Need a Summer Re-Start

My kids have been out of school for less than a week.  Wait, is that really possible??  (Consulting calendar)  Yes . . . the youngest “graduated” from 8th grade a week ago today and the oldest finished up 10th grade last Thursday.  So we’re just one week into summer break.

And it hasn’t been an easy week.  I’d like to re-wind and start over.

The first weekend of summer (last weekend), we scheduled to have a few of my Scouts “camp” here so they could knock out a bunch of their cooking requirements.  By Saturday afternoon everyone was tired, crabby, hot, and definitely didn’t want to do their required cooking.  By 9:30 Saturday night, we had slogged through the cooking and a few other requirements and kids went home early.  But not before we had tears and me swearing I was done with Scoutmaster-ing.

However, it wound up being a great thing that kids went home early because Sunday morning, we were awoken by our beloved 6 year old, yellow Lab having a full-blown grand mal seizure.  It was terrible.  Absolutely awful and terrifying.  We were all hysterical.  Then, it got worse.  When he stopped seizing, he was completely disoriented, didn’t recognize any of us and became extremely aggressive.  He was snarling, growling, barking and definitely would have bitten.  We finally got him outside without anyone being bitten.  But having their best friend lunge at them sent my kids over the edge.  And left me wondering how on earth I was going to get my snarling dog in a crate and to the vet.

Thankfully, he returned to himself within about 15 minutes, let me put a leash on him, got in a crate (which he never, ever goes in) and off to the emergency vet we went.  Since then, he hasn’t had any more seizures.  We followed up with our regular vet yesterday and started medication, which he’ll have to have twice a day for the rest of his life.

The vet said that, should he have another seizure, the extreme aggressiveness will likely be his pattern.  So  now we have a “dog seizure protocol”.  Its been traumatic.

And finally, my oldest has decided to change Scout troops.  This decision has been building for a few weeks and it hasn’t been easy.  We’ve had a lot of conversations about it and last night, there were a lot of tears over it.

So, that’s been our first week of summer.  Fabulous, right?  I suppose it can only get better from here!

Trying to Get My Week Together

Yep, its Friday and I’m still feeling like I’m just trying to get my week together.  Its been a week with a lot of interruptions . . . Mom-type things like orthodontic wires stabbing cheeks, sore teeth from braces tightening, “Mom, can my friend spend the night?”,  “Wait, no, I don’t want her to spend the night.”,  teenager studying for finals, blow-ups in my son’s Scout troop (for which I, happily, am not the Scoutmaster), and so on and so on.

On top of all this, we have our (last) annual swim party tomorrow, daughter’s 8th grade “promotion”, friend’s son’s high school graduation, Scout events at my house . . . it just seems to go on.

Sound familiar?

I’ve tried my best to get a few things done.  I signed up a new Scout for my troop of girls (Yay!!!).  I’ve written a few blog posts.  Mostly, I’m being gentle with  myself.  Not beating myself up for not getting more done.  Focusing on what I have accomplished versus what I have not.  Because, realistically, its all stuff that can be done next week (not that I’m advocating procrastination).  Everyone is healthy, clothed, fed, and gets to where they need to be mostly on time.  And that’s what’s important.

Its ok for me to take the time to write blog posts, sit here with my coffee and watch birds out the window and spend a few minutes too long scrolling through Facebook and looking for a horse to buy my daughter.

Yep, its ok.

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Holiday Happiness . . . ???

I love the holidays.  I love the lights and the sparkle and the smells and the trees and the songs and well, just everything about the season.

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On one hand, I can’t wait for December.  On the other hand, I’m pretty much dreading it.

We have Christmas at our house with my Mom and my sister’s family, which is now her husband and 2 year old little boy.  It feels like its turned into obligatory gift-giving and I’m kind of tired of it.

My Mom is depressed, anxious, and worries endlessly.  No joy there.

My sister, her husband, and my nephew are all o.k., but we’re not close (that’s putting it mildly).  We live about 30 minutes apart and we see each other maybe 3 or 4 times a year . . . Christmas, my nephew’s birthday (which is this weekend), over the summer when we watch their dog while they go on an annual camping trip, and maybe another few times if my kids go to summer camp at the theater where my sister works.  Other than that, we really don’t even talk on the phone.

I’ve suggested skipping gifts and doing something together.  That idea has been met with nothing but resistance (except from my Husband, who is a huge grinch.)  We’ve tried opening gifts, having breakfast and then doing something for the day, but, let’s face it, none of us get along that well.

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So . . . what to do??  I might have to turn to baking something.  And maybe I’ll find a craft fair to go to.  Or something.  I love the holidays.

What Can I Not Do?

I have been blindingly busy the past few weeks.  I feel like work and most things in my life blew up all at once.  I’m having a hard time seeing any light at the end of the tunnel and, quite honestly, all of my usual coping mechanisms seem to be failing me.

The care and maintenance of our two fish tanks and one turtle aquarium came up between Husband and I yesterday.  We just don’t have time to properly maintain them.  Husband was fretting about this so I suggested looking into a service.  He agreed.  The estimate came back at about $175 per time, every 6 – 8 weeks.  I ran that by Husband.  His response was, “Are they worth $1,050 a year to you to keep?”  Which means they’re definitely not worth that much to him.  I replied that I’d rather keep the fish and turtles than our house cleaners, who I don’t think do a super good job anyway.  No response yet from Husband.

So, since I’m thinking Husband is going to nix the aquarium service, that means that if I want to keep the fish and turtles, regular maintenance is going to fall to me.  Which has me sitting here at my desk, wondering, “What can I not do?”

I just don’t know.  I’m responsible for the vast majority of kid-related things.  I’m responsible for all our other animals, though the kids help with this.  I’m responsible for house stuff like banking, errands, cleaning beyond the monthly house cleaners, dinner, watering plants, laundry, etc.  At the moment, I’m responsible for finding a new tenant for our vacant rental.  And a host of other random things Husband dumps on my desk.  Plus, I work.

I’m not really complaining.  Husband and I made a deal awhile ago – he would work more and I would take on more stuff at home.  He thinks I’m inefficient with my time and cater to the kids too much.  Its an ongoing disagreement that boils to the surface periodically.

I’m not good at giving things up.  Somehow, I just need to squeeze a few more things into my day.  Because I kind of like my fish and turtles.

Monday Doldrums

I’m stuck in the doldrums today, without any wind to blow me one way or the other.  The seemingly endless repetition of the week is stretching out before me . . . get kids to school, get to work, pick kids up from school, afternoon activities / appointments, make dinner, answer homework questions . . . . its all mind-numbingly the same as last week, the week before that, and most likely, next week too.

Is this what “mid-life” is like?  If so, I understand why people freak out.  All novelty has worn off and everything feels like work.

Nothing is even the slightest bit interesting.

The Road Trip Lessons aren’t feeling very applicable today.  None of my other “snap me out of this” tricks or strategies are working.  I worked on cleaning and reorganizing my son’s room for about an hour but came to a point where I need his input.  I tried to eat lunch outside but today, the normal, one, annoying bee called in reinforcements.  The multiple annoying bees were a bit too annoying and I abandoned my lovely porch.

Maybe I’ll follow my dog’s lead and just go take a nap.

Overcoming Today’s Overwhelm

The week or so after my road trip with my Mom, I felt like my life was pretty chill.  I even made some progress on some longer term projects – like new artwork hung on the walls of our house.

That “chill” feeling has definitely gone out the window at this point.  Today, I’m back in the zone of “completely overwhelmed”.  This begins to happen when my “to do” list stops being a neat list and things are just scribbled on every corner of the paper.

20180913_124038.jpg  Its true that there are a few things crossed off, so clearly, I’m making some progress.  But its also true that there are bunch of things which need to be done but have not yet made it to the list; those items are just swirling around in my head.

So, faced with a busy afternoon, a large to do list, and a looming sense of never being able to get it all done . . . what am I going to do?  There’s got to be a way to tackle this, remain positive and avoid overwhelm.

Can my Road Trip Lessons help even here?  Maybe they can.

First . . . Sing!  Music helps move me along.  So, switch on the Pandora.

Second . . . Patience.  I have to remember that this includes being patient with myself.  Today, that means stopping Overwhelm in its tracks.  I need to stop, slow down, and take a look at what really needs to be done.

Third . . . Take time to appreciate the big and small things.  Right now, that’s going to mean eating lunch on my porch.  That always makes me happy and today, I’ll take the opportunity to remind myself that the things on my to do list are just a small part of life.  Some of the items on the list are necessary, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean they get to overwhelm everything else.

Fourth . . . Be grateful:  My afternoon is busy because my daughter is having friends over after school to get ready for tonight’s school dance.  There are lots of reasons to be grateful there – my daughter has good friends, she’s happy, she’s looking forward to the dance.  I need to focus on the reason for my busy afternoon, rather than simply that its busy.

O.k., those aren’t all the Road Trip Lessons but those are enough to get me started in a positive direction.  I’m off to eat lunch on my porch.

Practicing the Road Trip Lessons

A few days ago, I wrote about eight lessons I pulled from a 10 day road trip with my Mom.  I’ve tried really, really hard to put those into action this past week.  I’ve had some success and so, for maybe the first time, I feel like I’m actually sticking to a goal.  Yay!!!

The eight lessons are:

  1.  Be Positive
  2. Be Grateful
  3. Live Joyously
  4. Take the time to appreciate big and small things
  5. Be Patient
  6. Be Kind
  7. Be Friendly
  8. Sing!

Its really come down to re-framing things in a positive light.  For example, I was at work quite a bit longer than usual today.  Instead of my normal, “Uggghhhh . . . I was stuck at work Forever!!” thought, I looked at it as extra time to practice Spanish (which, I’m actually doing!).  That made the whole morning seem not so bad.

Another example:  My son’s high school promised to call him up to the office and tell him to take the bus home because I unexpectedly had to work.  The office staff neglected to do that and he didn’t get my text or email (cell signal at his school is pretty crummy, which is why I called the office).  So, when he called me about a half hour after school to inquire if I was picking him up, I was more than a little upset.  It caused a bunch of extra running around in my afternoon.  Normally, this would have set me up for a difficult afternoon because it put me behind, made me feel more overwhelmed than usual, etc.  Instead, when we all finally got home, I reminded myself that the important thing was that everyone got home.  And really, that IS what’s important, isn’t it?  That everyone is home and safe and, realistically, everything was o.k.  So what if dinner was going to be a bit later than normal?

I also worked on “Be Friendly” this week.  Instead of just saying “Good morning” to our door guy at work, I’ve taken the time to ask how he is.  Hopefully, that’s brightened his day a bit.  I know that its made me feel better.  At first, for some unknown reason, I was a little apprehensive to follow “Good morning” with “How are you?”  Not sure why . . . I’ll approach complete strangers when I’m traveling.  I’ve said “Good morning” to Wayne most mornings for the past ten years!

So, one week of practice down.  So far, so good.