Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ramblings that became papers... Part Three

Here's another one.  Now this batch of rambling wasn't intended to be a class assignment, but it was recommended to me that I attempt to write down what I was dealing with at the time to see if it would help me at all.  Then an instructor that I trusted with it encouraged me to go ahead and let people see this.  Of course, Steve had also said the same thing, but I'm a coward when it comes to this stuff so I'm just now getting up the gumption to post it.

I'm also not promising it's going to stay here very long, so if it suddenly vanishes don't blame your internet connection.


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          27 July 2017


Finding Myself Again


As most of our friends know, Steve and I have been travelling to business events four times a year and having an absolute blast doing it.  We choose to serve as volunteers at each of these events and will continue to do so as long as they’ll allow us to.  The experiences there, the friends we reconnect with, the family ties we’re building… there’s simply no way to explain all that we get from serving and if we ever find ourselves not being able to serve, I’m sure it will be absolutely heartbreaking for us both.  One of the biggest gifts we get from these trips is how much we learn about ourselves and the opportunities to grow as individuals in ways we’d never consider if we weren’t part of this community.
          However, I’ve been struggling for the past four events.  During the events I’m always having fun, always smiling, always planning for the next event, always watching for the next opportunity to help, always looking for the next bit of knowledge I can get my paws on.  But as soon as the event is over and we’re ready to go home, I begin reflecting on myself and it’s been a pretty miserable downward spiral of personal disappointment, internal criticism, and self-loathing that I can’t seem to control.  This past event was so bad that I couldn’t even keep it bottled up long enough to make it back to our hotel room before I exploded at Steve and let it slip that I’ve actually been suicidal for a few days after each of the last few events, and this time was already worse than any of them.
          I don’t really know why I’m feeling it so important to write all this out.  People say it’s therapeutic to put our thoughts and emotions down in words, but to me it just feels like I’m trying to make myself the center of attention and throw a pity party.  As I’m writing this out, I’m already strongly considering not letting anyone see any of this and just keeping it to myself where it belongs.  After all, what purpose does it serve to put this in a public forum if I don’t want to make a spectacle of myself?  Maybe I’m just trying to explain myself.  Maybe I’m just trying to justify my actions.  Maybe I’m just being selfish.  Maybe I’m just trying to catch my thoughts as they fly around my head in fast forward and stick them down on fly paper so I can make sense of things myself.  All I know for sure is that I need to find some way to release all this pent-up confusion, anger, disappointment, and God knows what else is running rampant in there before I really do lose my grip on life in general.
          In my quest for personal growth, I’ve been looking to a group of mentors who set amazing examples of what leadership should look like and what I’d like to embody.  Their opinions are incredibly important to me, their advice is something I take to heart when I hear it, and their disappointment would absolutely gut me if they were to voice it where I could hear it.
I’ve been doing everything I can to live up to what is taught to everyone in the program.  We’re taught to stop hiding in the background and to let people see us shine in all our glory.  We’re taught to look at ourselves and see unmatched beauty in everything looking back at us.  We’re taught to celebrate our achievements and to stop criticizing ourselves even in jest.  We’re shown ways to envision all of our potential and the first steps we need to take to get there.  We’re shown opportunities to grow as individuals, as parents, as business owners, and as leaders.  Most of all, we’re taught to get out of our comfort zones and to embrace what scares the hell out of us so we can turn ourselves into those people we want to be.
In trying to do these things, I’ve not only stepped way out of my comfort zone, but I slammed the door behind me and tossed the key into the nearest bog so I couldn’t flee back as soon as it got frightening and difficult.  People may have seen me changing in unexpected ways; some good, some bad.  I’ve been attempting to accept flaws in myself that I have considered unforgiveable my entire life, and I’ve been trying to avoid being complacent in the things I just haven’t wanted to face or fix.
A few years ago, I was quite happy being in the background where I was unseen and I was free to do what I felt inclined to do when it needed to be done without anyone knowing I was doing it.  I was a bit like the little cobbler elves in the stories, I suppose.  Things just got done without anyone really knowing when or how, especially tasks no one else wanted to do.  By staying in the background, I didn’t have to answer to anyone but myself, and let’s be honest, my expectations of myself are pretty damned astronomical.  Especially as I’m arrogant enough to believe that I can always do better than what I’ve done.  Yes, “arrogant” is the correct term here as opposed to “confident”.  Why?  Because I’m a perfectionist and I will always point out to myself what my errors are and how easy it should have been to avoid making them.  And, for the most part, I won’t make them again.
A few years ago, I wasn’t the least bit interested in trying to pretend I was pretty or had a model’s physique.  I knew I had a decent chance of waving to a small child without that child bursting into tears and hiding behind a parent’s leg, of walking past a group of people on the street without hearing sniggering or jokes about dogs or cows, and of being able to find clothing that was reasonably close to the current fashion fads despite not being a super model. I was the girl with the “great personality and sense of humor”.  That was more than good enough for me.
A few years ago, when someone asked me how my health was and how my body was holding up I was able to congratulate myself on defying what the doctors had told me and being able to push myself even when I wanted to quit and take the easy route the doctors were offering.  It was expected that I wasn’t going to give up and that I was simply going to “out-stubborn” my condition.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been going out of my way to change all of these things.  I’ve forced myself to join parties with friends and have made a fool of myself to ensure that I’m not a wallflower anymore.  I’ve changed my wardrobe and my hair, begun wearing jewelry, and dabbled in make-up to show off my looks and body shape.  I’ve slowed down my physical activities and allowed people to do things for me so I don’t risk hurting myself the way doctors keep fussing I’m going to if I don’t let them shove medications and surgeries at me.  I’ve changed my behaviors, changed my goals, and changed my daily activities to suit what I think we’re supposed to be living up to when we go to our quarterly events around the country.
And it’s not working the way I was hoping it would or even close to the way it is intended to work.
I’m not getting braver by being out where everyone can see me and what I’m doing at all times.  Instead, I’m second-guessing my every decision and every move, sometimes refusing to do anything until I’ve gotten reassurance or permission to take the next step.  I’m not getting any more confident about my looks and the way I dress.  Instead, I’m getting angrier and angrier at my reflection for not measuring up to society’s idea of beautiful or what I want to look like, and too many times I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s skin.  I’m not getting healthier by resigning myself to my health issues and letting everyone take care of me the instant I feel a bit of pain.  Instead, I’m getting weaker and less able to accomplish basic daily tasks that my family counts on me to be able to do, and my frustration is rapidly becoming the only thing that is getting stronger.
And I’m growing more and more ashamed of myself and floundering more and more at the conclusion of each event when I don’t see the results I know my mentors are looking for.
Looking back over what I’ve written here, I think I’ve found my answer, and I’m quite certain it’s going to upset some people and really disappoint others.  While I’m sorry about that, especially as those I think I’m going to let down the most are the very same people I have been striving to model myself after, I am actually quite confident that I’m doing what is best for me.
It seems to me that I’ve been so busy trying to be someone new that I’ve lost track of who I am.  I’ve been so focused on everything I need to fix about myself that those attributes I was proud of to begin with have somehow morphed into the very things I’ve been so ashamed of these past few months, which is pretty much the opposite of what is actually being taught.  Somehow, my mind took their teachings of ways to develop our strengths and twisted things around so that, to me, my strengths appeared to be character flaws that needed to be erased.
I LIKE being in the background where I can choose when I want to be seen and when it’s someone else’s time to shine.  I LIKE knowing that when something needs to be done, I can find the most effective, most efficient way to do it without having to go up the “chain of command” or ask permission to get it done.  I’m not afraid to step up and admit when I’ve made a bad decision, but I can’t do that if I’m too bloody afraid of disappointing people that I won’t make any decision at all.  I LIKE knowing that while I’m not the prettiest gal in the pack, I actually do have a pretty cool personality and I’m confident enough in myself that I can make jokes at my own expense without worrying that I’m damaging my self-esteem or allowing others to make fun of me.  I LIKE knowing that I’m still stubborn enough to tell my body and my illness to suck it up until the job is done, and knowing that I’m still strong enough to ignore the discomfort and push through like a big girl because that’s how my body will get stronger.
While I’m going to continue to grow and develop myself, I’m no longer going to cast aside who I was before and try to start over completely.  I forgot that personal growth doesn’t mean eradicating everything and trying to rebuild from scratch.  It means accentuating the good while grinding and polishing the bad until it isn’t something that needs to be hidden.
I’ve finally realized that personal growth doesn’t mean turning myself into someone else.

Personal growth means learning who I am, what I have that I can offer to others, and how to thrive with that knowledge.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Ramblings that became papers... Part Two

Here's another one of my papers for y'all.  This one was a comparison/contrast essay that I put together after going through one of my typical afternoons where I couldn't decide if it was the cats or the kids that was driving me crazier.

Enjoy!

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          Have you ever seen someone in charge of a group of children become overwhelmed with the situation and throw their hands up in the air as an exasperated, “It’s like herding cats!” escapes their lips? 
          As a person who has raised both children and cats with varying degrees of success (depending on who you ask), I feel I can confidently say that there is definite merit to the above statement.  There is so much in common between the two such as the complete lack of concern over what the desired behavior actually is, the need to turn private time into a spectator sport, and the ability to somehow sound like a herd of elephants despite being a fraction of the required size.  Of course, there are also obvious differences like feeding, bathing, and how to keep them in one place.
          Take the need for good behavior and good manners.  Neither small children nor cats care one iota about how their behavior reflects on the adult in the situation as long as they are enjoying the moment in their own fashion.  For children, this typically manifests as giggle fits and running in erratic circles around the area while the parent frantically tries to corral them in a dignified manner before resorting to tripping someone.  For cats, this often plays out in what should probably be hysterical antics when something that has just been forbidden from the feline is stolen anyway and gets batted around the house for quite some time while a human follows in zigzags, making vain grabs for the item in question and demanding the animal stop the game and return the possession immediately as if actually expecting this to happen.
          Next is the ever-popular Olympic sport waiting to happen “peeing before someone or something forces their way into the bathroom”.  This one is fairly self-explanatory.  There isn’t a parent alive that hasn’t found themselves in the unenviable position of being trapped on that throne with at least one child or cat planted squarely in front of them critiquing the entire process.  If the door somehow gets locked before the invasion occurs, there will be fingers or paws (or in my case, both) stuck under the door repeatedly until the event comes to its conclusion.  Sometimes there is musical accompaniment if the doorstop is found.
          Then there’s the ability of a creature that weighs anywhere between ten pounds and a hundred pounds making adults everywhere suddenly question the structural integrity of their homes just by moving rapidly from one location to another.  If there are stairs involved, there is real danger of home d├ęcor randomly leaping off the walls and shelving.  If there are more than one of said creatures moving in tandem, chances are a local Richter Scale is alarming some poor soul tasked with monitoring geological threats.
          As mentioned earlier, there are some distinct differences between raising children and raising cats.  Meal time is one instance that springs to mind.  Feeding cats is a matter of shaking a food container and getting out of the way of the stampede no matter what is being offered as a meal.  For added entertainment, one may choose to hang around and watch as feline paws snake out and grab dishes belonging to other animals in attempts to garner larger portions.  Feeding children generally involves dragging reluctant bodies away from video games and television shows, shooting down arguments about why this child doesn’t want to eat that vegetable or why that child expects to have another meal prepared that is more to their tastes, followed by refereeing repeated attempts to sneak the healthy parts of entrees onto the other child’s plate while claiming to have finished everything themselves.
          Bathing techniques is another area that differs greatly between children and cats.  When cats are involved, the process is almost guaranteed to start and finish within five minutes.  The occupants of the home are informed that a feline needs a bath and the smart occupants quickly vacate the premises.  The cat is introduced to a couple of inches of water, much splashing and screaming ensues from all parties involved, the cat either escapes or the human restraining the cat decides personal preservation is more important than a clean feline, and bath time is ended.  When children are involved, the process is almost guaranteed to drag out over a few hours.  The occupants of the home are informed that a child needs a bath or shower and the child in question quickly goes into fits of denial.  Eventually the child is introduced to the combination of soap and water, much splashing and offkey singing ensues, the child runs out of soapy water or the house runs out of hot water, and bath time is ended.
          When one has had all they can take of children or cats running rampant throughout the vacinity, confining them to one area differs according to species as well.  There are a couple of techniques that work well for cats, ranging from using catnip as bait to get them into a room with a door that closes to picking them up by the scruff of their necks and dropping them unceremoniously into a sufficiently sized kennel.  Rather than using catnip, I have found that turning on electronics in an isolated location of the home is the method of choice for keeping children in one place for extended periods of time.

          So, as you can see, the phrase “like herding cats” is actually pretty accurate when applied to children.  Just remember, however, that while there are many similarities in how both are raised, society still tends to frown disapprovingly when children are shoved into kennels, no matter how much they may have earned it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ramblings that became papers... Part One

Just remember, y'all asked for this.  This particular assignment was to illustrate cause and effect.  We were instructed to choose a subject and describe how it affected something else, offering examples along the way.

Let's be real.  This is me we're talking about.  Give me the tiniest bit of wiggle room and something in my life is going to become fuel to make someone else giggle.  I'm told my instructor was thoroughly amused.

And we're off...

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          Children are wonderful, aren’t they?  They’re cute, funny, unpredictable, entertaining, and they can even be used as legal child labor at home, or as gophers when you just don’t feel like getting up to refill your glass during a television show.  However, they’re also to blame for a pandemic running rampant across the nation.  Children are, in my opinion, the reason adults all over the world are completely losing it.  Don’t believe me?  Let me explain.
          Before children came along, I had my future planned out in intricate detail.  I even had a schedule for when I would finish my schooling, when I would start my chosen career, when I would impress my bosses and get the big raise, when I would find Mr. Right and trick him into proposing to me, when we would buy our dream home, when we would hit the lottery and retire in luxury.  You get the idea.
          Now that I have children, there is no such thing as a schedule.  What we have instead is a list of activities that are planned as a family and devolve into frantic races to complete school science projects that are “forgotten about” until the night before they are due.  Our days can be set to the tune of “Flight of the Bumblebee” as alarm clocks go off at thoroughly indecent hours every morning and adults scramble to finish daily tasks before the children appear like miniature hurricanes and announce the need to attend dance classes, sports practices, scouting activities, church youth meetings, play dates, and the occasional school production.  Knowing about such things more than fifteen minutes in advance is apparently forbidden in the “Children’s Handbook of Life”.
          Before children came along, I was the proud owner of a substantial vocabulary that could be counted on to dazzle most of my friends as I articulated my thoughts in complete and precise sentences flowing with several syllable words guaranteed to make me sound like I held a doctorate in pretty much every field of study available.
          Now that I have children, managing to form and spit out a complete sentence is worthy of a victory dance.  My adult friends have running bets on how long I can go before announcing that I need to “go potty” or that something is “ucky”, which is now the technical term for something that is unpleasant to touch or smell.  Stuttering is now its own dialect which can be clearly understood by other adults who also have smaller versions of themselves running around.  The rate of the stutter and the volume of spittle escaping as we attempt to convey our thoughts is just the accent identifying the region in which we live.
          Before children came along, I could remember phone numbers from every home my family ever lived in.  I could recall the names of every person I’d ever called a friend, as well as their close relatives and pets.  I could read books once and vividly remember each and every plot twist months later when quizzed about them.  I could tell my parents every license plate they’d ever had registered to their vehicles throughout my childhood.  I could even recite the American presidents in order through Ronald Reagan.
          Now that I have children, I have to use a calculator to work out how old I am.  I enter a room and stare around in confusion as I rack my brain to figure out why I went into that room in the first place.  I have to cycle through the names of every child I’ve known, all of my siblings, and most family pets in the hopes of randomly shouting out the actual name of the child I’m attempting to discipline.  Once I manage to get the name right, it’s a complete toss up that I remember what I was yelling about to begin with.
          Before children came along, I was very aware of my physical appearance.  My hair needed to be just right and “fly aways” were captured and tamed with brutal efficiency.  My clothing choices were based on how well they flattered my eye color or accentuated curves without being flashy.  My nails had to be kept just the right length, shape, and color to catch the eye while not clashing with that day’s clothing color.  Shoe and clothing purchases were made often in order to keep up with current fads and the seasons.
          Now that I have children, my hairbrush gets to wave at my scalp in passing each morning before my hair gets shoved unceremoniously into a ponytail holder that may or may not be set at a haphazard angle on my head.  My outfits are thrown together purely on a “this was on the top of the pile” strategy that has so far miraculously avoided landing me on the “People of Walmart” website.  Shoe and clothing purchases are now made based on how well they hide mystery stains that always manage to appear on the way to important functions.  I wear an obnoxious amount of paisley and floral.
          Yes, children are definitely cute, funny, unpredictable, and highly entertaining.  But don’t let them fool you.  Their real purpose is to fulfill the age old Mother’s Curse we all laughed off and foolishly ignored when we heard it: “May your kids be JUST LIKE YOU!”  If we made our own parents completely nuts, it’s only logical that our children are going to have the same effect on us!

          Just remember, whenever you see a mom holding that sweet child in her arms and rocking gently back and forth in an absent-minded way, that’s just Mother Nature preparing us for the days when we’re found curled up in the fetal position rocking and humming to ourselves in terror because our grown children just promised to come back home… with grandchildren.

Monday, May 1, 2017

I'm so grateful to my husband

I know that seems like something every wife says, but days like today remind me just how true it is.
They also make me realize how many days like today I have.
And then I wonder why on God's green Earth Steve hasn't run away screaming yet.

I'm going to apologize in advance at this point.  If you're looking for giggles today, there probably won't be any in this post.

We hear all the survivor stories from people who suffer from chronic pain and who go through every moment of every day wondering how long it's going to be before the next spasm of agony hits.
~Will it happen out in public and make us cause a scene because well-meaning strangers don't understand what is going on and swarm us with every intention of wanting to help in any way possible?
~Will it be something that we can shrug off and smile through while trying our best to lie through our teeth and convince everyone that we're really fine and we just have a tendency to overreact, then look properly embarrassed when the inevitable chuckles and occasional dirty looks are cast our way as the crowd disperses?
~Will it be one of those horrible times where the pain is so intense that we just have to try to breathe through it and hope it goes away BEFORE someone panics and calls an ambulance because we can't explain that this just happens? (This is always an enjoyable experience, btw.)
~Will it happen in front of complete strangers who will forget about it ten minutes later or in front of acquaintances we see regularly who will forever look at us differently and, despite never meaning to, from that point on treat us like we are just a little bit less capable in their eyes than we were two minutes before they saw an "incident"?
~Will it be one of the horrible times when we're alone and it's so bad we can't move and we feel like all of our pain sensors are on overdrive, and we just have to hang on until someone who understands arrives?
~Will it be the last straw that makes the people we count on finally throw their hands up in the air and declare they just can't do this anymore?

At all times this diatribe is running over and over in the back of our minds.  Most of us don't even hear it anymore, but we still make every move, every daily plan, every choice based on what it has said to us for as long as we can remember.
We guard our actions to try to minimize the chance that we'll embarrass ourselves or those with us somehow.
We guard our feelings against those who don't understand and see only someone who is weak, or lazy, or a hypochondriac, or just good at making excuses.
Sometimes we get frustrated and try to overcompensate by doing basic, every day things that most people consider the bare bones of daily responsibilities... and when it hurts, we grit our teeth, shove through, and hide the pain in the hope that our support system doesn't find out and take on more work yet again.
And when we aren't at our best... all too often we get depressed, angry, sullen, and throw pity parties.

Yeah.  It's rough.  And you know what?  We'll live with it, ignore it as often as we can, and go through life smiling anyway because we don't have any other option.

But what about that support system I mentioned?  How often does anyone hear about how miserable things must get for them sometimes?  After all, they have all the same daily responsibilities as every other person out there.  Our daily responsibilities just become something they add into their lives without complaint because someone's gotta do it, right?

They have the option to walk away whenever it gets too hard and go live a normal life.
Yet they don't.

How many of us could do that?
"I'm gonna help out for a little while until it's someone else's turn to help because it's the right thing to do."  While that's extremely noble and pretty much everyone has stepped up to do this in some shape or form on a regular basis, that's not what I'm talking about here.
I'm talking about "I'm going to be here to help everyday, with everything, knowing that I'm probably giving up the chance to ever put myself first ever again, for what may very likely be the rest of my natural life."
Let's be honest here.  For most of us, this isn't even something we consider with our own children.  After eighteen years, our sentences are up and we expect to get our lives back!  (I said we expect to.  I never said that's what actually happens.) And I know I'm not the only parent who counts down the months to when I'm no longer legally obligated to not change the locks.

That's not the case for the people who step into the role of support to those of us who have come to rely on them.  What must their minds be playing through every day?
~Will I be able to get through a full work day without having to explain to my boss that I have to go to another doctor appointment?
~Will I be able to cheer her up again when the doctors can't promise solutions or even temporary relief?
~Will I be able to get a full night's sleep or will I be needed to help with her pain again?
~Will I be able to effectively do my job despite coping with more stress and less sleep than I should be, or will my boss think I'm slipping in my performance?
~Will I be able to talk her out of doing things that could hurt her when she feels like she has to prove she won't be held back by her body's limitations again?
~Will I be able to shield her from the embarrassment she always feels if there's an incident out in public again?
~Will I be able to sit through a television show or movie without having to get up to help her do something as simple as opening a window, or lifting a gallon of milk?
~Will I be able to reassure her that our friends don't think she's less of a person because she's going through this?
~Will I be able to reassure her that I don't think she's less of a person because she's going through this?
~Will I be able to hide my own aches and pains while trying to ease her aches and pains each day?
~Will I be able to smile through it when her pain and stress levels hit capacity and she unleashes all of her frustrations at the nearest target?
~Will I be able to reassure her that I truly don't blame her for the situation?

~What if I'm not there when she needs me?

How many people could truly go through this every single day and not be looking for the nearest escape hatch?  I don't think I could.

But Steve does.
And I have never heard him complain.
And I know how unbelievably lucky I am to have him in my life.

Which is why I will continue to do my absolute best every single day to not be a headache to Steve and my young children.
Because I know what they have to give up when it comes to extracuricular interests in order to be there just in case...
Because I know what they miss out on with friends in order to be there just in case...
Because I know what they have already told themselves they'll never get to do in order to be there just in case...
Because I want them to know how much I appreciate what they go through just by having to live with me everyday...

And because if they ever do get sick of all this and decide to run away
I don't stand a snowball's chance in Hell of chasing them down and dragging them kicking and screaming back in here.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Don't argue with a woman's shopping logic!!!

It's almost May.  Summer.  Hot weather.

Damn.  I have to shave my legs because long pants are starting to get .... icky.

I also discovered that I needed to buy some shorts because the last time someone coaxed me into wearing them was about ten years and thirty pounds ago.

I shop for clothing by myself.  Let's just say it's safer for everyone involved that way.  One trip into a dressing room is generally more than enough to induce a Jekyll and Hyde transformation.  I'm quite certain the reason I go into a dressing room with women in the stalls next to mine and come out to find myself completely alone has everything to do with the constant string of insults, complaints, and outright threats coming out of my stall.
Sooner or later I'm going to step out and find myself being stared down by a fully geared SWAT team, complete with riot masks and shields.

This is the conversation one can expect with a woman while shopping for clothing... especially warm weather clothing:

Woman: I tried on all of these and I'm getting THIS pair!
Companion: Those?  But they're hot pink.
Woman: That's okay.  They'll fade eventually.
Companion: These are more... traditional, though.
Woman: No. I'm getting these.
Companion: But I distinctly heard you gushing about how much you loved the way this denim pair looked on you.
Woman: I know.  They do look pretty good.  But I'm getting the hot pink ones.
Companion: And the pink ones are twice as expensive as the rest of them.
Woman: True.
Companion: And they have purple rhinestones on the pockets.
Woman: Again, true.
Companion: And they're button up.  With tassles on the buttons.
Woman: What's your point?
Companion: But I heard you tell your reflection that you would have to stab your eyes out after seeing yourself in these shorts!
Woman: I may have said that.
Companion: Then WHY are you getting these instead of the others that are prettier, more comfortable, half the price, and less likely to get you kidnapped by the local circus???
Woman:  Because in all those brands, the size is a 16.  In THIS brand, I'm a size 12!
Companion: .....

Companion: Is there another pair?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Family get togethers... At least they let us come back

I know it's been a few days since I last posted, but in my defense, I was actually out of town and out of stable internet range.  Honest!  I couldn't even use my phone to post a blog entry because my phone doesn't seem to be speaking to the account I need to log in with in order to access the admin side of things here.

We decided to head down to my sister's place to enjoy a family cookout, celebrate Easter (yes, a week late), and to just relax with some gaming time.

We got there late on Friday night since Steve has this irritating addiction to a paycheck that he only gets if he doesn't skip out of work every time I feel the urge to leave the state.  I'm currently working on getting him into a 12 step program for this addiction, but so far the only responses I've gotten to my inqueries have been along the lines of "What kind of medication are you supposed to be on and when did you stop taking it?"

It's only been a few weeks, but I'm a little fuzzy on what that has to do with anything.  And besides, I feel fine!

Anyway, we text my sister and her husband to let them know that we are about to show up at their door and they tell us they're in the middle of a gourmet meal at Burger King, which is about to close.
We're starving.
We drive faster.
We manage to pull into the parking lot and charge the door like a pack of hyenas before they can get the key turned in the door.
We descend on the counter and proceed to entertain the staff by having to describe the ingredients of each and every option on the menu to our children.
We tell the girl child she is NOT getting any milkshakes.
We explain to the boy child that McNuggets are NOT on this particular menu and do our best to avoid eye contact with the staff.
We attempt to narrow the selections down and make a choice of entrees.
We tell the girl child she is NOT getting cookies for dinner.
We tell the boy child that original recipe fried chicken is NOT on this particular menu and do our best to avoid eye contact with the staff.
We order one meal for Steve, onion rings for me, and a sweet tea for Heather.
We fail to catch the boy child before he requests some Chick-Fil-A sauce for me to dip my onion rings into.
We do our best to avoid eye contact with the staff.
My sister and brother-in-law are forced to admit they know us.
They may never be allowed in that establishment again.

Welcome to our family!

On a good note, my sister is actually considered normal by society's standards, so it's really just me that you have to be concerned about spending extended periods of time with before lasting damage is done.  And, to be honest, Steve's been around for 15 years without any obvious side effects...

...well...

...moving on...




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

You think I'm just singing up here. Bahahahaaaa!

This morning, Steve told me that last night's blog post didn't touch on my "proud moment" and he thought that was the whole point of me blogging again, so I'm going to see what I can do about correcting that tonight.

I'd stick my tongue out at Steve, but that never ends the way it plays out in my head...

As is quickly becoming common knowledge in my little circle of acquaintances, I am part of what our church calls the Praise and Worship Team. There are technically two or three dozen of us who have the intention of taking turns standing out on stage with individual mics either in front of the choir on Sunday mornings, or without the choir at all on Sunday and Wednesday nights.  However, life has this annoying tendency to throw barrels of monkeys with wrenches at pretty much every adult in existence and this typically results in lots of cancellations.  Since Steve works with the AV department every service we're in town, it's pretty certain that I'm going to be available to fill in as a substitute even when I'm not actually scheduled.  So I sing quite a bit.

Remember when I said that my confidence in my own abilities is somewhat lacking?  Yeah.

What the congregation sees each service:
~singers move onto the stage and mill around for a few minutes, putting their heads together with the musicians and worship leader to solidify plans before praying as a team and taking their places on stage
~music starts, songs are performed, everyone claps
~Pastor begins service while singers step back and wait for the offering to be called
~singers belt out another song while ushers collect the offering
~singers and musicians leave the stage and take their seats with everyone else in the congregation

Clockwork!

Want to know what is really going on, at least from my perspective?

I enter the building already comparing myself to everyone around me, wondering if what I chose to wear is good enough to be on stage in the first place.  Let's be serious here.  This is me we're talking about!  I got married in cowboy boots and jeans!!  When I already know I'm going to be singing, I do my best to dress like a lady and be feminine.  Which means I feel like I'm three and I just raided my grandmother's closet.  I have been told repeatedly by the other ladies in the choir to "stop fidgeting!" and to "quit tugging on your dress!"  The other ladies begin comparing shoes and complimenting everyone on such amazing taste in footwear.  I smile and pretend I picked out my own shoes. (Thank the Lord for salespeople who know how to match shoes to outfits, cuz I honestly see no reason why boots don't go with absolutely everything under the sun.)

Time for everyone to get into place.  I grab my mic, head up to my designated spot on the stage, and wait patiently for Steve and Jason to finish torturing us with the spotlights.

The music begins.

Wait!  What song is that??  That's not what I saw on the playlist!  Do I know the words to this one??  Oh yeah, now I remember this one.  Oh no!  What KEY is that??  I distinctly remember practicing this song in a different key!
Okay, now I got it.  This isn't so bad.  I've got my groove now.  Whoa... wobbled on these stupid heels again.  Maybe just standing in one place is a better idea.  I can be caught up in the spirit of the song.  Yeah. I'm feeling the atmosphere of the song, not afraid of faceplanting in front of God.  That's a good story.  I'll stick to that.

Hey, the worship leader changed the order of the lyrics!  Did the other singers know? Oh good, we all look like deer in headlights.  Maybe the congregation will think it's just part of the choreography.

Oh thank goodness we're almost done.  My feet are KILLING me!  Wait, not allowed to take the shoes off when I'm out here in front.  Okay, just rock back and forth really slowly and lift one foot, then the other.  That'll feel better.

Here comes Pastor.  Maybe he'll let us off stage early.  Nope.  Alrighty, just keep rocking. Just keep rocking. One foot up.  Note to self: never wear a pink dress; people will think you're a flamingo.  Other foot up now.

Why is Steve up in the AV room dancing with a big foam cowboy hat on his head?  Do NOT start giggling while standing behind Pastor.  Stop looking at the AV window.  Stop looking.  OMG, are they dueling with toy light sabers????

Switch feet.  Now I know why men stopped wearing heels in the 1400s.  It was only French men, though, wasn't it?  I don't remember paintings of English royal men in 5 inch heels.  No, they always had the armor with the funny shaped... stop that! You're in CHURCH!!

Pastor just said something and everyone is clapping.  What did he say??  We're supposed to be repeating what he says.  I can't understand him back here!  "Yes, watermelon walla walla.  Walla Amen walla aluminum." Close enough.

Switch feet.  What if I just wiggle my toes a bit inside the shoes?  Oh that's better.  Wait, no.  They hurt again.

Switch!

Last song.  Just walk slowly, everyone will think we're following the music.  No one will know we're afraid of falling over on toes that went numb ages ago.  Ack.  Not numb anymore!  Owie owie owie!

Wait, "owie" isn't actually one of the lyrics.  If I happen to kick my shoes off in time with the music, will anyone notice?  With my luck I'll bounce my heel off the Pastor's wife.

Oh! Song's over!  We're leaving the stage.  First step.  Second step. Almost there.  Bottom step!  I made it!

THESE SHOES COME OFF NOW!!!

DUCK!!!

You think I'm kidding.  I currently hold the record for clearing an entire row of seats with the left shoe before getting the right shoe off.

Yep.  That's pretty much how our services go in my head when I'm one of the mic singers, so obviously I'm only up there because there is absolutely no one else they can ask and I'm their last resort so they must be spectacularly desperate to be asking me at all.

Stupid tide of doubt.  Go AWAY!

Anyway...

Tonight after service, a gentleman I don't know stepped out of the crowd and hugged me and said I was "gorgeous and did good up there."

Talk about making my night! I was on cloud nine as I'm pretty sure I fluttered out to my car with my kids wondering what was wrong with me.

And about broke my nose when I opened my car door and forgot to move my head.