Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I love cars

Sometimes I wish we lived back in a time and place when it was uncommon for people to go anywhere except on foot. I mean, dysentery and not being able vote are both less than ideal, but imagine if shopping were situated close enough for walking. No car? No problem! If you've never had gangrene and an amputation.

With the money we have spent fixing our cars in the last six months, we probably could have bought a whole new vehicle (but an old enough vehicle that it would need repairs of its own soon). It's hot enough here lately that our car can't keep up cooling the engine. I ride around with the windows down and the heat on. To complete the picture: we are also missing three hub caps. It's my childhood on repeat. To be fair to me, we have cars with windows that actually roll down, and I don't have to keep a fire extinguisher on the passenger seat to put out the engine when it starts on fire (yes, that is a real thing that happened, and when I was 5 I thought it was TOTALLY NORMAL).

And the alternator on our van just broke. It's like the lottery of awesome. If you are our local mechanic.

On a positive note, we just paid off the last of one of our student loans that was costing us $100/month.

On the other hand, if we hadn't paid that off, fixing both cars would not be a problem at all.

On the other hand, yay for less debt.

If one of my children ever wants to go to college for 8 years, she had better become something where earning lots of money is involved.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bees will buzz! Kids will blow dandelion fuzz!

I love it when I save something as a draft, and it disappears. I have started at least five entries over the last couple of months, decided to come back to them later, and then realized that I just previewed it instead of saving as a draft. I'm smarter than I look.

What has been happening here? Summer! Summertime! That has been happening. You can tell I'm happy because my house isn't as clean as my anxiety usually forces me to keep it. Sorry about the doll tied up in the corner. It's not what it looks like. I don't know what it actually is, but Emmy was cooing lovingly at it yesterday, so I assume it's nothing sinister.

Summer turns me into Olaf, with the singing and everything. The hotter it gets, the happier I am. I like to walk outside and feel like I'm getting smothered in the face by a pillow made of fusion reaction. I like to play in the pool and not freeze to death when I get out. I like for all the grass to die so I don't have to mow it. I love summer. I literally twirled in the parking lot the other day because it was freezing inside church, and when I walked out, all of my molecules came to life with glee. I had to twirl. It was imperative.

But yes, about the cleaning. I mean, we don't live in squalor. But I couldn't care less if the table is messy, unless we're actually eating dinner. And I don't mind pulling clean clothes out of the dryer for a few days instead of my dresser. And if it's not going to infect anyone, who needs to mop the floor constantly?

The only drawback is that the second we have a cloudy day, I'm back to neurotically scrubbing everything. I guess it gives me something to do when twirling isn't an option.

Speaking of which, I'm back to being interested in working out. Most of the winter, it's just a thing that I do that I don't particularly love, but you do it because that's how I stay mentally healthy. I have good weeks and bad, but a lot of it is just doing what I'm supposed to do. I floss so my gums don't wither. I brush so my teeth don't fall out of my head. I work out so I don't hate myself and you and everything.

But now I'm back at it with zeal, and I feel great, and I'm looking for new fun things to do.

This brings me to my next point:






I blame Pinterest. When I first joined Pinterest, I grabbed a couple of these workouts for myself because they looked like something I could easily do at home with an odd minute here and there. And then they multiplied and infested Pinterest like a colony of smug, muscular rabbits.

I do a lot of these things in my various workouts, and my belly is neither flat nor capable of killing things. It does a lot for me. It digests food. It supports me when I sit or stand. It connects my legs to my heart, which I'm pretty happy about. But if I think it will ever look like these pictures, I am just setting myself up for extreme disappointment.

So I stopped pinning them. Maybe I will start making my own text-superimposed-on-belly workout ideas. Perhaps with a taco in one hand and a beer in the other.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let It Go

Okay, so "Let It Go" was not my favorite song in Frozen. For one thing, it sounds like it's written about a step and a half too high for Menzel; she has a fabulously powerful voice, but the vocal strain on the higher notes makes me wince. But for another, it doesn't seem to be about what everyone thinks it's about. THIS IS NOT A HAPPY SONG, folks. This is something that has been driving me crazy.
Elsa's character has lived in stifling isolation for years and years, fearful of her magic and what might happen if she made one wrong move. So, in that sense, it's a step toward happiness; she's no longer living under that immense pressure. But she's not there yet.
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight/ Not a footprint to be seen/ A kingdom of isolation,/ And it looks like I’m the queen.
That sounds more like bitter resignation to me. "I can only be queen if I'm cut off from society."
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside/ Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see/ Be the good girl you always have to be/ Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know/ Well, now they know
This is a good(ish) step. We know that fear of her gift is what makes it so wildly uncontrollable. So she's given up hiding it, but only by running off to a mountain by herself instead of taking on her responsibilities as queen and by breaking the heart of her only remaining family member.
Let it go, let it go/ Can’t hold it back anymore/ Let it go, let it go/ Turn away and slam the door
This reminds me of nothing so much as a rebellious teen fleeing authoritarian parents. It might be good that she's escaped, but that doesn't mean her actions are commendable.
I don’t care/ What they’re going to say/ Let the storm rage on,/ The cold never bothered me anyway
It’s funny how some distance/ Makes everything seem small/ And the fears that once controlled me/ Can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do/ To test the limits and break through/ No right, no wrong, no rules for me/ I’m free
This is not freedom. She's free only so long as she's alone. That sounds like another sort of prison to me. I do not believe this is accidental on the songwriters' parts. She's on a trajectory that can't be sustained. There's a reason this is in the middle of the story, not the end. If this were the happy ending, the place where she should end up, the movie would end here. But it's not. She clearly needs people, especially her sister. Without that, how long would it be before bitterness and eventually hatred set in? Perhaps even a desire for vengeance against the people who drove her away?
Let it go, let it go/ I am one with the wind and sky/ Let it go, let it go/ You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand/ And here I'll stay/ Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground/ My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around/ And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast/ I’m never going back,/ The past is in the past
This sounds like denial. She's reveling in her power and telling herself that all the other things--her beloved sister, her kingdom--don't matter. The rest of the movie proves that's not true.
Let it go, let it go/ And I'll rise like the break of dawn/ Let it go, let it go/ That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand/ In the light of day/ Let the storm rage on,/ The cold never bothered me anyway
More denial.
Elsa only becomes free when she turns back and reaches out to her sister in love instead of fear. This song is about false freedom. It's at the midway point for a reason. It's the height of a crisis. It's the beginning for Elsa, but it's certainly not the end.
No, my favorite song is "In Summer." Especially when Emmy traipses around the house singing, "A drink in my hand, my snow up against the burning sand/Prob'ly getting gorgeously tanned in summer." The mental imagery is hilarious.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Technology

You know how, when you meet a new person the first time, one of the first questions you ask is, "Are you on Facebook?" With people my age, I never ask it expecting anything other than, "Yeah! I'm on there under Bob Loblaw." So when I asked recently asked a new friend, and she said, "No," I said, "I'll friend you. Look for Naomi Wgermanicsounds." And then, "...Oh. You're not on Facebook? Okay." I am not even lying, I sat there for a few seconds trying to figure out how I would contact her. Like it's 1750, and she lives 500 miles away.

And then I remembered the telephone, and texting. But no. She does not have a cell phone. Just a phone phone. That you speak into. Without being able to see the other person's face, and who knows it could be a demon faced monster replicating my friend's voice. You never know. This is why I distrust the telephone. That and my terrible hearing and inability to understand anyone without the assistance of body language. You just told me something tragic, and I laughed out loud. Oops. Sorry about that. I totally thought your grandma's death was a joke. Let me laugh nervously while changing the subject to something even more awkward.

And then my second thought was, "How will she see how interesting I am?" (Because I TOTALLY am, here in suburban Salt Lake with my two kids and minivan) Some people keep Facebook for family updates, some keep it for deep thoughts (real or imagined), some people keep it to snoop on the old classmates who randomly friended them (I would know nothing about that last one at all), but mostly, I just like to entertain. I like to be known as a funny person.

(And here's a weird aside: It has come to my attention that women aren't supposed to be funny. Evidently, this has been a thing for a long time. It's not just that it's not typically a trait that men find attractive in women; it's that some people seem to think women are unable to be funny. I could buy that, if we were talking about specific types of humor--slapstick, wordplay, situation irony, plain old wittiness--, but I'm pretty sure we're all made to be funny to one varying degree or another, and at least half of the funniest people I know are women. Are they unfamiliar with Tina Fey or Amy Poehler or Allie Brosh? Or maybe they are familiar with these women, and have no sense of humor. Or they have gone all through their lives thinking "funny" actually meant "smelling of meat.")

(Another aside, if you type "funny" over and over again without finding a better word to use, it starts to look like a fake word.)

I used to be a super huge dork. I don't mean that in the fun, endearing way. I mean that in the way that everybody picked on me, and I responded by acting like an *angry monkey/know-it-all jerk. It didn't go great for me in elementary school. Then I went to a new middle school, and still got picked on, but I had learned that freaking out only made it worse, so I grew a sense of humor instead. I was still a super huge dork, but no longer a social outcast. Why? Because I could make at least a few people laugh (and saved the freaking out for my voodoo dolls). And ever since, it's pretty much my only social skill. I rely on it so heavily that I'm always compelled to make a joke out of everything. Yeah, I know it's annoying.

But all that to say, when I meet someone new, if she doesn't get to see how fun I am on Facebook, how will she ever want to be friends with me? There's a period of extreme discomfort between the time I meet someone new and the time I stop saying inappropriate things all the time.

So far, she seems to still like me. But I never know what I'm going to say on the telephone.

*minus the poo flinging

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fright

I made it through my early morning without anyone dying by my hand.


Another friend is moving away this summer. That's the hazard of living in Salt Lake. There are so many people who are here only for school, or for a temporary job, or for training, or they come here and realize they hate it (there are annoying things about Utah, but none of them annoy me as fiercely as they seem to annoy others). It's a city full of nomads. I'm bummed about it, but I guess life moves on. It's a great thing for her family, so mostly I'm happy.


On a completely different note, does anyone know how Ambien mixes with Mucinex? Because I have something happening in my face that feels like balloons made of knives, and tonight I just want to sleep instead of jolting awake every time an otherworldly child hovers in the air over my bed, or a flock of spiders rushes down the wall in a wave of horror. My brain is already like a terror circus at night, so I don't need to add drug interactions to the list of events. HOWEVER. My face. Knives. Decisions.

Things that I have seen/obsessed over at night (not dreamed, things I actually see when I'm at least mostly conscious):

- I'm stuck in Minecraft world.
- I have no teeth.
- My child is throwing up (she's really not).
- My child is standing at the end of my bed, whispering (she... usually isn't).
- A child I don't know is standing at the end of my bed, whispering.
- Spiders (in my bed, in my hair, dangling over my face, crawling on the wall).
- Jeremy sits up, snorts, rolls over as wildly as possible (oh wait that happens for real).
- My wall is rippling back and forth like it's a curtain.
- There's an ROUS on my dresser.
- OH NO I FORGOT GROCERY SHOPPING TOMORROW WHAT IF THERE'S NO TIME WHAT WILL WE EAT.

I know that reads like an example list of Ambien side effects, but this is me unmedicated, every night. With Ambien, this happens about once or twice a month. Unless I'm sick or getting sick. And then it's a wild ride. I felt like I was in American Horror Story last night, and I think tonight might be even more fun. Maybe I will dream about Mucinex monsters in my room. That might be a welcome change.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I've made a terrible mistake

I have to get up super early tomorrow morning, so I took a full Ambien about ten minutes ago, and it's kind of kicking in, and now this is the best part of today. Everything is warm.

Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you why. Ambien doesn't make me shop naked or eat bags of dog treats, but it does make me very happy, and I will go with it.

Oh, why do I have to get up early? Now that's a funny story, if you can hear it over the weeping.

A few weeks ago, at my moms' group, they were passing out sign-up sheets for this fundraising thing we're doing this weekend. I am CERTAIN that I signed up for cleanup at 5pm. But I either misread the slots, someone moved me, or one of those nice ladies slipped something into my coffee when I wasn't looking. I don't know. All I know is that I got an email yesterday telling me to be there at 7:30 for setup, and then I became nauseated, and then I texted my friend (since I knew I'd signed up right under her) and she texted back, "YEP I'LL PICK YOU UP WITH COFFEE AND DOUGHTNUTS," and I became nauseous again, and no she didn't all-caps it but I know she was thinking it because she is a MORNING PERSON, YO, and one of her greatest joys in life is to see me in beast mode. I don't mean that in the sense that athletes do. I mean that in the sense that I resemble a beast half out of hibernation. One of the ones that will tear your face off if you happen to be present when the full awakening happens. She doesn't get her face torn off because I treasure her, and she has special status. But you don't. And you don't. And you don't.

I am in training for a half marathon, and every time I think about that AFTER I've taken my Ambien, I think, "This is the funniest thing ever." Because I still don't think of myself as a runner. I mean, I am, technically, because I run a lot, and I love it, and... okay, I guess I can say I'm a running. But what I would really like to be is a swimmer. On a team again. But that's not going to happen any time soon unless I can find a team that meets during my kids' preschool hours and is free.

The more I run, the more I love it just for the fact that anyone can do it, even if they don't have any talent. I remember when I used to be fast, in high school. Not track star fast, but fast enough to get to the soccer ball (and then my brain took over trying to figure out what to do with it and shorted, every single time, sorry teammates!). But now I'm just a plodding mom, and I'm pretty okay with that. I still reap all the benefits of running even though I'm slow. However, it would be nice to share the team camaraderie again. Have something in which I have more than the most minimal amount of skill in. It feels nice to be above mediocre at something. I want that back someday. Perhaps when the girls are in school themselves.

It's probably time to go. I have to get up early, and the Ambien has entered my brain effectively enough that I forgot how to tell time for a minute there, and also I keep typing words that are not the words I'm thinking. Good night.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We CAN be friends.

I read this article the other day. It's called "We Can't Be Friends." It's not as bad as some others that I've read, but it implies many of the things that I hate most about these Real/Genuine/Messy/[Whatever Typically Unflattering Adjective that Pertains to You] Motherhood. And it's the one that's been going around Facebook most recently. So it's not the source of my annoyance, but it is the catalyst for writing this post.

She starts off saying that if she has to clean her house for three hours before you come over, then she can't be friends with you. I am so on board with that. That kind of pressure would be exhausting in a friendship. The first time I have someone over, I am a nervous wreck over the state of my house, the food I feed my new friends, the behavior of my children. Imagine doing that every time in a longterm friendship. I would spontaneously combust.

But I hate the implication that, if MY house is clean, it's because I'm trying to impress you, or that I don't play with my children. I like my house to be clean. Clutter is mental noise to me, and I become more and more stressed out around it. In other people's houses, I don't even notice (unless it's up to the level of CALL CPS). I don't care. If I have a place to sit that isn't filthy, if your kitchen doesn't look like a biohazard, then I'm good. And not in a politely tolerating it kind of way. I GENUINELY DON'T CARE.

I spend a lot of time with my kids. We play games I don't hate and read a lot and go for walks when it's not freezing outside. We also clean together, believe it or not. It takes longer, but it wears them out, and then they sleep better. They also spend a lot of time playing on their own or together. They fight, but unless there's blood, I let them, because I think learning how to fight (fighting isn't good, but it's inevitable, and never learning how is even worse) is a valuable skill. Since I started this, they have learned how to get along so much better.

While they are fighting/playing/picking their noses, I get my cleaning done. It doesn't even take that long. They mostly pick up their own toys (we have set times of day to do this), so the amount of regular work I have to do is pretty minimal. Almost all of it is done as I go about my day. I wash my hands in the sink, I wipe the counter and mirror with the hand towel. I take a shower, I wipe it down (in less than 30 seconds) with a rag that I keep in there so that I never have to scrub the shower. I throw dirty clothes down the stairs when I change, and then put them in the hamper next time I go down. I'm not an obsessed clean freak who ignores her children all day in favor of ensuring a sterile environment.

I'm lucky. I only have two kids. They're pretty mellow. They can make huge messes, and they're not always awesome at picking up in a timely fashion, but their basic natures make it pretty easy to have them help me out with the housecleaning.

I'm also a SAHM. That's not something everyone can do or wants to do. If someone has a full time job, of course she's not going to have all kinds of extra time and energy at the end of the day to clean her house by herself. That's just stupid to expect that.

I have a clean house because I like a clean house, and it has nothing to do with you. Different people have different priorities. I sometimes wish I were the mom whose priority was to teach her kids all kinds of different sports, or who could spend hours baking with her kids in the kitchen. I wish I could understand their weird imagination games and play along for more than ten minutes without dying of boredom. I wish I yelled less. I wish, I wish, I wish. But that doesn't mean I look down on moms who do all those things. I have never said, "Well, I COULD play soccer with my kids, but I have a house to clean," with a smug sniff.

No. I am what I am. Some things need improvement (yelling). Some things are just how I am, and they're never going to change. The choices I make are my choices. I don't have to justify them by pointing out the great things I do that others don't. I don't have to put down your love of baking so that I can feel better about my storebought treats. So why do we get like this over clean houses?

I'm glad that it's become more acceptable to be more honest about real motherhood. I can't imagine how stifling and isolating it would be to do it any differently. But let's not be mean girls in our "honesty." Honesty should be equal opportunity. "I have a messy house," or, "I haven't showered today" shouldn't be the only things that are acceptable. How about, "If my kids get underfoot while I'm cooking, I lose my mind." Or, "I hate mornings so much that my small children have to get their own breakfast." Or, "Sometimes I put my kids to bed an hour early because they can't tell time yet, and I'm just done."

How about we build each other up instead of me declaring that we can't be friends if I perceive that you are better than I am at something? How about, "You make the best cookies. I bet your son loves that." Or, "Your kids are so athletic. I think it's awesome you have the energy for that." Or, "Her hair is so cute today! I love how creative you are." <-----Those are all things that I'm terrible at doing with my kids. And guess what. I don't feel ashamed or embarrassed over any of them. I think it's cool that my friends can manage this stuff, and it doesn't cost me anything to admire them for it.