Making Lemonade

This summer was supposed to be our epic, legendary trek to London, Paris, and Reykjavik. However! We also decided, some time after that inital travel plan, to sell our rental property. To sell this property we need to have money for light renos and fluffing that are beyond regular staging. And we will need to carry that property until the sale closes, which will require patience and fortitude. And money.

This summer is the last one in which I can travel for an extended period of time with both of my midgets. Boy is 14 now, and is already at an age when I expected him to have a summer job. But, it’s all just shit talk until you are raising your own offspring. Next summer when he is 15, he will have a job earning minimum wage, keeping him occupied.

So what to do? Time is of the essence. I decided to use Airbnb to rent out our own living quarters, to raise some funds we can use to travel. I also scaled back our plans to make them more finanically reasonable but still adventurous. I tossed around many ideas, from a road trip in Canada or US, to flying somewhere on the west coast or east coast. Once you add plane travel, a trip gets a lot more expensive of course, but cheap accommodation can make up for that. 

I landed on a trip to Central America or the Caribbean. I found a wonderful rental, very close to the beach, in the Dominican Republic. All of us will fly down there for a 3-week stay, the same length of time we have renters in our own house. The flights are not outrageously priced, and the accommodations are cheap and cheerful. We are getting a little bit of adventure, a lot of relaxation, and all at a price that doesn’t stress me out. Our era of family travelling is going out with a bang.

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How can mere mortals have any hope of ever being attractive?

Celebrities are groomed within an inch of their lives. When you see photos that are high-res, it’s just so obvious:

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07:  Hosts Alan Cumming (L) and Kristin Chenoweth pose backstage during the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 07: Hosts Alan Cumming (L) and Kristin Chenoweth pose backstage during the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

 

 

With that in mind, when you see an attractive civilian, you should be impressed. After all, she doesn’t have layers of spanx and specially-tailored clothing that’s made to be flattering, and she probably doesn’t have a personal cook. She might have a trainer? And a skin care regimen that everyone should be doing but so few of us are. She probably washes her make up off every night and moisturizes and avoids the sun like she’s a vampire. Good for her. Seriously, amazing discipline she must have. A virtual standing O is what I’m giving her.

I can’t handle a bunch of screaming pre-teen girls

I can’t handle having a house full of kids for a sleepover, and it takes a lot of convincing for me to agree to having more than 1 extra kid at a time. So when girl midget approaches me about having a slumber party (was there ever an event more poorly named?), my initial reaction is NO. Inevitably, I’m asked Why Not, because what possible objection could I have for not having 5 pre-teens in my home for a sleepover?! God, Mom, we’ll just take over your living, dining, and kitchen, never sleep a wink, scream regularly, and make a terrible mess for which we will feel no responsibility to clean up. But mostly, I can’t adequately explain my No to my child.

How can a child understand clinical depression when most adults don’t either? It’s much more than being sad. It’s like an ever-present inertia, and I’m trying to force a gigantic cruise ship do a sharp 90 degree right turn. I never succeed in that turn, but I turn the ship enough to stay on course. I hold onto the wheel with all of my force, make the turn, then loosen my grip a little. Bit by bit, I loosen my grip, veering off course slightly but still generally going in the right direction. Soon after that, I find myself too far off my path and I have to make another dramatic turn to: get myself to work, work at my job, clean the kitchen, get the laundry started, walk the dogs, scour the bathroom, and do anything besides sitting or laying down, staring at a tv, a wall, my phone, or a book. I doubt my midgets would be able to understand that analogy. I’m not sure I understand it. I’ve felt this way for so long that it feels unfortunately normal. I talked to my doctor last week about all of this and nothing came of that discussion. So….I guess I have to keep pushing for a remedy? Depressed people are not good at pushing, not most of the time. Sporadically, yes, but not when I’m in a lull.

Little things help perk me up: an iced coffee, a walk with my dogs (if I can get myself out of the house), quiet time with one of my midgets, dinner with husband, working on a crochet project with a well-written pattern, surveying my tidy home that I just cleaned, or creating a vegan food item that looks and tastes good, and is eaten by members of my household.

Deathly Fear of Happiness

Everything will be destroyed. My heart will be broken slowly over time. and I will be unhappy, so let’s get it over with. There is no happy ending to love and marriage.

Husband and I are insanely happy together, but some day one of us will die, leaving the other all alone. And while I do enjoy my alone time, I really like having husband live with me. So this will be a huge bummer.

Also, I’m starting to think parenting is useless. Children grow up to be who they were always meant to be. Their personalities of mine were noticeable since they were aged 3 months old. Mostly I want them to go to post-secondary school and never get a tattoo. Everything else, such as their behaviours, interests, and personal habits are secondary and beyond my control.

Do you know who you are?

In the past year or so, I have been gradually gaining more and more free time. I don’t know what to do with myself because this amount of free time might be temporary.

My youngest turns 12 this weekend, and my other child is 14. We are entering the parental home stretch, and aside from helping with school projects, making food, and driving them places, they don’t need me very much (not physically, anyway). I strive to cultivate our common interests, just to keep a connection with them. But even these activities don’t take much work, especially when compared to 3 years ago.

I’m not the same person I used to be. Most of my free time was gobbled up with mundane tasks and I got used to that. As a result, my personal interests withered quite a bit or were modified to keep me at home minding children outside of school hours. I hardly ever leave the house anymore, except to walk the dogs, go to work, run a few errands, or have a meal in a restaurant. Very rarely do I head out just for the heck of it. I’m simply unused to having that option and I’ve been domesticated. I am also aging, and therefore have a lot less energy than I used to. (For example, I am hiring a gardener to dig up our tiny front lawn and replacing it with gravel.)

Some weekends whiz by with very little interaction with our offspring. Girl midget cleans her room, collects her allowance, and vanishes. Boy midget often has a group project to work on, or he is off playing games at friends’ houses. I spend a significant amount of time cleaning the inside and outside of our house, but its appearance doesn’t reflect that. One can rearrange only so much furniture and purge only so many belongings; I feel like I need most of the items that now reside in my home. But maybe I could do more, right after I have a glass of wine.

Maybe I need another project? I’m working on finding us a good house swap for Hanukkah this year. Nearly anywhere in Europe is cool with us, basically. We are looking for a cultural getaway, somewhere there are museums or sites to see and we don’t need to depend on a car. I also have to work on organizing our house because we have renters coming in August. That one’s boring, but very necessary.

Maybe this abundance of free time isn’t temporary? Dare I hope? Can I get back to being ‘myself’? Someone with varied interests and a busy calendar of activities for myself? Can I take on a big project without needing buy-in from the other people who live in my house?

I’m Super Grumpy. So effing what?

This morning I walked my dogs 3 kms, returned home, got ready for work and then rode my bike to work another 7.5 kms. (Don’t be too impressed. I still look all of my 44 years and not in a 44-is-the-new-34 sort of way) During my trudging, I listened to the Monday Morning pod cast, produced each week by Bill Burr. He is a grumpy comedian, my favourite kind. I’m reveling in my sour mood because I’m not at this moment able to do anything else about it. I might as well relax and accept what is.

I am also a big fan of Mom of 4 is Tired. It’s honest, funny, and relatable. And she is often grumpy too, or at least a little pessimistic about the state of her world. My sister in arms, basically.

Keep yourself entertained today and don’t think about the suffering in the world and all the children and animals who are in peril and how much your job sucks that you’re lucky to have, and how messy your house is, and how you have no idea what food to assemble for dinner because it’s all so overwhelming. And don’t think about how wonderful your kids are and marvel they turned out so well (so far) given how much neglect they have probably (but hopefully not) suffered because of your own depression and other shit.

Amy Schumer is another one to watch. Check out this little skit on pious dog owners.

 

30 Unforgettable Things My Mom Taught Me About Marriage

Yep.

Thought Catalog

1. 

It’s easy to be happy in your relationship when everything is going well. But the true test of a marriage is about sticking together when things are really shitty.

2.

There’s always going to be someone that you’re convinced is happier or more financially stable or more in love with their partner than you are with yours. But worrying about them will do nothing for you. And besides, you have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. Forget about them and worry about working on your own relationship, every single day.

3.

Pick the person you want to take on a mortgage with, not the person you want to throw a wedding with.

4.

Marry someone for their heart and their soul, because at some point, their looks are going to change.

5.

Fighting is a healthy and necessary part of any relationship. But there’s a difference between…

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A Few Million Good Citizens

Just like millions of other people, I have consistent healthcare available. I’m on the ‘grid’ due to my health card, driver’s license, and passport. My medical records, although secure, aren’t impossible to obtain given the right permissions and computer skills. Being identified is normal and usually doesn’t trouble me. Is that because I’m a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen? Yep. Any trouble I have found myself in during my life has been minor at best, and easily remedied by paying a fine or apologising profusely.

When I get pulled over by police my biggest worry is that I will get a ticket for a traffic law violation. I’m not concerned with handing over my ID, ownership and proof of insurance.

I’m watching a show called American Odyssey, which is based on global conspiracy set in North America and some Middle East countries. I love that sort of plot, especially when we see how the lives of characters are connected in seemingly random ways. Eventually the plot unfolds and we see these connections are not coincidental but instead are deliberate. The homes of characters are bugged, spies are everywhere, and because this drama is set in modern-day, cell phones are tracked, and military drones carry out most of the killing and surveillance. With just one call placed by cell phone anywhere in the world, the characters are immediately identified, tracked, and targeted for elimination. These events seem realistic to me, and if I were more of a renegade I might be concerned.

My mother has been in hospital lately for an ailment that has plagued her for years and finally came to a point where diagnosis is possible. Her hospital roommate turns out to be an acquaintance of mine, through the dog rescue I adopted my dogs from (LotsaDogs Rescue) and am still involved with. It’s a surprising coincidence considering that neither I nor my mom’s roommate live nearby that hospital.

But I am not an outlier or a rebel. I am a boring nobody who is raising a couple more boring nobodies. Sometimes I feel like I live in a giant ant farm for all the difference I make in the world.