Category: Family & Friends

From spouses to spit-up

The Bliss of Days Off

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Image Source: Cheryl McCain Photography

I’m in that place where I”m so thankful Mr. Brickie is working and I’m beyond thankful and happy he’s working a boatload of overtime every week for the forseeable future.

It has been a kind of crazy transition around here a we all try to find our place in this new world with (seemingly) no end.

But it’s Saturday evening and that means a night where we an all relax because he doesn’t have to go to work in the morning. The one day of the week I don’t have to set my alarm for 4:30am to make sure he’s up for work because you can never have too many redundancy alarms!

I have the makings for biscuits and gravy (from scratch, natch <– I kill me, lol) that I’m going to make in the morning and I have the fixins for lasagna for dinner and we are going to light a fire in the backyard tomorrow night and roast marshmallows. Let’s be honest, lunch will probably be peanut butter and jelly. I have my domestic limits. 

Sundays are the family’s day to recharge and reconnect. To enjoy each other’s company instead of marking time waiting for daddy to get home. I know we will get used to him being gone and our everyday play and coloring and video games and reading won’t always be passing time until he gets home but that’s what it is now, and I just want to honor that he is such a solid part of our lives as both a husband and father that it takes us weeks to transition from him being off for the winter to him being gone so much.

We miss him. He misses us. When we all finally see each other we’re worn out and tired. Everyone wants to just be done for the day.

Tomorrow – I hope – will be amazing and calm. Tonight we are going out to dinner with a birthday gift I’ve been holding on to. You guessed it, it’s a restaurant gift card! The girls will be out of the house and having a fancy dining experience and I can sit next to my husband at a table no where near a screen where he won’t be looking at his phone to try and catch up on everything he missed while he was working.

I’m really looking forward to it.

For now? I have to make sure they put away their clothes so we can actually get out of the house and get on with our wonderful night!

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Stupid Mistakes I Made In The Last 24 Hours

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Surprise! This isn’t a list post. There are really only two dumb things I did yesterday.

1. I posted my mess on Facebook. Everyone knows when you’re freaking out you get off social media. Right? I know. The problem is the only time I truly crave being noticed is when I’m basically crying out for help because something has gone wrong in my brain.

2. I picked the wrong person for support. In the middle of freaking out I talked to someone and made a bad “let’s email a stranger” decision. I take full responsibility for the decision and my actions. That the person I talked to gave me the information while I was in that state, I guess, shows she isn’t in a place right now where she can be considered a person who will keep me safe when I cannot keep myself safe. It is pretty well known among my people and readers I do stupid things for the sake of reaching out and connection when I am in that place. I do not blame her. I am not mad at her. I can’t trust her when I am vulnerable and that is a fact with no value judgment attached.

Really, in the big, huge, wide world of stupid mistakes mine are small infractions. I am a little embarrassed about the posts and I want to crawl under a rock because I totally emailed some poor, unsuspecting person, but I wasn’t dancing on a bar and I kept all my clothes on and a bunch of other COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE things are running through my head on a loop as a reminder of what I could have done but did not.

But I still basically feel like this right now:

The Reason Might Be More Than Just the Foreclosure

I’ve been worried the foreclosure would go through before the loan modification for almost a year now. It has been a familiar daily thought. I have the budget so closely controlled and I save as much as I can when I can and I’m even in the middle of a copywriting project right now because we are all doing what we can. (On a side-note, I can’t wait to show you the project. It’s cute tag lines on packaging. It’s so perfect for me.)

There is such a sense of relief that we are not in limbo anymore. It’s a strange, backhanded kind of relief, but in its way it is better than stagnation.

There is also relief in Mr. Brickie working overtime and giving me the opportunity to save money every. single. week. toward Christmas and school supplies and the girls who desperately want a birthday party this year and I’m tired of saying no to everything. Saving toward moving expenses and not having to spend the tax return next year on anything and getting it in a savings account, again, for moving expenses.

We are finally on the upswing. The problem is when you fall down a deep valley the falling is easy. You hit bottom? That’s like a low-lying plateau where nothing happens. The upswing is actually a steep hill. There is more work and more control necessary when you have money to pay the bills. You have more opportunity to make bad choices because you can fund your bad choices. There is a sense of fear in having this money we now have to use properly. Having no money is one problem. Having money and allocating it properly is a whole different situation.

Especially because we don’t actually have enough money and I have to make right decisions now so we will get to the “enough” place faster and without too many extra obstacles. At least no accidents that should have been foreseen or mistakes that cost money. Those all need to be avoided at all costs. Get it? Costs! Har har. *groan*

All that to say I believe I’ve just kept a lid on my emotions here in survival mode so long that when the pressure was relieved and the top came off it was more like the cork from a shaken champagne bottle than the gentle pop of the top of a jelly lid. It was a release of so many emotions all at once. Fear, shame, forced calm, control, dedication, and all those other grownup emotions that keep you feeling still and safe in the middle of a snake pit.

How I Will Move Forward?

First, I will hope that the person I emailed just deletes the email. Really. So embarrassing. I’ve tried to think of ways to send a follow up email to cancel out the original email but that just seems like a really poor idea. You don’t fix a dumb thing by putting more dumb on top, right? I’m just going to hope that goes away.

Second, I need to get off social media and walk away from the computer. I will still write on the computer (I would write by hand but my hand cramps after less than a page. It’s always been that way) and by write I mean both blogging and non-blogging type. A social media vacation will let me step back and get some perspective on how I share, how much, and where.

Third, I need to get my house in order. I don’t mean the normal stuff. My dishes and laundry are kept up and the floor is swept daily…I mean the more detailed stuff. Organizing and downsizing, I guess is what I mean. Either store it, organize it so it’s easy to move, or get rid of it. Everything just needs to make sense as a thing we choose to have in our home. I’ll keep my paintings and elephants and giraffes and my much-loved Anubis statue of course. But I have about 20 tote bags. I don’t mean the cloth shopping bags, I mean legit tote bags. No one needs that. I probably could use to go through my clothes again and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

By the time we move I want to have everything that’s going to be stored in a storage space and the rest moved in one or two Uhaul trips. I do not want a long, drawn-out moving process if I can avoid it even a little bit. I want to know when we move it’s the simplest transition I could have possibly made.

So I’m moving forward, double checking next week’s numbers against my priority budget list and we’ll keep on keepin’ on.

Oh, and I found out yesterday Gertie is a rooster. So now we have to get rid of him or we’ll have a friggin’ hatchery in three months. *sigh* Knowing I’m going to lose another chicken might also be part of my freak-out. I really love my chickens.

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Secret Post of Marital Frustration

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Oh my gosh, Mr. Brickie is going to be the death of me!

We play this video game, right? No problem. It’s something we both do and enjoy. This should not be a problem.

Except it is.

Working 58 hours a week and an hour-ish commute each way means he can only really commit to a “relaxing, fun” game experience. He doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to being competitive. I’m not particularly competitive, either, but I am able to access my computer on and off all day so I am able to get more accomplished.

To compensate, he stays up too late playing the game to get to a point where he’s happy with it.

He’s now gotten to work late TWICE this week. I stop playing and tell him we need to go to bed about an hour before he even thinks about logging off. Then he misses his alarm at 4am, gets up when my alarm goes off and I wake him up at 4:30am, and still somehow, SOMEHOW gets back in bed and falls back to sleep. This morning he was lucky he was only 15 minutes late to work because I woke up with a start at 5:15am and realized it was light outside and he was still in bed.

This transition period of me having to be this grown man’s mother is either going to stop, or I’m going to smother him with a pillow.

If it was just the game, I would consider quitting but I seriously am kind of over the whole, “I’m going to ignore everything in my view that would take two seconds to fix and create 20 more two second problems for you, babe.” attitude that’s been pervasive since he went back to work.

I’m pretty sure all this would be alleviated if he just got more sleep. How do you get a grown man to agree to – and stick to – an appropriate bedtime? 

Any suggestions? (Preferably suggestions that don’t involve the terms “a real man” or “you tell him” because he’s not always like this and is normally a rock star so I don’t plan to go all hair-flipping, finger-snapping, road rage on him. I’m looking for something more subtle/funny/effective/cunning rather than using the brute force of sheer personality to make him hateful-angry enough to wake up on time just to spite me. (Although, let’s be honest, we all know that’s available as a last resort.)

Thank you in advance!

Good Morning Starshine! Peace & Quiet Says Hello…

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One of the side effects of being married to a bricklayer is early mornings.

Sometimes it’s a plus, well, usually it’s a plus. The only time it really backfires is if I went to bed too late or – and this is the worst – if I know I have to wake up early and my brain decides to backfire and wake me up every hour or so to make sure I don’t oversleep.

I haven’t woken up 4:15am-level early for months and months. Probably since (let me look this up in my handy dandy google doc spreadsheet) January 16th. Whew. It’s been a while, huh? That kind of long-term job instabliity is a hard row to hoe. I truly believe that the, “Call me on Wednesday for an address for Friday.” is solid, because that’s how these people do business. The last several times he worked on jobs for this particular company it went the same way. There is a shred of doubt, but no more than any other person would have in the same situation and probably a lot less than some might have.

It’s what I imagine faith feels like. A little difficult, sometimes a lot difficult, but ultimately the only choice in the face of all the others.

In these early mornings there is a much more common side effect. When the world is quiet and my children are asleep and it feels like I’m the only person in the world my mind can just take a break. The neverending chitter-chatter of to-do lists and dinner plans and listening for sounds that are unusual (bumps, falls, yells, arguments, etc.) aren’t part of my day yet. There is this calm that lets me see things in their simplest form. These times reassure me. I know things are going to be okay.

I am not sure what the proper term for it is, but I think of it as a long con. You have short cons or the “short game” where it’s in and out. Easy peasy. This turning of a Titanic-sized life? It takes time and skill and finesse. Also I am constantly reminded of the phrase, “You can’t con an honest man.” Which, in our circumstances, means not to be greedy. We don’t take shortcuts or try and cheat the system. We follow the rules.

This is not a huge departure from where we were but living a life of integrity (our family definition of integrity is doing the right thing regardless of who is watching or what others tell you is right) while trying to change a whole family dynamic and almost ripping the social fabric of our lives in the process? It feels like a mistake a lot of times. Choosing the path that doesn’t lead to the biggest paycheck feels like a mistake almost every day. I do not consume a whole lot of media but social media is almost worse than commercials because at least you know commercials are fake. With social media there are vacations and shopping and trips and parties and all these amazing things going on.

In the clutter of all the noise my choices feel like a mistake. I feel like I’m letting my kids down. When I have late night conversations about decluttering we have to shelve it when we come to the part where we either give away all the clothes that don’t fit or we save them for the youngest. Last night Mr. Brickie said, “There’s no reason to save jeans when we can just get more for a couple bucks a pair.” I cringed. As much as I am the self-proclaimed master of getting fashionable jeans from goodwill it’s still not ideal for all of their clothing to come from there. Again, maybe it is ideal.

Sometimes the most confusing thing is not knowing if you are choosing something because it is a good idea or if you are choosing it becauase you have no other options. The balance between “all the clothes from goodwill” and “some clothes from goodwill” causes a lot of confusion.

I have also decided that hand me downs are also no longer a viable option. I love the offers but it’s so much to sort through I may as well go to the goodwill where it’s all hung up and I can see it at its worst. Mr. Brickie took so many clothes to goodwill last week. He took out the carseats, folded down the seats, and loaded bag after bag until the whole car was full. Even the passenger seat and every bit of floor space. Baby clothes, toddler clothes, everything that didn’t fit. There was even a whole bag of shoes. It was overwhelming but such a relief to let go and know other families would benefit next time they went shopping for something nice for a child to wear to school, to a holiday, to bed.

There is a real fear that I will err on the side of spending a lot more money on clothing if given half a chance. Not for me, I could not care less what I wear besides jeans and a couple pairs of capris or bermuda shorts with my standard Old Navy $6 t-shirt. It’s basically my mom uniform and it’s comfortable and makes me happy.

It’s the kids. I told Mr. Brickie before we ever had kids I would not let them be completely ignorant of fashion. We would help each child determine her individual style (by watching natural preferences, not dictating) and then dress them according to that style to the best of our ability. Big Sister has a preference for jeans and print t-shirts. Middle sister likes a dress now and then. Little Sister loves pretty clothes and skirts with frills.

Obviously Big Sister is easiest to shop for at the goodwill because jeans and print t-shirts that no one else has is their specialty. I have a feeling she’s going to grow up into the kind of woman who loves to shop and wear vintage clothing. She will pull it off beautifully.

If Mr. Brickie starts working on Friday as planned, the magic day where he gets his first raise (barring rain delays, etc.) will be 7/17. That’s when I can bump up the saving plan to a currently unknown amount. I never know how much is going to get taken out in taxes and every time I try and calculate it I fail miserably. I have a ballpark estimate but until it happens I don’t count on it. Well, I kind of do but don’t start planning that zero-based budget around it. I just have a general idea I use to make general plans I can firm up later.

Especially if there is overtime. I have no idea how to calculate that with taxes and whatnot, but overtime money uncertainty is the very best kind of uncertainty. That, however, is nothing more than a star in the sky right now. If he doesn’t get overtime so be it, but it was such a strange thing to hear about and it came from his buddy working the job he will probably be on, so who knows. I would consider him a reliable current source but not someone I would bet my future on. He’s a nice guy but they don’t tell apprentices their future plans, if you know what I mean. (There is a little bit of paranoia sometimes since guys work with different companies. It’s the reason we know Mr. Brickie will be on a job Friday but he won’t get the address until Wednesday or Thursday because, I don’t know, companies don’t give out a lot of excess information unless it’s need-to-know.)

This morning was a great meditative time. I feel like I will be able to easily carry the “It will be okay.” feeling with me through the rest of the day. I’ve already had to have twenty-ish conversations with my girls about tone of voice (they’re all snippy with each other, which kills me because I am careful of my tone with them about 90% of the time) but they’re constantly bickering and yelling and taking sides and fighting. I think they’re cooped up and we need a Daycation soon. (In case you didn’t know a Daycation is when you just go somewhere for the day to get out of the house. It’s the most common kind of vacation for those of us who do not take “real” vacations.)

The chickens are doing great. They have an indoor coop and a roost and their food is hanging and we let them out sometimes and they are big and happy and make far less noise than even I thought they would make. They sound like quiet not-shrill birds with the occasional cluck that seems to bubble up out of nowhere. When that happens you just can’t help but laugh.

I’m working on a post now that I’ll release today or tomorrow with some finance podcasts I’m going to try out and review. I need to move on from Dave R. because I just can’t handle the accusatory tone and the hardness that seems to be much more present now than it used to be. I still love the principles for the most part but can’t wade through the hours of him riling himself up to get to the phone calls, which I felt was the beauty of the show.

Do you know of a finance show (streaming or podcast or whatever) that has people calling in with personal stories that are solved by a host or hosts? Or you could just tell me your favorite finance show. I’ll check it out.

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I Think It’s Okay Now (Work and Hope)

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This morning started out really rough.

The phone rings and I find myself being pulled from dreams of sand and fire and so much violence. It is a relief but my mind barely registers the moments of peace before it switches to practical mode. “Who was that?” I ask my still mostly sleeping husband.

It was the president of the union.

“Why didn’t you answer it?” I ask, even though I know the answer as plan as the pillow on my cheek. “I was asleep.” He says in a tone not unlike one my daughter will use when she is a teen. The defensive whine cuts through the air and I am angry. Angry because I feel like if it were me waiting for a call my brain would be kind enough to wake me up faster, somehow better than his brain did for him.

I go from dreams of war to armchair quarterbacking the unconscious choices of my husband’s brain in less than a minute. Some might call that talent, but I think you and I both know it was a failure. If he had answered the phone groggy it would have made him seem like a slacker. It was 8am and bricklayers are already working, usually by 7:30am at the latest. You should be awake and chipper by 8am.

If only my “just woke up” brain was on board with being a little bit understanding. I mutter to him that he needs to get his feet on the floor and do jumping jacks or something to wake his brain up so he can call back as soon as possible. He looks at me like I’m insane. My natural reaction, of course, is to swing my feet onto the floor and begin making huffing noises as if his behavior just has me at my wit’s end.

Sometimes I’m not super mature. I want to be. I try to be. Mornings are not a good time for me unless I have structure. I do love structured mornings. It’s why I liked when the kids were in school so much. I would wake up a half hour before everyone, have coffee and toast, relax, and then wake them up when it was time. I was awake and smiling. Mornings were bliss.

Now it’s a madhouse.

I find out during the get coffee portion of the morning someone else had called him and left a voicemail while we were both still sound asleep. It was the project manager for the company he worked for last year in the very beginning. It’s a reputable company but one my husband would not say was his first choice in companies due to being moved around a lot last year and not getting a lot of “wall time” as an apprentice.

He didn’t miss a beat, however, and called back right after calling the president. He got voicemail and made an executive decision to drive to the company’s headquarters and see if they needed him to fill out new paperwork for the new year. About halfway to his destination he got a call back. Mr. Brickie informed the project manager that yes he was looking for work but he has training M-Th next week so wouldn’t be available to work until Friday. (This is a known thing in the bricklaying industry and does not reflect badly on Mr. Brickie. Employers understand the training thing, thank goodness.) The project manager said, “No problem. Give me a call Wednesday or Thursday and I’ll give you an address to go to on Friday.”

Did you hear that?

Did you?

My husband will be back to bricklaying next Friday! It would be sooner but he has training. (Training threw a wrench into our lives last year, too. It’s part of the process, I guess.) He’s back.

We’re back.

I’ll have to do some savings calculations and see how little we can live on.

I’ll be able to blog about something other than hope gastanks running on fumes and feeling pathetic every time I say, “Any week now.”

Really, I can’t even tell you how happy I am to know I’ll be able to get back to the nitty gritty of saving and budgeting, which is what I always wanted this blog to be about. Sure there will be some other stuff, but I’ve felt so adrift with my main goal on hold for so long.

I don’t think I will feel a true sense of relief until next Friday when he actually works a full day, but it doesn’t even matter. I just texted him to call and see if our direct deposit information is with the right bank.

There are things I can do to feel part of the process now. Direct deposit forms. Lunch planning. Hydration planning. Getting him out from under my feet so I can organize the house some more.

So many things I’ve been looking forward to. I’m so happy, even though I know until he steps foot on the job site I should be cautious with my feelings, I just can’t help it.

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Why I Stopped Overexplaining and Why You Should Too

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I have several interesting personality quirks. Most of them were created years ago because I felt I was being misunderstood. (Only Trent knows how I feel!)

Now that I am all grown up and making my way through the world at a far slower and quieter pace than I was in my 20’s there are a few things I found were not serving me anymore. Plus I have a friend who kept telling me I needed to stop this one thing and then that therapist I fired mentioned the same thing in the first ten minutes of that first session and I realized they were right. I can be a little slow sometimes.

I finally agreed with my friends and family. I needed to ditch my constant overexplaining.

If you explain things more than is necessary you should drop the habit too. Here’s why.

People Wonder What You Are Trying To Tell Them

If you’re anything like me you overexplain because you want to make sure the other person knows your position and doesn’t accidentally give it a tone or underlying meaning you were not trying to put there. The problem is, the more things you exclude, the more the other person is wondering what you’re really trying to say. Instead of making your point clear, you’re basically convincing the other person you have a hidden meaning they just haven’t figured out yet. It turns a simple statement into a treasure hunt for the other person.

I think this will be the only blog post ever where a Shakespeare quote is appropriate. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The more you say, the more people start to wonder if they should be taking any of it seriously. It’s not a good scene for you or the person you are talking to.

Using more words should not be a go-to for clarity. I have chosen to try and use the right words the first time instead of all the words in stream-of-consciousness style.

It’s Annoying

My great grandmother used to say, “It is easier to be good than to be simple.” If you have to use four paragraphs to explain why you don’t like cats, you are being good at explaining but you are not being simple. It’s okay to not like cats (or dogs, or gerbils, or badgers, or serial killers) and to just say so. Everyone has preferences and yours are probably valid ones. Just go with it.

You Seem Really Stressed

Another side effect of overexplaining is the person you’re doing this to starts to wonder if you think they’re stupid. They may even wonder what you think is wrong with them that you keep going. Worst case they start to think you think they are stupid and can’t understand simple statements without pages of backup explaining. There are no positive side effects to overexplaining. You seem like you can’t find your point and are really stressed about it. You make other people feel stressed. It’s bad news for everyone.

Also, the confused looks you get from people as you are overexplaining may lead you to actually be more stressed because you don’t know if they’re really getting what you’re trying to say. This may lead to further explaining and even more confused looks until you just stop mid sentence and give up. I’ve done this more times than I can count. I felt like I was just talking until there was nothing more to say about my feelings on the subject and then I would just … stop. It was a conversation killer like no other.

I am not a fan of uncomfortable silences I create with my word babble. Sure there are still occasional uncomfortable silences in conversations now – they’re just a natural part of conversation – but knowing I did not cause it to happen makes it much more bearable to smile through those moments.

It’s Not Necessary

My favorite reason to stop explaining everything to death is the sheer pointlessness of the whole mess. At the end of the day, “I don’t like dogs.” and, “I don’t like dogs because one bit me when I was six but I’m sure your dog isn’t like that and honestly maybe I would like dogs and I’m not saying anything about people who do like dogs it’s just not for me but someday maybe because I do love animals and I’d never be against dogs I just am not in a place right now where I would want a dog in my house but I’m sure if it was a dog like yours I might feel differently about it.” are the same thing.

If you say you don’t like dogs and someone assumes you are a dog hating animal abuser? That’s not on you. That’s on them. In fact, I would go so far as to say you will learn more about other people when you stop filling in the silence for them. You will also discover that if you had people in your life that told you to stop overexplaining things that you will be dying inside when they do the same thing. You will want to call them out for it so bad because you will realize that everyone does this a little bit, you were just doing it a little more.

It becomes the word you see for the first time and then see ten times in the next week. It becomes a phenomenon you are above.

You will feel like a communication rock star.

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Catching Up For June (Money, Family, Writing, and Blogging)

will-returnWhen I skip a few days of blogging I think – at first – I’ll get right back to it.

Then things happen I can’t blog about and I think, “How did I ever blog about my life? This stuff can’t be shared!”

All of a sudden it’s been weeks and I vacillate between not being a blogger and diving in and blogging. What tipped me over the edge to be here? Shelley and Evin, of course. They just keep going and sharing and I’m impressed by their tenacity. Unless you’re just taking glossy pictures of your kids and talking about them all the time blogging is difficult. You have to find an angle that people might want to read without sounding completely self-obsessed. You never really know if you are achieving your goal. For all I know I sound completely self-obsessed all the time and not posting pictures and stories about my children all the time might make me seem less “a person who cares about privacy” and more “pretending I don’t even have kids because it’s all about me” … time will tell.

I thought a fun way to catch you all up was to take the June Blogging Challenge and do all the prompts up to today. So one-shot responses to 13 prompts. Sounds fun to me, I hope it’s not boring as hell.

I Am

I am having a rough month. Even though I am mostly accepting of our lifestyle right now and pleased with Mr. Brickie working side jobs that are enough to cover the bills while we wait some more, I have moments of deep unrest. My soul feels like it’s trying to stay very still so it doesn’t freak out all over the place. I’m not sure how a soul can feel that way, but the feeling itself lives deeper down than where my heart is. Close enough, I think.

I have gone back to writing down my five things to be thankful for every day. I highly recommend Grace In Small Things. Even when I slack off and don’t write them down, my history of acknowledging small things helps me coast and find perspective even during dark times and deep unrest.

Sticks and Stones

No one calls me names to my face. I don’t know if it’s because I’m constantly trying to walk fast and enjoy using my body, but I never get smack talk for being fat, which I read about online all the time. So much online hate for so many things. So many unhappy, sad people who need to lash out at those they perceive as weak. It’s a shame. People need to hug each other more.

Beautiful

One of my daughters came into the living room the other day to ask for something. She was wearing a tank top and shorts. I couldn’t breathe because I saw her and her teenage self at the same time. I saw how amazing she is going to look and felt how beautiful her soul was going to be and it took me ten minutes to explain why I wasn’t crying because she asked me for lemonade. My oldness and momness sometimes confuses my children.

Guilty Pleasures

So…there’s this new show in the “Housewives” reality trash series. It’s called Ladies of London. It’s on Bravo. I love reality television. I know it’s not real, I do not judge the participants because we all have bills to pay and doing that kind of thing is worth it for some people. I’m still the woman who turned down being on an episode of A Baby Story on TLC back when it was just baby stories with a twist (I’m with a widower, that was my twist) not the health-issues-for-everyone show it turned into. I’m so glad it wasn’t like that when I was pregnant. It would have been too much for my hormones to bear.

Solitude

We went to a wedding on Saturday and when Mr. Brickie went to pick up the kids on Sunday I was alone for a few hours. It was bliss. I could use a little more alone time in my life and need to find a way to schedule that in.

Best Friends

Jessica said on Facebook she didn’t understand why people complained about teen girls so much because hers was nice to spend time with and so were her daughter’s friends. I’m paraphrasing that horribly, that’s why it doesn’t have quotes. I really and truly hope with all my heart I can have that relationship with my daughters when they are teens. It’s looking good so far, but I have to keep my eye on the prize.

I don’t care how old I am, I’m still gonna…

Jump barefoot in puddles and dance in the rain.

Before and After

I have worked for a long time. Since I was 14 and got that little yellow work permit card signed by the local fast food place. Going to full time at 16. I’ve always worked. Now I’m a housewife. I’m still getting used to it. I have been writing more and occasionally go full-pretentious and call myself an artist. For now, though, I have to tell myself I’m a housewife that writes or I’ll get obsessive and then overwhelmed and then I will quit. Again. So I’m a housewife and I love it. I’m so housewife I’m cooking dinner in the crock pot.

Aw, yeah!

Moments of Genius Success

My biggest genius success moment was finding The Orange Rhino. Not yelling has made me like myself more than any other thing I have done to make myself a more awesome person.

Well THAT freaked me the f*** out (I went to a wedding at a church edition)

Someone unknowingly flashed the church with the tops of her black lace thigh highs at the wedding on Saturday. I was completely freaked and couldn’t tell the person because we’re just not close like that so I actually prayed for her in the church right there that it wouldn’t happen again. It did not, as far as I know, and I was thankful.

I was also freaked out when I realized the priest said the phrase “a man and a woman” so many times that if it was a drinking game we would all be dead.

Fathers

I watch my husband grow into more of a father every day. It’s like a suit he grabbed and threw on with gusto and wore happily but is only now really starting to grow into fully. It’s amazing to watch.

Little Things

My husband knows the right kind of rye bread for my peanut butter toast and only buys a different brand when the first choice is out of stock at the supermarket. My daughters always hug me goodnight and usually hug me good morning. Once in a while the middle sister offers to make me coffee in the morning.

Expectation vs. Reality

After my first two daughters were all potty trained and rocking the panties at 3-ish, I accepted I just was not going to be the mom who had kids who potty trained early. I accepted it and expected it would take my youngest until she was 3-ish as well. I figured we would use the same stickers and same potty seat and do the whole thing a third time around. She refused. Flat out refused. Changed her own pull-ups for a year. I tried to bribe, cajole, and occasionally shame her into panties. Didn’t work. So I said to heck with it and figured maybe we would skip kindergarten if we had to because it was not looking like she would be potty trained in time.

She decided last week she was done with pull ups and wanted to wear panties full time. Even overnight. She has had one barely-an-accident since then. She turns 5 at the end of September. So….reality was only a year or so off. (There are no words to express how happy I am about this.)

Axis of Ineptitude

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Technical Difficulties (the human kind not the tech kind)

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Please stand by, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties.

I am supposed to be doing the Come Play In May blog post challenge but I wasn’t inspired by any of the topics. Then I realized I just wasn’t feeling inspired at all. I’m not sad or depressed, I’m just tired. It’s like the connections in my brain won’t work right because I’m using everything I’ve got just to stay relaxed and be okay with everything in the moment.

Being poor, even if you’re sure – like I am – that it is only temporary, is a marathon. It’s long and it hurts and sometimes it takes everything in you to just take the next few steps. Right now I’m walking for a bit until I can catch my breath and get my speed back up.

Nothing new from Chancery Court and nothing new on any other fronts either. Mr. Brickie is keeping up the hustle and all I can say is he deserves to relax this weekend. The only bills not caught up (yet) are the gas and electric but they aren’t late yet, either.

It’s a tightrope and I am just having trouble finding a way to be eloquent about one aspect that moves the blog forward. I don’t want to repeat myself, say the same things over, or just pine longingly for Indiana where someone told me on Sunday – someone I had met for the first time a couple hours before…

“I really like you.”

I replied, “I really like you, too. I thought I was the only one who told people straight out I liked them!”

Her reply? “You live in the wrong place, girlie! People out there are too cool for that kind of thing. Here when people like someone they make sure to tell ’em. How else will they know you want to hang out sometime?”

Well damn. I can’t argue with that logic.

Maybe I’m just recovering from the emotional shock of realizing, yet again, a therapist cannot do anything for me I could not do for myself with the help of YouTube, self-help books, and the Internet. I fired her. Well, actually, I lied and said I’d reschedule because she told me I had to stop being negative and that was the only thing I had to say to her that wasn’t 100% negative.

That’s progress, right?

So I’m mostly just bummed because I was hoping this therapist could help me get rid of the anxiety disorder I can’t seem to shake. I’m fine. Then suddenly I can’t breathe and my heart goes crazy. (I went to the Urgent Care a couple weeks ago for the crazy-heart and it’s just anxiety. They did many tests and my heart is lovely and doing its job just fine.) It’s annoying and I would like for it to stop. Maybe I’ll try some self-hypnosis. Lucky for me they have that on YouTube.

I just wanted to make sure you knew I wasn’t going away for good. Or even for a long time. Just until I am able to be interesting again. Or have something to say that’s at least a little different from what I’ve been saying.

Of course, now that I’ve posted I’m not writing I’ll probably have some epiphany I’m just sure is the best thing I’ve ever thought before. Here’s hoping!

I found the post image on the Matching Outfits Facebook page. It’s a wonderful page that helps people. I like that. I don’t know the original source but I blame whoever made it because I can’t really read the watermark (if that’s what it is) in the lower right hand corner. 

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Fashion I Wish Was Still In Style – Come Play in May

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Come on now, you know I’m {mostly} kidding.

I tried to find a picture of a mom holding a baby and a martini and a cigarette but I guess they only have expert level parenting pictures in places I’m not looking for them.

Ah well.

That being said, I welcome all your Cancer stories in the comments. Speaking of cancer, if you haven’t yet read The Fault in Our Stars you can wish you had and check out some amazing nail art inspired by the book.

My mother and my grandmother spoke fondly of their experiences taking diet pills when they were young and married and had to be able to fit into all those “structured at the top, poofy at the bottom” Mad Men dresses from the first few seasons. I would love to have been able to wear those.

So I guess what I really wish was still in fashion was speed. My house would look great, I’d be thin as a rail, and I’d be supermom. I know they say dear Betty on the Mad Men used Weight Watchers but if you saw their success rates…well..between you, me, and the gum tree… that era was the era of skinny women who used to be fat women on speed and booze, smoking like their lives depended on it and lord did they party.

At least my family did.

Cheers, speed-prescribed-as-diet-pills, I never knew you but I wish I had.

Disclaimer: The ignorance of how amazingly unhealthy all the things mentioned in this post are is PART AND PARCEL of why I wish it was back in fashion. Feel free to comment with your cancer stories, your rehab stories, or your gun accident stories and I’ll totally publish them, but really, I know. I promise. One day I’ll tell you the story of the doctor that did prescribe speed to me as a way to lose weight and how much of a BEAST it made me. It’s just a fantasy as much as wishing Madonna’s cone-boob bra was back in style. 

 

Axis of Ineptitude

Looking for the whole list of prompts? They are in text form and image so you can Come Play In May!

Raw – Come Play In May

raw-pictureI was hoping for something a little more upbeat for today’s prompt – aka the prompt I participate in again after a couple days off for life updates – but you know what, I think I can do this while not being entirely downbeat about the whole thing. Let’s see…

My Emotions

I’ve never experienced feelings in shades of gray. I can think all in the gray areas and see lots of points of view but my heart? My heart has always been raw. I have boundaries, sure, but they are very different than most people and so some people think my blog is an overshare while others understand the things I do not share exist and are important to me. There aren’t many, but the things I hold behind my boundaries are absolutely sacred.

My Life

I don’t lead a “sweater sets and ice cream social” kind of life. Sometimes I want one very, very badly. I want to be a mom who gets up, makes sure her lipstick is on, and goes out to do the things that normal moms do. If there was ever such a thing as a normal mom. I think it’s just a grown-up version of hoping I would grow up to be a princess. I keep hoping I’ll grow up to be a real-life, normal mom.

My Blog

My blog is pretty raw. Especially since it’s not anonymous. It allows people to read and make impressions and assumptions about my life that may or may not be accurate. No matter how detailed I am, I will never be able to give someone a true impression of what my life looks like. But I try. For my children to read someday, for their children to read someday, for you to read and hopefully enjoy or learn from or feel your own raw emotion while you read.

My Love

My love is raw because I do not pretend. Not with my children, not with my husband, not with my friends, not with my family. I saw some Tedx talk about a marriage/relationship hack. The graph that took my breath away was the slow, downward spiral of marriage satisfaction. He only studied 50 years but wow, that graph.

I have never been more satisfied in my marriage than I am today. I credit being happier now than the day I got married with being raw. Also, maybe, not expecting my husband to be my everything, every day, all the time. So I guess it’s more of a combo platter.

My Self-Care

Therapy is going to be a way to stay raw but with less poky edges and brittle bits. Maybe a little less intense. That being said, if someone didn’t like me before therapy they sure aren’t going to like me after. I hold my tongue a lot and if I am more at peace with myself that could change. Maybe not. We won’t know until we know, will we? I’ve never been the person who says mean things and then uses the “I’m just being honest” excuse to try and justify my words. So I probably won’t suddenly turn into that person during this journey.

But hey, I keep hearing “It’s a process.” So maybe part of that process is where I get to just say what I’m really thinking and feeling without cushioning it at all. Letting people know where they fit into my life and what I’m willing to be in theirs. You know, boundaries. So I don’t just run again.

I’m tired of running. If I move it’s because I’ve chosen to. I’ve planned it. I will be prepared for it. I will stand strong and raise my kids and hug my husband and treat my friends well and have a life well-lived. 

Wait. I did that already. Huh. Maybe I’m farther in this process than I thought. *grin*

Stay Raw, my friends…

Axis of Ineptitude

Looking for the whole list of prompts? They are in text form and image so you can Come Play In May!