for instance.

Taking heed to some of what I heard at this seminar, I really thought about things I can change.  Nothing big because who has the energy for big changes right now.  Not this girl.  This is what I'm going to do:

I'm going to take a walk during my lunch, if the weather isn't monsooning.
I'm going to listen to not triggering music.  Today I played classical all day while at work.
I'm going to side-eye what our meals look like. (also another post: Kevin got a pre-diagnosis last week)
I'm going to continue my Instagram because it gives me pleasure and takes little time.

This is my one big leap though: meditation.

I know, I know.  I'm A.D.D so this felt impossible.  I'm told that meditation can help with it.  I will let you know.  It essentially tries to teach you to rein in your thoughts. To acknowledge that too many things are happening in your brain and to purposefully focus.

I found an app, because there is an app for all.the.things.  I used the free trial and started very, very slowly.  3 minutes, working up to 5 minutes.  I didn't set a goal because that tends to spin me out when it's not reached.

I do it before I go to sleep, when I'm sleepy and on the verge of sleep.  Only once have I actually fell asleep, which was super fun when the guide started  talking again and woke me.  I know a person is supposed to do it in a quiet room, alone, and all that.  That is not how I'm wired or what my life looks like.  So, I adapted.

I've done 12 sessions, I think and can say that it helps.  My sleep was better.  I didn't wake up with runaway thoughts.  I wasn't so mentally exhausted when I got home from work.  I just felt better, like someone had saged my spirit or cleansed my aura.
<---sarcasm kinda="" nbsp="" p="">
I have an over-active imagination so I superficially worried that something like hypnotism would happen.  How pissed would I be if I started clucking every time a phone rang.  It's kind of an act of faith though, which is a whole other topic for another day.

It has been great for me, I can do it and no one is the wiser.  It takes just a few minutes and doesn't require me to go anywhere.  There isn't people, just my new imaginary friend.  There's no judgment if I can't concentrate or miss a day.  It feels doable.

But now I've hit a roadblock.  The free trial is up.  This app that I really like is relatively expensive.  $12.99 MONTHLY.  That's more than our Sirius or our Pandora or anything like that.  I did the math, because nerd trying to justify something, and it's 43 cents a day for a few minutes peace.  Breaking it down like that, it doesn't seem like much.  But they don't take it out at 43 cents a day.  It's the cost of two mochas! (Pacific Northwest currency exchange)

So, pros and cons because nerd.
it's a really good app
There are encouraging notifications and feedback.
I like the graphics and graphic design.  This matters to no one else but me, I realize.
I enjoy the guides voice, a lot.
It helps.

$12.99 a month
I'm the type of person who loses interest then forgets to cancel subscriptions. (Looking at you, CBS All Access)
There are other free apps.

"But what price is your mental health worth?" is a question.  A question that I'm going to answer "Not worth more than any of my other subscriptions to anything else"

Here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to use another app that is free.  It's recommended by the interwebs so we'll see.  If I don't like it or use it as much, then I'll consider paying the fee.

Meanwhile, I've also created other ways to take a beat.  I downloaded an app that isn't anything but a quote on a beautiful photo. If I click an icon, there is soothing music.  It takes not thirty seconds to just stop for a moment and reset.  This is the kind of interval that I need.

I have another app that features a piece of art daily with the biography of it.

I even have a yoga app that I have yet to even open.  Let's just figure out this whole meditation  thing first then we'll try it.  I know, I know, I can multitask and try them simultaneously.  If I were another person.

So we'll see.  I was skeptical but so far, so good.  I would recommend to try it if you're needing to do something to reset.  Life is hard right now.  We gotta do something to get through it in one piece. Peanut butter cups will only take us so far.

06 November 2018

25 October 2018

35 Minutes

Every work day I leave work thinking that I will come home and be motivated to do stuff. Stuff like chores, or writing, or projects, or all of those.  But in the twenty-ish minutes it takes to go door-to-door, my motivation seems to disappear. I'm convinced it's a tear in the time space continuum

I'm unsure what happens exactly, sometimes it's as simple as watching Bones or Doctor Who, sometimes it's a nap, sometimes it's just a whole lot of I Can't Want To.

The funny/stupid thing is that if I would just buckle down and do these things, it would take hardly any time.  Instead, I unintentionally wait until Kevin phones to tell me he's on his way home.  His commute takes at least thirty-five minutes.

Suddenly with that phone call, I am motivated.  Suddenly in thirty-five minutes I will have emptied the dishwasher, sorted the laundry, paid bills, or whatever. Or all of it.  In thirty-five minutes, I'll have completed most of what I'd planned to that morning.

It's not like Kevin cares even one second about any of these things.  In fact, I doubt he notices. This is 100 percent on me. 

I can rationalize that it is the ADD because that's probably what it is.  But it is annoying.  It is nice knowing that anything I want to do is doable in 35 minutes or less.  And that Kevin doesn't give a sh*t about this silly deception...and that's not even the right word but you get what I'm saying.

14 October 2018

He Didn't Tell Anyone

We were supposed to be in Canada two weekends ago for our last race.  We were actually physically getting ready to race on Friday when my sister-in-law phones to tell us that my father-in-law had a stroke. I didn't hear the first two calls because racecar and there were two voicemails.  When my sister-in-law is freaking out, sh*t has gone sideways.


We packed up two pits in thirty minutes (a normal hour-long process) and it takes at least an hour just to get home depending on the border, then 20 minutes past that just to get to the hospital.  That was a really long ride.

It turns out that... and I have to do this in a listicle:
he took Kevin's mom's meds by accident
He didn't tell anyone FOR AN HOUR
He had chemically induced stroke and dropped.  
He was non-verbal and had little motor skills.
No one was home because we were in Canada and my s-i-l was at work.(45 minutes away)  I am usually no further than 15 minutes away, if I'm not at home.  This was the ONE TIME that I wasn't.
My m-i-l tried to call me but I didn't hear it.  She called the nephew's wife thinking it was my sister-in-law.

The kids got there first, followed by the s-i-l then eventually us. The kids were ROCKSTARS, I am so proud of how they handled this.

Because it was a chemically induced stroke,  it's reversible with little to no deficits. Right now he has about 90% of his speech back and all of his movements.  He  couldn't say "Republican" the other day and I had to laugh. (fully aware of the Hell I'm going to)

The only reason this wasn't fatal is because he takes the opposite of her meds for A-Fib and they counter-acted what he had taken.  Otherwise, this would have been a very different story. What absolute dumb luck.

So now, he's home again.  His speech is a still a little garbled at times. I'm sure they recommended he have speech therapy and I'm just as sure he won't.  He now insists that he didn't have a stroke.  "It was the medicine. They didn't say stroke."   

That's why I haven't been over there today.

We are insisting to dummy-proof the medicines because this isn't the first whoops they've had. (the 3rd, actually) and they are resistant again.  

This is an easy fix but one would think that we're insisting they sleep outside.  Kevin explained twice that if something happens to his dad, they're going into a home because none of us are able to quit our jobs to care for them.  That hit a target, for sure. I ordered two vastly different pill organizers for them and they'll be here tomorrow.  

So that was stressful enough AND THEN, like always, the brother tried to make it about him.  He was hurt because I was curt when he asked "Well, what happened?"  after Kevin had just told him word for word what his wife said. We're literally throwing things into the truck and trailer and he just sat in his trailer.  His wife had called him multiple times but he didn't answer the phone, even after we knew what happened.

in the ER room, he told his dad (who at the time is still not verbal yet) "I just knew that you were working outside and had been laying out there dying and not able to get help."  WHAT.THE.ACTUAL.FUCK.  Do you HEAR the words you're saying!?!

We heard four times (I counted) how he's doubted about taking his own medicine. Until finally one of his kids shut him down and he shut up.  This isn't about you for the love of gawd.

So, we went back to the racetrack the next morning with the families permission and left them to tend to the parents.  It was WAY THEIR TURN. (they stayed in bed the last time when Kevin's mom nearly died at the house and in the ambulance)  Yeah, the s-i-l went and stayed the day at the hospital while he stayed home and did nothing.  Again: W.T.A.F.  He had one job and sent his wife to do it.

Oh, and this is the same hospital that very nearly killed our nephew.  We watched that boy steel his spine and work through his own stuff that day, in addition to being there for his grandpa, without a word.  Seeing nurses who cared for him, walking the halls he walked, all of it.  He's the opposite of his father though and I have to express gratefulness of his strength and be so proud. He didn't make it about him and that is the shiny side of  this situation.

12 October 2018

Too Short! Too Long!

I rarely buy new clothing.  There's a few reasons:  I'm frugal, I hate shopping, and after years of having free clothing access at a job, I just got out of the habit.  Online clothing shopping can be so disappointing that I just don't usually try.  I'm an immediate gratification kind of person when it comes to clothing. Well, everything really.

Now that I have a different job, I have to think about this clothing thing.  Stuff wears out, gets ruined, or styles go out of fashion or whatever.  I've hit that point in my closet.  If I could just go to work in varying forms of yoga or track pants and hoodies, it will be all good.  But no, sometimes I have to dress like a grown-up.

I've read with interest Swistle's adventures in shopping.  Mostly I'm all What She Said with the issues she talked about and  that I've encountered.

I hate that sizing keeps changing and that it isn't standardized throughout the industry. I know this isn't a new frustration but gah, would someone please fix this?

I have found that with shopping at second-hand shops, the sizing isn't always an issue.  Clothing is often not quite on trend so the sizes aren't so varied.  Sure, there are a few designers/manufacturers that I'm a hard pass on because I know their cuts are wrong for me.

It took me a while to figure this out because I don't usually buy new.  I can grab an extra large at the second hand store and it will fit.  Grab one at a regular store and not so much.  Specifically: Target, I can rarely grab something from them "in my size" and have it fit.  Like "Fat Guy in a Little Coat" doesn't fit.

To sound like an old lady, I could usually count on JC Penney for fitment. (that's usually a car term but I'm using it here.) Also, it's that pleasant time warp whiplash walking in the store. Suddenly, it's 1986 and I'm at the mall!! But both JCPenney stores near me have since closed so that's a bummer.

I tried to buy simple t-shirts from Amazon but even with sizing up, they were too small. And so, so long.  I have the opposite problem as Swistle: these sizes are often too short for her yet too long for me.  I kept them and can report that they make excellent pajamas.  So soft!

Then, on a whim, I went to Old Navy because I remembered that Swistle mentioned the store.  My only experience with this store was from YEARS ago.  I was looking for something specific for one of the kids and they had just opened in my area.  The music was SO LOUD and there were workers scurrying around with headsets, and the place was chock full of stuff and people, and a little messy.  I was so out.  Sensory Overload times three.

This store is smaller, I think, and it was much more chill.  I did find two t-shirts that I adore.  They're also a little long but I think a few washings will take care of  that.  I went back to find if there were any more in a color I didn't hate but not so much.  I'll try again another day.

Oh, and what's with the threadbare, nearly see-through thing?  Ugh, I'm not a fan.  I've noticed that the wally world has that style of fabric also.  Oh, and another example: their sizing is too big usually.  Go figure.  My cynical mind thinks manufacturers equate poor folks to bigger bodies and wealthy ones to smaller ones.

Then that takes me to this and I can't remember if I've ranted about this before.  I am curvy because boobs. Omg, so much boobs.  So while I'm short, I'm curvy.  So it seems in the clothing industry, if you wear anything above a large, it has to be extra long. I mean, I get it but there are short larges in the world.  There is sometimes petite sizing but get this, it's often too short of a cut for my body.

Also if you wear beyond a large, you get to have big, giant DESIGNS on your shirt.  Oh, you're an XL?  here is a mammoth butterfly.   Or a GIRAFFE.  Because you also haven't earned grown-up clothing if you're this size, obvs.   And this boggles my mind: stripes.  Horizontal stripes nonetheless.  And glitter! or sequins! Sometimes all.of.the.things. Don't even get me started with the ruffles and peplums. (And yes, I know what a peplum is.  I watch Project Runway.)  Sigh...deep breath...

So, I've become Oprah when I find something I like: I try to buy many of them when I find them.  I've also become like a former coworker who once stated that her life goal was to come into work dressed in pajamas that you couldn't tell were pajamas.

03 October 2018

Shelter Plants

One of the hobbies that I have purposefully cultivated (ha! gardening pun!) is gardening.  Right now it's just flowers and the such but I do have a food garden idea in my head that I may try next year.  I worry about my attention span when it comes to something like that but my worry about the state of the world is beginning to outgrow that. (ha! another one!)

I should have gardening in my genes, it should come naturally but it doesn't.  My paternal grandfather had a huge garden, full of flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.  My ancestry is full of farmers.  But in the past, I've struggled with keeping things alive.  I mean, I have a husband who has access to any type of soil, compost, or bark that a person can imagine.  This shouldn't be this difficult.

When we bought this house in 1991, it had a very overgrown rock garden.  In fact, we didn't even notice it, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law did.  They were very excited at the time but Kevin and I were "Meh" because it just wasn't important to us. So they took clippings for their gardens and we just kind of let it be.

Now the only thing that still exists from that garden is a giant rhododendron that has been relocated twice, once by excavator.   Now it stands about about ten feet tall and provides a place for the bunnies to escape from Lucy.

When we built the house we live in now, Kevin made friends with the contractor.  Our house sits over an embankment that previously was just grass and trees.  The trees had to be removed due to their hazardous location and we had to do something about drainage because Washington = Rain.

So, Kevin and the contractor came up with a tiered rock garden idea and got it started. The state required us to plant X-amount of native plants to compensate for the new house.  We went to the nursery, handed them the list (that they promptly called bullshit) and they gathered up what we needed.  So that gave us tamarack bushes, rhododendrons, ornamental firs, and junipers.  We buried those and figured that would suffice for now.

Kevin and I disagree with the amount of native ferns that grow. (which can be a lot)  As a result, he and his brake cleaner (a.k.a weed killer) has been banished from the garden.  But again, because Washington, I am constantly battling alder seedlings.  I will spend an entire morning doing nothing but pulling those frustrating little trees.  Kevin brought home super expensive, high quality bark that he makes and guess what alders love?  that bark!  Ugh.

Then I discovered the clearance racks at Freddys (Krogers)    This has been the best thing ever for me.  Once I learned to look for perennials instead of annuals, it was off to the rodeo.  For $3, who cares if it dies?  My inner child also bonds with these plants that have been rejected because  they're not quite good enough.  I always tell them they can come grow at our house.  Like shelter dogs, only plants.

There are also these things call SEEDS that people use!  This is the first year that I tried those and so far the only thing that has grown is larkspur.  (which grows native here, actually)  Maybe some daises but I can't tell if they're weeds or actual flowers.  (short attention span, again)

Which is the other thing.  I have forgotten from year to year what I've planted.  So this is the second summer that something has grown and I have no idea what it is or where it came from.  I'd like to take credit for it but nope, it's the aforementioned attention span.

Lucy is pretty good about the garden.  She does like to dig under the giant hydrangea to be in the shady cool and daisies must be tasty for puppies. Oh, and day lilies are way to fragile to withstand Lucy patrolling the garden every day.  (we call it "walking the wall") She just looks at them and they're all "I'm out."  Otherwise she is very skilled at critter removal in the garden.

Now that I've figured all of this out, I enjoy it.  I do whine about the hour it takes to water during the heat waves but even that forces me to relax. I mean, standing there holding a hose and listening to the birds isn't a bad gig really. I eventually find it therapeutic pulling the weeds, especially when I call them names as I'm doing it.

My father-in-law is now working on a section that we've always left wild.  It's hard clay mostly and steep.  I've started planting things there just to see if it will grow and I've been mostly successful.  But it's hard work because of the soil and elevation.  I told him to do what he wants and I'll be happy with it.  We'll see how that turns out and I figure anything is better than the dandelions that happily grow there now (and everywhere.)

Then I mentioned during family dinner that I was considering doing a container vegetable garden. The whole family suddenly jumped in and I had to rein them back.  "I SAID: CONSIDERING"  Calm down, family.   Also, I figured it would be a hard no from Kevin and he threw me under the bus with his support. What the hell, Kevin?

Now the weather has turned the corner into Fall so it's too late.  I'm off the hook until the Spring then I'll think about it again.

09 September 2018

It Will Be Fine

So, what's been going on around here, you ask?  My email is asking where I've been so that's not a  good sign. As I look at that tab, I see 1,527 unread messages. (I'll write about that in another post)

I've half a dozen unfinished posts in the drafts folder, my eyes are killing me because I'm on the computer so much now, the dog is barking at dragons (probably), Kevin will be coming home soon and I'll have to go outside to water the garden, I need to start laundry and dinner, and all I want to do is take a nap.

Here I sit.

Two days ago I signed a contract to process medical insurance billing for a partner organization of HeadStart.  I'm not sure why.  I don't really want to but here we are.

I'm being the hero for them because they're in a bind.  They're an organization I've always wanted to work for. (like since childhood, for real)  It's extra cha-ching in my account.  It's a good wage, it's super part-time, and it's something I can easily-ish do.  So what's my deal?  I just can't want to.

The director has pursued me literally since I began at HeadStart and wondered why I didn't apply before then.  I didn't because I didn't know they were hiring and I knew the organization was going through a leadership transition and Big Fat No Thank You to doing that again.

I was given a  timeline of September 2018 for a likely hire, which is now but she hired me as a freelance in July.  Then she quit.  (need a boss to quit/be fired? just hire me because it feels like that's my thing)  So, now the board has approved for me to be an actual employee instead of freelancing. So, it's not like this development is a surprise really.

I have yet to sign my HeadStart contract for the second year so there's that.  I'm guaranteed a second year so it's no worries, just annoying. (there's a wage bump attached to the contract)   This time next year could be stressful as we hope that the federal grant continues to fund the position.  Thankfully, the position is data-driven and results oriented so it should be renewed.

The other job could be a fall-back eventually as that organization grows but I've no aspirations toward that. This time last year I would have been all hell-yeah but now I'm all meh.  I'm sure that once I get started and into a rhythm then it will be fine.  It Will Be Fine.

The school year has begun and there was no preamble like last year. Suddenly there is a document dump like nobodies business.   Last year there was a little  grace because the position and me were new but as I'm looking at last year's timelines, I see that isn't happening this year.  No mercy for the former newbie. I need to stop being good at my job, like, seriously.

This is all first world problems, I realize, and I need to drink that glass of Shut Up for sure.  Oh poor me, I have two part-time jobs which is exactly what I've wanted for years. Wah, I got what I wanted. I do feel guilty about whining about it.

It's a be careful what you wish for kind of situation, for sure.  Everything I've wanted has come to fruition, just not in the way or on the timeline that I wanted.  It's one of those situations where when you're In It and you try to reassure yourself that it will be fine but don't quite believe it.  Then eventually it's fine and you hardly even notice.

It Will Be Fine.

02 September 2018

Did Mary Get Married?

One of the coping techniques I've developed when I can't sleep or have night terrors is to re-enact (?I'm not sure that's the word) one of my favorite movies in my head.  My go-to is Pride and Prejudice.  I'll name all the characters and who they end up with and how they got there.  If it's really bad, I'll create a sequel.

I'm puzzled about Mary's fate and that's often where I fall asleep.

Now I've seen the movie a million times.  (the Keira Knightley version)  I've probably noticed too much and interjected my own thoughts into this way too much.

(And this is a deep dive so go watch the movie first if you don't know it.)

When Mr. Collin's is interested in Jane and Lizzy but not Mary, you get a glimpse of her disappointment.  Like Charlotte, she would have been an adequate match for Mr. What Excellent Boiled Potatoes.  She professes what need for men but is disappointed at the ball.  This leads me to believe she struggles with romance or even just people in general.

Once Lydia, then Lizzy, and then Jane leaves, only Mary and Kitty remain.  Now there's not a doubt that Kitty marries.  But does Mary?

This is how I picture the sequel and all the possibilities:

Jane marries and has a crowd of children.  They are insanely happy and the sister goes away because so many children and happiness.

Lizzy marries and I think one child is enough for her.  A quiet, little studious and serious child.

Lydia returns to her parents house with a baby because the horrible Mr. Wickman bails out on her.  I like to think that he's sent to the Colonies or somewhere as punishment and he just doesn't tell her.

And Kitty will fall for a cousin of Mr. Bingley, thus sealing those two families together forever and sending  Lady Katherine to her grave.

Oh, and I like to imagine Lady Katherine's daughter going ON A TEAR once her mother dies.  Traveling, shopping, men!!!

(I TOLD you, I've thought about this A LOT.)

So, where does this leave Mary?  I know the internet kind of answers this question but it leaves me unsatisfied.  And it's much more fun to think about all the options.

Does she stay home and care for her parents and Lydia?  Let's face it: Lydia is never going to grow up and probably can't be bothered with a baby.

Does she marry someone like Mr. Collins?  There is that joke: "I wonder if Mr. Collins has a cousin?"

Does she live with Lizzy and Mr Darcy and become besties with sister Georgianna?  Thus finding a marriage through her?

Or does she live with Jane and Mr. Bingley because of all the children?  does she fall in love with one of the servants while being a defacto nanny for them?

Now I leave this to you: Did Mary get married?  What are your thoughts?

And, have you ever obsessed about something from a book or a movie like this?

18 August 2018

On the Headstone Maybe

Kevin and I always, I mean always, end our calls with “Love you bye”.  His has morphed into one syllable that sounds similar to lullaby.  He can say it in front of people and they’re not quite sure if they heard something mushy or whatever.  Don’t worry, we’re not one of those “No, YOU hang up first” couples.  We are a couple that has seen some shit so we know to say it while we can.

He has a dangerous job so there are jobs he does that he either doesn’t tell me about or tells me about after they are done.  It’s how I don’t eat my hair while he’s at work. 

Sometimes he will call during the day and seemingly have, like, nothing to share.  I find myself being visibly but silently impatient during these conversations.  We’ve all been there; gesturing “What?! Why?” with your hands.  Usually it’s with a parent though.

I assume that sometimes he just needs a break.  His job is a stressful one and he doesn’t always enjoy People.  And people exist at his job and he’s in charge of them.  His lifelong B.f.f. once said “you realize yelling at your staff isn’t cardio, right?”  Not that he yells AT them, he’s just loud in a loud environment.  But when he does lose it, oh it’s a thing of beauty.  It’s a pull up a seat, have some popcorn and soda because shit just got real y’all. 

Anyway, off topic.  It took me YEARS to figure out it’s because he’s nervous or something went sideways and he’s touching base.  YEARS.   Now I try to not want to kill him when he does it.

Anyway, once in a while, he will slip and tell me he’s doing something dangerous ahead of time.  I always say “Be careful. Love you bye.”   He always says “Whatever love you bye.”  It makes me laugh every time. 

Yesterday, it occurred to me that if something ever happens, I am totally going to use that somehow in the memorial. 

25 July 2018

Musical Whiplash

I would say one of the greatest things ever invented, for me personally, is a combination of Amazon Prime Music and the Shazam app.  (this is not an endorsement, just an expression of my undying love.

I've added so much music onto my playlists because I've heard a song during a commercial or television show.  The amount of songs that I've gotten from watching Grey's Anatomy is embarrassing.

I am alone in my office for two weeks this month and it's been glorious.  I can be as loud or as messy as I want and no one cares.  Usually I will listen to music or podcasts using my earbuds.  But right now, I can have my system cranked to eleven.  *contented sigh*

So I put my Amazon music on scramble.  My music ranges from Dean Martin "That's Amore" to Eminem.  So, it can be Mood Swing Radio when I do this.  Sometimes I will have to dive for the skip button because it's not work appropriate music, no matter what. 

Also, I share this list with Kevin so some of his music is included.  Grand Funk, Waylon Jennings, Bryan Adams, Kim Mitchell.  Thanks for killing my vibe, Kev.

Now the thing about continually adding songs on my playlists is then I don't get to listen to everything.  Sure, I try to build individualized lists but that doesn't always capture everything.

Oh, what are my playlists?  Of course I have playlists!  They're kind of basic:

30 Second Dance Party
Comedy (Eddie Izzard, Christopher Titus)
Hip Hop

And just for entertainment sake, here is a small synopsis of this morning's music selection:

We Used to Be Friends - The Dandy Warhols
Truck Got Stuck - Corb Lund
Killburn High Road - Flogging Molly
In My Life -  Les Miserables Soundtrack
Keep on Trying - Poco
California Dreaming - Tupac
Seasons of Love -  Rent Soundtrack
Ring of Fire -  Johnny Cash
Take Me to the River -  Talking Heads
Rumor has it - Adele
Smile  - Uncle Kracker
You Got Another Thing Coming -  Judas Priest
Wicked Game  - Johnnyswim
You Can’t Control It  - Jack Johnson
Storybook Love  - Mark Knopfler
Alive & Kicking  - Simple Minds
Fairytale of New York  - The Pogues
Palace  - Sam Smith
Life in a Northern Town - Little Big Town
The More You Give  - Michael Buble
Somewhere On A Beach -  Dierks Bentley
Why God Made a River - High Valley
Stay  - Rhianna
Don’t Wanna Know - Maroon 5
Next to Me  -  Emile Sande
Shatter Me - Lindsey Stirling featuring Lizzy Hale

Goodbye’s All We Got Left  - Steve Earle
Run, Run Away - Slade 

You see?  It's like Musical Whiplash.  Funny that I specifically mentioned Eminem and Dean Martin, but neither has played this morning.  Evidence that even with best organization, there are still songs that I don't hear.  

And sometimes, the logarithm will decide that all we want to hear is Jack Johnson, Dean Brody, or Blake Shelton.  Or, maybe more likely, I'll have accidentally clicked "add album" when adding songs.

So, maybe this will help you add to your list.  Or inspire you to create one.  In the meanwhile, an example of a song I snagged from a Grey's Anatomy episode:

18 July 2018

Perspective from the Silver Side

In May Kevin and I celebrated our Silver Anniversary  We lived in sin for three years so come October, we'll have been together for a total of 28 years.  This feels like a foregone conclusion to us but we both realize that this is a thing, an accomplishment that many don't achieve.

My mom asked if it felt like the time went really quick or if it felt like 25 years have truly passed.  I had to think about it a little.  It seems like a mixture of both.  In some ways, it feels like a minute.

When I look at the obvious timelines: Kevin's parents retirement, passing of family members and friends, the fact that "the kids" have kids, it really seems overwhelming.

Here's advice and/or perspectives that I would give, the first being is advice doesn't work for everyone because everyone's situation is different.

One crazy person at a time.  If someone is spinning out or having trauma or whatever, the other has to remain sane.  Someone has to be the grown-up.

Nothing is forever. I'm not talking about jobs, houses, and things but yes, those also.  I'm saying  parents, siblings, children.  They will eventually be gone and it's just going to be just the two of you. Everyone else will sort themselves out. In the end: It's going to be just the two of you. 

You are going to become different people throughout your relationship.  The trick is to remember the core of who you are and who you married.  Just because someone has changed doesn't mean everything is over and you can never find your way together again.  This one has a disclaimer however: As Long As The Changes Are Healthy Ones.

Choose your battles.  Decide how important it is that they don't do it the way you would. While annoying, the dishwasher and laundry basket issues aren't important in the big scheme of things, just annoying. Lives are not going to be lost as a result.

You Chose Them.  Remember that they probably had that quality/quirk/whatever that makes you squint when you chose them so now here you are.  Remember that you do things that probably make them annoyed as well.  If you thought it would change as time progressed, well, the joke is on you.

Use your manners.  You still have to say please, thank you, excuse me, bless you, love you.

And finally, this is spoken as a wizened middle-aged lady:  Your life probably isn't going to look like anything you ever pictured and that's okay.

04 June 2018

This Was Not Walkies

Our anniversary was last month.  It's the busiest month in the year for us, with Kevin's birthday, the triplet's birthday, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, usually a race weekend, and our anniversary. 

I did not choose the month of May to be married, Kevin did.  I would have chosen December, which I realize wouldn't be any easier.  The fact that it's now June and I'm just clicking "Publish" tells you all you need to know about the month of May.

This year, the day fell on a Tuesday, which is difficult to work around.  Kevin is working 6/11's (six days a week, 11+ hours a day...fun being boss, right?) so I don't see much of him right now.  So I took an extra long lunch and drove down to his work to have lunch with him.

My one request for our "celebration" is just to be gone for a day. (*hint* no family)  The time for us to be gone for a weekend has kind of left us for a little while and we're going to be racing in a few weekends anyway.  (Number of anniversaries spent at the racetrack?  Probably around ten)

Kevin wanted to take Lucy for a walk.  She's kind of a menace in the car due to poor training (us) and the fact that she has hound in her and has to patrol all.the.things.all.the.time.because.dragons.  Because of this,we don't take her anywhere other than to get coffee and biscuits, five minutes from our house.  That and she has acres to roam at home so going for walkies isn't a priority.

So we got up early (for me) and took off.  Kevin chose the destination and I will quote him again that he wanted to take Lucy "for a walk and to play on the beach."

We totally went hiking.  Not "for a walk" but hiking.

I hadn't been to this park before but he had.  He SWORE he had taken me there before but nope, that was his first wife. (no need for offense, they've been divorced almost thirty years)  It made for some humor, for sure.  

I'm not a fan of surprises, I don't like being unprepared.  If I had known that it was going to be a hike, I would have made accommodations and it would have been better.  Oh, it still would have been a hike and not the promised WALK.  On flat ground, I can walk forever.  I can't run, those days are way gone, but I can walk for miles.  Hiking, well, not as easy.

Because we shouldn't be in charge of our own lives, we started out based on Kevin's memory from thirty years ago.  Thus the hike versus walk.  He said at one point "I don't remember it being this...much..."  Then he did the math and realized that he was probably 25 years old when he last did this "walk".  We laughed and questioned our mortality.

At one point, Kevin asked someone about the terrain of the "walk" ahead of us.  They assured us it was fine. NARRATOR:  "It was not fine."

Access to the last part had a small rock face that took about four-five steps to go up.  I stood there for five minutes before deciding that it was just not a good idea.  Even if I made it up, I would have to be able to go back down upon our return.

I hate to not be able to do something so I am still pouting about it.  We are totally going back.  There was another section that starts out really steep that I didn't even consider so I had to work at not feeling like a failure.  The younger, pre-bionic me wouldn't have thought about it for a second. 

Later, because again: we should not be in charge of our lives, we noticed someone had this thing you might have heard of that's called a MAP.  I felt a little stupid that it didn't occur to us to get a map. We had our phones in our possession for the love of sweet little 8 lb baby jesus.

See that little island in the center/left?  See the light lines of the trail that runs along HWY 20 on the map?  We did most of that.  If we had completed the full circle, it would have been four miles, as it is it looks like we did a little over three miles.

Here's the view:

We had a good time over all.  Lucy was beside herself with all the smells and all the things.  She was exhausted by the time we were done, which rarely happens.

I wasn't as tired or sore as I assumed I would be, which I will take as win.  Kevin did admit to being a little sore so I took some pleasure in that as well.  Now I'm on a mission to not only do those kind of things more but to go back and try again.

And I will be a little more inquisitive when Kevin says "Go for a walk."

This Memorial Day...

17 May 2018

It's Like She's Trying to Win a Contest

I have an Office Space level coworker who is unfortunately located right next to me.  Fortunately, she isn't here every day because otherwise this would be unbearable.  However, the small pockets of time that she is is LONG.

Here's a little timeline:

  • Came in muttering
  • Took out breakfast from plastic bags and banging of spoon for what felt like ten minutes
  • More muttering
  • Wadding up paper while throwing it away
  • Oh good, the phone.  This probably is inferred but she is also a loud talker.
  • This person is an ice and gum chewer and a lick/scrape every possible bit of yogurt from a cup kind of person. 
Usually I have music playing but I didn’t start it today because I am leaving soon. This both amplifies and yet quiets her.  However, she will usually sing along to the music even though I have it on barely audible to anyone but me.  (I’ve tested, and asked, to make sure)

  • Oh, the yogurt scraping has begun. 
  • Moved onto apple slices in a plastic bag
  • Sad, tiny little angel baby came in with a teacher and she never even acknowledged them.  They were directly behind her.  Who ignores sad tiny humans!?!?
  • Muttering again…
  • Oh, I almost missed mentioning the haptic sound of her phone when she apparently sends novella sized texts
This isn’t happening now but will most assuredly happen:
She prescreens webinars for staff.  With.The.Speakers.On so all of us can hear it.  It’s usually birth-to-five based so imagine jenky-happy music and kids giggling.  Not disconcerting at all.

Why doesn’t she wear headphones, you ask?  Sometimes she does but then…because there’s always a But Then…she has a tendency to dialogue with the webinar or sing along or and I’m sooo not kidding: clap her hands.  It’s like the headphones forces the other parts of her body to be louder.

And the fact. FACT, I say, that every food she eats is wrapped in plastic and crinkly wrapping that apparently takes escape room level timing and skills to unwrap. (imagine opening candy in a quiet theatre)  Oh, and the fast food soda cups...sigh. She is not only an ice chewer but a slurper as well; accompanied by the ever soothing sound of the straw scraping against plastic.

In case you worry that I might be melodramatic, I must also mention the day that she was listening to music through her headphones and shall I say so were we.  It was so loud.  BUT THEN and I swear to gawd this is true: she began to sing The Backup Vocals.  The "Ooh" and the "Aahhs" and Whoaaasss" parts. 

Which then brings us to the slinky.  Yes, there is a slinky. Of course there is a slinky.

It was suggested to her to use a slinky (and we hate that person) when she feels herself stressed and/or overwhelmed.  One day, when she was unfortunately here all day, the slinky was employed throughout the day.

Oh, and most of the time during all this: I have earbuds in.  I can still hear her over the earbuds.

The slinky makes us all mental and this is where I realized I forgot to tell you that human is a mentor/instructor for the staff.  One would think self-awareness would be a required qualification, but what do I know.  I’m a data geek.

Anyway. The got.dammed slinky.
She begins to shhhlink….shhhlink…shhhlink.
This is not enough for our protagonist. 
She then stands and paces/circles in her cublicle.  12 foot square space at the most.
Shhhlink…. Shhhlink… shhhlink… shhhlink
Now add humming.  Shhhlink hmmmmm  shhhlink hmmmmmm
She begins to pace the entire office.  There are ten cubicles in this room.  Paces the entire office.
Shhhlink hmmmmm  shhhlink hmmmmmm Shhhlink Shhhlink Shhhlink

Then there is a decision made that it must be shared with the entire building. Out she goes, and down the hallway where you can still hear Shhhlink Shhhlink Shhhlink Shhhlink

This generated a very special sticky note:

Now I recognize that I have my own issues, I'm an alphabet soup of issues. I am far from perfect.  I realize this all could be overly noticeable by me just because of said issues.  

Until the slinky story.   The slinky story squashes any contrary argument.

It's like she's trying to win a contest.

13 May 2018

For the Not the Moms

Having been raised by wolves, as I've regularly described my childhood, other women stepped up to make sure that I was parented when my parents couldn't or didn't know any better.

As a very young kid, it was my mom's best friend.  As I was a trauma birth, she was the one who cared for me the first month plus of my life.  In fact, she made sure I was taken care of the first part of my young life. She sees me as the daughter she never had. 

My paternal grandma helped too while she was alive.  She died when I was five, but I still remember her babysitting and making sure that I was spoiled and had what I needed.

During grade school, my mom became a volunteer firefighter with a group of stay-at-home moms.  Those women also stepped up and made sure I was okay over the years. 

Mostly I remember my high school best friend's moms.  At sixteen/seventeen, I was working, going to school, paying bills, and driving.  I was an adult mostly but I still felt their watchful eyes on me. They made sure I got home, school, or to work on time, had what I needed, fed me, answered my questions.  Parented me when I needed it. 

So, today I'm giving a shout out to those moms who take care of kids who aren't theirs.  Not the foster moms or the step moms.  The moms who just take in the friends of your kids without a thought.  You might not think they notice but they do.  You  may think it's nothing or a little thing but it's not.

I appreciate every meal, every hug, every correction, every thing they did to step up and fill the gaps.