I am the problem?

Okay, I have something that I have to admit. I didn’t vote last week.

I apparently am the problem within my state and country right now.

But wait, before you unfollow…I have an excuse. Gum disease. You heard me right.

Monday I had my regularly scheduled dental check up. For the record, I think that dentists and everyone associated with the dental field are sadists. They seem to take great joy in my pain. And if the dental procedure doesn’t hurt, the bill sure will.

Back to Monday, the hygenist told me that I needed to come in as soon as possible for a deep cleaning. I scheduled an appointment for the following day over the lunch hour.

So when Tuesday rolled around, I went to the gym in the morning to work out. After that, I hurried off to work so I could leave early for the dentist.

After 20 minutes of painful drilling, I asked the hygenist what I did wrong. She said that gum disease is caused by poor hygiene. I pleaded that I floss several times a week and brush several times a day. I argued my innocence like a convicted felon who was incarcerated for a crime never commited. Paul said that everyone probably says they have good hygiene even if they don’t.

Really, is there a wrong way to floss??

Gum disease could also be cause by stress and hormones and I am sticking to it.

I got poked, prodded, and slapped with a $200 bill.

For a couple of hours after the appointment, I felt like crap. I don’t know if I’m getting an ulcer or if it was the aftermath of the extreme anxiety I feel towards dentists.

I went back to work with the idea that I would leave early to vote. That didn’t work out because we had an employee call in so I had to stay late.

I barely made it home in time to eat something before play practice. How could I go vote?

We just moved and I couldn’t find any mail sitting around associated with my name and new address. Plus the cars outside of where I would vote were lined up into the next county. How could I zip in and out before my next time committment??

So I didn’t vote. I am the problem with this country right now. Good intentions don’t count as a ballot. Might as well blame it on the dentist. Yeah, why not??

 

What now???

Sometimes life can be stressful. When I am not busy at work, raising teenagers, or slaying my demons…I try to relax.

Work requires me to make a lot of high level decisions that effect other people’s lives. Someday I will tell you about it all, but not today. Last Friday we had a new client do some work with us and he didn’t understand the whole process of what we do. So rather unexpectedly he conference called me and chewed me out saying that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for over a decade and he is a brand new client…and I don’t know what I’m doing??

After 30 minutes of trying to explain the process, which he wasn’t listening to, I was pissed off and wanted to tell him to take his business somewhere else. But I remained fairly cool and calm. I sent him an email with answers to frequently asked questions. But that still did not satisfy him.

I ended up sending him over to my husband Paul. Paul makes higher high level decisions and often deals with difficult clients, makes collection calls, and other stuff I couldn’t stomach doing. When the guy started to complain about me, Paul said that I am his operations manager and also his wife. Shut the guy right up.

Running a business together can be very stressful. Sometimes we have to make hard calls. I have lost a lot of faith in people. Sometimes it feels like it is us against the world. I think working together has made us closer as a couple. We make a great team both at home and at work. I can’t complain because we make an excellent living. But that doesn’t make it any less stressful.

Although most of the time I enjoy what I do, work is a big stressor in my life. I try to relax, usually unsuccessfully, over the weekend.

On Saturday morning I received a phone call from a parent of Alex’s friend saying that she wanted to come over with her husband and talk to us right away.

I could almost feel my ulcer burn. What now????

Two steps forward, one back

Yesterday was a horrible day. At least some good did come out of it. Right when I was ready to publish yesterday’s post about my son quitting band, his band teacher called me. She said that Alex came to her and talked about all of the things that were bothering him about band. They had a good conversation and she said that Alex decided to stay in band, although at this time he is failing the class.

If the conflict is resolved(?), do I still post about it? I felt unsettled about the post anyway. Do you ever feel that way? Unsettled about something that you wrote? I told myself that I could always delete the post if I wanted to. I did that once before because I felt so uncomfortable, so sick about it, so unsettled like it was clawing too close to my demons.

Yesterday started off poorly. I got a text right away in the morning that one of the employee’s called in sick. I was planning on leaving a little early to pick Arabella up from her after school activities and staying home. Arabella invited 5 of her friends over from her old school for a pool party. I held off shutting down the pool for that very occasion. In the end, only one friend said that she could come over. She was on the way over when Arabella told her that I had to work later since someone didn’t show up. Her dad wouldn’t drop her off because I wasn’t there even though I would be home shortly.

I felt so frustrated. Having an employee call in last minute screwed up my day. I felt bad for Arabella. It’s hard to make friends at a new high school. I was hoping that she could still stay in touch with some of her old friends.

Then yesterday morning we had a staff meeting. I heard my cell phone go off. I jokingly said that it was the school calling only to find out later that it was. Hearing my cell phone ring during the work day always unnerves me. The school called to tell me that my son skipped out of school. When I got a hold of him, he told me that he just didn’t feel like going to school. I could hear some of his friends in the background and I could only surmise what they were up to.

I was so angry and upset that it was really hard to focus on what I was doing at work. Thoughts burned through my mind about him not even graduating from high school. I was furious. I called him and yelled at him. The conversation ended with me saying that if you can’t follow our rules then maybe you need to find another place to live. He doesn’t realize it yet, but he has it made. What I wouldn’t have given to have an easy breezy childhood like his.

I needed to maintain control, be calm and collected to brood and think. We told Alex that we would meet with him that night to have a little talk. I couldn’t leave work early and Paul had a board meeting after work. The responsibilities never seem to end. Paul did most of the talking during our conversation that night. He was calm, which I was happy about, although I did not feel that way. Apparently one of our new house rules is that our kids cannot skip school. Gosh, we are so mean.

I’m not sure if anything got through to him. But, hey, he is back in band. It’s always two steps forward and one step back with him.

I think once he graduates, I’m going to need a really long vacation. If I can make it until then without going absolutely out of my mind crazy!!

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.

 

 

 

Paul’s journey, part 9

The earliest years of building the business were rough.

Whatever little money he made, he invested back into the business.

He felt like he couldn’t get away. But the business was new and exciting in those days. It was later that we started to feel burnt out. There is so much stress and pressure from the responsibility of owning a business. I don’t even know where to begin. But all of the hard work paid off over the long haul.

Paul went into work on the day our last baby was born. He dragged himself into work with strep. He drove in during major snowstorms. He even went to work after major surgery.

He had a cancer scare. He was having a lot of back pain. He went to the doctor for an x-ray. We didn’t have great insurance, so he didn’t want to spend the extra money on expensive tests. The x-ray showed a mass. They were simply going to drain and remove the mass, but the ultrasound was showing something scary. They thought it could be cancerous. They didn’t want to puncture this mass and have it spread to all of the nearby organs.

Instead they scheduled a major surgery that included the removal of several ribs. Paul spent a week in the hospital. I remember the evening of the surgery well. I sat alone in the waiting area watching the snow fall. I felt empty. This is going to sound funny, but I didn’t feel worried. You all know I am a big time worrier. Maybe I was in denial, I don’t know. He was so young then, too young to have cancer I told myself.

To tell you the truth, I am terrified that he is going to get cancer now. Last year his mother passed away from cancer. She had 3 different types of cancer and battled it twice. The year before last, his uncle died from cancer. His grandma had cancer. Currently, he has an uncle in the last stages of cancer. If I wasn’t worried before, I certainly am now.

They removed a benign cyst that was the size of a football from Paul’s adrenal gland. After surgery, he lost a lot of weight. He was pale and gaunt. I’ve never seen him so thin before or since. He was supposed to take a couple of weeks off of work. This was before the time that working out of the house was remotely possible. He was also taking a 4 credit accounting class for his MBA.

I drove Paul into the office after surgery. I helped him walk down the steps to his office wincing in pain. I left him there and picked him up at the end of the day.

Things got easier as the business grew and with technology. I joined him after a couple years. We have been able to get away. We have staff that can help keep an eye on things now. But there is always a strong sense of responsibility that comes with having your name on the door. There are times that we have to drop everything to respond to work issues. Going on vacation always meant checking emails and working.

I am excited that for the first time now, we will be able to take a vacation without working. I wonder how we will respond without the constant pressure.

 

A smashing idea…

Lately my technology has been going out more than I have.

This month has been a total technology fail for me. Here is the list of things that went out this month alone:

  • My computer at work
  • My printer
  • My monitor
  • My cell phone

Last month my daughter convinced me to upgrade my iPhone 5 at a Black Friday sale. I was hesitant. I hate updates and upgrades. It makes me feel like an idiot. Just when things work perfectly fine, there is another update that I have to spend 3 hours learning. I had the phone over 3 years and just figured out how to use it. Not to mention that it has been almost impossible getting another phone case for my running belt…Knowing my luck, the phone would probably fall out when I am running breaking my new phone and my leg in the process using the old case.

But my phone was starting to glitch out on me. Sometime it would freeze. The worst thing was that I no longer received my WP notifications…Blogging just wasn’t the same without the WP ping. It made me feel like I was writing on paper with a sore inky south paw hand.

On Black Friday, I upgraded to an iPhone 7. I didn’t spend the extra money on the insurance plan for myself, but did for my kids. Seriously, like adults need to worry about cracked screens or smashed phones??

Last week I smashed my new phone.

I was in a hurry like I always am…running late. I grabbed my phone as I ran out the door. My husband was waiting for me in the truck. As I lifted my leg to get into the truck, my phone must have slipped out of my jacket pocket. Once we got to our destination, I couldn’t find my phone. I thought I must have forgotten it at home. It was kind of like a ‘did I turn off the oven’ back burner thought to me. I thought I took it with but second guessed my memory in the rush to get out the door.

I couldn’t find my phone when I got home. Finally my husband found it frozen in the driveway. It looked fine on the outside. I wrapped it in my arms to warm up. But it was too late. It was dead. I took it in to get fixed. Once they opened it up, it was smashed inside.

I had to buy another phone. I also got a new computer, printer, and monitor at work. Now I even have two monitors so I can read your posts when I am sitting half the day on hold at work. I won’t even mention the internet, software, or phone problems at work…just this month. It’s insane!

I spent so much time this month irritated by technology. I even had the opportunity to hear our IT guy swear for hours on end as I sat helplessly watching. What a waste of time!

I want to take all of these items that failed me into a dark room with a baseball bat. I want to bash the monitor…crack my cell phone…smash the computer to bits…and pummel my printer to paper pulp. I might need a padded room. Not for myself! I don’t want to chip the walls.

I can almost hear the glass shatter in my mind. I love the sound of it.

It is so hard to be gentle towards our fragile devices that cause so much rage.

I’ve always had the fantasy of smashing computers…almost like having the car seat burning party I talked about but never had once I was done with all of that.

It sounds like a smashing idea, doesn’t it??

Crossed i’s

I had every intention of posting another day on my travel log. Although I have been working on it for a few days, it seems to be lacking something. Emotion, perhaps? Oh, I think I will more than make up for it today.

It has been a rough week. I haven’t been sleeping. For every good night of sleep, there are 9 nights of not sleeping well. Maybe if I felt rested things would be easier for me.

I awoke this morning crying. My MIL visited me in a dream. She looked the way she used to, all full of life before the cancer devastated her body. We hugged and said how much we missed each other. Then her husband Darryl started giving me his belongings in the dream and we feared he would commit suicide. It was all rather horrifying and something that we worry about.

Loss is hard. It hurts sometimes to care about other people.

I found out this week that one of my best friends is moving a couple of hours away. This weekend my daughter will be leaving to go back to college. I feel pretty bummed out. I feel a little lost actually.

To make things worse in my life…while I was updating my travel post for the ninetieth time, I received a phone call from a friend of a friend. It wasn’t a social call. It was a call asking what my son was doing this past weekend.

Apparently, my son was going to pick up his daughter to go to her cabin for a party. Her dad busted her with alcohol and grounded her. She told her friends to go ahead without her. So about 20 teens showed up at her family’s cabin, did some hard core underage drinking, and trashed the place.

It didn’t go well confronting my son. We implemented a no staying overnight at friend’s houses policy for a month, a curfew of 10, and he would have to contact the parent to apologize for his part in the party. He was really upset when we told him he also needed to contact his girlfriend’s parents. He was afraid that her parents would make her break up with him. Thankfully for him his girlfriend told her mom about it.

It’s been really hard to concentrate at work with all of the stress and lack of sleep. Next week we have an auditor coming in. We need to make sure all of our t’s are crossed and our i’s are dotted. I feel like I’m crossing my eyes.

We had employees take off this week due to illness or sick kids. I felt a little jealous. Is that sick or what?? Maybe if I was sick I would be able to sleep and be oblivious to the world around me.

Don’t worry…tomorrow I will post about travel. There will be a lot of nice pictures and a lack of nasty little emotions.

No escape??

And just like that Angel’s college break is over…she is on her way home(?) even as we speak..

I felt bad since she was sick the whole time she was home. We did get a lot of appointments checked off our list, but we didn’t have a whole lot of fun things planned.

That is why I booked a family outing to the escape room on Friday night. Alex’s girlfriend Baylee joined us too. It has been on my bucket list for awhile. As the event drew closer, I admit I was a little nervous. I had to sign a waiver saying that I wouldn’t hold them liable in case of death, domestic disputes, panic attacks, etc… Wait? What? Panic attacks?? I briefly remembered my extreme fear of being trapped…my panic on airplanes..What did I get my(self) whole family into??

My mind was put at ease the minute I entered the room. They did have an escape emergency release button in case of a fire, natural disaster, or bathroom necessity. Of course, the fire code! Now why didn’t my worried mind think of that?? Must be because I gave up worry for Lent. Ha ha..

We were given an hour to figure out puzzles and riddles to escape. We were in a dimly lit room. It was hard to see with my old eyes to put the codes on the locks. I found myself good at holding up a lantern. But as for solving the clues, I don’t think I think that way. My son Alex was a genius at it. When we finished, they offered him a job which would be a perfect fit for him.

They were really excited to hear that he has some work experience in the field. A few years ago he worked as a zombie for a paint ball place at Halloween time. He got paint in his eyes and mouth, welts all over his body, frostbite, shot at close range by drunk guys, almost got hit by a vehicle because he couldn’t see out of his mask, and I had to pick him up after midnight..He did all this for $30. I don’t even think that Darryl would do that. (Last time I mentioned my step-father-in-law was picking up bodies for $50).

We were successful in escaping the room with 3 minutes to spare.

My friend and her family were not able to escape a different escape room and her kids are all geniuses. Is it bad that I am so competitive?? Challenge accepted.

Afterwards, we went out to eat. When we got home, I was so exhausted that I went to bed right away. I had Paul wait up until Alex got back from taking Baylee home. I was drifting off to sleep when I heard the phone ring. Alex hit a deer with his car. The deer landed dead in the middle of the road and did some damage to the car. Alex had to drag the deer off into the ditch and drove home with one headlight.

I told my mother what happened. She was worried that Alex was crawling with deer ticks. Did I check him?? Well, no.. It’s cute, my mom thinks I don’t get my worrying from her.

It was sad to see Angel off, but things have been better since my last post..

Funereal unreal

When I was in my last month of college before graduation, I took a career and aptitude test. The test results said that I should be a funeral director. Seriously?? I didn’t go to school for that. Was it the school’s plan to have me stay for a few more years?? Why didn’t they do the test before I picked a major??

I could see myself being a good funeral director. I am very serious, calm, and have a deadpan demeanor about me.

But sometimes I have a strong urge to laugh when least appropriate. Maybe that is a common fear of extremely self-disciplined stoic people. Let loose…quit being so serious…but do it to the extreme…laugh at a funeral…swear in church…dance and sing down the aisles of a grocery store…scream in the library..

It probably wouldn’t have worked well for me.

A few months ago, right when my MIL was in the last few weeks of her battle with cancer, her husband Darryl’s job of several decades was on the line. The company that he was working for got bought out. He lost his job as a forklift driver and his hours got cut in half. Just what he needed with the mounting medical bills coming in.

Over the years, he had other second jobs to make ends meet. He cleaned a clinic, plowed snow, and was a chimney sweep just to name a few. He worked as much as possible before work and after work. Plus he maintained a large garden, fished and hunted for food, fixed his own vehicles, and chopped his own wood to heat his house. One time he even cut his leg with a chain saw. He was even good at sewing and stitched up his own leg to save a doctor’s visit. Not at all squeamish…

Maybe you know where I am going with this..

Right now Darryl is working part-time cleaning the meat room. Not a fun job. The last time I saw him, he showed me where he got electrocuted on his finger. Eccentric man, that Darryl. So I didn’t think it was all that strange when he told me he asked the funeral director if he had any work..

Now Darryl has a new second job. He will be picking up bodies. Fifty bucks a stiff. I can picture Darryl now with a couple of bodies in the back of his pick up truck…

We briefly talked dead seriously about starting a new family business…

 

Unbalanced

This morning I went dumpster diving and it was the most joy I found in weeks.

Am I unbalanced?

I was thinking lately about joy, about balance. The main sectors of my life for the last several years has been family, work, and training for marathons, etc.. I like things clean. I am happy when these sectors don’t collide….when they don’t interrupt other sectors..

Now my sectors are colliding and I feel unbalanced.

Yesterday I took time off of work to train..I didn’t get all of my work done at the end of the day.

Work is so busy I feel guilty for doing anything besides work…I don’t worry about money because of my hard work, but I don’t have time. I drive my car fast because I would rather pay a ticket then lose a few moments of extra time. I tell my son not to speed.

Work pulls at me when I am with family. Another email that needs responding to after hours. It will only take a few minutes.

I eat my lunch while driving to work out or while pacing around the kitchen.

Sometimes I am too busy to write. I should be working. I didn’t get caught up today.

Then the kids pull at me. There is always something going on after school that I have to take them to or be at. Then there was the last couple of weeks spending every moment with my MIL as she was in the final stages of cancer. Then I have to decide which kids to sacrifice the other kids for. Do I cancel out on my daughter’s first opera to stay home with a sick kid??

Then there was my son who was having issues with colitis and he couldn’t get treatment until he gave a sample. He couldn’t get a sample. Then this morning after another call to the doctor, I got the idea of taking a couple of specimens and making it into one sample. Great idea, but it involved me going out into the dumpster with rubber gloves and digging around. But I was successful! Now my son is on medicine and I feel so happy about it.

But I was late for work..

It is so hard to keep my life in balance.

Being very busy at work for the last 3 months, having to hire someone, having to train someone, more work, more customer service issues because we are busier..

Being busy at home running kids around, housework, laundry, dishes, sick kids, a death in the family…

Training for an 18 mile trail run, a marathon, and a Half Iron.

This morning I jokingly said to my husband that I wake up with shit on my lips. Sounds disgusting, I know. I wake up stressed. I mutter to myself oh shit off and on all day. I fall asleep at night stressed and exhausted.

Is all of this effort worth it?

Most of the time I can keep up, but I feel so unbalanced right now… I want to do everything well, but sometimes I have to leave some important things undone and that bothers me.