Imperfection and a picture.

I want to fire up my blog life again.

I keep coming here and trying to write something AMAZING to dazzle and permanently seduce a GIANT audience for my teeny blog.

But nothing comes to me.

And without a published paragraph, each day here feels bigger than the day before it.

Much, much bigger.

Bigger in a bad way.  An oppressive way.  An intimidating way.

Have I lost my skill set?

I want to write.

More than just that, I want to be good at writing.

I keep thinking of that as a single task – one I am ill equipped to start and desperate to complete.

It isn’t that though, is it?

It’s really a very long, involved process of little steps all smashed together, cut apart, rearranged, and done again.

Over and over.

So here I go.

Step one: post a current pic of myself (sorry to my Facebook friends who have already seen it).

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Step two: pick one thing to worry less about.

Step three: come back and try this again in a day or two.

Happy Monday.

♥♥

To The Rude Mom at Vons Today

Dear Rude Mom,

When you blocked my way at the end of the aisle, I said nothing.

It wasn’t enough of anything to think about.

I was annoyed that you had seen me walking in your direction and that you responded by turning your cart fully perpendicular to mine.

But I don’t think you did that on purpose, so I didn’t take it personally.  And I did nothing to visually convey my annoyance.  Why would I?

I slowed to give you time to move the cart (which your deer-in-the-headlights son did for you) and then I passed you without another thought about it.

That is, until I finished the rest of my shopping and realized I had forgotten something on that same aisle.

I made a u-turn and walked back.

You were still there, staring at the same shelf, completely oblivious to the other customers around you.

Thankfully this time, your son actively pulled the cart to the side to make way for everyone else.

You couldn’t be bothered to do that yourself.

I walked by briskly, grabbed my item, and was heading out of the aisle when you decided you didn’t like me.

In a voice clearly meant for my ears, you said to your blank-faced son “Wow! Get out of HER way or she’ll just knock you down.”

You said something else that I didn’t quite hear, but it included the same tone and the words “her way,”  so I can only assume it was more of the same.

Nice of you to let me know exactly how you feel.

I am so terribly sorry that I interfered with your oafish pace, careless cart management, and stellar parenting skills.

Next time, I will curtsy and ask if there is something I can find for you.

Like a shred of common courtesy?

Yeah.  That.

P.S.

What I love about the end of the summer?

It’s hot enough to run the a/c and briefly freeze the house, but close enough to Fall that the a/c makes my kid want hot chocolate.

🙂

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♣♣

Babysitting & Playing Hooky

Babysitting the nephews today.

They are sweet and they make me laugh.

Kids say the greatest things.

From the seven-year-old:

“You smell like your house.”

“Me and grilled cheese sandwiches are like two peas in a pod.”

And my own child, wide-eyed when I told him I would be taking his cousins to the park in his absence:

“My chin hurts too much to go to school today.”

Hmm…

I’m a big softie and a huge proponent of family first, even ahead of school.

The nephews and I are picking him up a few hours early and going to lunch and a park with him, instead of without him.

They are only little once, right?

Right.

I haven’t written anything here for the past few months.

I guess I have been feeling kind of private and withdrawn, and this is not the place for that.

But these boys, all three of them, have reminded me this week that life is good and sweet and short.

And my favorite bloggers have continually shown that some of the loveliest, most interesting lives I know are lived right out loud, in front of the world.

I don’t have to be all that.

I can be something in between.

I can just be a good mom and aunt who writes now and then.

So what the hell, here I am again.

♥♥

Sick Again

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The boy is home from school again today.

He missed three days last week because of a stomach bug and now he has a very annoying cold.

My kid can’t seem to catch a break.

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And neither can we.

He’s a bear when his nose is bothering him.  He wiggles and whines and screams and goes insane.  Same deal.  Different day.  Frequent topic.

It makes us all nuts.

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And there’s no real way to explain to anyone what we go through in our house.

He’s an angel out in the world.  He behaves, he is loving, he handles things.  (Except occasionally at school, but that’s another post.)

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At home though, when it’s just the two of us, or just the three of us, he is a different kid.

He is inconsolable, desperate, angry, sad, very physical, exhausting and exhausted.

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He wakes in the middle of the night, will do nothing to help himself, but is insistent that we are awake and miserable with him.

We rarely get a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

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Our son slams doors, throws toys, twists his body, flails his arms, furrows his brow, screeches, and screams, but he says nothing.

We try desperately to help him, but our efforts generally fail.

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Last night, husband actually got him to take some Motrin.  He was tired and it did help him to fall asleep, but he was up again at 3:45 and back to his routine of misery.

I asked him repeatedly what I could do for him.

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I suggested all of the usual remedies for his bothersome throat and nose and I tried to comfort him.

I offered him a snack, some water, and a hug.

Nothing worked.

At 4:30, I gave up and told him I was going back to bed.

I closed the door to our room, but that made him crazy.

He got louder and louder and finally crashed something into the door.

Husband got up that time.

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This morning has shown more of the same.

The boy is miserable from the cold and he wants everyone to know it and feel it right along with him.  It’s maddening.

He took some more Motrin about an hour ago.  He has eaten a hot dog and even exercised at my urging, but it’s going to be a long day in what already feels like an insanely long week.

Husband is gone for a few hours to catch up with a friend and I will get out for a while when he comes back, but I don’t know how far that will go toward preserving our sanity today.

It’s 12:15 p.m. and I’ve yet to make it out of my pajamas and into the shower.  My hair is dirty and flat.  My skin is colorless.  Honestly, I look like the sick one.

Stress.

We need a babysitter.

I’m starting to forget what my laughter sounds like.

P.S.  The best thing to happen today?  I got out the camera to make a video of his on-going tantrum and suddenly he’s a model – posing, smiling, saying “cheese” for all these photos.

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He’s on the couch, watching a video now.  Maybe I will get a shower after all.

♥♥

A New Chapter

My husband lost his job last week.

We were a one-income family and now we’re a no-income family.

I don’t even know what to write.

I am experiencing great relief and deep panic, all at the same time.

It was once a good job.  And then it wasn’t.

He liked it.  And then he didn’t.

It was comfortable.  And then it was prickly and painful.

It is a great relief to have him home, away from there.  Away from them.

But the future is completely freaking me out.  Not so much because I don’t know what it holds, but because I do.

We have to make money.  Fast.

I haven’t been in the workforce since my son was born, over ten years ago.

That’s not what we anticipated.  It’s not what we planned.  It’s what we did for our very different kid.

I stayed home.  I gained some weight.  I learned how to be a fierce advocate for my son.  And I lost my professional skill set.

You think technology evolves too quickly when you’re right in it.  Try looking the other way for a decade – you won’t even recognize it when you turn back.  I am scared.  And old.

I have also watched my wardrobe transform from business casual to “is-that-stain-somewhere-that-I-can-cover-it-with-a-sweat-jacket-while-I-drive-my-kid-to-school?”

Who will hire me?

I can edit like nobody’s business.  I can write, sort of.  But what about all of those other things people do at jobs these days?

I can learn anything.  I know this.  I am smarter than average, I have a BA, and I work well under pressure.

Will anyone care about that when they see a ten-year gap on my resume?

I can’t type without looking at the keys and I am not bilingual.  Well, I do understand a lot of Spanish.  But I answer it with English.

Where will that get me?

Husband thinks I would be a great office manager.  Anybody know an office that needs some managing?

A friend suggested I ramp up my crafting and sell some things on etsy.  I’d like to, and I will, but that’s not going to pay my mortgage.  The Office Manager job won’t do that either.  In the prime of my employment, I was earning less than half of what my husband has been making this year.

I used to work in Human Resources.  Considering our current circumstances, I can’t rule out doing that again, but I felt dirtier in HR than I did as a hotel maid, years ago, cleaning toilets all day.

I am nervous.  If it were just me and my husband, I wouldn’t be.  We can roll with the punches and adjust along the way.  Alone, the two of us would have a ton of flexibility.

But we have an autistic child in the equation.  Our son needs a schedule and a stable home with room for Legos and stuffed animals.  He needs fair warning about things and he needs routine and familiar surroundings.

Yes, I am nervous.

Unfortunately, we may be have to sell our house.  If we can’t find employment, or some other way to keep from depleting every penny of our savings, then we will have to go.

As scary as it is to think of that, we’re going to downsize like there’s no tomorrow under this roof.

Most of my cookbooks are going.  Dressers and chairs and side tables are going.  Old clothes, extra blankets, and toys are going.  Husband’s old band equipment is going.  Big plastic bins of baby clothes are going.  Fabric is going.  Kitchen crap is going.  Two little bikes are going.  CDs, DVDs, magazines and a file cabinet are going.  Maybe even one big, hard-to-manage Christmas tree is going.  And absolutely anything we have been oppressed by, is going.

We have resolved to clear things out – donate, sell, give to friends.  I am calmed by this decision.  I have never before felt so completely, psychologically freed of any commitment to my stuff.

That is one good thing to come from our new reality.

I hope there are other good things on the way.  We are ready for them.  We really are.

♥♥

Things That Make Me Panic

In no particular order…

Soccer.

Car repairs.

Sick cats.

Withered friendships.

Last minute changes.

Too much time to plan.

Not enough time to plan.

Details.

The big picture.

Weddings.

Funerals.

Running out of chocolate or avocados.

Other people’s perceptions of my weight or mothering skills.

Fois gras.  And eel.

Overpriced pasta.

My son’s melancholia.

My husband’s melancholia.

Stacks of paper.

Too many pens.

The good china.

The fact that all but one of the shirts I wear regularly have holes in them.

Lack of sleep and no time in the foreseeable future to make up for it.

Homophobes.

People who are voting for Mitt Romney.

All that water in the NY subways.

Heat.

Variety meats.

Air travel.

Being mistaken for a mean person.

Being mistaken for a timid person.

Being mistaken for a dumb person.

Being mistaken for a smart person.

Being mistaken for a rich person.

Being hungry.

Being full when other people are hungry.

Using too much water to clean the juicer.

Throwing out the pulp.

Not having enough time to use the juicer in the morning.

Driving a tiny rental car.

One size fits all.

One size fits most.

Being in the least, because I am the most.

Going to the doctor.

Not going to the doctor.

My left foot.

My right hip.

Paralysis.  Physical and figurative.

The length of this list.

♥♥

Brain Dump & A Rip Ryder Mailbox Man

Potty Dream

Last night, I dreamed that I was married to Matt Damon and we had a toilet in our dining room.

Matt Damon sat at the dining table and told me he knew we would be together forever when we picked out the toilet because he thought to himself “this toilet will last for the rest of our lives.”

I know why I dreamed this.  I think it had more to do with the toilet than the Damon.

I needed to get up and go, you know?  It was the 4:00 a.m. calling.

My befuddled brain tried to embarrass me awake.

Pee, in front of Matt Damon?

Never.

Eyes open.  😯

Wide awake now, thanks.

And back to real life, very real life…

Dearly Departed

A couple of my friends from high school recently lost someone very dear to them.  Their experience got me thinking about why I started my blog.

I blabbed in the beginning about my childhood friend, Betsy.  She died of breast cancer in 2003.  We were both 38.

Even now, I wake up everyday and instantly think of her.  She is on my mind as I fall asleep and she is sometimes in my dreams.  I also see her in every young mom with a ponytail.

I talk to her constantly and sometimes feel like a fool for doing it, but I do it anyway.  And sometimes I hear her talking to me and I take her advice, or I roll my eyes.

She still informs all of my major life decisions and many of the teeny ones too.  I knew her a long time and I usually know just what she would say.

I’ve written about her a lot – for example, here and here – but coming to this post today, I realize I don’t know if I can write about her very much more.

The rest of what I know and think and feel about her, and myself, and our friendship, is all kind of private.  I can’t have it taken apart by anyone on the internet.

I don’t know why I feel compelled to mention any of this, except that I feel I somehow owe an explanation to Betsy herself.

She was the one who always told me to write.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot this month and I decided that if I don’t write about her, then I have to write for her.

To that end, I entered NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest.

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You know that moment after you leave a big school exam or a job interview and you realize exactly how you sank yourself?  Entering this contest kind of worked like that for me.

I was thrilled by the writing challenge, I got exponentially more excited after I submitted my piece, and I was glued to the Three Minute Fiction Facebook fan page for a good three hours afterward.

Then I started re-reading my story.  I read it over and over and over again.

I saw its flaws unraveling before me and I got kind of depressed and embarrassed.  😦  It wasn’t good.  It still isn’t, and of course, there is no opportunity to edit.  I hit “submit” and now NPR editors are seeing it (and me) with all imperfections exposed.  Ugh.

Several days have passed and I am feeling a little better about it.  I can see what I did wrong and I am learning from it instead of turning red.  It was a good exercise and I will enter the contest again.  You should too.

And speaking of good exercise…

An Update On The Boy

I have been trying to write about him this month, but nothing feels quite right.

There is progress, but there are set-backs too and I can’t think of the best way to talk about all of it.

Instead, you get a video of his favorite activity.

And yes, the video ends because I sneeze.  🙂

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥