another shot to the groin

I feel smashed flat.

I just spent a brief fifteen minutes touring a house in Hoquiam. It was within our price range. It was huge. It had lovely hardwood floors, two fenced yards, a deck, a clawfoot tub.

And the kitchen. Good lord. Counter space. Two ranges, one stainless, one in the island that also boasted a dishwasher. Hell, the laundry room was larger and nicer than the kitchen I was last in.

You know where this is going, right? I called the realtor as soon as I got in. It’s taken.

I know I should just decide this means there’s something else out there that’s as perfect for us. Or maybe I should decide to hate on something about that place. Right now I’m just wilted and depressed.

In other news, the day was good. I got up at 6:30 and cooked my parents and husband a large breakfast – how Chinese-wife of me! (sorry, my latest depressing work of Chinese fiction is still very much with me.) My mom and I readied the kids for a trip to the YMCA which here is affordable, amazing, and has reliable, clean, wondrous childcare. I did the elliptical machine and watched my mom’s ass as she jogged the treadmill. We lifted weights including this amazing girlie-machine that allows you to do dips or pullups by virtue of subtracting a certain amount of your own weight (the weight I subtracted was, I think, equivalent to my brother’s body including his heavy wool trenchcoat). And the whole time no one knew I was listening to Beyonce.

The kids came home and took monstrously large naps. We are about to head off to a movie. And the feather in the “Good News” cap – my dad and I bought Fat Tuesday doughnuts today:


MMmmm, Lenty!

dear diary:

“saying yes and meaning no.”

Well, Day #3 of camping out at the ‘rents and my fears, which and I have nursed since over three years ago when I quit my job and we briefly considered staying here, fears I most recently mentioned about three weeks ago, are starting to come true.

I’m not sure how I could have possibly been clearer, more circumspect, and more open-minded in requesting use of half my parents’ upstairs *IF* we ended up “camping” here (God forbid, and apparently He did not). This request of mine involves, primarily, a cleanout of many of my brother’s things (in a space he isn’t renting, but is using) and a few items of my ‘rents. I am the nervous, hyper-organized type so I asked three weeks ago very specifically and got the OK from my parents. On Friday when the shit hit the fan on the new place I offered my parents rent and expressly said it was to secure the space – to make it a formality. They refused rent but agreed, again (my FOO is not big on formalities or keeping agreements, as you will see). I told my brother on Friday that it looked like our staying here might be necessary, for a bit. I told him I was sorry it was even going this way, but we were trying to make the best of it. I also told him I wouldn’t bother him a bit about moving his stuff until after his girlfriend (visiting) left – today. And, finally, that Ralph and I were happy to help relocate his things when the time came.

So here I am, chomping at the bit that I have none of my things around me, I don’t have my husband, I don’t have a nest to entertain my children with their toys and their space, and I don’t have a retreat for privacy other than a barely-furnished guest room with a few of my clothes. Until I can set up camp, I am stuck either infrigning my children on my family, downstairs, or confining them to a guest room, upstairs, with little or nothing for them to do besides watch movies. I hate these two options.

So I am looking forward to cleaning my corner and setting up a space. I have decided I “need” that to happen. It is the ONE THING I am looking forward to (besides Ralph’s job, which I am anticipating he will love). My “job”, which is my home and the running thereof, was taken from me. I have this shaky ground: a place, a temporary one. So tonight, after dinner (which I cooked) I asked my brother about the move-out of his stuff. He said he could get it out. He was reticent. I asked when. He said, “after next weekend”, with a tone that implied if I was lucky.

I have everything we own in a big moving truck outside. That moving truck is due back tomorrow and everything has to go somewhere. After everything else, after the house falling through and not another place yet, after worrying over my husband doing the work packing and moving and driving (he got here tonight; he’s fine), after feeling strongly I didn’t want to be in the position of living here and having my kids for several days while house-hunting and trying my best not to worry too much, after the shit-sandwich knowing we’d have to now move our stuff twice, and rent storage besides – it was too much. “Stunned and dismayed” about covers it. But all I said to my brother was, “I thought we discussed this eventuality three weeks ago, and over the last couple days.” He was like grunt, grunt – the typical response from he or my father.

I had to leave, come upstairs, and cry.

This story is not about my brother. It’s not about my parents. It’s not about moving going horridly wrong (still). It’s not about my FOO’s tendency to pack-rat, which I live in total fear of and reaction to by having a rather sparse home and feeling inexplicable terror at having it inch into my life, here and now. It’s not even a story regarding my intense desire for space and occasional privacy. And it’s only partially a story about my FOO’s method of communication – non-communication.

This story is about being heard.

Do they think I’m a hinter? That I don’t say exactly what I mean? A passive-aggressive type? What do they know of me? In what way do I not ask for what I want? What happens when people say “No” to me? Do I retreat, hate them, emotionally distance myself? Or do I move on and find another plan?

Do they think I’m the type to make idle, half-assed plans? How do they think I live out my life as a stay-at-home Mom? By floating with the tide and hoping for the best?

Who am I? Do I matter? Does the fact that I’m here, sharing space, mean I don’t get the courtesy of being listened to? How much more straight-forward and direct-dealing do I have to be?

Why can’t they say what they mean, and do what they say?

My friend charitably points out “this is about them”, and not me, or their vision of me. But the exact scenario I’d hoped to avoid – the scenario where I would be vulnerable and need direct, honest communication, mean that in whatever way it is about “them”, it is also now, necessarily, about “me”. Not to mention my family, who I am responsible for.

My only explanation for what is happening, with my FOO’s distinctive brand of non-communication and “yes means no” and not saying what they mean – for what may very well continue to happen as long as I’m here – is that their idea of me, or their idea of what they want (which they aren’t willing to tell me straight-out, apparently), is more important than who I actually am and what I actually want. It is OK to inconvenience or hurt me because I am some cartoon caricature and I don’t really care about the things that I’m telling you I care about.

Diary, dear sweet blog, I only write this because there’s nowhere else for it to go. I write here because I want to move on and just live out my time here however long, with as much mental and emotional peace as I can find. I don’t want to be angry at them, to hold up hurts and bite them down. I have found those hurts don’t go away. But in this case, we can see where directness got me. Now all I can be is direct to you, dear blog, and move my scope to coping as best I can, and take care of my children as best I can.

every which way

Today I am distracted, frenetic, lazy, and sad.

I am distracted and frenetic because I don’t know how to tackle my many, many to-do list items for our move. People ask the harmless and sweet question, “Are you packing up yet?” to which I think, Holy shit, am I supposed to? I mean, how I do I pack a couch I sit on every day, or clothes I wear? Yet the inevitable fact looms: in just a few days this stuff has to go in one truck and I can’t even imagine it.

I am lazy because in some way, my confused activity has resulted in a decidedly non-efficient use of my time. Here’s the problem: I know that if I tick off my “to do” list, methodically, stuff will get done. But how can I focus on one “to do” item at a time? No, so much easier to run about my house, hands flopping uselessly in front of me and making “pfft! pfft!” sounds with my mouth.

I am sad because I really miss Fancy our cat and would like to have her home.

I have to hand it to single parents and dual-working parents. Today I got just a taste of the kind of shuffle that must be part of their life. This afternoon my lovely friend Sara babysat my two children for a couple hours and this evening my friends the Creccas babysat my boy for dinner (so Ralph and Sophie could do their swimming lesson). The amount of shuffle-shuffle, do-you-have-a-carseat?, remembering details of who went pee and who’s been fed, do-you-have-Sophie’s swimsuit? – Holy shit. I think I’ll keep my quaint and relatively measured SAHM gig. For now.

what’s new, pussycat?

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I believe we may have found a house to land in Hoquiam. A very sweet old place almost directly across the street from my parents’ (babysitting score!). I knew the elderly man who owned it (he’s passed on, now) and I delivered him papers when a preteen. Not to mention the house – a downgrade in size and bedrooms but an upgrade in kitchen, mine now being the size of a large-ish crate – comes with gas heat and a clawfoot tub. A clawfoot tub. I’ve been coveting one for years.

I don’t want to jinx anything else, but our kitty Fancy is missing. I am really heartsick about this. For one thing, I have a fear of “something going wrong” with a new pet (hence my superstition about naming, my nightly wakeups since she’s gone AWOL) – and it now seems something has. She got out of the house last Saturday mid-morning and as of today (Tuesday) we have not heard from her. Those of you who have commiserated and told me it is “normal” for cats to go off for days at a time, thank you. I am earnestly hoping and praying for her return and safety. Today we filled out a detailed report at JCAS; tomorrow is the leaflet campaign coupled with woeful children in a wagon.

I hope I am being a huge asinine freak and she shows up on our doorstep soon, belly full of neighbor’s warm milk and entirely sassy that we have been worrying ourselves.

My recent funk where I was tired of cooking? was too boring to blog about, but it seems to have passed – at quite a cost since we ate out a bit the last couple weeks. Tomorrow I’m making The Anticraft’s Pie Pie to prove that yes, I’m back, I’m kicking ass, and taking names.

Listening to: this, this and this.
Reading: this.
Contemplating: sleep, de-hiving.

this is the longest goodbye / aching to get your pocket picked

What kind of jerk goes to bed on time, nicely, no fuss, only to wake at 1:15 AM with insomnia? It isn’t as if I got a few good HOURS in before I was up. I am currently typing as “quietly” as I can (on my parents’ laptop, mere inches from their open bedroom door) while waiting for the combination effect of a glass of wine, an OTC sleep aid, and some sort of generic vicodin to kick in. My children are slumbering quietly together in the guest bedroom upstairs – a full-size bed I try to accommodate myself to after being spoiled with my king at home. It seems the older I get the more picky I am about where I sleep. It doesn’t help that tomorrow I am house-hunting and full of fears, worries, and mental refuse.

I could have it worse; I thank Sweet Baby Jesus for the ways I have it good. My children were cheerfully good company on our 3-hour drive here. They took off their shoes and advocated for the right to pee and asked, many times, when we’d get to Hoquiam (and grandma and dinner). They were polite at the meal (custom-pizzas designed by my mom, a cook whose competence and joy in cooking I myself have grown into), they took baths without complaint, they went to bed easily and happily. Sophie has been not sucking her thumb for the past few days (since her last dentist’s visit) and she just lay next to me and DID it – fell asleep with her hands by her side.

The last few days my children have made my life as easy as they can; Nels has stopped having accidents in his pants, he is listening to Mama, he holds my hand and tells me great stories. Sophie is so intelligent and entertaining to be around I constantly look forward to seeing more of her. Life has changed from the days where I longed for their nap so I could have “me time”. I still want “me time” – I always will – but I no longer feel desperate for personal space, for sleep, for escape.

My parents are helping us out, most importantly (to me) by being there to discuss every little thing. They are also providing us with home-cooked dinner, with a backup plan of staying with them (please Lord no), with support and understanding for what we are trying to do. I think they’ll even provide us with a loan for moving expenses as our cash flow bunches up oddly in these last few weeks. Note to self: kiss ass more.

Life would be perfect if I was just moved into our new place already. God-dammit.

respite

I was up late last night. Anxious, upset, possibly my choice of a post-dinner cappucino wasn’t a good choice. Who knows? I couldn’t sleep and there was no one to keep me company. Eventually, yes, I even DID CHORES. Chores, hey – what I do every day, most of the day. And even late – 2 AM – I wasn’t tired. I had two glasses of red wine and read and finally fell asleep in the bed next to my children at about 3:30. Only to wake up four hours later and get up, get the kids ready, cook breakfast, make up some food for a preschool party, blah blah, you get the drill.

Today I (sadly, very sadly) gave up coffee after 2 PM. I am now trying not to think about a drink. Instead I need water, natural, deep sleep, a calm book. I need to quit running my ass ragged. For now: a hot shower with Sophie, pajamas, blankets.

"Let the games begin! Hi-oh!"

“I’m very aroused.”

Well, that’s it. We did it. Come mid-February, we are getting the hell out of this shit-hole. Oh, did I say “shit-hole”? I meant, “the town that I love and will cry and cry and cry upon leaving.”

Yeah, my husband took a job. In another town. It’s a better job, but his current job was a good one too; it wasn’t an easy choice. It was a difficult choice, in fact. The poor man has been in tears for the last 24 hours (note to Ralph: SEE A PSYCHIATRIST).

If you live anywhere near me, please know I will be calm for a couple weeks, then things will get really bad, and there is going to be drama. No, no. Positive self-talk. This will go well and easily. I won’t end up crying randomly in an undignified fashion, nor going hysterical on my husband for any reason whatsover. I think I can I think I can.

How do you move a family of four? Last time I moved it was across town, it was me and my man, and it took three trips in a pickup truck.

I am so fucked.

walking on sunshine

It is merely a simple fact of life that a mother to two young children gets one sick day. 24 hours then I’m on to the daily grind no matter how well I’m feeling. Hey, headaches can be managed with Tylenol and the occasional dizzy spell (or more than occasional) just makes parenting more fun.

Today kind of fooled me, though. I felt so much better when I woke up that I jumped right into laundry, dishes, toilet cleaning before realizing I had to sit down else I puked. I’m not sure exactly why I felt so badly because there really are a few factors – besides being sick on Sunday this morning constituted over 24 hours now with no booze, caffeine, or cigarettes and only a few ounces of water and a half dinner. Let’s just say my body was not receiving its typical dose of poisons / sustenance. Not to mention that the rumors are true we may indeed move from our beloved burg (if my husband lands a certain job), the thought of which puts a little vomit in my mouth. Oh, and did I mention I am no longer napping my children and my husband is having a sort of multifaceted personal life crisis? All this adds up to one beleagured Mama.

Oh the kids? The kids are great. I have a digital camera on loan which improves self-portraits marginally. The three of us today:

Note festive thrift store light decor. And in real life, my hair isn’t pasted to my head and Nels isn’t usually yelling unintelligibly about a marble. Who am I kidding on both accounts.

in a glass case of emotion

Well, I am feeling wretched today – it seems December, in two days, has already brought a share of disappointments. So I was oddly cheered when I discovered about five minutes ago that I have actually recieved something like *four comments* on my sewing blog (I’m not really sure how anyone finds it either – I lost my links at this oft-visited page and have been too lazy to put them up). Right now I have no camera (except my assy iSight on the Mac – a camera that always includes my rather messy and grungy laundry room background) so my sewing and knitting efforts (re-conn’d pants! left-handed knitting!) have gone undocumented.

But sadly, at this moment the more depressing circumstances in my life are overcoming the good. My parents won’t be around for Christmas while my remaining immediate family member – my brother (viewed here with hospital bracelet regarding an episodic severe intestinal illness) told me he’d rather have Christmas by himself, my husband doesn’t seem to care how much I am sad about not being with my FOO. Two friends have gone AWOL while I worry about their personal circumstances, one friend broke up with me, my older child is ill, and my younger child is growing out of his clothes too fast. And last but not least, Blogger Beta is acting like a gay and our bank account will be hitting bottom on Monday with four days left until payday.

Wow, it actually did not make me feel better to write that all out. Anyone interested in keeping me from throwing myself in front of a fast-moving train, feel free to send me a cheer-up email. Or barring that, a train schedule.

Today while the children napped (like canaries, their sleep-response seems proportionate to daylight) my husband and I wandered around the house, bored, ineffectual, too lazy to jump into our typical uber-housecleaning weekend frenzies. I was too cold and he was too warm (as usual) and we had carefully not over-scheduled our weekend – so now we had nothing to do. This afternoon while I cut out a pair of flannel pajamas he ventured into the attic to pull a cheesy-ass tinsel tree (via Freecycle) and thrift store lights out of the attic. Our now-garish living room awaits the awakening of the oldest child (yes, she is STILL napping, at almost 7 PM!) who will doubtless be thrilled at our impressively “festive” living room. Now that my knitting is caught up I am currently searching for an *easy* sock pattern for Sophie and feeling overwhelmed at the idea of assembling Christmas presents together this year.

Looks like it’s lumps of coal for many of you.