Ready to call it a day…

It has been a long day…

Paul and I awoke this morning at 6 AM by the jarring ring of his cell phone. His busybody cousin was calling early to tell him that she thought his mother needed more home care. His mother has been in and out of the hospital over the past month with terminal cancer. Martha insisted that she didn’t need home care. His cousin who is a CNA that acts like a doctor said that Martha was lying. Then she started accusing Paul for not being there more. This is a cousin that we have not seen for about 15 years. She swooped in out of nowhere and started taking charge. Paul suggested that if she has a problem with Martha’s care, then she should talk to Martha’s husband Darryl. 

It really wasn’t the best start this morning. Paul felt so offended by his cousin. It is always so terrifying to have a late night or early morning call when you have a dying parent. Who does that?? 

Then I scrambled to work for a half day to find out that the employee that would be covering for me in the afternoon couldn’t make it in because her brother-in-law had a heart attack. Oh, and she told me that she had to take my birthday off for a doctor appointment after I already made plans. So I had to cancel my birthday plans. 

At this point, I am feeling stressed and angry. Not a good morning at all.

I took the afternoon off of work to take my son in for his driving test. We spent a couple of hours before the test having a “crash” course on driving. He only got honked at once. Then he went in and passed the test. Afterwards, he started asking if he could borrow the car for the weekend to hang out with his friends. So now this starts?? I’ve accepted the fact that I am not his number one hang buddy. He is finally starting to talk to me more. Last night he even hung out with me and played his favorite rap songs. I can’t say that I approved of all the lyrics. But he wanted to hang out with me, so I tolerated it. Pathetic, I know. Wait until you have a teenage son that never comes out of his room. I did get a few new running songs though.

Then this evening I have plans to organize Angel’s graduation party. It is only a few weeks away and I have no idea what I am doing. I am not a crafty mom at all. 

I am ready to call it a day already!

Tri training for a new adventure

This weekend I will be doing my first tri. I am excited for the 3 day holiday weekend. We have plans to go up north, then do my first tri, and end by sailing into town for the fireworks. Nothing like a relaxing couple of days off. Not! I love the adventure.

I feel like I am as ready as I am going to be. Yesterday I completed my last day of training. It didn’t go as good as I expected, but I didn’t want to push things too hard the week of the event.

Everybody told me to train in open water for the swimming portion of the event. I did not train in a swimming pool at all. I have never been a serious swimmer but have never been afraid of water. I wish I would’ve started training in a swimming pool a few months ago, but don’t have a gym membership. After training for a marathon and having a cool spring, I didn’t have the chance to jump into open water until the beginning of June. I decided to swim in the scariest waters that I know, out by the sailing club.

The water at the sailing club is rather murky. I have to climb down some jagged rocks to get to the edge of the water. I jump into the water from an algae encrusted rock slightly underwater. I see a lot of weeds and big fish nearby. Then I swim out to the end buoy in the sailboat channel and back. Each time I try, I get more confident with putting my face in the water.

Yesterday, I had the misfortune of having seagulls build a nest on the first buoy. As I got closer, they started to dive bomb me while shrieking seagull cuss words. A few weeks before, Paul and I saw some seagulls attack pelicans that came near their nests. That still fresh in my memory, I decided to cut my swim short.

I also decided to change my biking route too. Why is it that I am more afraid of wild animals and creepy guys in vans than fast moving vehicles on narrow roads? I didn’t like biking on the county road because it did not have a bike lane. Instead it had narrow gravel shoulders with deep ditches. Last week I saw a car pass me right in front of an oncoming semi. I figured that it probably wasn’t safe for me or the other drivers. Especially since I heard of two more bicyclists getting struck and killed on similar roads since the last time I was out.

Instead of the main road, I decided to take very rural deeply wooded roads. Think Little Red “Riding” Hood on the path to grandma’s through the forest. The first road was surprisingly very pleasant. The only wildlife I saw was a harmless bunny. I even saw another biker and no cars whatsoever. The road was well paved. The last road was horrible. It was terribly rutted, cracked, and full of potholes which made biking fast close to impossible.

The running leg of my journey was fine. However, I think that if I decide to go any further with this hobby I will have to makes changes for a safer and better training route.

I am not sure what will happen next year yet. When I was at the wedding, I spoke to my cousin who lives far away. He said he might be interested in coming my way next spring to run the marathon with me. I told him that if he does that, I would be willing to travel out of state to his area to run a race with him. He mentioned a trail marathon. So, we’ll see if that pans out or not. He is planning on running a 100k this fall. I think he is crazy! But he has teenagers and has had to deal with situations more difficult than mine. I can totally relate to the desire to self-destruct in a positively healthy way.

After all, I am still outrunning my demons and probably always will be…

Back to my “normal” routine

With the exception of the bride and groom, the wedding went without a hitch!

The groom in last weekend’s wedding is the only child of my Aunt Jan. For the wedding, Aunt Jan walked down the aisle followed by her husband and ex-husband who walked in together. We all loved Aunt Jan’s ex-husband Rob. That is, until he started his second family while he was married to her. This happened many years ago. Now Aunt Jan is married to a wonderful guy.

When Rob was my uncle, he always made us laugh. He teased me about boyfriends. I remember him saying that he sang the song Elvira in the shower. Why I remember he made that general comment back in the 1980’s is beyond me. Why do we remember what we remember?? My memories are very strongly tied to music. 

My brother Luke and I couldn’t wait to talk to “Uncle Rob”. This was the first time that we saw him since the divorce when we were young kids. He seemed kind of sad to me. Other than that, I spent a lot of time talking to my relatives that I only see for weddings and funerals. We might not even get together for Christmas anymore.

Last night I was much too tired to write. I didn’t sleep well while I was gone. The first night, Angel and I tossed and turned all night. The second night, the alarm clock went off at midnight in our hotel room. The third night, the smoke detector went off. When we were at the waterpark, our hotel room was located along the main walkway between indoor parks and restaurants. It was so loud that I turned the fan on high for some white noise. The A/C didn’t work with the fan. Our room was hot and humid enough to set off the humidity sensor on the smoke alarm.

Plus I woke up in the middle of a dream, a nightmare in fact. I was dreaming about opening a box of high school memories and it was full of notebooks and writings. Then I opened a box of Matt’s high school memories and it was full of knives. My friends I lost were watching me open Matt’s box and it was just as unnerving as the alarm. Do I have nightmares often without knowing?? The last night at the hotel two thunderstorms rolled through in the middle of the night. Then I dreamed my son overdosed on drugs and died. 

What miserable sleep! With over 10 hours of driving, three different hotel rooms, and two nightmares I felt pretty crappy.

Last night I took Matt back to his group home. He attended the wedding with my parents. My dad dropped my mom off to go on vacation with a friend of hers. I felt very emotional and down about dropping Matt off. Afterwards, I asked my dad if Matt would be able to come home over the next couple of weeks while my mom is gone. My dad said that he didn’t know how to take care of Matt. I think that was what was bothering me. I don’t know how to take care of Matt either.

When Matt is at home, my mom won’t let anyone take care of him. She crushes his pills with a mortar and pestle. He takes different medications, elixirs, and vitamins throughout the day. It used to be hard enough when Matt couldn’t have dairy and gluten. But now he is allergic to many more things like potatoes, cinnamon, beet sugar, and black pepper. My mom scours labels for hours searching for the type of sugar on ingredient lists. If anyone cooks an offending food on the same grill without proper cleaning, puts the finished food on the same plate as an offending food, or gets the diet mixed up then my mom gets upset. It has been this way for years, just not quite so extreme. I would have a hard time figuring it out if I was a dietician. We can’t be like my mom and that alienates us from him. 

I am safely back home now, got some rest, and am back to my normal routine.


Not always out running

This morning Angel and I will be leaving the waterpark and heading to Milwaukee for my cousin’s wedding. Earlier this week my oldest cousin asked me to go running with him while we were both there for the wedding. 

I told him that I don’t run while I am on vacation. I don’t exercise. I don’t workout. I do nothing at all. 

He might have talked me into it if I hadn’t left home already. 

To save face, I told him that I was going to get my workout on the dance floor. 

When I am on vacation I lighten up a little. I have that extra beer. I eat the french fries. I might even dust off the wallet to buy a souvenir or two. But it don’t exercise. 

Yesterday after spending 10 hours at the waterpark, I was getting tired. We must have walked 20 miles. We climbed a skyscraper’s amount of steps while carrying heavy tubes. My 17 year old daughter questioned why I was feeling tired. Me, the great marathon runner with boundless energy. After 10 hours, why can’t I keep up with a 17 year old?

Tonight I will be tearing up the dance floor. 

But I don’t do anything at all while on vacation. I relax. I have that extra beer. I eat the fries.. 

Who am I kidding? I love leading an active life!

It’s a match!

Taking my daughter to college orientation brought back my college days. I was on the 5 year plan. I double majored, didn’t take summer classes, and worked part-time. Half of those years, I commuted from my parents house or lived in an apartment off campus with friends. But the first year of college, I lived in an apartment on campus. 

I found it fascinating that my daughter had the opportunity to pick her own roommate. They had to create an online profile with their picture and a short description of themselves. They also had to rank themselves on several scales such as cleanliness, etc. Then when they found someone they thought would be a match, they were encouraged to talk to them more through social media which included scouring through all of their online pictures and comments. It reminds me of online dating. I mean, not that I ever used it. Being with the same person over 20 years severely limits my knowledge of online dating. Thankfully after conversations with a dozen people and a serious let down, Angel finally found the “right one”.

I really wish we had that back in the day. My first year on campus, I was thrown into an apartment with another freshman and two seniors. The two oldest roommates were absolutely psycho. I shared a bedroom with a nice Catholic girl (Krista) that never had a boyfriend. She really was into New Age music. Yeah, she was a bit strange but nothing compared to the other two.

After a couple of weeks, one of the roommates (Kate) sat us down and told us that she was HIV positive. This was back in the early 90’s, a time when everyone panicked about HIV. People thought that they could catch it from a toilet seat. What if she cut herself shaving or got a bloody nose? God forbid! My mother was ready to drag me back home. Sometimes I would come home to find Kate crying and freaking out. The other roommate (Kathy) who was her best friend would comfort her. It was always ackward. I never knew what to do so I locked myself in my room. 

It wasn’t long before the older senior girls took over the living room area. They decorated it with crazy Halloween decor and penises. The walls were plastered with that crap. One day, my mom told me that she was going to come by to visit with my Aunt Jan and her little boy. Now my Aunt Jan is very religious. I knew she would freak out if she saw the state of our apartment. I pleaded with the roommates to take down to penis pictures. Thankfully they did, although my aunt never did come to visit that day.

We also had a chore chart in the apartment. After you completed the chore, you would slide the chore down to the next person’s name. I always left for the weekends, so I would get back and all of the chores would be in my name. I ended up having to do their sink full of dirty dishes from over the weekend. I think I made a stink about it, but it was three against one. 

One day while I was doing my chore of taking out the garbage, I saw something rather interesting. I saw Kathy kissing Kate’s boyfriend. They were making out in the parking lot. After that, my roommates didn’t seem to be best friends anymore. I ran into Kathy a few months after we were no longer roommates. She told me that Kate didn’t have HIV after all. She said that Kate was just pretending so that she could be the center of attention.

Back in the day, I wish we could’ve picked our own roommates. I know my daughter will have a better experience than I did. Every weekend they have scheduled activities. I don’t remember ever having anything like that. The most fun I had was running out in a nearby field with Krista twirling around in long skirts just before a storm hit. It was my one time free spirit moment. College sounds like so much fun now that I wish I could live that part of my life all over again there. 

Even during the campus tour and auditions, it sounded like a wonderful place to be. So wonderful that I mentioned out loud to my husband that we should quit our jobs and apply. The advisor commented that they do have a few non traditional students. Last year there was an 80 year old freshman. I said, “I sure hope that he wasn’t living in the freshman dorms”. Lol.

It sure is a lot easier letting go when I know my daughter will be in a wonderful place. 

Getting my feet wet

I survived freshman college orientation today without being too much of an embarrassment. Well, except when I straightened my daughter’s hair for her ID picture. Seriously, I was doing her a favor. Who wants an ackward picture with hair sticking out wrong for the next four years?

Being absolutely serious now, the hardest transition for me right now as a parent is viewing my daughter as an adult. For the last 18 years, I held her hand and made decisions about her life for her. Not anymore. 

It is like having a red car for a really long time, then painting it blue. It still is the same car, but different. Everytime you try to find your car in the parking lot, you look for a red car. It is an adjustment. It requires a change of thought. It is a little scary. Things aren’t the way they used to be and I can’t change it back.

Angel can’t wait for college to start. I don’t even think that she will be homesick. It will be different not having her home every night. In fact, she will be far enough away that she will only come home over college break. 

I am going to spend as much time as I can with her before she leaves home in two months. 

With that being said, we just arrived at the waterpark this evening. I think it’s time to dry my eyes and get my feet wet!

Road trip

Angel and I decided to go on a little road trip.

Tomorrow is Angel’s freshman college orientation. Then we are heading to Wisconsin Dells for one full day at the water park. We are ending the road trip with my cousin’s wedding in Milwaukee this weekend. 

It was a long and fairly uneventful several hour drive to Angel’s new home. We saw the smallest little Bambi come out to us in the middle of the road without hitting it. We saw Amish children working in their gardens while the Amish men were working their fields with several large horses. I saw a very large man cross the road to get his mail in shorts. Little images stick in my head from the road. The men at the first stop and go light holding signs asking for change for a burger wearing better clothes than mine. The waitress at the restaurant who exchanged numbers with my daughter because they would be attending the same college together for the first time in the fall. The rest was a blur of people, places, and things but mainly fields. Field after field as we wound through small towns.

I left a list behind. A list of things that I do. Chores that need to be done on certain days. I entertain this fantasy that the others can’t live a few days without me. You would be proud of me, I let go of perfectionism when it comes to chores. I let the kids help out. I give them chore lists. I also implemented a cooking rotation. The kids get to pick out the recipe, shop for ingredients, help make the food, and clean up one day a week one kid at a time. I have given up a lot of control.

I remember a conversation with the mom of Alex’s first girlfriend. She told me that she does not allow her children to do anything because they don’t do it up to her standards. No laundry, no cleaning, and absolutely no cooking. She said that she was OCD that way. I thought about the words she said for a long time, in fact longer than the relationship lasted. I thought that I didn’t want my kids to end up marrying someone that didn’t know how to do anything. Then I pointed the finger back at myself because I really was the same way. I never wanted my kids to do anything either because it really wasn’t perfect enough. How is that going to prepare them for the future?? It doesn’t. So I decided to let go.

I give them chores and I look the other way when it is not clean enough. Sometimes I rewash the dishes. Some of my kids seem to realize that their lack of cleanliness bothers me. Sometimes they do a crappy job in hopes that they will no longer be asked. But it doesn’t work that way. 

I think that everyone will survive just fine without me for a few days. After all, they will be living a long adulthood without mommy being there to clean up their messes. 

I am planning on enjoying this road trip and spending some time with my daughter as adults all alone on an adventure…

To soon for the grammar police?

Sometimes it’s the little things that bother me. I’m not even sure why. If someone intends to do something good, but it turns out wrong, why should that bother me?

I shared with you a couple of months back that my neighbor passed away rather unexpectedly. She was very close to my age and it took everyone by shock. 

Recently her step-daughter posted a picture of a tattoo that she received in memory of her step-mother. What a wonderful tribute for a step-mother, right? I don’t even know anyone who did that for their mother. Everyone responded with words such as beautiful, wonderful, touching, etc.  

She inked the words ‘Someday came too soon’ on her body. Except that she used the wrong homophone. She used to soon, not too soon. It bothered me that she used incorrect grammar without noticing. The tattoo artist apparently didn’t notice either. He certainly didn’t leave any extra room to squeeze in another o.

I wonder if anyone will tell her? Who am I to criticize her wonderful tribute to a loving step-mother? I am not even an English major. Maybe I should’ve been!?! 

I wish I could see the beauty in good intentions, but I am imperfect in that way. I feel like a harsh critic, the grammar police. Why can’t I just be happy that she had such a wonderful relationship with a step-parent that she wanted to permanently etch it on her body? 

Sometimes I wonder why I care so much about perfection. I just find it sad that something special could get messed up. Why should I worry about it? She had the best of intentions. 

Sail away for Father’s Day

Yesterday we decided to sail to a new harbor for Father’s Day. We left in the morning with strong south winds. The biggest problem was that we were heading south! So we did end up motoring. It was another hot day and we spent most of the afternoon at the pool.

Then we drove into town to eat at an Indian restaurant. The food was great. Afterwards we all got back into my daughter’s small car. I squeezed myself into the back middle seat between my other two teens. I find that if I wedge myself in the middle, there is less fighting. Who wants fighting for Father’s Day?? But the problem was that I was carrying things on my lap and there wasn’t any floor room either.  So I shoved the leftover styrofoam boxes behind me by the back window. When my daughter hit the brakes for a red light, my leftover curry popped open and went down the back of my white shirt. Life always seems to be an adventure whether on land or sea!

After we got back to the boat, I decided to call my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day. Paul and I were sitting alone on the boat at this time. It always feels a little ackward calling my dad when my husband doesn’t have a dad to call. It can be hard for me because my dad sounds so much like my grandma and her brother, the way he talks and mannerisms. I really miss them and sometimes he reminds me that they are gone. I saw a lot of pictures of women my age on Facebook with their dads, but I wasn’t one of them. I wish sometimes that my dad and I were closer.

So I spent the day with the best father that I know, my husband. I am very proud of him for being a wonderful dad despite never having a father himself. Sometimes I wish that things were different. Relationships can be messy and complicated. Right now I just feel thankful for what I have, a husband that makes a wonderful father. 

Not only was the car packed full of people yesterday, but the sailboat is rather small to fit all five of us overnight as well. The oldest two drove home for the night while Paul and I stayed overnight with Arabella. It was a windy night which kept away the bugs. It did cool off and we were expecting storms so we had to shut up everything tight for the night. It was sweltering hot in the middle of the night making it difficult to sleep. We opened everything up until the storms came through. The winds whistled through day and night. Over the weekend, we noticed that there was a problem with the mast. 

There is a wind advisory for today. With the weather and the condition of our boat, we are going to have to stay most of the day to wait things out. Another day by the pool with boat drinks doesn’t sounds that bad…


The full moon sailboat race


Last night was the full moon sailboat race. This lighthouse was our first destination. It was a hot night with a light breeze.  

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset.


This was the first time that we sailed at night deliberately. I liked this picture because the moon looks like a skull. It made for a creepy effect.

We ended up having a total of 6 people crewing this race. I didn’t know 3 of the people. Rum dumb Randy was a part of the evening crew and he brought a friend that really had a taste for rum. Randy behaved himself, but his friend was rather colorful. His friend invited us to sail the Caribbean with him this fall during hurricane season. Um, no! Then there was another really nice couple. 

It is funny how many friends you have once you get a sailboat. Suddenly, I am no longer unfriended and I have a personality.