July 05, 2011

In Order of No Particular Importance

My apologies for the following rambling post - it lets you get inside what my brain is like most of the time...I understand if you never want to come back after reading.

Sometimes, I get really tired of feeling like I'm a single mom to 4 kids, instead of a married woman with 3. BB just sort of goes into this mode of "take care of me, I can't do anything for myself" and it makes me angry. I mean, I understand if you are sick, or injured. That's fine - I don't expect you to pitch in when you can't stand up without pitching over! However, if you're just cranky from the heat or needing something to eat, and you're physically capable of expressing said conditions with the English language to me, then you'd better darn well speak up and say it instead of having a temper tantrum and yelling at me for "asking a stupid question." I'm trying really hard to keep my temper in check these days, to choose my words wisely for their meaning, their grace, and to keep my children from sounding like they grew up in a kitchen or around a group of swearing sailors. But when someone is working physically hard alongside someone else (both of whom are adults) in the heat and humidity, and a message doesn't get conveyed about something crucial, DO NOT EXPECT ME TO READ YOUR FREAKING MIND! Ok, I feel a bit better about that. Hopefully, as we venture out on our camping trip this week, we'll have better and more frequent communication and less blow ups. Rest assured, I am in no danger, nor threatened with bodily harm. Just tired of getting yelled at for things over which I have absolutely no control.

I often wonder why things just sort of stack up on my counters and tables. I discovered the answer this week when I used the car to run some errands without the kids. I had a sitter because the kids were napping but I had to get some things taken care of so I jumped into our 2nd vehicle (BB had the motorcycle) and found it heaped high with wrappers, empty soda cans, winter hats and gloves, ice scrapers, empty sippy cups (at least now I know where the heck they all are!), receipts, spiral notebooks etc. I was not thrilled, as early on in our relationship, BB gave me a hard time about how I kept my car "so dirty" when he got in and found an empty Fivebucks cup in the cup holder from my drive to work that morning, and I moved my purse out of the passenger seat onto the floorboard of the back. Keep in mind that at the time, we were both working full time outside of the house, had no children, and I'd bought and paid for that car myself - the only thing I can honestly say that about! I was taken aback and set out to try really hard to not leave trash and things in the vehicles. I still, to this day, routinely take 5 - 10 minutes after each outing (after getting the kids settled for naps mostly) to gather up napkins, tissues, straw wrappers, drink cups, food pieces, hair accessories, toy cars and the like. I faithfully gather any receipt that didn't get deposited in my wallet for some reason, and even try to vacuum the upholstery and carpets once a week. I admit I don't always get it done, but I try. I put loose coins in the coin holder and put them into our giant "dream vacation" jug (a 20-gallon glass water bottle that's about 3-gallons full right now). I'm not perfect. I try really hard to model "put it where it belongs when you're done using it" for the kids. I try to make sure that if I'm done with something - whether for the moment or the long haul, that I put it where it goes. We do keep our cups/glasses throughout most of the day simply because I don't have enough to get a clean one out every time someone wants a drink of water, and I often leave things in a designated spot for BB to look at. I do NOT, however, condone, nor contribute to the detritus on my half-wall countertop. We have an "open floor plan" and the wall behind my kitchen sink is a half wall which creates a counter that is about 4 feet high and 12 inches wide. It runs about 8 feet or so, and I keep a perpetual calendar of Scripture, my African Violet and my sunglasses up there. However, as I sit here right now, I'm staring at a collection of empty yogurt tubs filled with random tools from BB's shop that have either been purchased and/or used in the last 10 days but are still sitting there. As I got yelled at for putting things in the wrong place last time I took things out there, I simply put them all in a box in my utility room when I get tired of them being on my counter, and once a week or so, I put the box on one of his workbenches with a note that says something like "I brought these out so you can have more time to get things the way you like out here." SO...there's these tools, some work gloves, a packing tape dispenser, BB's tray for his keys and change is heaped high with all sorts of things, we have 6, count 'em 6 empty cups from various kids' meals, and a hair brush for the cats. The table beside BB's chair, on which rests a gorgeous basket and a lamp, are also, books, legos, cars, doll clothes, magazines, and I think I even see a couple empty plates...BB's side table has empty cups, cords, used tissues, and a half-empty sleeve of saltine crackers...when I asked the kids why they didn't put away their toys yesterday, they flat out said "Daddy doesn't put his things away, so we don't have to either." Needless to say that did not go over well. At all. After a serious talk with the kids, I had one with BB...he's now cranky at me. Oh, and then he had the nerve to ask me when I was going to get a project involving lots of moving boxes, tables, sweeping, dumping, sorting, purging and organizing done, but didn't offer to help and when I asked if he'd be available to help he said no, he had better things to do.

I often wonder when the line is crossed between "compliment" and "creepy". Over the last year, I've been working really hard to lose weight, and I've lost quite a bit. Not as much, nor as quickly as I'd like to, but quite a bit nonetheless. I've posted on FB, left comments for my fellow journeyers...the usual things I like to do. One person, who is a mutual friend of one my journeyers and also a neighbor approached me at our HOA picnic and said "WOW! You look great. I knew you were working hard but hadn't seen any updated pictures on your Facebook page. The hair cut...there's just so much less of you!" I was flattered, as I know the compliment was sincere. Upon reflection, it was just sort of weird as the conversation kept going for several minutes until someone else at the picnic needed my attention. I just sort of wondered if there was something creepy there, or just the compliment. I have no reason nor enough vanity to assume that he was attracted to me, or that things were bad with his family. But sometimes, you just sort of get that little niggling voice in your head that won't let it go...I'm holding to the thought that he was sincere, and heartfelt in recognizing the hard work and the results.

Do you ever wonder why there are times when you KNOW you have a long list of things that really do have a deadline??? I know, as an at-home mom, no one is going to come along and give me an "F" on a report card if I don't actually get something done on a particular day. But when you're preparing for company, or a vacation, or to clean carpets, install something, have something delivered...and there are preparatory steps to be taken before the actual act can occur - it must get done. Sometimes, with me, that list brings out my inner brat and I promptly plop down in BB's chair and play a game on the computer, blog, read blogs, poke around FB, or sit and watch mindless TV shows. I know, it's ok and necessary to take breaks from working, whether it be mental or physical, to allow you to refocus, refresh...but it is NOT refreshing yourself when you glance at said list (or think it over) and metaphorically (sometimes physically) run away screaming from the tasks at hand.

Confession - I am a lazy person. I do NOT like housework. I do NOT like yard work. I do NOT like to cook, clean, do laundry, iron, scrub toilets, wash floors. I would much rather sit around and read books, do puzzles, color pictures, anything but actually work. Growing up, it drove me bonkers that my mother couldn't sit still and just enjoy being still. She had to be constantly in motion...and she had her routine of what task got done on what day. She still does. Her house is always immaculate, she is always impeccably put together (even for digging in the gardens), and she always has something wonderful to feed you no matter the time or day of your visit. I, on the other hand, always seem to be scrambling to find the time to do all the things that need doing. I've always got something that got left undone. Often, I just sort of freeze when I realize that I am the grown-up. I am the grown-up. I'm not sure I'm qualified to be a housewife, let alone mother to 3 children...who put me in charge and when are they coming back?!?!?!?!?!? SO, I struggle to keep myself accountable at times. After all, my parents aren't reminding and nagging me to get things done. However, since they're not here, if I want it done, I'm the one who has to do it.

I'd rather sit and do nothing, so I spend the time I'm doing something thinking about how I can be more efficient, how I can save time, energy, but get the most done. I blame it on my waitressing days and the managers who used to squawk out "Work smarter, not harder!" like sick parrots...you know, the idea of "don't be empty-handed on your shift" sort of thing.

Well, now that I've frittered away 90 minutes, I guess it's time to get my rear in gear, get showered and dressed and start the final preparations for our camping trip.

OH YEAH...I almost forgot. We're heading out to a State Park, to camp for 5 days in our trailer, on a ridge overlooking a lake. The area we're camping in is only a few miles from the edge of a rather nasty wildfire that actually closed down the Interstate Highway. It is supposed to be in the mid 80s. Hopefully it will be cool and we can find the recreational beach, otherwise, we'll be spending time at the municipal pool and not a lot at the camp ground.

Toodles - I'll be back on the 10th.


Penny said...

have a good time..relax..make sure all the tasks get shared..it takes 2 ya know!!

Queen Mother said...

I think your BB and Pa came from the same mold.
There are days when you just want to send them back to their mom's and say finish raising them or just keep them.