Clarity, Or Lack There Of

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Had to repost this from Sara in LA LA Land. Pretty well describes my experience with my third decade of life so far. 😝

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It’s Always Something #003

Today’s mind-blowing reason it’s so hard to deal

You could call it Murphys Law. In some cases, you could call it Entropy. Just don’t call it a surprise, because we all know…

It’s always some damn thing! 

Does anyone know a parent of a “spirited child” or have the distinct pleasure of being one themselves? Ha ha, oh boy! 

My energy Saturday morning was non existent. I woke up, and couldn’t even. The kids woke up, and I immediately wanted earplugs. I wanted to stay the hell in bed, or maybe go find a cave or big rock to hide under. 

We really pushed the school to provide daily communication for our wild child. This week, they were more forthcoming and the extent of the antics turned out to be too much to digest. Friday came, and Kim called to check in and see if, at least for the day, she had been deserving of a good behavior reward. Come to find out, the counselor had just finished bringing the morning’s situation down to a manageable level. Turns out she screamed the classroom out to the point of evacuation! The teacher literally had to line up the rest of the class and vacate the room as if she was about to set the place ablaze. 

Her mother is beside herself. The one actual surprise in all this came with a follow up text claiming that overall she did really well, therefore ought to be rewarded. There were as many principal/counselor crisis calls this week as there were school days! I try offering suggestions, but in the end my part of the mayhem was to support Kim in her struggle and run the kids at the park in the evening.  

That was enough. I’m drained. I had the parental duty to be present, but my presence wasn’t exactly a ray of sunshine. It really pains me to be out of commission on my Saturdays with my son. It pains me more that almost the only time I get a chance to recharge, I feel obligated to catch up on work instead. 

Never underestimate a child’s ability to bring adults to their knees in anguish. 

It’s Always Something #002

Today’s mind-blowing reason it’s so hard to deal

You could call it Murphys Law. In some cases, you could call it Entropy. Just don’t call it a surprise, because we all know…

It’s always some damn thing! 

Being on call… I mean, it is what it is. 

I was scheduled to install a fridge last night. The earliest I could get there was 9pm, one hour before closing. I figured I would only get a couple hours of work done with that project, so I had aimed to tackle the vent project I failed to finish on Sunday. 

Did I mention I don’t even have money for my phone bill? 

Eh, well persisting onward with the day, my sweetie paid my phone bill then went with me to the local pawn shop to pick up a maybe twice used, midrange jigsaw. Meanwhile, she did have places to be. She had an appointment to groom a dog, but never got a confirmation. Since it’s literally an hour drive at that time of day, she sure didn’t want to waste the trip. Her folks are in the same direction and were scheduled for today, so I suggested she head there, then if her original appointment did ring back, it would be an easy drive to get there. By time we got done eating breakfast (at noon) and sorting out all our little issues, it was past 3pm. 

Onward I persisted. I needed to grab my trim router off of my CNC for the refrigerator install, and more importantly, find the base plate that would otherwise never be removed in the course of using it as intended. Now, I distinctly remember finding that thing after the last time I sorely needed it. I also know I put it somewhere that would be easy to find the next time I need it. Well, yesterday was that next time, and you know from the title of this post I failed to find that stupid piece. Fuck it, I thought to myself, I’ll just use the  Mag77 and a chisel to accomplish what I need. 

You know, for those times you want a real elegant solution. 

Running late, but nevertheless en route, I get a service call. Never mind the fridge, they got breakers popping in the Alberta house left and right! I was told that it’s the busiest location, so any actual work would need to wait until close of business. 

So, the ventilation goes to the back burner for a call. I already know. I’ve heard the scoop on the Alberta house already, something along the lines of Scotty calling out, “I’m givin her all she’s got cap’n!” I go, I snoop around and get a feel of the place. I pull up some data sheets and do some math. I report to them that I’m quite amazed, as they’re pulling 80 full load amps through, ugh, 80 amps of breaker. Really, the goal is to get the steamer in operation. But, I find it pulls over 16 amps by itself!

One hour on the clock, and there is sweet fuck all I can do about the situation. I plan with them to come back before opening the next morning and at least pop an outlet in for the steamer and pull off of a nearby circuit. One damn hour to bill for. The offer to start on the fridge was still open, but knowing my alarm would be going off at 5 am, I didn’t want to start digging in to a project at 10 pm. 

I tell my girl as I crawl in bed that I have to be gone extra early, and she isn’t happy. After some tossing and turning, I start to fall asleep and my damn phone goes off. Turns out I need to do the bureaucratic fucking boogie before I can even give them a band-aid solution. They’re going to try an extension cord with the steamer that was somewhat on the fritz until a definitive solution is given the green light from the owner. I should have just done the refer after all. (That’s one ‘e’ get your mind out of the clouds!)

Service call for basically nothing. One hour of work, in bed extra late, and the girls are distressed over an orange juice incident at daycare. 

You know it’s always some damn thing! 

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

It was a wonder we made it through paying September’s rent. Since the kids went back to school, our schedule is less demanding but life has not been short of challenges. 

I lost a chunk of the last check that I put into my bank account. The state decided to draw against my account while the letter telling me so was en route to my mailbox. It sucks. I’m not surprised, but I am irritated. That’s another rant for another post, though. 

Then there was Back to School night at my son’s school. His mom reinforced over and over how important it was that I attend. Last year, I attended with both the kids. After we were settled and the presentation had begun, she strolled over with her mother and got our son stirred up. I ended up walking out straight away with not one, but two wailing kids. This year, she sat right next to our son and got him worked up announcing that her folks were planning their next visit. After that, she takes his hand and hustles off to deliberately cut me off. It’s my parenting time, but she was sure to enjoy every second of that hour and twenty minutes. Whatever. 

She does these little things that anyone on the outside wouldn’t notice, but are quite deliberately belittling. It’s no news that her folks are coming, they take their full 3 months every year to visit. They dump half as much money on that single visit alone that I’m likely to make all year. She announces it to get under my skin, knowing how much it must kill me that my parents can’t even collect themselves enough to be parents. That I’m now in a financial vacuum that even a respectable income can’t stop. 

I try not to let it get me, but Friday I could hardly make myself a coffee. I spent the entire morning trying to recover my sanity. The afternoon was really the healing part, having spent it with my son coloring. Really, I don’t know what I’d do sometimes without these moments of grounding. 

My girl spent the week recovering from falling on Hawthorne bridge, which happens to be a metal grid platform. She got out to help push a stalled car. Her feet gave out, whether because it was slippery or because she overworked her muscles, she isn’t sure. She did bruise up both knees, both hands, and her left eye.  Being the caring boyfriend I am, I took her to the doctor to be seen. All the while, what does it look like to everyone to see a girl with a black eye and seriously bruised wrists being followed by her boyfriend at the doctor’s office? Nothing I enjoy more than falling right into the stigma of abusive bastard by trying to do the right thing.

Add in the little monster being a little monster every morning trying to get her to school, and that pretty much rounds out last week. This week started off much better, but by the close of Monday I had a vehicle that wouldn’t start. Luckily, said vehicle is a 1994 model and it’s missing half its engine compartment trappings, so it made for an easy vehicle to work on, at least. Of course, it’s not my truck nor my money going into it, so there’s a judicial processes that goes along with getting it fixed. It doesn’t matter that I had the exact same model as a teenager that I basically fixed everything on by time I was done learning to drive. Even that I forgot to throw the clutch when starting one time and burned up my own starter. I grew up in the mountains and my mom liked to drive off with the parking brake engaged, therefore I leave it in gear. Kim grew up on flat land and her brake works, so has never before thought of needing to push the clutch when starting. We don’t need to say how many times it has happened to confidently say the starter is shot. I whipped out the nice new multi meter I was recently gifted, and poked around to confirm. However, any time a guy opens a hood on the side of the road, every asshole and his dog has to give you their analysis. Add in the fact that a starter costs a hundred bucks with the core charge (and so does an alternator or a battery) and it takes some phone calls to build confidence in buying said part! Nonetheless, after a bonk to the forehead, a trip to the Dr’s office for Kim, and a wade through traffic after a wreck in the hwy, Rosie turned right over! Whew, another week, another crisis dealt with. 

So, now that I’m a week behind in work, and have so many projects to try to tackle, I will probably be fairly absent in the blogosphere. I will at least keep up with my weekly followings, they’re a great bit of morning inspiration. A benefit to being on the west coast is that everyone has posted by time I wake up! 😴😄 Thank you all for sharing your talent, I will be back to posting again one day…

Oh, She’s Just Wild and That’s Okay

But what if it isn’t?

I took Kiley to school this morning. On most accounts, it was a typical morning. It took about 15 min of hounding for her to get dressed. It’s pouring rain and in the 50’s but that doesn’t stop her from putting on a light, airy dress. Last week, it was getting a bit cool. This week, it is cool and wet, the kind of cold that gets right to your bones and sticks there, haunting you while you try to recover your enthalpy sheltered indoors. As a parental figure, I couldn’t let her keep dressing for summer. After another 20 min of bickering that tempted a full scale meltdown, I dug in her clothes to find something suitable to wear. Another 15 minutes of hounding her to eat her one packet of oatmeal and we were finally out the door with 10 minutes left to get to school. 

Today was different because instead of driving through the drop off lane and letting her hop out, I parked the truck and walked her to her classroom. This is our routine now, because we are having quite some difficulty with her academic success. I won’t go into details, except to say that the school must be convinced that we don’t do anything for the child. I walked Kiley to her classroom and introduced myself to the teacher, a quiet, kind old man. I told him that I will be ensuring she comes to class and that breakfast isn’t a classroom issue. That nice man started nodding and saying “oh, it’s okay, it’s okay” before I could finish explaining why I was there. 

Through all of the headache with Kiley, I have to say that we have certainly taken up folks’ kind, supposedly helpful suggestions of showering her with more love and praise. Every single time, the same results: exponentially decaying behavior. Within days, she will be ruling the land with an iron scream. Look, I get that we can’t be suppressing children’s ability to let their emotions out, that we should acknowledge them and give them room for expression. However, here’s where it breaks down: Kiley is asked to do something, she does not feel like complying, she makes excuses, then if asked again decides to have a display of emotions. The consequences of this behavior is anything from having a nice, comfy seat on a beanbag doing nothing to playing on an iPad while the office ladies dote on her. 

STOP! It’s not fucking okay! She gets positive results from negative and disruptive behavior, what the hell makes anyone think that she is ever going to benefit from education, or even see it through, if she is given a more pleasant option than doing her work any time she feels? Oh, we get told that if she gives lip when asked to do something, just take her by the hand and -cheerfully- take her to where she needs to be. Then, there we are wrestling her kicking, thrashing, possessed body into time out while she screams all manner of dramatic domestic abuse phrases. Yeah, just take her nicely by the hand, huh? Then, surely the lying and stealing (ahem, taking then maybe asking, to be exact) are okay, too? What’s the punishment for that? Oh, offer her more stuff because obviously the reason she’s stealing is pure desperation, not because she receives positive reinforcement for doing the wrong thing. 

Look, one of our state’s most iconic natural areas just got torched because some hooligans had a seriously bad attitude toward authority. The parents are in the spotlight, but in the innumerable interactions those kids have had with the incredible amount of relationships through their lives, the village, as it were, how the hell did they come to the conclusion that what they did was going to end well in any case? At the very least, they were going to get a nice little fine from the state. In today’s world where everyone has high resolution video recording in their pocket or hand, if someone sees you do something like that, you are as good as caught before you finish the act. 

I don’t know what makes people just fall over themselves for certain individuals. My dad had that charm. He could talk a sane person into jumping off a tall cliff, I swear. He talked, and no matter how bad the bullshit smelled, people would eat it up and ask for more. Baby’s momma still has that charm. I walk through a custom tailored circle of hell every time I show my face at my son’s school. These people get to waltz all over society with their attitude. If I ever had the nerve to cook up half the lies these clever crooks concoct (man, the Dr Seuss really rubs off) I’d have my ass handed to me. No, something special protects these individuals from social backlash. I don’t get it, but I sure suffer the consequences. 

It has really only been recently that we have recovered control of our household on a day to day basis. Chaos, complaining, ultimatums, negotiations, and ultimately utter exhaustion used to be our norm. It doesn’t work like that. It might seem to work, but we can’t really all just play their games and insist that it’s better for them in the end. 

Well, maybe I made a bigger thing out of it than it needed to be. The point remains though, there’s everything wrong with disrupting class, taking without permission (aka stealing ), and simply refusing to do work. It’s not okay, stop telling me it’s okay, and for the love of humanity stop telling her it’s okay. We are doing everything we can to sort this behavior out (I say this as crying breaks out in the background) but for most of the time she is in school, she gets it her way all day. How can we be effective as parents if what we enforce at home is being undermined at school? 

Has anyone else experienced this or a similar frustration with school? We have considered home school, but honestly that’s a pretty tall order. I hope it really is a phase, but I somehow feel like this is pretty much getting to be a part of her personality. 

The Way Things Should Be

Because I think they should be

It has taken time and several concerted efforts, but our family dynamics are improving. There is less chaos, fewer meltdowns, and more talking. Oh, and the kids are back in school! I felt for a while the day would never come. It’s some semblance of routine, anyway. 

On another delightful note, I woke up yesterday morning and upon whipping the blanket off, was greeted with a snappy chill. Oh, man! I can’t wait to not have that fan in the window all night again. The cool weather is right around the corner, and that combined with back to school means one thing: germ season. Kiley stepped outside in her dress and started shivering immediately, and like a bad PTSD trigger, the image of her sneezing all over herself and opening doors flashed through my brain. I returned home from dropping her off and besieged the place with soap and bleach. I had other things to do, but I couldn’t let it go any longer. 

We have managed to get the kids to keep their toys more picked up. The living room got organized and things are much tidier overall. I clean like crazy because it improves the quality of life for everyone. Regardless what living space you occupy, even if it’s a tent or your car, your quality of life will be far better if it’s kept clean. In my mind, that’s the way it should be. 

Unfortunately, I have to exist in reality for a majority of my life. In reality, a house is very difficult to keep up with, especially with kids. Nothing is the way it should be, pretty much any time, ever. It doesn’t matter that I have been groomed to 5S the hell out of things or scrub a room to white glove perfection. I live in the real world with real cohabitants. 

I also have real bills that I have to share in paying. It doesn’t matter if I can balance a budget. I cannot be in two places at once to make two incomes at the same time. Hell, earning the one income is taking its toll on me. I should be able to pay all my bills every month. In my mind, that should be entirely possible. I should be able to afford a vehicle, not necessarily brand new nor high end. Just a vehicle to safely get me and the kids around. 

These things that should be, they bother me because these things are not. It’s not just my expectations of myself, is it? My debtors expect to be paid, the government expects to be paid, baby’s momma expects to be paid. Really, the downward spiral of it all, the eternal source of stress, is that all these people expect results. Hours of my time, abuse to my knees, back, hands and otherwise, nights spent on a ladder instead of bed, hours and fuel spent in traffic, all condensed down to a green sheet of printed fabric. 

I should be free to let my mind explore the world, the most succulent and delectable morsels of knowledge oft overlooked. Instead, I’m bound to expectations. I shouldn’t be bound to a life of poverty after working so hard to escape it. However, to be otherwise should not require I be bound to a life of corporate servitude, resorting to stealing my life back in a lunch break here or concocted excuse there as neither my weekends nor holidays are left sacred. 

These things that should be. I struggle to accept the reality that things are not the way they should be. I can accept the reality of the past, or at least I’m working on it. What bothers me is the reality of my future as there has so far been no indication of it being vastly better than the recent past. 

How do I ‘let it go’? How do I build ‘mental flexibility’? What can I do to make tomorrow at least marginally better than today aside from giving the home a field day cleaning? 

The Glad Game 

It’s sounds so corny, cheesy, and I suppose other foods as well. I know some bloggers make a point of stretching their gratitude muscles on the weekly, but I think I’m going to get frustrated keeping that up. So, here’s a quick few morsels of joy to share at least this once. 

  1. I have my son today. I did have a seed of paranoia growing around summer plans and worrying about him disappearing. He is here, safe, and I treasure every bit of time I get with him. 
  2. Coffee. We have some this morning. That hasn’t been the case some mornings lately. 
  3. The cool fall breeze. Ah, after so many muggy triple digit days, the cool nights have returned. Clothes, blankets, snuggling, not mindfully drinking a gallon of water every day, cooking and baking in the oven again.. 
  4. Sex on the reg. I really don’t understand how I can feel so lackluster or bummed some days when I pretty much know that at the end of the day, I’m getting laid. Not everyone is so lucky, especially the singles. I have even known couples that only get intimate a few lucky times per month. I just wish it wasn’t such a big deal when, on the rare occasion, I don’t feel like it. Sometimes, sleep is all that I’m mentally or physically good for. Not like I won’t make up for it 😉
  5. Summer is all but gone. Good riddance. This summer was lame. Super weak. All I did all summer was two hikes, and I couldn’t much enjoy them with my charming family whining the whole way. Another broke, sweaty, uneventful, bickering and fussing, lame duck season over.

      Good lord, bring on the rain and school already!