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Jan. 11th, 2011

Is this thing still on?

It's been busy, crazy, and highly stressful around here lately. Some fun too, but not nearly as much as there should be.

In no particular order, some thoughts and events:

My paternal grandfather passed away on January 6. His obituary is here. We went up to Ashland this past weekend to see my grandma and just to be with family. I hadn't considered that I would be able to see his body, since he wanted to be cremated, but they were waiting until everyone in the family who needed to see him had done so. When I saw him at Christmas, he looked so frail and vulnerable - it really hurt to think about the amount of pain he was in and to see him in this condition. He had been needing someone to come help him up every day for the last few weeks, either because he'd fallen or he just couldn't get up. My grandma wasn't strong enough to help him up - she's got her own health problems going on, though she seems to be fixing to keep going for quite a while yet.

On the drive up, it became obvious that the car's tires should have been replaced a while ago - the roads were in their normal crappy winter condition and I could feel the car slipping when we went over bumps. I took over driving when we stopped in Cloquet for gas, because as much as I'd rather let Chris drive I feel safer if I can drive in bad weather or when something's wrong with the car. Not necessarily because he's a bad driver, but because I'm less anxious if I'm in control in those conditions. We hit white-out conditions on Hwy 2 headed across Wisconsin and after a harrowing 10-15 mile drive where there was absolutely nowhere to pull off the road and I could only tell I was on the road because of the occasional road sign glimpsed through the snow, we stopped for the night about 35 miles from our destination. Of course the snow stopped about 15 minutes after we moved into the hotel room, but that was okay. I was very happy that we'd picked up a bottle of whiskey when we'd stopped for gas, let me tell you. We ended up getting new tires in Ashland, which made a hell of a lot of an improvement.

The other thing going on in my life, of course, is Arlo. We had an evaluation with an occupational therapist at the beginning of December and I had a meeting with her last week to discuss it. The upshot of it all is that his sensory issues really are as bad as I've thought, but she thinks that 6-12 months of therapy should be all he needs to be able to work through things and learn to cope with his needs. He's still home with me fulltime, which is horribly stressful for both of us - I'm exhausted by his presence and he is clearly bored and frustrated but won't do anything educational other than read. I can't get him out of the house in a timely manner, so we don't get a lot of socialization done. Not to mention I can't really take him to playgroups or to someplace with a ball pit (i.e. Eagle's Nest) so he doesn't get a ton of the large-motor movement that he needs. Getting him out in the woods also isn't happening, sadly.

He was with my aunt and/or my mom from last Wednesday- Friday and came back from Ashland with my mom yesterday. Having those days to decompress and get some things done was such a gift and it gave me the motivation I needed to get him back into school. I feel like I can finally do that, now that we have a diagnosis from the OT to show to the school (since Adams refused to do an evaluation for us on the grounds that he hadn't been in school enough. Keep in mind that they sent him home after a few hours every time he went to school.) I just spoke to someone at Battle Creek Elementary to find about tours and talking to teachers and the special ed staff. I just need to find the kid-free time to go out and take a tour so I can see the place. Good luck with that, eh? I just really need him to go to school. I need time away from the kid, time to be myself and try to dig out from under this depression that's sucking my will to live.

I do have good things going on in my life, too - lots of good friends, yoga class, my cats, warm slippers. I just feel like those things would be easier to enjoy if I didn't have this kid with me all the time who throws massive tantrums if I dare suggest he eat something or *gasp* leave the house. Someday it will be better, but in the meantime things are really hard.

Nov. 15th, 2010

And here I am, back on the relatively calm and happy side of my personality. WTF is going on, honestly? Is it just depression or do I have some other sort of mental illness? Honestly, if I'm getting enough child-free/not in charge of kids time, enough sex, enough sleep, and enough time with my most-loved friends, then I'm mostly okay. Let's not even get into the effect that exercise has on all of this, because I don't have enough kid-free time to go to yoga more than once a week right now, and even that's hard to swing. Blech.

In other matters impacting my sanity, I do not understand HOW people can manage home-improvement projects on their own and not kill a) themselves, b) each other, c) their kid(s), or d) all of the above. We have our cabinets and sink installed, temporarily, but will have to pull them out again next week when the undamaged cabinets arrive. I don't know what I should be more annoyed about - that we received damaged goods or that I failed to inspect the cabinets upon receipt but instead waited until they were in my house (and the old cabinets removed!) to notice most of the damage. My uncle helped us (i.e. did most of the work) and I think I owe him about 10 pairs of handknit socks for the amount of work this is taking. I'd have pulled a Milton Waddams if Chris and I had been doing this by ourselves.

Tomorrow I have to drive Grace to school because she got kicked off the bus for two days. She was jumping around/moving from seat to seat again and since this was her third write-up they suspended her bus privileges for two days. Really? That's exactly what I needed to deal with right now. I can't seem to get it through her head that this is NOT OKAY and that she is going to be walking to school if she gets kicked off the bus permanently.

Remind me to schedule a massage ASAP. I've figured out that one of the things that comes with depression is physical pain, which in turn depresses me. If I get a massage and work some of that out it'll hopefully make my whole mental state better. Not to mention that my MT is a dear dear friend and sessions with her are akin to sessions with a psychotherapist. And that it's just good to feel safe and that if I need to cry the whole time I'm there it'll be okay and she won't stop loving me because of it.

And now I'm going to bed because I'm getting all teary and am clearly overtired. My internet privileges should be taken away around midnight, I think.

Jul. 22nd, 2010

They are fighting constantly, it seems. Actually, they got up and played nicely for about an hour this morning while Chris and I lay in bed like the exhausted lumps we are, but once they'd eaten all hell broke loose. It's like they were just too hungry to fight before breakfast.

I'm taking them to the Eagle's Nest to play, hopefully they'll stop being assholes and leave me alone for a while. Anybody wants to join us, I'll be hiding somewhere with my ipod and knitting or a book.

Things that make me happy

In no particular order.

• The jars of pickles on my counter

• kissing

• my own personal bartender

• coffee and a book in the backyard in the mornings

• good music

• childcare

• the possibility of going to yoga today!

• sleeveless dresses and tank tops

• the reaction I get when I take off my shirt

• Mad Men (season 2 discs 1 & 2 arriving today!)

• walking barefoot

• J

• my short hair, in all its crazy glory


Jul. 19th, 2010

So much better today. Turns out that a night of trivia, drinks, and a nice long walk with J was exactly what I needed. I love people who will make the most silly, ridiculous jokes to make me laugh - I really needed that.

Today is back to the grind - screaming kid right next to me (his sister bit him for some unknown reason), playgroup. I need to take the van in to get the power locks fixed and should probably look into fixing the big scrape I put in it last night while pulling into the garage. Oops.

I need some new books, if anyone's got suggestions. I've been reading Christopher Moore, the Sookie Stackhouse books, and The Wizard of Oz lately. Sci fi, chick lit, classics. Anyone?
I'm so tightly wound now that I feel like I'll lose it if anyone even touches me. I took the kids to the History Center for the Little Locavores event and it was cool and kind of fun. Or it would have been if my kids didn't spend the whole time fighting, whining, screaming, and kicking things. I think I spent a fair portion of my time there quietly crying and wishing I had more than one tissue. livsmama and family were there and it was really nice to see them, but I couldn't even talk because I would have just burst into tears. Nobody wants to deal with that. I ran into another friend on the way out and couldn't even conceal my tears anymore. Embarrassing.

I have had no regular breaks from the kids since school let out, which means I haven't been to yoga or on any bike rides. I can't sleep, my sex life has been pretty unsatisfying, and I just don't feel like I'm connecting with *anyone* lately. Friends, husband, family - nobody. Obviously, all of the regular methods of stress relief are failing me right now.

I don't know if the stress is making my shoulder worse or if the pain from my shoulder is just amplifying everything. Either way, it's just awful and I can't deal with it anymore. Drinking at 4 in the afternoon doesn't sound like such a bad idea right now, except all it'll do is make me feel worse later. I guess I'll schedule another massage and see if we can do anything this time. Last time didn't help at all, sadly, though it *was* nice to be with one of my favorite people for that hour.

The one bright spot in the day is that I'm going out with a friend this evening, after Chris gets home. He's off doing a pub crawl on bike, which sounds like a lot of fun. I've asked him to come home before the end of the party, which I don't like to do but I *need* a break. Plus, the trivia at Merlin's Rest starts at 7:30. I don't think it's too much to ask but I still feel guilty for setting a deadline for his outing. I need to get over these feelings of guilt, I know, but it's so deeply ingrained that I'm having a hard time of it.

I guess I feel a little better now, but since I can still hear the kids yelling and fighting outside it'll all come back shortly. Yay.

Jul. 16th, 2010

Kitchen project looming - we've got some sort of leak with our faucet and/or sink and rather than just fixing the leak I want a new sink and cabinet that's not cheap and ugly dented metal from the '60s. I don't hate the sink but it's rusting and dingy and it would cost a lot of money to have it refinished (enameled cast iron). While we're at it, I'm getting a new cabinet for above the sink. Again, cheap, ugly, dented metal cabinet. Why did they do this???

So if anyone's game for helping, I can pay with food, beer, or sexual favors ;-) You know, if you're lucky.

I'm going to stop myself from letting this turn into a cascade of changes - as much as I'd LOVE to rip up the linoleum and 1/4" plywood that's covering up what's probably a hardwood floor, I think that would probably be a mistake right now. It's going to have to wait a few years until we can swing a full kitchen remodel, which is going to have to include gutting the kitchen, chimney removal, reconfiguring a window, and possibly knocking down a wall. Exciting stuff.

Jul. 8th, 2010

I just finished packing a lunch for us to eat at the park/pool today, hopefully someone besides me eats it. I've managed to use up all of the kale and lettuce from the CSA this week - pretty impressive! Delicious, as well. I'm sure my diet of mostly salads is responsible for the surprise I saw on the scale yesterday morning - I'm below 240 for the first time since before I got pregnant with Arlo, I think. Almost to 25# total loss since I started keeping track of stuff last summer - pretty cool! And I'm about 1/4 of the way to where I'm hoping to get, so that's cool.

Just one more cup of coffee before I get going. Come on, body - you can do it, even if you are ridiculously sore from yoga yesterday.

Jul. 6th, 2010

I'm home alone with two grouchy, uncooperative children. Lucky me. We all had a great time this weekend and I think the kids are worn out now - they stayed up too late most nights and have been left to their own devices for too long. I don't have the energy to herd them out of the house and make them do anything, either.

I've retreated to the back yard with the dog. They can play swordfight all they want now, I can't see it.

I wish the library opened earlier than noon. That would probably be an effective way to get them out of the house, maybe. I'd have to let them check out a video, though, that seems to be half the reason they agree to go to the library.

This coming weekend is wedding-o-rama weekend, it seems. One of our friends is getting married on Saturday and we're going to their reception, which is going to be a blast! Sunday, Chris's co-worker is getting married and we're going to the wedding and the reception. Another hugely fun day, I'm sure. Chris's parents are taking the kids for the weekend - talk about fantastic! We've gotta schlep the kids over there on Saturday, but I can handle that if it means I'll get to have a bunch of fun this weekend. They're planning to keep Arlo for a few days after, I think. He'll love that - undivided attention from my father-in-law will be a good thing for him. Hopefully the MIL doesn't get him too cranked up, which is an ongoing problem.

I'm hoping to find some kid-free time in the next week. I haven't been to yoga since last weekend and I miss it. And childfree time for socializing would be nice as well...

Jul. 4th, 2010

I have been reminded by several people to put on sunscreen. Maybe today will be the day I actually do it before spending significant time in the sun. I'm tempted to get some tank tops to show off my ridiculous farmer tan, though.

Chris just showed Arlo how to start a siphon to drain the wading pool. Just counting the days until he figures out how to do this on gas tanks.

I've laid the 16 huge pavers for our walkway but I'm going to make Chris arrange them properly for me. I have no eye or patience for that part. I'm insanely envious of the brick walkway my friend is putting in at his house but it's not something I see myself doing. Too much work, partly, and also just too much fiddliness for my taste. I'll just have to go appreciate his work when I need a brick walkway fix.

We've got a minivan-load of mulch to lay too. I just wonder how much of the area that will cover - I'm going to bet that it's probably about half of what we'll end up needing. I calculated that we'll need about 5.8 cubic yards, which seems ridiculous. I think my measurements were a bit off, though - I just used my feet to step it off and went from there. Finding a measuring tape was just too much work, I guess.

Well, back to work. Uffda.