Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cracked Under Pressure

Wendy had a cigarette today.  
There. I said it.
The world knows.  

It's not a fail, as long as I don't start all over again.  It was awful. It tastes bad.  It burned my throat. I coughed and hacked my way through it.  And as much as I wanted to just pitch the stupid thing out the window, I had that stubborn mom voice in my brain going
"oh no you don't.  You wanted it, you smoke it.  You paid for that and you're not gonna waste it.  It stinks, doesn't it.  You should have thought of that before you cracked."

Did I feel suddenly and overwhelmingly free of stress?  No. 
But it definitely did make a difference.  I was angry and frustrated.  I was feeling crappy and weak.  I was also extremely edgy because I was having this massive craving attack, and I was overwhelmed at home.  I left for a break.  Grabbed my book and a notebook and pen.  Jumped in the van and left, with NO kids and NO definite direction. 
By that point it was a short discussion in my brain.  "You're already miserable.  Just go get it over with."  So I did.  I stopped at the corner store and bought smokes.  Something I did a thousand times before, but just didn't feel the same.
Yes, almost immediately I started to feel better. Like the weight was drained off my shoulders.  The need to kick something faded away.  I was able to stop clenching (teeth and fists).

I also felt pretty stupid, too. That first drag, no .. actually the first taste of it as I held it in my lips before I even lit it.. was so very missed.  And up until the second my throat started to burn, it was fantastic.

Do I want to go back to being a smoker? NO.  Am I glad that I cracked?  Well, kind of.  I needed that moment of "wow.  What am I doing?" to remind me why I quit.

And like a big girl, I came home and told the trucker.  "I had a cigarette. It was awful.  I'm sorry, I wish I could be as strong as you."  And he said "Strong as me?  I couldn't do that.  If I had one, I'd be back to smoking all the time. You have amazing willpower."

All done.  

Move on.

I am an ex-smoker.  
And I WILL stay that way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another New Golf Club... Thanks, Dear...

Mothers Day is coming soon.  The trucker has already mentioned it a few times.  This is a day that should be for me, all about mommy, right?  I've seen the successful magical moves by the trucker to somehow make fathers day happen on mothers day.  
It's pretty amazing.  

A few years ago, I recieved a BRAND NEW CHIPPER!! Let me be clear.  I DO like golf, but I only go once a year. Maybe twice if the stars line up right and babysitters work out.  I had a set of hand me down clubs that I used for a while, until I was given a new set of ladies clubs that could improve my game.  Be real.  You know what will improve my game?  
Going more than once a year.

My new chipper... well, it was borrowed before I got to try it.  Since I couldn't go and the Trucker needed it.  And if I am brutally honest, I don't think it has ever resided in MY bag.

One year, Mothers day was an excuse used to justify an ATV purchase.  Have I told you how I feel about riding ATV's? Seriously... and now he denies it, too.  That particular unit is Macboy's.  Yep, crappy mothers day present... and then he was an indian giver on top of it all. 

So for anyone who wants to know.... 

Yes.  I would enjoy a massage at a day spa.  Sure you WILL find sales for mothers day flowers and I will accept them.  But the best gifts are the ones the kids make me anyway.  

I do understand that you are trying.  I should be lucky that you remember your own mother, let alone help the kids remember me.  I understand that you deserve a little help too. So here you go.

Busy Mama's Top 5 Mother's Day Gifts

1) A full night of sleep, YOU take the baby monitor.  (I'll even sleep in the guest room if I have to!)

2) A chance to use the bathroom with the door closed, locked and without someone standing outside the door calling me. (This might have to be at someone else's house.... we'll talk more later)

3) Someone ELSE to do the dishes.  Anyone. And I don't care if they even get put in the wrong cupboards.  I just don't want to do them.  (Don't put them away randomly on purpose.  I'm a mom, I can tell.)

4)  Sleep in time.  I will get my own breakfast.  I don't need breakfast in bed. Just let me sleep until I am ready to get up! (You WILL have to get up before me.  The kids need breakfast!!)

5) A Mute button.  If life had a mute button, I would be in heaven.  Or, maybe not even that extreme... a PAUSE button.  (Do not think you can substitute the Staples Easy Button.... I know we already own one and you are NOT regifting.  I think I bought it in the first place!!)

There you have it.  Not rocket science here. I'm pretty easy to please.  I don't want your money or gifts... I want to see you WORK.
But since I know you better than anyone else.... I'll try to find a babysitter at least one extra time this summer so I can try out my new putter/driver/hybrid... whatever the case may be.  But remember, when I finally get out often enough and I maybe even beat you once.....


Friday, April 22, 2011

Shoulda Let Her Play In The Mud

I was stressing like crazy, running late for the school dismissal.  Went to the grocery store for steak, but they had no decent T-Bones today so I headed over to the next store.  I found what I needed, but I had less than 10 minutes to get to school.

There was an event at the school this afternoon, so parking was yucky, I was a long way back.  I don't know how the switch got flipped, but as soon as I heard the bell, I just slowed down.  I got Angel Baby out of her seat and we just walked slowly.  I didn't go in, I just sat on the bench out front and waited.  My monkey boy - Art - ran off to play with his friend in the climbing tree. I was asked to come into the school for a few minutes by Macboys teacher, we need to discuss plagiarism.

I explained to Macboy, that if I wrote something here, and someone else took it and called it their own, and all the readers went to THAT website.... We wouldn't have reasons to have cake anymore.

Not sure the teachers are thrilled with this explanation.... But it came with a better discussion all around.  Lesson learned, homework for the long weekend, carry on.

Leaving the school was hard.  Everyone wanted to play.  Running up and down the ramp, up and down the stairs, to the climbing tree...
Art and Angel Baby took the inside of the fence by the parking lot and Macboy and I walked on the sidewalk.

Until I saw the puddle.

It is more than a foot deep in the lowest part of it.  It is wider than the exit and more than a car length long. It is the source of the splatter on Art's back after a bike ride. And she was headed straight to it. 

It was a scene from a movie... Slow motion, scrambling, running, screaming "NOOOOoooooooo.... catch her, catch HER!!!" Just made it, scooped her up just as her toes hit the edge of the water.

Now, she's screaming instead, I'm off balance, trying to juggle her and my purse and my coffee and not fall into the puddle myself.
Phew... made it.  I got through that moment. Shifted her weight on my hip, holding my coffee with my teeth (if you know me, I'm sure you can just picture that)  finally got my footing steady.  Turned around stepped toward the van and


(Not So) Angel Baby decides she's not ready to go and throws her arms out to stop me from putting her in the van.  One arm, straight out, straight UP, into the bottom of the cup of coffee I'm holding with my teeth, next to the mud puddle, in the teachers parking lot.

No defence.  There was absolutely NO way to stop what happened. Coffee sure flies out of that little square cut out in a timmies lid.  Straight up your nose at high speed too, if you are dumb enough to hold your cup with your teeth while you are holding a toddler.

So, there it is.... I have to step quickly through the monster puddle to get her to the other side of it, so I can set her down and start blowing the coffee back OUT of my nose... And I lost it, totally and completely lost my marbles.  Laughing hysterically, in the puddle covered in coffee.

I struggle my way through this, getting her snapped into her seat in the van, which she did NOT enjoy, boys are complaining of headaches since she's screaming in the van.  I checked all the seat belts, locked the doors and started walking!  Away from the van, straight ahead of it, still laughing.... I didn't get too far before I heard the "HEY NOOOO!!!" from Art.

I did get in the van, I did drive home.  They DID stop complaining and whining.
I still can't get the coffee smell to go away....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fool Proof Plans (or Planning By Fools?)

It is so much easier to get a big job done if you do some really good planning before you start. Some very successful organization can make work flow so incredibly smooth that it seems completely natural.

A day's accomplishments can be greatly increased by good planning.  Money can be saved with good planning.  You plan your errands well, then head out in a very direct route to get everything you need, you save gas, you save time and you probably know where the sales are so you save on your purchases too.

Simple changes can make a world of difference.  I used to use cloth diapers.  By planning out my day so well, I eventually figured out that it was most effective to wash diapers after the baby went to bed, instead of in the morning.  If for some reason I was running low, they would ALL be clean for the morning.  I could hang them to air dry instead of using the dryer, which was good for the environment and good for the baby's bottom too.  Planning well saved me money there too.


Planning takes time.  And it can be addictive.  One good plan, followed through on, gives you the desire to plan well again, and again...
and then....
Suddenly, you realize that you have spent more time planning out how to do a job than you would have spent

I have been known to spend so much time looking at the calendar, planning my day, that my mother has cleaned the entire main floor of our house around me.  Seriously.  I have regularly spent more time planning my kids meals, than feeding myself.
I have spent money on multiple calendars or 'systems' to help me get on track, when all I accomplished was having a lot of little bits of information in a lot of random places!!  Surely, the best plan is to just get up and DO SOMETHING.  Pick anything.  Every single little thing I do now, is something I don't have to do later.

Now this planning addiction has gone so far as to leave me wide eyed at midnight on more than one occasion, thinking about which calendar was working best, which one I need to update.... Or should I just have a spreadsheet or ongoing task list.... A master list... With everything on it.... Now, I'm losing sleep over planning how to best do my planning....
And priorities?  Well, those can change easily too!  Just because I think I should check emails first, doesn't mean I HAVE TO.  What if I get up in the morning, turn on the computer, go to fill my coffee cup and dump it on the floor?  Instead of getting through my emails first, now I have to wash the floor!  I could just wipe the spot where I spilled but if washing the floors is on my list for the day (or week) I can just do it now.

You know what the best plan is?  Deal with things as they come.

When do I wash the floor?  When it needs it.  How often do I vacuum?  About once a week.... depending on how it looks.  Laundry?  Almost everyday, I figure out who needs what and wash it.  Most things in life are pretty obvious when they are in need of attention.  Houses, vehicles, children...even spouses.  Attend to the things that need attention. 

This is life, right here.  Right NOW... If you blink you will miss it.  So I am putting away my lists.  I am putting away the million extra calendars.  Me and my purple pen are just going to enjoy the day, following advice from Gretchen in the happiness project
"Do what ought to be done."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ever Had One Of Those Days?

So entirely BEYOND tired, it's just not funny.  I just checked.  I have a half cup of cold coffee from home that I poured this morning and forgot about.  I went to do some errands this morning and stopped for a Timmies.  Picked up Macboy for lunch, came home, drove him back, headed to the next store... left the timmies at home!

I am now about half way through a coffee from Second cup.  It was that kind of day where I was ready to just go buy some cigarettes, but I decided that a White Mocha Latte would have to fill the void.  Sure it might be fattening, and yes, it is expensive BUT it is still better than going back to that stinky filthy habit!

Angel Baby is anything but an angel today.  I decided to let her walk through the store with me. Most days she is really good.  But today she just kept wanting to go the opposite way.  I knew I was in no rush, so at first I just wandered where she was going.  But after a while, I had to get my things and get going.  She kept laying down on the floor.  At least these temper tantrums were silent protests.

Temper Tantrum Smiley Smilie Smileys Smilies Animated Animation Animations Gif GifsUntil we got outside, that is.  Ever had a child go stiff as a board when you are trying to put them in a car seat?  She's screaming at the top of her lungs the whole time "OW- EEE OWWW EEEE!! MOMMY!!!"  I'm getting nothing but dirty looks from everyone around me, too.

Half way home, I realize that the mirror on my passenger side is folded in.  There was a truck pulling out of the stall beside me when I came out of the store.  I THOUGHT he looked pretty close!!! jerk.  At least it just folded in, and the only thing that scratched was the dirt I haven't had time to wash off.

Back at home, Angel Baby pitches the ultimate tantrum.  Screaming at me, dropped herself down like a rag doll, RIGHT in the MUD in the front yard.  Got her in the house and she started pulling coats off the hooks and throwing shoes.  She is now in her room.  I hope she has a bit of a nap.  I wish I could too!

How can a two year old have so much control over my day???

Sunday, April 17, 2011

If I Knew How To Barbeque That Well....

I wonder... 

What a crazy weekend.  I am glad I was able to start it on a peaceful note. I found my groove again, it turns out it was right next to the rut I was in.  The busy days are always the best and the worst of the week.  

We had our busy birthday party this week, which was fabulous, but I learned a big lesson in it.  I will go back to all my parties at home.  My darling trucker... he's just not so good for things like this.  He means well, I'm sure, but I think he forgets which side of the party he is on.  He is often just as excited as the kids are and when I'm doing a head count (which I do about a thousand times because I'm Paranoid)  I end up counting him too! 

Of course, if I can find him!

In the old days, before I had kids of my own, birthday parties were equally stressful.  I tried to be helpful to my sister in law for her kids parties.  Back then, it wasn't about wishing we were kids again, it was more like we still WERE.  We would go out partying it up the night before and all of us would be struggling through the morning, completely hung over. The men were only found in the washroom, if they got out of bed at all before noon.

For parties at home, I have usually spent a few weeks beforehand researching games, finding pictures, posters, decorations to fit a theme,  searching for the perfect shape cake to add to the event. The night before I get all the decorating done and any food prep I can fit in. The morning of, I get everything finished up, piece together the cake and I have time to have a long shower and a hot cup of coffee before worrying about any guests arriving.  When someone shows up early, I am ready to throw open the door.

I stay in control of the party, calling in help (yelling out orders) as needed.  Normally, by the time we get to cake and presents, the kids haven't had a boring moment.  Having plans means that my house isn't destroyed in the process of kids playing, too.

For the trucker the night before, I will remind him again that he is not to make plans for the afternoon.  I will remind him what time the party is and what time I expect him to be HERE and be READY.  In the morning, he will almost always have somewhere he just HAS to go. He will offer to do my last minute shopping, but be too late getting back for me, so he gets off the hook for errands.  This time, all I needed was tape so I could attach the last few balloons to the walls.  I got it not more than 30 minutes before the party.

More than once at our event, I had to search for him.  There was a perfect one to one adult/child balance, and yet him and his friend had no children in their care.  
After the party?  Oh, he is SOOOO exhausted and wants to go to bed early.  

Are you kidding me?

Then, Sunday rolls around.  I have birthday cake hangover and a sick baby girl who kept waking me up about every 30-45 minutes all night.  I have a few work tasks to finish up and a big mess of dishes and wrapping paper to clean up.
No offer to help, no "hey hon, why don't you sleep in a bit longer since I went to bed early?" He got up and headed out again!!  

As much as I want to throttle him right now... I will give him this in defense.  He was there for the birthday party.  He didn't send me off on my own.  And today he did go and pick up steaks for dinner.  He cooked dinner and that doesn't happen often.  

Most weekends I live entirely like a single mom, even though I am not one.  I have come to accept that.  There are enough other things that I share as a parent and I do understand that hard long hours of a trucker mean that he tries to make the most of his weekends.

If I could make the steak come out like that myself... 
I'd have to really think about things!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Where Did All The Noise Go?

I am not sure how or when it happened.  Perhaps having the extreme paranoia float through me while I worried about the state of this lump on my foot was a wake up call?  But, somewhere in the past week things around here changed.
And for the better, too!

I found this sense of peace inside my head, a calm, quiet place.  I am constantly surrounded by noise and activity but I found the control that I used to have.  How do I know it's different?  I worked like crazy today, got my laundry folded and put away, did my shopping (Art's birthday just around the corner, he'll be 7!!), spent time outside with the angel baby, I even took care of a sick boy, spent time one on one time with Macboy and then with the trucker.  Then, I checked my emails, did mom's taxes, had some tea.....
It's just been an incredibly efficient day.  Realizing that I accomplished so much so easily and without that constant state of rush or panic, made me feel really good.  

I have been through periods of just living NUMB.  Times where I just can't find the strength inside me to fix what's wrong, and half the time don't even know what's wrong. So I just turn into Robo-Mommy.  I do the bare minimum, all the time, and rather than care either way, I just go numb.  Opinion-less.  I don't want to fight with someone else to do what needs to get done, but I don't do any of it with love.  I function mechanically, like a well programmed machine, and then when the numb effect wears off, I am wasted.

Once feeling starts to come back in, it is usually anger first.  If Depression was Alcohol, Anger would be my favorite drink.  I get mad at those who are not helping. I get mad at the person who's in my way (usually because they are trying to help) I get mad that the more I do, the more they expect. 
This is usually when the 
"If things don't start changing around here...."   
lines start to come out of my mouth.  And you know the worst part?  After this dose of anger, I end up with the hangover.  Angry with myself.  In shock that I even wasted my own breath to say such pointless or mean things.  Really, my 6 year old won't die if his underwear is on the floor beside the hamper.  And if I pick it up, it's because it bugs me.  I CAN leave it until the next time I do laundry!!
For what seems like months, I have been stuck in this cycle between angry and numb.  It seemed like something was just holding me under.  I could reach the surface. I could get my hands above water, but not my head.  I would get tired of being so angry. Then I'd just get tired.  Then I wouldn't get anything done, and I'd feel worse.  Then I'd get angrier. So I'd stop feeling.  Go Numb.  
Like shutting down the power and turning on the auto pilot.

I talked to a lot of people, I had fun times, I laughed, I played.  But the end of every day, I felt spent.  I couldn't sleep and if I did I was filled with twisted nightmarish dreams.  It was simply exhausting.  I was chasing my tail.

Then something changed. 

I really don't know what.  I just clued in today, but I have been running well for almost a week.  My laundry is caught up, my work hours are good for this week and it's only Monday.  Meals have been home cooked.  House is clean.  Nothing is getting forgotten in a child's backpack for school. We even have time in the morning for me to sit with the boys at breakfast.  This is new. 

I dropped a few small items off my to-do list. Some intentionally and some just sort of fell off.  But apparently those few items were a huge stress factor in my life?  I don't think that was it.

Maybe, I finally started listening to my own advice?  Maybe I stopped stressing about other peoples issues? Maybe, just maybe, sitting down and playing with dollies while the angel baby is trying to go potty, is saving my sanity?

I was forced to slow down.  To take time.  I was FORCED to enjoy every second.  No matter what I think or wish I had.... this is what I HAVE.  Stopping to play with angel baby, so that she'll stay on the potty long enough to go, means that I can't check emails, I can't start dinner, I can't pick up toys, I can't talk on the phone.  

I have to be MOMMY. And I have to PLAY.
And I know that more than anything else, 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Know What You're Thinking. You Think I'm Paranoid!

Life is one big conspiracy!

Okay, no, not that type of paranoia.  But I do suffer regularly from bouts of paranoia.  After my second child was born I dove into the deepest depression I had ever known.  A good friend of mine at the time pushed me into an appointment with her mom group for Post Partum Depression.  I had no idea I was 'depressed.'  I took offense afterward when people would say things like "I didn't know you were sad."  or "You could have called me..."  See, for me depression never included crying or being sad.
I was angry.  Always angry. Everything was unfair. And I was tired.  Oh, so very tired. I lived in a zombie like state for a few months, barely functioning any more than absolutely necessary.  In my opinion I was not depressed, just shortchanged.  Short on sleep, short on help, short on everything.
Depression is another story for another day.  I've got lots to say on that topic!

One of the things I learned about myself during this group is that I am a catastrophizer.  I am apt to turn that molehill into a mountain, at least in my brain, and rational thinking need not apply.  At the time I was in the group, my ability to see the worst case scenario always paralyzed me.  I could not push past it and I lived in near constant fear of the 'inevitable.'  

One example, still troubles me occasionally, comes with ATV's.  We are an ATV family.  I am incredibly proud of the way the trucker teaches my boys about responsibility and safe riding. I am thrilled that they are not allowed on any machine without helmets.  He is very careful to train them well as he knows that one small mistake can be deadly.  He is convinced that once I get comfortable driving one, I will be an addict.  But I can't ride with him.  I wouldn't want to ride with anyone else, but I can't ride with him.

The mere thought of it brings spiraling emotions about the worst case scenario.  Both of us riding at the same time, means that if something happens, it happens to us BOTH, which means that my children could end up with NO parents, which means I should have updated that will... My kids would have to move, they'd have to change schools, they'd be miserable.  The baby girl would forget us, they could end up mean bitter people......
It's easy to wind yourself up.  
Hard to unwind.  
I understand that the likelyhood of this happening is extremely small.  I understand that he is a good safe driver.  I understand that it is not a good idea to live in fear of .... life...
However, in this situation, I give in and let the fear take over. And I don't care.  I don't really have an interest in ATVs, I don't want to learn, I don't need to 'live on the edge.'  I am happy to let them go as 'boys' for an afternoon. They wouldn't have fun if I was there watching and worrying either. 

This week, I found a lump on my foot.  
I have been having problems with my calf on the same leg recently and I was kind of worried that whatever it was, has moved.  I think if it is related, this could be bad.  I had no end of nightmares all week as I wait for my appointment with my doctor.  I called Tuesday morning, can't get in until Thursday afternoon. (I have a story about finding family doctors coming too) The day of my appointment felt like eternity. Minutes felt like hours.  I just wanted to get there and get this over with.  I had thoughts about cancer or blot clots and more.  I was dreaming about surgeries and other treatments.  I have been agitated constantly and since it hurts every time I step the wrong way, I am constantly reminded of it too.
There is no break from it.

Even if it was worst case scenario, this just showed up Monday, you can't say I didn't catch it quick.  But I have contemplated every angle, just in case.  Will I need to change work, take time off, will I have to have help, if there were surgery I would need more help with kids, I can't lift the angel baby when I can't put much weight on that foot.What if it is connected??  What if it's cancer or something and it started somewhere else?  What if I'm already too late?  What if the pain in my leg was the warning to get looked at and I didn't listen and now it's moved farther?
What IF???

So, I visit the doctor.  Wait a long and painful hour in the waiting room.  Wait another 20 minutes in the exam room.  Finally she comes in.  We discuss my concerns.  She checks me out.  Sends me for an X-ray.
Guess What?
It's a minor cyst on my foot, caused solely by irritation. Probably bad shoes.  Completely UNRELATED to the pain in my leg.  Which is a tear in a muscle.  Caused by not stretching properly when I started exercising more to reverse the weight gain from not smoking.
"Congrats on not smoking!"  She says.

Bad News?  The bump on my foot could take a long time to go away.
Good news? Nothing major. It WILL go away.  I don't need surgery.  I don't even need medication.
Prescription?  Anti-inflammatory gel. Occasional Ibuprofen. Patience.  New SHOES.

Paranoia sucks.  Worst Case Thinking sucks.  
But on the bright side, I've always got a plan for WHATEVER might happen!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just Letting Go

Sometimes, you have to just step back and wait.  Good things come to those who wait, right?  I sure hope so.

Again, I am frustrated.  I am frustrated by the persuasive nature of those who choose the less pretty lifestyles outlined in History Repeats Itself. I hate to accept that I can't stop those who allow excuses to continue.  I am frustrated that so many deserved slaps upside the head can not be delivered.

I am frustrated knowing that I can help you open your eyes, 
but you STILL won't see what I do.

Making a choice to be the bigger person doesn't mean bowing down and saying you are right when you are not.  And if I were to feel like I have 'lost' then that would be your perfect scenario.  Some people like to play games.  But instead, I feel sad.  Like I had the chance to make a difference and I failed.  I didn't play the game, I tried to expose it.  And it bit me.


I have my choice to live my life right.  I make my choices everyday to improve my life.  I choose to be happy and safe. To be a good role model to my children as much as I possibly can.  I also have the choice to let go and walk away from a bad situation before it drags me down with it.

Surround yourself with negativity and you will swim in it.  
I won't. 
I will stay with the positive influences and let go. 

I have said many things that needed to be said. I have made a lot of people mad. But I also know that most people don't get that mad if you're just blowing smoke.  They will accept that you are full of it and laugh you off.  If you touch a nerve, strike too close to the truth, it hurts.  It's happened to me before, I know. 

You can ignore a liar, you can't ignore the truth.

Stepping Back, Letting Go, is high up in the list of the most difficult things to do in life.  Whether it is a friend or a family member. Your mother or your child.  It is hard to watch when someone you loves chooses not to see. It's not your fault, it's not your place, it's not your job.... you have to let them go. And with them, let the stress go.

I wish you luck, I wish you love, I wish you happiness
And most of all....
I hope you prove me wrong