BVI, day 5

This morning we sailed to The Baths (the picture on the right). There were two ways to enter The Baths from the water. We decided to tie our dinghy up to the beach on the left side. It was very windy again and the yellow flag was out at the beach. The water where we tied up the dinghy was over our heads and there were a lot of waves. Stan took his cell phone with him in a waterproof bag. Since the conditions were rough, we held onto the safety line to get to shore.

This beach wasn’t as scenic as we were expecting it to be. We hiked along the trails and took pictures in rocks that looked like skulls. Then we sat on the beach for awhile. The water near where we sat was like a wave pool and I swam in there for awhile.  Everyone was getting burned by the sun, except me.

We went back to the boat for lunch, then debated whether or not to explore the other side of The Baths. Cara was still feeling sick and wanted to stay back to sleep. Stan found out that his bag wasn’t waterproof after all and his phone died. We decided to explore the other side and I’m glad that we did. It was beautiful. There were tons of caves in the rocks and the water. I wish I had pictures, but since we had to come to shore in deep water we didn’t want to risk the death of anymore phones.

There were tons of people exploring the caves. I was surprised that there weren’t any signs that said beware of falling rocks, tight places, risk of drowning, consult a physician before attempting any physical activity, etc. There are so many warning signs in the US that people don’t even follow them.

There were people attempting to go through the trails that were obviously not physically able or were carrying infants. The trails were not easy, nor were they marked very well. It reminded me of a very scenic obstacle course, very adventurous and fun. Too bad Cara missed out.

From The Baths we made our way to The Sounds. The Sounds was very busy and there were only a few mooring balls left. There were people everywhere, in boats and on dinghy’s. It was NYC on water. There was a close call with a dinghy. It was incredibly stressful for Paul to moor the boat here.

At this point, you are probably wondering how everyone got along in close quarters. On the 40 ft Catamaran, there were 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. There were two bigger cabins. Paul and I shared a big cabin and Cara and Tim had the other. Their friends Stan and Angela shared the smaller cabin on their side along with the bathroom.

The bathrooms were awful. We were told that we could not flush toilet paper. We had to put used toilet paper in the bathroom garbage. The bathrooms reeked the whole time. We had to conserve water, so we couldn’t shower as often or as long as we would’ve liked to. Let’s just say we got to know each other really well. We didn’t have a lot of room so we packed minimally and wore the same clothes more than one time.

Paul and I did not know Stan and Angela very well before the trip. However, we got along great. After a few days, Angela and I started talking and found out we have the same personality type. We have some of the same pet peeves and quirks. From that point on we really clicked. As a group, I thought we got along fairly well.

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That evening we went to shore to eat. The restaurant was fully booked so we ate at the pub. It looked like a fortress and we were able to find a place to sit in one of the towers. All of the tables on the beach were full when we got there from the live entertainment. Most of us ordered pizzas and they were great. Except for Cara’s, she found a bristle from a scrub brush in her food. Leave it to Cara!

There were cats that wandered around the tables. Then out of the blue, it started to pour. We tried to pull our table and chairs out of the rain as much as possible. By the time we were done, it stopped raining. This was the only place since we left that I was able to access wifi. All was well at home and I was starting to finally relax a little.

 

BVI, day 4

Cara got sick during the night and we ate the same thing. I feel fine. Cara was also feeling seasick. She slept a lot while we were sailing.

We left this morning heading to Cooper Island. We stopped at the Indians for a short snorkeling trip on the way. We still didn’t see any sharks. We were told if we did see a shark to make eye contact and stand our ground, not swim away frantically like I would instinctively want to do.

I decided not to snorkel with everyone else and opted instead to take photos of the incredibly scenic area.

We are heading into the wind today so we motored instead of sailing. It is very windy and wavy. The journal I am writing this in got wet on the bow. Paul was worried about my safety. We were very careful to make sure that everyone was accounted for at all times.

I feel so very far away from home. It is really difficult not having a way to communicate with those at home. Cara was able to access data on her cell phone and spoke of another snow storm that was supposed to hit home. I was worried about my son driving on the roads. But I reasoned to myself that he was in his element while we were out of ours. Maybe they should worry about us with the rough seas and sharks.

We got to Cooper Island at lunch time and decided to go to shore to eat. It was a lovely place. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and fries. They also brought Cara the same meal although she just wanted a hamburger. She sent her meal back, they scraped off the cheese and brought it back. With Cara’s sickness and trouble with her meals, I jokingly said if we have any problems we might have to throw her overboard. It would be a shame because she did all the work to plan the trip.

After the meal, we went to the gift shop. Paul bought a swimsuit and I bought a Cooper Island Brewery shirt. The problem was I didn’t try any of their beer. I solved the problem by buying a keepsake mug of beer at the bar next door. It was the best craft beer I had on the trip. However, the local craft beer options were very limited.

After lunch we went snorkeling and saw a manta ray. Stan saw a shark while snorkeling. We hit a patch of rain in the dinghy on the way back to the boat which was chilly. It seems to rain several times everyday for about 10 minutes keeping everything damp. We saw beautiful rainbows for 4 days in a row starting today.

We saw another turtle with fish sucking on it. Paul caught one of the turtle sucking fish with his fishing pole. It looked like a cross between a worm and an eel. The guys spent the evening fishing.

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping. It is hot and humid at night. Most evenings it rains and I get wet through the hatch over the area where we sleep. I’ve been waking up stiff with a backache. I’ve been having a hard time relaxing. I feel sad and disconnected from the group because I am worried about those at home and have been having a hard time just letting it go. Sometimes it takes a few days and I wish it didn’t because it is frustrating. As if being close to home will prevent accidents from happening. Anxiety apparently cannot be reasoned with.

I had to escape my fear to truly enjoy the time away. It did happen eventually.

 

 

BVI, day 3

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We set sail this morning after the orientation. We had a captain accompany us at the start of our journey today to determine our ability to sail a 40 foot catamaran. Well, I shouldn’t say my ability since we would all be screwed if I sailed the boat.

Paul and Tim were our main sailing crew. Paul completed 95% of the paperwork to be a captain through the U.S. Coast Guard with a sailing endorsement. Tim took some sailing classes. Both men own sailboats of their own. Stan is an avid boater and fisherman. Cara was in charge of cooking, Angela did meal prep, and I was on the clean up crew. We could’ve hired a captain and chef for the whole trip, but decided not to.

Once we set sail, a cupboard door popped open spilling out glass plates which broke into shards on the counter and floor. I felt bad because I was the last one to go into that cupboard. Maybe I didn’t close it all the way? I felt embarrassed that I failed at the one job I had. We tried to clean up the glass, but it didn’t stop people from stepping on glass shards during the week.

We left that morning and truly were going to be off the grid. We opted to go without wifi since it would cost $30 a day. I couldn’t use my data plan since it would be very pricey. For all practical purposes, Paul and I were totally inaccessible which Paul loved and caused me a lot of anxiety. Paul and I were the only ones with children at home. Cara has an adult child from a previous marriage, the rest are child free.

We sailed to Norman the first day. We got a mooring ball and snorkeled by the shipwrecked party boat, the Willy T. There were tons of tropical fish under the Willy T. We saw a turtle with 2 sucker fish attached to it and a whole school of what looked like little king fish.

Later we took the dinghy out to the caves nearby for snorkeling. There were some pretty big fish there and Paul wanted me to snorkel into the cave with him. I bought a snorkeling mask that covered my whole face and I could breathe like normal in it. It was more expensive than regular goggles, but worth it. The only problem I had was when there were waves, water would leak in and it had to be resealed.

I followed Paul into the dark cave. Since I could breathe like normal through my mask, I could smell something horrible. I wasn’t sure what it was at first. The fish started getting smaller as I went deeper and darker into the cave. There were tons of weeds on the surface which freaked me out a little. As I neared the end of the cave, the water became shallow and I stood on the rocks. That is when I heard the squeak of bats. I was out of there! Paul rubbed his leg against a rock and ended up with a nasty rash. It was a great place to snorkel, but I wouldn’t recommend going into the caves.

That evening we went out to eat at Pirate’s Bight. What I was expecting on this trip was small quaint towns with gift shops and that our boat would be on a dock every night with wifi. That did not happen. Every night we grabbed a mooring ball. Gift shops were few and far between. We only had wifi once during the trip. I saw a gift shop that night and asked the hostess how long it would be open. She replied that it was always open.

The island consisted of a restaurant, bar, and gift shop. That’s it as far as I could tell. The bar was closed for a private birthday party. We ordered our meal at the restaurant. I ordered the grouper in a buttery caper sauce with sweet potatoes. Cara ordered the same, but found a hair in her food. The grouper was good, but there wasn’t much there and no capers could be found in the sauce. The sweet potatoes seemed like regular potatoes with sugar on it. The food wasn’t the greatest, although it was very pricey. I had a banana daiquiri which was very good however.

After supper, we visited the gift shop. The woman behind the counter was rude and angry. When we walked in, she told us that the store was closing in 5 minutes as she glared at us. She was so rude that we decided not to buy anything. Later I wondered if they made her stay late because I asked how late they were open.

That night Cara got sick. I wondered if I would get sick too. We ate the same thing.

 

BVI, day 2

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We left Puerto Rico late this morning to take the puddle jumper to Tortola. Some of us were a little nervous about our flight on such a small plane that we decided to stop at the bar before our flight. I ordered a Bloody Mary which I thought was rather strong. Maybe it was just too early. It was 10 AM, 8AM at home. I jokingly said that is when the school will call me at 8 AM a little tipsy. Hey, it’s noon somewhere.

I wasn’t especially nervous about the flight. I figure I can handle just about anything for 30 minutes. I wore pants which ended up being rather ridiculous. I am always cold on planes, but this plane was very hot and loud. We spent the whole flight filling out our customs form and then it was over. There were only about 12 people on the plane, half of them belonging to our group.

We got off the plane and entered one of the smallest airports I’ve ever been in. There were chickens wandering around outside. It was very hot and everything went at a slow pace. We took a shuttle ride from the airport to the marina. We got to our sailing charter a day early and would spend the first evening sleeping aboard at the marina.

We couldn’t check in until later in the afternoon and decided to walk around to find something for lunch then provision at the store. We got a recommendation for a restaurant, but when we got there the sign said closed. We heard people inside and wandered in anyway. They were short staffed so we sat at a table outside and relaxed waiting about 2 hours to eat. We weren’t in a hurry. While we waited, we could hear the band students playing Bob Marley songs nearby. The band room was located in a tent ever since the hurricane.

We walked to the store later. It was strange since the traffic moved in a different direction than it did at home. Cara started to cross the street and had to run back to the curb because a car came around the corner fast. She earned the nickname frogger from the old Atari game where the frog tried to cross traffic without getting squashed. Later that evening, the same thing happened to Cara. This time a man on a motorcycle stopped so she could cross and almost got rear ended by a truck.

Our trip to the store was interesting. It was strange because there were people tailgating in the store parking lot. I found that to be an unusual hang out place. The store had a lot of interesting food like squid and fruits and vegetables we’ve never seen before. There were cases of beer for $50. There were also 6 packs that people mixed with other brands. Coming from WI, it was weird to see beer for sale by the bottle. I also did not see a large selection of coffee creamers. Some of the items did not have prices.

After we bought our provisions, we stuffed them in our backpacks and walked back to our boat at night. We weren’t worried about crime although it was a little scary to cross the road. The next morning we were going to have our bigger items delivered like our cases of water and soda. Then we were going to be on our way.

BVI, day 1

This is a new series of our British Virgin Islands sailing charter vacation..

We weren’t sure what was going to happen, even if we were going to be able to leave.

The night before we left, shortly after I posted, Paul and I had a meeting at the sailing club to plan this summer’s cruises. Paul was tying up loose ends at work and ended up plowing out our driveway and my parents, so he did not start packing. Not to mention his trip to the ER the night before. The next morning I was planning on getting up at 2 AM to shower and depart.

After the meeting, I started receiving texts from our group. My friend Cara planned the whole trip. Paul and I were traveling with Cara’s husband Tim and their friends Angela and Stan. Cara was concerned because the weather forecast was predicting rain, snow, and freezing rain for our flight departure time.

We tossed around the idea of leaving at midnight and driving a couple of hours to the nearest major city’s airport that had a direct flight to Puerto Rico, our layover location. That plan was rather iffy too. We wouldn’t get any sleep and still might have to drive through bad weather. In the end we decided to keep things as planned and risk it.

It was a slow drive to the airport. Our flight was delayed by an hour due to a mandatory rest for the flight crew. The roads were icy. It was hard seeing through the windshield. The streetlights looked like cars coming towards us in the wrong lane down the dark highway. The roads were empty and icy, I drove slow because I didn’t want to go in the ditch. What would we do then?

Before we left, I received calls from the school saying that school was cancelled due to an ice storm. We ended up sitting on the plane for over a half an hour for them to de-ice the plane. They told us 15 minutes, it is never 15 minutes. Once they de-iced, it seemed to ice back up again because of the ice storm.

The only way Cara and I could sit by our husbands on the plane was to take seats in the exit row. Cara jumped at the seats before I could say no. I decided not to take any anti-anxiety meds because I didn’t want to be dopey for our overnight stay in Puerto Rico. Plus I had to be responsible to save people in the event of an emergency landing. It was only a 3 hour flight to Atlanta. What could possibly go wrong?

The drink cart just made its way over to me. I ordered a ginger ale, Paul ordered coffee. I got my drink, and as Paul was getting his we hit a really rough patch of turbulence unexpectedly. The drink of the lady in front of me hit the ceiling. I poured my soda onto Paul’s lap. The flight attendant packed up and ran off before the coffee had a chance to scald my face. I screamed and held on tight to anything I could grab onto. I started to hyperventilate and scream that we were all going to die. Perfect exit row material right there.

The flight to San Juan from Atlanta was rather uneventful. We were able to make the flight with enough time despite the delay. I watched the movie ‘Beautiful Boy’ which was about a teenage drug addict that looked remarkably like my son. It was kind of a downer to start my vacation that way.

We got into Puerto Rico at suppertime and ate at Casita Miramar which was creative in decorating and food. The restaurant is very charming. I ate mahi mahi in a stuffed avocado. There were a lot of nooks and crannies of uniquely designed rooms. The waiter brought out the menu on a chalkboard.

That night we shared a bedroom with Angela and Stan which was rather awkward. Stan snored and I didn’t have the heart to go over and kick him like I do with Paul.

The next morning we had a flight booked on a puddle jumper to Tortola.

 

Leaving tonight?

I thought that things would be a little less crazy this week, but I was wrong.

My son was trying to sell something online for us and almost got scammed. A person sent my son a check for over the asking price for the object and told him to take it to the bank right away.  He did because the bank was closing soon and he didn’t know what to do. Then the person was going to have his “moving person” swing by and pick up the object along with the extra money for moving the item to another state. It seemed a little fishy, but everything happened so fast that I didn’t stop my son.

When Paul heard about it later, he worried it was some sort of money laundering scheme. He dug around online and found out it was a scam. The scammer sends a legitimate looking check for over the price and tells the person to give the money to the mover who is stopping by to pick it up. The person who picks it up steals the item and the money then the check bounces. Our item was scheduled to be picked up the day we are leaving for vacation.

Yesterday morning, I went to the bank and expressed my concerns about the check being fraudulent. Upon closer examination, the bank also thought it was a scam. Unfortunately, when the check bounces my son’s account with be charged. I feel bad that I didn’t stop my son from putting the check into his account. We both thought something wasn’t right but ignored it because they were pressing my son to cash it before the bank closed the night before. It really didn’t give me enough time to think.

It just started the day out bad yesterday. But it didn’t end there. Someone pulled out in front of me and I skidded on the ice almost hitting them. The roads here are still horrible. Last Monday we got a foot of snow. Then we had 4 days of temps in the double digits below zero, followed by an ice storm, followed by more cold weather so the salt didn’t melt the ice.

Oh, it gets better. Then my husband went to the dental hygienist and she refused to treat him because his blood pressure was too high. Yesterday Paul had several meetings with key clients to try to save accounts. After I lost my position at the company we previously owned, clients got a little skittish with all of the changes. The meetings were stressful for Paul and he was running late to his appointment. His blood pressure was 185/107. They told him he needed to see his doctor immediately.

Paul had appointments all day, but kept monitoring his BP. His BP has been borderline high for years. By the end of the day, his BP was still high and the nurse said to take him to the ER since he also had a slight headache. Off to the ER we went. I was paranoid by all of the illnesses we were exposed to last night. If I didn’t think my husband could wind up dead during the night from a stroke, I wouldn’t have risked it. Ah, the things we do for love.

We spent the evening with Paul in a hospital bed, in a gown with an IV in his arm watching the state of the union address. The nurse came in and jokingly said that the SOTU was giving her high blood pressure. Even though no fight ensured about politics, Paul’s BP was still high when we left so they gave him medication. We left to drive home through another snow storm. Big snowflakes and sleet pattered against the windows, but we made it home safely. I certainly did not want to go back to the ER.

This morning there was 4 inches of snow over glare ice. Arabella fell on her way out to the car for school. It’s just nasty out there. Paul spent hours plowing everyone out. Then tonight we are expecting freezing rain followed by another 6 inches of snow. Paul and I are planning on flying out early tomorrow morning for a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands with friends. I hope we can leave.

I will be taking some time off of blogging. You are probably sick of my whining and complaining anyway. When I get back, I will write a travel series about the trip and lighten things up a little. I try to do that after things get a little heavy. Then I will be back at it again.

Well, I better get packing.

Goal 10: Make peace with the past

For a long time I’ve outrun my demons and wondered how they could still catch up to me.

Writing this blog has been a great first step in making peace with my past. If that wasn’t enough, I started writing a book. I’ve found the process to be very therapeutic.

In a few months, I will start the process of public speaking about my experiences.

In doing all of this, I realized that I missed a very important step. I need to be open and honest with the people that care about me even if I get hurt. It’s not like I didn’t get hurt in the past and move on with my life.

I spent my whole life pretending to the outside world that everything was alright in my life. Life is good now. But I want to be able to tell people I am close to that things are not alright if they aren’t. I want to be able to ask for help instead of pushing everyone away and dealing with things myself.

Right now I’m trying to look back without having blinders on. Hindsight is not always 20/20. Sometimes I tend to wear sunglasses when I look at the darkest days. I make excuses and cannot face things as they truly were.

I tell myself that what happened in my life was completely normal. It wasn’t that bad.

Sometimes I think I will just be able to throw all of my painful memories into a book, then close the book and walk away. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to do that. But I do think that my story could help others and that I will be able to make peace with my past.

Geez, sometimes I wish my goal was to lose 10 lbs. Revamping myself on the outside sure seems a lot easier then stoking the demons within. But I feel like this is what I was meant to do.

Goal 9: Work hard, but take time to rest.

One of the hardest parts of losing my job is telling people what I do.

When meeting someone new, the first question that they ALWAYS ask is what you do for a living. The second question people ask is how many kids I have. Never fails.

Yesterday I went to the gym later than usual. Someone asked me why I wasn’t at work. I think people are just too nosy.

Two days after I lost my job some friends had a party at their house. Right off the bat, someone asked me what I do for a living. The question hit me hard and knocked the wind out of me. What? I didn’t have an answer prepared. I stumbled awkwardly through the whole story of how my husband and I sold our business last year and that the new owners recently eliminated my position unexpectedly.

My answer seemed to confuse people more. Is it a good thing that you lost your job or a bad thing? Yes, the answer is yes to both. Losing my job after working with my husband for 11 years was very hard. Not to mention that as a workaholic I wrapped a lot of my identity in my work. Yet it was a good thing because now I decided to write a book.

Now do I tell people that I am an author when they ask me what I do?? Then I have to explain what my book is about which is very personal and painful experience of growing up with a disabled sibling in an abusive home environment.

If I am a writer, I should be able to come up with a creative way to tell people what I do for a living in one word. If I tell people I am retired, that brings up even more questions since I look a lot younger than I am.

Then I decided to tell the next person who asks that I am independently wealthy just to get a good laugh. Would that shut them up?

The strange thing about not working is that I really don’t have any extra time. I am still running around like I am in a hurry. I keep a strict schedule. I drop my daughter off at school, go to the gym for an hour or two, write my book, then work on this blog. Plus I do other things like clean the house, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and run errands. Now I wonder how I was able to do all of this while working 30+ hours a week.

You know how the saying goes, ask the busiest person that you know if you want to get something done.

I’ve always been a workaholic. I feel very stressed out if I don’t accomplish enough in a day. Resting is a form of torture and usually only happens when I am sick. One day I had doubt about writing the book and said that heck with it, I am going to watch a show on Netflix. My daughter came home from school, saw me watching TV, and was concerned I was sick. She felt my forehead for signs of a fever and was worried about my health.

Relaxing is something I rarely do. But it is something that I want to learn how to do. I’ve always had the harsh workaholic task master of perfectionism pounding constantly in my head. If I learned anything from losing my job, it’s that I can’t let how much I am able to work control my life and dictate how much I am worth as a person. It is a wonderful way to avoid relationships and look like a martyr.

Working hard was something I was good at and I ran with it. There are few that top my work ethic and determination. But it controls me. I’ve learned anything that controls me isn’t good for me. I am no better than an alcoholic looking for the next drink. I am always searching for the next project, the next goal, and I am viewed as an inspiration and a hero for doing it.

I am afraid of success. What will I do next? Running marathons is not enough. How about a 50k? I drive myself to the ground. Are you proud of me now? What more can I do to prove my worth?

It is a great way to avoid intimacy. I am in the middle of something and am too busy to talk with you right now. What a safe place to hide.

If you give me a hard time, I will condemn you of your laziness with great pride.

Then I wonder why I can’t relax. I am worried and stressed when my mind is free.

Here I am, a workaholic without a job. I never ask for help. I do everything myself. I think I am beyond reproach, but I can’t run from myself.

I am starting to see a wonderful coping mechanism being torn apart. Maybe it is a good thing I lost my job because I am now faced with myself.

You can only outrun your demons for so long.

 

Life at 50 below

The last few days the wind chills were 50 below. That is a whole whopping 80 degrees below freezing. Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in a cold climate? Maybe you already do and we can commiserate together.

It is not terribly unusual for us to face subzero temperatures in a normal Wisconsin January. We are so used to it that the schools only close if it is 35+ below zero and we get over 6 inches of snow.

This week was rather extreme though even for us.

On Monday, we received a foot of snow. On Tuesday, the wind chills were around 25 below. Paul was in a hurry to plow out the driveway before it got cold out. He had some problems with the plow on the 4 wheeler and was asked to plow out a friend that just had surgery and my parents. After Paul got the plow fixed, he was able to plow everyone else out before the wind chill warning.

The kids had off of school Monday, Wednesday, and today.

Tuesday night Arabella and I had play practice. I drove to practice on the highway through the blowing and drifting snow. The snowplows put salt on the roads but it was too cold to melt the ice properly. There were patches of black ice on the highway that took my car towards the ditch. The ditches were already littered with cars and I passed a truck that just went in. I knew this because his lights were still on. I heard that there was a tow ban.

We made it home safely. I wore my goose down jacket, hat, mittens, and two sweaters. My son had a few friends over and they came over without coats and in shorts. They are so cool!

I was planning on working out Wednesday morning, but stayed home to man the fires instead. We have a very large old house. We wanted to keep the house warm without spending a fortune.

Although I sometimes want to spend more time at home, there is nothing glamorous about being trapped in your house when you don’t want to be. I decided to clean my kitchen washing the refrigerator and microwave.

The kids complained about how bored they were and I threatened to tell them about winters in the 1980’s. I wondered how our ancestors made it through the winter without modern conveniences like electricity and heat.

I kept the fires going all afternoon, stoking them every 20 minutes. I curled up on the couch with my cat and wrote a couple more chapters in my book. I listened to the wind howl and whip around the fresh snow. The sunshine glared brightly making it seem warm outside, tempting me to be lured out in the cold.

I looked at pictures on Facebook of tropical places, like Texas. A friend from Texas showed pictures of herself running outside in the frigid temps of 40 degrees. Jealousy stabbed me. To be able to run outside again! I would’ve been happy to be able to make it to the gym. But our world was shut down, even the postal workers didn’t deliver mail yesterday.

I went to sleep late last night checking to make sure that the dog was safely inside in his bed. I worried about the farmers and their livestock. The schools were closed and multiple businesses too. I even heard on Facebook that in WI some of the bars were closed.

I awoke early to the smell of smoke. Was my house on fire? There was a purple haze lingering in the air and a strong smell of smoke. We turned on the industrial dehumidifier to suck out the smoke which caused the boiler that heats our pool to error out and shut down from the cold air pouring in on it. We turned on the fans to get the smoke out. One of the vents was frozen and Paul used a small heater to thaw it out. The vent for the dehumidifier froze open. Paul ran outside to shove some old towels in the vent to keep out the cold air which caused thawing water to drip on electrical cords and outlets.

My parents lost power in their house today. Their house cooled down quickly which is tough since our furnaces cannot keep up running constantly when the power is on. I can’t wait to get our gas bill for this polar vortex.

It was another cold day, but I had to venture out to the gym. Thankfully it was open, although they reduced their hours.

Is it almost spring yet??

Although I complain, there is something beautiful about winter. There is nothing like curling up by the fire on a very cold day snuggled in blankets. The snow on the trees is breathtaking. There aren’t any bugs.

This weekend we are going to have a heat wave. It will be a balmy 40 degrees. Time to finally dust off those cross country skis! The guys will be heading to the lake to ice fish.

We are hardy people, we will make it through..

 

 

 

Goal 8: Try not to be too hard on myself

When I was a child, my parents were very hard on me. They expected perfection and I tried to deliver. The better behaved I was, the more I was loved.

I was punished for not being good enough. My parents had a hard enough time with my autistic sibling, they didn’t need any problems from me.

When I got a bad grade in elementary school, my dolls were taken away from me for a semester.

I am hard on myself to this very day. If I don’t accomplish enough in a day, I feel very anxious.

So it is no surprise that when I had kids, I tried to be the perfect parent. I thought that if I was the best parent I could be that my kids would turn out the way I wanted them to. If I was loving enough, they would get good grades and like school. If they were disciplined right, they wouldn’t try drugs, etc…(Insert problem here).

Let’s be totally honest, if kids do something wrong the first place society looks is at the parents. What did the parents do wrong to have a child like that? I am just as guilty. There is some truth to that statement, but some kids just make bad choices against their parents wishes.

My own mother faced a lot of blame for having a violent autistic child in the 1980’s.

I tried to be the best parent I could be and that has to be good enough whatever my children choose.

It was so easy when they were babies. I had full control. I decided where we would go. I picked out the little outfits that they were going to wear. They ate what I made.

I tried to share my values and beliefs with them. But I’ll admit, as honest as I am, I lied to my children all the time. I lied to them about who I was. I tried to hide my faults. I pretended to like cartoons and Barney when I really wanted to be head banging to hard rock and watching horror movies. I didn’t swear around them and said a lot of nice words like please and thank you.

Hey, get me a beer was replaced by may I please have some more milk. Gangsta rap music was replaced with catchy tunes like I love you, you love me..we’re a happy family..

I hated pretending to be perfect and being someone I wasn’t. I always just thought that was a part of being a good parent though.

Then my kids grew up. I no longer picked out their little outfits. We stopped reading books together and listening to baby music. I was slowly more free to be me.

Part of the process of letting go is learning to fully be me again. It is losing some of my identity as a mother. Part of that is also showing my kids who I really am. I will share my book with them when they are ready and someday my blog as well.

I also have to accept that the choices my children make might not be what I have in mind for them. I have to be less hard on myself and them when they screw up. I also have to be less hard on myself when I am not perfect.

Perfection should not be my goal. If it is, I will live a life of disappointment because it is unattainable. Plus it annoys the crap out of my family. It is difficult to unlearn something that is so ingrained in me. But it is worth a try.

Maybe I would be a better person if I was a little less perfect. Now doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron?