So. As I said, it's official. I wrapped up my job last week and now have a good few weeks of leisure to look forward to before going back in August. This is the sole perk that keeps me working there, so I'd better make good use of it. As usual, I've compiled a to-do list that I absolutely must accomplish. They are the same things on my list from last summer, but now I can't seem to remember why I didn't do any of them.
I am a very tidy, clean and put together person… until you open a desk drawer. Yes, I am convinced that paperwork is somehow multiplying in my home, a super strain of paper so utterly resistant to organization and files that they are taking over my life and general well being. That is the demon that I will battle in the next few weeks. Or at least I'll consider battling it before prematurely waving my white flag, picking up a book and making a sandwich…. so that will probably only take up half a day and now I have to find a way to be productive with the rest of the time. (Ah, now I remember why it never got done.)
2010 was an awful year, just fucking terrible. I did not anticipate 2011 to be as bad, but it's shaping up to be a serious contender for the "Kill Me Now" belt. Now that I've had plenty of time to practice, my coping strategies are becoming a bit more efficient. Since I spend so much time lately dealing with issues I didn't ask for or contribute to putting myself in the middle of, I've realized that it's foolish to spend even more time talking about it. I'm sick of listening to myself, for one. Plus, when I'm actually not in the midst of crap, I really don't want to spend that time rehashing the latest chapter for someone in the 'inner circle'. Ugh. Part of this has been taken care of by narrowing that circle to about four people, the other part has been dealt with by giving random e-mail updates I shall call 'Bullshit of the Week Bulletin' all at once and refusing to actually discuss it in person if I should by chance leave my house and see one of them.
Writing this blog, however, does wonders for me. Even if I'm not directly discussing what ails, purging my brain of racing thoughts is a beautiful and therapeutic thing for me. Making myself write every day for that 30 day song challenge was great, but I fizzled out due to 101 reasons after that, so summer seems to be a good time to gain momentum again. I could do part 2 of the challenge, since I do a hell of a lot more than post a video and leave it at that…. besides, when you don't leave your house much, you tend to have a hard time finding something to write about that won't make someone fall face first into their laptop. I'll have to ponder that for a spell, maybe I'll bring it back.
So focusing on this blog goes on the list. I've been told I should put it out there and try to get some exposure for this blog…. hmm, I don't know about that. Of course, the person that told me this doesn't seem to realize that it took me two years from signing up for this site to actually figure out how to use a pre-made layout for the page. Yes, my name is Tats and I'm a technological dunce. I've no idea what the hell I'm doing.
So tell me, fellow bloggers, do you post in forums, link up to other followers, what? How exactly does one go about getting 'exposure'? (Eww, just writing that makes me think of contracting an STD that won't go away for some reason, not a good sign) To me, it all sounds a bit desperate and maybe akin to trying to whore your words out… so while I won't beg for followers (not my style), I'm always up for something that borders on racy, so I'm open to other ideas. It's not that I have a problem with writing for just myself and a select few. If that were the case the fact that I often talk out loud to myself would be concerning, and that couldn't be further from the truth. I just figure that I need a project, and this page will be it. It's low maintenance in all the right ways, and time consuming in all the right ones. Thoughts?
I had a very vivid dream last night. I was a teenager, albeit a total screw up (which is quite true to reality) living with a strange mother and two dogs. It seemed that we were nomadically relocating all over the world and in the midst of another new town. I could feel the uncertainty of what was to come, the intoxicating mixture of adventure and nausea that I was facing with my jaw jutting forward and my head held high. My entire being was saying 'BRING IT', as I looked forward to peeling back the layers of yet another experience. It was a high as potent as any chemically induced one.
I actually remember that feeling quite well. When I was younger I lived for new things, new faces, new places and got a rush like you wouldn't believe from not knowing exactly what was going to happen next. The epitome of reckless, I dove into everything head first, only coming up for air when absolutely necessary. Sometimes it took me down an ugly rabbit hole, other times it payed off in spades. I've got memories stamped solidly in my head to carry lovingly from all those days, both the disastrous ones and the ones that actually didn't blow up in my face. I was brave and stupid all at once, I let my fear of the unknown drive me to charge into life like a bull zeroing in on a matador.
That was a long time ago. I am now, quite possibly, the furthest thing imaginable from that wild girl. Obviously, life and its responsibilities makes it much harder to go with every whim that pops into one's head, but I know damn well that it's so much more than that. I just lost it, I can now admit it easily. I don't crave adventure, I snuggle into familiarity and routine. My favorite place to be is in my bedroom, far from strange faces and break in my structure. 'Controlled environment' is one of my favorite and smile inducing thoughts. Frankly, I'm well aware that by all appearances, I probably seem like one of the more boring people you may know.
If you've read my blog since the beginning, you know that I'm one to happily wallow in nostalgia. That being said, it would make sense that I would have awoken from my dream and once I was coherent enough to get my brain going I would have reverted to a mixture of sullen and pensive, yearning for a taste of yesterday. In that sense, I'm pretty predictable. But today it didn't go down like that at all. Maybe it was all that extra sleep I got, once my glasses were placed on my face I saw that it was a bit past eight in the morning.
Twenty minutes later I found myself in the kitchen with Husband, sipping on my first cup of coffee and losing myself in the dreamy voice of Tom Waits, who is still crooning to me in the background as I type this. I sat quietly and helped chop vegetables and chicken for Husband's breakfast creation while thinking that the temperature in the house was perfect. 'I'm neither hot or cold, this is amazing.' No one was irritating me this morning with too many words. Husband cooked, The Teen was obviously still sleeping in and The Kid shuffled around aimlessly while reading about lighthouses in his underwear, still rubbing sleep from his eyes. No one talked, Tom Waits just continued singing.
Ahhh. Things haven't been easy for me lately. I get a bit resentful of the fact that being an adult at this stage in my life sometimes feels akin to drowning in personal sacrifice, it's one series of 'have to' after another…. what I want doesn't seem relevant all that much in day to day life. This feeling makes it easy to be negative and romanticize the past. After all, it's pretty easy to forget all the shit that comes with wild days. My trade off for adventure and craziness is peace, plain and simple. My peace has been essential for my personal long term survival. I'm not too confident about how long I would have lasted without stumbling upon it. I suspect I would have had a pretty early demise, gone down in flames for good.
In moments like this, things are so clear to me. Maybe I won't feel like this at seven thirty tonight (even in my currently boring life, I have realized that the rug can easily be pulled out from under me with no notice in the ugliest way possible…oh, how I've learned), I know I won't feel this way tomorrow while I'm elbow deep in drama at my bullshit job tomorrow at approximately five thirty in the evening…. but I'm not letting that matter. In this second, it's still clear. Right at this very moment, things are vastly better than a dream, even an intoxicating one. I'm going to ride this 'living in the moment' concept for as long as my brain will allow me to.
I haven't taken part in this blog in what seems like months. Given the fact that I'm up to my eyeballs in the shit storm of activity that is the month of May, I realize that I actually have no concept of time. If I did, this past week wouldn't have lasted for nineteen days.
May. What can I say about May? Let's see. It's the time of my year that consists of watching all of the 'heavy hitter' parents don their business casual best and show up to proudly watch their offspring collect various awards at school. Now, I'm one of those parents because my youngest son is an academic overachiever, but the awards are usually at eight in the morning in the school cafeteria (which I see every day at work from one to six thirty), so I can barely be bothered to fill my eyebrows in properly, much less get dolled up. Plus, it's my gym time, and given my expanding waistline, it's not like I can take extreme pleasure in skipping a sweat session. But I'm always there, taking pictures,clapping and shouting for my boy, because I truly am so proud of him that I border on intolerable. The rest of the time is spent trying to make sure The Husband doesn't make fun of other parents or their children too loudly. Not that he's ever wrong in his observation, but damn… I have to see them every day. He can afford to not give a shit. I have to deal with the backlash.
May is also the month where all of my child's extracurricular hard work is displayed. Recital time. He is a great piano player and they have two performances a year. The one in December is absolutely painful, all holiday music. One by one, every tragically ungifted child murders various seasonal tunes and stumbles for two and a half minutes to get through a sixty second piece. His teacher is smart enough to pepper in the good ones at strategic points of the program, so that just when you're ready to put a bullet in your head, one of them brings you back from the brink. I can be smug because The Kid doesn't suck.
This year, The Kid is opening the show. The theme is Broadway this spring, and if you know The Kid, you can imagine how pumped up he got about this. Oh, yes. He has chosen to play 'America' from West Side Story. His only lament is that he will not be able to sing along, because he can perform the entire song in the most authentic Puerto Rican accent you've ever heard. Bless him, he marches to the beat of his own drum. I should also mention that he almost gives me a heart attack every year at this time. He is currently downstairs having his last lesson before the show tomorrow. I hear him screwing up every five seconds, yelling 'WAIT' and starting over… it doesn't matter that he's been playing it perfectly for two months because he always falls apart the week before the show, thus making me feel like puking the entire morning of the recital. Then he pulls a fast one, gets up there, busts it out without a hitch and ends with a flourish of dramatic bowing to the crowd. Every year, I tell you. It's just cruel.
Then there is dance recital the very end of May. I cannot speculate as to how it will go since it's our first trip to the rodeo, but it's not hard to imagine that it will be the funniest two hours of the year. Pure entertainment, because really, none of them are any good. The trade off is that no kids are missing class this time of year, so the dance studio waiting area is filled with obnoxious siblings who are screaming, throwing toys, and jumping off furniture while their idiot mothers sit around and pretend to not notice because they are too busy discussing Vera Bradley bags. In my mind, I am screaming, "CONTROL YOUR SAVAGE SPAWN, BITCHES, OR ALL OF YOU GET THE HOSE!", as I whip one out from behind my back 'Law and Order' style and aim the power nozzle at the loudest snotty kid with the mom wearing the most unflattering jeans. Instead, I have to settle for giving them all venomous looks as I peer at them from behind my book with a raised eyebrow. They can all feel the glare burning a hole in their forehead but are too chicken to meet my gaze. They have no shame, I tell you.
It also happens to be children's birthday party season. I have three in two weeks, which I will probably be attending alone with The Kid. I typically refer to myself as a 'Party Widow', since it's really not worth trying to make The Husband attend. He has an aversion to groups of kids, parents and social situations in general. It doesn't matter that I do, as well, because someone has to take the bullet and it's always me. Thankfully, these parties are for the children of close friends, so I can enjoy my surroundings (with wine) much more than when I have to attend a school chum party… which is always ripe with awkward small talk, shuffling of feet and me pretending to take important calls on the cell phone (always resulting in us having to leave a bit early due to an imaginary crisis situation). But I suck it up, because I'm a wonderful mother. The Kid better fucking remember all of this sacrifice later on when I'm a senior citizen.
Since my older son has given me so much drama and grief over the past few months, I am forcing him to attend recitals this year. None of his sarcastic commentary or inappropriate clothing choices will deter me from dragging his skinny ass along. It's the very least he deserves, really. Two Sundays this month, his only consistent days off of work, will be spent with his parents and my mother as we watch his younger brother cultivate his artistic side. He will huff, roll his eyes, loudly proclaim that he wishes he was either drunk or sleeping and be a total jerk about it… but I won't break. None of his crappy behavior will help his cause, because he'll even have to go eat celebratory dinners afterwards. All this family time is a special kind of torture for him that I'm thrilled to dole out, since he has aged me ten years in six weeks. I'm pleased to say that in a month of craziness, this is my silver lining. Hey, guy…. what goes around, comes around.
I really fucking hate the damn telephone. I know I say it all the time, but it's true. While playing kitchen beautician yesterday and slapping some hair color on a friend of mine, I actually said, "I like you because you don't ever call me." Now, this is acceptable to say because she hates the phone as well, not to mention that she is intelligent enough to know that her lack of ringing me is but a factor in my affection for her as a person. Later, I remembered the statement, chuckled and then pondered if my dislike was actually as severe as I make it out to be. It is.
This morning, I woke up and realized I had not phoned my mother in over 48 hours, oops. I went ahead and bit the bullet, dialed the number and hoped that she would rush me off the phone. It's not that I don't have any interest in communicating with her, but I really despise chit chat. I like to say what needs to be said and then hang up. It inevitably causes conflict between us, it's a familiar dance at this point.
Mom: You didn't call me yesterday.
Me: I'm sorry, I forgot. You could have called me as well, though.
Mom: Well, you always seem too busy to speak to me, and I don't like being a burden, you know.
Me: You're never a burden, I just don't like to talk on the phone a long time. You know that, it's nothing personal at all.
Mom: As I said, it comes across loud and clear in your voice that you don't want to speak to me.
Me: I love speaking to you, I just hate the phone. Was there something in particular you wanted to tell me about yesterday?
Mom: Don't worry, I don't want to bother you, though I did receive news from the family back home. It can wait, I know you're busy and have no time to speak to me. Me: Of course I have time to hear news from home. Please, go ahead.
(Now would be a good time to tell you that it's futile for me to try to get a word in edgewise during these talks, I don't bother trying much anymore.)
She tells me how she spoke to my aunt and they were discussing in great detail what a mess the country is in at the moment (Argentina)…. not sure how that is news, seeing as how it's been a mess since the day she was born. Elapsed time: 17 min.
Then she went on to discuss IN GREAT DETAIL how President Kirchner is a crazy bitch. (Again, not news. Google her image, she's got crazy written all over her.) I reply with saying that I thought the prerequisite to being a President in that country is to be insane. Even though I'm agreeing with a point SHE made, it is not well received and I'm an asshole all of the sudden. (I just can't win. That's what I get for trying to participate in the discussion, I may as well shut up.) I look at my watch and realize that I'm still waiting for important family information to make itself known…. not holding my breath at this point. I've been duped. Well played, Mom.
Elapsed time: 32 min. (on top of the previous bit of time)
Mom: Why aren't you saying anything?
Me: I'm listening to you, Mom. (I do not mention that my contribution to the conversation was not appreciated.)
Mom: I always get the feeling that I'm bothering you, you are so short on the telephone and I don't ever know why. Always trying to rush me off the telephone because you're busy.
Me: I'm not rushing you, we've been on the phone for almost fifty minutes. I'm listening to what you're telling me.
Mom: Well, it's obvious you're busy and put out with me, you aren't participating in this conversation at all. I'll speak with you when you have more time.
1. Believe it or not, Mom is not crazy… she's actually usually very perceptive, insightful and awesome.
2. Mom is delightful to talk to in person and I'm always beyond happy to spend face time with her.
3. Mom is not the needy type, unless it involves telephones.
4. I suspect she doesn't believe I really don't like the phone, it's the only logical explanation.
I usually hang up feeling fifty percent relieved and fifty percent total jerk… 'jerk' because I know how it feels to get your feelings hurt by your kid who doesn't seem to want to talk to you. I don't know why it's so much work for me, but it's a fact that I literally cringe when that damn phone rings and that those fifty minutes feel like ten hours of my life I will never get back.
I love my mother very much and am painfully aware that she will not always be a phone call away. I also know that when she's not around, I will pine for these pointless and tiresome conversations, which is why I willingly repeat this scenario almost every day. So if you ring me up and I never answer, stop giving me shit. I'm probably on the other line (with you know who). Just send me an email or text.