Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Some are silver and the others gold. If you were a Girl Scout, you know what I’m talking about. Or singing about. Today’s been a happy day because I haven’t felt the Mommy Isolation that can make being a stay-at-homer miserable. My old roommate Mandy came into town on Saturday and left this afternoon. I got to drive to church with my good friend Natalie. And I was reminded of my dear friends in Cheraw thanks to a post on Facebook by Melanie. At times I feel like any gregariousness I possessed was stripped away when I became a “homer.” I begin to think that maybe my true personality leans toward introvertedness. It’s days like today that have reminded me that I’m NOT an introvert. Yes, sometimes I like being quiet. But really, I like hanging out with people and talking. And I get energy from those interactions.  And today I had many interpersonal interactions and they came in all shapes and sizes. That was good. I’m in a good mood because of it.

The first type of interaction was Reacquaintance. I hadn’t spent real quality time with Mandy in years. And so having a conversation with her was like discovering a $10 bill in last year’s winter coat. You try it on expecting it to be usable but you’re not necessarily expecting a bonus. And then there it is. Crinkly paper. Is it a receipt? Nope. It’s forgotten money. The joy of finding something you didn’t realize you were missing. I’d forgotten that we had been such good friends. And why we had been such good friends. Becoming reacquainted with her made me resolve to be better about keeping in touch.

The second type of interaction was Camaraderie. Driving with Natalie to set up for tomorrow’s MOPS meeting offered a chance to have some pleasant mommy talk. It’s not usually anything too deep. But just like deep calls to deep, mommy calls to mommy. I love having a friend who’s in the same place as me. Literally and figuratively. The fact that she lives two blocks away is an extra bonus. Four years ago, I didn’t realize what a blessing it was that Matt and Natalie moved into our neighborhood. It seemed a pleasant coincidence. Since then, our friendship has grown from college acquaintances to dear friends. She’s the one I call when I’ve just gotten done cleaning up vomit. She knows what it’s like. Although she’s more of a poop expert.

The third type of interaction was Remembrance. Calling it that seems funereal. If you’ve got a better word, let me know. Today, my lifetime friend Melanie posted a memento from her childhood. It had nothing to do with me personally. But it made me remember  the days we spent together playing. The dynamic of two blond twins, a short brunette, and an imaginative redhead…um…I mean strawberry blond. Being in the real world has made me realize that not many people have friendships that have lasted a lifetime (cue Michael W. Smith music). But somehow I was blessed enough to have three friends that I knew from church nursery on. Cheraw seems like the perfect place for those types of friendships to be forged. Practically, there was only one elementary school and high school so we spent our days at school together and our Sunday mornings at church. A small town also has little to offer in entertainment, so walks to the gas station were routine. As were afternoons sitting on the porch swing. We talked a lot. When I think about it,  we are a branched tree. We share the same roots. But we have grown in our own directions. But still the roots remain, grounding us. Reminding of us of who we are and where we came from. Cheraw. On the southern bank of the Pee Dee River. With its old churches and historic buildings. Its Wal-Mart. And just about any fast food restaurant. I know where I came from and where they came from. Which made Melanie’s childhood artifact poignant and pretty hilarious. Although I was never subjected to it, Melanie’s mother Chrissy often used writing lines as discipline. Imagining the scenario in which Melanie was given this “assignment” made me giggle.

From Melanie’s Facebook post:

I found this gem (circa 1990, obviously just after a spat) while looking for slideshow photos. It’s written in my very best cursive on a lovely sheet of wide-ruled notebook paper. My favorite is No. 13.

1. I like the way Kate laughs.
2. I like the way Kate kinda looks up to me.
3. I like the way Kate sometimes wants to sleep in my room.
4. I like it when Kate comes up to my room and brushes her hair.
5. I like the way Kate takes good care of her glasses.
6. I like the way Kate swims like a fish.
7. I like the way Kate sometimes wants to play with me.
8. I like the way Kate likes to do things I do.
9. I like the way Kate usually agrees with me.
10. I like the way Kate shares her things with me.
11. I like the way Kate lets me into her room.
12. I like the way Kate picks her clothes so cool.
13. I like the way Kate will do most things I ask her to do.
14. I like the way Kate makes me laugh.
15. I like the way Kate fixes her hair.

Because of all these things we like about each other we will be kind to each other.

(signed) Melanie Depew
(printed) Melanie Depew

Me again. Okay. So it makes me giggle. And cry a little. I love my friends. New and old. Silver and gold. It really is a circle that has no end. O the wisdom of campfire songs!

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Because I Can

I have no clue what to blog about but feel that I must for a variety of reasons: 1) It’s been a long time since my last post, 2) I need to do housework but REALLY don’t want to. Okay. So that’s not a “variety.” More like two.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I hate cleaning so much. I really enjoy the benefit of a neat and tidy house and having clean clothes. But I have a terrible time motivating myself. I’m at a loss. Any ideas?

Most recently in the War Against Dirt, I read Sidetracked Home Executives. If you’re familiar with Fly Lady, you’ve heard this term before but may not have realized that it comes from the title of a book written by two slobby sisters who figured out this crazy method for organizing their lives by using an intricate system of 3×5 notecards. Seriously. As a side note, when Alan and I were first dating, he told me that his mother ascribed to said system and mopped her floor daily. No joke. DAILY. I of course, thought Julie, my future mother-in-law, was off her rocker. And that any book that made someone mop their kitchen EVERY DAY was straight from Hades. On their latest trip to our home, Julie brought her homemaker’s Bible with her for me to read (she’d asked beforehand if I was interested and I replied to the affirmative) and I was surprised to find that it wasn’t the book that made her mop the floor daily. There is no rule in SHE that dictates such a stringent mopping schedule. I suppose the Johnson children tracked in mud at a rate that made such mopping necessary. Regardless, the book wasn’t as stern as I thought it would be. It was a rather fun read, actually.

Of course, after reading a self help book, you’re generally expected to help yourself out of the situation. So I should be on my way to a clean home, right? WRONG. There are a few reasons my home has not been transformed from “pigsty to paradise.” So after reading SHE, I’m thinking I need to go out a buy prescribed jumbo notecard file box and notecards and dividers for the file. But Alan stopped me in my tracks. I’ve got all this momentum going and he tells me that the notecard file box we already possess if fit for the job. REALLY? It’s filled with old receipts we might need and it’s hunter green. If this is something I’m going to do, I’m going to do it right. And it’s going to look pretty. And hunter green does NOT fit into this picture. Any excitement I had at the thought of a clean home is dashed when I think of the hunter green notecard box becoming a permanent kitchen fixture.

The other reason for my house continuing in its usual state of disarray is fatigue. And not my fatigue; Alan’s. Picture this: I get a nap in the afternoon and when we finally get the kids down for bed, I have the energy to do something around the house. But my husband, who has forced himself to get up at 5 a.m. for no apparent reason, is bushed. And promptly falls asleep as soon as his body is still for .6 seconds. Alan, our resident clean freak, is normally the responsible adult who forces himself to fold laundry and unload and load the dishwasher. He is incapable of doing any housework while he snoozes. And I am incapable of doing housework when I have no one to “help.” As I said, I struggle with self-initiating in this area.

And tonight I would have cleaned up but Alan was absent and after calling two friends and only getting their voicemail, I returned to the computer to do something productive. Like blogging. Because I can.

Chance Exchanges

I don’t even know how I got to this website but chancexchange.com looks like it has a lot of potential. It’s a website that allows you to mail books, dvds, games, and other junk you no longer want anymore to people who do want it. And it’s free. Well almost. There is the annoying fact that you do have to pay the postage to send your item to its new home. You get one credit per item you send and then are able to choose what you want sent to you. I listed three books just to see how it would work. So far, both of my Janet Evanovich books have been requested. I’m planning on tomorrow to make it to the post office. If you know me, you know that I HATE the post office. The slow line and the crazy kids. My kids. They decide to “act the fool” at times. I have other things I need to post too–Kate and Melanie’s birthday gifts–so I REALLY need to go.

In other news, I finished Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex last night. It was absolutely wonderful. I really enjoyed the book and am looking forward to discussing it at book club on Wednesday. I haven’t been in several months but am really excited about this book. A lot of times, I read books and enjoy them but don’t recommend them to Alan. He’s so busy, I hate to persuade him to read just anything. Like the Twilight series. There are certain people I would recommend it to because they’re avid readers and won’t be wasting half a year to read them (Melanie, Hillary, etc.) but if you’re only going to read one piece of fiction a year, you better make sure it’s a good one. Middlesex measures up. It was utterly convincing and had me walking away wondering if Jeffrey is a hermaphrodite–if the book was largely autobiographical.

In other book news, Hillary and I are tentatively planning to attend the Twilight party at Barnes and Noble on Friday. I’m almost giddy. Hill originally had to work that night but because of another family obligation, she’s going to have to take off and will most likely be able to fit in coming up to Greenville. I’m wondering what the age range of people there will be. I’m imagining that Hillary and I will be on the upper end of that bell curve. Which reminds me that I should go reserve my copy of Breaking Dawn right now. Yes, I’m grinning from ear to ear just thinking about it.

Time to FLY

I’ve decided that it’s time to try out FLYlady again. I was chatting with my friend Helena and she mentioned that she’s a FLYbaby. I’d thought about trying again recently. My house is in constant disarray and I never seem to have the time to pick up all of the toys that get flung to the four corners of my house let alone actually cleaning it. The first time I tried FLYlady.net I was completely overwhelmed by the number of emails I got each day, but now that I check my email so often, I’m looking forward to these little reminders. There is now a thirty day plan for FLY babies too–very good. Before, I think I got lost trying to figure out what I was supposed to do and what I could skip since I was just a baby. So today, my Day 1, I shined my sink. I didn’t do the whole bleach thing. But I did clean it. And left it at that. I also started cleaning out the cabinet in my bathroom. I didn’t get around to wiping off the counter tops (they REALLY need it) but as the Fly Lady says, I don’t want to get so jazzed up about the whole cleaning thing and then just crash and burn.

Tomorrow, my Day 2 goal is to get dressed down to lace on shoes. So, I’m planning on setting my alarm for 6:30 and hopping in the shower. That’s all I have to do. Well…and keep my sink clean. As noted in my previous post about my little experiment, getting up early makes my life seem 10 times longer. But tomorrow, I’m not going to try and do tons of stuff. I have what I need from the store. Once I’m dressed, I can spend time with my kids, which will hopefully make them more content and less contentious. When I’m preoccupied with getting “ready for the day,” there are inevitably all sorts of fights or lots of TV watching. Tomorrow, at the very least, I’ll be able to help referee the fights and watch TV with them.

I’ve read a few of the FLY lady emails and I’ve started trying to be nice to myself. A lot of times, I think about what my Mom would want me to be doing. I hear her voice inside of my head telling me to get up and do something productive like clean the kitchen. And sometimes she’s not so nice! If I can just remember that I’m not behind and I’m just getting started, maybe I can get rid of this impulse to completely tire myself out when I feel the compulsion to clean. I could totally relate when The FLY Lady mentioned finally getting to the nasty bathroom and wearing yourself out and not wanting to go near cleaning supplies for another 6 months. That’s so me! Right now, our kitchen floor needs to be mopped. It is completely nasty. Max threw down a cucumber last week and it’s now dehydrated and stuck to the floor. Told you it’s gross! But I’ve decided I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I will not her my mother scolding me for letting that grime go unchecked. Instead, I will tell myself that I deserve a nice home. A relaxing home. One where my eyes can REST and my mind doesn’t go beserk when I look at all of the undone tasks i.e. dirty laundry, dusting, mopping, etc.. But I will not try to achieve this sort of home in one day. I will follow FLY lady guidelines and achieve it in a month or so and build good habits while I do it. I will become a good housekeeper without being neurotic. I will EASE into a peaceful, beautiful, clean home.

I will start by going ahead and prepping my coffee maker for tomorrow morning. And then, since it’s almost 10:30, I’ll go to bed. Wish me luck!

C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) Starts

We started this weekend on our floor renovation by ripping up the carpet on our stairs. The underside of the carpet looked like someone had peed on every step. Probably just an effect of all of the carpet cleaning we’ve done in the past four years, although I do remember a few potty training incidents. . . . We’re using the same wood that’s been under the stairs but because of the inferior grade and the gaps between the stringer and the actual steps, we have a lot of work to do.  After puttying over screws, sanding, and priming, putting expanding foam in the gaps and then caulking, our plan is to paint the risers white and the runners a deep brown that will look nice with our new floors. And all of this needs to be done by the time Kate’s wedding rolls around. It’s hard work and it looks pretty bad right now but yesterday I kept on being reminded of the great outcome. On an HGTV commercial I saw Vern Yip sitting on a staircase with the same aesthetic I’m hoping to achieve. Later I did a little bit of research on this type of project and came across this website that had great pictures and advice. It was nice to be able to encourage Alan with those pictures. Sometimes he has a difficult time visualizing and can be a little afraid of the end result. Being inspired by the website we found, we decided to take pictures too. I’m sure those and the other 300 pictures on our camera right now (including balloon pictures from Freedom Weekend Aloft) will be uploaded at some point in the future. No guarantees. 🙂

My Little Experiment

It’s been almost a week since I set my alarm. It worked one morning and then it hit me that setting my alarm invariably makes my day seem ten times longer. And about 20 times crappier. 🙂 On Thursday, I got up after I finished feeding Bea. I figured I was already awake at 5:45, I might as well go for it. I had breakfast, showered, read my little devotion. And spent some time with Alan talking about what each other’s day was going to look like. And then Lucy, sensing there was someone up and about got up. Not so bad. I mean, I was READY for the kids. I had a kind of “bring it on” bravado coursing through my veins. I might have had coffee that morning too. Yeah, I did. I remember having to run to the bathroom just about every 10 minutes. Max got up. Everyone ate at the table instead of munching on cereal as they watched TV. I was feeling good about myself. It’s those small victories. And because I was ready, I was able to leave the house to go to Wal-Mart at 8:30! Wow. I’m still impressed by it. I needed to pick up a few items for a dinner I was taking a friend who just had a baby. I got back from Wal-Mart around 9:30 or 10. The kids watched a show. Bea went down for her nap. Around 11, I got a call from Alan saying he managed to lose his car keys. Just his car keys. So I needed to go to his office and give him my set. I figured since we were doing okay on money we’d leave as soon as Bea got up and drive the thirty minutes over to Taylors and pick up lunch on the way, planning on eating at Alan’s office. All went according to plan. We visited for a few minutes. I looked for the keys. And I went home. Of course, the kids are zonked and all three fall asleep in the car. Which meant that when we actually get home and I’m bushed, no one wanted to take more than a 30 minute nap. Which meant that I’m a little crabby. On top of all of this. I forgot to pick up my Zoloft refill and I’d skipped a day. And come to find out, I was PMSing (This link is of an SNL Commercial and is rated PG-13). Anyway, I was one cranky mother. Oh. I didn’t mention that I put the dinner in the crock pot and by the time I got home from Alan’s office, it had majorly overflowed. Later, when I needed to finish the rest of the sides for dinner, my kids were tired and cranky from not having napped. I just wanted to leave and go far far away. I ended up going by myself to drop off dinner and stayed longer than would most in the same situation. I remarked to my friend, “I wish I could eat here. I don’t want to go home.”

Bottom Line: Things started out great and then went to POT! It also made me realize what I want for Christmas–a Keurig hot beverage maker or whatever. It’s expensive but would be really nice to have around. And I wouldn’t have to waste so much coffee or have the hassle of cleaning up! I also realized that if I was guaranteed a nap, waking up early would be a great lifestyle change.

BabyNet Evaluation

Today was Max’s BabyNet evaluation. We’ve had concerns about his speech and have looked into getting “services” to help him out with that. Here in SC, BabyNet is the answer to IDEA for kids under 3. Anyway, to make a long story short, after two hours of Max playing with Miss Patty she said that she’s unsure if he’ll qualify. To qualify he has to show at 33% delay in one area or a 25% delay in two areas. Which is a good and bad thing. Good if he doesn’t need speech therapy. Bad if he needs it a little but not enough to have it paid for us by the state. Fortunately, only his speech seems to be delayed. He’s performing at or above average for other areas of development. We should hear her recommendation by Monday. And we’ll make a decision to go or not go forward with his speech and hearing evaluations after that.

It was rather fun sitting with him for two hours and seeing how his little brain works. This last year has been such a busy time. I feel like I don’t get to sit down and play with my kids like I should. It made me really see how good he is at certain things. Things that I hadn’t really noticed in all of the craziness of daily life. When it was just Lucy, I had time to patiently sit with her and point out animals in board books. When I had Max, that sort of activity fell by the wayside. I need to make room for it again. Today made me see how spending quality time playing makes a difference in my kid’s development.

It’s time to start setting the alarm. My kids need a mom that’s ready to go when they get up. I’m going to set my alarm for 6:30. Shower, makeup, devotion. We’ll see how this little experiment goes.