Monday, November 23, 2015

A New Fan, Not A Bandwagon Fan

So, I have a confession to make:
I like football now.

I feel a little sheepish and almost dirty admitting that, but it's true.

I blame my sister.  My sister loveslovesloves the Carolina Panthers on an almost alarming level (she's been an unapologetic mega-fan for years) and she happened to have an extra ticket to the preseason game against the Patriots and nobody to go with.  Would I like to join her?

I did the unthinkable, and said yes.  I donned my one and only Panthers shirt, and went with her, not expecting very much at all, other than a night away from the kids and Netflix, and overpriced beer.  I got that, of course... and something unexpected.

I freaking loved it.  I loved the energy, I loved the larger-than-life aspect of the game that is missed watching on TV.  The Panthers lost that game, but it didn't matter - I was giddy with the joy that comes from finding something new to enjoy.

My siblings are getting a big old kick out of watching games with me, because I'm still such a noob to the sport, and I get OUTRAGED so easily, about things they don't think twice about.  "That guy just tried to pry the football out of his hands!  HOW DARE HE?!"  "OMG, dudes, you don't have to haystack him - he's not going anywhere!"  You get the picture.

As fun as it is, though, I worry that this new 'hobby' might possibly be bad for my health.  Ever hear the nickname 'Cardiac Cats'?  Yeah, that's for good reason.  The Panthers basically make you lose your mind by playing a really close game, and then walking the tightrope during the fourth quarter.  It's freaking maddening.  My husband actually said to me "Mayyybeeee this isn't the thing for you..." when I spent half of the Panthers/Titans game alternately screaming at the TV and leaving the room because I was losing my shit.

It's stressful.  LOL!

Anyway.  I know next to nothing, except that when the refs make calls against the Panthers, they are wrong, and the Patriots are our nemesis.  I'm learning slowly, but I think those two things are the most important.  :D

Of course, I have grown to like the Panthers just in time to move out of state.  Nothing like timing, eh?  I will have to be one of those obnoxious people not supporting the local team, because there is no other option... I refuse to be a Cowboys fan.

Monday, September 21, 2015

You Aren't Perfect, You Are Human

I like quotes.  Sometimes it just feels really good to see that someone else, somewhere, has been where you are, and put it down into words so that you don't have to.  It's an instant 'YES' moment that makes you feel a little less alone in the world, and in your own head.

That quote up there?  That popped up on FB yesterday, and it was definitely a 'yes moment'.  I have been struggling an awful lot lately with exactly this issue: feeling as though everyone is disappointed or disgruntled with me.

Intellectually, I get it.  I'm changing.  As I get closer to 40, I feel free, and more 'myself' than ever before.  I feel stronger, more assured, less invested in what others think of me, and am more outspoken about my needs and what I will/will not put up with.  Change upsets the balance that has been carefully tended for 30+ years.  Change is threatening.  Change upsets relationships, and even ends some as a new balance and new paradigm emerges.  You lose friends, and may even lose family members.

The loss, even if it is temporary, is the hard part.  Whenever someone steps out of your life (or you have to let them go) it is hard.  I don't know how others feel, but my first instinct is to blame myself: "I shouldn't have done XY or Z."  "The change in me must be a bad one, because X doesn't like me anymore." "I should have KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT.  When I speak up, it causes problems." "I should have just let it go, even though it really hurt me."  These are all things that go through my mind, and it seems to be happening more frequently lately.

I'm changing, and it's unnerving to some people.  It's a little unnerving to me, because it means dealing with a lot of upheaval.  I see it is a positive thing, but I have disappointed a lot of people lately, and that is hard to deal with.  It is difficult to remember that even though I have disappointed a lot of people, I am still OK. I have made some decisions lately that were rash, and abrasive, but I'm learning how to live within my expanding view of the world and I make mistakes.

I'm not a failure, I am human.  I am growing, and there are many landmines on the journey.  I won't expect perfection from myself any longer.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bah, September!

I always have problems adjusting to fall.

I'm a summer girl... I love the heat, the sunshine, the concrete under my bare feet, the sand between my toes, the water, the grass, and the smell of chlorine.  Those months are when I flourish, and feel wonderful.

Come September, nature reminds me (every year, without fail) that my joy is short-lived... mostly by way of my annual sinus infection.  Yay, me!  (I know you are dying to hear about my sinuses, so, you're welcome.)  As if my nasal torment wasn't enough, the days get shorter, get cooler, and get darker.

Have I mentioned before that I deal with depression?  Yes?
Well, let me tell you, the deficit in sunshine doesn't much help with that.  Dude, it's downright depressing how even the sun seems to give up in September.

Let me just say this:  September, you can suck it!

Go away.

October is better.  There's my anniversary, and Halloween.  October is for good memories, pretty leaves, costumes, and by then I'm used to the weather (and my sinuses are behaving).

I'm thinking of the good things, like the great winter sweaters I bought, fires in the fire pit, pumpkins and pumpkin patch visits, hay rides, costumes, pumpkin pie, hot coffee on a cold day, my pretty brown boots, a fire in the fireplace...

That's all great, and coming soon.  If September would just stop being the redheaded stepchild of fall.  LOL!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Homeless, and Terminally Ill

I'm going to get all serious for a minute here, y'all.

My heart hurts today (and most days, here lately).  It hurts, and I don't know how to make it stop, or what I can do to fix it.  My heart hurts because I am denying it, and making a choice that is probably right, but is hard to make.

A family member of mine is homeless.

I know we've all heard the various reasons why a person might end up homeless, with mental illness and addiction being at the top of the list, am I right?  Sometimes it's not that simple though... sometimes it's a perfect storm of things.

A bad home life.
Never taught responsibility.
No education.
No good role model(s).
Bad decisions.

A perfect storm of unfortunate things (some inherited, some chosen) landed this person on the streets, and bad decisions keep them there.  Bridges have been incinerated, parents are dead and/or incapacitated, siblings are only marginally better off than the person in question.

And the kicker:  homeless family member diagnosed with cancer.  Terminally ill, and living on the streets.  Kicked out of homeless shelter, struggling through chemo and the pull of addiction.

My heart pleads with me to help.  HELP. Do something.
My head says "You can't.  You can't.  You'll drain yourself and your family dry, and it will never be enough."

My head knows I can't possibly fix this, but my heart is torn to pieces.  It goes against everything I stand for to back off and let the situation unfold as it will, but my instinct for self-preservation kicks in enough to know that if I jump in the water after this person, I will drown too.

If I could trust this person, if I saw a glimmer of responsibility or determination, things might be different.  They might be.  But all I see is someone drowning, who has thrown away many life preservers.

I feel like a terrible human being right now, and I know I come off as a hard, unfeeling asshole, especially to this person.  This person whose calls I avoid, and messages I delete, because I don't know how to say the words "I can't help you.  I can't be your savior."

Deciding to let someone be, to hit enough of a bottom to get the burning desire to change their life is so incredibly hard, and I don't even know them that well.  But I care.  I care so much, and it is hard to reconcile what I am doing with how much I care.

This really sucks.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back To School

It's Sunday night, and tomorrow is the first day of school.  Take a minute and let that sink in.  Tomorrow is a MONDAY.

School never starts on a Monday.  It starts on a Wednesday, or a Thursday, just to throw us a bone.  A nice, tasty bone that says "Hey, I know y'all still have sand between your toes from the beach, so we'll just make this first week back nice and painless.  Two days, y'all, you can do it!"

Ha.  HA!

They hate us this year.  School starts on a friggin' Monday.  As if Monday didn't already get a bad enough rap, now it's the First Day of School as well.  Poor, poor Monday.

They (who is 'they' anyway?) got all hardcore on us this year.  'They' were like "Pfft. Screw 'em.  Monday is the shiz.  Every good, solid work week starts on Monday, why should these little slackers get a pass!?  Monday it is!"

Take it from this whiner Mom... Monday start is a crappy idea.

We need to ease into this, y'all.  We're Southern, and we do things slowly and deliberately.  (Unless you're talking BBQ and beer, in which case, all bets are off.)  A Monday start for school is just not right.  We need to ease into this... you need to mollycoddle us, just a tad.

What was wrong with a nice Thursday start?  We could pretend it was still summer... a madcap Monday?  Sure, why not!  It's still summer!  A late-night Tuesday movie night?  Sure, what the heck!  But this year?  This year is like any other boring weekend.

Sunday = Gotta go to bed early, it's a school night.

WTF, dudes?  No.  You seriously could have thrown us a bone, here.  This Mama is missing Sauvingnon Blanc Sunday... just sayin'.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Divorce All Around

So many people that I know are getting divorced, lately.

I shouldn't be surprised, right?  We've all heard the 50/50 statistic, regarding our chances of successfully settling in for the long haul, so it's a given that people you know are going to get divorced.  

Statistics also show that people who married in the early 2000's are on an upswing - fewer divorces than those who came before us... so that's a good thing, right?  Sure.  But divorce is still gut-wrenchingly common.

13+ years after my own nuptials, divorces are nearly as common among my friends and acquaintances as the weddings were a decade (plus) ago.

It's disheartening.  With every divorce, I see a little bit of ease and security flow away.  I see people harden, pull in, close up.  I see people crying for their children, working too much, and dipping a terrified toe back into the dating world.  I have yet to meet a person for whom divorce was a welcome relief; even if it was for the best, a part of them died along with their marriage.

The 'happily-ever-after' died with their marriage.  Their sense of security and vision of family died when the rug was pulled out from under them (no matter who did the yanking).

A decade or so ago, it was a beautiful thing to see so many happy couples getting married.  It felt as though the world were falling into place, and the people I knew and loved were getting what they deserved - happily ever after.  There is a certain amount of peace and relief that comes with seeing the ones you love pair off; they are safe, and loved, and wanted. 

I knew what the divorce statistics said.  I knew that a lot of these folks wouldn't, in all likelihood, celebrate their silver anniversary... maybe not even their 10th.  And don't get me wrong; I knew that my own marriage was no exception.  When faced with 50/50 odds, you know that you are just as fallible as the next couple.

It makes me so sad to see people that married within months of me, and had children alongside me end their marriages, even when it is, without a doubt, the right thing to do.  I hurt for them.  I mourn the loss of their younger, optimistic self.  I mourn the happily ever after that wasn't so permanent, and that they so often feel unanchored and adrift.

I'm sorry, and sad, but so very proud as well.

I see them working hard.  I see them picking up anything they can work with, and making armor from it.  I see them overcoming their fears, drawing on strengths they didn't know they had, and making courageous choices.  

I see determination.  I see strength.  But what moves me most is the vulnerability - what moves me is seeing them decide that they aren't ruined, aren't finished, aren't torn down.  I see them dip a tentative toe back out there, and I see the belief that they can still find a happily ever after, and a revamped vision of family.

That is what is sweet, and optimistic, and heartening in all this; seeing the spirit reborn and courage take over.   

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HGTV Is My Kryptonite

I love HGTV, y'all.
I'm not just saying that, either.  I love it like white girls love Starbucks and yoga pants - it's serious.

I love it... but with every great love comes a price.  Love is blind; or it makes you blind, maybe.
For instance, some days I become so excited about what I want to do with my house that I forget I don't have a $100k reno budget, and "Open concept", hardwood floors and granite countertops don't appear on the McDonald's $1 menu.

My bad.

I have a deep, unflagging adoration for The Property Brothers that tends to get me into trouble.  They make it look so freaking easy, right?  They are the reason I often have conversations that begin like this:

"You spent $100 on galvanized buckets?"
"What is this $200 charge at Lowe's?"
"Was this room always this color?"
"What happened to the floor?"
"Have you seen my drill?"

Party pooper.  (I'm lookin' at you, P. Diddy.)  But in fairness, he has come home to this on more than one occasion:

After a Property Brothers marathon, I can overestimate my abilities just a touch.  They pulled out carpet?  I can pull out carpet!  (Nevermind that three people are doing it on the show, and I'm all by my lonesome.  Did y'all know that a roll of carpet weighs roughly 87,000 lbs?  I do now.)  They can tear down drywall?  I can tear down drywall!  (Did y'all know that banging on drywall with a hammer and ripping it down (the way they do it on the show) produces roughly 94,000 6" pieces of drywall?  I know this now. Yeah, it doesn't come down in nice big chunks like you would think.)  They can put up a backsplash?  I can put up a backsplash!

I think you get the picture....

It's a sickness.
On the other hand, though, a lot of my attempts turn out pretty well in the end.  Except when they don't, and I'm looking a bit like this:

(Penny backsplash, I'm looking at YOU.)

I just tell myself that it's temporary anyway... a way to express my creativity while waiting for the real renovations that are happening slowly.  If you stop by, who knows what you might see... but if you find me buried under drywall rubble, or grouted to the floor you can be sure Drew and Scott had something to do with it.  Good-looking bastards. *grumble*

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

That Time I Lost My Mind (In Brooks Brothers)

So, Brooks Brothers is evil.

I know, weird, right?  Since when is this preppy Mecca the seat of the devil?  I'll give you that - maybe the devil himself is not in residence, perhaps only one of his minions.

Only an evil place would make a woman believe wholeheartedly that her husband (at the tail end of his 30's) would look good in seersucker.


Don't get me wrong, I've always been a fan of it - on toddlers.  It never occurred to me that these twee adorable duds came in pieces bigger than a 5T, much less large enough to cover the rear of a grown man.

But there it was, big as day, allll over Brooks Brothers.  And it looked good.

It. Looked. Good.

To me, anyway.
I started holding up shorts, and shirts, telling my husband (dead seriously) that he should purchase them - they would look awesome!

After about the third item, I get The LOOK.
Y'all know The LOOK.  It's that sideways glance that clearly reads "I would never say this out loud, because I value my junk (and a good sandwich once in a while), but you are about 30 brands of crazy, woman.  Were you always like this, and I have trauma-induced amnesia, or was I black-out drunk when I proposed?"

Yep.  The LOOK was clearly thrown my way, along with an emphatic "Um... NO."

I probably should have figured out that it was not going to happen when even the kids (who are fashion-challenged enough to think that Minecraft and 'space kitties' are the best prints for your must-have wardrobe staples) began shooting me The LOOK and making gagging noises.

Gagging, I tell you!

So, I followed little one around the store, telling her that she's lucky she wasn't born a boy, and showing her all the seersucker/plaid/polo shirt things I would be forcing her to wear right about now if she was Emmett instead of Ella. Suffice it to say, there was never a person on this earth happier to not be in possession of a penis.  

Either my entire family has absolutely no taste, or I lost my mind in Brooks Brothers.  Maybe I should let up on looking at Kentucky Derby pictures, and NOT get a triple latte before my next venture into Preppyville.


There's always Christmas.
Look out hubs, seersucker is available year-round.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ramen's Legacy

My kids love ramen noodles, and ask for them all the time.  Most of the time I find myself furrowing my brow, and wondering why on earth they would choose that, when they have a million other options.

It's simple:  they love it because it's never been their only choice.

You know what I mean.  Remember in college, when you looked in your pantry (and believe me, I use that word loosely) and saw only ramen noodles, generic cereal, real coke (come on, we're not animals, people!) and Pepe Lopez tequila?  Yes?  And in the freezer was frozen juice concentrate (to complement the Pepe) and Mr. T's pizzas, amirite?  What more does a broke-ass college student need?

Well, turns out that the surplus of ramen and Mr. T's never quite leaves you/stops haunting you.

 I now have a pavlovian reaction to ramen noodles - I eat a bowl, and immediately get paranoid....  Have we paid the house payment?  Do we have enough money?  Should I start 'couponing'?  Did I REALLY need to buy those brand name Cheerios?  GREY EFFING GOOSE?!  Is my husband trying to bankrupt us?!

Ramen is not just a noodle, it's a state of mind.

You can earn half a million dollars a year, and after one bowl of ramen, you're thinking "Maybe we should switch to single-ply" and "Good God, people, there's a one Twinkie limit!  One!  Do you know how much those things cost?!"

Similarly, other 'college purchases' bring certain sentiments to mind, as an adult.

Mr. T's pizza:  "This is what sadness tastes like.  Sadness, served atop charred cardboard."

Pepe Lopez tequila:  "Hope you're not attached to your stomach lining!"

Frozen juice concentrate:  You look at it, and all you taste is the Pepe Lopez... after all, once it was made (seriously watered down, of course) it only contained about .001% juice.  You now have a near vomit-inducing sense of revulsion whenever you see it.

Generic Pop-Tarts:  The equivalent of a dried out piece of used paper, scribbled on with Mr. Sketch markers.

Generic Cereal:  "Why bother with niceties like real milk?  My life is over."

Banquet TV dinners:  "Pretty sure this is the stuff Mom used to feed our cat."

Suave (or White Rain) shampoo and conditioner:  "My hair is dried out and shriveled, just like my soul."

Yeah, so, maybe all those rose-colored college memories don't involve eating... or they involved eating at someone else's house.  Come to think of it, I don't remember eating a whole heck of a lot, and when I did, Hamburger Helper was a freaking feast, yo.

There's your answer to the burning question "Why the fug were you so effing skinny?!"
When you have ramen, cardboard, and cat food to choose from, painfully thin doesn't seem so bad.


Monday, April 27, 2015

The UPS Man Is Trying To Kill Us

My dogs are a profound disappointment to their species.
I think that's why they are here - the doggie tribunal voted them off the island.  Both my dogs are rescues... and I've come to believe that rescue organizations are just refugee camps for the misfits who were unable to make it in doggie society.

Reasons why my dogs were voted off:

1) Misplaced 'stranger danger'.  

My goofy furballs will lovingly lick the crap out of the termite guy, the lawn guy, and various contractors who come into the backyard without asking, and with no warning.  Makes sense, right?  They're friendly critters.  If you want to be barked at, you ring the doorbell - because we all know that the REAL threats always ring and ask politely to come in.

By their logic, the UPS man is basically the Night Stalker.

2) No concept of the beauty that is a bone.

These two kill me.  Just the other day, one of the kids caught Molly (aka: Big One) chewing on the plastic steps that lead up to the hot tub.  Instead of getting mad, I think "OK, she needs a bone".  So I head out to the store, and eventually hand over what amounts to the GNP of a small country to procure two big. meaty flavored, dog-safe Nylabones.

When I present my awesome offerings to the girls, Molly takes hers into her crate and comes running back to me expectantly, the look on her face clearly saying "OK, I put that thing away.  Now, where's my treat?"

Olive chewed half-heartedly for a minute before abandoning her 'treat' in favor of joining Molly to beg for something else.

The bones are essentially untouched, but later I saw Molly chewing energetically... on a stick.  I give up.

3) Terrible taste.

So.  This brings us to Olive, and her questionable food choices.  I spend a decent amount of money on grub for these two little monkeys, and the food I buy is a lamb and rice formula.  It has lamb chunks, and rice (aka: normal dog food nuggets) chunks.  Olive adores the lamb chunks, but leaves the rice bits in her food dish.  You might be thinking "Well, yeah... smart dog!  Who wants dog food nuggets when they can have dried lamb chunks?!"

You might be right, and I might be inclined to agree with you, if not for one small thing:
THE DOG EATS POOP, and DIRT... on a regular basis.

That's right, folks, just say no to dog food, and fill up on hazardous waste and soil.  Poop... it's what's for dinner.

4) Nonsensical behavior.

My dog Molly loves everyone, indiscriminately.  Well... almost.  She adores door-to-door salesmen, neighbors, rowdy kids, other dogs, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the termite guy, the lawn guys, contractors, drunk neighbors, biker gangs, and burglars (probably).  These are all the BEST. THING, EVER.

So man, she must just pee herself with sheer delight when around her human family, right?

Wrong.  She is scared shitless of my husband for absolutely no discernible reason.  He has never hurt her, or done a thing to her, but he is effectively her Boogie Man.  He comes in the door after work, and she runs to her crate.  If she hears his voice, she will skitter to a dead stop, and won't walk any further.  She cowers under my feet if he walks in the room.

Keep in mind that this dog would lick the shit out of a machete-wielding madman, but is terrified of my polo shirt wearing, pop-tart eating, video game playing husband.

She only likes him if he is sitting in ONE spot, on the living room couch.  I affectionately refer to that spot as 'The Love Chair' because it apparently has magical properties that turn evil 30-something men into safe cuddle targets.

Yeah.  Nonsensical.  Especially since every other animal in the known universe adores my husband.  They all behave like 12 year-old girls at a One Direction concert, (crying and waving tiny doggie lighters) when he comes into the room, so Molly's behavior is particularly perplexing.  *sigh*

I told P just to quit his job, and take up permanent residence in the Love Chair... that oughta do it.

5) Chronic Indecisiveness.

Do we want in, or do we want out?  We want out.  No, wait... sorry 'bout that, we want in.

Wait... what?  Was that a leaf?  DID A FUCKING LEAF JUST DARE TO DROP ON MY LAWN?!  Holy mother of God, we need OUT, lady.  OUT!  IT'S A LEAF... HOW CAN YOU STAY SO CALM?!

Oh, my bad.  False alarm.  No leaf.  We need back in now... all this fresh air is just not as nice as we thought.

OH MY GOD, it's a SQUIRREL,  A SQUIRREL in the tree!  DEFCON FIVE!  DEFCON FIVE!  Let us out NOW!  You are depriving us of our God-given dog duty to protect you from dangerous roving rodents - IT'S IN THE EFFING TREE AS WE SPEAK, LADY!  A MF-ING SQUIRREL! Holy crap, I've been waiting my whole life for this moment!

OK, so the squirrel got away.  Let us in, we need a nap.

OK, so maybe the nap thing isn't working out... I think I need to pee, can I go out now?  I need OUT, lady, kthanx.  No seriously... out.  NOW.  *scratch scratch scratch scratch*  Don't make me break out the bark, just come here and do your opposable thumb thing, K?

NOPE.  Just nope.  It's raining. IT'S RAINING A LITTLE, LET ME BACK IN, YOU EVIL HUMAN.  I am melting... MELTING!  IN!  IN!

6) Inability to separate reality from TV.

I have to mute the beginning of House Hunters if Olive is in the room.  Why?  Because there is a *ding dong* at the beginning of the show, and my super-smart terrier goes batshit insane.

She thinks it's a REAL doorbell, and goes on high alert.  Because, as I pointed out earlier, only evil troublemakers ring the doorbell, and damn it - she's a GOOD guard dog!

Halloween is loads of fun.

So, yeah.  The dogs probably won't be winning any awards anytime soon... especially since they are basically untrainable due to their doggie ADHD.  Squirrels and leaves are their kryptonite, rendering them permanently distracted and vaguely out of control.  *sigh*

Actually for a while, I felt as though I was running a halfway house for special needs animals.  At one point we had these two furry weirdos, a lizard who left his tail behind out of fright when my daughter tried to hold him, one huge cannibalistic sea monkey, a murderous turtle who refuses to share her tank, and a very quirky and confused "intersexed" (intersexed, if we are being PC, hermaphroditic, if we are being accurate) cat.

OK, I need to just accept it - we are indeed a halfway house for the misfits of the animal kingdom.