Taking a break down instead

Maybe she just needed a break. That always makes me feel better.

We had a trip planned. Paul and I were renting a van to drive down to Florida. We were taking Arabella and our two foreign exchange students with us.

I imagined how perfect spring break was going to be. Sunshine and shorts after another long winter. Estelle and Arabella together on a long road trip becoming best friends once again. My daughter becoming a functional depressed person like I am. She said it was a mistake and wouldn’t happen again.

But our magical trip wasn’t meant to be. The week we were scheduled to leave Disney World closed. A new virus was sweeping through the nation. In my lifetime I’ve seen many viruses come and go, but this was different. People were panicking. We didn’t know what was happening. We didn’t know what to believe. It reminded me of when HIV first came out and people were afraid to use public bathrooms. With a world of information at our fingertips, we still didn’t know what we were dealing with.

We debated whether or not to take the trip after Disney closed. Since we were driving, would we be able to stop to have sit down meals after a long drive? Some states were closing. Would gas station bathrooms and rest stops even be open? Was that the America we wanted our foreign visitors to see? What happens if someone gets sick? Could we get trapped somewhere? What if our decisions caused sickness and/or death in the children who weren’t ours that we were responsible for? The beaches in Florida started to close. We decided to stay home.

The high school closed and schooling went to online. The spring play, going to state, track, and prom all were cancelled yet the school work remained. Everyone felt the loss of what was planned that could no longer be. The beautiful prom dresses hung in the closets unworn. Time lost that could never be recaptured. Our German foreign exchange student Clara went home a couple months early whereas Estelle stayed an extra month.

I thought that Arabella and Estelle would be forced to work out their differences because they would have to be together all the time without much outside contact. It didn’t work out that way. Arabella withdrew into herself and snarled at me to leave her alone when I reached out. She would take long walks or drive to the park to sit by herself for hours sometimes after dark or in the rain. Estelle grew very close to me. She would fight with Arabella if she felt like Arabella was being mean to me.

Florida was gone. Arabella’s opportunity to be a foreign exchange student was gone. It was all she ever talked about for over a year. She was already signed up and the paperwork completed. Thankfully I could say that she wasn’t going because of COVID versus a suicide attempt. We were going to tour Europe in the summer, but that was gone too.

With everything that was lost, I’m grateful that we didn’t lose Arabella too.

Maybe it was the fried eggs

Maybe it was the fried eggs.

It’s been a rough couple of days since we got back home. There is so much to catch up on it makes me wonder if it was worth it to get away.

This morning our dog stopped eating. I think it might be time for him to cross the rainbow bridge. Angel said that he didn’t eat much on one of the days we were gone. Maybe he got into something or someone else fed him I thought. When we got home everything seemed to be fine. Yesterday I took him for a walk. Then he got sick later that night. He pretty much stopped eating and is shivering a lot. I called the vet and got him an appointment for Friday afternoon. I got the number for the emergency vet just in case.

I feel sad that his end may be near. He’s been a part of our family for the last 13 years. If I think about it too much I want to cry.

Maybe it was just the fried eggs. That is what my son said.

Yesterday there was a big fight, or maybe it was the day before. It wasn’t over something that big. Each of the kids had chores to do while we were gone. I told them, however, that they were in charge of cooking and cleaning the mess for themselves. Angel is pretty anal. She cooked and cleaned up right away. Alex not so much. He tends to procrastinate and that is where the trouble started. Angel got on his case about cleaning up his mess and he didn’t respond all that well to being told what to do by his older sister.

I thought it was relatively minor and everything would blow over once we got home. Boy was I wrong. Angel and Alex got into a huge fight. I felt like I was their referee. Although I sided more with Angel, I could understand why Alex did not want to be told what to do by his sister. The fight devolved into name calling and ended when Alex threw a fried egg at his sister.

I took each kid aside and had a conversation with them about the fight. I listened to their point of view, validated it, and encouraged them to work it out. There are things that both of them did wrong and it pains me to see them wreck their relationship over a petty little fight. Neither one would hear of it though. Angel said she was moving out and staying at her boyfriend’s house with him and his parents for awhile. Apparently they never have conflict at their house like I do at mine.

When I finished talking to Alex I told him he needed to clean up the mess he made with the eggs. But by the time we finished our talk he lucked out because the dog gobbled it up.

Fast forward to today. My son thought maybe the dog was sick because he ate the eggs. I googled if eggs were bad for dogs. I found out that eggs are good for dogs especially ones with upset stomachs. It’s not the eggs. If only the answers were that easy to find.

I wish I could tell you by the end of this post that everything is fine but it’s clearly not. Instead of talking things out with her brother, my daughter avoided it by leaving. It’s probably something that I would do. Oftentimes I also avoid talking about problems with people I am upset with. My son didn’t seek out his sister and apologize either. They were getting along so well before we left, better than they ever did before. Then everything fell apart. It’s very upsetting to me to have such conflict and strife between them.

I don’t know what is wrong with our dog either but I don’t think it was the fried eggs.

answers???

Tomorrow is the big day, I am getting scoped.

It’s been an eventful last couple of days to say the least. In the last couple of days I wrote about 4 drafts that I threw away. They seemed so negative and angry. Am I really that way?

It was a long holiday weekend. What should have been relaxing left me quite drained. I went up north for the holiday weekend. For the 4th of July, in Wisconsin, there is no place I’d rather be. Every night there were fireworks on the lake. Then it seemed like every day there were fireworks with my family. My dad picked fights with my mom. My brother Mark and his wife Carla were bickering. My mom got in an argument with Carla which was unlike her.

It was hot outside. The people of WI are not used to the heat. My dad sat around the cabin in only his underwear for some of the weekend which was disturbing to say the least. There were fights about whether the windows should be opened or closed.

I hope I’m wrong, but I feel fairly certain that I might have Celiac. I tried to spend some time relaxing drinking some of my favorite craft beers, hopefully not for the last time. Every time I cracked open a beer, my niece Gracie would lay into me. How many beers have you had? Wow, you really like beer. Are you a drunk? Her nagging got very annoying after awhile. I told her that she would make a very good wife someday in jest because of all her nagging. Then Gracie bragged to her sister Eva that I said she would make a great wife. Then Eva got upset that I didn’t say it to her. I just couldn’t win.

To make matters worse, my husband and I were having the argument of a decade. I was so angry and hurt that I wanted to take my wedding ring off and chuck it into the weeds. Incidentally, the fight started about a half an hour before I was supposed to meet the first guy that Arabella wanted to date. I tried not to look too angry.

I was so stressed out that I’m sure what happened next could’ve only have been explained by my relaxing (not) weekend. A few days after I stopped taking Prilosec, I was in GI distress. I spent Friday and Saturday barely eating and feeling so sick that I slept very little because I had to keep getting up to go to the bathroom. I had a lot of stomach pain and only got about 6 hours of sleep the whole weekend. When I did sleep, I had nightmares. It was terrible.

Then I had to drive home. I would not let Arabella drive home because it would take an experienced driver to fight the traffic going south on a Sunday afternoon after a holiday weekend. I had to wait 10 minutes to turn right to go south onto a 2 lane highway. I was only let in because someone stopped on the highway to let us in. There were times traffic came to a dead stop.

All in all, except for the beautiful fireworks at night, it was a miserable weekend. I am feeling a lot better now. Paul and I are getting along again. But for awhile, I was very angry with God. I am worried about my health. Even my brother Luke is having health issues and might need a biopsy. Not to mention all the crap going on with family over the weekend.

Tomorrow I might not get the answers I want, but at least I should have some answers. I guess that is a start.

Fortune cookie wisdom #17

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Let’s talk about wheels a bit today…shall we?

You may remember a couple of months back when I told the story of my son’s new set of wheels…The very night, less than several hours after we got him the car, some small town criminals decided to chase him down because he was squealing his tires. They smashed the front end of his car and took a tire iron to the back of it.

Shortly thereafter, he hit a deer which smashed his headlight. The car was also leaking oil everywhere in big pools. We decided to make an appointment with someone that would fix foreign cars. It took a couple of weeks to get in.

Once the mechanic opened the hood, he took one look and said he wouldn’t work on it. He said that someone spent a whole lot of money to make the car completely worthless. In essence, we bought a lemon. It was their policy that they do not work on modified cars. So here we were stuck with a 17 year old foreign modified car that no one would fix. He did say that it would probably cost thousands to fix the oil leak.

Then we got the estimate for the damages incurred. The damage from the deer cost $2500 and the damage from the hoodlums was $3500. So, technically, the first few hours after my son got the car it was already totaled.

The two offenders are middle aged men. One man was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. The other was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass to property when he chased my son and his friend into the friend’s house threatening to kill them. We are hoping to get restitution for the damage to the car.

Now apparently the nephew of one of those hoodlums goes to school with my son Alex. We have had problems with this kid before. In middle school, Alex and this kid wrestled in the same weight class. He was first, Alex was second. One year Alex decided he wanted to try harder. He went to summer wrestling camps and signed up for preseason lessons. He got to be really good at wrestling. He was so good at wrestling that he challenged this kid who was first and beat him several times.

This did not bode well with the other kid who was the son of a son of a son of a wrestler whose ancestors have been going to the school probably since the school first opened its doors. This kid got a group of other wrestlers together and started bullying Alex because he threatened his position. The coach did nothing and finally my husband took the situation into his own hands and contacted the parents directly. That was the year my son quit wrestling after doing it for 8 years, the year he wrestled his best.

Now this kid is talking bad about my son to my son’s girlfriend over what happened with the car. My son said that if this kid disrespects him to his face then he will fight him. He said that if he does that, he would probably get kicked out of school. Yeah, that will show them all! Fighting will surely fix the car and all of the other problems. NOT!

The strange thing is that I understand. When I heard about the hoodlums that damaged his car, I was so angry that I wanted to go over there and kick the crap out of those guys myself. I think I have so much pent up anger and rage that I have one good fight in me. Is that bad?? I would never act on it, but that is how I felt.

So, yeah, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.. I talk about my son a lot on this blog. I probably talk about him a lot more than my honor student daughters.

Ta(l)king f(l)ight

When Angel found out the news that her grandma passed away, she was on tour with her college choir. Then she came down with the stomach flu the next day.

I thought that maybe she wouldn’t want the lifestyle of being on the road after all of this happened, but she seems to want it more than ever.

Then there was this guy who took compassion on her while she was down when many of her other friends turned away….he bought her ginger ale when she was sick..he listened while she was crying…

Angel’s boyfriend Mitch was out at the movies with friends when Angel needed to talk…

Just like that, a 3 year relationship over..

I feel like the last thread of Angel’s childhood had been severed when she broke up with Mitch. It is really hard to let go because I miss her being my little girl.

Without tethers, she is soaring away like a songbird in flight. It will be exciting to see where her dreams will take her. It makes it easier to let go, although it leaves an empty place in my nest, to see her fly so high.

Mitch and Angel were going in different directions anyway. Perhaps it is for the best. Angel eventually wants to be an opera singer in a big city or preferably in Europe. Mitch wants to be a teacher in a small town.

This weekend Angel is performing in her first opera. Mitch bought tickets before they broke up to surprise her and still intends to go. He wants to get back together.

There is some talk of a confrontation between the new guy that Angel is not dating but likes and Mitch.

Once again, it seems like there is more drama off stage than on.

For a moment it took me back to ’91 when I was 16. At that time I was going out with this guy named Timmy T. Ironically, ‘our song’ was One More Try by Timmy T. It was a warm night in June when Timmy T and I gave it our last one more try. I picked him up and took him out to teen night at a local club. Once his friends showed up, he left me sitting in the corner alone.

That was the night I met Bobby. When I told him what happened with Timmy T, Bobby took him out to the parking lot to fight. They reminded me of a nature show when the young bucks would ram their antlers into each other. It was nerve wracking yet exciting that someone would fight over me, the damsel in distress. Oh please! Timmy T’s friends talked to me and asked me what was happening as if I knew a lot about boxing.

After the fight, Bobby and I went for a long walk and talked in the park. When I went back to pick up Timmy T, he had already left. The next day he called upset saying that his mom was going to buy me a promise ring from him. How could I ignore him?? Blah blah blah..he wasn’t half as nice as Mitch…and now my daughter is going through it..

I do remember Bobby asking me why I was hanging around Timmy T’s friends while he was fighting for me. Hello, I just met you and didn’t know your friends.

So I sit around and wonder…will there be a guy in costume with full makeup fighting in front of the school cathedral with Mitch over my daughter? Whose side will I take?? Is that how I will meet the new guy for the first time??

I certainly hope there isn’t any off stage fighting or drama.

Who knows? Maybe the whole weekend will be uneventful.

But if not, I’m sure you will be hearing all about it..

 

Fights with myself

Using my strength to fight my weakness has become a double edged sword right in the gut.

After yesterday, I thought I would have to call the doctor today. This has been the worst GERD episode that I have had in awhile. I know that it was stress related. The stress has been eating me alive lately despite the double dose of Prilosec the doctor prescribed me. That and a strong family history of ulcers and stomach issues probably doesn’t help.

Parenting teenagers has been difficult lately. Things have gotten better since we last spoke. My daughter is being more respectful. Life has been difficult for us all lately.

The situation with my son has gotten better too..Now instead of driving across the state with a car full of teens, my son decided to spend the weekend at home studying. While this may look good to you on paper(?), my son is working on a science project for the school science fair that involves doing an experiment on sleep. The kids are going to stay up for 24 hours and do testing every hour. This experiment is going to be done at my house. So, might as well just add me to the study. I almost wish now that he packed the car up with all of his friends (even the boy that rides in the trunk) and drove across the state.

Do you think he is trying to get back at me for not letting him go??

Then add in my mother-in-law being in the final stages of cancer, I have been stressed to the max.

I figured I wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors if I land myself in the hospital with an ulcer. I am NEEDED at home and at work.

I need to learn how to relax and find ways to take better care of myself.

My natural tendency after any perceived weakness is to be harder on myself. If my body fails me, I’m going to push it. I work harder. I make my workouts more grueling. I make sure to not rest or take it easy. I take on too much.

I use my biggest strength, my determination, to fight myself. I have to stop beating myself up. The world does that enough already!

It seems like the stress during this round of the fight has chosen to attack my body and not my mind. For the moment, the demons in my mind have not been stirred from their hibernation. It makes it easier to deal with the external stress.

Now I just need to learn how to relax. It has never been my strong suit.

My determination and self-discipline is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It forces me to work hard. It’s my drill seargant for my tough exercise routine. It’s what keeps me going. It helps me accomplish my goals.

And sometimes it is a double edged sword..I beat myself up instead of taking care of myself like I should.

 

Sailing empty beaches with a dose of sibling warfare

  

Yesterday we were able to check sailing off of an acquaintance’s bucket list for his 50th birthday. It was a hot day in WI. We were asked earlier this month by his wife to surprise him with a sail. In the morning, we were able to sail into town for some lunch and live music. The winds were light, but that meant we didn’t do a lot of heeling which sometimes freaks out the newbies. 

After lunch we sailed to the beach. We spent several hours swimming. The beach that is boat to boat on the weekends was practically deserted. The photo that I took doesn’t do it justice. We had a bit of an issue. I tossed Paul his hat, wine glass, and the bottle of wine. Except he didn’t catch it all. The bottle sunk to the bottom, we saw a few bubbles and then it was gone. Who would’ve guessed? I was thinking of the floating message in the bottle.  Paul did end up stepping on the bottle later so I didn’t get in too much trouble. Lol. 

My friend and I gossiped about our mutual friend Cori. She is the one that got first place last weekend on the half in our age group while I took second. She beat my time by 10 minutes. My friend told me that Cori works out almost 30 hours per week. I thought that my 5 hours were a lot. She works out as much as I work! It just bothered me that she can stay up all night partying and whip me. Did I tell you that she smokes too?? Geez, I shouldn’t be such a crab because she always has been helpful giving me pointers even though I am technically competition. Albeit, not that much. When I heard how much she works out, she can have that first. Someday when I am independently wealthy I will work out more, but not that much! 

Anyway, after having an absolutely gorgeous day sailing, the other couple took us out to eat for their gratitude. They have been wanting to sail for a very long time and almost went for a weekend almost a decade ago. They had everything planned then found out that their hosts wanted to take them for the weekend without clothes. Good thing they didn’t put any money down for that trip!

Paul and I almost slept out on the hook for the first time this week. It was a hot, sunny, wind free evening when we left home. When we got to the marina it was cool, cloudy, and windy. We anchored at the beach in 3 to 4 foot waves and strong winds. Paul was afraid that the anchor would let loose and crash us into shore. That was the end of that idea. Maybe next week…

When we got home last night, I received a call from my son saying that the car wouldn’t start. Angel and I went out to get him last night around 10 PM. After the great day of sailing, it seemed like I was in another world. Back to reality! The car needed towing. On the ride back home, Alex and Angel fought something vicious. Alex got out of the car and started walking the 15 miles home. By the time I straightened things out and we all got home it was after 11:30PM. Seems like there are a lot more fireworks in fights when siblings are teens. And to think I thought I would be able to come home and go to bed after sailing!

Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad. One thing is for sure…my life is always an adventure!

Urgent matters

Work has been busy. Tempers have been flaring. Angry hot words sizzle like an egg frying on the hot summer sidewalk. 

On Monday, I paid for the afternoon I took off from work on Friday. I am afraid to take any time off because I have to work ten times as hard to make up for it. I feel guilty leaving our employee to cover for me when the work load is heavy.  

Over the past couple weeks, one of our vendors was updating their website which caused an order that we spent over an hour placing to be all messed up. This kept our clients waiting longer than they usually do. Our vendor did not return our calls regarding our issues because they were bottlenecked which caused us to be bottlenecked. Deadlines were approaching, clients called in desperation. Tetris again. I made the decision to spend a couple hours after work placing the order again despite the double charges. I asked for reimbursement but we might end up eating the double charges. Stress. It seems to happen day after day.

Paul and I were finally getting along only to fight again. We only have time for the urgent matters now not the important things. I was upset that he had play practice on my birthday. He said that he wished he never decided to try out for the play. He was pressured because he would make a perfect lead. He thought I would understand the commitment that 450 lines would take. The play is only a few weeks away. He apologized.  

I was a little miffed that he took 2 of his theater friends sailboat racing last week. I didn’t like the fact that he took a younger single woman that has the hots for him. He had an open invitation to whoever wanted to crew and she took it. Not me. Whatever. I guess she had a horrible time. He had 2 new crew members on a really windy race night. The boat did a lot of heeling and the woman was terrified. She spent a lot of time hiding in the cabin. It wasn’t a peaceful evening like their first sail. Paul didn’t do too well that night. He apologized that I felt left out. 

We finally were able to talk things through and work things out just to fight again. Friday night Paul exploded. He tends to let it all out in one angry storm. It reminded me of a time last summer when Paul was angry. He made homemade pizza for supper which we were starting to enjoy on our deck table outside. He was angry about something. He set his glass down on the table hard to emphasize a point. The table cracked and shattered into a zillion little pieces. Then he went around the house roaring and screaming as loud as he could with the windows open. I briefly wondered what the new neighbor’s thought. Afterwards, he apologized. 

There have been a lot of stressors for Paul. He is stressed about the play, work, the kids, and his mother with terminal cancer. He had a screaming fit Friday night, the day before the graduation party. It was stressful preparing for the party. Would the weather be nice? Did we have enough food? Etc..  Plus it was hard for Paul because not one family member of his would be attending. How strange is it to have a big party for your child with no one respresenting you there? He is like an adult orphan, all alone. He only really has me.

I have been really stressed out too. My anger releases slowly, just a little steam at a time. I criticize. I condemn. I judge his outburst with unforgiveness. I hate. I consistently pour out whispered four letter “s” and “f” words throughout the day. I am no better. SSsssstttrreesssss…

I think that we are finally getting along again. It took awhile. Marriage can be like that at times. 

I am trying not to let the day to day stress get to me. Paul and I have to be on the same team to make this marriage, family, and business work. 

I need to look forward to some stress free time away. I am starting to plan a business trip out to California this fall. Paul and I have never been out to the west coast. Maybe we can add a couple of days of fun while we are out there.  

Weak end

I sat alone by the lake close to the spot where my brother almost drowned. “Why didn’t you try to save me?” I heard him ask. Because I was only six. He told me that he still has nightmares about drowning. How can that be? He was only two. Sometimes when I am all alone the memories scratch my mind. 

I was hoping that my weekend up north would be peaceful and relaxing. For the first time all summer, I had a weekend without plans. I decided to go up north with my two daughters to prepare for Angel’s graduation party next weekend. I cleaned the cabin and hid the clutter. My parents still have boxes with my middle school books in them. 

Saturday morning I received a call from my son. He said that the car wouldn’t start. As I sit here typing, my car is broke down in the front lawn awaiting repair. There has already been fighting over the use of vehicles since Alex got his license almost 2 weeks ago. This is the start to the busiest week so far this summer. My youngest is in summer school and needs a ride. Angel got asked to babysit and provide transportation for 3 different families this week. Plus she took on Arabella’s pet sitting job while she is in summer school. We need a car! I had to find a ride to work and back. 

I ended up letting Alex drive my car this past weekend while I was gone. He was asked to pick up the mother of his girlfriend’s best friend who was too drunk to drive. Great! He was happy because she bought him food at the drive thru. I don’t even know this woman! It is not too uncommon for new driver’s to be the designated driver. That’s real life in the drinking state. I know people that have their kids pick them up from the bar almost every weekend. I suppose it is better than driving drunk. What kind of life is that for a teen? 

With all the driving around that my kids are doing, I should put an Uber sticker on the car. Maybe they can make enough money to pay for the gas.

The whole rest of the weekend my daughters fought something terrible. It even carried over into today. Arabella brought a friend up north. She made rules for her friend that she was not allowed to talk about how awesome her sister Angel is or spend time with her. The rules didn’t work out too well. Her friend didn’t like being bossed around. Arabella didn’t want to play the games that she wanted to play whereas her sister did. We tried playing badminton, Arabella would only be on the team with her friend. She didn’t want to play by the rules and got mad at her sister when our team was winning. Then she chased her sister around the yard with the racquet. 

They screamed at each other. Arabella accused Angel of stealing her friends. Her friend was crying because she liked both of them and just wanted them to get along. It was absolutely miserable. I just wanted to pull out my hair. I have never seen Arabella so jealous and angry at her sister before. She even told me that she was afraid that the dog she was pet sitting would like Angel more. It is hard because Angel is older and has better people skills. Last weekend her cousins told her that they liked Angel but not her. Then she tries to force them to like her and it doesn’t work. 

I spent the weekend worried about problems. I was irritated by the constant fighting when we could be having a fun time. Then I thought about memories that made me feel sad. 

I wish I could just do the whole weekend over. 

Weathering the storms

  

Today is the first official unofficial day of summer here in Wisconsin. But apparently WI did not get the memo. Paul and I tentatively made plans yesterday to go on our first sail of the season today. The weather looked iffy but we decided to take off of work a little early and head to the boat anyway. 

It has been a stressful last couple of weeks. We have been busy at home, busy at work, just busy. You might be thinking that since Paul and I work together that we probably spend a lot of time together. We do, in fact, but it is not quality time. It is more of the “I’m really busy right now and you are bothering me” kind of time. Or can you take care of this problem for me because I don’t have time for it now. Then to make things even busier, Paul decided to audition for the lead part at the community theater. He got the lead along with 450 lines to memorize within the next two months.

So, we decided to take the boat out for a date, a time to focus on each other and have fun in the sun. Except the sun wasn’t shining. The winds were rather strong. Then when the winds finally started to die down, it started to rain. A long band of rain and storms popped up on the radar. So no smooth sailing for us today.

Instead, we weathered the storm without making it out of the harbor. We huddled inside the boat, cold and damp. Then we started to argue. The sentences started with, “It really annoys me when……. Then we spewed out 20 plus years of criticisms, annoyances, and irritations. The things that were once cute but have long since become annoying. Yes, I was pissy. My expectations were once again too high. I pictured this nice intimate sail with warm light breezes and sunshine. What I ended up getting was whipping winds and cool rain showers splattered with a touch of domestic dissatisfaction.

So, yeah, you could say that I am feeling a bit pissy along with the weather.