The therapist is in.

I talked about my new therapist in a previous post, and I was finally able to give her my time today. All of my papers are squared away, I have the plates on, and I was ready to go. But, would I be able to ride her? Would she be too much for me to handle after being used to a much smaller therapist for so long? I was nervous about my first appointment, but I shouldn’t have been.

What a rush!

As soon as I sat on the seat, I felt a great sense of calm. The seat was just right, the mirrors were perfect; a perk from buying her from someone as tall as me. As soon as I started that motor, and felt it rumbling under me, I began to feel happier. When we hit the road, well, it was love at first throttle.

What a thrill it was to have so much more power with just a twist of my wrist. Immediately she jumped forward, ready to go faster, faster, faster! I could have ridden forever, but as I rode out of town, it looked like rain was moving my way, so I had to keep it short, The ride was smooth and fairly bump free. My smaller therapist is a bit rough, and tells me where all the bumps and dips are in the road. But she does her best for being smaller.

I can’t wait to hit the road for real. I plan on taking some road trips this year, short ones, to get out and just ride. Find a few scenic roads and just enjoy myself. There is nothing quite like getting on a motorcycle to shut down all the random garbage that my brain can manage to throw up a me, keeping my stress level high. When riding, I cant pay attention to all of that noise. My therapist will remind me with a shimmy that I am not focused on her, and bring me back to where I need to be. She gets jealous.

So now I wait impatiently for my next opportunity.

 

Image

Advertisements

The winds of change are blowing

I have been feeling them for a while.  A gentle hint of a breeze at first, barely stirring my attention. Now it would seem they are blowing like a gale force wind through my heart. Let me explain…

I have had a very hard last three years in my personal and professional  life. Very stressful. Not that ‘stressful at the moment’ and a glass of wine will fix it kind. No. I have had the long term, exhausting, heart sapping kind that had slowly depleted my resolve and my emotional reserves.

I had a job in a small town that I loved. I was pretty content, but didn’t make much money, which wasn’t a huge concern for me. I was able to pay my bills, and the ends met, so I was fine with it. Then came along an opportunity to more than double my income, with better benefits and a two tier retirement with a 401K. So, like anyone else in my situation would, I jumped at the opportunity. More money is good right? Retirement…good. Insurance…good, especially with three rambunctious boys to contend with.

So, after a 6 month process, I began my new job. It was great at first, I had never made as much money in my life before. I was in a financial position to break out of my destructive marriage, and be free for the first time since I was 18. Everything was looking up.

Then the shine wore off.

The supervisor in my new job hates women, and he did his best to mess with me every chance he got. Changing my schedule almost daily, making sure I was never able to take vacation time, paring me up with a partner that was spiteful, hateful and mean, making my shifts 12 hours of absolute misery. The night supervisor was just as nasty to me, and went out of his way to try to get me fired before my probationary 90 day period was up. It finally took me and who would be my new, and best, partner, getting him demoted to get him to leave me alone. Still, he dug at me any chance he got. I was regretting taking this job big time, and longed to go back, tried desperately to get back,  gladly taking a huge pay cut and lose my benefits. Anything to get away from these loonies.

To top off the stress in my office, the areas I work in are terrible. Shootings, car chases, stabbing, beatings, assaults, burned out derelict buildings, houses that should be torn down, people in the streets all hours of the night, drug deals in the open, pimps and hookers, drunks, domestic fights on the sidewalks, kids on street corners when they should be in bed, parroting their parents lifestyle, repeating the cycle of self destructive behavior. I drive past huge piles of contaminated soil, travel through areas that literally smell like sewer and death. Its dark, dirty, smelly, and strewn with garbage, piles of junk everywhere you look. The roads resemble those in a war zone, with ripples, bumps, potholes and whole sections of street missing. Just driving the streets beats you half to death. The noise never stops. People, cars, gunshots…it is never quiet. Nothing like what I came from. Where I came from, its quiet after 11, and the only noise is from the frogs, night bugs and the sounds of the river lapping at the banks. The air smells fresh, clean, not like something that got left to rot in a sewer in Tijuana. The pollution and streetlights hide the stars. Not a place for a country girl like me.

So then the year of furlough came, and dragged out. I made it through, and never missed a payment on anything. But at great cost to my nerves. Sleepless nights, bad dreams and worry. Constant worry. Worry for my house payment, worry about food, worry about my kids. My relationship with my ex-husband deteriorated a little more, and his inability to be a mature help was taxing on my already taxed spirit. I was tired all the time. Some days it took all my energy to hold my head up and pretend for my boys that life was fine. I was able to supplement towards the end with a small job I stumbled on thanks to a friend, and finally, I was recalled to work.

Now, you would think that after a year of being laid off, I would be anxious to get back to work and start that income rolling in again. Nope. I held a lot of anger and fear inside, on top of what was already there. Anger at the job not being what I was lead to believe it was, fear that I would  just be furloughed again, and anxious about who I would have to work with. Turned out, that last one wasn’t something I needed to worry about.

Now the wind begins to pick up…

While I was gone, the night supervisor I got demoted put in for retirement, and has since gone. The hateful person I was paired up with left our department before I came back. I was partnered up with a great person, and it made all the difference to me getting re-acclimated to work again. Everyone should be so lucky as to have someone of his integrity and character to work with. Since I have been back, the company has hired a new person, and I have moved up in seniority, and out of the schedule hopping extra board position, into a permanent job. My working and off days are planned out in a rhythm, so I know when my days off are a year from now. I can make plans, and have a life. See my friends. Plan trips with my kids. Maybe meet someone new, who wont be emotional and financial suicide to be with. The faint breeze I barely noticed before is starting to blow hard with a renewed sense of purpose. I have a little hope forming at the edges of my jaded heart.

Then, I had to undergo tests. My stomach was a mess, I had terrible pain sometimes, and other  troubles, which started, of course, when I was laid off. After my procedures, I was told that they had to remove three polyps from my colon, all three being the cancer forming kind. one was already inflamed, but it has been removed with its other two trouble causing friends. I also have acid damage in the lower part of  my esophagus from stress induced acid reflux. I have an ‘elevated’ risk of colon cancer, and I have to go back in 5 years for another test. I am grateful for the stomach troubles, because if I had waited until I was 50, I would most likely be too far gone for help.

Now, there are two ways I can look at that. 1.) I can panic and be all tied in knots for 5 years, waiting for some invisible bomb to go off in my digestive tract. Or 2.) I can go about my life with a more positive mindset, an improved diet, and work at shrugging off so much hurt, resentment and fear from the last, oh I dunno, 19 years of my life.

I have chosen the latter.

I described who I used to be recently to a close friend, as a tiny person standing inside of the hurricane of my anger, screaming to be heard over the twisting, damaging wind. Now, she is a lot bigger, and the wind is finally carrying her voice, instead of snatching it away. I am no longer waiting for every moment to be right, agonizing over every decision, and looking backwards, reviewing my every stumble and mistake. I am jumping in with both feet more often than not, and I get better at it as time goes on.

I have a therapist. She isn’t big, or mighty, but she has been a great influence on me, and I feel liberated every time I see her. She takes away all the things I have been worrying about, and they become background noise. She tells on me with a dip or a jerk if I become distracted by the noise in my mind.

My metal therapist

My metal therapist

In the spirit of jumping in with both feet, I have brought home her big sister. And I do mean big. I went from a 250 Honda Rebel to a 900 Kawasaki Vulcan. I haven’t been able to give her my time quite yet, since I haven’t gotten her license to be a therapist, and she isn’t insured to provide her services, but soon we will be spending as much time together as possible. As soon as it stops raining anyway.

 

Newest therapist. I can't wait for our first session.

Newest therapist. I can’t wait for our first session.

 

Things are looking up. the winds of change are blowing hard, and I am feeling better than I have in years. Freer. Happier, and stronger, both in mind and in spirit. Do I still have issues at work? Sure, but only until the supervisor finally releases his abusive grip on our department, and finally retires, slinking back under whatever rock he came out from under.

Until then, my therapist and I will be busy.

 

 

Springtime, flowers and kids, oh my!

Its been a beautiful 80+ here the last few days, and I am loving it! No humidity, sunny skies and a nice breeze. Aahhh, if only if could stay just like this. As much as I love summer, springtime has, by far, the best temperatures. A little volatile, but that’s spring in the Midwest for you.  

We spent all of last Sunday planting flowers, and re configuring the design of a flowerbed I had in the front by the porch. I am no landscaping expert by any means, but the results are colorful, and I like coming home from my smelly, dark and ugly job to a bright spot at my home. The happy little blooms make me smile every time I pull past them into the driveway. Sometimes flower therapy is the best therapy! 

ImageImageImageImage

With springtime also comes the end of school. I know people who cringe at the thought of the school year coming to a close. Some because they have to scramble for babysitting, others because now THEY have to do their own. I love it. I cant wait for school to be out, and I dread when they go back every fall. I think its because I am selfish, and I don’t like to share my kids. When they are gone, I miss their noise and energy in the house. They are funny and helpful, and still like to hang around with mom, which baffles a few folks I know, who go to battle with their kids every day. I feel for those parents who have a less than happy existence with their children, We have our arguments, and they can really go at each other, but it never lasts long. I am very proud of the young men my boys are growing up to be, in spite of my parenting lessons and failures along the way. 

Spring is also that little reminder that’s its the beginning of another year they will age and grow stronger, and a nudge closer to leaving the nest. Time waits for no one i guess. 

And with that reminder of the time, its time I got off my couch and get out in my yard. Grass also waits for no one!

Have a happy spring day today everyone!

 

 

 

Self esteem is unreasonable

I know that is the exact opposite of what we have all been programmed to believe, but hear me out.

My youngest and I had a 20 minute battle this morning over socks. Really. Now, I know I have slacked off in the sock purchasing department, and he has mostly outgrown his with his big boy feet. Nothing critical, I just need to get to it. So I hand him a pair of socks, the kind that only goes up ankle high, which I know he doesn’t mind because that’s the height of ALL of  his socks. Apparently where went horribly wrong is that they weren’t white socks.

Image

Say what?

 

He did not want to go to school in black socks, with a gray toe and heel because someone might, in an unusual and unlikely event that his shoes come flying off, make fun of him at school because they look like girl socks. Now, I am one of those people that just doesn’t care what other people think. I wear the craziest socks on purpose, because I like them. And if someone else doesn’t, I don’t care. Their opinion doesn’t even blip on my radar of give a d**mn. So you can imagine my confusion that this is an issue. I finally got tired of arguing and sent him to school with bare feet in his shoes, because he wasn’t going to be happy with any of his choices. You know what?  I was angry too. Angry that my vibrant little guy was cowing to a fear that someone might not like his socks. Angry that he felt defeated enough to not want to stand out.

The focus on self esteem in children is unreasonable. It sounds good, almost like a fairy tale. Every one sits together all hunk dory happy in equal everything, then no one can feel bad, right?

WRONG.

I think the focus on self esteem makes putting on a colorful pair of socks an excruciating decision for a 10 year old boy. This is going to sound horrible, but here it is; Not everyone should feel good all the time. You can’t do it. Its not possible. Putting the expectation that there is some point in the future of our lives where we are all going to grow up to be happy, well adjusted adults because we had the right clothes, hair, education or toys, because that’s what everyone else has is damaging. Its damaging to the heart and creative soul of a child, and it ruins them as an adult, so they fall into the checkout line behind the rest of the ‘self esteem needy’, buying crap they don’t need and cant afford to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. It programs them at a young age to agree with commercial corporate programming that, if we all look the same, act the same, talk and walk the same, and educate the same, then we will all be happy in our cookie cutter sameness.

I don’t teach my kids self esteem. I teach them to be happy with themselves, and rejoice in their individuality. To be proud of their unique thoughts and perspectives on life. To strive to keep a tight hold on who they are and what they believe, and not to lose themselves inside of anyone else, or anything else.

My kids are the crazy socks of the world. They are the round pegs that don’t quite fit in the square holes of life. I wouldn’t change them for anything,

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go throw away all the white socks.

 

 

 

 

Calamity, Catastrophy and chaos.

That, I have decided, is what little boys are really made of.

 

This last month has been one trip to the ER after another. My insurance company claim agent has got to be sitting at his desk, scratching his head at it all. My youngest started out the month with a sudden mystery rash that, to this day, we have not figured out what he came into contact with. Home remedies were a no go, and it decided to go nuclear and start surrounding his eye on a weekend when, of course, the doctors office was closed. So off  to the ER he went. One week later, and the steroid they gave him didn’t work. Off to the doctors office, and another week of steroids finally does some good.

Towards the end of his second week, he started having pressure on his chest like ‘a car was on it.’ On a weekend. Again. So off to the ER, aaaagain, and they find nothing. We suspect it was a well played distractionary tactic to avoid homework.

At school the following day, he is playing with a girl in his class, and they fall at the same time, and somehow she falls knee first on his head. He calls from the school to tell me the fall broke his glasses, and he is sporting a new lovely, bleeding goose egg at his brow.  Siiiggghhh. So off to the eye place we go for repairs.

Two days later he spikes a fever, and his throat,  head and neck hurts terribly, and he is very congested. I think, strep (he is a carrier). Its a weekend, because this kid can NEVER get sick during doctors office hours. Soooo..you guessed it! BACK to the ER we go. They did a strep and flu test, both negative.  They give him an antibiotic, but don’t know what is wrong, The doc was guessing a sinus infection. Guessing. Awesome.  Lets just play roll the medical dice.

He takes a couple of doses of the antibiotic, which he has taken in the past, and starts to feel better. After about dose four, he breaks out in ANOTHER rash! By this point I am thinking there is something really wrong here. He goes to a Children’s hospital ER this time, and they tell us that the antibiotic he is taking for unknown reasons, is causing an allergic reaction, and seem as confused as I did as to the WHY he was prescribed anything at all.

Really? Really.

So fast forward about a week, and THAT boy is doing well. He and my oldest are playing at my mothers house, running around doing crazy boy stuff, when my oldest son gets his foot caught, spins as he falls and hears a horrible cracking noise.

Insert exasperated noise and facepalm here….

So now HE goes to the ER, and they say its just a sprain, and to keep it wrapped, elevated and iced. Should be better in a couple days.

Nope. Of course not. That’s just not how it goes for my household.

I ended up taking him to an orthopedist two days later, and he came home with a knee high boot and the diagnosis of a torn ligament.

Wonderful.

Now he is hobbling along in this boot, trying to navigate the crowded halls of his high school as I type this. Poor kid, his ankle is killing him, and he still has to go to school.

At this point, I’m pretty sure I have phone PTSD, because every time my phone rings, I jump, just waiting for another call saying one of them did something to themselves.

They had better remember all of this when I am old!

hobbes

 

In sickness and in health, a mom I will always be.

I recently spent an afternoon in the ER of our local hospital with my youngest, who came home from school not feeling well. Our doctor was unable to see us for two days, so off to the land of uncomfortable chairs and harried nurses we went for a strep test.

As I sat there, watching a parade of people, some with real ailments, and some questionable, my little guys fevered body leaning against me under my arm, making me sweat from the heat, I began to muse about how rare it is my kids actually get sick. My little guy has had it a bit rough recently, and the last little bit of the school year seems unusually rife with illness or some kind of calamity that has resulted in injury. As I sat there and mulled over what the rest of my day, and night was going to be like, I realized that I would  not trade this afternoon, and what I know will be the resulting sleepless night, for anything in the world.

I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Its not as if I am wishing sickness or injury on my children, far from it. I do however realize that, as a mom, I am looked upon by my kids as the healer of boo boos, the calm in the upset and the keeper of the night shift when they cant sleep. Its something meaningful that I think at times we as moms don’t see, while we crankily move through another vomit laden day. We stumble around, groggy from lack of sleep, sore from the weird positions we sit in so our kids can lay against us, our clothes sweaty from little overheated bodies, and forget that all of this is a deep bonding, just as meaningful and strong, if not more so, as sitting with a book to read to them, fixing them dinner and talking at the table, or playing a game together.

I am their comfort when they feel their worst, when they wake up in the night, stumbling to my bedside to announce they don’t feel good, only to promptly throw up on the floor instead of going to the bathroom first. Why do they do that? Because I am the first thing they think of when they feel bad. Mom will fix it. Mom will make it better. Before their brain can even kick in fully, I am the first thought in their misery laden search for comfort.

And it isn’t limited to the flu or a cold. Its a stubbed toe, a smashed finger or a bonk on the head. Its a nightmare that wakes them, a loud noise that startles them, or someone picking on them at school.

Like every mom who keeps her worries secret,  their struggles and hurts and illness keep me up a lot of long nights. Like tonight. He wont know how many times I go to his bedside and touch his forehead to see if his fever has returned, to listen to his breathing, and watch his face for signs of distress in his sleep.

They don’t realize how many times a day I wonder about them while they are at school, or think about them while I work midnights, gone while they sleep.

As we left the hospital, prescription in hand, he wrapped his little arm around me, and we walked that awkward too close together walk to the car, he looked up at me through his glasses with his red rimmed eyes and said “I love you mom.”

I wouldn’t trade this day for anything. Someday when they are grown, when they have a home and kids of their very own, I will be glad I traded the sleep of those nights for exhaustion, an aching back, tired eyes and a worried mind. They are more valuable than gold.

I’m going to head upstairs and check on him again. Sleep well my little guy, momma has the watch from here.

 

 

 

 

Non stop

That would describe my current circumstances.  A non stop merry go round of work, work, and you guessed it.  More work.

I have recently been recalled to my job after a year of being furloughed. Between unemployment,  which wasn’t much, odd job work through last summer, the pride smarting use of food stamps, and the free breakfast and lunch programs at my children’s schools, we made it through. I am trying like crazy to play catch up to the last year’s worth of bills that I neglected, now that I am working again. It is quite literally a non stop endeavor. And exhausting.  Physically, mentally and emotionally.

I am fortunate to have been hired by a place as secondary employment that happily works around my full time job. Slowly but surely, bills are getting paid, projects are getting started, and the things I had to put off, like trips to the dentist, are finally being made, much to my relief.

My goals are:

Have all non living expense bills paid off.

Complete my project ‘wish list’.

Have emergency money in savings.

Possibly pay off the remainder of student loans.

I am slowly marking off things as I go, and the satisfaction of accomplishing each one is tremendous. I really don’t plan on working so much forever, but I will do it as long as I can physically handle it. My kids really don’t like it, and I am not enjoying spending so much time apart from them. I have never been one of those parents that couldn’t wait for school to start, or for their holiday break to be over, or wanted a trip away on my own. Being away from them is painful to me. I just keep telling myself that I am working towards a greater goal that will benefit us all. I want to have little to no debt.

If I can get myself there, then no matter what happens, I will be in a much better position to handle it. The year I was furloughed really shook me. I am a planner. I like to know what’s going happen, when, how and why, and plan way ahead. I do NOT like financial surprises, and if you can’t tell, I’m not spontaneous by nature. There are a lot of people out there that are in a worse situation than I was, and I really feel for them. I now have a better understanding of the horrible economic hell that has gripped our country, and I am relieved mine was short lived, even though it didn’t seem like it at the time.

I am grateful I am frugal little mizer, because it helped me maintain everything, with almost nothing. I look at my kids, and wonder if they too learned from the experience,  or did they even notice? We don’t live beyond our means,  never have. I have never been one to spend money without a darn good reason. I guess their lifestyle really didn’t miss much of a beat. Then again, is that a good thing? Do I spend so little that we live poorly?

The experience of being laid off is still on my mind. Even though I made it without missing a single house or insurance payment, utility or phone bill, I still can’t give myself a pat on the back in celebration. It really made me question my spending habits.

How much is too much? How much is too little?

That question won’t be answered tonight, but I do mull it over pretty often.

That mom

That mom

We all know who she is. We have all seen her. We have all wondered if she was driving asleep.

That mom.

Hair in disarray,  pony tail askew, eyes only partially open, squinting at the road, pajamas still on. If you could see her feet, you would see slippers instead of shoes.

Today, I was that mom. Driving in all my rumpled sweatsuit, brown slippered squinty eyed glory, glaring at anyone who dared to look at me with a questioning gaze.

Oh ya. That was me. I have become one of them. A member of the half awake horde. I never thought I would be one of those exhausted parents waiting dutifully in car line, half awake and mostly dressed, struggling to remember if I even bothered to put on underwear.

The zombie apocalypse is upon us, and it’s a bunch of overworked, overtired midnight shift parents. You would fear us, if we were awake anyway.

That mom is going back to bed.

Changing seasons

Winter seems to have finally released its stranglehold on us, and spring has come in with a vengeance. High wind, heavy rain and a fierce lightning show let all know the seasons have finally changed. Winter is done. No more snow, frigid temperatures and  bleak days. Enter tornado season…

I have been anxious for spring to get here this year. Well, I am anxious for spring every year, because winter is my least favorite season, but this year is different. This year I am going to finally put a greenhouse in my back yard. I have several varieties of heirloom vegetables I have been waiting to try, and this year I plan on making it happen. Heirloom veggies are more sensitive, and can be more difficult to grow in comparison to the hybrid varieties. They haven’t been ‘tinkered’ with like the varieties offered in your local farm store or big box home improvement warehouse. They are more susceptible to bugs, disease and damage. For these, and many other reasons, I have waited until I could put a greenhouse up to protect my little nutritional powerhouses.

This year I would like to skip my yearly war of the squirrels, and I am hoping a greenhouse can help me with that little slice of summer hell. Little fuzzy rats tear up my gardening efforts every year, terrorizing my plants and tearing up my soil. It certainly doesn’t help that my neighbor thinks they are cute, and feeds them ears of corn on her porch. Ugh. I may steal her little corn holder thingy. It’s either that or I do what a friend of mine has done in the past with a raccoon invasion; sit outside in a ghillie suit and shoot at the little boogers. Worked for him, but I think my neighbors may frown upon tracer rounds whizzing about the neighborhood. Civility, the bane of city living.

Aside from the greenhouse, I have been yearning for the smell of leaves after spring rain. The smell of cut grass seems a distant memory after such a tedious winter, and I even miss the singing of birds as they invade my back patio roof and wake me up with their babies peeping for attention. Swimming, camping, hiking, working outside in the soil, sun warm on my arms. Winter was way too long and brutal this year, and I have far too many put off projects waiting for my attention.

Time to grow things!

Little rat