Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Is 7 too young to be a drama queen?

Heaven help me. My beautiful baby girl was such a sweet and easy-going baby. People were amazed at her and how good she was. She was a joy to be around.  She was very solemn most of the time and would study people, as if deciding whether or not she would engage in any kind of communication with them. She didn’t cry very much, slept well and was just precious. I couldn’t believe my luck, to have two sweet and easy-going children. Well, ha ha! the universe said. When my girly was about 22 months old, it was as if someone flipped a switch and she went from a laid-back sweet heart, to a full-blown two-year-old and never looked back. She would throw a fit and I would look at her and say, ‘Who are you and what have you done with my baby girl?’

There is almost exactly 3 years between my youngest and oldest, the oldest being my son, who is still my sweetheart, my caring and funny boy. My girl, well, anything her brother does, she will do twice as much. He gets two tickets for good behavior in class, she’ll say she got 10!

She’s got quite the temper and sometimes can’t really control it, no matter how I try to calm her. So yesterday, we’re getting ready for school. I normally allow her to choose her own clothes, with my approval of course. Yesterday was a different story. She put on no less than three outfits! She’s in SECOND GRADE! I was so frustrated with it, I told her I would be choosing her clothes from now on because there’s no need for that kind of thing. It’s not like she’s preparing for the Oscars or prom. it shouldn’t be this hard to get dressed for elementary school!

Let me just say, I am not a dramatic person. I am not high maintenance and I’m pretty even-keeled, so where this is coming from, I’m not quite sure. I know I was a handful when I was in high school, but we’re not there yet.

Today, well, today was a rough one. I reminded my girly that I was going to be the fashion police today and pick out what she wore. You would have thought I told her  we were moving to Siberia. She went off on me and was very upset and said some really hurtful things, the kind of things that moms definitely don’t like to hear from their children. After she’d cooled down, I explained to her how what she had said hurt me and asked how she would feel if I had said them to her. Then she got it. She cried, apologized and snuggled in my lap. I told her that when she’s angry she can’t just say what pops into her mind because you may say something that you’ll regret later. I try to make everything  a teaching moment, I just hope she learns from it and doesn’t do it again. I know, I know, and there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I can dream, can’t I? Just let me have that for now!

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It’s All About the Choices

I read a blog post a few days ago (that’s you Debs) about having to make a painful choice, which made me sort of re-visit my life. It really is all about the choices we make, and living with the consequences of those choices. Every morning, I can choose to be happy or not. Some things are beyond my control, the weather, what my children do, etc. Really the only thing we can control is our choices and our reactions to those choices. Yes, I have been in the pits of depression, and it’s not fun. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, a downward spiral into a deep dark place that just isn’t pretty. I feel very fortunate in that I was able to pull myself out of it without the assistance of medications or therapy. I know not everyone can do that.

In talking with some of my friends, I can see the choices that they make and how their lives are affected. it’s easy to be objective when it’s not your life that’s under the microscope. One friend chooses to leave her reproductive life in the hands of her doctor, rather than taking an active role in her own life. Another friend chose to leave one job for another, altering her potential for advancement. Many relationships are based on choices. No, we can’t choose our family (too bad!) but we can choose whom we allow into our lives. I’ve been in several relationships, romantic and platonic, in which I realize that the other person is truly weighing me down with their attitude/drama/crap and I just don’t need that in my life. I don’t want to share my life with negative people whose only pleasure in life is to see me unhappy. Life is just too short for that. The same goes for ‘friends’ who don’t really want to be friends unless there’s something in it for them, or it’s convenient. Cut them loose and move on, they’re not worth your time.

What about the choice to turn right or left, go a different way home or to work that puts you in a position to maybe aid someone in need. Or puts you in the wrong place at the wrong time and you’re in an accident. To me, that last choice leads into the game of ‘what if’. And that’s a rabbit hole right there. Have you ever chosen to go a different way home from work, only to get home and find out there was a deadly car accident at the time you normally pass through an intersection? We were driving home from Florida a few years ago and chose to stay at the park a bit longer than we’d planned. On our way to the interstate, we heard on the radio about a deadly multicar accident that was where we were going and happened approximately when we would’ve been in that location if we had not chosen to change our plans by an hour. We potentially could’ve been in it, or witnessed it. I don’t think I’d like either of those. My husband was in a serious car accident last year that totaled our car and left him with a broken him at the tender age of 42 because the driver of the other vehicle chose not to stop when pulling into a parking lot. Thankfully, my honey is fine now, but it was very terrifying to receive that phone call and to deal with the aftermath.

There are other choices I see, mainly in the health of people and some of them really kind of amaze me. I’m sure you know someone who is on cholesterol medication and continues to eat whatever they want because ‘the medicine will take care of it.’ Or how about the ones who are diabetic and eat whatever catches their fancy with the same thought, ‘the medicine will take care of it.’  That thought is a fallacy, pure and simple. Those conditions will continue to damage the body even when the medicine is ‘taking care of it’. 

Don’t even get me started on smokers. They know for a fact that cigarette smoking causes cancer, kills people daily in various painful & hideous ways, and yet they continue to do it. Our state has a totally free smoking cessation program and I wish more people would take advantage of it. Since you asked, yes, I used to smoke.  And when my children ask me why, I say flat out, I was ‘stupid’. It was a terrible choice. There’s that word again. However, after having a gross anatomy class and seeing first hand  the damage from smoking, I chose to quit. I didn’t want my lungs to turn to jelly or to be the little old lady carrying the oxygen tank.

Much of our current economic condition can be traced back to choices people made. Poor choices to live beyond their means, charging credit cards to the max and buying houses they knew they were truly unable to afford. the part of the whole housing bubble that disgusts me, besides the questionable lending practices, is the people who signed on the dotted line to buy a house that in normal conditions would be out of their reach.  It was incredibly irresponsible on parts of both the lenders and the people, they are both equally culpable in the situation.

On the other hand some positive choices:  My BFF chose to take control of her life and not let someone else tell her what she should do or who she was.  I chose to walk away from my practice nearly 7 years ago because my children needed me more than my patients did. I have not regretted it for one second. The first real grown up romantic relationship I had, he chose to call me the next day. I chose to move out of state a couple of times and it changed my life for the better and I really believe those choices have helped me become the person I am today. My husband chose to accept a job transfer to a city he’d never lived in, setting in motion the rest of our lives together.

Life is all about the choices. Today, I choose to be happy and thankful and enjoy the day with my children. And stay away from the junk food. What about you? What will you choose?

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Jealous, Party of one!

I know this is not really domestically related, not all of my posts are. But I just had to write about this.

My mother is 70 now, and looks fairly good for her age. She’s got salt and pepper hair that I’ve been hounding her for years to color. I told her, and it’s really true, if she colored her hair back to it’s normal nearly black shade, she would look ten years younger. Her latest retort is “People pay a lot of money to make their hair look like mine!” Ok, mom, you just keep telling yourself that!

My mom lives in the country and the only internet connection she can get is *GASP* dial-up! Can you  imagine? OMG! It would drive me insane to have to use dial-up! I am completely spoiled by my wonderfully fast internet connection.

So, she’s over at my house today and I was on Facebook. I’ve been talking about it and how much fun I”ve had on it finding old friends that I’ve lost touch with. Because of her dial-up internet dinosaur situation, she really doesn’t do a lot. When it takes 45 minutes to upload photos, it really makes you not want to do a lot.

Since she was here, I thought I’d bring her into the digital age and set up a Facebook page for her. Not that she’ll ever use it, unless she’s at my house or my brother’s, but it’s there whenever she may want it.

It’s really sad, the high school she went to, there’s no one listed on Facebook from her school. NO ONE! It’s a small school granted, but still, they don’t live in the back hills where there’s no current culture, it’s just a small town in Missouri. Or, as she calls it, Missourah.

So, since we couldnt’ find any of her high school pals, I pulled up her college. As I scrolled down the page, there was a lovely woman, really very attractive for her 70’s. I mean, I hope I look that good when I hit that decade! What does my mom do? She makes a really sniping comment “Well, she looks as prissy as ever!” what? “Well, she was the homecoming queen. And look at her now, showing her boobs.” WHAT??? Not even close! I clicked on this woman’s profile, and it said she’d been a middle school teacher. What a great profession. Seriously, isn’t that one of the most important and yet underappreciated careers around? My mom’s next comment: “I wonder if she was teaching with her boobs hanging out.” WHAT? This lady was wearing a v-neck blouse, and it did show just a hint of cleavage, but nothing that I would consider offensive or inappropriate in any way. “Mom, her boobs are not hanging out!”   “Yes it is! See, right there!” she pointed to a lighter spot on this woman’s skin just up from the bottom of the V as if that was cleavage hanging out. It totally was not!

Ok, moving on. Obviously my mother was jealous of this woman. She was very attractive and my mom is, well, my mom.  I guess she’s attractive, but she doesn’t do much to make herself look good. She rarely wears makeup, or her version is ‘rouge’ and lipstick. And on many people it works. Plain I guess is a good word. But to hear the real venom coming from her was a little disheartening. I love my mom, but she’s a difficult one, that’s for sure. Nothing is ever good enough and if you don’t do exactly what she does, then you’re not doing it right. And even if you are doing it exactly the way she does it, you still won’t be right. I just wish she could’ve have said, “wow! She’s aged really well”, or something a little nicer, rather than be so sniping. yes, there are people around whom I didn’t get along with, but I’m old enough to be able to appreciate who they are and how life has treated them. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything as nasty as that about someone I went to school with. I’ll have to think about that. it was kind of odd coming from someone who puts so little emphasis on what she looks like.

Oh well, I guess it just shows you never really know people.

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One career change, coming right up!

Ugh. This year has not started as well as I would have hoped. Why? Well, normally, my husband being in retail, it finally slows back down and we can get back into a normal routine. During the holidays, he works 6 day weeks and some really long hours. You know the retailers, they have to get every last customer in the door they possibly can, no matter what it might be doing to their employees. And my husband being the lucky one, gets to do a lot more than the others because he’s salaried and it won’t affect the payroll for him to work 80 hours a week. Needless to say, we don’t see much of him between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year, it started even earlier, Halloween, I think.

Anyway. I have been begging him for a few years now to find a job outside of retail. One with normal kind of hours, as in, closed nights and weekends. You see, his team of managers can’t seem to live without him, and he’s a very hands on manager-type, so even when he’s off, he’s still working. They call him on vacation, on days off, any time there’s a problem they think they can’t solve without him. Granted, I know there are some legitimate times they need to talk to him. But seriously, can’t the poor guy get a day off without being pestered to answer some inane question?

Finally, I think he has come to the same conclusion: he’s not 25 anymore and can’t continue doing this day in and day out. Oh, that, and well, his boss is evil incarnate and lives to torture her managers. Every single day it’s something else, some other stupid busiwork crap that she’s giving them that HAS to be done, TODAY. No matter that it’s his day off. She has to have it, yesterday. Not a positive thing gets past this woman’s lips. No praise, no compliments, it’s always hammering them down, wearing them down, beating them down. She runs her stores by fear and intimidation, which is not a good way to go.  In fact, she has inspired a character in the novel I”m working on.

When my husband took over this store, it was in really bad shape and we knew it would take some time to get it turned around. And he has turned it around, but it’s not consistent (it’s hard to be consistent with gaping holes in your staff, but they’re doing much better than they did before.) They had a corporate visitor a couple of months ago, and she essentially threw him under the bus.  This  visitor stood there ripping on everything, and rather than pointing out the positive changes that had been made since my husband took over, she kept her mouth shut and did not come to his defense. Guess what! That really pissed me off.

So, now I’m working on updating his resume and we are in search of a new career. Anyone know of a good recruiter in the Tulsa Metro? Or possibly Denver metro? We have decided that we may need to open our possibilities and scope to the opportunities that may lie elsewhere.

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What do you do when….

you have a friend who is really messed up but you can’t really help? I have a friend, a long lost friend that I recently reconnected with. I have been really happy to find her. We had a very unique and special friendship, borne out of a nasty situation and a mutual hatred of an evil person.

She has had a crap year, to put it very mildly and has all manner of bad luck thrown at her ranging from illness to divorce to, well, I really can’t say, but something that doesn’t happen every day.

I want to help her, be there for her. She has soldiered through much of this terrible stuff on her own.  Her mother has Alzheimer’s and her dad has his hands full taking care of her.  My friend didn’t tell them about her illness, not wanting to cause her mother any stress, or her father. A very unselfish thing to do. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for her. She said no one at her job had any idea about it. And yet she continued on.

Today, she got the latest blow in a series of really traumatic events and she was gobsmacked to say the least. She was completely blindsided by this and is in a real funk, as she puts it.  She lives in a different state , several over from me. I want to jump on a plane and go and see her, just to be a shoulder for her to cry on or take her out to a movie, but this is hardly the time of year I can do that.

she recently relocated for her job, so she really is all alone in that new city, which is never good when you’re in a low point in your life.

We talk on the phone, email, and chat online. I just listen to her talk about her problems, I can tell she needs that. She told me that I”m the only one who knows about all of it and I am honored that she trusts me with all of this. It’s difficult because I do want to help her and I don’t feel like I”m doing enough.  I have sent her a necklace, a pretty sterling silver cross that says “Live by faith, not by sight’ because sometimes, that’s really what you have to do. I just hate it because I am a doer.  I want to do something to help my friends, and I guess, maybe just by being here for her I am, but it just seems so insignificant to me when her struggles are so great right now.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? she is really stressed and is about at the end of her rope.  As she put it to me today, fried/wrung out/drained/tired/done.

***UPDATE***

I talked to my friend yesterday and she got vindication in one situation that had been causing her a serious amount of stress.  She also received a phone call and was able to obtain closure in another situation.  Needless to say, both of these things, especially coming on the same day, were really fantastic for her. She feels like a weight has been lifted, I could hear it in her voice. It made me happy too, to hear her sounding  more like her old self again.

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