Day 32 – The “Should” part of my brain can go take a chill pill


Good morning and happy Saturday!

It was nice to be able to walk on my treadmill in the sunshine today. I should have been up at O’Dark-Thirty to get my walk in, and my day going, way before sun up. Here it is 9:30 and I am just now getting to the blog.

The “Should”part of my brain is berating my laziness, and murmuring angry whispers to me about how my morning has been wasted. Look at how much could have been accomplished, if I’d have only gotten out of bed at 7 when my alarm went off! Now I am behind, and will have to run to try to catch up with everything that needs to be done.

The “I Am Done With The Running And The Stress” part of my brain says to chill and enjoy the moment. Bask in the sunshine and sip coffee in the quiet of the morning. There’s no harm in being flexible and making sure you get a little rest, for your brain and your body.

These two areas of my brain have been at war with each other for a while now. I used to just go with the insistence of the “Should” part of my brain, and then I got divorced. At that point “Should” went out the window for “Have To”. I had to work two jobs to get by. I had to constantly run here and there for the kids, and whatever else needed doing.

I was constantly in survival mode for the first two years after my divorce, and it burnt off a lot of what “Should” was trying to convince me of: that I wasn’t good enough, and that I need to work harder, better, faster, stronger.  That’s not good enough, do it better. Your time management is terrible, get up earlier so you can cram more into every day….etc., recycle, rinse, repeat.

These days, I try to ask myself, what needs to be done now, and how do I balance that with what I want?

Today was supposed to be about a morning of housework, and then a leisurely afternoon strolling through the Home and Garden Show at The State Fair Center. But, as it turns out I will be spending the day with my Mom. The lady who gave my parents their dog (because she didn’t have the time or energy to keep up with the dog anymore) called Mom some time ago and said she wanted to stop by and visit on this date. I think somewhere in the back of Mom’s mind there was a little worry that this lady would try to take the dog back, and Dad was going to be out for the day. Safety in numbers means a lot.

Long story short, the lady never showed up, and I got to spend the day with my Mom. Everyone wins! The Home and Garden Show comes every year, and  I can see it next March. So, the housework that I should have done today will be put off for tomorrow. Or, maybe I’ll do it across evenings next week. The “Should” part of my brain can just go take a chill pill. As long as the bills are paid, and I have enough clothes to wear to work, that’s good enough.

Here’s hoping you have enough time in your life to be flexible to help out the important people in your life, and to take time for things that feed your soul. Tell that “Should” part of your brain to go take a long walk off a short pier. Blessings all!

 

Saturday mish-mash


I sure have missed my blog.

Generally, my problem has been that I have a terrible case of writer’s block and can’t write. Recently, though, I’ve just not had the time. Today I have a few precious hours to myself as I don’t work until later this morning, and the boys won’t be reading over my shoulder as Older is still sleeping and Younger is at work. It’s just me, the cat and my coffee….ahhhhh!

I’ve had so much going on that I find I have an over abundance of things to write about, so I will just babble until I run out of stuff, or run out of time. Here goes:

Yesterday I asked my Dad about blogging again. I’ve been pestering him about it recently as I think he’d be really good at it, but he is resisting. I don’t know if he doesn’t think he has anything to say, or if he doesn’t want to be tied to it and feel obligated to keep up with it daily, but he flat refuses. It’s a crying shame as he has a keen intellect and plenty of interesting opinions. Personally, I think he might be a blogging addict once he got started, and I’m going to keep working on him.  I’m going to pester my Mom too. She can be wickedly funny, and I’m betting that she might like blogging too, if I can just get her started.

My Dad recently has begun to tell stories from his youth that I’ve not heard in all of my almost 43 years. Mom has always told me things about from when she was growing up, and I would imagine that she has more to tell. I’d like to get my parents to commit as many of these stories as they can to some form of permanent media, whether it’s paper or digital.

My kids have not read my blog, that I am aware of, and I am hoping that it will serve as a window into my perspective for them when they get to be older. I should take my own good advice and get on the stick and write about my childhood too, and perhaps this blog is the best spot for that.  I should also write about my kids’ childhoods. There will be a lot they don’t remember, or never knew.  I’ve been looking for a direction to take this blog, and perhaps that is it. Mixing the old and the new, comparing the happenings of today with stories from the past? Much food for thought there.

So what’s new in my little corner of The High Plains? Well, I’ve been working at The Red Big Box Store since just before Christmas, and it is a VAST improvement over The Blue Big Box Store. Not only do they have a very good sense of organization and communication, but it’s so much cleaner. Just about the only thing I have to complain about is how they do their scheduling. So far, it hasn’t been enough to make me want to leave, though, so I’ll hang with it. I also got a promotion at the Cube Farm. I’m going to a department that I worked in before, and I’ll be working for a lady who is just the bee’s knees fabulous. The job I have been in since my last one was liquidated is good, and I have amazing people to work with, but I have been feeling stagnant and bored with it. This new job will give me the variety I need and a lot of opportunity for growth. It also has the added bonus of a little extra pay, so I’m hoping to drop down my hours at The Red Box Store, which will give me some more time at home.

Speaking of home, not much has been done in the home improvement department…just not much time, and the weather has been terrible. Tomorrow, I’m going to be a Domestic Goddess and do laundry until my washer and dryer cry for mercy. I’m also going to do some basement organization so that everything is ready for the next phase of the remodel: The Pantry!  I’ve already got some extra non perishables stocked up, just waiting for a place to go. I can’t wait to get my new pantry filled up! Being prepared for emergencies is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind, and something I’ve not been able to do much about. If a person has a well stocked pantry groceries (and other household necessities) are going to be the least of your worries if something catastrophic happens. This is what a lot of people call “prepping”. It’s another topic I will be blogging heavily about in the coming year, and something you can definitely hear more about if you check out Jack Spirko at   The Survival Podcast. Jack is an interesting guy who has a lot of great ideas about how to live a good, and well prepared, life.  More about that topic later.

Well, my coffee has run out, and Older Son has risen from his man cave. Time to get showered and get on with my day!

 

My kids are my parents’ best revenge


I had to get after Younger Son today, and now I feel like crap. I have told him time and time again how to do this particular chore, and he refuses to do it unless pushed

Facsimile of me pulling my hair out, curtesy of Google Images

and prodded, let alone do it right. Once he finally got going on said chore, I heard slamming of things, stomping around and nasty muttering. I’d had it…that was just the last straw, and I let him have it. I told him in no uncertain terms that this behavior was unacceptable and if he didn’t turn his ship around and sail straight, there would be consequences. He finally gave in, just did his job and got it done. Had he just done it to begin with, he’d have been finished a lot sooner.

Parenting is messy. It’s hard and mostly thankless, not that I think I need any thanks…I chose this. It was my decision to bring children into the world and part of that is following through to make sure they have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful once they get on their own. Teenagers being teenagers, aren’t going to blindly follow directions. They have their own thoughts about how things ought to work, and tend to be very black and white in their views. Things are either wrong or they aren’t…not much gray area. I remember being that way, and I am sure that my Mother has most likey just now fallen down in a giggling heap on the floor. I’ve no doubt that she has a detector that picks up on when my kids aren’t at their best, which triggers a manic laughter reaction. She did tell me once that my kids would be her best revenge on me. Now I find myself telling my kids the very same thing. While I can certainly wait to become a grandparent, I’m sure going to enjoy their kids exacting my revenge on my children for me (Muhuwhahahaha!).

What really chaps my cookies is that I had to be the heavy even when their father lived here. He rarely ever disciplined them, unless it was an extreme circumstance. Otherwise he was just the “good time” parent, and he had a tendency to do their chores for them, rather than make them do it themselves. Less confrontation and responsibility that way, you know.

The good news is that I have really good kids. They don’t get into trouble, they get good grades, and generally do what they are told. As things go, I could have it a lot harder.

Now the storm has cleared off and everything is back to normal. Hopefully things will stay that way for a while. I might take on the responsibility of having to be the heavy, but I sure hate doing it.

Confessions of a Snack Smuggler


Today Mom and I took all of the boys to see Despicable Me.

Everyone of us liked it, and we ranged in age from 8 to 64. There’s a little something in it for everyone. I think my favorite part of the movie had to be The Minions...I’ve got to find myself a mini minion for my new desk!  You can get the gist of the story from the trailer, so I won’t go into it here, but I will say that it’s worth going to see in the theater.

Speaking of seeing movies in the theater, what the heck is up with the high-priced tickets!? It’s now $9 for an evening adult ticket, and $6.50 for a matinée ticket, all ages. When we moved here in 1998, it was only $5 a ticket and $3.50 for a matinée. Yeah, I know that was a long time ago, but gee whiz.

Not only are the tickets to get in outrageous, but the snacks and drinks are so cost prohibitive that I’ve had to take up smuggling in order to support my moving-going habit. That’s right, I said it. I’m a snack smuggler.

Last night the boys and I went shopping at Wally World in preparation for our big movie day. They have a whole section in the Candy Isle labeled “Movie Candy”. No joking, I picked up enough movie candy to feed three people at three movies for just $12. That wouldn’t completely buy snacks and drinks at the theater for three people going to one movie.  Today, before we left, I emptied out my big shoulder bag, and stuffed it full of enough snacks and drinks for the six of us. I have to admit, my bag looked like carry on luggage by the time I got it stuffed full and zipped up, but it did the job.

Should I feel guilty for not having purchased the exorbitantly priced snacks and beverages at the theater? No, I don’t think so. It’s not illegal. Until they enforce any “no outside food or drinks” rules, I’ll be packing my own. That will probably happen right after they enforce the “no on under 17 allowed without a parent or guardian” rule. Yeah, like that’s going to happen any time soon.

Drowning in Testosterone


Testosterone...it only looks harmless in the picture.

I’m a single mother, raising two boys ages 17 & 15. Generally speaking, our house is a veritable testosterone swamp. It’s all about video games, sports, boys clothes, and boys stuff… and boy issues. It’s so pervasive that when I recently renovated my bathroom, I found myself  leaning to a more masculine decor than I might otherwise have liked. My basement has become Older Son’s personal Man Cave.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a girlie-girl. I don’t like pink or yellow, unless it’s on flowers, and I sure don’t dig flower prints on my furniture. I don’t care for lace much, and don’t even think about trying to get me into a dress…unless it’s that really cool wine-colored celtic dress a dear friend gave me some years back (It rocks, thank you Hel’wyse!). As I child, I spent way more time climbing trees, riding my bike, shooting a BB gun and playing catch with my Dad than I did playing dolls.  Oh, I tried the whole hair and make up thing between the ages of 15 and 22, or so. Turns out I’m allergic to all that gunk that women put on their heads, so I decided just to go natural and quit trying to swim upstream. I itch less and it turns out it’s a very much cheaper way to live. I don’t know how some of these women support their make up/hair habits.

So, given that I am a tom-boy (still) at the age of 41, why would I have any problems with living and breathing in a testosterone-laden atmosphere? I guess it has to do with the lack of balance. I don’t get out with my friends much. I do work with a lot of women, but that doesn’t really count. These last two weeks, just about every time I go out with my boys, I’m meeting my Dad and my Favorite Nephews to go to some neat cultural thing. Not that I don’t want to spend time with them, but I’m starting to feel the lack of not having enough women around. My one fleeting moment of estrogen-wrapped fun this week was my Friday lunch with my friend Brea. It only lasted about 20 minutes or so, but we laughed, and chatted, and it was nice (thanks again for the bracelet!).

So, tonight the boys and I were to pick Dad and the Nephews up and go to the Dakota Territory Air Museum. They had some special shindig going on, with lots of vintage airplanes. Uff-da…another testosterone-soaked activity. I just couldn’t take it any more. So, when we arrived at Mom and Dad’s, I gave Older Son the keys to the van, packed Dad and the Nephews up in the back with Younger Son and wished them a good time. I stayed with Mom while they were gone and it was nice. We chatted awhile, and I helped her out with some stuff on the computer. There were no loud noises, no exhortations on why one aircraft/tank/weapon/ship/video game/computer game is better than another. There was also no arguing (I swear to the Gods my kids argue some times like old ladies fighting over who gets the better bingo card) and there was no COPS on the television.

After they all came back from the aircraft show, I took my boys out to supper and we picked up some movies. The one we watched tonight was called “Whip It”, directed by Drew Barrymore, which is a new release in video stores right now. It’s all about women’s roller derby. I loved it! So, I got to spend time with Mom, and then watch a good movie (it really was good…go rent it) about a girl who is coming of age and trying to be tough enough.

It was a good evening. I think the only thing that would have made it a spectacular evening is if Hel’wyse could have joined in. We miss you, honey!

Home Improvement Anxieties and Gratefulness


It’s 5:34, and I’ve clocked out of work. Most of the renovation activity is done for the day except that my electrician has arrived and is rummaging around in my hot, stifling attic. Her name is Annie, and I swear that she has more patience for home improvement idiots (ahem…that would be me), than I could imagine.

Here’s a home improvement tip, and I can’t stress this enough…always start with the electrician. Have the lights, light switches, ceiling fans and any other electric thing you want in your finished room put in BEFORE everything else gets done, as best as you can. That will be one less person you have to make sure to schedule between other professionals while the main work is going on. When everything electric is pre-placed, the other guys will know exactly where it put it back when it’s all done. Also, if there are any wiring anomalies, you can have that taken care of before hand, and avoid any problems that way.

Here’s something you don’t want to hear any home improvement professional (plumber, carpenter, electrician, etc) say: “Now why the heck did they do it THAT way?!” I’ve heard that now about three different times, and it always makes my heart start racing while I wonder what extra thing will have to be done before progress can be made. But, I’ve been lucky. The next thing that I have heard is, “well, I suppose we can do X, Y or Z, and that ought to fix it.”  Whew… It helps to have competent people working for you, and I feel so lucky to have had that all the way around.

Another person I am really grateful to have helping me out around the house is my Dad. Today he came over, again, to look at the eaves troughs on the back of my house. They are malfunctioning something fierce. He’s done some reconnoitering and now has a plan for what needs to be done.   My Mom doesn’t get over here much with all the construction going on, but she is someone I’m also grateful for. She invited us to stay at their house while our bathroom is being done and has been so supportive. I don’t know what I’d do without either of them.

Now…if I could just get the painting going. I hate waiting!

My to-do list is so daunting, I need a Vincent Price voice over


After getting home at 1am last night, and didn’t fall asleep until about 3:30, I was surprised that I was up and at ’em by 8am today.  It’s ok, though. It’s going to be a big day, and I needed to get up and cracking if I’m going to even get half of it accomplished. Today Older Son is going to Nana’s to help her finish taking stuff downstairs that’s left over from last night’s organization orgy, so it will just be me and Younger Son getting stuff done today at home.

As discussed in a previous post, the carpenter who is supposed to be doing the remodel on my bathroom delayed until tomorrow. I haven’t heard from him yet that he isn’t coming tomorrow, so I will assume that his sister’s surgery went well and that all is a go for Wednesday. Uh…hmm. Hope I didn’t just jinx it by saying that out loud.

Nobody does menacing like Vincent Price!

Anyway, as I am operating under the assumption that the bathroom project is getting under way tomorrow (please, oh please, oh please!), there are certain things that I need to get accomplished before that can happen. So, in the spirit of getting the ball rolling, here is today’s very special edition of (cue Vincent Price echo, crashing thunder and lightning)…  The To-Do List.

  • Scrub out fridge (there’s been a code-four pickle juice spill…Yummy)
  • Do final general pick up and cleaning of upstairs
  • Get Younger to mow and edge the lawn
  • Do more laundry until my washer and dryer beg for mercy
  • Shopping trip to Menards/Wally World to buy a new pedestal sink, bathroom fan, plastic big enough to cover the bedroom/living rooms doors and the kitchen (to keep demolition dust off), expanding spray foam for the crack in the basement wall, and new weed eater.
  • Call the plumber and make an appointment to get my external hose fixed.
  • Call sand and gravel company to put an order in for landscaping rock.
  • Bake Banana Bread…I’ve got some bananas that need to be used up.

If I get all of that done today, it will have been a hugely successful day. I can do it, but I guess I’m going to need to quit flappin’ my gums on the internet and get the show on the road!