Thursday, May 26, 2011

Procrastinators Unite...

Why put off til tomorrow what you can put off til next week.  

That's one of my most favorite phrases.  I tend to live my life like that too.  That can be good and bad.  

I'm a last minute person.  If I'm going on a trip, I estimate how long it will take me to pack, add 15 minutes and wait until just before leaving to pack.  I just can't get motivated to do it before I absolutely can't put it off any longer.  Believe me, I've tried to do it in advance but I have a little self-diagnosed ADD going on and I lose my focus if I'm not under the gun.  I do my best work under pressure.  Fortunately, my boss is the same way so we work well together.  It doesn't bother me that he waits til the last minute to do something, I get it. 

I avoid unpleasant tasks until I have no choice but to do them.  I operate under the "ignorance is bliss" theory more than I should.  Sometimes procrastinating pays off, like when I ran my gas tank almost empty only to find that gas actually dropped in price before I filled up (yes, it still happens occasionally!).  Earlier this week, I had a close call after putting something off out of dread and fear that has me rethinking the way I handle things sometimes.

My SUV is very important to me.  It's big and roomy and holds my 3 kids and their stuff quite well.  It has a great sound system that I enjoy immensely when I'm driving down the road alone jamming to big hair bands and singing at the top of my lungs.  Of course, it has a huge dent in one side where I hit a telephone pole at a Cheetah Girls concert, and a dent in the other side where a deer hit me, but the dents give it character.  It's mine, it's shockingly close to being completely paid for and it's the only vehicle in our household that legally will hold our family of 5.  My husband's truck will only seat 3 which means I'm the taxi.  It was making a noise.  It started small, just a little clicking noise.  It got a little louder.  Then I noticed a little jerk when it changed gears.  Then came the clunking sound when it changed gears along with a clicking when I made a sharp turn.  I just knew it was something major but I was in denial.  So I took it for an oil change and asked them to take a peek under there and see if anything looked abnormal.  I wasn't surprised when they called and said, "Your front end is about to fall out."  Yes, they actually said "fall out."  Being the small town that it is, they drove it down to the garage for me and I called the mechanic and asked for an estimate before he started working on it.  I had dollar signs in my brain.  Lots of dollar signs.  My limited mechanical knowledge told me that this wasn't going to be a cheap fix and I was going to have to sell off everything I own to pay to keep it on the road.  The phone rang, caller ID said it was the mechanic, I took a deep breath and prepared for the worst.  $80.10.  Only $80.10!!  Relieved doesn't quite cover it.  Jumping out of my chair was more like it.  It was that very moment that I had an epiphany...when I put of something I dread, it's never as bad as I imagine it will be.  Simple and uninspiring, but it gave me something to work toward when I put something off.  In the case of packing for a trip, I put it off because I do it better at the last minute.  No harm done really unless you count an occasional forgotten toothbrush or deodorant.  But my truck could have been bad.  The front end could've actually fallen out when I was driving down the road.  I think I must be more selective in what I put off for tomorrow. 

My darling boy graduated from kindergarten on Monday.  I managed to make it through the 2nd song before I had tears.  I choked them back.  He is precious and he is growing up too fast.  Last night, he came in our room after bedtime and before me or my husband could say anything he said, "It's ok.  I can make my own pallet."  He refuses to sleep alone.  Last night, he told us he was lonely when he went to sleep by himself.  He doesn't have to sleep with someone, just in the same room.  And so, for now, he sleeps in our floor, with his sisters or on the couch with the dogs. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have boxes on my mind today, both literally and figuratively...

Don't put God in a box.  That's something my pastor has said before and it's not always on my mind, but it's always in there somewhere, ready to come back to my thoughts at any given time.  I think of it now because there are times when I have prayed very specific prayers.  I know that He will answer my prayers, but I'm learning not to limit his power.  His power is limitless, unending and unimaginable.  He always surprises me at how my prayers are answered.  A few years ago, I remember being so busy with my family, church activities and a sick husband that I prayed very specifically for just one day where I could spend all day in bed, doing nothing but resting my body and my mind.  I got my day in bed but it wasn't exactly how I imagined it...I spent an entire day in a hospital bed, getting a blood transfusion after my iron level would never get above almost nothing.  I remembered my prayer when I was there in that little room, and I laughed.  I got exactly what I asked for.  I put God in a box and told him exactly how I wanted to rest and He didn't fail me.  Lesson learned.  I try to tailor my prayers now to be more general, pray for rest, renewal, strength, without telling Him how I expect to receive those.  

The same way people put God in a box, they also put other people in a box.  This is a little harder to explain because my most recent example is very personal and could offend someone if they happened to read it.  At this point in my life, I'm not terribly concerned about offending someone with the truth.  So here goes...yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of a beloved young man who was very special to us and to the community.  As the day went on yesterday, it became apparent that those of us that loved and mourn him had been put in a box.  We were expected to act a certain way, to say certain words, to memorialize him in a certain way.  I chose not to follow those expectations.  I do still mourn him and marked the anniversary privately and prayerfully (the way I do most things these days), but I also privately rejoiced because I have no doubt that I will see him again someday.  There is now some passive aggressive criticism going around because we didn't memorialize "correctly."  Part of me just wants to tell people to grow up and quit being petty.  Then I settle down and admit to myself that some people linger in certain stages of grief longer than others and that's personal and specific to everyone.  I'm no expert but I remember a few stages of grief from psychology...anger, resentment, blame, acceptance, and that's all I can remember.  I don't think "peace" is a formal stage of grief but that's where I am now.  I'm at peace with it.  

Now for happy boxes.  We're moving!  The owner accepted our offer on a house yesterday and we should move in July.  I am beyond excited.  We have lived in our house now for a little over a year and initially, it was our dream home.  We truly felt that God had put the owners into our life and our "rental with purchase option" was exactly what we wanted, and it was.  I now realize that this house was temporary for us.  At first I struggled to accept that when the owners attempted to back out of the contract and wanted to fight for what I felt God wanted us to have.  And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Actually, it hit me like buckets of rain...flowing through the walls of the house.  Yes, the rainy season revealed several gaps in the logs and allowed water to pour in.  Notice I didn't say "seep in."  It really poured in like a faucet in several places.  We had begun to suspect that it would not pass a home inspection but were willing to put work and money into it.  When the owners started going back on their word (and contract), it was more than I wanted to handle.  So we're giving it up, happily.  We found a house, actually next door to the house we lived in before.  It's in town (which I love), close to school and Boy's and Girl's Club (which I love), has a fenced in yard (also love), and is about half the price of our current home (double love).  I'm very, very excited to get out from under the negativity that has consumed us the past few months.  I'm very thankful for the opportunity to live there and learn the quirks of the house before sinking my paycheck into it for the rest of my life.  Now to collect boxes.  Before and after the military, when we moved ourselves, we discovered that boxes from the liquor store were perfect for moving.  They usually hold glass bottles so they are sturdy and they usually have handles.  Perfect.  We are downsizing slightly (about 25%) so I may need to get rid of some junk, um, things.  And the girls will be sharing a room again.  That's not high on their wishlist but we explained to them that as a family, we spend most of our time in the common areas--the living room, kitchen and dining room.  The bedrooms are reserved for sleeping, for the most part.  Surely they can sleep in the same room.  Most nights, they do anyway.  And most nights, the boy ends up in our bed or on our floor.  I'm not entirely sure why he needs a bedroom at all!  He's content with a blanket and an empty space within 10 feet of us.  Surely he will grow out of that...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day and More

I would like to wish a late Happy Mother's Day to all the moms...I hope your day was wonderful.  Mine was!  My husband and children made me breakfast in bed (french toast and sausage!).  We went to Panera Bread and got sandwiches and went to the park.  The kids played while the husband and I manned a park bench and played Wordsmith on the phones.  After that, they took me shopping and I bought a new pillow and a sound machine.  My old pillow was all flat and I bought a new one that is fabulous.  My husband even bought himself one, after laying on the floor of the store with it.  Yes, he really did, but it was my idea.  There's just really not a good way to test out a pillow unless you lay on it, although, I have perfected the art of squeezing and cuddling one to find a good one, and I did.  I have slept so good the past 3 nights!  I have been wanting a sound machine and I bought one on Sunday.  It has 6 different sounds and I really like the ocean waves but my husband prefers the rainforest.  It is very soothing.  We turned it to the "heartbeat" sound and the puppy freaked out!  I'm not sure why that is but she is not fond of that sound.  I didn't lift a finger all day and it was perfect.

I'm pretty antsy today because my husband goes back for a follow-up appointment with the neurologist.  Several things make me antsy about it...

1.  His doctor is rude and I don't like her.  I went with him to his 1st appointment with her and she was asking us both questions about his symptoms and history, but she didn't like my answers.  Several times I commented on a symptom and she would snap and say "Non-specific.  That could relate to anything."  She made me feel stupid for even commenting.  Finally I just decided I wouldn't say another word if she was going to snap at me.  I know, that's childish.  She just made me mad.

2.  Every time he goes to the doctor (any doctor, not just this one), he comes back depressed.  We are no closer to answers than we were 4 months ago when all of this started and that frustrates him.  Currently, he is doing a trial and error process with different medications but we aren't comfortable with that long term.  

3.  No doctor so far has been able to give him any usable advice that he couldn't come up with on his own.  His head has hurt severely for 4 months now and loud noises make it worse.  When the bell rings at school, it makes his pain spike.  The doctor suggested that he put his hands over his ears in anticipation of the bell.  Brilliant!  Why didn't he think of that?!  I'm sure she meant it to be helpful but how about we figure out what's causing the pain instead of having him walk around with his hands over his ears.  

4.  I have guilt stemming from this.  He missed 6 weeks of work earlier this year and it has been financially hard on us.  Coupled with my 2 weeks off last month for the strep infection in my leg, it is taking us a while to get caught back up.  I feel guilty when I complain about being underwater because he feels like it's his fault.  I don't blame him, I know that things happen, but it's hard for him to understand that.  

5.  We can't switch doctors unless we pay for it ourselves.  He is a veteran and he receives care at the VA.  Generally, the doctors there are very good.  I don't doubt that the neurologist is good at what she does medically, she just has very little bedside manner.  

Ok, I'm done whining I think.  

My baby boy is graduating from kindergarten in 12 days.  I guess it's time considering this is his 2nd year in kindergarten.  Last year, he was still very immature and we held him back a year.  He is still immature, but better than last year so he's moving on.  I'm sure I will cry at graduation.  I didn't with my girls but he's the baby!  My baby!  The last baby I will ever have!  Gee, I'm depressing today.  

I'm picking out paint colors in case we get to move.  Right now, I'm seriously considering deep red or chocolate brown.  I've had a living room painted in red before and it was beautiful.  I may do that again.  I saved the paint sample from when I painted before so I can match it again.  It's bold and daring--very much so when I painted military housing walls red!  I just had to paint over it before I left--with military white.  It took a coat of primer before it didn't show through.  It was a nice color though, very vibrant.  Chocolate brown would be more soothing I think but red says "this chick isn't afraid to experiment."  Not exactly true but it's just paint.  I can always cover it up.  The girls are considering bright colors.  Both of their bedspreads are bright.  They have each requested loft bunk beds and they are wavering on whether or not to get the ones with the futon underneath.  They have also requested a disco ball.  Odd children I have.  

It's a pretty quiet day at work today.  So far, the crazies haven't appeared.  It's still early though.  I don't mean to insult anyone with a legitimate psychological problem, in fact, I'm right there with you.  I have battled anxiety on and off for years and finally have medication that makes me feel normal.  I'm talking about the people with crazy requests for us that we can't do, or aren't willing to do.  You wouldn't believe the calls I get for people asking how much we charge to do a divorce.  It's not cheap.  At least once a week someone fires back, "Well, I can do it online for $250."  Then do it!  Fair warning, our judges don't like that and I can almost guarantee it will drag on forever.  Then there's the ones who say, "So and so will do it for half that price."  Then call their office.  Don't get me wrong, I'm always nice to them, but sometimes it's harder than others.  Sometimes they bother me, sometimes it's laughable.  It's always entertaining, I love my job.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Free Lunch aka A Very Strange Post

It seems a little odd to blog about lunch but it's 15 minutes until then and it's all I can think about!  The bank next door to us is having a hamburger/hot dog cookout in their parking lot as a benefit for our local Relay for Life.  I convinced our office manager that it would be a good idea for the firm to buy our lunch today.  There's only 2 of us here and it's for a good cause.  Besides, I would have to go to the ATM for lunch money.  It wasn't a hard sell.  Update:  It is now after lunch and it was just as good as I imagined.  Fast, friendly service from my buddies at the bank, and for a cause I support.  Now if I could just stop eating these cookies...

I changed dental floss today and I'm not a happy camper.  Keeping with the odd theme today, let's talk about flossing.  I do think it's appropriate to state that I have not always been a flosser.  I was a "10 minutes before you go to the dentist" kind of flosser so when he asked me if I flossed, I could honestly say "occasionally."  My daughter got some Oral-B Pro-Health For Me Floss Picks in her stocking at Christmas.  Santa was hoping to start good habits with the kids but she was only an occasional user.  A few weeks ago, I took her floss picks from the cabinet and decided that I would do something small to improve myself, like it or not.  So I stuck the bag beside my makeup and hoped that I would remember to use them.  The first morning I had some extra time, I flossed my teeth.  And liked it.  In fact, I liked it more than one should like flossing.  I felt empowered (I told you this was an odd day), like I was taking control of my teeth.  It felt great.  So every morning I have been flossing my teeth before I put on my makeup and yesterday, I ran out of floss picks.  I stopped by my local store and they did not have the Oral-B For Me that I had been using.  I grabbed another brand because I needed something.  I was disappointed when the floss on the picks wasn't thick enough to survive my whole mouth.  My teeth are pretty tightly spaced and I've never had a problem with the Oral-B For Me picks shredding before the job was done.  Needless to say, I will have to go to another town shortly to find my favorite flossers, and until then, my routine will be a little out of sorts and I may be grumpy.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  *Disclaimer:  The opinions are my own.  I haven't received anything from Oral-B in return for this review.  The original flossers came from Santa.*

I still miss my Hamlet :(  He's been gone a week now.  I do get to see a replica of his face in his puppy Bandit and his little Lady has his big brown eyes and temperament.  I don't feel like he's completely gone from my life but I do miss kissing his nose and him staring at me with complete adoration.  He will always be in my heart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Better Day

My post yesterday was a little depressing.  Today, I'm going to be happier.  I promise.  To convince myself of that, I decided to start with a short list of things that make me overwhelmingly happy and/or content.  In no particular order...

1.  Snoring puppies.
2.  When my little man says "You wanna cuddle?"
3.  Bacon, tomato and avocado sandwiches.
4.  Beating a level of Angry Birds on the 1st try.  Bonus smiles if I get 3 stars.
5.  Beating my husband at Scrabble.
6.  A day when no bills come in the mail. 
7.  Starting a new roll of stamps. (For the record, I never claimed to be normal.)
8.  The library.
9.  Pink and blue sour gummi worms, red skittles and pink starburst.
10. The electric blanket under my desk (even in May). 
11. Listening to my children pray.

Last night, I was delighted to hear my middle daughter go into great detail about Nelson Mandela to her older sister.  I happened to have his autobiography on my shelf waiting to be read so I asked her if she would like to read it.  Then I decided I should read it to her.  It's a daunting task.  The book is 600+ pages of small print, narrow margins, and many names I can't pronounce.  We started reading it last night and it reads very well and is very descriptive.  My Hannah hung on to every word.  I think she has found her hero.  And what a good hero she picked. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Aimless Ramblings of the Nearly Insane

It is taking me forever to get caught up.  I'm still not 100%, mainly because of the antibiotics, but I know I'm getting better.  Emotionally, I'm still multi-tasking entirely too much and I need to stop before I completely fall off the deep end.  

It's been a rough few months.  Recent events have forced us to make some hard decisions.  There are fights that, as a family, we just don't want to fight anymore.  I don't want to throw in the towel, but we have been struggling with some things that just aren't worth the effort anymore.  Sorry to be cryptic, I can't go into details right now.  I can say that we have become wrapped up in a legal battle over some real estate that we may or may not win.  For the little we have invested, it's quickly becoming not worth the effort.  Working for an attorney, I don't have to worry about legal fees but the emotional toll is pretty heavy.  I want to focus my efforts and energy on things that matter--God, my family, etc.  After lots of prayer, we have decided that throwing in the towel would actually be a victory, as crazy as it sounds.  

Last week, my beloved Schnauzer became of victim of a hit and run.  Of course, I am devastated (and may cry typing this) but I'm comforted by the fact that 2 of his puppies survive him.  One is a boy, Schnauzer Dad, Chi-Weenie Mom.  He has a Schnauzer face that makes me smile.  The other is still a baby, born on Valentine's Day.  She is half Schnauzer, half Beagle and has her Dad's laid-back personality.  She was going to be an outside dog until we lost Hamlet last week.  My dog-whisperer daughter gave her a bath and we brought her inside.  She immediately cuddled up with my husband and he absolutely fell in love with her.  Having those two have helped with my grief.  It's been a sad week but my head is still above water.

I am so very happy to see the sunshine today.  For a while there, I was afraid we were all going to develop Rickets.  Thankfully, the rain has stopped for a few days.  Hopefully the ground will soak up some of the flooding and the rivers will subside before the next round of rain hits us, supposedly sometime next week.  I'm sure I will be begging for rain this summer when we are in the middle of a dry spell but right now, I've had enough.  The entire state of Arkansas has had enough.  The interstate is flooded for 6 miles outside of Little Rock!  The amount of water here is unbelievable.  You need flippers to walk through the parking lot.  

On another random note...I want to learn to play the fiddle.  Not the violin, the fiddle.  I'm not sure why the sudden interest.  I am slightly musically inclined--I took 9 years of piano lessons but that was a long time ago.  I'm pretty rusty.  The fiddle is fun.  It's not opera or classical--it's down-home, backwoods, and simple.  My husband thinks I'm crazy.  Frankly, sometimes I'm afraid he's on to something there but I don't tell him that.  So that's that.  I must go reload my caffeine drip.  The Diet Dr. Pepper is empty and that will surely push me over the edge.