Friday, May 22, 2009

Just another day in the office...

Angry Man upset at Neighbor: Neighbor legally constructed shed which now shades Angry Man's garden. Angry Man is persistent in his complaints and adamant in his belief conforming, perfectly legal shed should be removed because his garden was there first. As usual, when not getting one's way, complainant veers off course during argumentative phase:

Angry Man: What about flag poles?

Building Inspector: Flag poles?

AM: Can you have them?

BI: Yep.

AM: Can you put them anywhere on your lot?

BI: Yep.

AM: Anywhere?

BI: Well, where would you like to put it?

AM: [clearly ignoring question] What if my neighbor puts it up right by his property line?

BI: ...okay...

AM: And the flag encroaches over my property line? Do I have the right to cut it?

BI: [hitting head repetitively on desk] ... you know, I suppose if you can find a way to climb up there and cut it without trespassing on your neighbor's property or desecrating the American Flag, then, sure, you could do it.

Day 3 of the Domestic Sabbatical

A sabbatical was used by professionals once every seven years to devote to research and learning, and I have learned so much in such a little time.

Last night the Phenominal Moms gathered around for our bi-weekly rebalancing fix... I gotta tell you, if you don't have a group of strong, positive women - drop everything you're doing and go find them. Find them NOW. Look everywhere, and if you don't find them, just keep looking. Do not stop until you find amazing women who you can draw positive energy from.

Our topic focus last night was control.

As in... forcing your future husband to conform to your ways of cleaning and maintaing a house? Gee, I might not have much to say about this issue.... (as I sit sweating in the guilt that's currently smothering me).

Yep, yes, absolutely - I admit, I am controlling. Housekeeping drives me crazy. Why? Because I don't like to do it. I like the results, the sparkling countertops and shiny floor... I don't like scrubbing and sweeping and mopping. I don't want to do it. I recognize I have to do some of it. I accept that I have to partake in the process, but I want others to help me.

And I want them to help me my way.

It's so obvious to me that I feel it should be really obvious to them. Find something out of place and put it away. See a mess and clean it up. Going up the stairs and there's a pen lying in your path - pick it up! (And then put it away.) Big V prefers the "run through the house for an hour or less forcing things back into place a la superhero style, and then forget about cleaning for the rest of the day." My way seems to be a long, drawn out, on-going, constant vigil, never finish approach. (Wow. Writing it out that way does not make it look like something anyone would choose to partake in.)

Big V also does things, uh, backwards. He did the dishes and spread out six dish towels along the counter... each bowl and plate got it's own individual space. Why didn't he spread out only two towels and then lean the dishes and plates against each other? Totally would've saved space... there I go... trying to control again.

Although it's early on I'm starting to think the "research" I'm doing is going to be less about him and more about me. It's ok to do things differently but six towels instead of two... can I handle it? Will I be able to give up my control and trust that he, as my potential partner for life, can and will, meet and possibly exceed what is needed in our house?

** By the way, Big V sprayed the lawn and the majority of dandelions are gone! I knew his hatred for all things weed related was one of the many reasons I fell in love with him...

Slivers Shared

Yeah, uh, I really don't "get" this.

I'm all for sharing with co-workers, and not trying to be stingy, but seriously, you honestly don't have to leave a singular sliver of donut to split when there's fully intact pastry patiently awaiting consumption... close your eyes when you take the last bite - the calories don't count that way.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 2 of my SABBATICAL

See, I can be positive. I have chosen to replace my "strike" with the more meaningful "sabbatical." Big V laughs, promising it's not that hard to clean the house and assures me I will find the house in better order than when I did it alone. Before "Bite Me" escaped my lips, I managed to put together this distorted thought process: "Stop. It's a trap. He's trying to tell you that you failed, thus playing into your natural stubbornness to prove him wrong, prompting you to jump up like Super Mom with Six Arms and attack the dishes, make dinner, sign Bean's permission slip, pick out Dotter's clothes for tomorrow, wash the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink, and sweep up the dog hair. It is most certainly a trap!"

In the end, I smiled sweetly and said in my most sincere and encouraging voice, "I sure hope so, honey." (I think the "honey" was a bit much, but he knew what I really meant: "I will be watching you like a hawk waiting for the moment where you fall to the floor, dust rag in hand, screaming out I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT! YOUR SACRIFICES MAKE ME FEEL UNWORTHY!")

So Day 2 of the Sabbatical started with the usual: Dog left out to lounge around on the couch, shower curtain shoved to one side (this is important because we have no form of exhaust in the bathroom - no fan; no window - and mold grows rampant on the bunched up shower curtain when it isn't given a chance to dry out). I went to work per usual, afterwards picked up the girls and watched them dump school bags, scatter papers, and leave shoes in the middle of the kitchen... and I didn't say a word. Not one single reminder... not even 'the look' towards the pile of debris needing to be picked up. I was SO GOOD!

Both girls had play dates that I was more than thrilled to deliver them to, so I left Big V to do whatever he wanted to do, if anything, around the house. When I got home Big V was spraying pesticides on the lawn in an attempt to eliminate the dandelions and the dog was sequestered in the house. With free reign. See, Big V felt bad that Satan the dog was locked up all day so while he was outside he thought it best to allow the dog to have full control over the house, completely unsupervised.

Satan decided to knock over a table, break the flower pot Dotter made me for Mother's Day, knock over a vase of flowers (water EVERYWHERE), tear up a book, and was obviously on the bed (my side) based on the messed up blankets.

Now, before you think, "but the poor dog had been locked up all day long" let me explain our definition of "locked up."

The entire sun room belongs to the dog. The whole thing. It's a 12' by 15' room with large windows on one side and a patio door on the other. Her kennel is in the room, should she decide to enter and leave at will. She has water and food and about twenty-seven dog bones and toys to entertain her. She has a chair that she, and she alone, can hop up and lounge on. She also has a rug in the closet she can lay on, because, yes, she likes cozy spaces so we leave the closet doors open for her. The dog can do cartwheels in the sun room all day of she wants. The simple fact is, when left alone this dog is destructive. And its owner (that would be Big V if you're confused) does little more than make excuses.

Big V has a great heart. He empathizes and sympathizes with everyone and everything he sees. He absolutely hates conflict and confrontation. V would do anything, ANYTHING to not be the bad guy. I think he's afraid if he ever does put his foot down loved ones will scatter, friends will disown him, and dogs will refuse to acknowledge him. He is, without a doubt, my complete opposite in this manner.

Where I would tell a child to sit still and be quiet, Big V would give the child paper, pens, candy, his wallet - anything to make the child happy... not because he doesn't want to deal with the child, but because he doesn't want to be the source of the child's unhappiness. Same with the dog. He has told me before (Big V, not the dog. The dog can't talk...) that he's afraid if he disciplines the dog then the dog won't feel that V loves her. (This was after the second couch was completely destroyed by the dog. We're on the third couch, and while slightly destroyed, at least you can still sit on it.)

I love Big V with all my heart... but I need him to realize that part of being a grown up is being a leader and leading even when the children and/or animals don't want to go where you're taking them. This means staying on kids until they clean up their mess. This means defining guidelines and boundaries that must be enforced.

Last night the Bean decided she wanted Kentucky Fried Chicken -- at 9:30 at night. I am not about to go out and get KFC for a 13 year old's craving. Rediculous. I told her it was a foolish request at best and to grab something out of the fridge if she was that hungry. Big V went....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 1 of the Strike

Yesterday marked the first day of a self-imposed 30-day strike against all things domesticated. As usual, I left home at 7:30am... consciously stopping myself from picking up dirty clothes off the bathroom floor and straightening the bath towels. I returned at 5:30pm, clothes still lazily piled below the skewed towels. And I was ok. Even after I noticed the tissues in the trash dangerously perched above the rim like skilled Chinese Acrobats, I was still ok. I know this is just the beginning and I shall not be defeated at this early stage of the game.

I grabbed my book - a most excellent read titled No Angel by Penny Vincenzi, I can barely put it down - and headed outside to relax. Dotter came out to join me and suggested we head off to the park, which WE DID! (We invited Bean, but she decided to roll the dice and see if Big V would take her to WalMart so she could get a new music CD that just came out.)

Hand in hand we strolled through the neighborhood pointing out flowers and birds. I didn't realize how pregnant I had become until we started up the slow, steady incline known as "Sixth Street." The park was fun... would have been more fun had the three teens monopolizing the swings weren't cussing and yelling out sexual commentary.

It was a most relaxing evening, just Dotter and I. By the time we returned home it was obvious the lack of my presence was being felt. (Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.) It was announced that since nothing was cooked for dinner, V had to go to town and get food. (I really should tell him where the pantry is...)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How do I feel? HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL?!

I should be rejoicing - Yippee! Halfway through the Surprise Pregnancy! Only 4 months to go! I'm so giddy I could skip!

But I'm not. Really, I'm not.

Not that I wouldn't love to be skipping about tra-la-la-ing throughout fields of native flowers... well, that is if my allergies were in check and I wouldn't balloon up and sneeze for fifteen hours following said skipping excursion....

But I can't skip. Hell, I have trouble walking across the office to the bathroom every hour on the hour (regardless of my limited fluid intake). My back hurts from sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. I've got heartburn so bad I think my chest will literally disintegrate from the intense burning. I'm tired - more tired than I ever thought humanly possible. If I could nap for four to five hours a day I'd be golden. Not that napping is an option... certainly not at work... certainly not at home where Bean feels it's her personal calling in life to make sure everyone knows how miserable her existence is every single second of every single day. I can hardly relax at home - sure there's Bean and her constant complaining, but there's also Satan who manages to make obnoxious noises and interruptions non-stop, and poor Dotter who quietly asks for help on homework (and I continue to forget, like the boxes we were to bring in that I never gathered. Ugh! The guilt!), not to mention Big V who spews forth every thought going through his head, a steady feed of thought process, jumping irrationally from one thought to the next.

That's it people. The truth is out. Pregnancy is not this glamorous event that leaves me swooning in awe and wonder. I know, I'm horribly selfish. I have a back that won't crack, socks I can't put on, and a fetus who thinks it's entertaining to make me walk while he's wedged as far south in my crotch as he can go. I feel like I'm trying to walk with a volleyball shoved between my pelvis. Four more months of this and I'll be hooking vodka up to my IV as I push this sucker out.


As of today I am officially on strike. I shall no longer:

1) Pick dirty clothes up off the bathroom floor and deliver them to the hamper.

2) Sweep the wood floors that extend throughout our house which get covered in dog hair on a daily basis. (I am surprised that Satan isn't bald by now.)

3) Pick up dirty cups, glasses, dishes, etc., off the coffee table and walk them into the kitchen to be with all the other dirty dishes waiting patiently to be washed.

4) Explain that the stench coming from the kitchen is actually caused by the overflow of garbage which needs to be removed and taken to the big, plastic containers found in the garage. (They have lids. Use them.)

5) Ask all members of the household to gather in the bathroom so I can point out that when tissue can no longer precariously perch on top off the trash mountain it's time to remove said trash mountain.

6) Replace the toilet paper roll on a daily basis. (Apparently, we have a habit when we go that causes us to remove the entire roll of toilet paper and set it on the counter next to the sink.)

In addition to the above, I shall not waste my valuable, precious "relaxing time" completing such menial tasks as grocery shopping, cooking meals, sorting laundry, washing laundry, folding laundry, and putting said laundry away. I shall not choose to wipe up Kool-aid spills from the counter (and the floor), scrub the toothpaste spittle off the bathroom mirror, or make the bed.

Furthermore, I will no longer keep track of various things for various people. For example:

"Did you check the hot lunch choices for tomorrow? If you need to make a cold lunch, you'd better do that."
"Your brown trouser socks are in the top left hand drawer of your dresser, near the back."
"Where's your retainer? You need to wear that every day or your teeth will shift."
"The dog has been whining at the door for the past ten minutes - can someone please let it out?"
"The dog has been barking at the door for the past ten minutes - can someone please let it in?"

Yes, I realize that wives and mothers across America are suffering the same fate as I. The sad truth is I'll probably break after three days because the house will be so utterly disgusting I won't be able to handle it. Big V is good about helping.... so long as I continually point out I need help. The girls, well, that's my own fault. They're spoiled beyond belief when it comes to actual physical labor. I don't think either of them have ever completed a required task without whining, complaining, crying, or protesting the unfairness of it all.

But before I crack completely and end up in our state mental hospital, I'm going to try a mental vacation called "Strike." I'll keep you posted... I'm curious to see if anyone in my household will notice the rapid decline of the environment, or if they're just going to be sitting back with their feet up enjoying their free time, thinking "If Mom wants it cleaned up she'll do it herself... she always does...."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't bother with an RSVP.... I KNOW you'll be there.

If you read my previous post, you'll know Big V's attendence was required last-minute for a family dinner. He went to said dinner, returned home and announced, "I guess I have to be to church tomorrow by ten o'clock, and I'm supposed to wear my dress pants, orange shirt and tie." Attendance was required, yet again, last-minute, for a nephew's first communion. Now, I'm not Catholic, but I'm assuming notification was given a little more than thirteen hours ahead of time.

"My precious child, you shall be receiving for the first time, the sacrament of the Eucharist, tomorrow morning at ten. You may now invite your family to attend. And go - !"

Like that didn't leave a bug up my butt. Our precious we're-not-planning-a-thing-and-spending-all-day-together was shot. We did manage to spend Sunday together doing yard work. I burnt my arms to a crisp helping dig out and remove piece-by-piece an old brick patio. We'll have to wait until another day to fill in the void and seed it. (See, THAT'S why we wanted Saturday AND Sunday!) (... and what's with requiring a specific outfit? "Wear something nice" should suffice.)

He was then notified that Memorial Day he should plan to be in attendence to watch a parade and eat in a park for a two year old's birthday. A week later his attendence is required for a pre-school graduation. And a week from that his attendence is required for a kindergarten graduation. (On a positive note, they're starting to give longer than a 24-hour notice.)

I'm all for family support, but monopolizing the calendar should not be allowed. It also makes me wonder when the time will come that our family will be put first, allowing us a position where we are grown up enough to decide what events we can attend and which ones we have to pass on.

In my family an event is thrown out there and invitations are extended... but no one hates you if you don't show up. We know lives are busy. We understand you have to balance two sets of extended families with what you desire for your own immediate family. We won't disown you, yell at you, make you feel like crap, for not being able to make it. In fact, we probably won't even ask why you can't make it. We figure that's your business and assume you can make your own decisions. Shoot, Big V is still fending off comments of utter disappointment because he failed to attend a third grader's State Fair over a year ago. (This was when 3rd Grader researched the State of Arizona and made a poster. All the 3rd graders - each having researched a different state - then hung their posters up in the school gym to display their hard work. Some students brought in things that represented their state... rumor has it someone was bringing in guacamole! And V missed it... shame on him!)

I guess it's the fact that in V's family you simply cannot miss any family event. Ever. You think I'm joking? His sister - pregnant with her fourth child - had a due date the same exact day the Queen Bee wanted to go out to dinner for her birthday. All week leading up to the dinner comments were made: "I just know you're going to ruin my birthday." (As if any expectant mother can control when she naturally goes into labor.) But sure enough, that afternoon at a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment she was notified that she was about 3 centimeters dialated. Knowing dinner was that night at 7pm, she opted to forego the hospital and wing it....Between the salad and the main course she finally announced she couldn't take it anymore and to the hospital they flew. It took about ten minutes to get to the hospital... twenty minutes after that her son was born.

Now, I ask you, if you can't even decline a family event to give birth is there any way at all to miss anything without being the family pariah?