Tag Archives: big d

the final count

Here are my final 2011 New Year’s Resolution Purge numbers*: Technically, I succeeded. I got 33 more things out of my house than I had committed to do. Yay me. For some reason I’m not enthused at this accomplishment, but disappointed that I couldn’t do more.

My observations from this process:

  • I should have just stuck to purging. Most of those big fat zeros in the middle of the month were from the previously mentioned office rework-a-palooza. Which is great except that I spun my wheels on this project while I did that project, and I didn’t finish that project so I could get back to this project and not miss my self-imposed goal. So office rework is still in limbo, and though the furniture is more or less where it’s supposed to go, books are most certainly not.
  • Don’t hype it. I had this GREAT IDEA that a friend did last year and she said it was AWESOME and it’s a FANTASTIC WAY to detox from the holiday season and you WON’T GET SAD if you have this to focus on and YOU WILL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Um, no, not quite. While perhaps not being QUITE THAT CRAZY ABOUT IT I still had grand plans in my head that got waylaid because, let’s see, I work full time, Big D’s in grad school,  we have two kids, and it’s cold and flu season. Duh.
  • Baby steps. I had intended to get through every room in my house in a month (except the kids’ rooms, they’re relatively manageable). My bathroom and bedroom were not fully sorted. I didn’t even get to the basement. So I’m disappointed by my inability to finish what I start because I mentally changed the rules to make it harder for me. Why do I always do that?

But, it’s done. I have now officially declared February the Month of Cleaning Up What You Completely Ignored in January. I’m hoping by March I’ll be able to see if getting almost 200 things out of my house actually made a difference.

* – I have to confess, the last three numbers on the calendar were actually accomplished in February. I crapped the bed the last weekend in January and sat on my butt.

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somebody check my math

It’s the end of the first full week of doing this – here’s my count to date:

Lessons so far: I’m slacking much more during the week than I thought I would. When I get stuck into a project I just keep going and going and going. My house actually looks even messier now that I’ve started this project – though I do have five empty boxes sitting in my living room that I’m hoping Big D will pack some of *his* excess stuff in.

Highlights of the last few days – shoes. Shoes. Shoes. Random crap in my office from my mother’s house that I don’t need. IKEA purchases with good intentions that have moved from house to house to house unused.

Even though my house is still a disaster, the fact that I’m working and processing and getting somewhere is doing wonders for my mental state. I’ll call this a success if I can downsize from the clutter that’s eating my sanity to the clutter I can live with.

morning routine

(A friend asked me recently to explain my morning routine – I went a little overboard as usual. Big D takes care of mornings 3 days a week now so I can get to work by 6:15 but the chaos is still the same. Please excuse the overwhelming use of semi-colons; my comma key is dead.)

The alarm is set for 6:30 but unless it’s dreary and raining the kids are up long before that. The end of daylight savings time has brought 4:30 and 6 am wakeup calls this week. When miss poopypants was still sleeping in our room the most frequent way to wake up was being pelted with stuffed animals from the crib; now it’s a sing-song-y “Moooooooooooooo-oooooomy!” coming from upstairs; the dining room; or somewhere in between. The wisdom of giving her freedom to wander the house when she wakes up is questioned on a daily basis. I poke the slumbering beast next to me who usually hits the sack much later than I do (thanks grad school; but more likely facebook and grepolis) and resign myself to hoisting my body out of bed first.

Now that I’ve hit my Jesus year I’m hearing some dusty pops in my spine; a tweak on my right kneecap; and a growing realization that I really need to lighten the weight load on my joints. I have no idea how to fit that into my schedule but somehow it needs to be done. I locate the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed toddler; the zombie boy who knows how to use Netflix a little too well; make a pit stop; and throw on enough clothes to take the wiggly-butt dogs outside.

Back inside the house; two scoops of dog food are followed by a quick scouring of the kitchen to determine what the breakfast options for the little ones are. On a good day it’s yogurt with fresh fruit and honey; but more often than not it’s toast with jam or a breakfast bar with a witty name. At least I know where the jam came from; I made it over the summer and hopefully picky kid #1 and wanna-be picky kid #2 won’t turn their noses up at it. If I’m working from home I detour to the computer to fire up my work email and give it a quick check; if I’m headed to the office I start searching through the laundry piles to find something somewhat presentable to wear.

Poke Big D again to find out when I can reasonably expect him to waken. Head back to the kitchen to see where the lunchboxes are – little d’s great about putting his lunchbox in the cupboard after several years of dogs ripping into previous ones. miss poopypants is lucky if we remembered to grab hers out of the car. Lunches are always the same unless we ran out of something – drink; half a pb&j; pepperoni and gouda (what a snob!); grapes or apples; fruit leather; and something snacky like pretzels or dessert (usually Quadratini squares; but Halloween has worn down my resolve on crappy sugar products) for little d; half a pb&j; more fruit; more fruit leathers; and pretzels or cheddar bunnies for miss poopypants (she gets enough sugary snacks at daycare). little d’s lunchbox has reusable containers while miss poopypants gets wax paper bags.

If Big D isn’t up by then; there’s one last attempt to rouse him happens before I start getting shitty. little d is self-sufficient regarding getting dressed though you have to insist on underwear changes and confirm they actually happened. miss poopypants likes to run around naked which doesn’t work well for someone who’s not fully potty trained. Usually by this point I remember I haven’t changed her pull-up; find some clothes for her (much easier now that her clothes have a home in a dresser and not just laundry mountain limbo); and try to remember where we took her shoes off last night. Forget showers; they don’t happen for me in the mornings unless I have a nervous breakdown. I’m lucky if I can wash my face; pull my clothes on; brush my teeth and hair; and slam some mascara on. Occasionally if everyone cooperates I can find some jewelry. Half the time I leave for work without underwear – not on purpose.

We negotiate who’s taking who where (usually me both places on my work from home days). Occasionally if we split things up I can walk little d to the bus stop; more often than not we pile everyone into the car and drop him at the corner either on the way to daycare or on the way back from daycare.

Does everybody have socks? shoes? lunches? Where’s your coat? Put your shirt back on! Where’s the car key? Where’s my phone? Where’s your phone? I don’t know! Do you need keys to lock the house? Who’s taking which car? Who’s coming home first? Did the dogs poop when you took them outside? Did we leave anything on the counters? In the trash? Did we close the doors to the basement/living room/upstairs? Do we need to leave a light on? Is there any gas in the car? Why not? What bank card do you need today? Do you need to take the bus home? I’m picking up the kids today right? Help me get her in her carseat so she doesn’t run down the driveway. Where did all this trash in the car come from? Don’t forget to lock the front door! Is everybody buckled? What did we forget? Where’s your backpack? I forgot to close your door! Everybody ready? Everybody go!

Dropoff at the bus stop is easy; most of the time little d doesn’t want us to stay anyway. Dropoff at daycare is more complicated – someone who used to walk in and say ‘Hi EvereeeBuddieeee!’ now clings and cries. Once extracted from the monkey girl I can take a deep breath and start thinking about the office. On work from home days I stop for caffeine on my way back home; office days involve catching a bus; hoping for a seat; and vegging out for a few minutes before flashing a badge and hitting the x-ray machine. I’m already exhausted and the morning hasn’t even begun.

bitchface.

I get the visual harshness from my German grandmother. The jaw that’s slightly too sharp, the eyes that are a little too piercing when they look at you straight on.*

I get the quiet appraisal from my Scottish grandfather. The little man who knew how to blend into the background, who passed his wallflower tendencies onto his son, also passed on the need to size people up before getting to know them.

I get the stoicism from my (other) Scottish grandfather, who was loving and kind until you messed with him. Then he battened down the hatches.

I get the laser-sharp daggers from my mother. She wore the pants in the family for sure. She was never wrong and let you know it. She’s the reason I’m a strong woman and she’s the source of a lot of my insecurities. My last year of high school was certainly not a fun one.

I get the second-guessing from my father, who was never really happy in a situation probably not entirely of his making, but didn’t know how to get out of it.

I get the increasing tendency towards pessimism from what life has thrown at me so far. Big D wonders why I can’t see the positive things in our life sometimes; I wonder why I keep getting dumped on. Our life looks pretty good from the outside (if you don’t look too closely at the backyard, anyway), but some days it’s a struggle.

I was born to have a ‘bitch face,’ apparently. It’s why only crazy homeless men with no teeth chat me up while walking down the street. It’s why my boss tells me to lighten up as I pass by when I wasn’t thinking about anything particularly heavy. It’s the line of my almost-nonexistent eyebrows, the set of my jaw, and the bold glasses I use as a mask. My default face is the face that says ‘don’t mess with me, motherfucker.’ People ask me how or why I do it – damned if I know. I just *do*.

I didn’t know this explicitly until I was an adult, but I think I’ve compensated for the bitch face by being too nice, sometimes. For giving the people I let in the benefit of the doubt, when maybe I shouldn’t. For looking past the bad things and focusing on the good things. More often than not, that’s the moral equivalent of shooting myself in the foot. Especially when my kids are involved, that’s a sure recipe for disaster.

I hate being a bitch. But I’m incredibly good at it. And to save my own skin, and those of my family, I need to do it more often. So if you see the bitch face, don’t take it personally. It’s self-preservation.

* (I get my Aryan breeder hips from her too, but that’s an entirely different story.)

spooked.

Haven’t written in ages. Not sure what to say, frankly. What do you do when you find out that someone random is reading your blog?

Well, that’s kind of of the point of blog-writing, you say. You *want* random people to read your blog, don’t you?

Of course, I say. I just didn’t expect a certain person who I’ve never met to read my blog. To want to know about my life. To look me up because of who I associate with and keep an eye on me. My skin has been crawling for months because someone I’ve never met (and never want to) is watching me. Maybe it was a one-time thing? I certainly hope so. But I’m too much of a mama bear to open myself and my family up to the possibility that it might not be.

Yes, I’m being a pussy (pardon my French).  I haven’t yet figured out how to be authentic and real and myself use this writing for an outlet that helps me cope with the stresses of my life while knowing that some lurkers aren’t just readers who haven’t yet commented.

Sorry I’m creeped out; I don’t have much to say these days. Oh, but creepy lurker watching me? Bring it. Big D married my ass two months ago; I’m not going anywhere.

I’m just a little bit stubborn

about New Year’s resolutions. They’ve never worked in the past – instead, they’re just good ideas that I’ve either forgotten about a week later or felt guilt over for screwing up. Life is messy, as we all know, and mine seems to be a messier one than most. 2009 was mostly reactive, putting out fires that I didn’t start, playing catch-up, and adjusting to yet another new paradigm. A month without an oven between Thanksgiving and Christmas certainly didn’t help.

But, 2009 was also a year where I learned more than I thought I would. And I think these little lessons, tapping me on the shoulder or clunking me on the head, are doing more to inform my goals (NOT resolutions, on purpose) for 2010. So maybe you (especially the lurkers, Leah – I know you’re there!) can help to hold me accountable in 2010. I apparently learn about everything the hard way.

Here goes:

  • Be more mindful of where the money goes. I saved $2,509.67 over the course of 2009 by setting aside the cost of a salted caramel signature hot chocolate – plus tax! – each day. I still struggled with another $4 drink that shall remain nameless, but I’m getting there. The goal was to set that money aside and not touch it, which of course didn’t actually happen. But the little emergency fund that could saved my financial ass more than once this year, got me back into the habit of saving, made me realize I didn’t really miss that small amount of cash that I otherwise frittered away, and reminded me that I need to pay more attention to my family’s financial situation. I, who was once incredibly anal about balancing my checkbook, haven’t wanted to look at it since May of 2008. That act of sticking my head in the sand has kept me from realizing that being detail-oriented is actually a good thing. This overwhelming part of my personality is an asset, both when we have a bit of a cushion, and especially when we don’t. Big D and I have started having real, substantive discussions about our family budget, and are making changes that should help keep us in line and not so willing to spend cash at the drop of a hat.
  • You can’t forget yourself in the process of getting through the day. Because of Big D’s school schedule, it makes the most sense to have me manage miss poopypants at daycare. So that means running to get her there, running to work, running through the day, running to collect her, running to get home and feed her before she turns into Jack-Jack from The Incredibles, running to put her to bed, running to organize the house, etc. Weekends are catchup and prep time for the week, not much of a break. With this as my standard schedule, and the running back and forth to deal with my mother’s house for the first half of the year, no wonder I survived on caffeine and sugar. My yearly grope and feel was a wake up call that my frayed emotions weren’t able to ignore: 22 pounds and 14 points on my blood pressure in one year meant I was going to kill myself at this pace. As much as my brain told me to keep going to get everything done, I’ve had to retrain myself to recognize that it’s not possible, my kids aren’t going to be young forever, and if I don’t relax I *will* pop a gasket.
  • The internet is a blessing and a curse. Both Big D and I are guilty of burying our heads in our data plans, surfing facebook and ignoring each other and the kids. I’ve had some so-called friendships blow up in my face because of social networking. But we’ve also gotten to know wonderful people, renewed old friendships, and learned more about our world, our environment, and our interests. Moderation needs to be the key – both in what we say or don’t say, and in how much time we spend. Our interpersonal relationships are enhanced by the internet, but honest to goodness, flesh and blood people are at the core.
  • I am more than what I do for a living or whom I parent. As much as I love and need my job, and dote on my kids, I can’t forget who I am. Most of the time, that person is dormant – caring for young kids pretty much demands it – but glimpses of what I enjoy need to surface on occasion so I don’t lose my me-ness. If anyone has any ideas on how to actually make this happen, I am taking suggestions!

And one hard and fast goal – miss poopypants WILL be in her own room by the end of the month, come hell or high water. We’re both getting sick of being beaned with binks at 6:30 am.

sick as a dog…

… is my latest excuse. So is dealing with small children and a partner in graduate school. And a full time job, and a messy house, and two large loud dogs, and and and….

I will get better. Spilling my guts is cathartic, and Lord knows I could use some catharsis every once in a while.

In the meantime, here’s our family pileup for our holiday cards. How’d miss poopypants get up there?