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!!!