getting my house in order

getting my house in order
it's a jungle out there

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spin Cycle


Came upon Spin Cycle a few weeks ago

It's kinda neat

It's hosted by the nice lady who is Sprite's Keeper

This week's topic is "old favorites"


This is one of my all time favorite posts from last May titled Gloves


Enjoy


But not too much or you might grow hair on your palms


*****



Ty, by his own admission, was having a
dark and sensitive day.
He was dressed in black, head to toe. A long sleeved black shirt, black sweat pants, his black Converse.
So not like him.
I thought jeez, he's only 8, he's not going goth on me... is he??
So... umm... Ty honey, dark and sensitive... is this just today? or is it gonna be everyday??
Just today... whew!! that's a relief

So he moped for a while... not a happy camper.



At some point during the day, I noticed he was wearing these...
hmmm... where did those come from??



Hey Ty, where did you get those gloves?
Aren't they cool, Mommy?...I always wanted gloves like these. We found them in the park.

OK. the park. The park is the school playground which borders our backyard. I can look out our kitchen window, across the length of our backyard, and literally see into the school's cafeteria. Which is great. It's great that my kids can walk out our front door, make 3 left turns, and be at the school's entrance without crossing any streets. It's great that I can be cleaning the house, or folding laundry, or gardening, and hear them playing at recess. It's great that all the little kids file past our backyard at the beginning and end of their day, and stop to feed the dog cheese doodles or gawk at the chickens hi Mia's mom, hi Ty's mom.

There's also a lot of extra-curricular activity back there when school's not in session. Folks use it as a short cut, and toss their candy wrappers, soda, or beer cans over the fence as they walk by how rude.
At night, it's a secluded alley where high school kids can hang out, have sex, and do whatever kids are doing these days
i'm so old.

Last spring, one of the lunch ladies came by ...
umm... TyandMia'smom??... umm there's a condom... a red one... hanging from a tree by your fence... the kids can see it from the cafeteria... they're calling it a rubber tree...
RUBBER tree...it renewed my faith in the public school system that the elementary school children in our semi-urban town have learned enough about ecosystems to know that RUBBERS GROW ON TREES

So this is where Ty found the gloves that he's wearing on his hands... YUCK!!!

Later that evening...
OK guys... time to brush your teeth...


Mommy, what?? What's the problem?? It's protecting our toothbrushes from germs. Do you know how many millions of thousands of germs get from the toilet onto toothbrushes?? We learned it in school.

ecosystems and microbiology...
so glad the school budget passed


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What's your story?


Yogini Shannon told a tale about a Frail British Woman who attended one of her yoga classes. This lady was so sure she was gonna break she wouldn't get into a down dog. She feared for her neck. She feared for her wrists. She feared for her back. Yogini Shannon asked if the Frail British Woman had any injuries to explain her fear. Nope. No injuries. She was just really scared she would... break.

Me? I would have been aggravated by the Frail British Woman. I would have smiled calmly to stop the fucking judgemental bitch in me from screaming get a grip Frail British Lady suck it up. Be strong

Yogini Shannon said she realized this woman had a story. She had an idea about herself... Maybe its based on something she was told about herself when she was young. Maybe an experience... who knows. But the story she tells herself is that she's fragile. She'll break. We all have a story. We all have ideas about ourselves. We all define ourselves in certain ways. But we can change our stories. That's what Shannon said.

It was like a gong going off in my brain. We all have a story.
And once we have a story it becomes who we are.

A few weeks back, on a Monday evening at work, I walked into an exam room to see a mom and her 11 year old twin boys. One boy has a learning disability. The other is oppositional and has anger issues and is medicated. Both boys have bad eczema and one has bad asthma. They were all dirty and smelled like an ashtray. The mom is probably in her early thirties. She sat there with her wheezing kid moaning about getting stuck down in Maryland at her sister's during Snowmageddon and not having the kid's asthma medication. And the car breaking down on the way home.
whine. And she's just so tired. moan. And you know Dr Michelle I have rheumatoid arthritis. whine. And now I'm having seizures. And the medicine for the seizures makes me feel terrible. moan. And my doctors don't know what to do. wallow.

And I stood there boiling on the inside and wanting to yell shut the fuck up! stop whining! Get a grip. Deal. Do not be a victim! You. Are. Not. a Victim.

I put a lid on it. I kept a patient voice
I think. I hid my irritation I hope and my disdain. And I sat with the discomfort I felt based on my reaction to this lady. Compassionless. Lacking compassion. Feeling impatient with this woman's inability to see herself as anything other than broken. Feeling aggravated at her inability to see herself as anything other than a victim. Feeling irritated at her inability to be anything other than overwhelmed and negative. Feeling frustrated that she could allow her shit to compromise the physical and emotional health of her children. Annoyed that she could have so little faith in her body, so little faith in herself, that all she could do was sit there and moan and whine and wallow in it.

Yup. That's how I felt. And I wanted to get the fuck out of that room because I didn't like what I was feeling. I don't like to know that I'm being judgemental. I don't like to know that I'm lacking compassion. That's not my story

So as I'm about to escape the wallowing whining, the woman sees my ganesh necklace and stops short mid moan

What is that? Do you meditate with that?

????

Well, I don't really meditate
liar with it. It's a Hindu god get me out of this room

Hindu... Like yoga? Do you do yoga? Have you ever meditated? Cause I just keep thinking that if I could meditate and calm my mind down my body would feel better and maybe everything wouldn't hurt so much and my seizures would stop. I just have this feeling that my body would follow my mind and I'd be so much better. Do you know where I could learn about meditation? Or yoga?

Are you fucking kidding me?

My aggravation irritation frustration came to a screeching halt. I was witnessing this lady have a glimpse of a different ending to her story. The potential for a plot twist. A way to rewrite her character.

Somehow, somewhere, she knew she had options. She knew that maybe life could be better for her. Somewhere deep in that moaning and whining there was a spark of deservedness. The desire for peace of body and peace of mind. The feeling of wanting her life to be better. The hope that it could be better. The belief that there was a way out.

An answer.

We all have a story. I have a story. My story today is very different from my story 2 years ago or 20 years ago or 40 years ago. But today's story is not any more or any less real than the story of 40 years ago. It's all about what we believe about ourselves. So when I sit in my overalls without makeup and all the lame-o therapist sees is a young black girl and she says you work at the front desk right? Even though I've told her what I do, where I went to school, what my father did. All she can see is a young black girl who works at the largest pediatric office in the state and I must be clerical cause what else could I be? And for a moment I am 9 or 12 and I'm a young black girl who, by definition, must be less than. And boy did that knock me for a loop. How quickly that feeling that I remember well but thought was long gone could come back. How quickly my story could change from being a smart compassionate badass mama to a less-than-never-good-enough little girl.

It's just a story.

We all have a story. And our stories can change. We can change our story. Our story is only what we believe about ourselves. But often the stories are dictated by others and become our narrative until we are able to see the possibility of plot change, character development. The possibility of a different ending. Or a new beginning.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wassup! This is where I've been...


Not the loony bin
Not the south of France
Not even Disneyland

I've been drawing
It's been a long time, but a few weeks back I got the itch. To draw again.
And I kept imagining black and white
lots of detail
sharpies

hmmm...

then J said seemingly out of the blue you should get a giant Ganesha tattooed on your back

????

that's a gwate idea

there you go

so I started drawing. I haven't drawn in I dunno, ten years maybe. but...

The creativity flowed right out of the sky through my fingers. you know how it is Sometimes it's like that when I write.
Over around through and right out the hands.



I think this was meant to be


Ty was inspired as well
We drew together one day last week. Pretty awesome.


Ty's drawing is beautiful. We're gonna get it printed on tee shirts.




My drawing is almost done. And it was oh so satisfying and I'm oh so excited to get some major body art.
The cool hip tattoo artists actually think I'm a wee bit cool myself.
Which is pretty amusing cause I'm just a batshit crazy lady old enough to be their mother

This is where I've been. It was a good place to be.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm a hater


I hate St. Patrick's Day

there. i said it.

despite the common moniker

I hate it

I hate hearing the chick on the radio saying "it's a beautiful day. hope you're all out drinking your green beer by now..."

at 11:21 am

I hate green beer

I hate watching drunk people wearing big green hats stumbling down Main Street at noon

I hate Pub Crawls

I hate every year debating with Bruce as to whether it's safer for him to drive home or take the train

you'd think it would be safer to take the train ignore the vomit in the aisles

except for the insanely drunken insanely stupid people who have been drinking green beer since 11:21 am and are beating the shit out of each other on said train home

sigh

there are only 2 good things about St. Patrick's Day

1) the day after

2) corned beef and cabbage




I made it and they ate it.

then I burned some incense

cooked cabbage stinks

The Universe is Abundant


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

while I was away...


I haven't been to blogland lately. I've barely been able to read, let alone comment or write.
I've had a very busy week. I've been working a lot, and preparing for tomorrow.

You know when you look at your home with an objective eye?
Like the eye of your
mother in law
boss
ex-spouse's new mate
or
dinner guests

You look with that objective eye and say to yourself
holy shit
this place is gross
I gotta do something about it

so you start cleaning in a frenzy
rearranging furniture
throwing shit out

well
that's what I've been doing

you find some interesting things when you clean house and move furniture that hasn't moved in three years



this was under the armoire
that we moved from our room
to Mia's
gross
no wonder I've had a post nasal drip
for the past 6 months
again
gross


Hey, Ms. Moon
I found this buried under magazines
we used it as a votive holder
or dust collector
I know crazy
right?


old picts of young sisters
we still look the same


Ty was so happy that I finally agreed
to part with the dusty fake trees
yes
I have had fake trees
which I don't need anymore
now that I have my
beautiful olive tree


I placed the fake trees in my front yard
so I can look out my windows
and see green
instead of grey and dirty white
I'm crazy like that

The place looks so much better already. Which is good cause tomorrow's the big day.
Not the mother in law
or the boss
or any ex's anything
no dinner guests

tomorrow
the most awesome cleaning lady is coming
I couldn't let her see my super disgusting house
that would be embarrassing
what would she think of me?
So she'll see a house that's only a little bit disgusting

And tomorrow
after drinking a cup of coffee from my scrubbed out coffee machine and peeing in my sanitized toilet
I'll sit in my awesomely clean living room
and look out my sparkling windows at the green trees in my front yard

I'm a lucky girl

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

SUPER EFFIN MAMA


OK. Question of the Day

Why is it that we/I need to do it all?

I know y'all have asked yourself this question before.

Why do we feel like we have to be totally self sufficient super women?

not ask for help

have everything perfect

be that Enjoli Woman you have to be at least 40 to know about enjoli

I'm having a moment.
I'm having a minute of a moment.

I work full time. Really hard
I take care of our kids.
And the house.
And the pets kind of
And I try to take care of myself.
Something's gotta give

It's so much better now that I have my awesome functioning loving healthy husband back.
A husband who cooks really good food on the weekends
A husband who has ALWAYS changed diapers not that there are diapers to be changed anymore but you know what I mean
A husband who would do ANYTHING for me.
But a husband who works really hard too, and is away from home 70 hours a week

OK. It is what it is. So this is my point
I scramble every week to get everything done on my "time off"
I try to keep the house clean
I try to cook a good dinner that my kids will eat
I try to keep up with the laundry and bills
I try to go to yoga twice a week
I try to spend time in blogland which always draws me away from all those other trials.

Blogging shares the Blue Ribbon with Prozac in the What Keeps Michelle the Most Sane competition.

But every week I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. Mainly because house cleaning is way at the bottom of my list of priorities. But seeing yuck and dirt and baskets of cleandirty laundry every where puts me over the edge. Not to mention the drifts of pet hair that accumulate despite sweeping and dustbusting three times a day.

YUCK.

I'm that fucking hamster goddammit

So. I took the plunge. I called the most Awesome Cleaning Lady in the county to resume her twice a month magic here.

So why am I so ambivalent? Why do I feel guilty? Like a failure?
Why does the voice in my head say if you can't keep the house clean, you have no business going to yoga or sitting at the computer or sitting on your ass.

Last year when the shit was hitting the fan, I let Awesome Cleaning Lady go cause I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to pay our mortgage. Having someone come clean my house has always been the epitome of self indulgence. I couldn't afford to be self indulgent anymore.

But things are different now. I increased my hours, got a big fat raise, and Bruce is back doing his thing.

So why do I feel like it's a cop out to have someone come and clean my bathrooms and floors twice a month?

Is it the money? The thought that it could be put to better use elsewhere?
Is it the idea that I SHOULD be able to do it all myself and if I CAN'T, well then, I must suck?
What is it?

God knows I'm not a high maintenance kinda girl. No mani-pedis. Back to dreadlocks cause I just can't be bothered with the hair thing. I'd wear Goodwill sweat pants to work if I could get away with it.

But I'm not willing to give up yoga, blogging, or gardening once the weather gets nice. I keep thinking I'd like to start drawing again. If I let someone else clean my house, I could do more of the things that might keep me healthy and happy for my family. And myself. But why is it so hard to just do this one thing that would make everything else so much easier?

Do I sound like a whiny spoiled girl? It's ok to kick my ass and tell me to get over it.

And why is it that only those of us with girlie parts are like this?
Is it a recessive x-linked trait?
Is it cultural?
Why do I expect to be able to do it all?
Why do we expect to be able to do it all?

Did women's lib shoot us in the foot?

What gives?



Monday, March 1, 2010

snowmageddon recap


Are you sick of hearing me bitch about the snow? Well, I'm sick of talking about it. And looking at it. And shovelling it.
And driving over it.

sick. of. it.

Our schools have been closed since Wednesday. And who the hell knows when they'll open up cause half the town is without electricity. And since our town
which calls itself a city harumpf has no proper snow plows, the roads are still not particularly clear. School buses can't get through, and some of the schools don't have generators. There are trees down all over the place. Half the traffic lights are out and the city haha is so ill equipped that a state of emergency was declared last week.

That declaration isn't helping much except to say
it's still really fucked up here

We had a great weekend though. Actually, a great week. There was something about the never ending snow days and being snow bound and being able to do nothing other than ride out the storm, that was... liberating.

I couldn't do
anything.

I couldn't run errands. I couldn't go to work. I couldn't go to yoga. This left me essentially
conflict free for the whole week. No juggling. No need to set priorities. No running around like a lunatic. No stress over how to get it all done and what was gonna suffer for not getting done. Cause you know it NEVER all gets done.

All I really had to do was feed the kids, and shovel snow.

It was awesome.

After 2 days I lost track of time and half the county lost electricity. Thankfully, our lights stayed on.

Thursday night, as the snow continued to fall, we saw crazy blue green lightning out our window. The boys came running upstairs, asking if we'd seen it too. Jack started getting texts from his friends
did you see that?

The blue green flashes were transformers blowing.

Well, that was the beginning of the
PAR-TAY at Michelle's house.
Boy, was it fun...

3 moms
1 dad
1 sister/friend/aunt recovering from surgery
5, 6, or 8 kids, depending on the time of day
3 dogs
1 fat cat
a turtle
a fish
some sea monkeys
and an olive tree

DAMN it was FUN
did I say that already?

Loud, chaotic, funny fun fun. We spent the days shovelling, cooking, listening to music, tripping over dogs and snow boots, and cracking up. Jordana
who can bend steel with her bare hands pushed like 7 cars out of neighbors' driveways. She's beast like that. The dryer didn't stop as there were always wet snow clothes, sock, gloves and boots that needed to be ready for the next venture out in to the ridiculous snow. The kids dug tunnels and foxholes and had snowball fights for hours. Bruce cooked. Yum

It was a crazy, raucous, cold, wet, fun, snowy blur.

And I got to hold the little one on my hip and feel her head grow heavy on my shoulder and hold her warm sleepy self on my lap for like
a whole hour. And she slept on my chest and I put my cheek on her baby head and smelled her hair. And Bruce walked by and patted my shoulder and said how is that, Chica? it's been a while since I've seen you like that... how does it feel?

It felt good. I though about how Ms. Moon enjoys the feel of a baby sleeping on her chest. Damn, there's nothing like it.

Saturday night their electricity came back on. Our house emptied out and it was suddenly... quiet. Like really really quiet. Usually I love the quiet, but this felt more like a
vacuum. Ty got all red and blotchy. He wanted everyone to come back. The fun, raucous life we had been living for 2 days was... gone. And we felt an unexpected loneliness.

I found myself over the course of our snowy sleepover being thankful that my house had electricity and I could provide these two moms and their babes a wee bit of shelter from this wee storm for a wee bit of time. I thanked god these two moms and their kids and dogs and recovering sister could come here and take a hot shower and stay warm and eat hot food
because a year ago...

...a year ago these two moms
saved my fucking ass

they sure as hell did

the Universe is Abundant


Your fairy is called Columbine Icedancer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.