Saturday, May 29, 2010

Woo Hoo!

Today was possibly - no definitely - the coolest I've had in quite a while. It made up for the whole last two weeks and all the roller coasters.

Yesterday afternoon I was starting to get bummed. I was counting down the hours until the Awesome Assignment was over. At that point I had a few hours left on Thursday, and then Friday , and then I would be sadly jobless. Cat Lady was obviously upset about my leaving, She wasn't happy about having to retrain someone for the summer, and she wasn't happy about losing me. That kind of made me feel a little better. I also kept thinking how much it sucked that for once I was losing a job and I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't miss too many days, or come in late too often, or screw up the work. For once I made it three months and I didn't get fired, warned, or even reprimanded. I loved the people, the job, the pay, even the commute! I won't try to tell you I didn't shed a few tears at the thought of never coming back.

That was when one of the other managers approached me because she heard that my assignment was ending and she needed someone to cover the receptionist desk for a few hours this afternoon. It wasn't like she was giving me a real job, she just needed someone to cover the phones while the Professional receptionist was on vacation for the afternoon. I haven't been on a switchboard in a while, but I have always said that I am not above filing, stapling, or even answering phones if it means a paycheck. Does that make me a corporate slut? Maybe, but it also makes me money.

Anyway, I agreed to handle the phones for hours, after all, it WAS the end of my assignment, so I shouldn't be doing much of anything else. And it would be the Friday before Memorial Day, so the call volume would be close to nil. There were a few different people taking turns handling the phones, including a few other admins and the Unnamed Temp (I seriously didn't find out her name. I'm sure she HAS a name, but apparently it wasn't important enough to pass on to me.) Each of us took a few minutes sitting at the front desk to get the hang of their particular phone system and make sure to know who let through the doors and who to transfer into the Eternal Hell of Automated Options. So, after lunch I went up to the desk for a few minutes to sit with the Professional Receptionist so I  That was apparently when everything turned around. I just didn't know it yet.

I have learned some very important things in my history as The Eternal Temp. First, there are two types of people who work a front desk. One is the Brainless Pretty Face whose actual identity shifts quite frequently but the personality (and level of professional ability) is usually predictable - pretty, not too bright, and usually looking for the next executive to spend money on her. The other front desk person is The Professional Receptionist. This woman has been in the business for years, and you can tell. She knows the ins and outs of working the phones, preventing pushy sales people from getting past the front door, and what each executive wants on their salads. That brings me to the second most important thing I have learned - be nice to everybody all time. You never know when something you say will come back to bite you. Also, you never know who might have enough sway to affect important decisions. Take the Professional Receptionist (PR), for instance. She has been with the company for almost as many years as the owners and knows everything that goes on and is also very willing to share it (confidentially of course...) Pissing this lady off is not wise. She will burn you simply by placing a few words to the right people. Apparently the Unnamed Temp (UT) hadn't figured this out. She also didn't figure out that surfing the net, talking on the cell phone, and visiting with other people (instead of doing work) will piss off the PR.

I hate to advance on the shoulders of someone elses failures, but sometimes it happens that way. I know I have been the Unnamed Temp in years past. You live, you get fired, you learn. Such is the life of the jobless and largely untrained young professional. Your empty desk will be filled by someone who did the job better than  you did (or at least screwed up less than you did.) That said, if she screwed up and got fired, it was her fault and not mine. I just happened to be there when her spot became vacant. Apparently the people at this company don't waste time on people they don't have faith in. They  will however, bend over backwards to keep people they like.

Somewhere between yesterday afternoon and this morning, the UT made the final, fatal mistake of offending the PR. I'm not exactly sure if she really messed up that bad, or if PR happened to like the way I already knew things, but by this morning that same manager was asking me if I would take over the reception desk on Tuesday as well while PR was taking another vacation day. A few hours later (I after I agreed vehemently!) the manager was back asking if I would have come and a word with her. My first thought (of course) was that I had somehow I screwed up. Actually, she asked me if I would mind continuing to work in a different department. It might be a slightly lower pay, but it would keep me around until they could find a permanent position for me.

Wait a minute, you're telling me I can stay?!?! I can come back next week and keep coming back until you can make me an employee as well? It was hard for me not to trip over myself trying to accept without sounding like a fool idiot! The UT apparently didn't know she wouldn't be coming back, so I wasn't allowed to all out celebrate, but yes, they wanted me to stay.

So, the Awesome Assignment has been extended once again, this time indefinitely. There is a temp position I will be filling  in the Marketing department (with some more of the coolest and sweetest people I have ever met!) until one of them comes back from maternity leave in September. At least, the position is there until September. If my position comes available in the Accounting department where I have been for the past few months, well, I am first in line for it.

I still don't want to believe it for fear of jinxing the whole thing. Mostly I am afraid of screwing up again, like I have in the past. Can I really do this? Can I get to work and do my job and be a mom and a wife and everything else? I have done it in the past, though I was younger and had fewer children then. I had to explain to all my girls tonight why this is important to me. Why I have made this decision to work and not be at home all day. I realized that my girls don't remember what it was like to have me working full time. I haven't been able to hold a job since I was first pregnant with EG.  In my mind, I am a woman. I work for a living and wear make-up and dress shoes. The past six years haven't felt like me.

Going back to work and really being able to hold a job makes me remember who I used to be when I looked in the mirror and smiled. I suppose it really should just be a way to make a living, but it has turned into the way I measure my success. Not monetary success. Actually its more like the way I measure my accomplishment. How far I have managed to come compared to where I used to be.

So, for now I have a job. I'm not where I used to be, but I have hope that I will be able to acheive some measure of what I used to be.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Well, that sucked...

Apparently, I am not allowed to get overly excited about anticipating anything or else it will be yanked away from me within moments of coming to fruition.
What I said before about working for a private company is odd because they can just hand out jobs to whomever they wish? Yeah... The job I was going to interview today was promised to yet another relative of the owner's family. (that makes TWO!)  I got that call 30 minutes before the interview was scheduled to happen. I guess I should be thankful I actually got that call in time. That would have been an awkward meeting otherwise.
     "Hi, I'm here for the interview."
     "What interview?"
     "The interview for the open position?"
     "There IS no open position?"
     "What about the call yesterday....?"
     "Oh, you mean the position we gave away to another relative without an interview? Oh... THAT position..."

So, back to square one. I managed to squeeze one more week out of this assignment before the company is overrun with familial interns. After next week though, there is no telling.

For those of you out there who are the praying type, please say a prayer for me? A prayer that I don't go crazy and explode...

Debbie "Letdown" Lollar

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Awesome Assignment Part 2?

Last week I found out that my Awesome Assignment will be coming to an end. Friday will be my last day. Working for a highly successful, family run, private company is MUCH different that working for a large public corporation. First off, the environment is much more laid back. (Everyone has been there forever and so they all know not to sweat the small stuff around the office, or else they wouldn't have been there forever.) Second, the owners run the place however they want to (so if they they have a relative who needs a job for the Summer, they can hand out internships wherever they want to.)

She short story is that I started working at this place to help out while one member of the Accounting department (Stumpy) was on sick leave. His sick leave became rather extended so I go to stick around for a few months instead of a few weeks. When Stumpy decided to leave (or was asked to leave, I'm still not sure which) the open position went to a guy that had been in the department before and was already trained (and has an Accounting degree, and didn't like the job he had moved to, and has a wife who works in the company, and has a baby due this summer, and is really good friends this the whole department, etc.) i really can't complain. The guy is really nice, and very good at his job, and I'm just a temp with 2 months (plus 10 years) experience and NO real college to my name. When he was given the job, my boss (Cat Lady) still tried to keep me on by going to her boss and asking to open a part time position for me. One of the owner's daughter is in college working on her Accounting degree and needs a Summer job. So yes, they love me, they love  my work, they have a position open, but No, I can't have it.

You have no idea how torn up I was about this. I even shed a tear or two (thankfully, I was also fighting a cold, so no one thought anything of my sniffling.) I still couldn't give up hope though. In my heart, I have praying non-stop that something miraculous and timely would happen (as I have mentioned before.) By today, I was close to giving up completely. I started collecting e-mails from the people around that I wanted to keep in touch with and I started double checking my desk to make sure I haven't left anything personal behind. I was determined not to let it get to me. Cat Lady was working from home today, and I still had a pile work to do, so I was trying to stay focused and finish every thing up by Friday. I really wanted to leave with a good impression You never know what might happen, you know?

Suddenly, Soccer Mom transferred a call to my desk (never get calls at work.) Cat Lady wanted to let me know that a position was opening up in a different department and I would be interviewing for it tomorrow. Just like that! One minute I was trying not to mope and then next I'm trying not to jump up and down like a little girl.

Now, truthfully, the job isn't mine (yet.) I have to interview with at least two people. One good thing, though, is that the company has a strong history of finding permanent places for good temps. I don't know a heck of a lot about the position, but I do know enough that I will be able to do it very well. It is supposed to be an Office Admin position that works the front desk but also supports all the rest of the office, too. That sort of thing is what I do best. I have been told that the office is much more professional in appearance because they handle clients regularly. That means I have to be dressed to the nines EVERYDAY. I don't know if it is temp to perm or direct hire, but I do know that the position will be long term, not short term to fill in for someone else.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the answer to my prayers. I asked for God to help me get back on my feet. I wanted to to stop feeling sick and not stuck in the house all day. I asked for guidance so I would know which path to choose. I asked for confidence and strength to get back out into the real world. Most importantly, I chose to not worry and I put my needs in God's hands. What happens? I find  an old, un-cashed check from years before. (Thank you WP for making me go through all those papers!) I take it to the temp agency to see if it has been re-issued and I wind up filling out an application. Within weeks, in spite of the fact that I don't have an assignment yet, I manage to get the down payment together to buy a second car (after trying for three straight years to come up with any sort of savings at all.) Within 24 hours of buying the car, I get a call from the agency and I start the Awesome Assignment. Now, the Awesome Assignment is coming to a close and suddenly, I am presented with another Awesome Opportunity just in the nick of time.

Since I found out about this, I have been so nervous it was hard for me to work or concentrate. I have so much to prepare for tomorrow I don't know where to begin. The possibilities that have just opened up are making my head spin. How do I keep my head straight for the next 24 hours so I can get through this without throwing up? I am so scared! I have to wear a suit and I don't even know which clothes will fit me. I keep thinking that the interviewer will look at me and decide I'm too fat to be a pleasant Front Office Face or that my hair will look messy (in spite of whatever I do to prevent it) and will make them decide that I don't take care of myself so I won't be able to handle a front desk professionally. I don't know which worries me more - that I won't get the position (and then I will feel like a failure for ruining a perfect opportunity) or that I will get the position (and that I will screw it up majorly within six months and then I will feel like a failure for ruining a perfect opportunity.)

I have tried and failed so many times over the past  6 years. I have said half a dozen times that "if I don't make it this time, I will just quit." Thankfully, I haven't given up yet. Please, oh please, let this be a soft landing spot so I can finally stop feeling like my life is in an uncontrollable downward slide.  Please let this be the time when I am able to find myself again and start living like a real person again.

Debbie "Scaredy Cat" Lollar

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Early Morning Thoughfulness

It's 7:15 am on A Sunday morning and I am very much awake. In fact, I have been for over an hour, at this point. I went to bed at a reasonable hour (late enough to sleep in, early enough NOT to sleep in past church) But I didn't get much sleep last night. Now I am looking at a full day with a few hours of broken sleep and work tomorrow. I hate insomnia. I really do.

Actually, I don't think this is really insomnia. I think it is the nasty cold I have and the side effects of taking far too many medications. If it isn't the cold bothering me, it is my stomach screaming because I took meds on a semi-empty stomach again. Blech. I wouldn't mind being sick if it weren't so uncomfortable and in convenient.

Last night, laying in bed (while I was trying not to drown in snot), it occurred to me just WHY I get so bent out of shape about, well...being out of shape. Sure, it hurts more, and my overall health is suffering from it, and I have had to get new clothes that are way less sexy than my old ones. But, I realized that those things are only part of the reason I get depressed when I step on the scale. The fact is, I miss my old body.

I took my 18 year old body for granted. I only realize this now. I did have bad knees, and my skin refused to graduate to adulthood (it still hasn't,) but on the whole, I had a pretty nice set up. 4'11", 115 pounds, and model 36C's...I should have been down on my knees thanking God for all that he gave me. Instead, I was wallowing in self-loathing and wishing I was 10 pounds thinner. Some days I barely anything in a effort to prove to myself  that I had the will to be thin if I wanted to be. Other days, I ate nothing but junk food in a way to punish my body while encouraging the cravings for an unhealthy life style. In retrospect, I was just a self destructive as I am now, I just had less to destruct back then.

I had as hard a time shopping for clothes as I do now, just for different reasons. Being that short and that curvy had its own problems. Clothes in the Jr section wouldn't go all the way around me, so I tried to shop in the Womens' section. Those clothes had room for my curves, but everything was 6-9 inches too long in the sleeves or the legs. The petite section wasn't much better. I finally found clothes that fit, but were made for someone two or three times my age. I would often start out a shopping trip feeling goo an confident and I filled up dressing rooms with cute clothes that were "my size." I would end up trudging  out two hours later with a few shapeless tops from the clearance rack and a pair of pants that I had to take up the hem on before I could wear them in public.

Now, I am relegated to the "Plus Size" section of the store which gives me considerably less choice than I had before. My measurement change so much from week to week, that I end up grabbing three sizes of anything I like and try them all on to see which fits least terribly. What looks cute on the hanger ends up showing off all the wrong curves and the pants that are made for my size and height are actually SHORTER than I need them to be. I end up trudging out two hours later with a few shapeless tops from the clearance rack and a pair of pants that I have to take up the hem on before I can wear them in public.

So, I guess not much has changed in the shopping and clothes department.  Mostly it is all about how I feel emotionally and how I move physically. Since no one else in my family is even mildly overweight, I lived in fear of becoming the one "Fat" one. I dreaded seeing old friends, in case they saw me and thought, :Boy, she really let herself go..." How can I be a good role model for my kids and tell them to eat healthy and love themselves when I can't seem to do either of those things. My heart broke a few weeks ago when EG started asking me if she was fat. She is very concerned with being healthy and eating the right foods and exercising. I am very supportive of all of that, but I wonder inside if it is because she sees me and wants to avoid what I've become.

It actually is not as far-fetched as it sounds. I make no secret of the fact that I am way too heavy and that my health is suffering from it. I have a pharmacy if medications I have that I take every morning and every night. Now, LH does too, but she has a reason and it is obvious that her reason is different than my reason. I know I actually have a good reason, too. I was happy with my weight and I felt good in my skin once, about 11 years ago. I gt rid of the "baby fat" from LH and I was preparing for the wedding with DH. I was satisfied that I was healthy and I had no regrets on my wedding day that I could have been thinner or looked better.

I was that way for about three years. DH and I were jut getting on our feet and raising our little family. We both worked and stayed busy and I was able to eat the way I wanted for the first time in my life. I was very happy. Then, things started to get  a little stressful. I became pregnant, LH was scheduled for her last open heart surgery, and things just got really crazy. I ended up going to the doctor about 6 months after TD was born because I just didn't feel good. That was when I started taking anti-depressants for the first time in my life. I didn't associate the beginning of my real weight and health issues with that moment until much later, but now I know that was when it started.

Before, I would eat the way I wanted and everything would be fine. I liked fresh veggies and I didn't like fried foods. I did drink sodas far too much, but I was very active and I drank lots of other things too - water, juice, tea. When I started to take meds for the first time, suddenly nothing tasted good to me. I gained weight, in spite of eating less, and that made it worse. That is a spiral I still have not found a way to free myself of.

I miss those days back then, when I knew better than to eat ice cream because it just simply made me sick. If I went too long without a salad, I started craving green things. I refused to cook anything out of a box or can. I could wake up and put on my clothes and smile in the mirror. Mostly, I miss the little things, like bending over at the waist to ties my shoes and reaching around behind my back with both hands.

My health goals are different now than they used to be, because I know that a big goal of "I want to look the way I did in highschool" is much less achievable than smaller goals like "I want to run for five straight minutes" or "I want to lose five pounds in one week." The end result is the same though - I want my body back. I refuse to accept the notion that it is too late or I am too old. I will not let the medical issues, pain, or fatigue be a deterrent. I know that those things are all caused by the shape of my body right now, so I will have to work through them to make them go away.

My first step to do this (I have taken the first step so many times) is to embrace who I am and be happy for what I have and use that in a positive way to get where I want to go. It is kind of like playing the Glad Game that Pollyanna uses (read the book or watch the movie - it is life changing.) I am glad that I have 60 extra pounds because ... it is easier to lose weight when you have more to lose. 3 pounds here and there are pretty easy to get rid of when it is such a small percentage of your entire body. I am glad I am overweight because ... chubby cheeks look younger than skinny and wrinkled cheeks. I am glad I have this weight to lose because ... it is a good goal to work toward that will give me guidance and drive to push through each day.

There now, that wasn't so bad, was it? I just need to keep the positive side in front of me!

Yeah,... does anyone ELSE think this will work?

"Not so Little" Debbie Lollar

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time's Fun When You're Having Flies

I haven't felt like doing much of anything these days. I have been working, and while it is only one job at 8 hours a day, it is still a lot for my body and mind to handle. I am very proud that I have been handling it at all so far, but I do admit - I wish it was going a little better.

The job, while it is going wonderfully well, might not be going on past the end of the week. Stumpy did finally leave the job, but they offered his position to someone else - The New Old Guy. He was in the department before, he already knows the job, has an accounting degree, and gets along really well with everyone else. (That might seem like a small detail, but it makes a BIG difference to my manager (aka Cat Lady.) Also, it is a privately owned company and they can do whatever they like. Yes, I am a bummed about it, but I can't really blame Cat Lady. I don't have a degree in anything, let alone Accounting, and my perky ability to pick up on things only goes so far. I personally think that there is enough work to support a fourth person in the department, at least part time, but that hasn't been considered before now. It really can't even be examined as a possibility until The New Old Guy gets going again and they determine how job duties will be redistributed.

Having the Awesome Assignment has helped out tremendously in the cash flow over the last two months,  We did manage to get the bank to refund a very large amount of the bank fees that were accumulated by Pay Pal screwing us over (running the same - very large - transaction and then refunding it over and over again.) So financially, I guess you could say we are even - where we should have been all along.  But, I am still Me - no matter how much money I do (or don't) make. I see money in the bank, I know we have bills, but they aren't threatening to disconnect anything just yet, so I let the bills slide. I am more afraid of draining the account than I am of dealing with the utility companies. It doesn't make much sense to a sane person, but my brain doesn't see things as clearly as they should.

Also, I have had to do some shopping lately. I have gained yet another 5 pounds and now I have "outgrown" everything I own. In order to have things to wear to work that didn't feel like I was being choked from knees to shoulders, I had to make a few emergency purchases over the past weeks. Shopping for clothes at a time like this is a twisted combination of elation and self-loathing. It feels nice to wear new things and I like being able to look nice (because my clothes actually FIT.) On the other hand, I have to buy bigger clothes than I did before and adding a new size to my closet feels horrible - like I am giving in to the new weight by purchasing things to accomodate it. My mind personifies the extra weight and I start to think of it like an unwanted guest. Or maybe like a GROUP of unwanted guests that keep calling more of their friends to join them. To help myself deal with this, I pulled everything out of my closet that is too small and I put it in boxes. I won't get rid of them because I will need something to wer when I finally lose the weight, but not having to look at the pants that are 5 sizes smaller every time I go to the closet is a very good thing. Reducing the number of things that give me negative feelings is just a smart thing to do.

As I said before, I am doing my best to keep things going around here, but I think there is a timer set for my energy every day. I do really well until about an hour after I get home and then my body and my common sense just goes out the window. Some nights I get home before I realize there is nothing set out for dinner and shopping at that point feels like a cruel form of punishment. Other nights, I have set aside food for dinner, but I don't have the energy to cook. Little Heart doesn't feel like helping out. I can't work up the strength to "convince" her, so 7:30 comes around and everyone needs to eat, so something gets bought. This isn't a situation where I can complain about DH not helping. He works until 7:00 and his office is 30 minutes away. If I wait for him to come home and cook, no one eats until 9:00. (That's not to say that doesn't happen anyway, but it isn't nice to PLAN on it happening that way.)

The house feels like it has taken on a life of its own - a messy, cluttered, dusty life of its own. The mess drives me nuts, but I just can't fix it. If I try and do it I will wear myself out and cause my self a lot of physical pain that will last through the next day, at least. I do have three Darling Daughters (who actually made the mess in the first place) so I really should be getting them to take care of it. That is getting increasingly more difficult. By the time I get home (and the mess is worse than it was before) the girls have certain other things that they need to do. LH has homework every night and so does TD. They tend to put it off until someone makes them do it no matter how often I call and check up on them. If I insist that they do their chores at that point, they will not get their homework done and it will be partially my fault. Or, if they do have their homework done, they will put off their chores and that is a whole different fight. Besides that, when they actually DO their chores, they are extremely resitant to the idea of doing a single inch more than they have to. If I ask them to tidy the living room, anything beyind that border doesn't even get touched. If I ask them to unload the dishwasher, that is the only thing that will get done in the kitchen, no matter how much of a mess is there.

This all sounds like a whole lot like I have very spoiled children. I have to agree with you. Over the last few years, I have not been physically or mentally able to be the role model that they need. I do not have the energy to follow up with them when I ask them to do something or the strength to fight with them when they neglect to do it. Children are very much like a pack of wolves. They can smell fear and weakness and they will capitalize on it at every turn. I fear that my children do not respect me because of my inability to enforce what I say. They have become increasingly prone to argue and talk back to both DH and I and it makes me  very worried. The fact they they are somehow inherently good children is the only reason they have not gone rogue and formed their own violent Blonde Girls Gang that rampages the neighborhood looking for cookies and milk.

I know that the best way to lead is by example. I am not a very good leader. Doing the things that should be done every day until they are natural is difficult for me to do, so teaching my girls to do it seems nearly impossible. I have struggled with this my whole life and the older my kids get, the worse I feel about it. I have mentioned this before but, apparently, there are people and families who have tidy homes all the time because everyone picks up their own things and cleans up their own messes. This seems like a complete fabrication, to me. I have never lived this way.  I have seen tidy houses, and even houses thay seemed to stay tidy all the time, but I have never witnessed it in my own life.

Since I work a normal 8-5 job, all three of them walk home with the other kids in the neighborhood and they hang out until I get home from work. They are "alone" for no more than two hours. It is truly stupefying what damage can be done is such a short amount of time, though. I don't feel that hiring somone to keep them for that brief amount of time should be neccessary. I am also about to pull my hair out trying to get then to do what they should during these afternoons.

Recently, I have decided to use a new tool in an effort to increase the guidance I give them, whether I am home or not. I have a dry-erase board on an easel directly in view of the front door. We call it The Wipey Board of Information (or Shame, if they neglect it.)  I update it every day with information I want them to remember. I list the snacks for the afternoon, the plan for dinner, and the list of chores that I have assigned them. All of them usually seem to do pretty well with written lists. They are clear and specific and they can not be argued with. Plus, once a list is finished they are free to do whatever they want. It seems pretty fair to me.

I still come home most days to them playing outside in their bare feet, no homework or chores done, and a bigger mess left all over the place. My dilema here is that, I really don't want to complain about it. Having them play nicely together is far preferable to the frequent calls to my cell phone where they are tattling and complaining about each other. Plus, there are only a few hours of the day here where it is nice outside and I am very happy that they would want to be in the fresh air instead of staying cooped up indoors. With so many kids overweight and out of shape from TV and video games, I don't want to discourage them being active and socializing. Besides that, I feel tired and worn out after a full day of work, and I know they do, too. I want to rest and relax when I get home, why shouldn't they? I feel like a hypocrite sitting on my butt and yelling at them from the couch to do their chores.

I need to find some sort of a balance and routine where I can rely on things getting done, or at the very least not get worse while I am working. I want them to be kids and enjoy their life but I don't want them to become spoiled. Most of all, I don't want to raise them in a way that encourages laziness and clutter and makes them think that a miserable mess all the time is ok. Cleaning up after them myself all the time is not only exhausting, it prevents them from taking responsibilty for their own actions. Walking around behind them telling them to "pick that up" and "put this away" is equally exhausting and causes me to sound like a nag.

Is it worth it though? Will constant suveilance and relentless reminders help them learn the routines or will they just begin to tune me out? Will writing things down and telling them to "Do their lists" have them become more accustomed to doing these things or is it just another way of coddling and babying them? Am I overestimating their maturity or underestimating their abilities? How much housework is fair to expect from them and how much should I worry about being fair?

Aside from that, I have DH and his messes to deal with.  How much should I ask DH to do and how on earth can I get HIM to do it? How can I expect my girls to do what they are asked if he won't? How do I fight the uphill battle of getting them to keep their mess picked up when he leaves a fair amount of mess himself? I try to let him have a space for his crafts because he actually makes money from them and he has orders he needs to fill. Unfortunately, his hobbies have a way of consuming the area and causing messes to grow. (FLYLady calls this a Hot Spot - an area that as soon as it becomes messy, encourages the rest of the room to become cluttered.) His craft area always becomes a collection ground for things that belong to him but the girls don't know what to do with them. Cleaning up this area feels a lot like I am cleaning up his messes for him. That doesn't seem right. Shouldn't he take care of his own area, at least to make a good example for the girls? Where do I draw the line between being a mother and being his wife? Is it reasonable to expect him to do things like take his own plate and bowl and put them in the dishwasher? Fold his clothes and/or put them in his dresser? Put leftovers inside a container with a lid instead of sticking the pot in the refigerator? I may not be perfect about always picking up everything, but I do clean up whatever I get out. I have to. No one else will touch it if they think it belings to me. (Apparently I am an Ogre when it comes to my things. I didn't know this. I didn't even realize I owned enough things to be an Ogre about.)

I guess I am feeling  little bitter and it shows. I am in charge of everything that has to do with the house, by default. I don't want to be in charge, though. I know I coudl handle it all if DH weren't there, but I don't feel that I SHOULD if he IS here. I am in charge of cooking and shopping - one goes with the other and I have to be in charge since DH doesn't get home early enough to cook.  I direct the cleaning and tidying, because, again, I am home in the evenings to do it and he just doesn't seem to see it until it gts really bad. Child care is also my sole responsibility. If he has a meeting or campout, he just goes. I can not even work late without telling him and the girls what to cook, remember to bathe,  and don't forget the homework. I am also in charge of all things financial. Budgets, bills, everything. It wears me out and I don't do it very well at all, but DH doesn't and won't do it.

How do I take care of the daily mess and clutter without pushing myself to exhaustion? How do I show my kids the proper balance between caring for your house and caring for your family? I want them to be independent, strong girls who are capable and well rounded, and I want them to see an equal union in their parents, where we share the responsibilities. Am I being too picky about all this? Should I be thankful I have a loving and kind husband and just deal with everything else? 

Am I totally off base here?

Debbie "Worn Out" Lollar

Monday, May 3, 2010


I haven't had a bad Monday in quite a while. I usually like Mondays because of the "fresh start" feeling of them. You should be well rested from the weekend and ready to tackle the world. Well, THIS weekend was not restful at all. I did not feel like tackling anything this morning other than a big cup of coffee and combat my desire to crawl back in bed and start over. I know better than to pile up too many things to do on my days off, but I really wanted the girls to be able to have a little fun instead of sitting around the house being bored. I should have taken Sunday afternoon off and rested, but there were so many fun things to do that I couldn't pass up. Boy, am I paying for it now.

Like I said, things started out ok.  It was a payday which means first of all, I have to fight the urge to have a shopping spree, and second I have to actually follow through on my desire to pay my bills so that things can run smoothly. For so long, we have been in a situation to just barely make ends meet, so paying bills gets to be very painful (so I procrastinate.) Having a job also means we (theoretically) have a little more than we NEED to have to pay bills so the desire to buy what I really want (shoes) is very strong. I compromised with myself. Instead of shoe shopping, I bought a new power cord for my beloved laptop so I COULD sit down and pay my bills. (I actually only payed the water bill that was  so overdue we were about to get a disconnect notice, but I DID pay a bill, so that counts...right?) So, I tried to relax Friday night, but money always makes me tense.

Saturday was when things really started getting crazy. DH had a Wardance to attend somewhere a few hours away, so he left really early and I got to have a girls' day. First, I went to a sign language class with MIL (at 9:00 AM!) Then, the girls had friends over - one friend per girl - and they all got here around noon. So we had a houseful of girls, and then I realize I have no food for them (or us.) MIL saved the day (once again!) by holding down the fort so I could get some groceries. (She literaly WAS holding down the fort as the girls made a huge fort in the living room from chairs, sheets, and blankets.) The afternoon was pretty quiet (all things considered) but we had a sleep-over with two of the girls and there was mass confusion about sleeping quarters until after 10:00. The only way I managed to get through it at all was with the help of my dearest friend LTB and two bottles of wine.

I believe it was sometime around midnight I finally gave up trying to keep pace with the tween-agers and called it a night LTB went home and to get a little rest before getting ready for church in the morning. I made sure the little girls were finally asleep and  let the older girls stay up in the livingroom, after confirming that they were NOT allowed to watch TV all night, of course. Who knows WHAT they might have found while channel surfing.) I had already had enough wine that taking sleeping meds was out of the question so I crawled into bed and started counting sheep.

Of course, the fun couldn't stop there... DH got home at THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING and decided that was the right time to tell me all about his wonderful day. I was already up when he got home because I really don't sleep more than a few hours at a time without help. I had slept off the wine so now I was safe to take my sleeping meds, which is what I was doing when he got home. I was on my way back to bed but I guess he thought I was wide awake since I was walking around. What do you say to your husband at a time like that? Darling, I love you now let me sleep? No, I decided to be a considerate wife and listen to him...until I fell asleep in med sentence. (Hey exhaustion is a pretty mean Monster, you know?)

Sunday morning, of course, only added to the general feeling of "please make it stop." Who is  going to Sunday School? Who is going to church after that? What are you going to wear? No you can't wear flip flops. Yes you can wear blue jeans if you ONLY go to Sunday School but not church too (and you tell everyone that you were adopted by gypsies and you have no relation to me.)Why does your hair look like a random bird tried to make a nest on your head? Yes you can stay home (just this once) if you don't want to go. Yes they usually have donuts. Oh, you ALL want to go now? (several calls back and forth between me and the other mom, at this point.) DH turned into a shuttle service (in spite of HIS exhaustion from dancing for 8 straight hours) and there were several trips back and forth and everyone ended up right back at my house, strangely enough. Luckily, by noon, every one was on their way back to their own houses. I decided to take  a few minutes for  myself and actually keep the appointment to get my hair done.

After the blur of Saturday, I wanted a little pampering and I needed a touch up so I thought maybe , since I was already there, maybe I should go a touch lighter this time. I was trying to be logical about it. Since I am actually a blonde as my hair grew out, there was a stark difference between the blonde roots and the auburn hair. I thought that going with a lighter color might show the new growth a little less.

That was when I went from lovely Auburn to Carrot Top Orange.

I found out yesterday that a stylist will do what you tell them to do, even if it's a bad idea, and even if it will lead to a really awful hair color. Either she really had no clue that she was going to turn my hair macaroni and cheese orange (which is hard to believe), or she mixed something the wrong way and didn't admit it, or she DID know and just didn't bother to tell me... Seriously, who is the professional here? If I was choosing a color that wouldn't come out right, she should have said SOMETHING. Or, if she made a mistake she could have apologized. But no, she let me walk out of the salon with my hair glowing brighter than the sun. Had I been able to go home after that, I probably could have salvaged some of my self esteem, but that was not in the cards either.

I am fairly new to the whole "hair color" thing. At first glance, it was a little bright, but I felt the same way about the color the last time and I grew to love it. The longer I looked at it the more disappointed I was but there really wasn't much to do at that point. I had to meet DH at the house of a friend who was hosting a practice for a drum group. I had to drive a full hour for the privilege of being at a gathering feeling like elephant in the room that everyone was ignoring.

DH was very sweet and said, "it's not a bad color, just not the color you wanted."

 DH took the kids with him to drumming practice in a town close to where WP lives so after the salon, I headed up there to meet them. The only comment anyone made was, "I wouldn't have recognized you had you not posted your picture on Facebook." Not exactly what I was hoping for. What I was hoping was that I was just being silly about the new color and that it actually did look decent. The reality was that I looked like I had used orange Kool-Aid as hair dye and no one wanted to tell me how bad it really was.

 A full dozen of us met WP at a restaurant for dinner. Not a hole in the wall place, either. This was a nice, big, BUSY steakhouse and we were seated right near the door. I saw so many people looking me over (and looking away embarrassed) , that I felt like I was on display at some sort of Bad Dye Job Freak Show. We didn't leave there until it was past bedtime for the girls and nearly bedtime for me. As much fun as I had hanging out with friends and seeing WP, it was totally worth it. But, by the time I was able to wind down and get to sleep, it was much later than it should have been. That, of course, meant getting up and out the door for work was even later that IT should  have beem

So, that is why my Monday started out with a bad hair day But, I know it's bad because no one said anything. I mean NOTHING. I got some funny looks from strangers, and my co-workers carefully avoided looking directly at me. My boss got that look on her face that said, "If I can't say anything nice, I shouldn't say anything at all." I guess I should be thankful that people aren't pointing and least where I can see or hear them. A head full of hair that looks like a bad wig would have made any day start off bad, but today was a Monday and that means there is the potential for a bad day to go horribly wrong.   and THAT was on top of a busy weekend and not enough sleep. I was falling asleep sitting up and fighting a headache and sugar cravings all at once. What I wanted to do was take a nap in the car. What I ended up doing was going shoe shopping.

In my defense, I was trying to avoid napping to prevent throwing my sleep schedule off. Plus, I am still on the hunt for dress shoes that I can wear for more than 15 minutes without feeling stabbing pain from my feet to my hips. Beyond that I had a coupon (well, at least I thought I did...) so it was very logical for me to go to the Shoe Mecca  that is only a few blocks away from work. I even took an early lunch so that I could be back in the office before everyone else went to lunch. Browsing and window shopping is very fun to me and I thought I might make my Monday a little better by stopping in to take a look at designer shoes that I could never ever hope to wear. I started out looking for a way to relax for a few minutes. I ended up switching to "Hunter/Gatherer" mode and I simply could not be satisfied until I had found The Perfect Shoe.

Somehow I ended up with a really awesome pair of shoes that fancier than I wanted, had higher heels than I wanted,  and cost way more that I wanted. Oh, and I forgot my coupon, so I paid full price. I NEVER pay full price. It absolutely drives me NUTS to pay full prices (especially when there is a coupon and it isn't being used!) Nonetheless, I bought them. Then I put them on in the car and wore them the rest of the day. Not only did this seal the deal and prevent me from being able to return them, but it showed everyone in the office that I compulsively bought new shoes.

I guess I was more upset about my hair than I thought. Unfortunately, retail therapy did very little to improve my mood. I should have been floating on the high of New Shoe goodness. Instead I was beating myself up about what I paid for them. And they weren't even as comfortable as I thought they were. And they are the type of leather that you have to be really careful about because scuffing will ruin them completely.

Don't get me wrong, they are way cute, and I will probably wear the hell out of them. I'm just not the type of person to buy expensive shoes that are pretty and not practical. I know that no matter how careful I am, I will ruin them in a very short amount of time and I will be stuck with a pair of nice shoes that I will wear and look shabby in them or they will stay in my closet and be a waste. Not only that, but my last shoe hunting trip ended up with TWO pairs of shoes that I couldn't wear so I gave them away after wear them a total of two times each. Positively embarrassing.

Back at the office, I still felt myself nodding off while staring at spreadsheets and budget reports. My headache got worse so I took the anti-migraine meds which only made the problem worse. For the next few hours I was hurting, queasy, sleepy, AND drugged. How I managed to it through the day without misappropriating 60 cases of Pino Grigio, I will never know. 5:30 could not come fast enough, so I left at 5:00. That was exactly the time when a nice line of thunderstorms came through.

In Texas, this happens all the time. A little weather change here or there and we have thunder and lightning and black clouds for three hours. Then we get rain for 15 min. We might get BUCKETS of it, but it doesn't last long. No one around here has a real rain coat or even an umbrella. If it rains, we just wait around for a few minutes. It will probably stop. It will, however, leave water and puddles that will ruin a really nice pair of shoes. So, when I pulled up to the house, I carefully put my new shoes back in the box, and put my ugly loafers back on. Now, it looks kind of like I am trying to hide the fact that I went shoe shopping. (at least that is what the mean side of my brain is saying.)

Now, I am sitting in my home office (my side of the bed with my computer on my lap) wondering if DH is going to freak out about the cost of the new shoes tonight or of he is going to overlook them until later and THEN freak out about the cost AND that I didn't tell him. Really, I am not afraid of him. He is extremely indulgent and sweet (as well as wise) and knows better than to get upset at me for something I've already paid for - especially shoes. (Before the purchase is made he will argue till he is blue in the face, but once I have the receipt, there's really nothing else to say.) Mostly, I am embarrassed to admit to him that I lost my cool and shopped impulsively. I have been trying to be good and not go crazy, and I have even been telling HIM not to go crazy, and then I go crazy and that makes me a hypocrite.

Right now I am ready for this day to be over. Tomorrow, I will still look like someone lit a chemical fire on my head and I will still have a pair of shoes that I really shouldn't have bought. In fact it will mostly likely still be raining and I will probably still have a headache.

But at least it won't be MONDAY anymore.

Debbie "Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down" Lollar