Matching shoes and live fish 

I went to sleep well after midnight. It’s now 4a and I am WIDE awake. I have a 12 hour workday ahead of me today. Sleep would have been helpful. Why can’t I sleep? When I left work today this was what I left:

That’s 1003 unread emails in my in-basket. Most of them requiring work or action to “clear”. In typical me fashion I can’t sleep for worrying about all that I have to do…and how long it’s going to take me to do it. Which leads to panic about the amount of time o need to work Versus the mommy responsibilities like soccer practice and after school pick up. I don’t know how less than 4 hours of sleep is going to help any of that but here we are….

In an effort to distract myself I replayed the week thus far:

My daughter suffers horribly from monthly cramps. Horribly. She was home Monday with them. As it was the first day in our new system I was at work. In a meeting when I get this text from my 14 year old. There has to be an easier way to know you aren’t pregnant! I burst out laughing.

Monday night I was in charge of table decor for the high school swim banquet. I’d had to work the night before so I didn’t have time (energy actually) to load my car. So I delegated…at least I can do that somewhere! My 17 year old was tasked with getting the supplies from our kitchen table to the school cafeteria. Lord love him. He’s always willing to help but you can’t say grab the stuff and bring it to cafeteria. He needs much More and specific instructions. Like the kind of instructing that makes you wonder why you didn’t just do it yourself. Being me I had live fish as part of the decor. There could be an entire blog about the insanity that ensued with me trying to instruct my son on transporting of said live fish. I can only imagine how it sounded to anyone passing my office–“no, they need to be alive when you get there.” Or “they need water to live!” Or “exactly who in the hell is going to hold them while you drive?!?” Or “DO NOT WRAP THEM IN SARAN WRAP!” 

Somehow, miraculously, all 4 fish arrived. Alive though somewhat traumatized. It was worth it–sorta-as they were the hit of the night. Even more so then the pictures boquets…could have saved a lot of skin by NOT hot gluing had I known. 

Tonight my baby girl was so excited to share her story with me. It was an opinion piece. Her topic? Why quicktrip was a good place to take kids. Granted she’s in first grade but man-oh-man if I don’t need to get her out more if a gas station is top of mind when the teacher ask “tell me about a fun place you like to go with your family.” Poor 3rd child!

This is the same child that I almost—almost—sent to school knowingly wearing 2 different tennis shoes. Hey-we were late, it was PE day and there were NO matching shoes to be found. Anywhere. Again-3rd child you are just happy that they have shoes on. Matching shoes is icing. Just kidding. I didn’t. I almost did. I would have but she freaked out a bit about her “fast shoes” (that’s what she calls tennis shoes) not matching. School is hard enough for her without the stigma of mis-matched shoes! We-all 3 of the people on this house that could find their shoes–finally found a pair that matched. They were a size too big BUT THEY MATCHED. 

So…on less then 4 hours sleep I am going to tackle this long day ahead. With luck I’ll get to work with matching shoes today. As tired as I am that’s not a certainty, though. 

Let there be light! 

I made a “big girl” purchase recently. New floors!!! I paid my money, met the workers one morning and eagerly awaited the end of the day to see the transformation. 

Yeah-like anything in my life is that easy. 

It was 8ish before the after school pick-ups and track meet was over. It was pitch black when I rounded the corner to my little home. 

The first thing I noticed was the work van was still there. I didn’t dwell on that because from the back seat I heard, “gramsey and grandpa!”

“Gramsey and grandpa aren’t here!” I said just before I noticed 2 things at once. That was my mom in my front porch and the view from the window behind her didn’t look like the view when I left that morning. “What the heck?” I said…well that’s not exactly what I said but it’s close enough. 

My front porch was full of my furniture. Not good. I made my way cautiously thru the mindfield of debris to my front door. 

At least I thought it was my front door…I had second thighs when I peered in and saw a totally transformed den! It had been repainted and staged perfectly. My poor mom and dad looked exhausted slumped down in my new-to-me chairs. 

Seems as if they had conspired with the floor company. I was going to surprise them and do it “all by myself” but they had other plans. When I slipped out to work they slipped in, and like little elves, worked their magic.

It has been a dull year. Lots of stress and not a lot of relief. I’ve been sad and not able to perk myself up as well as I used to. Age, lack of vitamins (literally) and massive amounts of angst had my world a little dark. 

And suddenly there was light!

My new den Is soothing, calming and feels like a deep breath of fresh air. It reminds me of the beach-my happy place. It’s clean and uncluttered. It’s light. It’s airy. The ambience urges you to “sit a spell”. I love it. 

And it was a complete and total suprise. The transformation was like sunshine bursting through storm clouds. I walk in and smile. 

Let there be light!

It was such an amazing suprise that I didn’t even mind that my toliet was in my bathtub or that my refrigerator was in my back deck…seems as if the floors were a mite more work than anticipated. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t even see my bed or that I couldn’t get to my closet to get dressed for work the next day. It really didn’t. Not a bit. That was all temporary but my den was here to stay. 

It’s a work in progress. My parents did all hard work. A new couch and a few pictures and viola! 

In a season of some dark days it’s so incredible to come home to where it’s light. 

Thanks mom and dad—again! 

Be the change 

I want 2017 to be better than 2016.

I saw this and thought…okay.

Okay…it’s time to get off the proverbial “couch”. I suppose o have been waiting…waiting for something to change. Waiting but not doing anything about it. Sitting. Waiting. Wondering what happens next. 

Turns out things don’t just happen or change because you are sitting and waiting for things to change. Seems as if action is required. Huh.

So…get off the couch. 

Make a change…well…getting off the couch would be a change. Guess that’s not enough? So…I don’t quite like how my life looks or feels right now. So I need to get up and so something about it. 

I am going to start simple. Replace the things I see everyday that make me feel icky. It’s silly but everyday…on the couch…all I see is nasty, stained carpet. It’s 9 years old. It’s been stained by a renter. Dogs. Toddlers. Play doh. Juice. Crappy vacuum cleanrs…it’s all taken a toll. And it drives some crazy. It’s sad. It’s embarrassing. So I am changing it. 

And while I am changing it I might just clear things out to make more room. We hurriedly moved into our very humble abode. I packed a 4 bedroom house and 3 stuff-loving-kids into a 2 bedroom townhouse. And I crammed it with too much stuff. Eventually too much stuff makes the walls feel like they are closing end. No more. 

Truth be told I like our little place. It’s room enough. We gather in our den. My dad made sure my son had walls. My room is calming. My kids get to go to great schools. I have a porch and a deck. It’s snug. Some might think it’s small but in good days I think it’s cozy. Yes, if I have a crock pot on the counter I have no room to do…oh…anything  BUT I have cabinets that my daughter and I redid together. I have a cheery curtain my mom made. I have food in the pantry. We are safe and warm. 

And I did it on my own. It’s my name on the mortgage. Mine. It was almost lost but, with help,I saved it. I am proud that I bought it, proud of myself for finding a solution when I was faced with the biggest challenge of my life. 

I need to quit seeing the small and get back to remembering what it represents. 

So I am going to make a change that will allow me to like my little place again. 

I bought concert tickets to a venue in downtown Athens. And I plan on going. I may panic and change my mind but, for now, I’ve made it possible to “go out”. I took action to change my story. That’s the best part…I took action. 

I went on a dating site…lord help me…I despise the process but deep down I think it’s more about being willing to take that  first step than anything else. It’s more about trying to make my story about more than what I offer as a mom. That’s my greatest joy, my biggest and best accomplishment, my true love…but they need to see me as more than a chauffeur. I think my son needs to see that I have a life before he will feel hopeful about starting one of his own. 

So…I am taking action. I hate it. But I am doing it…I even agreed to a meet. He cancelled. I didn’t. As much as I hate it, as much as I didn’t want to do it…I didn’t back away. I don’t want to be lonely anymore so I did something. Thank god I didn’t have to actually go on a date. But I would have…

I am challenging myself to get up, get out and to make changes. I want changes. I want 2017 to be different from 2016 and I know that making things different is up to me. Nobody else can make me happy. I have to make me happy. 

And I hope that these changes help me smile more. I hope to get my fierce back. I want to quit being a spectator to a show I don’t enjoy. I want to star in a life I am proud of. 

Show more gratitude. That I need to take to heart. I don’t mean to see the glass as 1/2 empty. I truly don’t. I will never be the bubbly, sunny character who sees it 1/2 full either. I am old enough and wise enough to know and admit that about myself. 

But as the quote goes…it doesn’t matter if you see the glass and 1/2 full or 1/2 empty. I need to remember the glass is refillable. I’ve been living in 1/2 empty. Now it’s time to acknowledge that there is room in my glass for me to fill it back up. 

Too old to date or text

Reason 799 why not to try and date at my age…

DING…a notice appears on my phone reads “your students grade has dropped”.

Oh heck no!

We’ve had to bust bad on the little fella. He’s stretched pretty thin and he grades are showing wear and tear. So much so that we’ve pulled him out of the pool. His “I got this” holds no water any longer so I am monitoring his grades with a stealth that the CIA would envy.

I grabbed my phone copied the message…or so I thought. Quickly I opened  the thread to him and his father…from the last tirade about his grades. Let me point out that his father is my ex-husband (for anyone keeping track). This will matter in about 3 seconds.

I am mid email. I have my office phone to my ear. I am a multitasking machine!

I press paste, click send on the email and disconnect from my call. In the midst of all of this I hit send. As my finger makes contact with the screen I see the dreaded phrase “” Instead of NOHS. Before I could do anything but panic -ZIP-swoosh-and it was gone.

I am a multitasking failure.

I had just sent a message from one of my matches to my son and my ex-husband. Mortified I waited….

….I didn’t have to wait long.

Beep “go girl” reads to text from my ex. I wanted to slip into a hole and hide forever.

Beep “way to get out there mom” says the boy. Now I just wanted to die.

I hurriedly texted…”that was a mistake. The point is your falling GRADE”.

Yeah…that really stopped the diluge of taunts and teases being electronically thrown my way.

There are seriously 799 reasons NOT TO DATE at my age. The only reason to date is that I teach my kids you can’t complain about a problem if you aren’t working on a solution. I’ve written a lot about my problem of being lonely and not having a life outside of my kids. ‘Time to put my money where my mouth is’as my mama says.

I know no one single. Either my friends know no one single or they don’t think I am “date able”. I don’t do anything but work and shuttle children. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a bar fly. Although I need to-I don’t frequent gyms. I haven’t bumped into any eligible bachelors at Kroger. I was out of ideas.

So seemed to be the only solution available to me. Be a solution, be a part of the solution…I repeated to myself as I created a profile and added a picture.

It’s been a few weeks. And what an experience it’s already been! I’ve been humiliated to have been viewed but not “liked”. I’ve been scared by a few of the freaks that have appeared in my matches. Literally scared. I’ve been perplexed as to what the algorithm possibly was thinking as matched (and I use the term loosely) to an obvious Meth head, the stoner or the scarey 60year old dude who’s profile picture was him bare chested (I just threw up a little bit) in the mirror with his tongue sticking out. I won’t even tell you his screen name. {{shudder}}

There are reasons 15-27 right there!  Don’t get me started on the 772 other ones.

But I also teach my babies not to quit. 29 days I promised myself. I’ll give it 29 days. In case you are wondering–you have to renew after 30 days and there was no way I was paying to be humiliated again. Yes–it cost money to be rejected and insulted these days.

Then I got a semi-normal message. Not from Prince Charming and certainly not from the love of my life. But semi-normal, sarcastic profile of a gentleman who seemed to find this process as absurd as I do.  I guess I saved it. I honestly don’t remember doing it but I must have since I sent it to my son and my ex-husband. 

Chew on that a moment. I am texting my son to lecture him on a failing grade. I include his father because I’ve always tried to co-parent. And me…ms boring…me ms no life…me ms private…me ms didn’t date when I was young, single, skinny and interesting. Me. Sent them proof that I was part of the horrors of online dating. The humiliation! The agony!!! And there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it but ride out the endless razing and mockery that were blowing up my phone.
Is it to late to retract my parenting words of wisdom??!! I want to be a quitter and stay lonely and boring and NOT embarrass myself so publicly ever again.

A chocolate hangover 

I survived yesterday despite my 6 year old eating an entire GIGANTIC Hershey kiss intended for her teacher who was absent. The whole thing. All of it. 

I am blaming the rest of the day on a chocolate hangover. 

Let’s back up a bit:

Checking your online dating profile in Valentine’s is not a good idea. In fact it’s a very bad idea. What was I thinking?!! Especially considering my track record. I didn’t think my ego could take another hit. Wrong. 

Disclaimer: the following is not nice. I know it’s not nice. 

I was wrong-my ego took some pretty violent hits as I began scrolling. in its infinite wisdom picked the following as matches for me.

Might be a lovely person but the padlocks around the neck weren’t my style. In fact they scared me a bit (a lot). I wondered what in his profile possibly matched mine. I didnt investigate. I moved on

I am not sure which one the system thought I matched but the one on the right looked suspiciously like padlock dude.  I moved on

I might be judgmental but what kind of grown man over 17 puts a shirtless picture of himself with his tongue sticking out??? What about that screamed “get to know me”? Based in Poor judgment I moved on. 

Again-these might be perfectly nice people. But this is a dating site. This is where you put your best foot forward. A place where you are supposed to sell yourself. A place to highlight the best parts of yourself.

Really??? This is what you use to attract a person of the opposite sex?! This is you putting your best foot forward? What is it with grown men thinking it’s remotely attractive to stick out there tongue?!? isn’t looking very promising. Back to the drawing board. 

The day after

Having survived the atrocities of the night before I expected today to be a piece of cake. 

I was wrong. 

The principal of the elementary school called. It wasn’t to tell me what a fine job I was doing raising my little one. Not by a long shot. The conversation involved “slap””cheek””unprovoked” and “not sorry” immediately followed by “spending her recess for the next few days in my office” and “might want to talk to her”. The  rest of it you can probably piece together. 

In one piece of luck she wasn’t with me tonight. I filled in her dad and asked her to give me her version. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read the re-cap of their conversation. Turns outhe would  not  play with her. Not a good idea. In perfect 6 year old logic she tried to convice him to play by….I still can’t even….she hit him. Smack Dab in the face. You can read the rest:

Oh well. At least I have an idea what next years handmade Valentine’s will look like. I can’t put happy Valentine’s Day on the placard she is holding to her chest on her mug shot. Maybe they’ll let me visit her in prison on Valentine’s Day. Hey, I’ll always have something to do. 

I worked late and missed dinner with friends. Had to work extra to earn future bail money.  

Between raising a 6 year old Rhonda Rousey, only being attractive to men resembling extras from the walking dead and missing my friends to work I was not very confident that the day after was going to end on a high note. 

I was wrong. 

My sweet bigs had left me a prize! 

Better go…I have to hide the chocolate before Rocky gets home. 

What is not to love?

I screech to after school at-no lie-5:56. This was after I apologized to big girls PRINCIPAL who had to hang out with her after track practice today. Seems as if she didn’t think it was a good idea for kinsley to be ALONE at the school. Talk about embarrassing. 

Baby girl is the last kid at daycare. She’s waiting outside. And she’s pissed. Being the last one to be picked up is not her favorite thing. So we already had one strike. 

Big girl and I can’t wait to hear about her say. She was so excited about Valentine’s Day!!!!!! She gets in glowering at is and we, in unison, squeal, “how was it?” She slams then car door, hunches in her seat as sullenly says, “I hate Valentines day.” Uh oh. We probe and prod until we finally get to the source of her discourse. She’s afraid to tell me. With good reason. Note to self: make sure teachers are at school before sending chocolate. Seems as if one of my baby daughters teachers was in a meeting today. Since she wasn’t there to get the chocolate Sadie ate it. All of it. It was one of those HUGE Hershey kisses. She. Ate.It.All. 

Now I am pissed. We both pout. 

We arrive at the grocery store where there isn’t a single spot. Cars were waiting 2 deep on spots. It was like someone forecasted snow!

Making our way into the store made me think of salmon swimming up stream to spawn. Only the ones that were spawning were coming at us. Men of every shape, size and demeanor weee flocking out of the store carrying enormous bouquets. Guess the later you wait the bigger the boquets you buy. These guys were getting a work out just carrying these suckers. Even teen girl commented,”talk about waiting to the last minute. Look at all these flowers!”

Then she gasped and grabbed for her phone. “Mom…I got that sweetest text today. Look Sadie–it’s for you too,” she held up her phone to show me a picture of daffodils my dad had texted her. “I got them too!” I proclaimed. We spent the next few minutes bantering about how sweet it was and what we were doing when we saw them. She was absolutely giddy.

I told her how he used to give my sister and I little treats in Valentine’s day and how special it made me feel. Her smile told me the texted flowers made her feel the same way. I thought to myself…way to raise that bar high dad! Make it hard for any guy to measure up. 

Inside the store we looked over the pilfered shelves looking for the girls beau a treat. We settled on a 4 foot red and pink caterpillar that snuggled good like his hugs. Ugh. And a 2 pound bag of m&ms. I am sucker. 

1/2 way home she squeaked,”Mom…he’s just asked where I was!!! Mom! Do you think he’s at our house?” The 15 minute car ride became frantic. She’d been at track practice so she she stunk (no-she really did). Mom to the rescue. I had spritzer. She panicked that he would think the worm was dumb. I talked her off that ledge. She verbally debated whether to her the worm out when she got it or leave it in the car in case until she assessed the situation. I listened and didn’t roll my eyes…much..

It was high drama-a 14 year old girl on her first Valentine’s Day with her suitor waiting on her front porch. Need I say more?

The whole caterpillar debate was for naught because I hadn’t even gotten the car stopped before she pole vaulted out and launched herself into his arms for a rib crushing hug. 

1/2 dozen roses, a card and a stuffed animal and a hug. There isn’t really anymore that needs to be added. 

The spoils of Young love


After she left she gushed about “how sweet and amazing he was” and how she never understood the mushy-lovey-dovey-stuff until now. On and on and on it went. And on and on and on. And on. Finally she came up for air and said,”oh…sorry mom.” Great. My daughter can’t enjoy her first love for worrying about her loveless mom. I assured her it was fine. So she want back to her giddy recount of the event I had just witnessed.

The younger girl zoned in the corner in a self-induced chocolate coma. 

Big girl finally stopped gushing thanks to the pizza I put in her mouth. I hoped fresh spinach was an antidote to chocolate as I piled it high on my Valentine hating little girls plate. 

The finale of the evening was a bath bomb my fella had given me for Christmas. I’d been saving it for tonight. A luxurious and relaxing bath would be my treat for surviving the day. 

That lasted 2.3 seconds. Here comes baby girl ripping off socks and hiking up pants ready to go just put her feet in.  Right behind her is big girl. I threw the cloth over the bits not covered my the foamy water. I barely got the rag on place before I saw a phone camera zeroing down on me. I shrieked. She laughed. She wanted an artsy picture of the cotton candy bath bomb. 

I didn’t have time to scold her because I was overcome with this smell. This putrid smell that permeated the small room. IT WAS FEET. The stench was my 6 year olds feet that she was lowering into my long anticipated bath!

So. I sat crumpled in the corner of a too small tub while big girl took artsy pictures and little girl soaked her stanky feet, a legs and (shocker) eventually her entire body. On accident of course. 

Now I am in bed. Not alone. Not the Valentine’s Day I’d imagined in my younger days. Not sleeping single in a double bed tonight. No sir! Here I am, a little one smelling of chocolate despite MY bubble bath. She keeps schooching closer until I have one cheek teteering on the edge of the bed. The only thing keeping me on is the dog who has currently cutting off circulation to my feet. 

What’s not to love about a single moms Valentine’s Day? I can’t lie. I love all of it.

Another way of looking at tomorrow 

2012 Valentine’s Day (or lack thereof) story. A reminder that the view from the rear view mirror isn’t as clear and the view from the front. 
2013 Valentine’s story is about asking for and getting what you want. 
2014 I didn’t even bother. 

2015 the year of the brutally honest valentine. The only Valentine’s that includes the phrase “even if you do get on my nerves.”

2016 came and went between a tirade on why I hate Walmart and meeting a hero. 

2017. It is what you make it, right?

This year my goal is to make others feel loved. 

Even though it doesn’t look like what I thought it would-I love so much about my life.

  • I love with all my heart me fella, my sassy one and my hot mess. Every day they give me something to marvel at. Their resiliency and heart teach me something every day. 
  • I love-fiercely-my tribe of friends who make me smarter and stronger then I would ever be in my own. 
  • I love people that barely know me or that used to know me reaching out to say “thinking of you” or “how are you today?”
  • I love bananas. 
  • I love parents that love my fella, my sassy one and my hot mess. I couldn’t do this without them. 
  • I love my small work family. L.o.v.e. 
  • I love the new work family friends I am making. There are some super-cool-super-smart people in my life.
  • I love that the freaks in don’t know my feel name. Wait until you see that blog-with pictures-it is bound to be a doozy. 
  • I love hugs. 
  • I love when my house is clean-at least I think I do-it’s been so long my memory is fuzzy. 
  • I love being a swim mom, a softball mom and  a cheer mom. I love that my kids see humor in my antics and that their teammates-to my face anyway- smile and say that they like the way I loudly love my athletes. 
  • I love making stuff…when it works. When it doesn’t, and that happens often, I hate it.
  • I love that sometimes….things don’t go as planned and that those are sometimes the very best memories.
  • I love this blog. I love to write. I love having a place to write. I love when people comment on my blog because something I wrote spoke to them. 
  • I love little Debbie red velvet snack cakes. And it shows. 
  • I love the little dimples in my baby girls hands that remind me she’s not grown yet. 
  • I love the scent of lavendar. Even more so I love the fact that my son knows this and gave me some for Christmas.
  • I love that my girl wrote me letters for Christmas to open at various times of the year. 
  • I love the ocean. It soothes my soul. 
  • I love the words thistle and pumpkin. It makes my mouth happy yo say them. Try it. You will thank me later. 
  • I love whimsical birds. 
  • I love sliding into clean sheets. 
  • I love that I share my grandmothers names. I love that my son carries my dad’s name and that my little ones middle name was inspired by her grandmothers. 
  • I love when I get off my arse and so something adventurous. Why don’t I do that more??
  • I love that ice you get from sonic.
  • I love that I am loved my uncles and aunts that still support me even though I never see them. 
  • I love that just last week someone reminded me that I changed their life 13 years ago by doing my job as they were thanking me for helping them advance all these years later. I love that I made a positive impact on someone. 
  • I love quilts. 
  • I love parts of my story. I can’t pretend it was all a nightmare. Part of the story that made me who I am is lovely. 
  • I love songs that make me think. And sometimes I love the songs that make me cry. Somtimes a song induced cry is just that the doctor ordered. And I have a few songs in my arsenal that guarantee tears. 
  • I love that my babies have so many wonderful people to help shape their lives. 
  • I love to cuss. I do. 
  • I love a fire in a fireplace.
  • I love samples at Sam’s. You time a shopping trip right in a Sunday afternoon and you don’t even have to buy lunch. 
  • I love glitter. 
  • I love my heart pajama pants even with the holes and the worn spots at the knees. 
  • I love conversations that you slip back into even if the conversation stopped a long while ago. 
  • I love sleeping late. Everyone usually loves me better when I get to sleep late too.
  • I love crisp fall air and the colors of autumn. 
  • I love brown paper packages tied up with sting. 
  • I love how things look under the soft glow of a lamp. 
  • I love when I do things for others that makes them smile. 
  • I love the sound my bell makes. 

I could keep going but I don’t need to. This was an exercise to remind myself of all the things I love instead of dwelling on the ways I am not loved. Especially tonight.