Monday, August 3, 2015

Camping is a Huge Pain in the Ass


When I was little, growing up in a large Catholic family in the 70's, we never went camping.  And you know what?  I never felt like I missed out on anything.  Until I was an adult.  And everyone had these great camping stories and knew how to start a fire from flint and tie cool knots and stuff.  My kids, I vowed, would go camping.

Except, camping is a huge pain in the ass.

I know this because we camp at least once a summer.  And it's a colossal undertaking with 4 kids.  Three of which are teenagers.  Which means their bigger than when their toddlers.  So their clothes are bigger, they require more stuff to keep them entertained.  And even more food.   Because they're outside being active hiking, canoeing, biking and burning it all off.   So, essentially, I have to bring an entire Costco store of food.  Then we still have to pack 3 tents, 6 sleeping bags, a kayak, a canoe and 4 bikes.  And I know you're going to say, but they're teenagers,  it's easier because they can help.  

Except, camping with kids is a huge pain in the ass.

It doesn't matter if they're toddlers or teens.  It's just a different kid of pain in the ass-ness.  Sure, teenagers are capable of helping.  But getting them to help is almost not even worth it.  Because you have to listen to, "But why do I have to help, ____________(fill in child's name here) isn't doing anything!"  Even if your 20 minute lecture is effective, you've just wasted 20 minutes and it's probably raining now and you haven't even set up one of the three tents you brought.  And there are still three other kids roaming free who haven't had the lecture yet.  And they have already found the trail mix and picked out and eaten all the m&m's.    

But, then again, everything with kids is a huge pain in the ass.

It's really not all that different camping than being at home.  Except you're really dirty.  And exhausted.  And not sleeping because sleeping in a sleeping bag in a tent is not as idyllic or comfortable as it sounds.  And you're worried that your kids have gone to bed with marshmallow residue on them or that they stashed some reserve m&m's in their pockets for later and may get mauled by a bear during the night.  

But it's the beautiful moments hidden in chaos that make it all worth while.  
And the memories they create.




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Plan Z


Let's face it, Plan A rarely works out.  And Plan B probably won't either.  And since nothing (especially with kids) is as easy as 1, 2, 3, obviously Plan C is a load of crap.  In our house, we usually have to resort to Plan Z, once all the other plans have failed.  Here's a real life example from the other day.

Plan A:  Jade:  "I'd like to invite some friends over tomorrow."
Plan B:  Me:  "The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow, why don't you invite them to the pool?"
Plan C:  Jade:  "Let me text them and see.  12:30 works.  Can we order pizza for lunch?"
Plan D:  Me:  "If we're having it delivered, we should go to the pool earlier like say noon."
Plan E:  Jade:  "Can we pick up my friends on the way?"
Plan F:  Me:  "Ok, we should pick them up at 11:30 so we get to the pool around noon."
Plan G:  Sky:  "I'm working at the pool at 3 tomorrow, but I can go early.  Can I bring a friend?"
Plan H:  Me:    "Sure, I have room for one more."
Plan I:    River:  "Can I invite a friend?"
Plan J:   Me:  "Hmmm....the car is full.  Can they meet us there?"
Plan K:  River:  After he calls said friend,  "Oh, he's not available."
Plan L:  Me:  "Ember do you want to invite friends to meet us at the pool?"
Plan M:  Ember:  "I called and they're not available."
Plan N:  Sky:  "Never mind, I'm going to bike to the pool with a friend and we'll meet you around 1."
Plan O:  Arrives at pool with River, Ember, Jade and two of her friends at noon.  Orders pizza for 8.
Plan P:  Friend of River's calls at 1:30.  "I can get a ride to the pool now."
Plan Q:  Me:  "Ok, see you soon."
Plan R:  Friend arrives at 2 pm.
Plan S:  Sky arrives at 2:20 via bike without a friend.
Plan T:  Sky: " My friend might come if he can get a ride home. I'm calling him now to see."
Plan U:  Me:  "I can't give him a ride home because my car is already full."
Plan V:  Jade:  "My friends need to be home at 3:30 pm."
Plan W:  Me:  "Ok. we need to leave at 3:00pm then."
Plan X:  Me:  "River are you and your friend okay to leave at 3:00?"  Nod. I pack everything up.  
Plan Y:  Jade at 2:50:  "My friends got picked up by one of their mom's."
Plan Z:  Me with the pool bag & chairs in hand.   "Oh?  I thought I was driving them home?"

I was wrong, we don't resort to Plan Z, because I'm at Z and I haven't even finished the story yet. 
(DISCLAIMER:  No children drown or got abandoned at the pool.)

 Maybe I'm on Plan Googolplex. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm a Loser


I'm a loser.  And I've always been a loser.  I've never won a popularity contest, not to mention any other kind of contest.  Probably because I don't enter contests.  Often.  Anymore.  Because contests are stupid.  Which is what losers say.

Winners spend their time strategizing, marketing and playing the game.  I bet winners go to elegant parties all dressed up in fancy clothes.  And the photos are gorgeous,  photoshopped to perfection.    They're always working, which is top-heavy with networking.

Losers spend their time in the moment, relaxing and having fun.  We wear comfortable clothes to sit on our couches and read good books or watch a documentaries or whatever the heck else we feel like.  Because there will be no photos of it, so there's no need to photoshop.  Because that's a waste of time.  As is networking.  And I'll work when I'm damn well inspired to do so, or not at all.

Maybe winners are generally more Type A kind of people.  Status conscious, proactive and driven.  While losers are more Type B:  steady, creative and reflective.  (I, of course, am the latter.)  Or maybe that's just my rationalization for being content about being consistently substantive and inspired rather than being prominent or trendy.  And I definitely have no interest in stepping on anyone's toes or being disingenuous to get where I want to go in life.  So...

I'm proud to be a loser.
Because I'm a winner at losing.  





Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thin Line Between Love & Hate



My blogger friend, Joy, over at Catharsis tagged me to post about things I love and hate.

The Love List

1.  Love

Yeah, I know it sounds cheesy, but I love love.  Both when people love each other.  And when people are in love with ideas.  When people live with passion, it radiates from the inside out.  And everyone wants to be around a person like that. Or be that person.  

2.  Generosity

Is there anything better than knowing someone you care about took time out of their day to think of you?  Sending you a text, an unexpected little gift or something from their garden out of the blue?  Unless it's someone who takes the time to truly listen to you and forgives you when you screw up.

3.  Truth

Truth can be beautiful, kind and easy.  But, more likely, it's unpretty, unapologetic and difficult.  But after the ugliness, there is liberation, freedom and an opportunity for growth.

4.  Simplicity

Unadulterated moments and pure things unfettered by distractions or extras.  Like hugging your kid, sunshine, seeing fireflies, petting a dog and vanilla bean ice cream.  Getting back to basics and slowing down to appreciate the small things.

5.  Humor

Laughter.  There's nothing better than a witty person with a ready, heady laugh.  It comforts, it soothes, it heals.   It's simply the best drug there is.

Things I hate:

1.  Hate

Often we learn how to hate from some of the very same people we love, who don't know how to reciprocate.  Manifesting insecurities, lack of understanding, jealousy and fear.   Even worse, we generally hate in others what we dislike about ourselves.

2.  Greed

Selfishness is at the core of greed, but it's also necessary sometimes.  Because being too generous can lead to being taken advantage of.  Is it greedy to be assertive?

3.  Lies

Clearly, deception and blatant lies are harmful and destructive.  But, what about white lies?  Omissions with the intention not to hurt someone.  Are those different?  The line is so blurred.

4.  Complexity

While we may choose to simplicity, we live in a complex world.  Filled with governments, bosses, parents, siblings, spouses and children.  Keeping things simple is intensely complicated.

5.  Somberness

Some of the most hilarious people are also some of the most serious and thoughtful.  Because humor is a serious coping mechanism for depression.

So basically, It's a thin line between love and hate.














Monday, July 20, 2015

The Big Lie



I am a liar.  I lie everyday.  Pretending that I don't.  Pretending I live a truth that doesn't exist.  Believing that you'll never discover the truth of my malintent.  But the time has come to come clean.  And that's part of the very problem.  Because my lie is that I have a clean house.  Because I don't.  I'm an abominable housekeeper.

The truth is, I'm disgusting.

Just like every other liar, I lie more to myself than anyone else.  I don't even notice the unhygienic  state of my home day to day.  I can look past the smudgy fingerprints and dog drool on the windows, the jelly (and other suspicious) drips (of unknown origin) on the shelves in the fridge and I can even feel clean after showering in a mildewy shower.  I consider it a time saving gift I give myself.    Until the eve of a house guests arrival.   Which is when I freak out.   And am filled with shame while I  frantically clean and then pretend I always keep house this way.  A lie of omission.

But, it's a lie. 
A LIE I TELL YOU!

I further confess, that when I "clean" the house, with my all natural homemade, non-toxic concoctions made out of vinegar,  I never achieve that hotel, OCD kind of clean that can only be attained by some kind of wizard.  Not to entice you, but if you come to my house to stay, it will smell like a salad.  So there's that. And you are safe from the potential life threatening effects of an accidental mixing of  bleach and ammonia.  Because I don't have either in my house.  However,  4 out of 5 doctors agree that exposure to whatever indigenous viruses and bacteria may lurk in my home just may boost your immune system.

Ok, so I just lied again...
THIS IS WHAT LIARS DO!

We live in the cobwebby shadows.  We don't apply to be on home improvement shows and we vehemently discourage our significant others from throwing us surprise parties (unless it's at a restaurant or some other locale), fearful that people will uncover the truth.  Which is that I have dog fur tumbleweeds floating down my hallways.  That my cupboards and closets are a disorganized deluge bordering on necessitating a hazmat suit.  Which may also be why I've never entered the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.  For fear a stranger would show up at my door unannounced with a camera to capture the fith and broadcast it on national TV.  So there you have it...

I've finally come clean.
About being dirty.  

Well...not, like Mr. Clean, clean or anything...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

That Kid


If you're a parent, you might have that kid.  The one that you don't understand.  The one that pushes every button that you have.  The one that tests your patience every second of every day.  The one that drives you out of your mind crazy.

That kid.
The one that challenges everything you thought you knew about parenting.
 Before you were a parent.

Whether your kids are adopted or biological, special needs or not, most of you probably have that kid.  But for the rest of you, please know we hold a grudge against you.  You are that parent to us.  The 1% that won the non-oppositional child disposition lottery.  It's not personal.  It's jealousy.

Because every day I'm in survival mode.

It starts when that kid wakes up grumpy.  Actually, it starts before that, when I anticipate that kid getting up grumpy again.  And it gets worse when that kids slurps cereal in the loudest most disgusting way.  It doesn't get any better after that.  Cause that kid's the instigator.  Constantly actively seeking out the next topic of argument.  Stirring the pot.  Boiling the pot over.  And then oblivious that the pot needs to be cleaned up, cause in that kid's mind all of this is completely innocent.  When that kid finally goes to bed, I spend the rest of the evening fixating on that kid.

Until a crazy thing happened.

One day, that kid changed overnight.  And not because I tried some new technique.  Although I assure you, I tried them all.  Yes, all of them.  I was so thankful that something finally clicked.  I started to enjoy the company of that kid in a way I was never able to before.  And it was such a  a huge relief.  Until... I looked at my family and realized that while I was absorbed with that kid, this other kid of mine morphed into that kid.  


Monday, July 6, 2015

Introvert Problems



If there is one thing in life I'm absolutely sure of it's that I'm an introvert.  Not only that, I'm also desperately shy.  And yes, they are separate and distinct classifications.  I read recently that there are four types of introverts:  social, thinking, anxious & restrained.  I prefer small groups, prone to getting lost in my own thoughts, awkward & self conscious and I think before I speak.  Actually, I over think before I speak.  So, at different times, I'm all of these.  Therefore, I've diagnosed myself with Multiple Introvert Disorder.  

How I react to any given situation will be entirely dependent on the people there and how they're feeling.  Because if there is one thing in life I can do well, it's picking up the vibe of the other people in the room.  And this feeling will dictate the dominant introvert personality I don for the evening.  It's entirely situational and reactionary.  I have tried to turn it off,  but I can't.  

Conversely, I think I'm really an extrovert trapped in an introvert's body.  Ok, maybe not an extrovert because I'm not strident by any means, but maybe a less intense introvert at least.  Because I'm both adventurous and brave.  As long as it has nothing to do with social interaction or having a live audience.  Dammit!  Ok, I'm not an extrovert at all.  But, I constantly struggle internally with things I think I should say or do and then the myriad of reasons I shouldn't follow through with them because it would be accompanied by too much attention.  

So I always feel guilty.
And a bit trapped.

On top of that, I always look guilty of something.  Like when I go into a store and avoid sales people.     Avoiding eye contact and heading straight for the emptiest part of the store.  Fitting the profile of a shoplifter perfectly.  And if I'm at a party and I'm having a good conversation with an individual, I will drag it out, asking far too many questions, so I don't have to re-enter the party and start all over again with a new party goer.  Fitting the profile of a serial killer perfectly.  

No matter which personality is my dominant introvert at any particular moment in time, I am still 100% introvert.  (I know this because I took a test in the back of a book once to confirm this fact.)  And I think I can speak for all introverts when I say, if we are at your event and spend time with you in any way, please take this as the highest form of flattery.  Because you don't know the voices in our heads we had to slay to get there, no matter how awkward and weird we act while we're there.  

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