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.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesdays are gonna kill me. No really. They're definitely out to get me.

Most people hate Mondays because they are the first day of a week of slavery, whether it be to school or to a job.  Even people who don't technically have to get up for any reason seem to still blame poor little Monday for everything wrong with the weekly calendar.  Shoot, even The Mamas and The Papas wrote a song about how Monday betrayed them. You know the one... "Monday, Monday. Can't trust that day.  Monday, Monday. Sometimes it just turns out that way."

Song stuck in your head yet?  Cuz I can type up the rest of the lyrics to really get it good and embedded in there.  *cackle*

At the moment, I kinda like Mondays.  Provided I have kept myself on schedule throughout the week, all I have to do on Mondays is get up to chase my littles off to school and do whatever housework I pretended I couldn't see the night before. After that, I don't have a schedule to meet the entire day until Steve comes home and I drag him over to the church to haul food boxes around for me while I count out 175 each of eight different ingredients for the FUEL bags our church donates to a school each week.  Then we go back home and I fill the rest of my evening with whatever little tasks I can cram into the remaining few hours before my bed stomps through the house, ambushes me, drags me kicking and screaming back to the bedroom, and my blankets suffocate me into a four or five hour coma...

...then Tuesday lands right smack in my face.  Usually in the form of one VERY stinky mother cat who needs her cage cleaned.  Immediately.

The day begins something like this:

Steve mutters and grumbles at me until somewhere deep in my sleepy little subconscious, I finally become aware that if I don't get out of bed and fix the stink NOW, there's a very good chance he's going to shove me into the cage with it.
I groggily trudge across the room and flick on some random light switch along the way which elicits another slew of mutters and grumbles as Steve buries his face under a pillow to hide from smell and light.
I open the door to Squeaker's (yes, that's her name) cage in order to clean out the biobomb/alarm clock.
Four fuzzy bottlerockets shoot out of the cage like someone sprung a jack-in-the-box.
Squeaker calmly steps out of the cage, eyes her 3 week old brood, and pointedly gives me that "you're babysitting now" look as the kittens stumble around the room in clumsy pursuit of anything they probably shouldn't be climbing or chewing, including each other's tails.
A few seconds into cleaning out the "facilities" in the cage, kitten #1 realizes I'm not paying attention to her and fixes the error by climbing into my lap... via my spine.
Kittens #2 and #3 have, by this time, discovered my toes are bare... and apparently edible.
Kitten #4 is walking UNDER her mother while trying to nurse as Squeaker desperately attempts to keep the little parasite at bay for a few minutes.
Eventually the litter is cleaned and put back into the kennel, along with fresh water, and food for the new mama.
One by one the kittens are tracked down and put back into the cage.  
One by one the kittens rocket back out of the cage when I turn my back to catch a sibling.
Wash, rinse, repeat for five minutes until I sprout six arms and stuff everyone back inside with much the same technique one uses to close an overflowing suitcase.
I collapse back into bed with threats of slow and painful, but justifiable, murder if Steve wakes me up when it's time for him to get out of bed.

That's all before daylight.  Once my alarm goes off and the actual day begins, Tuesday really starts to gets mean.

6:30 am - roll both kids out of bed and get them moving in the general direction of preparing for the school day
6:45 am - after getting dressed, making the bed, feeding indoor cats and outdoor ferals, checking on mama and babies, and gathering college coding books, roll both kids out of bed and get them moving in the general direction of preparing for the school day
7:00 am - threaten both kids with dumping buckets of frozen marbles into their beds if they don't get their butts out of their bloody beds and get moving in fast forward to prepare for the school day
7:30 am - remind both kids that should they miss their bus because they're dawdling, I will come back from my class and risk life in prison to chase them down the road to school while pulling off a thoroughly impressive Cruella DeVille impersonation
7:33 am - bolt out the door with 70 pounds of coding books and a laptop to get to class in time
10:00 am - bolt out of class with 70 pounds of coding books and a laptop to get to the church
10:30 am - meet my volunteers to put together 175 bags for students at an elementary school who will need the snack bags over the weekend, in some cases being the only food the kids may get until the next school week begins
11:30 am - drive across town to deliver the bags to the school (well OF COURSE I obey all road rules! Why would you ask that??)
12:00 pm - haul 175 bags into the school
12:15 pm - pointedly ignore the now thoroughly pissed off spine threatening to mutiny in spectacular fashion
12:45 pm - get home and start coding homework
3:30 pm - jump out of my skin when my phone rings because Steve is coming home
3:55 pm - grudgingly allow the kids back into the house now that they're home from school, and kiss peace and quiet goodbye for the night
4:00 pm - break up the first fight over electronics and chase children off to do their homework
4:05 pm - break up the second fight over electronics and chase children off to do their homework
4:15 pm - tell children that I am not doing their homework for them, especially as I have my own homework to do, then watch them shuffle away as if I'd just ordered their favorite dog euthanized
4:20 pm - break up the third fight over electronics and chase children off to get threatened by their Dad about doing their homework and leaving Mom alone to do her homework (sense a theme here?)
6:00 pm - realize what time it is and work out plan to be at choir practice, Cub Scouts, and a business travel party at 6:30.  In three different locations.
9:00 pm - get back home and glare at the still unfinished homework, fresh dishes that multiplied when I wasn't looking, and dirty laundry that couldn't be bothered to wash itself
11:30 pm (or thereabouts) - turn in homework assignment and take weekly quiz
11:45 pm - crawl into bed while trying not to wake Prince Charming who took care of our offspring so I wouldn't eat them
11:50 pm - get woken up by my FitBit complaining that I missed my daily step goal because I was sitting on my butt doing homework all day
11:53 pm - inform Steve that he will need to buy me a new FitBit because mine spontaneously shattered into a gazillion pieces for some strange reason after what may or may not have been vigorous and repeated applications of a sledgehammer to its face


Sunday, April 16, 2017

A journey into the realm of personal growth? Oh THIS is gonna be all sorts of entertaining!

Sheesh.  More than two years since my last attempt to resurrect my blog.

That's not a dust bunny.

That's a dust buffalo.


So why am I stirring up a cauldron of temptation for the Fates again?  Well, it was decided that I need to start really trying to see what I can accomplish and what I already contribute in the grand scheme of things.  As far too many people are already aware, it's entirely too easy to undervalue ourselves and find faults that no one else sees. 
Why is that?
Why is it that when we hear someone else say something about us that we don't like, we immediately jump up in all our righteous indignation and glory prepared to tear them up, dress them down, beat them up, knock them down, and otherwise hokey pokey and turn them all around into a body cast because how dare they disrespect us in any way, shape, or form?!?!?....

but we don't even bat an eye when those very same comments, insults, and assorted hateful opinions towards us come from our own mind?  What is it about human beings that makes it so unbelievably easy to latch onto that garbage and drive out the good stuff?

I guess Vivian from "Pretty Woman" had it right: "The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?"

Well, that doesn't make it true, now does it??

This is the struggle I've been dealing with for as long as I can remember.  
~The nagging voice telling me that if I'm not actively doing something productive at all moments of the day, I'm wasting someone's time, taking someone for granted, or letting someone down with my laziness.  This voice has such a hold over me that I cannot sit still and read a book because I have to be physically accomplishing something tangible at all times.
~The ever-raging tides of doubt that tell me over and over that while I'm okay at things like singing, drawing, creating, or writing, I'm not actually GOOD at any of them and people are just trying to spare my feelings.  These tides are most likely the reason my blog, my stitching, my singing, and pretty much every other hobby I've considered end up being shoved aside to make room for things more suitable to someone who is better off behind the scenes.
~The oh-so-familiar-to-EVERYONE cloud of self-loathing that bursts open every time I walk past a reflective surface, see what I look like now, and my mind instantly brings up images of what I looked like in high school or what the current flavor-of-the-month model or sex symbol actress looks like after she's been photoshopped into fantasy.  This is almost certainly to blame for my absolute hatred of clothing shopping of any kind.

This has been going on for so long that Steve once told me he had given up on complimenting me because he got tired of me telling him to stop saying things that weren't true.  It was easier for him to simply make himself scarce than to constantly attempt to fight his way through all my insecurities.
I piled more and more activities into my schedule so I wouldn't have to slow down and think about all the ways I was absolutely convinced I was failing everyone around me.
By the beginning of this year, my body was rebelling and I was just plain getting worn out.  Rest was out of the question since that first voice I mentioned went into overdrive everytime I sat down, so I just promised myself I was gonna quit everything, tell everyone to get the @#$@%!! out of my life, and drive until I found some little town I could hide in.  But, of course, I can't do that until after I complete everything I said I was going to do.  

Cue that irritating voice: "So get your lazy backside out of bed and get busy!"  
"Yes, ma'am."

Let me tell you, that's a miserable way to start every single day.

Fortunately, I have one helluva support group full of friends and mentors who have reached out with so much love, understanding, advice, and patience that it's almost overwhelming.  All because Steve was willing to make me furious by asking them for the help I was too embarrassed to admit I needed.

So, now you're caught up.  

I've been tasked with silencing that nagging voice, ebbing those tides of doubt, and pushing away that cloud of self-loathing.  Thus the excursion into personal growth begins.  I decided that the best tool I can give myself is a journal where I write down one thing each day that made me proud of myself, whether it was something I did, or something someone told me.  When I have rough days, I can look back and hopefully boost myself back up with some of my entries.

As is the case with any major undertaking that is likely to take years, the promise of mistakes along the way looms large.

And as is the case with me on a daily basis, the promise of those mistakes being spectacularly entertaining offers me a plethora of blogfodder!!  

Toss in kids, cats, and my personality and there is some serious sarcastic potential here.

My favorite!!!