Saturday, April 10, 2021

It Started Off So Good...

It was the first really nice day of the season. Seventy degrees, perfect shorts weather. In an effort to heal a jean inflicted abrasion across my belly, I've been donning sweatpants lately, and I was happy at the possibility of wearing something that resembled more of a casual outfit to work, rather than the completely given up on life look I've had for the last 3 weeks. 

I gave myself enough time to shave my legs, an all important detail when sporting the first shorts of the season.  When subjecting my coworkers with the neon whiteness of my winter legs, it's important to not add to their trauma. I found my most comfy jean shorts. They felt a bit off, but that was to be expected, right?  I mean they'd been in the back of the closet for 6 months now. 

The sunshine was slow to come, but once it broke through the clouds it distracted me enough to make several delivery mistakes.  Round and round I went delivering missed packages, picking up hold mail I'd accidently delivered, forgetting newspapers that the same customers have gotten twice a week for the last 4 years. It was embarrassing really, I am better than this.  If someone had pulled my GPS tracked line of travel it would have looked like a schizophrenic squirrel was driving. 

Somewhere between looping around and the detailed family feud of one customer about her dead mother's estate, I noticed a weird breeze and chafing feeling. Upon further nonchalant inspection, I discovered a large rip, leaving the upper backside of my thigh exposed for all the world to see. There was a choice to be made.  Have the Hubs run me pants, or pretend it's the style and carry on.

I carried on.

Determined not to derail the plans for the other half of the day, once back at the office, I headed to the bathroom, duct tape in hand, and fixed the problem from the inside out. Sadly, this is not the first time I've done this. I finished up, headed out, and onto Walmart to pick up some paint for a new project I'm working on.  And that's when I felt it.  The side of the duct tape had started to roll.  It was sticking to the inside of my leg, dangerously close to areas unshaved. What to do? I'm in the parking lot, walking slowly towards the door, trying to casually unstick my leg from my shorts without it looking like I'm picking a front wedgie. Standing in line at customer service I must have looked pained, making tiny steps shifting my hips and butt in an attempt to unstick myself. I was getting weird looks from the other customers.

Shorts stuck to me, dangerously close to giving myself an unwanted wax, legs as white as beacons in the storm, visibly uncomfortable and mentally exhausted, I was a person of Walmart now.  

No going back.

So how is your weekend going?


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Filling The Bucket...

April, 2019...

Me: "Eventually you limit your inner circle of people to only those who fill your bucket. Remember "fill your bucket" from Elementary School?" 
Youngest: "Yup" 
Me: "Basically the only people I have now that don't fill my bucket are you guys." 
Y: "Wait. You're saying *I* don't fill your bucket?" 
Me: " DUDE...You don't even clean your own mess up in the kitchen." 
Y: "That's fair. I can't even argue that."

Two years later, here we are. Oldest has, since living and sharing a kitchen with 8 other guys, started to see what he had at home. I get occasional appreciative texts, or impromptu rants about roommates who don't know how to wash a dish.  Do you know how frustrating that is?  Yes, buddy, yes I do.... Oh yeah....

But Youngest, has still a long way to go. To say he's not filling the bucket is an understatement. He's run it dry, and poked a hole in it. Exhausted, Saturday night I told him the door would be locked from now on from 11:30 to 5:30 am.  If he wanted to sleep here, he'd need to make it home before 11:30, otherwise he'd have to find a place to sleep for the night.  It's two fold really, as we have a small house and he's LOUD when he comes in.  I need to sleep, as my auto immunes are in high gear post COVID shot, and I need sleep to recoup. He also needs to regroup and appreciate what he has here, weather he knows it or not. We don't run a hotel.  I am not a maid, or short order cook who leaves food in the fridge for consumption later.  You want dinner?  Be home for it. 

The first night, he was home at 8:30, spent a lot of time upstairs semi engaged.  He headed out around 10pm. There were texts back and forth, assuming there would be a gold star of some sort for being home earlier, until he finally just said ok.  I have no idea where he slept, but he rolled in around 6:30 am and crashed hard in his bed. 

The second night he begged and begged for 12:30.  Not acceptable, but since I didn't have to work in the morning, I acquiesced to midnight. He was silent coming in. 

Third night he left the downstairs door unlocked for himself.  Of course I caught it, and as he walked in at 11:25, we had words. 

Tonight he's thinking he'll be home.  The verdict is still out, but the door will be locked at 11:30.  And I've already checked the downstairs door, so that's not an option. He did however, change his plans and came home for dinner. There was a clear look of relief on his face when he found there was still some left.

And because parenting is freaking hard, setting ground rules comes additional stress, stomach issues and a lack of sleep. I know that this needs to be done. Intellectually I know I need to do this for all of us, for my health, and ultimately for Youngest. I also know that this will likely shift and change when his brother returns home from the city in 3 weeks.  But emotionally I feel terrible.  After everything I've done, there are nights he'd rather be homeless, sleeping in his car, than in his warm bed. That, if given a feasible option, he'd be out of here in a heartbeat, never looking back.  And worse, that he's making choices that he knows stress me out and cause me to get sick, and he does them anyways. 

And then, there's the guilt. The guilt of letting him fail.  The guilt of not doing this sooner. The guilt of not doing more, and the guilt of not doing less. What if something happens to him?  What if nothing happens to him, and he's fine with living in his car eating cheap take out that has no mom love cooked in? What if I really am insignificant to him? What if all the effort over the last 19 years of my life was completely unnecessary?

And what do I have to show for all of this gut wrenching Momma turmoil? 

An empty bucket, with duct tape where the hole used to be.

I have to start somewhere, no?



Monday, March 29, 2021

My Life Is A Highway, Getting Shot, & Dog Butts....



Me: Awe.  Why did you get me flowers?

Him: Because I love you.

Me: Okay.

...

Also Me: You sure you're not having an affair or something?

Him: makes squishy guilty face

Me: Nah, who am I kidding?  We are too tired and have no time for that.


Things have been, busy, to say the least.  Not hectic, just never ending.  In the last two weeks I have been to the city 6 times. Oldest decided to come home again this weekend, which I loved, but it meant yet another trip in to bring him back.  I was lucky enough that he opted for the train out so I didn't have to brave rush hour traffic, yet again. He's in a weird spot right now, crunch time in what feels like the fastest semester ever.  He's torn between wanting to be in town and wanting to be home.  The sleep and food is great at home, but he does like the lack of family drama. Either way he'll be home in 28 days, hopefully gainfully employed somewhere in the civil engineering field through the summer. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of my many trips into the city was to get my first shot.  A friend of my sister's has gotten good at navigating the CVS websites and is getting appointments for those of us that have fallen through the cracks. The Hubs and I were lucky enough to get Pfizer, which is typically better tolerated.  I still have swollen lymph nodes, but my nausea, chills, and headache have subsided 4 days out.  I'm sure I will have a reaction to the second dose, and I have taken off already from work just in case.  Anyhoo, when I saw it was going to take 2 hours to get home, and only 10 minutes to get to Oldest's dorm, I opted for an ice cream date with him, and sailing easily out of the city 2 hours later. The Hubs second dose is scheduled in that same location on my day off, so we have planned to head in early, take Oldest to lunch before his class, then head over. Might as well make the best of it, yes?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The girl had her teeth cleaned finally.  She had to have three teeth pulled, and it took her a bit to get back to her old self.

That moment you're just trying
not to puke in the back of your Uber.

Poor girl was like a lump for two days. To add to the awesomeness, they put her on an intestinal medicine that I already had in the cabinet for myself.  Same dose and everything. Of course I realized this after I paid $30 for her 11 pills. 

One minute I'm dancing on the table,
Next thing I wake up and my leg's shaved
.

The good news though is that they have literally ruled out every possible thing that could be causing her to have accidents at night.  The Vet game me some homework to do, and I've found that she's not excessively drinking water, just excessively drinking it at night.  So we've restricted her water intake after 9pm to once cup only, and it seems that we're curbing the issue. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Work has picked back up, with 1 out with COVID and 3 out for contact tracing, it's making for plenty of available overtime. Pacing myself is the name of the game now a days. I'm still taking time here and there to organize and enjoy the little things about being home. I found these hooks at Ikea a month or so ago and finally got them properly situated in the mud room area...


They are prefect for the girl's coats and what not. I also reorganized our coats and what nots, as well as created an area for the husband's hats.  Which, upon pulling them all together, I think he may need an intervention.  But that's a whole different post for another week.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

World Traveling...

 Me: Do you have anyone else that can grab you on Wednesday from the train station?

Him: No.

Me: So it's just me?

Him: Well, what else do you have to do?

Me: Um, well, I do work for a living...


The Mom in me knows he didn't mean it to come out like that, but it did.  And in fact, I was fine to get him if he came out of the city after 3pm, which is what we had discussed, but of course, we've been discussing a lot lately, and he had forgotten.

Weeks ago he had asked me to help him find a hotel in the city so he could explore the city on his own for his birthday.  We discussed what he wanted to do, where he wanted to stay, amenities, and time frames.  And then didn't discuss it again until 5 days before he wanted to go.  Five days people.  Even I can not work vacation magic with 5 days notice. 

The time frame was supposed to correspond with when I'd be bringing his brother back to school.  It did not.  It was also supposed to account for weather.  It did not.  Nonetheless, we found a hotel room, with a pool, close to his brother, and some friends that are also in the city for school. We booked a nonrefundable room because the date was so close. Two days later he debated canceling the whole thing because he was yet again fighting with the girlfriend.  The next morning it was on, then off, then on again. Tuesday came and I drove them to the train station, until we realized it was closed for renovations. The next two were closed as well.  Once back on the highway I just drove to the city, found a quiet side street relatively close to where they wanted to be, and left them both on the curb.

I didn't hear another peep out of them until they came out early on Wednesday. Luckily, I had also gotten out early from work. I was able to pick them up easily without much traffic from the train station. They saw some friends, had lunch around town, and stayed on the 26th floor.  The pool and hot tub was fantastic and they had hella fun as I'm told. As soon as we landed at the house, he drove her home and he was off hanging with friends.  A perk to being literally in between jobs at the moment. He returned home around 9pm, with the sole purpose of booking a bus ticket to New York. 

About a month ago he had told me he was meeting up with a friend who booked an Airbnb on Long Island for his leave from the military. This friend is less than reliable and he has burned them before. So when there was no mention of it again, I figured it had gone up in smoke like most of this guy's plans. Apparently, it did not.  However, time had brought some sense into Youngest, who hates to drive even 30 minutes, and he decided to come to me for other means of travel. I am torn by this, as the Hubs thinks he comes to me because he's too lazy to do it on his own.  I think he does it because he's insecure in his own ability and doesn't want to screw it up. Regardless, I helped him look at options.  Eventually, he settled on the bus, a much safer and cheaper option that will result in far fewer headaches than driving 5 hours through 3 states.  

After booking the trip, hand on the doorknob, he was headed out again.  There was a brief loud discussion, about how he needed to slow down because without down time the weekend would be a disaster.  We had words, he was tired, I was frustrated, and I walked away.  Clearly, hand on the door knob, he wasn't going to listen anyway. Around 11:15 I texted him, and got no answer.  On my way around the house locking up I noticed his car outside, and went down to his room.  He'd never left. Hand on the door, he'd closed it back up when I walked away and went downstairs to bed. Could it be I am actually penetrating his teenage psyche? Nah. But I'll take it as a win. 

Friday he coordinated his own ride into the city for the bus.  The Mom of the friend he's going with didn't have to work until 11, so she shot them into the bus station with ease.  I got a conformation that he was on the bus, and a few frantic texts about how he'd be getting to the Airbnb from Penn Station. he summoned and Uber, and an hour later he was beach side on Long Island. Not that I wanted this to blow up in his face, but I was genuinely surprised when the Airbnb was in fact real and actually booked for the week. And aside from that conformation, I have received radio silence for the weekend, until 730 pm this evening when he confirmed that the bus had left on time and that he was on it.

This week has proven challenging for both of us. For him, being the grown up of both groups, having to coordinate and map out where they were going is different for him. He had to problem solve and spend his own money. He had to work around other people's schedules and have it not be all about him.

For me, I had to let him do this. It was honestly easier than I thought it would be. When I heard a siren I didn't worry that it was for him. I did not need to know if he was coming home or not each night. And while I'm sure he was doing things I wouldn't like, I wasn't immediately confronted with it. 

What was hard was just being the Husband and myself for 4 nights. We tend spend money in down time folks, and find projects we didn't even know we had, stopping myself just short of buying a new refrigerator. We picked up an old trunk for my friend to refinish.  We bought paint for the bathroom ceiling. I impulse bought the lights I've been debating for months, hung them up, and put them on a timer.


Him: Did you see your lights came on?

Me: No. Do they look festive?

Him: Like we're ready for a wild party.

Me:  It's 7:17. I'm in my bathrobe, eating cool whip and pudding straight from the container.

Him: Yip. Paaarrr-tayyyy.

I guess, if we string them up the party will come to us?

I hope they bring their own Cool Whip.  And Bathrobes.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Self Care...

It's the buzz word of 2020.

Self care.

It's a hard thing to pin down. There is no real answer, or wrong answer.  For some it's getting their hair or nails done, for others it's meditating, yoga, or eating right.  Searching for my care, I've done all those things over the years, the first two leaving me feeling as though I wasted money, and the latter landing me in the hospital for six days. For years I hid what made me whole because it wasn't the correct answer, or it wasn't socially acceptable.  Now of course, I'm too old for such nonsense, and too tired to care what anyone else thinks. Truth is, the cleaner and more organized the house is, the happier I am.  So I clean, often, which not only benefits me, but everyone that lives here. Which begs the question, is it really self care, if it's for other people as well?

My other go to is right brain activities, those that create, tell a story, or problem solve. Taking what would otherwise be trash and bringing new life into it.  I belong to the Local Buy Nothing group on FB.  If you're not already in the know, search it up with your town's name and you'll find it on FB, as nearly every town has one. People post things they are getting rid of, or searching for, be it services, goods, or ideas, for free.  In January someone downtown was cleaning out her MILs basement.  I should mention that I live in one of the most historic places in the country, so sometimes you find some very old things downtown. This was one of those times. Behold, the trunk....



It was in rough shape. The handles are long gone and the rubber from the wheels had worn completely down to the metal ring.  The oil cloth covering was covered in white mold and starting to crack and peel, and the inside paper lining had a weird yellow fungus going on. And it smelled, lord, how it smelled. Now, a smarter version of myself would have done some research before taking a crowbar to it, but this version of me did not.


The nails are all square, with tiny hooks on the end that break off when you try and pull them out.  By the second nail, common sense finally chimed in and I called my Dad who explained it was a specific type of construction done before screws, that ensured the nails would hook in once set and not pull out. So my dreams of painstakingly taking every nail out, stripping it down and rebuilding, was now out of the question. Armed with a razor, putty knife, and degreaser spray I went to work...


The oil cloth came off the outside pretty easily, but the paper inner lining was far more stubborn.  I found that soaking it down with the degreaser after scraping the easy to remove stuff worked quite well. Best $3 I spent so far, clearly, as about 80 years of grime and unmentionably grossness is now in the driveway.





Now we're getting somewhere.  Thankfully, the weather agreed with me and for a few days it was able to dry out.  At that point, I decided to do a light stain just to give the wood some depth again.  Again, a smarter me would have researched what happens when you try and stain 104 year old wood with no conditioning. It soaked it up like paint peeps.  It was not good. At. All.  So I sanded, and sanded. And. Sanded. Until the color variation was just right. I also darkened the hand carved 1916 with a bit of alcohol ink I had on hand.  It just made it stand out a tiny bit more. After a quick wipe down, the taping began. One roll of painters tape, a full advertisement catalog, and Three. Hours. Later....
Even the dog was over me and my antics...

She did move once the spraying began, no need to alert the authorities. First I started with a iron gray metallic spray paint ($5) which just didn't quite do the trick.  So I tried a spattering of black.  


Still not right.  Finally I went with a flat matte black, which when sprayed light enough allows the gray metallic to show through in places.  The unveiling was fairly dramatic...
But wait!  There's more...
The smarter version of me finally did some research and decided on a conditioning balm ($21) instead of a varnish that could peel or yellow. This blend of hemp oils and other good stuff conditions the wood, and allows a soft sheen while smelling good. Which was great because the weather had turned bitterly cold again and the whole project needed to be moved inside...
Y'all, I can't say enough about the Wise Owl product.  I am now scouting out what else I can use it on.  I have no idea why it has taken me so long to discover it, but it was a game changer. And I found it on eBay, so I got it on a brand new, but no box, discount. 

I enlisted the husband's help to attempt to remove the old casters from the bottom but after a snap and crack of the bottom rail it was determined that they were staying in place.  Instead of adding to the height, I grabbed 4 screw in feet ($3) that can be set just a hair higher than the wheels, saving my floor and not adding to the height of the trunk. 

But wait!  There's more!  We still have an entire inside to go!  I started by spraying the upper half of the base a matte dark brown as well as the inside sides of the lid and the center crossbar. Then I bit my lip and invested $31 in cedar planks...

I went with a staggered pattern for two reasons.  One, it is more forgivable and two, I was too cheap to buy an additional box if I didn't need to. And then, the biggest investment of my free project, the lid. I scoured Etsy for days until I finally found it.  A 1903 map of the villages of  town. I carefully trimmed, and trimmed, dry fit, and pasted. When everything had cured I coated the cedar planks in the Wise Owl salve....

I. Am. In. Love.

Seriously.  About half way through I realized this was the first project I was doing totally for me.  I wasn't being paid.  It isn't being sold (much to my husband's dismay).  It's not for someone else to use or enjoy.  It was just for me.  All in, the project has cost just over $100.  Many things I had already in the garage, and of course, the labor and trunk was free.  All that's left now is replacing the handles.  Sadly the tin end caps ripped in half while I was removing the remnants so I had to order new ones. The smarter version of me discovered that an old black leather belt cut into 8" strips are the perfect replacements for the straps. The less smart version of me donated all of ours two weeks prior to realizing that. I may go to the donation center and buy it back for 50 cents.  Not the first time I've done this buy the way. 

I still have to figure out where it will live in the living room.  It's to store our extra towels and blankets and pillows, so having them easily accessible is key.

But for now, just having it sitting there makes me happy. 

A trunk, now fit for a queen's adventure, as my Mum says.

Or at least, for the queen's towels.




Monday, March 8, 2021

Marital Bliss....

I can hear the Husband snoring already.  

Not a huge feat mind you, since the living room and bedroom share a wall, but it's loud nonetheless. 

I'm dreading going to bed, honestly. It's hard to sleep through it, and I actually do feel guilty when I nudge him to gain a few minutes of silence. And as I sit here typing this, the rare moments of quiet between breaths are filled with tiny barks from the dog.  She's ferocious in her dreams apparently. Last night I gave up half way through and slept on the couch.

The husband and I hold hands while we sleep.  It's super dorky and we don't even do it intentionally.  But more often than not, when I wake up in the middle of the night we are holding hands, or locking arms in some way. Last night, my shoulder was killing me and every time I got into a semi comfortable spot and started to dose off he would grab my hand and pin it in place, sending searing pain up my arm. So I slept on the couch. When I woke up, my shoulder still hurt, as well as my back. 

Meanwhile, Oldest's bed is completely unoccupied now. A brand new, queen sized, memory foam mattress with clean sheets and snuggly blankets and two comforters. And yet, I slept on the couch. 

What is wrong with me???

I think tonight I'll save myself the never-ending toss and turn and teeny lap blankets and just sleep in Oldest's room instead.  I'll miss the hand holding, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wrote that 2 weeks ago.  Truth be told, we've slept separately nearly every night since.  Hubs heath issues are now migrating to his side making it impossible to sleep on his right, and with the two of us it's just too hard to get comfortable in the same bed. At least this way we can salvage a few precious hours of slumber.

The dog has no idea what to do.  Get tucked in by dad in her bed?  Guard the doorway of Oldest's bedroom for Mom?  Last night Hubs slept in Oldest's room. Fed up, she just gave up and slept in the living room, barking tiny barks of ferociousness in her sleep. 

Hubs went for more testing on his lungs.  His oxygen saturation rates haven't gotten above 95 for weeks.  Their finding? Possible asthma.  I call bullsh!t. And his doctor is on vacation until the 15th, so she'll not even see the results for a week.

I think it's time to head to the big city hospitals. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not a lot going on otherwise.  I finished filling out the FAFSA for Youngest because he's thinking he has no choice but to go back to school in September. I can't even argue this with him any more.  I just don't have it in me. The FAFSA is a giant pain in the butt, but it's done. End point. In the mean time, he's quit his job at the coffee shop and is now on to be an ice cream scooper. Lord help us all. 

Youngest's nineteenth birthday is Monday.  His grandfather is still freaked out about having everyone at the house so we are just doing dinner with them without the extended family.  Oldest gets tested twice a week, and the Hubs was just tested yesterday because of his testing at the hospital, so the odds are in our favor. Still no luck in getting either of them (my parents) the COVID shot.  Massachusetts has seriously done the worst job ever at rolling it out. It will likely be May before they see their first shot. The Hubs isn't eligible until June anyway so maybe we'll just all go together at that point.

And with that said, it's time to go change into the jammies and hold hands with the Hubs before I call it a night in the other bedroom.  Oldest is home on Friday to visit, so I figure I'll get as much sleep as I can until then. 


Monday, March 1, 2021

Waiting To Exhale....

 Earlier last week there was some suspicious buzz on the campus Facebook page that something had gone terribly wrong. Thankfully the admin for the group shut comments down on the post quickly. The letter soon came from the President of the College. One of the Freshman had taken his life while in his dorm.

It hit me hard, as we could have just as easily gotten the call back in September.  Instead we got the call from Youngest, mid attempt. We had the chance to scoop him up, to withdraw him, to take a deep breath, and try and start over. This student's parents did not get that chance. 

I woke up on Sunday to another cryptic post from a casual friend.  Her boys are the same age as mine more or less, so our circles over lapped quite often.  We'd pick up our respective Youngest's from kindergarten every Wednesday at the school.  She later remarried and moved to the mail route I deliver on.  Her new husband had 4 kids, in addition to her two, so they had a full house.  One of his sons wrestled with Youngest.  On one of the non-local two day sectionals her husband and I found ourselves at dinner killing time and quickly realized we had gone to High School together. She and I find ourselves at the mailbox quite often, talking about the kids.  She knew what was going on with Youngest long before many others, and I knew when they finally had to decide to throw his son out because of poor choices.  She rarely posts anything on FB, and almost never anything personal.  When she changed her profile picture to her Oldest and her nephew (also from town, a few years older than Oldest, one of like 7 kids), my gut said something was up. 

She too, had gotten a call. Her Oldest, the one who had just moved out 18 months earlier and was doing really well in his chosen career, the one not on the radar, had been in a car accident.  His cousin was also in the car, along with another boy in the back seat.

While the accident details are fuzzy, her Oldest broke his leg.  The break caused an arterial issue and he was flown to the city to not bleed out.  Her nephew, whose birthday is today, broke both his legs, his pelvis, and part of his spine. As of right now the spinal damage is not in the cord, thankfully, but when the car caught on fire, it burned 10 percent of his body.  The boy in the back, less injured than the others, freed himself from the car and went back in to free the other two.  He is the reason they survived.  

The road that lay ahead is exceptionally hard for both of them, and with COVID restrictions is harder to travel virtually alone. He is self employed, and while he has health insurance, he has no sick time.  If you don't work, you don't make money. There is a Go Fund Me set up that's already exceeded 16K, a small drop in the bucket for the both of them, but it's a start.

And again, it hits me, as we were there in the hospital also, one year and 2 weeks ago exactly when Youngest rolled the car on the highway. Again, I was able to pick him up, bring him home, and try and start over.  And thankfully she can too.

With every day that passes it feels like I hold my breath.  No matter how good he's doing, or not. It seems the only time I can exhale is when he's home sleeping in his unmade bed. My hearts mourns for the students parents, and for my friends who had their breath stolen with one vibration of the phone.

I guess that's the downfall of parenthood that no one talks about... the endless amounts of time we hold out breath, wondering if it will ever be safe to exhale.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Come Ride The Rollercoaster With Me....

 Him: "I need a credit card."

Me: "You don't need a card."

"I need to build credit if I want to buy a house."

"Your brother bought a condo.  He doesn't have a credit card.  There are many other ways to do it."

"Okay.  Just because you say it's a bad idea, doesn't mean I'm not going to do it."


This.

This is life with my almost 19 year old boy. I was reminded recently by Ami that I should write about whatever I needed to get out, regardless of how much of a rollercoaster it is, so today you're getting another a Youngest post. Also true to a previous post, I am working hard to change the narrative with him.  So, I told him to google some options.  Look for no annual fees, low purchase limits, ones that cater to students, no late payment interest hikes, rewards, cash back perks, miles, etc. and I would help him decide on the best one for him. That was last week.  I have yet to hear from him on the matter. My therapist says that while he knows I don't agree, he knows he can come to me to help him make an educated decision. She also mentioned something about how lucky he is that he has a parent to go to, because many, MANY parents can't and won't discuss money with anyone. So in a weird way, I'm going to put this in the win column for now.

He also asked me to help him find a hotel room in the city for his birthday.  His original plan was to throw a banger with his friends.  After some frank discussion about the times we're in, and that NO ONE is renting an 18 year old their house to party in, he wants a nice night in the city with his girlfriend-not-girlfriend. Again, after some discussion on where he wants to be, what he wants to do, etc. I gave him some options and he has yet to return to the subject at hand. Could be because shortly after they started fighting and now he's not sure what's going on. We went to see Oldest at college last Sunday, while having lunch I mentioned I'd really like to go to the local casino, get a room, do some shopping, catch a comedy show, maybe race the go carts.  From behind the menu I heard him mumble "Well I'd like to do that..." So the verdict's still out on what he's doing for his birthday. Maybe hanging with the old folks might not be so bad after all.

He's started going to the gym and started jujitsu 2-3 days a week at a training center.  He's frustrated that he's not in the shape he once was. I give him the gentle reminders that it took a lot of poor choices to get to where he is.  His lung capacity is compromised and it will take a while for it to come back.  His body has a lot of toxins he needs to work though his system before he can function where he once was. He was upset with me because he slept through one of his Jujitsu classes.  I mentioned that this was the second time this week he fell asleep and missed class and maybe, he should could consider not smoking on the nights he plans to go so he would not fall asleep before he had to leave.  He came back with a snippy, "I'm paying for it, so why do you care?" and I said that I didn't, but I know it's important to him to get healthy again so, he may want to make some changes so he wouldn't be wasting his money. 

In the mean time, I started him on omeprazole for his morning nausea.  We've tried some other things, but I thought maybe a different approach might be warranted. It takes a few days to start working so we shall see.  But I remembered that his age is when I started with heartburn, and he swallows every bit of stress just like his Momma, so it could be anxiety acid. I did notice the other day though that I haven't seen him with a nic stick (e-cigarettes) in a while, nor have I found any in the laundry. Still being mindful of flipping the narrative, I finally asked him...

"Did you quit the nic sticks again?"

"Kind of"

"Oh, well I'm proud of you.  That's a tough one to mostly quit"

"I've never had a problem before"

"That's the thing though, you don't know which time will be the time you can't quit. So I'm still proud of you for this time."

He's delaying school decisions until September.  He's going to start paying rent in April. He's saying please and thank you a lot more. And today he brought me home a bag of Cadbury mini eggs, just because. I'm not seeing any of these things as change, or even steps forward.  Because if I do, and he steps back again, the disappointment will eat me alive.  But I am trying to enjoy the small moments as they come, and reminding myself that if his bed still isn't made (after asking 4 times) I'm not the one who has to sleep in it.  


 


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Chocolate Covered All Wheel Drive...

Him: "I need to win the lottery.  I hate this job"

Me: "OK. I'll allow it"

~Work Texting With The Husband


In anticipation of a rare three day weekend together, by day two the husband has left me to my own vices, as NASCAR is calling and he's off spending time with his Brother in Law who recently had a stroke. He's fine, but it's a firm reminder that some guy time was way overdue.  I suspect chili will be brought home, and how can I argue with that? 

Youngest is out with his on again, off again, who this week is on, girlfriend.  He stopped by to use the bathroom on their way to gallivanting. He was wearing a nice new sweater that made him look like he was in his twenties. The girl has taste.  He has assured me all galivanting will come to a screeching halt by 7pm as he has to be at work by 5 am tomorrow.

Oldest assured me he'll be in the dorm doing nothing... which he seems okay with. I may or may not bring him a box of stuff tomorrow, the verdict is still out. Sometimes it's just easier to pay the $15 and mail it.

Which brings us to this moment.  Behold!  My big Valentine's day plans... 


Behold youngsters, this is what happens when you're together forever and spreading out to fold laundry with full control of the remote seems like a special treat. I have old school cartoons on in the background by the way, just because I can.

Yesterday, the Hubs accompanied me to the car dealership where I entertained buying a new car.  Three years ago I bought a Jeep Patriot and it has been my least favorite car, ever.  And I've driven some doozies. Aside from the little frustrations like not having automatic exterior lights, but interior lights so you think your headlights are on in a lit parking lot when in fact they are NOT, and plastic pieces breaking in your hands where you are trying to adjust the seats, at around 40K miles the transmission started to slip, and has only gotten worse.  I do like the size of it, and the fact that I can get into nearly any parking space, but it's just not a good representation of what I had expected from a Jeep. In addition to this, I feel like I was taken for a ride at the dealership, sales and service not hearing my concerns and issues, and honestly, screwing me with the interest rates knowing I was in a tough spot with my son's other Jeep. The Hubs has been insisting that I work way too hard to not drive something I like, and I kept refusing to spend the money to get out from underneath it. But I caved, and we went to the dealership anyway. I did not have high hopes, but in lieu of the standard chocolate dipped fruits that we usually do for all Hallmark holidays, I ended up with this for Valentine's....




It's a heritage blue 50th anniversary 2018 Subaru Impreza.  It has a lot of bells and whistles I don't need, but it drives smooth, has all wheel drive, auto lights (in and out), a sun roof, and heated seats. I pick it up on Wednesday.  It's not even in the driveway and Oldest wants to drive it. And despite all the contents of the Jeep now strewn about the kitchen table, Youngest still has yet to ask if we found a car yesterday. 

Which brings me to my next project of the day, washing all my reusable bags and sifting though all the odds and ends I tucked everywhere in the Jeep. I mean seriously, how much crap does one girl need?  Apparently it's a lot. Really, you need anything, spare sock, nail clippers,  hair elastic, safety pin, tire gauge?  I'm your girl. The prospect of having a trunk again is very exciting friends. I can have all my extra clothes for whatever the day brings while delivering mail (rain coats, sweatshirts, Clorox wipes, boots, rain pants, extra socks, etc.) Plus my grocery bags and doggie essentials tucked away neatly instead of anywhere it would fit. I also have to find all my original Jeep paperwork so I can cancel all the refundable warrantees and GAP coverage.  Might as well get every penny I can back, and we all know they're not going to volunteer it. 

I also finished the taxes this weekend, went grocery shopping, did some snow clean up, and I listed some things on eBay.  Anyone out there need a German Beer stein? And I still have one more day to go until we resume our regularly scheduled work week. 

Maybe I'll treat myself to some chocolate covered strawberries.


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Changing The Narrative...

 The boys have had a mentor for as long as I can remember.  He has become a family friend now, taking them to dinner and ice cream, to talk through things they can't articulate to me, or anyone else. He has a way with kids of age particularly ones that the sicker chart reward/punishment system simply does not work on. Among his favorite techniques to use is Now What?  Okay, you wanted to do that, so now what? What happens now?  It's a powerful thing, to put the consequences in the mind of a child. Interestingly enough, many of them know what the consequences will be, even before they did something, and because they made the choice ahead of the game to do whatever it was, they sat easier with the consequences. Most days, it worked out well.  Other days, it worked out with my son hitting him in the head with a wayward pool ball. Far in the past, they laugh about it now, yet he's never held it against him. He just got better at ducking.

An English major, he challenged kids to change the narrative. When they are furious with something, he'd instruct them to tell the story from a different prospective.  Instead of my mom's a jerk, she's such a nag, why can't she just leave me alone? It's my Mom's nagging me because I'm not listening, and I'm not listening because I don't like what she wants me to do. Does it get them out of trouble? No.  But it does help them process the narrative in a way that allows them to see the solution weather they chose to use it or not. 

This morning I was thinking about this as Youngest and I had had some doozy of fights over the weekend. His current narrative, not unlike that of most just-under-twenties, is confrontative. You don't control me.  You can't say I have a problem. You can't say I'm smoking too much. That's not your decision to make.  And he's right, sadly.  It's not in my control at all. But in order to live in this house, you have to be part of the family, which includes speaking and treating us with respect, following the few rules we have, and to taking responsibility for yourself.  If he can't do that, then he needs to look for a new place to live. Which of course, in that narrative translates into you're kicking me out. 

But what if he was able to flip the narrative? What if the narrative was I want to be part of the family, and I know they don't like it when I smoke, it causes fights and distrust.  So instead, I will only smoke once or twice a week, I will respect the common spaces, and I will not say things purely for the shock factor.  I will make this choice because I like living here, and I don't want to hurt them so much with my choices. 

Both narratives, so I'm by the master mentor, are the same thing. One is more of defiance, and the other is more of a compromise. One makes it all about him, and the other makes it about how his choice effects others, and inevitably, him. I've given him the binding, the pages, the title of the book, but he's in charge of writing it. His thought is that I can't edit it for him, I can not scream plot twist mid chapter, and expect him to go along.  Life, and growth, doesn't work that way. 

But man, I wish it did.

 


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Works In Progress...

 I've been having weird dreams lately.  Last night the Hubs was trying to leave me for his old girlfriend. The whole dream was about trying to intercept her efforts before he noticed her.  It was weird.

Him: "So, I have a doctor's appointment on the 1st.  Do I need to go to that?"

Me: "I can cancel it and send her a message that you want refills of the prescription so you don't have to call if the Lyme reoccurs."

Yeah, can you do that?"

"Yes.  Seriously, what would happen if I didn't do stuff???"

 "I tell you all the time, we'd fall apart."

 "Good thing you didn't leave me for her."

 "Right? I mean, where would I be now?"

 "She didn't handle stuff like this?"

 "I don't know, I don't think it ever came up.  We weren't together that long."

 "You lived together for two years..."

 "I guess it takes me a long time to really settle in."

Apparently, settling in for him is somewhere between years 10 and 17. And since he's settled in, I'm not thinking too much into why I'm having dreams of him leaving me for her. Well, that and she's got two kids now under ten and he has absolutely NO desire to raise anymore kids that aren't his. He's helped raise four boys, that's enough.

Youngest has his court appearance today, virtually.  It got a six  month continuance, so provided he keeps his nose clean it will go away in July.  He settled up with the last person that owed him money from way back, diplomatically rather than physically, which I am always a fan of. He's 3 days clean, not sure how long it will last, or if it will last, but it's something. After the lawyer's office, he asked to go to lunch, that he was starving. This is huge since he's not been able to keep down food or have any appetite in weeks. Funny how once you've gone through withdrawals and eliminated some stress, your body falls in line.  He mentioned finishing the garage for his birthday, which is costly and a lot of work.  I told him if he was clean for a month and passed a drug test I'd do it for him so he could have a more weather proof workout area.  It's unlikely, but I could see the wheels turning. Truth be told I'd love to have the garage weather proofed, so it would be a win for us both. 

Oldest moves back to the big city Saturday.  The grocery trip this afternoon will be costly as he won't be able to come home for at least a month. I'm excited for him, but it will take some getting used to. I am also getting excited about getting the space back in the basement that's been housing all his dorm stuff. Seriously, more space for organization is never a bad thing. 

The snow has finally arrived. I'm not a fan, but it's a necessary evil.  I suspect someday, when I don't have to drive in it for 5 hours a day I will learn to love it, but for now it's a four letter word.  

On the COVID front our state is finally back under 5% positivity rate.  Which is great.  Sadly though, I know someone who had the vaccine, both doses, and came down with COVID shortly after.  Her symptoms were mild, but the fact that so many are counting on this as a cure all is scary to me.  Once the vaccines really roll out, people will REALLY let their guard down and the rates will soar again. 

Lastly, I am off for the next 5 days. I have been pushing through for the last two weeks ago and the infection in my guts finally took me down on Tuesday.  I am on the mend, but it was a quick reminder that I can't take on so much at work and home. And if I do, I have to find ways to not internalize it. 

Forty six years and I'm still a work in progress.

But aren't we all?


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