Getting Back

It has been way too long since I posted anything. At first it was because life got a little crazy with my getting a promotion at work (yay!), the girls graduating (another yay!), and everything that went into all of that.  But then my life fell apart, and that is really why I haven’t posted.

I think letting the bad get in the way of my writing has not been good for me. I was really enjoying writing, and it made me happy.  I enjoyed reading the postings of everyone I followed, which also made me happy.  But in the long months since I’ve not posted, I also haven’t read the blogs I follow.  I intend for all of this to stop today.

At the beginning of summer my body gave up, the intense pain started, and I’ve pretty much been stuck in a recliner. I started out stuck in bed or on the air mattress Husband put up in the living room, so upgrading to the recliner was actually great.  With the help of a cane I can walk a little, and stand a little, and I can sit in a chair a little.  I can’t do any of these activities a lot, which is restrictive.  I haven’t been to work since this started, but I have watched almost the entire 9 seasons of The Walton’s!

I’ve had 7 procedures, and I was so very hopeful after the 7th, which happened 2 weeks ago. But, I don’t think it worked (although I’m supposed to give it a full month to take effect), because my pain spread a little, and I am having more problems walking than I was.  So now I have to get all of my records together and make appointments with surgeons.  I’ve said in the past that there was no way I would consider surgery unless I was to the point where I couldn’t walk and I was in constant pain…which is where I am, so now I have to hope I am a surgical candidate.

Pain is so wearing. I’ve lived with constant but manageable pain for 6 years, but what I am going through now beats all of that.  I’m on so many medications to help the pain I had to set alarms for when I’m supposed to take them, and then remember what I’m supposed to take when the alarm goes off.  I use 3 different over-the-counter creams when I go to bed to try and numb the pain so I can fall asleep.  I rotate them so I have a better chance of them not losing their effectiveness over time by my skin getting used to them.  Even with all of this I constantly hurt, and hurt fairly high on the pain scale…being at a 6 is a good day for me.

I am not doing too bad staying cheerful and optimistic, although Husband might say differently. I think blogging again, and reading other bloggers will definitely improve my days, especially since I’m almost out of Walton’s episodes to watch.  I really do have a lot of wonderful people in my life, and good things happening.  I can’t let the pain diminish that, and more importantly, I won’t.  So, I’m looking forward to reconnecting to blogging and bloggers, and upping the good over the not good in my life.  Happy Monday!

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It’s Easier to be Nice

I was a very shy child, and I had a hard time talking to kids my age and adults.  I was also awkward socially.  Shy and awkward, not a winning combination.  Because of this, or in spite of it, I tend to be one of those friendly people willing to talk to you anywhere I am.  Oldest One has commented on how I can have a conversation with a complete stranger in a line, and how she wouldn’t want to.  One day I’ll remind her of those words after she is done talking to the person in line in front of her at the grocery store.

I think the world is a better place when we smile and say hi to each other.  There are plenty of people I don’t know at work, but anyone I see when I’m walking between buildings gets a smile and a “hi”.  I always get the same back.  I’m not known for my anger, or negativity, or for being a difficult person to work with (thankfully).  I’m known for being friendly and smiling a lot, and for sometimes being too chatty.  I’m working on the chatty thing.

My Mom is known for being incredibly rude and nasty to anyone in a customer service position who gets the misfortune of having to deal with her.  She acts like she is better than someone assisting her, and as if they are the scum of the earth well below her notice.  She even gets a pinched look on her angry face.  I’ve pretty much apologized to any service person helping us when I’ve been along.  I know you can’t be responsible for someone else’s behavior, but it can sure be apologized for.  My Mom hates tipping, and doesn’t tip enough.  She also berates people, and complains about everything.

Little One tells the story of my Mom taking her and Oldest One out to breakfast one morning, where Little One ordered pancakes.  When the plate came the pancakes were huge, and Little One couldn’t finish all of them.  My Mom proceeded to yell at the waitress for not specifying how big the pancakes were and allowing a child to order them.  The girls have quite a few stories like this, and so do I.

I don’t care what a person does for a job.  I care about if the person is good on the inside.  Customer service jobs are difficult, and people are mean.  Husband and I always tip well for good service, and are as friendly as we can be.  There is no reason to be mean to others, and if the service is bad we’ll live through it, and not tip as well.  That rarely happens, and we enjoy talking to all the different people we meet.  I’ve been known to get exasperated while on the phone trying to get things done, but I do try hard to tell the person I’m not mad at them, I’m just irritated with the company, and apologize when I should.

Being angry and mean takes a lot out of me.  It’s stressful to hate everything the people around you are doing, and to yell at them for it.  I think your food would get spit in a lot also.  For me smiling and saying hello really does make for a better day, so it is something I’m going to continue to do, and enjoy.

19 Years

19 years ago today I married my incredibly wonderful Husband.  He quietly snuck out the morning of our wedding and woke me up with a Jack in the Box breakfast bouncing on the bed saying “We’re getting married today!”  I’m not a morning person, so I’m pretty sure my response wasn’t as enthusiastic as his, but by the time we were standing in front of 130 people getting married I was just as excited.

Husband really didn’t want to dress up in a tux, and he said he’d be happy getting married in jeans.  So, although we didn’t know it at the time, we threw the first of many themed parties.  We had a Western Wedding theme, and he got to wear jeans, and I wore a very cute western dress and boots.  We were in our mid-twenties, but looking back today we look so very young in our wedding pictures.

We had a wonderful ceremony and a fantastic reception.  What had started out as eloping on New Year’s Eve turned into a full wedding and reception, and we are both so glad it turned out that way.  Looking back I don’t remember the problems family caused, or the Disaster of the Day (my Dad’s phrase, and now a running joke between us) hours before the rehearsal dinner scheduled at my parent’s house.

When I look back what I remember is how incredibly gorgeous he looked waiting for me to walk down the aisle to him.  He was determined there would be no tears during the ceremony, and he made me laugh so hard during my vows that I actually had to take a second to get control so the ceremony could continue.  We came right out into our first dance to start the reception because we wanted people to relax and have fun.  We danced to the Elvis version of Can’t Help Falling in Love, and then did a second dance to the Turtle’s So Happy Together.  We still dance to those songs today, and even had the DJ play them specifically for us at each of the girls Bat Mitzvahs.  Our tiered wedding cake had chocolate frosting, and that frosting is still smudged on his black cowboy hat to this day to remind us of the fun we had that night.

Our friends had gotten us a hotel room for the night, and decorated it with rose petals and left us food and champagne in the room.  In the morning we both bolted up early because we realized with trying to get out of the house on time we had left our dog outside all night, which we never did, so we ran back home to let her in.  She was fine, and was perfectly happy spending a night outside.  We went together to change my name on my social security card and driver’s license.

I could not have known 19 years ago how much more I would love Husband today, and how that love would just keep growing each day.  I couldn’t ask for a better Dad for the girls.  It hasn’t always been easy, and we have definitely had our share of challenges, but we met them together.  I consider myself lucky, blessed, fortunate and whatever other words fit that I am married to Husband.  Happy 19th Anniversary Baby, I Love You So Much!!!

The Amy Glass Controversy

I just read the Amy Glass article that has generated a lot of chatter.  She titled it “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m not Sorry.”  I took it to mean she was out to generate discussion and cause controversy, because if she truly sees the world so black and white without many shades of grey then her world is awfully small.  I also don’t really like the term feminist (used in this article and others she wrote).  I know my girls can do anything they set their minds to, and they will be successful at whatever interests them.  I think the same for boys.  I’m glad we women have so many opportunities, and are limited only by our imaginations, and I am grateful to all the women before me who made it possible.  I also don’t see anything wrong with either gender staying home, having an important job, or choosing from the million options available to live life.  That said, here are some thoughts on the article…

I was 28 when I had Oldest One, and I’m not sure if I fall in the young mother category.  Looking back I was young and clueless, but I had no idea.  Husband and I had been married for a year and a half, and it just felt like the right time to start a family.  We have had no regrets because our family has brought us so much joy.

I have a good friend who decided not to have kids.  She and her husband travel, they both have jobs they love, and they dote on their nieces and nephews.  I don’t see her life as less fulfilling, just a different way of being fulfilling.  I don’t think she looks down on me for my choice to have kids.  We’ve known each other since high school, and what is important is that each of us is happy with our choices.

That wasn’t really the gist of the article.  She goes into why we don’t celebrate promotions for women, or women taking the trip of a lifetime.  Ummm, I’ve celebrated promotions.  When my sister traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Asia for a year on her own we all celebrated her return, and wanted to hear about it.  We didn’t celebrate these with a huge reception, but I’ve been to backyard wedding receptions with 15 people and wedding receptions with 300 people in a swanky setting  People celebrate what they choose and how they choose, and whether it is celebrating a wedding or birth, or a graduation or promotion, what really matters is who is celebrating it with you.  If you are alone, or had to grab people you barely know, well, personally, that is a sad life to me.  But if you celebrate with people you love, be it family, friends, whoever, then you have a wonderfully rich life.  I didn’t know until I read the article that there were limited life celebrations.  I’d better get under control and stop celebrating the wrong stuff in the wrong manner.

I also have to say that getting married and having kids may seem like easy tasks, but they really aren’t.  Yes, anyone can go to Vegas and get married pretty fast to someone they barely know.  But being in a marriage, and staying in a marriage and growing together in a marriage isn’t easy.  It takes work.  It is definitely more difficult at times than any job I have had.  And so very, very worth it.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for the biggest most important job in the world.  The same with kids.  Raising kids is hard.  When you first hold that baby you have no idea what you are in for.  You might think you do, and you’ll laugh at that later.  Again, I wouldn’t trade having my girls and raising them for any job.  It’s been hard, it’s been amazing, and it has hands down been the best thing Husband and I have done.

And it is hard to work, raise kids, and manage the household.  I don’t do it alone, Husband does it with me because we do our life together.  I think to say men don’t care to manage a household and equate it to being stupid and not important unfortunately makes the person spouting it seem that way.   “Real work” and housework are both equally important, whether you are married with kids, married, single with kids, single, have a partner, a roommate, whatever.  Maybe laundry doesn’t seem important, or paying those pesky bills, or fixing a leaky roof, or doing the sink full of dishes, but they are.  Little things also make life keep going.  Why is it okay to pay someone to do those things, including raising kids, to have a career, but it isn’t okay for a woman to do them as a career, or in addition to a career?  Looking at a clean kitchen after I’ve finished scrubbing it down is an amazing feeling (but don’t tell my Husband…he usually cleans the kitchen!).

Amy is entitled to her position, and again, I think she was looking to be controversial.  For me being a wife and mother has been the best and most satisfying job.  And I’ve had the big job.  I left it because it was the worst thing I ever did, and I was the unhappiest, most depressed and angry me I had ever been while in that job.  The job I loved best was staying home when the girls were babies and concentrating on them and making edible meals for everyone.  Right now I have a good job, by no means a big job, with interesting people, I smile a lot, and I get to be a wife and mother to the most amazing Husband and daughters in the world.  If it is possible to have the best of both worlds I am pretty darn close.  I hope Amy loves her life and the people in it as much as I love mine and the people who make it wonderful.

High School Again? No Thank You!

Husband and I watched the movie Touchback with Kurt Russell recently.  Little One actually picked it from the three Netflix we had just received, then got bored and left.  And the guy who played the main character (Kurt was not the main character) was way too old to be playing an 18 year old.  He is a good 30-something, and should stick with that.

The premise (spoiler alert!) is a guy whose life is falling apart, and who in trying to kill himself (luckily he ran out of gas) in his truck wakes up to find himself in his senior year of high school right before a critical happening that changed his life.  Of course.  Then of course he decides he doesn’t want to change what happens, so he doesn’t change the critical incident.  The few things that should have changed didn’t necessarily when he wakes up in his present.

Which all got me thinking about waking up and finding myself back in high school.  No way I want to do algebra over again.  Or the history class with the old guy(s).  Or PE.  Or have to be so awkward again.  But that wasn’t the point of the movie.  Would I want to change anything, so change what I have now?  The answer is No, a very easy and firm No.

While I was in high school I enjoyed it.  Once I hit college I realized how much I didn’t really like high school.  I had my friends at good old SHS, and they were great (not Lisa, but hey, there’s always one).  I didn’t date, but I did kind of stalk someone I was crushing on.  I wasn’t invited to any of the big dances, I wasn’t nominated for Queen of anything, and I didn’t run for student council or care enough about grades to be in National Honor Society.  I did have people to eat lunch with and hang out with, and laugh with and do silly things with.  I always wanted to be a cheerleader but I didn’t do dance or gymnastics and I was clumsy.  I’m sure that is why when the girls expressed interest in cheerleading I was pretty excited.

But there is nothing I would want to change, because I don’t want to change today.  I want to be married to Husband and living in suburbia with our two girls.  I like my house that hasn’t had a kitchen update since the 80’s (it is mauve and green).  I like my 2005 SUV, and I like my job.  Sure, I could go back and get better grades, and get scholarships, and not have student loans that won’t be paid off until just before I kick it.  I could figure out what job I actually enjoy a lot earlier (since in going back I’d know everything I do now).  I could even look up Husband and he’d probably believe the crazy girl’s story about waking up a teenager after going to bed being a 40-something me.  He’s just that kind of guy.  I could even nudge him to do things different.  We could still get married, and have the girls.  But how do I know we’d still be happy?

That right there is what I am afraid of ruining, the happy I feel about my life.  It’s not perfect, there are some hard parts and bad parts and things that I wish would work better.  But overall it’s a great life, and I don’t think going back and making changes is going to make it any happier.  A bit more money would help, but everyone says that.  And, by doing things different with the knowledge I have today I could actually make enough changes to give myself a miserable now.

I think life works out the way it should, and we make the choices we do to get to where we are supposed to be.  Just like the guy in the movie finally understood, changing it would change what made his life good.  He could deal with the bad as long as he had the people he loved right beside him.  I totally agree with that.