Sunday, April 29, 2007

How do you fill the hours?

I was reading a favorite blog of mine and in it she mentioned that "I sabotage my own weekends without the boys, I don't plan well..." It made me think. Why is it that the weekends without my kids are my least productive and least appreciated?

Its not that I don't have tons of things I need to do. A thousand things I "wish I had time for".
The minute the kids are off my plate I just freeze up. Wander around aimlessly and pitter away the hours. Its as if my brain can't function unless I am planning my life around theirs. Or is that just an excuse?

I have to get used to this "alone" time. Be comfortable with who I am and what I do with myself. Maybe I need to make plans to fill the hours--at first at least. Until I get used to it. I am determined to make my time with ME be quality time. God knows I whine enough about not having time--I need to start appreciating the time I do have, and the company I keep. Even if that company is just ME.
PS: off to Space Camp with the youngest--back Wednesday!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Prom night....

First, I have to thank all the wonderful well-wishers. There is really no way to explain how much better you feel after just having your feelings noticed and validated by people, even if you don't know them. So thank you all. It was hard to post that one, because I feel like somehow by exposing my weaknesses I make yourself less---"likeable" I guess. Anyway, the clouds have parted for now, and I am back to life at full steam.

Tonight is prom night. My two (shown above, aren't they fab?) are going as part of a group of friends; ours was "the designated house". I did the flowers for 4 of the kids this afternoon. They all had dinner here--steak, potatoes, salad, green beans, dessert, complete with the good china, crystal, and silver--then off to the park for picture taking. After that they all went promming, while I went home to entertain the 3 kids left behind (my son's girlfriend--he is escorting one of the older girls, her little brother, and my youngest) and to prepare the "after-prom" breakfast. Then, they all sleep over here. Am I nuts or what?

Actually, it is a blast. It is one of the thingsI love about having kids, and being "the house" where everyone hangs out. Our new house is ripe for it--it has a "great room" and a huge finished basement--perfect kid space. And, I guess this is the last "event" we will have here. Hard to believe. But it doesn't feel sad at all, just finished. I was thinking about the new house as I put the china back in the cabinet and wondered when we will pull it out again.

I think it may have to be soon--a celebration of things to come.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The darker side of me....

The problem with believing that you are basically inadequate is that it takes very little to tip you over the edge into despair.

I am an overachiever. Ask anyone. I do it all. And I do it well. Perfectly, most of the time. With a smile. Cakes for school bakesales, quilts for sick kids, donations for charity, prescriptions when you need a refill and your doc is out of town, shoulders to cry on, broken doors fixed, window treatments made, you name it. I am a mother, a doctor, a teacher, a yoga instructor, a damn good friend to several people. I basically can do anything I set my mind to.

So why do I feel so completely worthless?

Because I know that the reason I CAN do it all is because I HAVE to. No one is fucking going to do it for me.

I wonder sometimes, what would happen if I got sick? I did once, almost died, actually. My worthless husband was out of town. My kids didn't know what to do--they really didn't know I was as sick as I was. I told them to call my friend, and she wasn't home. So what did I do? I told them to go on to bed, and I went to sleep prepared to die. There simply wasn't anyone else I could think of to call. I was too sick and out of my head to even think of 911, and the kids had no idea I was that ill. So I just waited to die.

I feel like that now. Like I am simply waiting to get the kids raised so I can die.

I try to avoid situations where I know I will feel like shit. Usually I know: no "couples" stuff, nothing, in fact that points out to me that I am alone. Not much associated with work--my ex was an integral part of where I work, and his memory lingers. Nothing that emphasizes to me that I am alone. Today, I don't even know what derailed me, but I just unglued. Maybe it was the kids telling me that their dad wants to "join the country club". Maybe it was trying to finalize all the details of closing on one house before another, and trying to get everything I want done to it done before we move in. Maybe it is too much change at once. I suspect that it is realizing that no, I am not enough. I am not enough at all. I hate what my life has turned into. I try to be excited, really, I do. And most days I convince myself that I am. Excited, and happy, and anticipating something better. But some days I can't pull it off. Like today.

Today I am just a 46 year old single mother of three needy kids with not enough money in savings, a home I can't keep, a house that needs to be made into a home, a job that I hate, and too many bad memories. Its easier to keep the bad ones, because the happy ones hurt more.

I hope these days are becoming fewer and farther between. At least every day is not a struggle to breathe, like it was when I was married. I still have so much anger though. When does the anger go away? And when it does, what replaces it?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

OK, house bought. Sigh of relief.
We are all very, very excited. It is lovely, actually remarkably enough like our present house to feel comfortable, yet different enough to be new and exciting.
I walked through the yard today while I was waiting to hear from the realtor. Two bluebirds joined me. I consider it an omen of happiness and good fortune to come.

Otherwise, there continues to be upheaval and turmoil.

My son's trip to Costa Rica was cancelled--not enough participants. Fortunately there was another trip to join--to New Zealand. When paying for the outrageously expensive air tickets I found out that the credit card I was using had been "frozen" because of "suspicious activity". Thank goodness, because none of the attempted purchases were made by me! This particular card is not the one I use every day, so I guess it was easy to figure out that all those attempted Internet purchases for electronics were not me. That is the second time my credit card number has been "stolen". I will have to wait for the bill to see what charges did go through, if any, and report them. What a pain. It really creeps me out.

Two of my kids are failing classes. I don't know how you help kids that won't ask for help until its too late. It is sad and frustrating. My middle child is just devastated by his probably failure in Biology. He is such a great kid, but he has no concept of it. It has been a tough year for him--yet 99% of the time you would never know he has a care in the world. Then BOOM, a failing grade and he literally dissolves before my eyes. He is still grieving the loss of his best friend last winter--he died of a rare viral pneumonia. Then, the divorce, and changing schools. Just when I think we are over the hump something like failing biology tips him over into tears, and he sobs like his heart is broken. It just seems like his capacity to "roll with the punches" is used up. I know how he feels. I guess it is good that he cries occasionally...he never really did accept Tommy's death at the time--in fact, I don't remember his crying at all. I am hopeful that this summer's New Zealand adventure will help in some way. Doing new things and making new friends can't possibly hurt. My heart aches for him.

I am just ready for life to settle down. I feel like we have been on some terrible roller coaster for about 3 years, and I am ready for the ride to end. I'm not asking for perfect, just a little calmer. A little less turmoil. A little less drama. Time to just enjoy each other and to just BE.

Friday, April 20, 2007

House update.

Today was D-day--decision day--for the "house of my dreams". The current owners decided that despite the fact that an inspection showed that their house was in sad disrepair, and I had offered them top dollar for their house, they were not willing to negotiate or repair the problems. So, I sent a contractor to give me his opinion.

"Did you see the movie The Money Pit? Welllll, mammmm, that's what kept a-playing in my head the whole time I was looking at that house. I think its like a big ball of string, and once you get a hold of the end, its all gonna unwind."

Bottom line? 30 k to bring it up to normal repair and to code FOR THE TIME IT WAS BUILT. Yes, it was not even up to the building code for the year it was built.

My realtor said: "I cannot in good conscious recommend that you buy this house."

Can you say walk away?

Thank God for inspections.

So, the kids and I looked at more houses. And returned to one we had looked at earlier that I had liked, but they nixed because the master suite was "not good enough" for their mom (did I mention that I love those kids?)

And I think it will be fine. Just right, actually. About the same size as the "scream house", with a great finished basement for the kids playroom and a lovely yard. It even has a screened porch. It will need updating, but it is substantially cheaper than the other, and already has a new roof, and relatively new heating and air. And, its in a great neighborhood, where the kids have friends.

All in all, not a bad thing. We will go back tomorrow and look one more time, take pictures, and write up the contract. I feel better about this one already--in a way it already feels like "home", so I think we may have finally found our new nest. Again, wish us luck. And thanks for all the good thoughts and concerns about the last one! It really helped!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There they treasures!

What a wonderful little vacation we had. Never mind the tornado, which took out our electricity for several hours, the storms that accompanied said tornado, the COLD wind, the clouds and rain, we had 5 grand days together!

My daughter and I visited a local college there, that she has always expressed interest in attending. It was lovely--exquisite, actually--but one problem. No minorities. None. Nada. Zilch. We noticed this while eating in the cafeteria--where she was pointing out all the "groups" and commenting on how like high school it really was. "See, mom, there are the nerds, there's the snobby rich kids, there's the jocks, the computer geeks, the, where are the black kids?"
So, we looked throughout the tour of the campus--none. We did see 2 Hispanic cleaning ladies. So, I asked our tour guide: "Tell me about diversity here."
She visibly stumbled. "You mean ethnic, or cultural?" "I mean any diversity. Whatcha got?" She actually smiled--she was a pre-law student--"well, we were voted the most homogeneous campus in the country, so I should say--we don't have any." She then lowered her voice: "the administration here is really conservative."
It was rather shocking. Needless to say, my daughter ruled them out. She says that she couldn't go to a school where some of her friends would feel out of place visiting. Besides, she doesn't want to be the "token poor white trash" from Georgia. I was incredibly proud. It was really satisfying to see that my daughter recognized that it was strange to be in a "homogeneous environment". The decision to put my kids in public school was hard, and dealing with the public school atmosphere is even harder. But, in a lot of ways it works for my kids. And I am very proud of them.

We also did a really neat "paranormal investigative ghost walk". After a mini-lecture on hauntings, and current "theories" about what was or was not felt to be "real", we were given little electromagnetic field meters, which "spiked" when there was a change in the EMF--which may indicate paranormal activity. We then toured some of the really cool, "haunted" spots in the city, and checked for spikes. Of course, I, the energetic stone, had none, except when I walked over the places where the underground cables were concentrated, or near electrical transformers or breaker boxes. My kids, however, had lots. Especially little Spence (no surprise). The cool thing was that if you got a lot of spikes, the guide would take a most of them there was nothing exciting--but in ALL of Spence's he had an orb of light with him--sometimes two. Not in the same place, but somewhere around him was an orb. It was really cool. Especially weird, however, was that whenever the guy got a really great picture of it--his camera went nuts and "auto-erased" the pictures. It was bizarre (and very, very irritating for the guide!) It was the most fun "ghost walk" we have ever been on--and we have been on several! It really was thought provoking, and interesting.

All in all, we had a great, great time. The best part was just having time to chill together. It definitely has given us 2nd thoughts about taking along "friends". Sometimes, just family is just right.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Off to the beach tomorrow...HOORAY!!!!

I hope I can put all the anxiety about the house stuff behind me--I have done well so far, but its only been a couple of days. I have the potential having to wait a whole week more before I know anything. But, I have done all that I can and the ball is out of my court for now. So, the plan is to go to the beach and enjoy my treasures--all three of them!

The kids and I have been to this beach several times--we always rent a house, pack up and take several other kids for the fun. This time, however, they asked that it just be us. Just mom, kids and 2 dogs. I was flattered beyond belief. It never occurred to me that they would like to just chill with me. But, they said they wanted some "family time". I love that. Family time.

The reality of it is that we--the kids and I--have been a family without a "dad/husband" for a lot longer than we have been divorced. We were a team with a common--well, I hate to say enemy, but adversary fits well. We protected each other from his crazy mood swings, bitter words, scathing looks, hateful attitudes for several years. Yes, there were times that were "good" but nothing you could depend on. When I told them we were getting divorced the oldest two said "about damn time"; the youngest was upset until he learned he would be living with me. I think the whole universe sighed a huge sigh of relief. So, we have been a "family" that travels "dad-less" for some time.

My next goal is a trip to Disney. You either love Disney, or you hate it. We've already been about 5 times, but always with someone who HATED it (and LOVED talking about how much he HATED it and how miserable he was). I can't imagine doing the Disney thing without conflict. Happily paying 3 dollars for a popcicle and not screaming if someone accidently drops it. Standing in line and playing silly games; eating crappy food; taking tons of pictures...and loving every hot, crowded, overexpensive minute of it. Lets face it--the Disney folks are all smiles and it's friendly, it's clean, and it's safe. Yes, I know there have been "scares" and "child abduction rumors"--but my mother eloquently quenched my paranoia during one visit when I was lamenting on the phone about trying to keep a hand on 3 little ones--

"Look around. Does anyone look like they WANT your children?"

Point taken.

And I don't care if its all "fake". I know "they are paid to smile, and to be nice"--I don't give a shit. I am happy to pay for it. Hell, I have to be nice at work too, and to people a lot more obnoxious than I am. I despise surly fast food workers, nasty parks, and people who OBVIOUSLY don't want to be at work. So bring on the mouse ears, Mickey t-shirts, and cheesy smiles. Maybe at Christmas--I ADORE that fake snow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dream house update....

The "house of my dreams" is turning into the "house of my screams"...not really, just very frustrating right now. It is lovely,and absolutely perfect for our needs. The kids are so very excited--picking paint colors and rearranging their rooms on paper.

The problem? I, of course, had it inspected. And it has a lot of problems that the current owners will have to fix. Not just for me, structural stuff that has to be fixed whether I buy it or not. Sagging floor joists, a cracked rafter, rotten window sills with subsequent water damage--you get the drift. It also needs a new roof in about a year, and has polybutylene pipes, which I have unfortunately learned a great deal about in a short time--in essence, the whole house has to be replumbed.

So why am I still involved? Did I mention that we love it? All of the above will have to be fixed--its not like the owners can sell it to someone else and not disclose any of this new information, and no one will buy it until the problems are addressed. Nor can they just ignore the problems--they have to be addressed if the house is going to be lived in. My fear is that they will decide not to sell at all. Or, they can take it off the market, fix it and put it back on the market later hoping to get a better price--which doesn't work for me either. They have until next Friday to decide what they are willing to do. Hopefully, we will have an agreement we can all live with. Otherwise, it's back to house hunting--under a very tight time constraint. My house is set to close on May 30.

I remain in a perpetual state of nausea.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Random thoughts....

Too much chaos in the world right now. I am feeling unsettled on a very deep level, and am finding that many of my dear friends are feeling the same. Maybe it is the general unrest of the world at large; maybe we are reaching an awareness level where we can sense the disturbances that have always been around, but we were too self-absorbed to notice. Maybe...

I have not posted a picture of the new "dream house" yet. I am still in the midst of inspections, negotiations, angst and worry. And, it isn't mine until we close. Did I mention that I am superstitious? I am just terrified of "jinxing" the whole thing if I get too optimistic, or hopeful, or just plain cocky. So, be patient, those of you who are interested...its coming. I pray, its coming. For those who care, here is the current, soon not to be our home.

Please, send good thoughts our way as I try to get all the details wrapped up. I cannot remember being this stressed in a long time. It seems silly and selfish to be so wrapped up in such a glaring example of materialism, but the fact of the matter is--my house is sold. I have to move. My kids love the new house, and so do I. It feels like it could very well be home, in a new and wonderful way. I am just nauseated at all the details, and terrified of screwing up. The inspection on the wanna-be house made me want to throw up--so many things to be fixed! Of course, the responsibility of fixing them is the current owners, but it just scared me to death. I can't believe I am doing this ON MY OWN. God help me.

I just heard that another good friend has lost her beloved dog in a most horrible way, and my heart breaks for her. He tried to climb over her back fence and impaled himself--she found him still alive, but it was hopeless, and the vet had to put him down. That dog has been her best friend for years. She has really had it rough lately, and now this--and she is one of the the sweetest, most upbeat, positive souls I know. It is very hard to understand how so much sorrow lands on such a dear, trusting person. Pisses me off, actually. For her and for all of us who just try to do and be as good as we can be for everyone, and who end up being hurt beyond belief. If you have a moment, please send her good thoughts as well. In fact, take a moment and just send out a butt load of positive thoughts and energy for all the suffering folks in the world. It surely can't hurt.

In my current mindset of finding beauty

is this guy adorable or what?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Miracles...I always think of miracles in the spring. Maybe its because everyone is getting ready for the CMN telethon, but I think it is because its finally spring.

I love spring. Especially spring here in Middle Georgia. Love the blue skies, the smell of wild onions when the grass is mowed, the flowers popping open before your eyes, the hum of bees in clover, the thunderstorms. Even though I hate swimming in a sea of pollen, I am looking so forward to the warm (not hot yet), moist, expectant days ahead.

Miracles. Such an over-used, under appreciated word: miracle. I, like everyone else, tend to look for the big ones. The show stoppers. The telethon-worthy. And I have been so very, very fortunate to have experienced--or been witness to--some really over the top miracles. Working in a Children's hospital for the past 20 years or so I have seen more than my share of unexplanable.

The more important ones for me personally are the miracles I take for granted every day. Every birth. Every death. Every sound heard. Every color seen. The fact that we live and breath and think. The smell of clean air. The fact that when someone smiles at us we feel something, know something special has happened. The smell of a coffee. Every bud that pops, every raindrop that falls....all of it miraculous and amazing and overwhelming in its innate beauty.

I know that there are scientific explanations for most of the above--but does that make them any the less miraculous? Why do we let science rob us of the mystery...of the joy of being insignificant in a vast unbelievably beautiful universe? I have seen the unexplanable, the impossible--and so has everyone else. But do we really appreciate it? Do we realize that most of what we take for granted is in defiance of the impossible? Do we ever stop to think about just how very blessed we are to be able to NOT understand every detail of life?

My hope is that I will always look around me and notice. Notice the good, the not so good, the awful and in noticing find a way to appreciate all that is miraculous in my corner of the world. I know I will forget, but fortunately, the universe tends to remind me with beauty almost every day. If only I remember to see it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

happy fucking easter...

I am not sure why I am in such a foul mood, only that I am. My kids are at their dad's this weekend--I should be happy that they must be having a good time, since I haven't heard from them, but I am not. I am alone, and livid.

My kids and their dad have a unique relationship--when its good it's evidently very good--when its bad it's horrid. Which leaves me in pertetual call mode--be invisible when it's good; be available for rescue when it's not. Perhaps I am the problem, and I am brainstorming ways to make it better, but for now I remain in limbo--held hostage by my ex's moods. So what else is new? For today, that meant not making plans to be with friends because the kids "didn't know" what they were doing with their dad. It meant buying easter stuff, hiding fake eggs, dying eggs "just in case" they decided to come home. It meant I am a fucking idiot, sitting home pissed at my kids because they chose to spend the day with fuckwad instead of me. It means paying the bills, and worrying about college, and cars, and car insurance for teenage kids, and worrying about mortgages, and moving, and packing, and vacations. It is trying not to be consumed with bitterness by the unfairness of it all. It means I am just as bad as he is--pissed when they don't want to be with me...

The kids deserve to be happy--deserve to be able to enjoy their time with dear old dad--deserve not to be responsible for either of our happiness. OK, so why am I so pissed off? If I go with my basic belief that anger is fear, then what am I afraid of? What is it that is killing me inside? What am I so damn terrified of all the time?
I think it is that I am not enough. Not smart enough to manage the details of our complicated lives. Not talented enough to make it all work. Not skilled enough to make enough money to support us. Not strong enough to survive all the lonliness, fear, angst that comes with growing old and watching your kids grow up and leave you alone. Not brave enough to actually be.....alone. Because that is what I am. Alone.

Addendum: my beautiful daughter brought me a surprise easter basket--complete with the most wonderful note ever...I am, after all, remembered, loved, and very blessed...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Five questions from liv--I feel like a celebrity!

1) what is the first thing that you see/hope/think about when you see a newborn baby while on the job? While it isn't exactly romantic, my first thought is "does this baby look normal?" How is it lying there, is it pink, what's its tone, is it irritable, all parts there? The hard part is not viewing every baby I see--at work or otherwise--in the same way.

2) where is the one place that you would love to visit that you've never been? Greece. I have to go to Greece before I die. I had wanted to take my daddy there but we didn't have time before he died--I feel like I owe it to us both.

3) have you ever had trouble with deciding which was more appropriate: truth or kindness, given that they sometimes have conflicting interests? That is reallly interesting, since in what I do the truth doesn't always sound kind. I do believe, however, that there is always the opportunity to be kind in telling your truth. While a person may not want to hear what you are saying, and may feel that you are unkind in saying it, if it is indeed a truth that they are meant to hear you would be unkind to keep it from them. The art is in the packaging.

4) what have you stopped believing in? (if anything) my concept of perfection. I am learning that it is all perfect--I just may not have the wisdom to perceive it as such---yet...

5) if you weren't a pediatrician, but had to be some other sort of practicing doctor type, what field would you specialize in? (and if so, would you fix my boobs, give me botox, and prescribe psychotropics?)Top choice for the money/time/work:benefit ratio? Dermatology--no question. Top choice for what interests me and for what I find that we need? Child psyche.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wow! I've been tagged--sort of--by Amazing Amusing! I am so excited!

If my childhood plans had worked out...

I am happily driving my yellow porche convertible home from work--being a doctor is not always fun and games, but it has its perks, and a cool car is definitely one of them. My kids will be waiting back at the house--and my husband. He is probably a doctor, too, since we science geeks all seem to hang out together. The kids will have finished their ballet, piano, or horseback riding lessons, and I will whip up a fabulous dinner for us all (since I am a great cook, and the housekeeper will have all the groceries bought, and will clean up the mess). We will have to finish packing for our around the world trip tomorrow--so much to see and do and only 3 months to do it all! No money troubles, no husband troubles, no kid troubles, and no house work.

Interestingly, I have managed to have all of those things (except the yellow convertible--mine was blue, and the round the world trip--unless you count epcot) at one point or another. And while I don't have them all anymore, I am amazingly happy with what I do have. Funny how things work out!

Great meme! Let's hear from liv and peaches!