Friday, April 29, 2011

Aunt with OCD

I had a super fun weekend with my 'family of origin', cousins from Norway, and of course my little clutch. We were roughing it in a cabin in the Central Washington but not really roughing it like camping.

It's my aunt and uncle's cabin, and as they have never had kids, they can be very particular about their things. Also very particular about waste management: garbage, recycling, food scraps. The process of throwing things away requires a very time consuming sorting process and a steep learning curve on their many processes.

It's as though they are living in the great depression, saving every scrap of junk for potential use later. They gave us stinky, flimsy, ancient towels to use in the bathroom that you wouldn't even use as a rag. They are not poor by any means either. They both have advanced degrees and are execs in the banking industry. She put me in charge of the dinner one night and came behind meand scraped my empty cans for a few extra tablespoons of its contents.

I think if she saw how many disposable diapers we used on our trip, she would have a cardiac arrest. I felt like I had to stash my garbage like contraband. Every paper plate was gathered up and set aside for the bonfire, every drop of grease captured and contained in an old whip cream tub and every empty beer/wine bottle confiscated.  She wore the same black pants every day and some very old Christmas turtleneck and sweater - even though it was Easter.  I am by no means a fashion expert or beauty queen, but I know that would alert the fashion police.

One time she screamed at my littlest Chickadee for jumping around in the kitchen.  I'm not exaggerating. It was more than a yell; it was a prolonged shouting rant.  I'm sorry, but kids are sometimes wild and unruly. Actually, they are often.  I don't have the energy to constantly chastise  them for their natural instincts - they tune me out. So my aunt went ballistic and immediately the mood was uncomfortable.  It brought back memories from childhood when I didn't feel welcome to be a kid in their home either. Always being lectured.  And I thought they were soooo dull.  One time as an adult they let us use their car for a few days. To thank them, we filled up the tank with gas.  She had a fit because we didn't write down the odometer miles because she tracks it on a spreadsheet.   I never hear her crack a joke or laugh out loud, which to me is absolutely unacceptable. I love to joke around.

Now they're talking about us buying their house from them so we'll have it in our family another generation. Honestly, I would instantly upgrade everything because I have no tolerance for 70's appliances and 1900's doors, walls, counters, windows, steps, patios, fixtures.  Since they're too cheap (I mean frugal) to have functional, attractive digs.  The place is always frigidly cold, so I have to sleep in a hat and gloves when I sleep over. The pillows and matresses feel like stones.  C'mon, splurge on some comforts!

That's my rant for the week.  Until next time someone aggravates me....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shortest Non-Blog Post in the West

I need to be hitting the pillow and sleeping, but wanted to briefly spew out some of the latest.

I'm enjoying my guitar lessons and learning lots. My brain and hands are starting to cooperate with each other. I've watched a few YouTube videos that teach you how to read notes and that has been super helpful too. I'm not great at practicing every day, but oh well, I'm not good at doing anything daily - except feeding and diapering the l'il Chicken Hawk.

I've read two great audio books this week. My way of beating the system and not giving in 100% to full time motherhood. MUST.TUNE.OUT.THE.NOISE.OF.FIGHTING.SISTERS.

We got a babysitter Saturday night and proceeded to have a most excellent dinner with LOTS of drinks with a group of friends. We've named ourselves of the Party of 5 club since we all have 3 kids. Believe it or not, we were a cool group of peeps - at least in our own minds. So many margaritas, so little sleep... The Big Guy was hangover all day on Sunday and I was teetering on the edge of it. There was some ridiculous stage dancing going on at the hole-in-the-wall biker bar we were at. I've got no moves - it's no secret. I laughed a lot that night - which is very therapeutic for me as laughter can be hard to come by most days.

I'm in total packing mode now. T-2 days until we leave for Washington and I'm anxious about all the gear required for this jaunt. I pray we survive it. Need to pack as light as possible without forgetting anything.

I'm starting to teach the littlest Chickadee preschool lessons with a box of Mother Goose Time curriculum I have at home. We just do the projects together and I quiz her on things and make it very low key. Then of course I utilize the preschool on TV with shows on Nick JR. and on PBS. While everyone else is dropping big dough on Montessori schools, I'm taking the renegade approach. She gets her social time with her sister and at the Y while I work out and when we have an occasional kid mixer (aka play date - we don't use that lame word).

I do a lot of laundry every day and never can seem to get around to folding and putting away. Today I did. I'm also getting the oldest Chickadee to fold her own clothes and put them away. Love it! No free ride around here kids; we must all do our part!

Haven't really pursued a new job. I 'network' here and there, mentioning that I'm looking for a job. BUT, I'm not really sold on finding a job. Still hoping to land something part time many months from now. In the mean time, thinking of story ideas, reading up on writing, figuring out what I really want out of life in terms of career path and finetuning my domestic goddess skills.

That's enough spewing. So you see how exciting it is here at SMW.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My First Life Coaching Session

I know several life coaches - all women interestingly - and I have never been very interested in using one for myself. I always assumed they were all followers of "The Secret" and full of buzz words and hype. (Kind of like those Wal Mart managers who lead the chants and cheers before each shift.) Last week, however, I won an email promotion giving me a free hour session of life coaching.

It came at an ideal time too as I am floundering at the crossroads of the working mom and the dreaded 'just a mom' status - aka SAHM. I am not going to slam it though like I used to. I'm actually starting to see the merits of being a SAHM.

The life coach, an acquaintance I met volunteering at a teen girl function several years ago (2 kids ago,) was very pleasant, warm, and encouraging. Definitely not pushy, hyper or overbearing. She asked insightful questions and listened patiently as I tried piecing together my thoughts and words.

Even though she doesn't have children, she knew exactly what I was talking about when describing how hard it seems to get energized or be productive. The frustration and all-encompassing energy that comes with mothering. She encouraged me by saying that I am perfect just where I am and that I'm being too hard on myself. That I'm not just a mom and I have tremendous and worth outside of being a mother.

She said that she heard a lot of doubt and discouragement in my voice and choice of words. Yep - guilty as charged. She recommended that I do one thing for myself each day that feeds my creative spirit, even if just for a 5 minutes. (I think I do that, but it's never enough it seems.) She also suggests journaling and writing out exactly what I want and what it would look like. (It's hard to do that as I change my mind all the time as to what I want.) She feels that if I go out and walk by myself each day that creativity and ideas will flow more freely. (Which I agree, but pulling the trigger on all my ideas and aspirations is where I get stuck. Probably because I am nursing and changing diapers every 3 hours, not to mention the 2 chickadees that I'm also responsible for.)

I need to stop having a 'fear of lack and scarcity' as it is a self-fulfilled prophecy. Think I can't fail and I won't. (ha - easier said than done...) Set short term and long term goals. Give myself to December to develop my ideas about my ideal working or business scenario and then tackle it at the first of the year.(Manageable.)

What would my ideal weekday look like? My initial thoughts: have childcare for the first half of the day, work either in an office or at home on clients' projects or my own writing. A bit of outside time and exercise, lunch. Then the afternoon and evening with family. Evening time with hubby and reading, watching TV or movies. I would LOVE to get more involved with the organizations I like to volunteer for in the community that support teens and the environment. Also, my women mountain biking group and other outdoor activities that I love: kayaking, learn stand up paddling and/or surfing. Learn guitar more, learn Norwegian, camping more, Sea Doo-ing more, skiing more, etc.

I suppose those are long term goals or ongoing goals? All activities cost money and eventually unemployment will run out... I need to think of a way to make money that doesn't take away from being a mom who's engaged with each child's life. A pipe dream? I will choose to believe it's possible. I pretty much had it with my last job. The only problem was that my boss was an asshat douchebag. I thought I was pretty tolerant and resilient, but apparently not in this situation.

So I'm having flashbacks from a previous job I had when we had group coaching sessions where we learned about vision boards and vibrations and affirmations. It was valuable knowledge, but the company ended up tanking. So does that mean that the CEO wasn't doing enough affirmations? I do like the idea of creating a collage or vision board of my ideal life to inspire me.

What does work-life balance look like to you?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Help Wanted?

So I'm sorta looking at what kind of jobs are out there and I stumble on this one on Craigslist. I was curious what a 'wing chick' was. Now I know.

The ad states:

Wing-chick for hire (oc)
Date: 2011-04-07

Hello.. help a chill guy meet new single girls...Thurs, Fri, or Sat nights...get an idea of my type, help me screen out the bad apples and meet some good ones! Anything you want, you have to ask for it, so thats what im doing! The ideal candidate for this gig would be an attractive woman, who can have fun introducing me to eligible ladies. Must be comfortable in the night life scene, so please include a pic. You MUST include a pic, thanx... Im legit, and this is real. $10/hr basically just to the club and back so it should be very interesting and fun! Location: oc

This sounds like the makings for a great romantic comedy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sprinkle In Some Creativity

I am determined to pave a new trail in my life. I am longing to feel inspired, creative, energetic and fulfilled.

To capture the good vibes I'm seeking, I think the key is creating things - labors of love. I want to bake, journal daily, write in the kids' journals regularly, read and write poetry, short stories, more blog writing, keep trying to learn to play guitar...

I also want to try meditation. It's supposed to be an excellent way to calm your mind and bring peace. Don't ask me how I'll manage that with 3 kids. Get out of the house more and go to places that enrich my mind as well as the kids' minds. Change up my routine. Smile more. Laugh more. Not take things so seriously and be so harsh. Play more with the chickadees and be affectionate with them. Not to mention giving love and attention to the man of the house.

I certainly want to find a job again too. But I'm so afraid that I can't juggle it all anymore. I feel like I've become lazy or just lost my ambition. I am not sure I want to keep working in business either. I also want to work part time, but I have to be able to make more money than I pay for childcare. I can't seem to think very clearly lately to try to get a good picture in my head how to make it work. Right now, I really appreciate having the unemployment checks coming in. I think we could manage on 1 income, but I like to work. I have hated my last few jobs however. I'm so jealous of people who love their jobs and their bosses. I thought when I went to college, I picked the profession best suited to me. Now I'm not so sure...

So what's next for me?? First things first - I am going to be more creative every day. Starting tomorrow...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why are Contractors so Flaky?

The contractor stereotype is so accurate. Flaky flaky flaky. Why is there no follow through? Why don't they complete the job? Why won't they return our phone call? Each job starts off with such promise and so much energy and then fizzles out.

Our hot tub was supposed to be fixed by Saturday. The contractor was a total no show all weekend. He said all would be ready for us to enjoy on Saturday then wouldn't even return our phone calls. So completely lame.Do they teach them this behavior at tech school? Maybe they need to offer a class in customer service 101. This guy came highly recommended from our neighbor too. You would think he would want to offer stellar customer service if it's a friend.

So in the meantime our crappy hot tub still sits half done.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

I just got done listening to the audiobook of The Postmistress by Sarah Blake.

It was so good! It was a historical fiction mainly about World War 2 In the eyes of a female news reporter.  The storytelling was so vivid. There are several parts that made me want to cry: death, loss of love, separation of family,  mass deportation of Jews, the naivety of small town America.

It did not have a happy ending so to speak, and it left you wondering about how some of the characters turn out. Regardless, the major loose ends are wrapped up in the end.

I love how I can get free audiobook downloads from my public library.  They download right to my Android phone!  These days, it's so much easier to just listen to books than to read them - which just seems absolutely impossible.  So I can still get my book fix even with 3 kids!