Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Being Southern, Coping mechanisms, Home and hearth, In the Southland, Oh for pete's sake, responsible adult, Spouse
I woke up at 4 this morning. No particular reason but something said “get up” even as laying back down seemed like it should be inviting, but wasn’t. Fresh coffee is extra special at 4 am, especially when there’s a small curly dog snuggled next to you, and a cat who is pretty sure you exist to provide her with a lap.
Last night, Himself gave me a glare and said “May 1st, the air conditioner is coming on.” He was very stern and as I opened my mouth to protest he cut me off and said ‘MAY FIRST”. Am I the only one (barring Canadians and those nearby) who think May 1st is kind of ridiculous? I know, he’s hot. I see the sweat, hear the grumblings, and was on the receiving end of a lecture from #4 about Pride and Inflexibility Concerning Air Conditioning. I am accustomed to these arguments ’round about May 20, due to an ingrained belief that A/C before June 1 is Self Indulgent and Ridiculous.
O for an old house with high ceilings and an attic fan. O to live out in the country where there’s pecan trees shading the roof and breezes. O for a family who understands my inflexibility on such matters. O for some consideration for my husband, who earns the income and deserves to be comfortable in his own house. Sigh.
So ok fine. I will close the windows,
cutting off the honeysuckle scented morning breeze, blocking out the evening song of peepers and martins, cloaking us all in the artificiality of climate control, and be considerate of Himself, who earns the income and deserves to be comfortable in his own home. He spends all day in the confines of a hot textile mill, or walking around in the South Georgia humidity outside. I will do it. yes I will. But I won’t be very happy about it.
And I will be happy that I am doing what I can to make my husband comfortable in his own home. Because I love him and he bends over backward to make me happy. I can do this one thing that will make him very happy. And I will be happy about it.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, solving personal problems, Spouse
Men and dogs share this one characteristic. They can fall asleep like flipping a light switch. Yesterday, Terry and I drove 4 hours (one way) to spend some time with CJ and help get his trailer set up. On the way there, (I was driving) Terry said “I’m going to take a quick nap” and within moments…like 30 seconds…there was a soft snoring coming from the seat. It lasted about 15 minutes, then he woke up. Same thing on the way home.
This morning, I got up, let the dogs out, poured a cup of coffee, and got in the recliner. Rusty jumped up next to my legs, flopped his head on my ankle and within moments was snoring softly. He’s still there. Snoring softly and smelling like old cheese (hm…).
Fortunately Terry never smells like old cheese.
Anyway, how do they DO that? I can’t fall asleep like that. I have to go through a process, a long and involved one. Dinner will have to have been something light like a bowl of cereal or a salad. After 27 years of being an adult and responsible for the meals, I finally figured that one out.First, a cup of warm (not hot! Not cold for that makes me cough, it has to be about 120 degrees) herbal tea heavy on the chamomile. Then, a large handful of all the prescription stuff. Then, quiet reading for however long it takes to get sleepy. No action stuff, no really good books that make me wonder what happens next or requires thinking. It has to be some kind of formulaic fluff where you know that Protagonist A will end up with Protagonist B and the antagonist is something like the weather or a mean horse. Dim light, pillows in the proper position for optimal spinal support and comfort (Terry calls it my nest), ambient temperature has to be somewhere between 67 and 70 degrees (in the winter) or 78 and 80 degrees (in the Summer). After laying on my right side, and cracking all the joints there are, I will finally be ready to start the real process of attempting to go to sleep. Earplugs-check. Water bottle that blocks the glare of light from the large-number clock-check. Fluff the pillows again. Try laying on my left side for variety’s sake. Decide that doesn’t work and return to right side. Legs straight. No, bent. No, straight. Right leg straight and left one bent. Ok. Left foot reaching over to see if Terry’s there. Ok he is. ahhh…finally falling asleeWHAT WAS THAT NOISE?! *sigh*
and all the while, Terry is softly snoring next to me, having fallen asleep 30 seconds after he turned out his bedside light.
I envy that. I am happy for him, really I am.
Do you remember as a child, when you didn’t have to go through this ridiculous 2 hour ritual in order to sleep? I remember the only ritual I had for getting into bed was making a sprint down the hallway so I could leap from the bedroom doorway (and hit the light switch at the same time) and land on the bed without ever touching the floor, so as to avoid the potential of being dragged under the bed and reduced to a pile of dry bones by whatever it was that lived there. I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything there but being a cautious sort of child, I wasn’t taking any chances. Mom always made me clean out from under the bed because I never could convince her that if the under-the-bed was crowded with stuff there was no room for whatever otherwise would have lived under there. Anyway, after the grand leap (and admonitions from downstairs to STOP RUNNING!) I would land on the bed and fall asleep, comfortable in the safety of sleeping right in the middle of it so nothing could reach, also protected by the Quilt Of Invincibility Which No Monster Could Cross.
What happens as an adult that that ability to fall asleep so easily evaporates? It started happening right about when puberty hit. I began reading in bed, listening to soft music (Oh y’all…Mike Kellogg- Best. Night. Music. Ever.), then drinking the tea…etc. I noticed upon getting married that Terry could fall asleep so easily, and later also sleep the sleep of the innocent even while a baby was screaming 3 feet away from his ear. That one earned him a middle of the night punch when I was 3 weeks into motherhood and thought it was grossly unfair.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that he (and other men, I have since found out) can fall asleep so easily. Our boys do it too. I wonder if their wives will be able to do it as well, or, like me, have to develop a 2 hour ritual with a contingency plan.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Disease and infirmity, responsible adult, Spouse
I don’t know what I did to deserve such a group of friends and family. If I did, I’d bottle it and give it away and we’d have world peace and rainbows and fat-free pound cake that tasted good.
So, yesterday I whined about the house. Then a friend offered to come clean my bathrooms. Then another friend informed Terry that there was a local maid service and I probably would be happy if they showed up and did the floors, bathrooms, and dusted. So he called them and they are coming on Friday.
And of course, I am one of those people who has to clean before the maid comes. Terry gave me a sideways look about that. I mean…ok. things have gotten pretty cluttered around here, and no one really wants a stranger poking around the clutter because they don’t know where stuff goes. So…even though I am feeling absolutely NO better, I am tackling the clutter. One pile at a time. With a cup of tea and an hour of Dr. Phil in between piles. And probably overdoing it. But if you had someone coming to clean your house, wouldn’t you want it to really look CLEAN when they’re done? I also know how much easier it is to really CLEAN if you aren’t having to do it around piles.
I’ll probably send David out for a rotisserie chicken for supper. We can eat a carrot with it, because they don’t need much preparation.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Home and hearth, Oversharing, Spouse
I woke up this morning feeling cruddy. I have the flu, and while I am not grateful for that, it has generated an awareness of several things for which I am profoundly grateful. Because I am sick- achy all over, with skin and teeth and hair hurting- and lack a certain attention span necessary for a coherent and well written article, I am going to make a list. In no particular order.
- Bagels and packaged cream cheese: an easy breakfast requiring absolutely no effort on my part.
- Not having to work. That’s the biggest one. As I was swallowing aspirin and struggling to work up the initiative to pour a cup of coffee, I realize that I didn’t have to put on makeup, get dressed in anything more complicated than a track suit, get the child to school (Terry offered), and go to a job that required thinking and responsibility. Not only that, my not going to work was in no way going to jeopardize the well being of the family. No money is not being earned, no bills are not going to be paid. I am not bragging. I truly am deeply grateful and amazed that this family is in a position that me being sick for a few days means nothing more than the floors look like crap and the meals are not-quite gourmet. I know that many families are not so fortunate.
- The aformentioned track suit. They’re soft. My skin hurts, and a fever means sometimes I’m burning up (and I can take off the jacket, being home alone means I can take off the jacket and only wear a sports bra, and since I am NOT built like Serena Williams, that can be an unfortunate fashion faux pas, but being home alone means I don’t care), and sometimes I am freezing, and put the jacket on, which being incredibly soft it doesn’t hurt my skin, which hurts. Also my hair hurts. And my eyelashes. And fingernails. But that’s ok.
- Canned soup. I’m not supposed to eat anything from packages or cans, due to kidney and salt issues. But when I am sick I Do Not Care. I don’t feel like simmering chicken legs and roasting garlic and sauteing shallots with barley and chopping oregano and thyme to make homemade chicken soup. I want to crack a can of Campbell’s Tomato and have some crackers and cheese and call it a meal. I want someone to go to Southern Palace and get a quart of Hot and Sour soup and some crab rangoon and those little fried things and make a pot of lemon tea and be waited on the way I wait on them when they’re sick. Which they do, as much as they can, and for that I am deeplygrateful
- Being allowed to be sick. When I was growing up, illness was considered a character flaw in our household. We were permitted one day of puny-ness, anything beyond that was malingering and forbidden. I still carry that notion, and the second , third or 5th day of illness (for me, personally) is as uncomfortable mentally as it is physically. I Should Feel Better. I Am Being Self Indulgent. As a Calvinist Presbyterian, self indulgence is frowned upon. Being married to a Free Will Baptist has softened that philosophy a bit, and I am able to permit other family members to be sick for more than 24 hours, but personally it is still difficult. Having a loving husband who says things like “Take it easy today, that’s an order”, and being a God-fearing wife who believes in things like obedience to my husband (who really does have my best interest in mind, and doesn’t abuse that power AT ALL), I am able to actually take it easy for a second, third, or 5th day.
and that’s all I have the energy for.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Home and hearth, perspective, Spouse
I remember this time last year, early New Year’s Day, and the relief I felt at seeing the backside of 2011. I hated that year. Oh sure, I wrote cheerful stuff, because that’s what I do, but 2011 was ROUGH and I breathed a deep sigh of relief to see it gone.
2012 was much better, thank you, with significantly less event-caused anxiety. Plenty of anxiety, to be sure, all you have to do is roll through the year’s posts to see that, but it was physiologically induced, rather than outside-influence based. That is much easier to deal with because all that was required to fix it was a prolonged whine to The Good Dr. H and subsequent prescribing of lovely, lovely Wellbutrin. None of this “Oh I like to handle problems on my own. Taking pills is for weak people who can’t deal with life in a real way.” Been there, done that, and why the hell should I when I don’t have to? Also? People like that either don’t really grasp the depth and enormity of what fracked-up brain chemicals can do to one’s perceptions, or they burn up and their psyche turns to ash, which isn’t good for anything except making lye. Which is caustic. Psychological lye…oo I could go somewhere with that analogy!
2012..well, Once I get permission from Terry (who is still asleep at this 7am, he must have slept poorly last night), I’ll let you know what all the work stuff about which I cautiously aluded. (What a horribly constructed sentence…)
The year saw #1 moving in, and moving back out. #2 threw himself back into school, and succeeded. He’s almost where he will get his scholarship back. This upcoming semester will tell. It saw #3 growing in ways I never expected, but knew he was capable of. And #4 getting into sports, which was also not expected, but had delightful results.
My sewing business took off, due to a couple of friends who told their friends. Also the beginnings of work with a real designer who hired a friend and me as seamstresses. No, I can’t support my family with the earnings, but I was able to seriously improve the contents of my closet, and have some genuine self-earned confidence.
My relationship with Terry has grown, which was much needed and quite wonderful. I love the man, and wasn’t very good at showing it. I learned how to show it, and that was very good.
My relationship with God has grown. I have learned to recognize His will, and accept it as good, and to recognize His handiwork in the lives of my family. Seeing that has made it possible to let go of the control I wanted to have over the lives of the boys, and allow Him to do His work without me getting in the way. And that led to less frustration for everyone. I still want to control, but being able to take a deep breath and remind myself that God knows what He’s doing means I can give the reins back to Him and go about doing what He has set out for me to do.
I was able to get a particular person out of my head, someone who was in there, finding and feeding my insecurities, that I was allowing to control how I felt about my life and work as a housewife and mother. Thanks to the simple help of a couple of God-given friends that criticism was negated and I was able to see that person for who and what she was, get angry, then get over it.
I have no idea what 2013 will hold. The possibilities are myriad. I don’t really even have any expectations, like I typically do. Sure, there are some things I would LIKE to do. Make another dress (or two) for the designer, figure out if I want to move the vegetable garden into the rose garden and make the current vegetable garden into a shade/herb garden, get the guest bedroom painted and decorated and pretty. Learn how to make blue jeans, now that I have a sewing machine capable of that sort of heavy duty thing…
But the rest of it? Terry’s work, the kids, anything involving other people…who knows? I guess my real resolution for the year is to take it as it comes, and quit trying to orchestrate it all.
So, to all y’all (all 12 of you!) who read this, Happy New Year, and may this year see enough contentment to make you grateful, and enough Interesting Stuff to keep you alert.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: a weekend away, In the Southland, Oversharing, Spouse
and, no more navel gazing, at least not until next time. I promise.
So, the afternoon of Christmas Day (the morning of which was lovely and quiet. #4 gifted me with a rubber mallet and a set of chisels, because I am always griping about them not rinsing their dishes thus resulting in me saying something like “Now I need a hammer and chisel to get this mess up!”) we drove to Alabama to spend a bit of time with my parents and CJ (#3 son, who is living with them while looking for work…that’s another post.) CJ gifted #4 with a tricked out left handed .22 rifle, which #4 promptly used to hit a 4 inch target from 200 yards away. We were all impressed.
The next morning Terry and I left for the much anticipated 3 days in a secluded mountain cabin, where we essentially…well. Ok. I didn’t wear pants for the entire time. Or much of anything else,for that matter. There was a hot tub, and there was the end-of-the-trip reminder from Terry. “My sweat is the secret ingredient in Cialis.” And that’s all I’ve got to say about THAT.
We stayed here, in this cabin. It was rainy and gross when we drove up there, which wasn’t really an issue because we weren’t going to hike or do anything outdoorsy, and the cabin is comfortably equipped with a humongous hot tube and a lovely woodstove. The very moment Terry stepped out of the truck to check in at the main office, the rain turned to snow, and it was beautiful, big fat flakes like a welcoming committee that said “Of course it’s snowing! You’re in the mountains and there’s a hot tub!” Did I mention that the cabin is equipped with a hot tub? Sitting in the hot tub first thing in the morning (which is, inexplicably, 4am for us), when the woodstove hasn’t warmed up yet, and the coffee is fresh and hot…y’all, that’s bliss for me. Also having a big hairy man in a plaid flannel shirt and good fitting jeans which totally appeals to my Lumberjack Fantasy…but that’s all I’m going to say about that.
It was…probably…well, it probably ranks right up there with our honeymoon for an entry on the short list of Best Times Ever.
Also? That Lumberjack did ALL the cooking and ALL the cleaning up. All of it. He recognized that vacations tend to not be much of a vacation for me, as I generally do the cooking and cleanup just like I do at home. So he did ALL of it and all I had to do was sit around and read, soak in the hot tub, and not wear pants (or much else). I did wear a bathrobe, as the cabin could be cool, and in spite of being way out in the woods, there was an inherent reluctance to stand on the porch in the altogether.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Dreams, perspective, Spouse, Who does that
We’re better now. The crushing disappointment of yesterday has been warped into anger, which burned for a while and was settled with the hurling of curses and humor (that always seems to work for us), and soothed with the discussion and anticipation of the upcoming restorative trip.
One of the parties involved, 12 hours after being the cause of the crushing disappointment, had the stunningly poor taste to send Himself an email Christmas card saying “HappyHolidays from all of us at The Place !, which resulted in a flurry of emails between Himself and Myself, mainly stating that, the least they could have done after all that was send flowers!
Gosh I wish I could go into details, but Himself request not. Business was involved, and High Finance. It was all very heady stuff and quite exciting, but where there’s great excitement, there’s always the potential for equally great disappointment, and that’s what happened. The good news is that we are no worse off than we were when all this started, and that’s a very good thing. I’ll just call it all fantasy and carry on.
Perspective helps. No one died. What happened to us was merely a disappointment and we’ll get over it. We didn’t lose anything, other than daydreams and some hope.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Home and hearth, Kids, Spouse, Who does that
I guess it’s all settling in. The weekend has been emotional- highs and lows, good stuff and bad. Some stuff was both good *and* bad, which is hard to chew on and swallow but there it is anyway. I’m not able to go into it more than that, as it involves people who are not me, and is very personal. However it was cathartic in a sad sort of way.
I am mentally processing the events of last Thursday. Being far enough removed from it that I was not directly affected, I can do that. For that I am profoundly thankful.
I was able to spend a bit of time with my eldest, He Who Moved Out And Who’s Former Bedroom Was Painted Pink. He is doing remarkably well. And why not? Because I am…well… For all my Scottish Presbyterian Heritage, in my heart of hearts I am an over controlling Italian-Jewish Mother. Sorry son, but that’s reality. I was pretty sure he was wasting away into nothing, surviving (barely) on cheap sodas and stale popcorn, living in a cardboard box next to the dumpster outside the movie theater where he works. Imagine my delighted surprise to see him healthy and pink, in need of nothing more than a ride (due to a flat tire) and a little time with his mother. He even let me see his apartment, which was comfortably furnished, tidy, and smelled nice. He is working many hours, and…well, I am really happy to see for myself that he is doing so well.
(I use “well” too much. Too bad.)
We finally got the Christmas tree up and sort of decorated. David helped get it into the stand, which took some finagling and application of wooden blocks due to the screws in the stand being rusted in place, and me being too cheap to go get another one because at least this one doesn’t leak. I will throw it away, and note in next year’s calendar (late November) that it was discarded,so I don’t get pissed off at not being able to find it. Once it was in place, the lights were put on, 100 small white ones and 250 smaller colored ones. It looks so pretty I left it that way, then when everyone came in later in the day, they agreed that it looked very pretty, so we didn’t put any ornaments on it. None. Just lights. We are all still pleased with it. Yesterday Terry said it was very modern and minimalist, which is a style I like anyway, so I felt complimented by that.
And so it is. All the gifts are bought and wrapped. All that remains are stocking stuffer stuff, which will get done this week one day when I am bored. Big Lots..that’s the best place for that sort of thing.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: fashion and sewing, Home and hearth, Projects, Spouse
But you would too.
So, I had this problem. The only half-decent place I had for cutting out clothes and such was the dining table. Now, it’s a lovely table, and it’s very wide and long so there’s all kinds of room, I mean this table is like North and South Dakota put together in one spot…huge! What I like about it is the width, wide enough to lay out…well anyway, you get the point. It’s a nice big table. However…
It’s a tad low. Just right for pulling up a chair and eating, or playing cards, or whatever. Notsomuch for standing at and cutting stuff out. That bend-over thing necessary to do the work was…painful. Nearly debilitating if a lot had to be done. I’d cut something out, and it it involved more than about 45 minutes of work, I’d have to spend the next couple of hours in the chair with a heating pad on my lower back, a soothing cup of tea by my side and an episode of Ballykissangel on the tube. (I recommend that show…look it up. Netflix and Amazon both have it). And tylenol.
Anyway, Terry, observant and generous man that he is, noticed the problem. He has also been uncommonly cheerful due to an assortment of MASSIVE changes at work- those mysterious ones I’ve barely eluded to, but will explain hopefully after the first of the year. His good cheer and a blastingly thorough cleanup and organization of his woodshop resulted in a dramatic upswing in creativity, and he wanted to make something that he could do quickly, for encouragement to get his woodworking mojo back.
Well, I’d say it worked because O people, he fixed my problem in a fantastically effective way, that has me positively giggly and as soon as I am mentally 100% it will get used most enthusiastically, as the fabric and patterns have arrived from the designer and people, I’ve got a wedding dress to make.
Behold, my new Folding Cutting Table, Feast your eyes on it’s wonderfulness and stuff.
The legs swing out to hold up the top, and swing back in, with the leaves folding down to make this neat package that fits nicely in the closet, or a corner of the room (currently occupied by a small Christmas tree.) It is entirely his own design, not something from a magazine.
We have been married for 26-1/2 years. Wow, that seems like a long time when it’s written down like that, but it’s gone by really fast.
This morning, we were up… well… early for the rest of the world, but late for us- 6:00 am. After a cup of coffee, about 6:30, Terry started kind of twitching and said “I guess I’m turning into your father.”
I knew exactly what he meant. In my family, people like Dad are said to “not idle well” or in mechanical terms, “He idles rough.” Terry’s about 75% done with a wonderful project, and was anxious to get back to it, but also with the knowledge that church was this morning and time with me drinking morning coffee is important, etc…I read that without words, and reasoned with him about why it was a good time to go out to the shop: 4 hours before church, I have to be there early so I’ll drive myself in, a bunch of logistical details so he can work in the shop and still get there in time to hear the choir sing a couple of classical songs we’ve been working hard on. He never said “I want to go out into the shop and work.” but I knew it because I could hear him idling rough.
So, he went upstairs to dress and I wandered into the kitchen to fix him another cup of coffee to take outside.
/aside For those of you in cooler climes, it’s 61F this morning…I think that’s around 15-16C. Not that I’m bragging or anything, but the Winters around here are outstanding. /end aside
When he came down and got his shoes on, I pointed toward the kitchen and said “There’s a thing of stuff for you on the thing in that room.” and he replied “Oh! Thank you! Did you put enough stuff in it?” and I replied “I think so- a heaping whatever.” ”Oh excellent, thank you.”
We’ve known each other long enough to understand. I like that but sometimes it can make for lazy language.