back in july, we sold our completely finished labor of love. a house i cried when we moved into. and i cried the day we moved out. BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS that house. the day we moved in, we turned the key, stepped in and what we found was pure filth. dog hair littered the floor, the fridge was DISgusting, whoever had painted it must have been blind, it had green carpeting, lime and purple walls and it was ALL ours.
we spent the next 6 years transforming it. room by room. every bit of it we did ourselves. we painted every ceiling, every wall, every moulding and door. we installed new hardware, new floors, new fixtures, new sinks and faucets, tile, countertops, you name it. most of it i did while pregnant with ian, and the rest i did on my maternity leave.
sean would come home to find me teetering on ladders, standing on my tip toes and he would laugh probably silently judging my psychotic obsession.
people that know me, know that i do this because i like it to look nice yes, but mostly because this sort of work is like therapy to me. transforming ugly into not is actually therapeutic and fills me.
in july we bought another complete project. starting anew for some more space and here we are again and i'm standing in what feels like the pits of hell starting all over. on an uneven subfloor, scraping wallpaper paste for probably the 18th hour. therapy, this does not feel like.
two weeks ago, when i thought i couldn't take on anymore i did what any normal (psycho) would do and started a project that was much bigger than I imagined. i peeled up a corner of the torn and stained linoleum thinking 'subfloor' would look better than this. but no, it doesn't.
and so begins the transformation of the laundry room/mud room.
people keep asking me, why that room? when your kitchen is so uh....brady bunch. and your bathrooms are so uh...1980. but this is our everything room. it's where we come and go, it's where i live sorting and folding laundry, it's where our shoes and coats and cleaning supplies and tools are. i feel like if this room was clean and done and organized i will feel so too.
people that know me also know, this will not satisfy me for long.
this room has been so physically and emotionally challenging so far. tears have been shed. sean HAS found me a crumpled heap in the corner, my right hand sore and swollen from scraping. OH THE SCRAPING. whoever applied this wallpaper 35 years ago, please show yourself. I'd like to have a little chat.
i did what i swore i would never again do and that's to paint the cabinets myself, and after a week of doors laying all over the house i've successfully primed, primed, painted and painted, each side of 12 doors. this is happening.
my aunt had surgery today. torn rotator cuff and some ligament situation. so i called to check in on her. she's more like a sister to me. she's only got 5 years on me and you know...we grew up together. she was the one always stealing all my good barbie clothes and tricking me into having the ratty haired barbies and the less cool corvette. after a few good laughs about her 'dead' arm which she accidentally sat on and then thought it was the remote because it is COMPLETELY NUMB and will be numb until tomorrow when it 'wakes up' and puts her into what her doctor said would be 'excruciating pain'. i told her my day was obviously just as bad because my tights kept rolling down and causing saggy crotch. i mean, totally up there with shoulder surgery. we laughed again. my auntie is my rock. she's one of those women that i think about when i'm having a rough day. she keeps me going. i always know i can do it, because she could do it. she's strong, and brave and damn...she's funny. so i needed to hear her voice and gut laugh with her. and that we did.
i didn't tell her this, because she just well...had surgery but i was teetering on the brink of sanity and she without even knowing it pulled me back over the line. god, i love her. when she asked how it was going i simply said, 'it's been busy. you know, i'm a single working mom A LOT' and she's been a single working mom...a lot. so she get's it. and she said to me, 'well honey? you've got about 10 more years of this so just...persevere. and i'm not sure what made us laugh so hard about that, but we did to the point of tears because there really is nothing to say. working and parenting and all of that is just hard. but you just keep going. PERSEVERE!
so in the spirit of persevering, i just decided i'm not going to work tomorrow. i can probably count on one hand how many times i've just sort of played hooky or taken an un planned day off in 13 years.
today, shit kind of hit the fan. i feel like i've been semi keeping the balls in the air but today they all fell down and rolled around the kitchen floor. it's been building all week. escalated yesterday when alex told me that when i help her with her geometry, she always get's it wrong and then ian told me i needed to lose 70 lbs. so you can imagine, i'm just not feeling competent or confident in any aspect of my life.
today, i received probably 10 non work related emails today that pushed me so far over the top in things i needed to do. then, i spent my hour of 'get shit done' at night searching for ian's reading homework book, and then that little thing happened that pushes you over the edge. i ran out of milk. again, right up there with shoulder surgery and imminent excruciating pain. right? no.
sometimes, i just have to take a day off of work to do EVERYTHING ELSE. so here is what i'm gonna do tomorrow instead of 'working'.
1. submit girl scout cookie order
2. return library book that is now 3 weeks over due. bring money you pretty much have to pay for the whole book.
3. take immunization records to school (this has been on the list for 3 weeks) and the office lady is on my tail
4. mail toilet rebate (because we finally crossed 'buy working toilets' off the list)
5. return shoes you shouldn't have bought
6. return food processor you got for sean to make salsa, but he doesn't like it
7. turn in school auction donation money, pick up family basket information, pick up vendor call list, sign up for volunteer slots
8. alex needs two paper sacks for her music performance costumes
9. figure out when to volunteer for that
10. alex's book battles are coming up, find flashcards and practice them with her
11. ian's teacher needs us to send 'mona lisa' pictures back to school
12. call bank for car title
13. water bill passed due, setup online payment
14. email rsvp for girl scout retreat
15. email rsvp for father daughter dance
16. sign ian up for baseball
17. call simon's mom back, play date request
18. send in rental form for family weekend on mountain
19. print label and return amazon cabinet hinges. the two sets of wrong ones.
20. do all laundry because we need to pull washer/dryer out on saturday.
21. buy food, you have none.
22. ian's 4 sweatshirts and 1 coat are missing. not in lost and found. figure out how to attach them to his person permanently.
23. something is wrong with dog, take him to vet. foreign growth on paw. SWEET.
24. mail the rest of donna's christmas gift
25. make ian's 5 year check up appointment (note: he's 6)
26. make alex's 7 year old check up (note: she's 8)
27. FLU SHOTS
28. remember when anybody in your family last went to the dentist.
29. call gma, you missed her birthday.
30. call your aunt, and check in again. try to make her laugh while she's in excruciating pain with something clever and witty.
this child is an interesting fellow. just this week, sean and i looked across the room at each other after he'd done or said something so odd and did that thing we do when ian does something so odd (which is a lot) and we shook our heads and smirked at each other. both aware that we made him. and that our weirdness combined, made him. 'we are responsible for that' and we laugh.
he typically comes into the house like a whirlwind. kicking both shoes off in different directions and then stripping down to his underwear. if we are at home, it's all he's got on. otherwise, he's too hot. and the guy is ripped right now. he's super lean (the total opposite of 2 yr old ian) and he's got a 6 pack. it's weird. but, it matches his personality.
tonight, it was like pulling teeth to get ian to do his reading homework. and i say this because even getting him to lose his teeth, is like pulling teeth (i have to do it). the two teeth he's lost, I YANKED OUT because he can't be bothered with dangly bleeding chicklets. i digress.
ahem...tonight, we were painstakingly getting thru his reading homework while he giggled and laughed and failed to sound the words out. see, he'd rather make up sentences that sorta kinda go along with the picture. i was tired and done and ready for bed myself and with sean in DC and alex yelling from the other room that it was her turn i sorta kinda lost it.
'IAN, buddy. you need to focus. you know if you don't practice and take this seriously and learn to read you can't do much of anything in life' 'well sure i can mom, i don't need to read for anything. reading is not my thing math is. and basketball'. 'oh really? you need to know how to read to work and drive and well to READ. don't you want to read the paper? a book? road signs? subtitles on really cool foreign movies? what if you get lost, and need to read a map, or what about sports illustrated. dad reads that to play his fantasy football. what about that?' 'no' 'how are you gonna earn money to pay for food and shelter and clothes and fun stuff?' 'i'll just save up my christmas money for like 20 years' 'that's not enough sweetie, that will last you about 9 seconds and one lego toy set' 'well i'll just get a card' 'well, you have to have money in the bank to have a card' 'well, i'll just get married!' 'hahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA' 'LET'S TRY AGAIN EH, BUDDY?'
you know that card game? high low? you're dealt a card and you have to choose if the next card will be higher or lower? i love that game. it's a game of chance, and prediction. there is strategy to it, but really you get what you get. i firmly believe that all people are essentially dealt different cards in life. and it's a complete cliche, but it's what you do with them that matters.
when the kids got old enough, we started playing 'high low' at the dinner table. not with cards, but with the events of the day. 'what was your high?' and 'what was your low?' it gave us a glimpse into their day and after some urging, we'd have them ask us the same questions. we don't have nearly enough time on a weekday to catch up, and sometimes i feel very disconnected from sean and the kids M-F but this game can keep us in tune with the best and worst of our happenings.
our life feels like one big high/low game right now. and i guess that's a good thing. you need low's to appreciate those high's, and vice versa. perspective. appreciation. empathy for others. it all comes from your experiences and how you perceive them. how you get thru them, and what you learn from them. i think sean and i are battling one of those times in our life where one day we will look back and say 'remember that time? that was hard'. it's nothing life threatening. everyone is healthy. things are just busy. we are stretched thin, our work life balance is not where it should be. i keep calling 'high' and the cards keeping coming in 'low'. does it mean we are unhappy? no, we are just tiiiiiiiiiiiired.
sean's job is busy. if i really added up how many hours he works in a week, i don't know. i'd lose count. he's just working so hard, and watching him is tiring. he's gone many evenings, and even when he's home? he goes back to work when i drag myself up to bed. i don't know how he does it. because all but one week a month, i work a relatively normal work schedule and i feel spent. and naturally, some of the tasks we used to share i try to pick up on my own. and i'm growing tired of the ground hogs day routine. get up, drop off kids, go to work, pick up kids, go home, make dinner, do homework, give showers, read to kids, say good night, clean up massive mess that just occurred from all of that, go to bed, wake up. repeat.
but thru this, i can always dig inside and find that high and low.
today my low was ian telling me i had about 70 lbs to lose. the guy has been joining me in some evening workout dvd time which is HILARIOUS and humbling because he kicks my ass in pretty much every drill and doesn't break a sweat. meanwhile, i'm stopping for water while he mocks me AND tells me to 'keep going mom!'. once, he said 'mom i can actually SEE your legs getting smaller'.
my high? it's a toss up. it might have been my dead quiet commute home. i've been getting in the habit of turning the radio off, and today my phone just happened to have died so i didn't hear a single call or text. and it was an hour of pure silence. a gift. just me and the open road (or the parking lot that is hwy 217). so it was either that, or these 15 minutes i've spent writing. because writing and painting (walls not canvas) are my therapy. and these days, i need all i can get.
speaking of therapy. and painting. coming soon, maybe a mid process laundry room / mudroom update. i've all but demolished the wallpaper laden sheetrock and we've torn up the linoleum floor. i'm 2 seconds (or two weeks) from completing the cabinets...it's looking like the house was set fire back there, but i can see it's future and it's breathtaking.
i wish the mantra 'it's the thought that counts' applied to exercise. i wish that just the intention of working out, taking time for yourself, and putting yourself first gave you the results you wanted.
this morning, before i left for work, i threw some clothes and my gym shoes into a bag with the intent of going to the gym at lunch. all part of my 'happy new year' get my butt back to the gym or buy all new jeans plan. but i ended up leaving the house at 7, the time i should have been AT work to warrant a long lunch and when the back to work and back to school traffic turned my normally half hour commute into an hour...i knew there was no lunch work out in store for me.
so at that point, i spent the rest of the day catching up from christmas vacation and psyching myself up for an online barre3 class later that evening.
and at 5:00 when i left the office with a raging headache, i was still fully prepared to do this. it was happening. i pick the kids up at 6, head home, make them dinner, get their homework started, and i'm still prepared to take this damn class.
it's 7:15 and i have 45 minutes until 8 which is the time of day my body straight shuts down and needs to stop moving and thinking and doing anything it doesn't want to do so i have just 45 minutes and the clock is ticking. and alex needs to practice her recorder, and ian is over-tired and doing what he does when he's over-tired and talking about how much he misses his great pop-pop. and he reminds me how i've promised him a picture of great pop-pop and i never follow thru on my promises. and when sean tries to put the kids to bed for me so i can do this damn video alex melts down that i never tuck them in which is a lie. such a terrible lie, but the guilt tugs.
i've been away from them all day, and i have these two hours and how dare i take 40 minutes of that time and do something for me and my busted out jeans.
and i keep plugging. i made a promise to myself and so i setup the computer and spend 30 minutes looking for my hand weights and the barre3 ball and i find one weight. and i start to un-ravel because honest to god i feel like all i do is look for things and the walls of my house start closing in. and the pile of dishes, and laundry that needs putting away, and i try to do the video anyway because at this point i'm hard core doing this no matter what. and ian is fighting bed upstairs, and alex is blowing into her recorder and i can't hear the video and then the part comes where you have to use the ball and it's 7:54 and both kids are crying and i'm so tired and my head throbs on. and so i do what you do when the world is falling down around you.
i slam the computer down and cry for 10 minutes because no matter how hard i try. and i tried hard. making exercise a priority is near impossible and i'm angry.
if only being angry burned calories. and it's the angry that happens when you've only eaten 1200 calories because that's all i can eat when i don't exercise. so off to bed i go. tomorrow i get up an hour earlier. and i try again.