Voluntary Madness

As I sit here in my faithful, if slightly sagging recliner tonight, I am, for the moment, without my husband.

Where is he? At the bar? Working third shift? Coon hunting?

Nope.

He’s currently at the scene of two-car MVA.  That’s motor vehicle accident to the uninitiated.

My husband is part of our local volunteer fire department.  He, and his brothers and sisters, were all just sitting at home a few minutes ago, some probably in bed, when that shrill sound ripped through the evening.  The volunteer firefighter’s pager–a cold, unfeeling thing that dictates much of our lives.

As a teenager, I sometimes held volunteer firefighters in disdain.  Now, as VFF wife, I sometimes catch little snide comment and rolled eyes from people.  I know what they are thinking.  They have envisioned the Barney Fife types who just like strutting around with their pagers and giving people orders.  I guess there are some of those out there, just as there are always bad apples in every basket.

But what I have found is that these are hard-working, courageous men and women who voluntarily give up time away from their families to help others.

My husband spent days away from home while he was getting his certification.  He got further trained to drive the engines, because he is a naturally talented big truck driver.  He trains every Monday evening with his Station.   Mostly, though, he is always ready to literally run out the door and to the rescue of people in need.  It might be late in evening, like now, or it might be one or two in the morning.  Sometimes he’s back in an hour–sometimes not for five or six.

Sometimes he has to comfort people who are afraid, and hurt, and maybe even dying, all while acting as though he himself is not afraid.

He has been “toned out” during cookouts, birthday parties, holidays and family gatherings. He has missed his dinner and eaten a bowl of cereal, or maybe nothing at all because he was too exhausted to eat.

He has made lifelong friends, and so have I.  He has had struggles and frustrations and some scary situations, which he always downplays to me because he knows I worry.  He trusts his brothers and sisters with his life, and holds their lives in his hands.

So, take a minute to be thankful that there are men and women out there like my husband, who don’t do what they do because they are getting paid, or getting glory, or really even getting any recognition at all.  It’s easy to dismiss a volunteer firefighter because he’s the same guy you see mowing his lawn every week, or shopping in Walmart.  But make no mistake–he’s a hero.

And this one here, he’s mine.

12977063_10209707580512796_6581974544782213595_o

(not so) Happy

I have unlocked the secret to happiness.

Now hold on a minute.  Don’t just roll your eyes and walk off. Come back here! I’m serious.  I know the secret to happiness.

Are you ready to know the secret? Okay, wherever you are, go to a mirror. Close your eyes.  Stand in front of the mirror.  Take a deep breath.

Now, open your eyes.

See it?

You are looking at the secret of happiness.

For those of you who cheated and did not go to a mirror, I will give you the answer.

It’s you.

You are the secret to happiness.

Now, before you feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility, don’t misunderstand.  You are not the secret to everyone’s happiness.  Just your own.  Do you follow? I’ll say it plainly, with bold font, so you can get it.

You are the secret to your own happiness.

In my never-ending observation of people, I see everyone constantly searching for happiness.  They look for it in people and places and things.  They want happy lives and happy relationships and happy jobs, but they are let down over and over.

I spent more years than I am willing to count trying to find my own happiness in other people.  I was continually disappointed.  I was chronically disappointed.  Why? Because I thought someone else had the key to my happiness..  I placed impossible expectations on the people around me, and then held it against them when they couldn’t deliver.

I’m not sure what finally clued me in.  I can’t pinpoint one big “ah-ha” moment when I realized I had it wrong.  I think I just got tired of being such a drag.

Every morning I get up, and I don’t have what  people would  consider  a “fun” schedule.  I have to get my people out of bed and feed them and medicate them.  The daughter can be down right uncooperative.  Sometimes I have to hold her arms down with my leg so I can get her medicine in her.  That is not fun.  But I make jokes about it and laugh and accuse her of trying to kill me.  I sing songs and make faces to try to keep her from getting too mad.  When it’s finished, I make a big show of wiping my brow and then that’s that.  When she has a seizure, we sit together and bitch about it for a while.  It makes us feel better.  Then it’s over.

What if I wanted to make a different choice?  What if I decided to lament the difficulty of my life? What if I fussed at my daughter for her extreme hard-headed-ness (which she gets from her father) and started my whole day off on a sour, negative note?  What if I wanted to look at all of the things wrong with my life, all of the hard things that just don’t seem fair, and what if was mad or sad about them? Well, life around here would certainly be different, wouldn’t it?

No one can make those choices but me.  I can blame who I want.  Is it fair that things are the way they are?  Maybe not.  But guess what?  There’s not one damn thing I can do to change things, fair or not, and how in the hell does me being miserable help anyone?

Misery loves company–we’ve all heard it.  It’s true.  Misery is catching.  The beautiful thing, though, is that happiness is catching, too!

In our marriages, our relationships with our children, our jobs, every single aspect of our lives, we make the decision of how we are going to live our lives.  It breaks my heart to think of how much of my life I have lost being miserable.

Laughter is such a part of our lives now.  We have to laugh at ourselves and our lives–we just have to.  I don’t think we could survive day-to-day if we didn’t.  Look around yourself.  If you are with people, or, God forbid, if you are a person who can’t laugh at yourself, seek help immediately.  Put your head between your knees.  Call 911, something.  Just bail out.  You’re drowning.

You’re drowning in our society’s notion that happiness is something that is owed to us, that it is something therapy and medication can provide.  We have convinced ourselves that others should mold themselves into the shapes that make us happy.

We are deluded, and what’s worse, we are miserable.

If only everyone could decide to be happy.  If only everyone could see that each life, each relationship, each job, each person, can be a part of what our happiness is all about.  There is so much that is beautiful in even our hardest moments, so much that we should celebrate.  Even when things are hard, we can deal with them and move on.  There is so much to be thankful for, so much to appreciate.

So much to be happy about.

Go back to that mirror.  Look yourself directly in the eye.  Don’t take any bullshit.  Who is standing in the way of your happiness? Can you see them?

Now, what are you going to do about it?


 

 

 

 

 

Gotta Go–My Shows Are On

Well, it happened again.  I watched the news.

This morning I had the great joy of hearing that some Democratic strategist has criticized Ann Romney for being a stay at home mom.  The strategist, Hilary Rosen, said that Ann could be of no use on economic issues because she had “never worked a day in her life.”

Now Rosen is trying to backtrack.  Apparently thousands of stay at home moms have tracked her down and left their children with her.

No, seriously, Rosen is backtracking because even the president stepped up to defend Ann Romney by saying that being a “housewife” (my word, not his) is a tough job.  Now Rosen is saying that she only meant that Ann Romney was a wealthy woman who had nannies and such and so never had to deal with the real economic and social concerns of the typical American woman.

Too little, too late, bitch.

The truth is, she’s trying to cover her own ass now because she is getting such a backlash, even from the president of the United States.  I feel quite sure, as a working woman herself, Rosen absolutely believed what she said.  She thinks that because a stay at home moms like myself don’t contribute to the economy, we don’t know anything about it.

This is a very sensitive subject to me.  With the modern economy, it’s very hard for a lot of families to make it on just one income.  I realize that.  We were in that situation a long time ago–before we had kids.  Once I found out I was pregnant, I decided that being the primary caretaker for my own children was more important to me than maintaining our lifestyle.  We downgraded our vehicle and tightened our belts (which were already pretty tight.) I haven’t been back to work since.  I always thought that when the kids were older I might go back to work, but then the reality of Evelyn’s life came up, and then I started caring full-time for my sister, and there you go.

But this isn’t about the fact that I have to stay home now.  It’s about the fact that I wanted to stay home to raise my kids.

I think lots of people actually believe stay at home moms are less than their working counterparts.  They think we don’t have a real life, and that we don’t contribute to society.  I wonder how many people still have the notion of the old-fashioned “housewife?”  Since I love lists so much, allow me to demystify the life of the modern stay at home mom in list form.

  • I am the money manager in this house.  I have a great grip on the economy, although I apparently don’t contribute to it.  I buy the groceries, make the payments, and balance the checkbook.  Even though my husband earned the money, we both still take care of it. (See the next point.)
  • My husband and I don’t have “our own” money.  If we couldn’t trust each other with money, then we had no business getting married.
  • I have never had to worry about what my kids were being exposed to and who was taking care of them.  I’ve never paid for child care.  Here’s another little myth imploded for all you working folks out there: my kids are not so attached to me that they can’t be separated from me.  They have never slept with me.  My son had zero anxiety about going to school, because I raised him with self-confidence.  He has never been afraid to spend the night with a friend.  So there.
  • My husband and I are partners. I don’t serve him because he brings home the paychecks.  He has always been an active parent–he changes diapers and bathes and feeds.  Yes, I do most of the housework.  Know why?  Because I want it done a certain way, and the best way to ensure that is to do it myself.  Also, I do happen to think that because I’m the one who is here all day, it’s my fair share to do it.  It doesn’t hurt me.
  • I don’t get to sit and watch soap operas all day.  In fact, I don’t sit much at all during the day.  I do most of my sitting at night, after everyone is in bed.  I would imagine that’s when “working” moms get to sit down, too.
  • I do get stressed, and sometimes I feel isolated, but I’m not sure going to work every day would alleviate either of those problems.  I would go out on a limb and say that it might even make them worse.

I could rant all day long about this, but I won’t (you’re welcome.) The short version is this: forget about June Cleaver, and forget about the housewife laying on the couch, watching “General Hospital” and eating bonbons.  Also, I’m not going to make rude generalizations about working mothers, although I certainly could.

I have a great job.  I get to care for the people who mean the most to me.  Maybe I don’t get to dress up every day and go out and “contribute” to the world.  Instead, I contribute to my family.

I think that’s okay, don’t you?

Imperfectly Perfect

Some people who know me personally probably wonder how anyone could stand to be married to me.

In all honesty, sometimes I wonder that myself.

I’ve known people in the course of my life who had a lot in common with me.  We had the same taste in music and movies, loved to read, even similar personalities.  According to the commercials for those internet dating sites, that’s just what you should be looking for.  Someone who is matched up with you point for point.  By why on earth would I want to me married to someone like myself?

I get a lot of joy out of self-deprecating humor (obviously), but I know I have some good qualities.  The flip side of that coin is that I have some bad ones that more than make up for the good ones.  I have a notoriously short fuse.  My mouth runs off like a half-broke horse, and sometimes acid drips from my tongue.

I am also one of the world’s great pessimists.

I try to pump myself up sometimes to be an optimist, but it’s hard to change a lifetime of dark thinking.  Bad things that have already happened, and bad things I worry might happen–they lay in my mind like the frost that lingers in the shade hours after the sun is up.

What would happen if I was married to someone who was like me?

Bad things.

Instead, I’m married to a man who is quite different from me.  I won’t say we are total opposites.  That’s not exactly right.  Our core beliefs and goals are the same.  We want the same things out of our lives.  Some of our interests are the same, but a lot of them are different.  Matt isn’t into reading.  Although our taste in music is very similar, my eclectic style tends to stray too far to the left or right to suit him.  He could watch “Full Metal Jacket” over and over and over and over and over and…..well, you get the idea, but I think it should be banned from Planet Earth.

Most importantly, he balances out my dark thinking quite nicely.  He has a very level, calm view of life.  He can lose his temper just like anyone else, but he has much greater control over his mood than me.  Rather than thinking the worst in every situation, he has a “wait and see” type of attitude that calms me down.  He works so well against my pessimism, because he doesn’t try to lie to me or be overly optimistic.  Instead, he takes a “wait and see” attitude that is very effective towards reigning me in.  He has the ability to be supportive without being patronizing, and for me, that’s a wonderful quality.

So all of that got me thinking, and what I decided is that I don’t need someone who is perfectly matched to me on 147 points of compatibility.  What I need–what everybody needs–is someone who loves who they are.  If you think about it, the pieces of a puzzle that go together aren’t the same.  They don’t match each other, but they are made to fit together.

 

That’s the best any of us can hope for.  And for all of my dark thinking and poor choices, I think I did pretty good on my choice of a husband.  I must have–it’s been fifteen years.  It’s easy to love him, regardless of the little differences that crop up.

As long as I don’t have to watch “Full Metal Jacket.”

In Sickness and Health…..But Mostly Sickness

A rather rude comment was made about me yesterday.  I was referred to by my nearest and dearest as “the most hateful sick person in the history of the universe.”

Well!

I have strep throat, which I get almost every year.  I think this year’s case has been by far the worst.  Maybe I say that every year.  Maybe it’s like childbirth, and once it’s over you can’t remember what it was like.  All I know is that it really, really sucked this time.  I reached an all time low late yesterday afternoon and volunteered to go to the doctor.  After only three doses of my antibiotics, I feel much better.  My husband has made the comment–numerous times–that if I had gone to the doctor right at the first onset of symptoms, I would have never gotten so miserable.  He also said, “We go through this every year.  Why?  Why can’t you just go?  You know how it’s going to turn out!”

Nobody likes a know-it-all, you know.

Well, I suffered for my cause this year.  I had a roaring fever, aches, pains, and the words “sore throat” don’t even hint at the total carnage that was inside my neck.  I literally did nothing but sip water for two days, and that was mostly to wash the Advil down.  The pain in my throat even caused my ears to ache.  I made the mistake of shining a flashlight in my mouth and looking at my throat–I may never recover from that sight.

After two days of laying on the couch with even my hair hurting, I finally consented to go to the doctor.  Matt loaded me up and hauled me over there.  I think the test for strep must be punishment for waiting so long to go.  They take this giant Q-tip and rub it round and round in the back of your throat.  I didn’t think she’d ever stop.  Then I started coughing, and that just felt wonderful.  I got my meds and came back home.

Matt kept on and on about going to the doctor, and I finally gave him some miserable, hateful answer about how I didn’t run to the doctor every time I sneezed, and now I’d have to pay a bill for that stupid strep test, and I was old enough to do whatever I wanted.  I rounded off my rather hoarse tirade with, “I think you like it when I’m sick because you can boss me around!”  That prompted him to make his original comment.

I have no idea why I don’t want to go the doctor.  I don’t think I’m really afraid.  I know they aren’t going to give me a shot or anything.  I know I’ll feel better afterwards.  To me, though, going to the doctor is admitting defeat.  I’m a tough old bird who doesn’t need help from anyone. I’m the caretaker, not the careneeder–going to the doctor is for sissies.  I have an enormous tolerance for pain.  I’m tough.  I rough.

Apparently, I’m also a trifle testy.

So maybe I hissed if anyone got too close to me, or moved the couch I was on, or walked by too fast and caused a breeze to hit me.  Maybe I answered questions with various rude gestures instead of words.  I felt bad.  Everyone gets a little cranky when they feel bad, right?

Don’t agree with me? Fine.

Come over here and let me give you a kiss.

Thank God I’m (married to) a Country Boy

I may have to revise John Denver’s song a little to be more appropriate in my own life.

We were out and about recently, and on the way home we stopped for lunch.  On the way out I was waiting to pay the bill, and I couldn’t help but notice the guy in front of me.

He was probably middle aged, and he was very attractive and put together.  He was, in short, a classic metrosexual.  I don’t know if that term is still even in use, but I’m sorry, there really is no better way to describe him.  I don’t know how to explain it, but you can tell the difference between someone who is dressed in nice clothing for a meeting or for their job and someone who dresses that nice all the time.  This guy was one of the latter.

He was wearing a pea coat.  A pea coat.  Really.

Now don’t get me wrong–it’s a great coat.  Very snazzy.  In fact, everything about this guy was snazzy.  It wasn’t just his clothes–he had carefully product-laden and styled hair.  He had beautifully manicured and cared-for hands.  He was surrounded by a palpable aura of cologne.  He was wearing fantastic shoes.

The sight of this man made me think, as most things usually do.  Yes, this man was very attractive.  He obviously has impeccable style and grooming habits.  Guys like that aren’t all that common where I live, but you do see them sometimes, and I think it’s probably much more prevelant in other parts of the country where there is more hair gel and fewer pick-up trucks.  The metrosexual man is nice to look at.

But I couldn’t be married to him.

If I put a pea coat on my husband’s dead body, he would come back to life just long enough to take it off, throw it on the floor, and ask me what the hell I was thinking.  His hair style is a fade (short in the winter, skin in the summer.)  His idea of wearing dress shoes is cleaning the mud off of his boots (steel-toe.)  He’s 100% jeans and tee-shirt.  He has these big, rough hands and most of the time he needs a shave.  He is the anit-metrosexual.

That’s fine by me.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, it occurred to me that I could never, ever be married to a man who spent more time getting ready than me.  I can’t even imagine having a high maintenance man who actually manicured his fingernails.  Holy crap.  And frankly, my ego couldn’t take the fact that my husband had better fashion sense than me.

Let’s face it, a metrosexual wouldn’t come within ten miles of someone like me anyway, so the point is moot.  One look at my jeans and black Pink Floyd tee would be enough to send him screaming into Macy’s.  But that’s okay, because one look at him, and I’d run off screaming, too.

Into Wal-Mart.

Et Tu, Daughter?

Betrayal is an ugly word, mostly because it describes an ugly action.  Some people consider betrayal the worst thing that can happen to a person. 

When it comes from your child, it’s even worse.

I don’t know when I lost my daughter.  I’m pretty sure she was mine for a while.  But is has happened.  Somewhere along the line she has turn-coated on me, and now she’s Daddy’s girl. 

It’s just a little bit hard.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they are so close, and really, it’s not like I’ve done much for her.  You know, besides bringing her into the world.  Sure, dad is a necessary factor in the whole conception thing, but a man’s role is, as usual, fairly superfulous when compared to what the mother has to do.  He just spreads his seed–kind of like a dandelion–then goes about his merry way.  Then the mother has to actually grow the child, carry the child, and of course let’s not forget actually have the child.  But you know, I guess compared to, I don’t know, making armpit fart noises, that’s not much.

Like I said, I’m not bitter.  After enduring the most miserable pregnancy in the history of womankind, I was plunged head first into my first-ever hospital experience, with IV’s and needles and surgery and all kinds of fun things.  I had enormous quantities of amniotic fluid (true fact: the doctor actually said, “Well, I’ve had woman pregnant with twins whose bellies were almost as big as yours.” Thanks, doc.) and so I looked like some sort of freakish mutant, because the rest of me was shrinking because I couldn’t eat anything because my digestive tract was somewhere in the neighborhood of my neck!  Oh, and I’m not even going to talk about how my body has never and will never recover from being stretched in such an odd shape.

Then of course there’s the teensie little things I did after she was born, like trying feverishly for three months to get her to eat, and then those few little trips just to here and there, you know, like Minnesota and Maryland and Philadelphia and Virginia.  No biggie.  We sometimes had to go to a few appointments around here, too, but not more than once or twice a week for three or four years.  Hardly even worth mentioning. 

And let’s not forget that I’m the one who packs her lunch, gets her clothes, gets her ready, gets her meals for her.  But really, who can even keep track of little things that?

Not that I’m bitter.

Just like that, she’s not mine anymore.  She’s always been pretty close to her dad, but now she’s officially gone over to the dark side.  Yesterday, she wouldn’t even come downstairs with me when she got up for school–he had to go up and get her.  He can brush her teeth without having to hold her down on the floor.  I try to get her to sit with me, and she’ll just frown and then go sit with her daddy.  Sweet, isn’t it?

I wonder if this is related somehow to that whole mother/daughter almost-a-teenager tension thing.  My daughter may not be a typical girl, but then again, maybe she’s more typical than I think.

 

 

Also, I blame my husband for at least part of it.  As the years have passed, I have become the heavy–the one who always handles the discipline.  Dad’s the fun one, Mom’s the one who gets on you for stuff.

The one consolation I have is that I’m pretty sure the boy is mine.  I have carefully timed my bribery to win him over to my side, and it seems to be working.  I had to try pretty hard, since, again, I really haven’t done all that much for him, either.

Not that I’m bitter.

The Husband’s Rebuttal (by proxy)

Well, my husband dislikes typing very much, so I am forced to type for him a rebuttal to my previous post about what the bride’s wedding vows should really be.  Apparently, my better half feels as though he should defend himself and his gender against some of the implications of my vows, and he even offers a few of his own.

This is his view of the matter:

  • I vow to forever take the blame for “tracking mud” in the house, even if it is six in the morning and the only things I’ve had on my feet are my house shoes.
  • I am afraid of the hamper, because God forbid I put an article in there that doesn’t belong, like a towel with two water molecules on it.
  • I vow to be very quiet when you are sick, because you are, frankly, the meanest sick person I have ever seen. Ever.
  • I vow to try to walk a fine line between helping you too much and not enough, because you don’t like lazy people, but you don’t want anybody to do anything for you, either.
  • I vow to never dare complain about being sick for longer than twenty-four hours, because that’s about how long your sympathy lasts before you run out of patience.
  • I will never, ever, ever be clean enough for you.  No one is clean enough for you.  Look at this way–you are a woman, and when your house is neat and tidy, people say, oh, look how clean your house is! I am a guy–if I keep a clean and tidy house, people say, oh, he’s gay.
  • I vow to watch a scary movie with you, even though I know you will be up all night, and you’ll make me get up with you if you have to pee.
  • On a related note, I vow to go with you to the bathroom when we go camping, because I know you are afraid of the dark.
  • I vow to at least keep my hunting stuff out of the house–I do it for you, baby.
  • I vow to try my best to avoid all possible contact with you before 9:00am or three cups of coffee, whichever comes first.
  • I vow not to touch you when you are having a hot flash.
  • I vow to lay patiently beside you while you toss and turn, and toss, and turn, and toss, and turn, and toss…….
  • I vow to not be annoyed with you when you wake up pissed at me for something I did to you–in a dream you had.
  • I vow to watch an untold number of paranormal shows about aliens, ghosts, and Bigfoot, even though I think every bit of that is bullshit. (Although I draw the line at Ghost Adventures.)

So you see, there is a lot more to the wedding vows than just that “richer and poorer” bit.   There’s a lot of give and take when you are in any kind of relationship, although personally I think the women do a tad more giving.  Matt agrees–giving guys crap, giving guys a hard time, giving guys chores to do…….

And hopefully giving them enough love to last a lifetime.

 

 

 

The Fine Print

I’m not an overly romantic person.  For some reason that I can no longer comprehend, I had a formal wedding.  In retrospect, I’d like to have the money I sunk into the wedding, and we could have just went to the courthouse.  The end result would have been the same.

But, alas, we did the formal church-wedding thing, and we stood in front of God and a few dozen witnesses and said the wedding vows–you know, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, etc., etc.  Upon reflection, though, I think there should be some more (realistic) vows added.  I guess they wouldn’t sound so great in the actual church service, but maybe they could be added to the bottom of the marriage license or something.  Here’s what I’ve come up with for the bride:

  • I vow to pick up your clothes until the end of time, because, for whatever reason, you simply cannot make the trek from the bedroom to the hamper, and, if by some miracle you do make it to the hamper with the clothing, you then lay them on the closed lid, because lifting the lid is just too damn hard.
  • I vow to recognize that you are always sicker than me, even if I am, in fact, laying in bed incapable of even moving my eyeballs because it hurts, and fluids and semi-solids are escaping from every orifice in my body, and my fever has burned an actual hole in my pillow.  I also recognize that you can be perfectly healthy until I mistakenly mention that I have, say, a headache, and then you will immediately be struck with a sympathy headache.
  • I further vow that when you are genuinely sick, you cannot do anything, even if you just have the sniffles.  I should leave you alone to lay in misery (with the TV of course) and hope not to die. I, on the other hand, sick or well, will still plod on with my daily chores, and I vow not to choke you when I, sick and shaking, stagger through the room, and you ask, “What’s for dinner?”
  • I vow to accept the fact that no matter what I suggest, you will have to alter the plan in some way, no matter the circumstances. 
  • I vow that no fact I state will ever be accepted as truth until both you and your male offspring thoroughly research the topic, discuss all possible options, and ask everyone else on the planet for alternatives. 
  • I vow to carefully REfold the clothing in your drawers each time you open them and examine each article as though you are searching for DNA evidence, instead of what you are actually doing, which is getting the same articles of clothing that have been in the drawers for the last ten years.
  • I vow to find storage for the 78695746487 hats that you bring home on a regular basis, even though you don’t wear hats! This also applies to boots.
  • I vow to never question the fact that you are in constant need of hunting supplies, such as arrows, broadheads, silencers, scopes, calls, blinds, stands, and, I swear I am not making this up, bottles of a substance made to simulate female deer pee.  I will accept this need, even though we now have enough of these items to open our own sporting goods store.
  • Furthermore, I will accept the fact that any money spent on any of these items is perfectly acceptable, while money spent on something I might be interested in is money wasted.
  • I vow to never ask you do anything, because that is nagging, and I wouldn’t want to do that.
  • I vow to allow you whatever amount of time it takes you to do something I finally break down and ask you to do, even if that means it takes you upwards of three weeks. 
  • I vow to keep a schedule of all appointments and meetings, and then tell you the times of these appointments and meetings without getting annoyed, even though you ask me these times at least three times every single day.
  • I vow to offer you extravagant praise for any task that you perform, even if it is something like, say, carrying a dish to the kitchen counter and leaving it.  I will also thank you repeatedly for “watching” the kids, as though they were children from my first marriage and not, in fact, your children.
  • Lastly, I solemnly vow that you are a better driver, smarter, and much more tired than I could ever dream of being.

I figure I’d better quit for now before I really offend someone.

Don’t worry, in a day or two I’m going to give the husband a chance for rebuttal.  I can’t wait to hear what he has to say!

 

 

 

 

 

A Place for Everything…..

……and everything in its place. This is the doctrine of mildly compulsive people like yours truly.  And if I lived by myself and never allowed anyone else to enter my weird little world, then I wouldn’t have any problem upholding this belief.  However, I don’t live by myself.  What’s more, I happen to live in a house with certain others who not only don’t practice this belief, but actively oppose it.

We are forever looking for stuff.  I hate to point the finger of blame at specific people, but usually it’s The Grandmother’s fault. Everyone who knows her knows she is a very clean, very active person who is always piddling in something or straightening something.  Therein lies the problem.  She can walk by, say, a letter some innocent person  has clipped to a calendar page, and for some reason, the desire to move this letter to another location overcomes her.  She can’t even help herself.  Then along comes the innocent person looking for the letter, and it’s gone.  Here’s the kicker–The Grandmother can’t remember what she did with it. 

To be fair, the stuff usually turns up, albeit after an hour-long and extremely frustrating search, involving a lot of huffy silences periodically punctuated by increasingly snippy comments.  But we return to the question: Why did it have to be moved in the first place?

It’s not just The Grandmother.  This morning, for example, I went on Red Alert because my daughter’s shoes were missing.  I cannot even explain to you the extreme irritation I was experiencing.  First of all, it was approximately six in the morning, and let’s just say I’m not at my best early in the morning.  Second, I have a very rigid routine each school day, and I do not respond well to unexpected changes in this routine.  Clothes are laid out, lunch is packed, the back-pack is by the back door–all the night before.  We never over-sleep and we are never late. 

Well, all of that went right down the crapper this morning.  I went into the laundry room at the appropriate time to get Evelyn’s shoes, except guess what? No shoes.  I stood there for a minute like a complete dunce.  I didn’t even know what to do next.  I was literally paralyzed.  I mean, there really wasn’t anywhere else they could be.

Let me digress here for just a moment to say that people who know me talk about how organized I am and how they wish they were as organized as me.  What they don’t understand is that I have to keep things where they belong–if I don’t, I’m lost.  Yes, I always hang my keys on a hook inside the back door, because if I didn’t, I would never have my keys, ever!

Further digression: I have a friend, and she is a good person that I care deeply about, but she is the most scatterbrained, disorganized person I have ever seen in my life.  She has literally lost whole pairs of her son’s shoes, not to mention the time she lost his book bag.  I swear I am not making this up.  She loses her keys at least once a day.  I would kill myself.  My organization is little more than self-preservation.  It’s survival instinct in its most basic form.

Back to this morning:  no shoes.  The spot where they should be was ominously empty.  I looked in all of the other “shoes places,” though her shoes only ever sit in one place.  Still nothing.  Time was ticking–I could actually hear the seconds falling dead around me.  We went to a soccer game yesterday, and her father brought her in the house, and conceivably removed her shoes.  I had to call him on his cell phone at work and ask where the shoes were.  He hesitated for a moment, then said, “In the diaper bag.”

Great.

So I went upstairs and looked in the bag and hallelujah! There they were.  We made it to the bus stop with time to spare.

Still, my whole morning  routine was knocked askew by this blatant disregard of proper shoe placement.  Really, is it that hard to put shoes, or anything for that matter, back where they came from?  This is a battle I fear I will never win.  There are just too many people against me.  Sometimes I accuse them of purposely hiding things to make me think I’m crazy.  Maybe they are just keeping me balanced, so I’m not completely swallowed by my compulsion.  So, in other words, their refusal to stop touching my things and their inability to put things back where they belong are really just acts of love.

Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...