Hurt again

I felt a burning fire rage within me today. I think it was the combination of a lot of different things that ignited the fiery red flame.

Yesterday I wrote in my book about one of my most painful early adult experiences. Previously in my writings, there seemed to be a separation between what I was saying and how I felt. There has been an insulation protecting me from the words. Yesterday it was removed and I felt angry.

My mom always told Matt that it wasn’t his fault he was violent. Sometimes she told him he was having a seizure after being exposed to loud music. Most of the time Matt was told that he was having an allergic reaction. It was an accident and not on purpose. The school told my mom that they wanted Matt to be told it was wrong when he hurt someone and to have consequences for his negative behavior.

That never happened. Six months later Matt got arrested at school for assaulting his teacher’s aide. She was pregnant at the time and it took 2 adults to get him off of her. Matt’s aide was my childhood best friend Shelly. I was the maid of honor in her wedding. We were best friends forever, or so I thought at the time.

When I got married, Shelly wasn’t invited to the wedding. I had to choose between my family and my best friend. My mom had the attitude of oh well you were growing apart anyway. But if we grew apart and the friendship ended it would’ve been my choice, but it wasn’t. It tore our whole friend group apart.

It was very painful to lose a best friend, all my close friends really because my brother attacked her.

I was rage cleaning this morning as a result.

I had to take a step back from running. My Boston marathon friend contacted me to go running again. We ran 8 miles together at breakneck speed. Then she told me that I really needed to work on hill training. I pushed it really, really hard and ended up hurting my ankle. Now just walking gives me pain.

Something else happened too. Someone I know told me the story of how her son recently fell asleep while driving and caused a fatal accident. After hearing her story, I started feeling anxiety driving again. It started by not sleeping well one night, then driving Arabella and her friends somewhere for her birthday. I started to worry that I would fall asleep and kill someone too. For the last couple of weeks, my driving anxiety has been back and I am worried that it is going to turn into full blown anxiety again. I worked so hard to get over it.

I have just been feeling angry and frustrated by the things I have experienced and the things I am experiencing. My son had some friends overnight and I waited until 1 PM to vacuum near them. I didn’t say one word to them but they seemed so terrified of my anger that they went from a dead sleep to packing up all of their stuff and leaving.

My son saw me rage cleaning and asked if he did something to make me so angry. I told him that it had nothing to do with him really. He pressed me for more details and I ended up telling him about my childhood for the first time. He is almost 19 and will know all about it when I publish my book anyway. We had a really nice conversation for almost 2 hours. In that time my anger dissipated.

I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I plan to keep writing no matter how hard it is or gets. Sometimes it is very hard to stir up my demons because I don’t know how I’m going to react. This has been my biggest obstacle so far, but I refuse to give up. After all, that is how I hurt my ankle. Sometimes I need to learn when it is time to ease up. That’s never been my strong suit.

It sounds kind of funny. Most people complain that they don’t have my determination, but all I want is the ability to relax and not be so hard on myself. So here I am, hurt again.

Hoarders and clean freaks

This past weekend my mom came over to help me weed. I didn’t ask for help, she just saw the need.

It got me to thinking about something that I couldn’t place which was bothering me. There was an in-congruence in my thought patterns. My mom is one of the hardest workers I know. Yet she has one of the messiest houses I’ve ever seen. How conflicting the thought was in my mind. I always thought that hoarders were lazy. But are they?

My parents are the biggest hoarders of magazines and papers. They still have a phone book from the 1970’s from a different city that they lived in out of state. They have stacks and stacks of papers that litter the living room floor and all available counter spaces.

My parents kept almost all of their clothing since they got married. Their closets are full of old clothes and jackets. It comes in handy for me when I am going to a costume party.

My mom hoards food. Her cupboards are stocked full of canned goods. All of her refrigerators and freezers (they have several) are full. The refrigerators always smell like rotten food. It is very important to check the dates on items before you eat them. The freshest foods are in the grocery bags that line the dining room floor.

Thankfully for me, my mom kept every school and personal journal documenting Matt’s life in great detail. It has been very helpful for me in writing my book. I don’t think that I could be writing as powerful and moving of a story without her help.

Their hoarding always suffocated me. It was hard to clean the house. The counters were so full of stuff that there was no place to move anything in order to clean it. Then you just put the items back on the cleaned areas. I always felt like I was emptying the ocean a tablespoon at a time. It stirred within me feelings of hopelessness.

My brothers and I are not hoarders. It bothers me when things are cluttered. It fills me with despair. The strange thing is that my parents feel the opposite way. It causes my mother emotional pain to get rid of things. My mom threw out my brother’s baby blanket when he was in his 30’s. She cried and lamented about it for days even though my brother didn’t want it. She tries to get rid of things but it is very upsetting to her.

Sometimes my mom will clean out the cupboards and closets. Instead of throwing things away, she gives them to me. Recently she gave me a bag of my dad’s old worn out socks. It is a little easier for her to give things away then to throw them away even though she must know that is what I will be doing with it.

It is hard for me to understand how my mom’s feeling are tied up in useless things.

It must be very hard for my mom to see her house in the shape that it’s in. She is embarrassed to have anyone over. I wish I could understand. Yet I am glad I do not.

I feel guilty for my mom’s help around my house when she needs it more than I do. It’s overwhelming to try to help her. I would just come in and start throwing things away and she couldn’t handle that. I know, I’ve tried. I feel like my hands are tied. But I know that my brothers and I are going to end up throwing most of the stuff away or getting rid of it someday.

I need to be careful in my own life so I don’t end up on the opposite spectrum. I have a tendency to be a clean freak. Dirt and clutter stresses me out. I want everything to be clean, neat, and organized. But I try not to let it control me.

I also have relatives that are clean freaks. We once went camping with my Aunt Jan. It stormed out and we ended up huddling in my aunt’s garage freezing because we were too dirty to be allowed into her house. I also have an uncle that would host parties and follow his guests around with a vacuum cleaner. I’ve also witnessed him on his hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor while guests were over.

I don’t think people at either extreme seem happy. I tolerate uncleanliness when guests are over. But it’s also kind of funny that I picked this topic to write about as I am freaking out about cleaning my house and weeding everything this week to have a perfect house for my son’s graduation party.

But since I grew up in a house of clutter and hoarding, I realize if people really care about me then they are willing to overlook some slight imperfections.

The laundry fairy

This morning there was a commotion at the palace.

The prince said he did not want to go to school because his royal robes were filthy. Apparently this was the fault of the palace’s royal laundry fairy who didn’t sprinkle the garments with the magic dust that makes them pristine once again.

The royal family was told time and time again that only the soiled garments in the royal hamper will be collected for the sprinkling. The garments will not be collected from the floors of the royal chambers.

Friday night the prince put loads of dirty clothes from the past couple weeks into the hamper with expectations that they would be magically cleaned by the next morning. But Saturday morning, the laundry fairy flew off at the crack of dawn to run a half marathon. Then later that day, the laundry fairy had plans with friends. On Sunday, the laundry fairy only washes towels because that is what the laundry fairy does on that particular day.

Monday morning there weren’t any magically cleaned clothes for the prince and a verbal joust ensued.

The prince can put his filthy garments in the hamper every day or the prince can do his own laundry! What a royal pain!

The prince wore dirty clothes to school today.

 

A pirate looks at 50

Today my husband Paul turned the big 50.

We don’t have big plans for the day. We have play practice tonight. Paul, Arabella, and I tried out for the local community theater’s musical last week. Paul got the lead part and tonight is the first rehearsal.

This past weekend, I threw Paul a huge party with 70 of our closest friends and family. Just kidding. In my calculations, I didn’t know 6 out of the 70 people that showed up. It was a great day, no rain, and not too chilly. Since I hosted the party by myself, I decided to have food catered in. It was pricey, but worth every dollar.

This was the first party I hosted at our new house and this was the biggest party I ever hosted. It was stressful to know how much food to get, etc… Some people showed up that  weren’t expected and some didn’t that I thought would. My guess was that we would have 64 people, so I wasn’t too far off.

If I could do it all over again, I would’ve asked someone specifically to take pictures. I didn’t take any. I just didn’t have time.

Alissa, there is a child swimming alone and unattended in the pool. Alissa, we need a plunger. Alissa, the faucet isn’t working and I can’t turn off the hot water. Alissa, Alissa, ALISSA!!!!!!!

I loved every minute of it though. The planning, preparation, and especially cleaning up afterwards. I worried though. I wondered if I got enough food and drinks. Would the weather be nice? What if I drop the cake? What if it rained? Or snowed? What if it was too cold?

The worst thing that happened was that I felt sick with allergies/head cold the week of the party. It made cleaning and preparing on top of my regular schedule that much more demanding.

From what I heard, everyone had a great time. In fact, someone suggested that I host a party once a month. We’ll see about that!

upkeep

I cannot say that I have ever seen order come out of chaos without a whole lot of work.

My house never seems to stay clean. Even if we weren’t making messes, there would still be dust. The cabin at the end of the season is never as clean as we left it come spring.

With my kids going back to school, it is hard to keep up a great GPA. In fact it is even harder if you let your grades slip just a little. I recently heard that it is easier to turn a 3.0 into a 2.0 than it is to to turn a 2.0 into a 3.0.

Chaos just doesn’t turn to order. It is unnatural.

It is hard to blog. It is hard to come up with fresh new ideas day after day year after year once the initial excitement wears off. Bloggers come and go just like friends tend to.

It’s hard to stay happily married after the honeymoon is over.

It’s hard to raise children when the cute bubbly baby turns into a surly teen.

Something always needs fixing in the house. The lawn needs mowing. The laundry needs to be done.

It’s hard to go to work every day even if you love your job.

It’s hard to maintain a fast running pace. My husband always tells me to just compare myself to me. But, frankly, I would rather compare myself to people my own age that chain smoke and never get off of the couch. I could never compete with my 17 year old self. I probably couldn’t compete with my 35 year old self either.

Order takes constant work. There comes a point in your life when you really have to judge whether it is worth all of the upkeep.

That’s when you become experienced enough to put your time and effort into the things that really matter.

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

 
Yesterday morning this was the sight in my kitchen. Seems like I can never have a proper party without trashing my house.  I spend all day cleaning and cooking only to be faced with it again. 

I had a smashing party! Literally. At the crack of midnight, Alex’s friend smahed his head against the table 5 times starting the new year with a bang. Not to mention a swollen, bruised, and bleeding face. I’m surprised that I haven’t had a late night knock on the door from a mother screaming about a concussion and a law suit for the nefarious happenings at my house. What can I say? My house was over run that night with teenagers. Ten teens to be exact and 3 other kids…One of the teen girls was very attractive and possibly single if that explains anything. 

So I spent the next morning cleaning up after the party. I threw out the items that were broken. I searched for the items that were lost of stolen. I started a new year’s resolution to never to have a New Year’s Eve party again. Then I took down my Christmas tree and purged my house of 2016.

After a sleepless night and a snow storm of cleaning, I packed the kids up in my car and headed on the long trip to visit my mother-in-law. Paul left to spend a couple of days with her early in the morning, but I couldn’t rouse the kids before noon. My MIL, Martha, has stage 4 terminal lung cancer. She drastically declined since our last visit. Her figure that once had a little padding is now reduced to grayish yellow skin on bones. Her clothes were baggy, even her glasses were too big for her gaunt face. Her once jet black curls were replaced by patches of gray hair.  She coughed and wheezed with every inhalation. 

Martha was happy to see us. We had a nice visit for a few hours, then went home. The trip home was sorrowful. Angel was certain that she would never see her grandmother alive again since it is almost time to go back to college in a town far away. Our spirits were low. 

So I did what I had to do. 

I took the kids out to a Chinese buffet. I thought maybe it would cheer them up a little. Everyone got a good fortune cookie, except Alex. His fortune cookie was empty. I’ve only saw that happen to one other person. Me. When I was his age. It really bothered me back then. I thought that perhaps I would get hit by a bus or something. Alex said that meant we could create our own future, that we are really lucky according to Google.

I thought a lot the last couple of days about this new year. We were invited to sail the Caribbean with some new friends for their honeymoon. Regrettably, due to my MIL’s failing health, we had to turn down our spot on the love boat (yuck anyway). Instead, we will stay closer to home. This next weekend we are heading to Chicago as my daughter Angel was lucky to get tickets to see Hamilton.  
Being in a musical is just a much fun (if not more) than watching them. Angel has a lead role in her college opera this spring. Paul, Arabella, and I are going to try out for the local community theater musical this week. I am hoping to get the part of a floozy. I haven’t been on stage for 5 years and am nervous and excited to be back.

Paul and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer. Where did the time go?? We will go on a week long sailing trip to celebrate this summer. However, we decided to not go to Tahiti next winter to celebrate but chose Thailand instead. We have friends that live over there. What is better than having our own tour guide that speaks our language to show us around off the beaten path?? We are planning on visiting Bangkok April of 2018 for their New Year festival. It is very hot and humid during that time, but we want to go to celebrate their New Year as they have several days of country wide water fights. It would be the trip of a lifetime. Plus I would get closer to checking off visiting all of the continents off my bucket list especially since I have never left my own continent.

So, I will save my pennies and look forward to sunnier days during these dark times.

I hope that you all have a wonderful new year! 

5. Five things that make me happy

Day 5: What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

  1. This weekend Paul and I will be visiting Angel at college for the first time since we dropped her off in August. I am happy about that. I am also happy that all of my children are doing really well right now. They are all getting great grades, hanging out with good kids, and dating people that I approve of.
  2. I am happy that all of our hard work is finally starting to pay off. We could finally afford to trade in our rust bucket of a truck for a newer vehicle, get new windows for the house, and pay for things that we have been neglecting to take care of for a long time. Even the new shoes and winter coat I ordered online fit and are exactly what I wanted. That’s a happiness plus..
  3. I am happy to cross a lot of items off of my to-do list. It is fall cleaning time. Although I don’t love cleaning, I love a clean and clutter free house just in time for winter. Cleanliness makes me happy..
  4. This is the time of year that I start planning and thinking about next summer. Planning summer races and weekend getaways are almost as much fun as summer itself. Also, Paul and I are going to be celebrating our 20th anniversary next summer. I am going to start planning a trip to the most beautiful place in the world to celebrate, Bora Bora. I am possibly planning a vow renewal and getting Paul a new ring for this ceremony (since he lost his). Planning and thinking about exciting new adventures makes me happy. Plus, after being together over 20 years, I am happy to be married to a wonderful man.
  5. Lately I have been able to run without having knee pain. I feel healthy and strong. This makes me feel hopeful and happy that I can advance my fitness goals for the next season.

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…

Branching out


Not only did I watch my daughter graduate this past weekend, have a small party for her, run 6 miles, watch a parade, walk some more, and sail a couple hours…I also spent a whole day up north getting the cabin ready for the season. And I wonder why I am tired!?!

This typically isn’t a terribly daunting task. It usually involves sweeping and vacuuming up tons of dead ladybugs. Big whoop! But this year was different. This past year several of our big trees had to be cut down because of oak wilt. That left the yard full of dead logs, branches, and brush. Unfortunately, due to a bit of a miscommunication and a broken axle on an old wagon that caused the wheel to fly off into someone’s yard, my brother Mark was unable to join us in the clean up while we were there.

That left my brother Luke, my husband Paul, my son Alex, and I to do the heavy lifting and yard work. Now I have complained in the past about not being able to help the guys. This year they needed me and I complained about how heavy everything was. Nevertheless, they hear me complain every year about how strong I am when there is no work for me to do and about how weak I am when there is a lot of heavy lifting. Lol.

We spent the day raking brush, picking up sticks, and stacking wood through brief sporadic rain showers. We were filthy. Then we put the dock in. I helped carry the dock to the water. The hardest part all day was putting the large raft into the water. We couldn’t move the huge logs without Mark and his chain saw. So we had to tilt the raft on its side and push it in through a narrow treeless gap. Alex and I had to use our arms to hold up the raft making sure it did not tip over. After awhile my arms started shaking. There were a couple rough patches where I jolted my back. Whine, whine, whine. We weren’t even sure that we would be able to get it in the water with all of the wood in the way, but we did. Paul urged us to keep working. What a work horse! That is one of the things that I like most about Paul, he has an incredible work ethic. Not a lazy bone in his body. 

This weekend I am planning on going up north and swimming despite a forecast of stormy cool weather. Yesterday I signed up for my first triathlon. I felt fearful when I had to sign the waiver that promised we wouldn’t sue if this activity causes injury or death. Oh my, now what did I get myself into?? If I can run a marathon, I can do a small triathlon. Right???

I practiced the bike to running transition and this weekend I want to work on swimming. Then my plan is to put it all together. I sure hope that I am giving myself enough time since the triathlon is in a month. It has been really cold this year to go out swimming in open water. 

Today I biked 12 miles followed by a 3 mile run. I haven’t biked that far since I was a teenager without transportation. I found it to be very tri-ing. Lol.

I had to keep repeating the same mantra over and over. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner! Imba maraphonn rrrumber…. 

Life times 

I had every intention of writing yesterday, but things don’t always go as planned. After today, I am done with my spring cleaning. Now we are just waiting for spring. Usually in the middle of April, spring turns on like a light switch. I plan ahead to have my spring cleaning over and done with before it is nice out. 

It has been cold this past week with more days of snow than without. Some patchy snow remains on the ground with another inch of snow and sleet expected this afternoon. Friday afternoon thick snow flakes fell to the ground. Please don’t tell anyone else in WI that I am saying this, but it was very beautiful. Saturday morning the sun glistened making the snow sparkle like diamonds. But now it is bleak and cloudy. All of the babies cried in church. They seemed to take all of our repressed feelings towards winter and let them spring forth like the wailing of the wind that cries out to us today.

Yesterday, I went to the bowels of Hades into our little crawl space to peer into all of the bins and boxes. I was hoping to find the letters my mom wrote to me the summer that she spent out of state in the hospital with Matt. I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. I’m afraid that I may have accidently thrown them out with all of the high school notes that I found. My old school texting! LOL. You know, the notes that I didn’t want my parents to find and now I wouldn’t want my kids to find. LOL. It makes me sad, but maybe they will turn up somewhere yet.  

Also, I was looking for pictures to display for my daughter’s high school graduation next month. Since more than half of my childrens childhood was before the digital camera era, I have 4 big bins and multiple boxes of unorganized pictures and memorabilia. I started to feel stressed that my display of her life would suck. I hate to be unorganized with this since organization is a strength of mine. So I decided to make a display of pictures from all of the shows my daughter performed in along with a couple baby pictures. Then next winter, instead of working puzzles, I am planning on going through all of the pictures. I am going to work with my mom to take all of the old family pictures and back them up online. After my kids are settled as adults, I am going to gift them with a bin of their most precious childhood moments. 

Yesterday we had my parents and Matt over for supper last minute. We spent several hours watching the old family videos that we had uploaded to a hard drive. It was so strange seeing my brothers, cousins, and myself as young children. Then we watched my kids as young children. It was so strange seeing the progression of time all in one day. Time sure flies. Enjoy every moment while you can.