Monday, December 28, 2015

How I want it to go down next year

So, at the end of the Christmas season at my house, I felt a little, actually a lot blue.  Drinking wasn't really the issue - but I think a few more glasses of wine and a lot less whine might have been a good thing, Martha.

I think maybe part of it was I wasn't living in the holiday spirit - I was in the stress out about money and stuff spirit.  You know, like all this "stuff" I am buying and wrapping and hiding is causing me stress due to the sheer amount of it, coupled with how much it's all costing at an already pricey time of year.  Losing sight of what was really meaningful and important to me.

 And frankly, I lost sight of keeping myself healthy both inside and out.

And so already I am making a list for myself at how I want it to go down next year.  But I'm not ready to blog that list yet...I am slowly putting it together so I can really give it thought.  Because Christmas SHOULD feel different to me.  I really believe it should.  There should be a lot more happy, a lot less unhappy.  That's reasonable, right?

Monday, December 21, 2015

The downward slide

The state of my bedroom, pre-Christmas, stressed me out.  UPS exploded at my door, and all of the packages went back to the bedroom.  MY bedroom.  That, on top of all of the other crap going on lately at Camp Rustown  makes me want to plot my escape from my own house.  
Remember this story

I know I said last year that I was looking forward to Christmas shopping in the stores, but I started feeling like I could get so much of it done on-line, and for the most part, I paid no shipping fees.  Plus, I had 5 people to shop for. Mainly. And a lot of the things my peeps expressed interest in could easily be found on-line.

However, things arrived on top of each other, faster than I could go through them, until one day I had to haul it all out of my closet and sort it, wrap it, and list it, so that Mark and I could compare our lists and make sure we were done.  Every year it seems to get more complicated.  Maybe because our "kids" are older.  Maybe because we have more discretionary income to put towards Christmas than in years' past.  Maybe because instead of keeping it simple, and doing four of something, I instead painstakingly put together stockings and gifts that are as individual as the person themselves.  And Mark really gets into it, too.  He really thinks about each kid and what they could use or would like.

But for some reason, the ever-growing pile of STUFF precipitated a slide back into the blues.  I know that the holidays are famous for that.  I realize that I'm in good company when it comes to holiday-induced depression.  And realistically, I know that in a few days' time, it will ease up, and be back to business as usual around here.  February brings a new house note, new truck payment, new insurance policies, and tuition due for Dylan at ACC.  Plus, a whole new year of medical deductibles.  And I have no doubt we will be able to manage all of it with careful planning.  But that doesn't do a thing for me right now, while I am in the thick of commercial holiday stress.  I, really...want to escape to Australia.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Can you hear me now?

About three years ago, I got sick.  Probably strep or some other viral thing, who knows. It couldn't have been enough for me to be concerned with at the time.  I was probably busy with work and life and did my best to manage my symptoms.  I don't really remember.   If I ran to the doc every time I got the sniffles I'd have an even bigger problem, called Hypochrondria.  But shortly after that, I noticed I had tinnitus.  That kept getting louder.  And I finally went to see an ear doc.
His take?  "I wish you had come to me sooner I could have helped you."
I can't even tell you how pissed that made me feel - it's a wonder I didn't tell him to eff off.  I came to see him at the height of the tinnitis, and I doubt that even a couple of weeks before that he could have done much, or even known what to do.  Tinnitis can have a myriad of causes, and can come and go.  He actually had me get a brain MRI to make sure I didn't have an acoustic neuroma - which I did not.  A year after that, when my symptoms had not improved and I noticed I was saying "huh?" a lot, I had my hearing checking again.  BIG hearing loss on the right.   I waited a year or so and had it checked again.  No change.  
Sadly, I have come to grips with having permanent hearing loss. 
Fast forward to now.

See it?

I now have bionic ears.  Hearing aids on both ears, although I'm not sure whether I will keep the one on the left.  It's been a few days and I can tell you it's been quite the adjustment.  I can hear my husband breathe.  I can hear the wind chimes in the back yard with the door closed.  I can hear the tiny beep coming from the house alarm system.  And I can hear the cat lick herself sitting next to me.  Some of these sounds are more disturbing to me than helpful, but I am pushing forward with this.  Only time will tell if this is a big benefit to my daily life, or just another hassle.  And meanwhile, I'm trying to look at it much the same way one does when told they need glasses - get them and move on.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

If it's not one thing it's your mother

It seems to happen around here, often, that troubles come in batches.  Not three's.  Usually fives and sixes.  We slog through the shit, wipe ourselves off, and before you know it, we are knee deep in shit again.  So, let's take a tally of this month's shit, shall we?

*Hubby still on track for losing his job.
*The Escape dying.
*Grayson doing poorly in his classes, tho marching season is over, and finals are upon him
*Spencer finally moving into his own apartment, but not able to find room in his budget for food and basic necessities.  Now having problems making rent.
*The stress of  the holidays, exacerbating various physical complaints and ailments.  Hello sore throats.
*The cat continuing to vomit on floors and furniture and beds.

I get that everyone has their share of shit they have to deal with. 
And truth be told, there are some bright spots:

*We refinanced the house, shaving $200 off our monthly payment while getting a better interest rate without extending the length of the loan.  Plus, no house note until February.
*I canceled a colonscopy that threatened to ruin Christmas Eve.
*I am getting my hearing aids in a couple days.
*My job is secure.
*My people are basically healthy.
*We have plenty of food in the freezer, the heater works, and no house calamities were found by the appraiser.
*We're getting a new to us truck on Thursday which will alleviate the transportation issues - and it's in great shape with an excellent interest rate.  Plus, no car note til February.  And the credit union let us "skip a pay" on the other two notes for December.
It's easier to look on the bright side when you are past the current shit.  
But while you're in it, it stinks.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Message to myself: Slow down

 I found the cutest little dish at Tarjay that I thought would be the perfect size to put my rings and bracelets in while washing dishes. The lady asked, "Do you want me to package these up separately?".  No, I told her, just wrap it in the placemats  I'm buying, it'll be ok.

And it would have been, had I not forgotten it was in there, in my rush to get things from the store put up.  See?  Wasn't the pattern and color pretty? 

Annoyed with myself for being in a rush and making myself another mess to clean up, I went into the laundry room and retrieved this little dish that holds things I find when I wash.  Handmade by Grayson many years ago - you can see his fingerprints pressed into it.  It has great sentimental value to me.  It should be sitting by the sink where I can see and use it daily.

I cut a small piece of felt for the bottom, laid my jewelry in it, and went on about my afternoon.  No sense in crying over broken pottery.  And I should definitely slow down a bit.  You can't get everything done in a day.  It's impossible.  And when you go too fast, you miss a lot of what's around you.  And you might forget, as you rush to improve and clean and sort and organize and decorate the home around you, how perfect things already are.  The beginning of the holidays are famous for making us feel frantic and rushed.  At least it's that way for me.  This $4 reminder turned out to be a bargain lesson...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm not ready

Hubby had a near miss with being laid off recently.  That's about the only way I can wrap my thoughts around it, since he's still going to the office every day and working late hours, not to mention Saturdays, too.  His boss is apparently not sure whether or not to fire him.  Meanwhile, "work your ass off, please".  At the end of December a decision is to be made.  Hopefully, Hubby will have moved on to greener pastures by then.  Because he's been a stressed out mess. And the whole thing royally sucks.

Meanwhile, he is focused on retirement and what we will do.  Thinking about it all of the time.  Talking about it all of the time.  Generally, making me angry and annoyed because I am nowhere near ready to retire.  I don't want to.  At all.
He had us buy more life insurance and wants to set up a meeting with some woman who is a retirement specialist.  I could give a rip roaring fart about it.  Not interested at all.
If you're thinking of retiring at 55 and you aren't a wealthy philanthropist, you're an idiot.  Sorry, but really.  You have at least another 15 years of life to give to an organization, in some scope.  And there will be bills to pay.  You might as well buy your plot and casket if  you're going to retire at 55.  And let's not even discuss how being in the same house every day all day is not healthy to a couple.  Not this couple.  There's a reason we need to get up and go to a job every day. 
I don't even want to think about retiring.  Not interested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Relationship roadkill

So, it's been a  little over three weeks since my sister and I had a conversation via texting that led to her telling me she was tired of my hatefulness, and  go away, and me blocking her number.  Not my finest moment, nor hers either.  But it is what it is.  Here's how it went down.

 Thanksgiving, 2010
Only the expression is real...

Mother calls me being grouchy and unreasonable and just plain ugly.
I rant to Sister, who empathizes.
Hubby gets notice from his boss that he was either going to be let go immediately, or he could sign a paper agreeing to the impossible and be let go in a few weeks.
I rant to Sister who empathizes.
Sister calls Mother and tells her my business.
I call Mother, expecting to be able to talk with her about it, only to be shut down because she already knows.  Side note:  Sister didn't even have all the details, but I assumed my Mother probably could have lent an ear to my troubles.
I ask Sister if she told Mother my business.  Hours later, Sister replies yes.
I ask why.  Sister says that Mother was still  fuming over the "grouchy and unreasonable" conversation she had with me, and Sister thought that by telling her I had troubles it would make Mother feel better. (that's messed up)
I text that I would have preferred to talk with Mother about this myself.  Sister informs me that the world does not revolve around me, says she's tired of my "hatefulness".
I reply:  "Bullshit, as usual".
Aaand...that led to where we are now.

I am irritated, mainly with myself, for believing that my sister and I could actually have some sort of relationship, if not friendship. I realize that friendship is an unattainable goal with her.  I thought that deep down, she really does love me and want the best for me.  But what I see more clearly now is that our it was never that way.  That my misfortunes bolster her in some way, evening us up.  I guess if I don't want her to delight in my misfortunes, or those of my family, I can't share them with her.  I never envisioned a future where I was without grown siblings I could count on.  I find it incredibly hurtful and sad.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Going, going, gone

The Lounge.  AKA the spare bedroom.  My sewing and craft room.  Hubby's second office.
Empty again.
Although I do still see Spencer from time to time, as he needs a haircut or a sammich...

Only time will tell how long it stays this way.  For sure Chloe will sleep in here at Thanksgiving, and Christmas, too.  I managed to get Spencer to take the futon to his apartment.   I think I will probably add a daybed and a table to sew and craft on.  Too much empty space at this house is not necessarily  a good thing for me...though I am glad that at least two of my people are out making it on their own!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pardon my French

I might have said, in the past, that I would clean up my potty mouth and try not to cuss so much.  But I sometimes find it to be cathartic; it helps me blow off some steam.  And really, a colorful sentence enhancer seems to get my point across, and if nothing else, it helps me feel heard.  But I bet a few of those near and dear to me wish they couldn't quite hear me so loudly.  Cross stitchin' instead of bitchin' is a good idea, I think.

A lot of times I struggle with feeling positive and loving and uplifting and all that crap.  Instead I feel a little stifled, irritated, moody, and dissatisfied.  I have people and things in my life I love and can count on, and many blessings, for sure.  So, I just have to assume this is normal and possibly leftover from this Spring, and it will pass.  I think when the season changes and the holidays get closer, I will have a lot to focus on and maybe that will occupy my thoughts in a more positive way.  At least that's what I going with. 

****You know, I wrote this post a couple weeks ago.  Things are getting better - they are.  I'm trying to move my mental energy in a more positive direction.  Stay tuned.****

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Goals, and more goals.

So here is where I was at a few weeks ago for my goals:

*Get a bike and start riding it a couple times a week, keep working on the stairs
*Text my sister more often
*Plan our 30th anniversary weekend
*Keep up the healthy habits above
*Start another project around the house and see it through
*Visit The Girl and my mother a couple of times before Thanksgiving.

I haven't gotten the bike.  I have texted my sister more often but it really seems kind of empty and pointless.  Hubby and I had a great anniversary - didn't go any further than Dripping Springs, but we took Mabel, visited a winery, saw a movie, exchanged gifts, and ate a very nice meal out followed by a stroll up Congress to the Capitol.  Very low key.  I have started a diet and lost a few pounds, changed some habits, and generally wrapped my mind around changing up how I eat and move.  Gotta get ready for Turkey Trot!  I got the carpets cleaned and repaired (yay!) and got the den windows bug and gunk free (yay, again!)  I haven't visited The Girl yet.  But Hubby is in a touch and go situation with his job, so.  Budgets must be stuck to. For now.

Updated List will be:

Continue on with the diet and walking plan
Start making plans for the holidays
Get the bike for my birthday
Get some sewing and craft projects lined up
Read more often

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I warned you I was going to keep it real...

In a recent convo with my mother (SHE called ME), she told me that the previous day she had mowed her yard, all the while wishing me ill will.  Now, I'm not one to let something strange like that pass.  I mean, my mother is 85, a fact that she likes to remind us all of quite often.  But that doesn't mean she's not in her right mind.  So I asked her exactly why she would take the opportunity of mowing her grass to wish me ill will, to which she replied "you'll understand when you're 85".
Ok, so I have two things to say about that.  I could say more, but I don't want to harp on it.

1.  WTF.  If you don't want to mow your own grass, why did you freaking buy a $1200 riding lawnmower?  (And for that matter a double size lot.  To retire on.) How about you sell the damn lawn mower and hire a service?  If you have money to hand out to one of my grown ass sisters every time she whines about being broke, you can afford to hire someone, even WITHOUT selling the mower.  After all, said sister is the one who talked you into buying the damn thing to begin with, telling you she would come mow for you.  Did you happen to wish her ill will?

2.  WTF.  Have you asked for my help with this recently?  Every time I visit I ask you what I can do to help you.  You never have a list of things I can do, even though I ask you every. single. time. to put one together.  The last time Hubby and the kids came with me to visit you, you put us all to work raking and mowing.  He accidentally backed the thing into your fence, then spent an hour or so running to the lumber store and repairing it.  It is an unsafe piece of equipment that is devilishly hard to drive.  And instead of thanking him, you went on and on about it, ridiculing him and in general, being ungrateful about it.  And yet you continue to remark that you need a teenager to come help you take care of your yard - the same grandmother who is not interested in her grandkids at all and lives a three hour roundtrip away.  My kids (who aren't even kids at this point)  don't want to visit you so they can be your yard slaves.  So I don't bring them with me.  I don't feel like that's the only thing they should get to do on a visit to grandmother's.  How about you spend some time with them?  Get to know them?  Yardwork not included.

If I have to listen to how it's hell to be 85 just one more time, I am going to offer to take care of her longevity for her.  Think that will knock some sense into her?   I'll be damned if I'm going to answer any more of her calls.  Letters are fine, thanks.  And as a matter of fact, I wrote her a letter telling her I would call her this week to see what day would be good to come so MAKE A LIST.  But mowing the grass, by me, will not happen. 
Damn.  Please Lord, don't let me turn into a hateful and bitter old person.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I'm entitled to own them

People like to counsel you for feeling the way you do if it doesn't mesh with what they feel, or how they feel YOU should feel.  I find that to be offensive.  I mean, I own my own feelings, right?  However ugly they are, however they don't serve me in my quest to find some peace, they are still here with me.  I guess they will be until they aren't, and not much anyone can say to me will make them go sooner.  So, I appreciate it if you want to make me see the error of my ways - but I see it myself already, and I'm working on it.

And come to think of it, why do I have to hurry that process?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Can't lift myself

I'm trying hard not to drown lately in the muck called depression.  I am resolved to handle it myself.  Only time will tell if I am successful. But I am trying.

It's not like I don't have things to feel blessed about, or things to look forward to...I only wish it was as easy as telling yourself to snap out of it.  I am listening to what I feel are several good self-hypnosis recordings and I am repeating, in my head, positive affirmations during the day.  Not gonna lie, this is very hard.  Most of the time I want to tell people to fuck themselves.  But I do want to cut down on cussing too, so I am trying a different script in my head.  I feel worried, a little  - I really do not want to go on meds to make a change.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coming and going

I post a lot of pics on our family blog of Piles of Crap. It just seems like that's been a recurring theme around here.  There's always a stack or pile or collection of crap that is either coming into or going out of our house.  And the front room seems to end up being the "staging area" (hubby's term, not mine) of choice.  The kids are still coming and going, too - so does their crap.

It validates my belief that overall we have too much stuff.  The above photo is Chloe's cast offs from her move from home to her Big Girl apartment.  I went through it all to make sure she didn't accidentally stuff a twenty in a pair of jeans.  Then Spencer moved his stuff into the house so we had a  similar pile of his stuff near the door, too.  Goodwill, here we come.  I would love to do some massive purging for the rest of us before the holidays.  Is is just my family, or do most of us just have too much stuff?  If so, why does it take moving into a new place to make us see that?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Things to stress about and look forward to

I'm trying my best not to let things overwhelm me, and sometimes that's hard to do.  The heat is slacking off a bit, but the humidity - UGH.  And, lately it seems like there's plenty to stew about.

Identity theft on my Capital One card yet again
The start of the school year
Car repairs
Chloe moving
Chloe's crunched car
Sugar continuing to puke

Spencer coming to stay with us until his apartment is ready 
My mother taking in an unsavory houseguest
...and her declining health
Hubby's health, my health
My dying landscaping
Marching season

Grayson's  grades
My stressful job
My estrangement from my sister
Worrying about the future...

Such is life, right? I refer back to my notes from the therapist when I feel the sads coming on.  I remind myself how great my life is, because it truly is.  I pray a little.  Do the hypnosis thing to relax.   I really need to get out there and exercise some, and I will, but probably only on my days off.  I've been working on some crafty projects and trying to reconnect with friends and family.  I am done with the antidepressant med, so it will be important for me to stay on top of things. 
Fall is coming - there's a LOT to look forward to.

*photos from Canyon of the Eagles, Burnet, TX

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Donating blood

Donating blood is something I do about every three months or so.  I have done since I turned 18, though there was a period there where I was doing the plasma thing in hard economic times.  Like when I needed gas money in college.  But happily, that is not the case anymore and I can freely donate whole blood.  I have many reasons, including that they frequently bestow flowers on me in the "cantina".  Here are some other reasons, in no particular order:

*It's free to do
*I'm basically healthy and I can help some who maybe is not
*By donating, I atone for being a grouchy mom, distracted spouse, estranged sister, and less than stellar friend
 *It helps me with my ladder points at work
*Free snacks, ice cold OJ, and a crossword puzzle to work on while I rest after my donation
*Friendly conversation with like-minded people
*Because I can
*I forget how much the finger stick hurts
*It's a built-in excuse to eat a BIG lunch and take a nap.

Have you ever donated blood?  I guess I've gotten used to it, somewhat, so it doesn't make me nervous at all.  Besides forgiveness for some of my failings, it actually benefits me, too.  It's like a confessional of the body, no?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

File this...

...under shit we can do without.

It's Chloe's crunched Accord after a happy hour idiot hit her on an I10 overpass in rush hour traffic in Houston.  She was tired and hungry and  had just gotten off a plane, headed home.  Thank You, Anonymous Tow Truck Driver, for staying with her, fending off the drunk, belligerent idiot who refused to tell her exactly where she was, then told said idiot he better not leave the scene.  Not a whole lot of thanks to you, Police Officer who immediately laid into her for not knowing exactly where she was in her new home city of about a billion people, and not asking her if she were ok. {Oh, and giving the idiot plenty of time to sober up.}  But a MILLION thanks and praises of gratitude to a Daddy who is not only her insurance agent, but her biggest supporter.  
So file all of this under I am So Glad August is 9 Days Over because it was Full of Shit We Could do Without.  For real.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

That guy

Spencer came to stay while his new apartment is being made ready. I hate that he had to move again, but such is apartment life in Austin - expensive and inflexible.  I'm glad we were able to help him out a bit.  For the most part he is navigating life on his own, holding down a job and living in his own space.  Doing his own laundry and such.  Which means he's cut the cord with Mom and Dad for his daily life.  But we are glad we could be here for him.
All that is good.

He seems a little down sometimes.  He works in the heat, so I'm sure it's draining all the way around.  I hug him and he doesn't pull away, which is a change from his teen years.  I kiss his scraggly beard and tell him I love him.  I want the best for him.  He's a really nice person.  And I think we did a good job with him, overall.  This one took a while to launch, you'd think I would be used to it by now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sugar's update

It's been about three weeks since the cat pulled a doozy on us, eating string and having a liver infection.  She is healing slowly but surely.  On her first check up she has lost a little of weight on her scrawny self, but her appetite is good, her litter habits are good, and we are continuing on with the antibiotics.  The vet wasn't particularly worried since she had been through a lot with surgery and all.

She's been keeping a very low profile, sleeping on the floor of my bedroom during the day, and right next to me at night.  There's been a lot of petting and purring going on.

Her sexy old lady cat belly scar will eventually be covered in fur and all of this will be a distant, yet terrible memory.