anxiety


No, not dandruff.  Gray hairs maybe, but nothing gross or flaky.  I mean the stuff inside my head.  I have too much stuff boppin around in there, which serves only to needlessly paralyze me from getting anything productive accomplished.  I’ve always had problems focusing (the ADD diagnoses finally came at age 39.  A case of NOT better late than never.) So when there are overwhelming amounts of stimuli around me, requiring my attention in some form or another, I do what any rational person with an anxiety disorder would do.  I avoid.  

While I may not actually be actively addressing any of the aforementioned shitbox full of stuff in my head, at least I can write about it.  Or bitch about it as the case may be.  Yes, this is heading toward the bullet points.  Bear with me dear Kitty.

  • Stress inducer the first:  moving again soon.  Yeah, cuz we haven’t done enough of that.  And even though one might think I’d have it down to a science by now, which I do, it isn’t any less stressful.  Particularly when I’m pretty much on my own with the packing aspect.  Oh believe me, we have definitely used up all of the from-the-goodness-of-their-hearts assistance we might have asked for from friends during our last 231 moves. I am on my own with this one!   All I’ve managed to accomplish so far, for a move that is scheduled to happen in T-minus 16 days, is to bring the plastic bins down from the attic.  That, and have panic attacks every time I open a closet in the house.  I swear, in the 6 months that I’ve lived here, things have multiplied like horny bunnies.  How all this crap manages to accumulate is beyond me.  Interestingly, the epicenter of clutter breeding seems to be in my 13 year old’s room.  Coincidence?  I think not.  This child saves every damn thing that gets into her hands: gum wrappers, clothing tags (“but mom! I love the little moose on it. It’s cute!”), study guides, scraps of paper with cryptic messages on them, pictures torn out of teeny bopper magazines (oh how I loathe thee, Justin Bieber), and too many unidentifiable things of questionable origin.  Most of which lives on her bedroom floor.  I think I may just drop a dumpster under her bedroom window and shovel it all out of there.
  • Stress inducer the 2nd:  the above-mentioned 13 year old girl.  I don’t think I need to elaborate.  She’s 13.  I can’t believe I ever thought 4 was hard.
  • Stress inducer the 3rd:  the spouse.  Or lack thereof.  I’m essentially a single parent these days, who just happens to be married.  The diner is consuming every second of his life, which though my logical self understands this, my emotional self is the main bitch in charge here.  It’s much more difficult to cope with than I’d ever imagined, particularly because in the few precious moments I do get to see him on a daily basis, he’s completely exhausted.  And by exhausted, I mean “cranky bastard”.   I depleted my stores of patience with this several weeks ago.  It sucks. I wish I was more understanding. I get a strong sense that he wishes I were more patient too.  However, I feel as though not only am I attempting (poorly) to cope with my own stress and worry about everything, I am bearing the brunt of his as well.  Add two young children, who voice their own anxieties on a rotating whine schedule, and you got yourself one crazy momma.  I am tired of explaining to the girls why daddy is never home.  It breaks my heart over and over again to hear them cry because they miss daddy.   It gets even more unbearable because I feel I have to always “prepare” the girls for the times he is home:  “Now girls, I beg you, please be on your best behavior tonight.  Daddy works hard and is very tired, and has little patience for any bickering or nonsense” (you know, like the normal behavior for siblings?)  But the pressure to be the perfect Cleaver family for him so he won’t get upset or show his temper is too much.  He is with us maybe 1 or 2 hours, 2 or 3 nights a week (I only count waking hours.  He spends more time sleeping here than anything else) so in that small amount of time, nobody wants anything but love and butterflies and rainbows.  And we all know how likely that is when it comes to kids!  Inevitably, one of the kids pulls the usual crap–eye-rolling or nasty attitude is the behavior du jour for the teenager.  For the 8 year old it’s whining or pestering the sister.  Again, it’s usually typical stuff that I’m inclined to ignore if it means an hour or two of peace rather than WWIII in my house.  So I’m not sure if husband feels he must step up when he is actually home, or he feels I don’t handle it like I should (in spite of the fact that I handle it all gaddamned day long) but he has a habit of overcompensating either way.  Not to mention he has even less than normal patience for the nonsense because he is exhausted or stressed or both.  It all adds up to ugly.  Someone always ends up crying when he’s home, and it’s usually me.
  • Stress inducer the 4th:  wondering how to cope with items 1-3

That’s where I’m at these days.  I’m sure there’s a silver lining in there somewhere.  I guess I could say it’s the diner itself, which is a great little place.  We seem to being doing a good job of making plenty of customers happy.  It is indeed the fulfillment of a long-held dream and I love seeing the business flourish.  With the diner’s lovely, curvaceous, shiny stainless exterior looking every bit as gorgeous as she did in 1948, I suppose I could in fact say she is indeed our literal silver lining!

Hanging in there…

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I would love to tell you about my wonderful weekend, except for the fact that it was really pretty sucky with just enough glimmers of joy sprinkled in so as to hold me off from calling the the shrink for more Xanax.

I want to say how thrilling the first snowfall of the season was for us.  Except for the fact that it was accompanied by freezing temperatures, muddy Christmas tree farm fields, ruined Ugg boots and whiny, obnoxious eleven-year olds.

I would love to write a joyful, cheery narrative of the time we spent decorating the beautful tree we cut down ourselves.  Except that we spent an hour just trying to figure out how the hell we would fit an 8 foot tree into our cheap ass tree stand made for much smaller trees.  The tree, now known to us as “Fat Bastard”, had to lose a large portion of its lower limbs, and we had to lose a large portion of our sanity before we got it to settle in.  Did you know that you could get a painful and angry rash on your arms if you shove them into a pine tree and keep them there for extended periods of time?  Did you know you could get a pained and angry husband in the process as well? 

I wish I could say all was peaceful once Fat Bastard was upright and stable, and the family had all gathered to decorate him.  Instead we had bickering over what would be playing in the background–cheesy but mood-enhancing holiday music, vs. the iCarly tv special.  We relented on the cheesy Disney kidtainment in hopes that we would finally have a tranquil family moment of decking the boughs of Fat Bastard.  I wish I could say that is what happened.  Instead we had 4 minutes of “Oooh, I remember this ornament!”  followed by 14 minutes of Sophia crying over the fact that Emma had a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament and she didn’t (just wait until she someday compares the completeness of their baby books).  This was soon followed by 10 more minutes of sobbing over the perception that we must somehow love Emma more because she had more “photo” ornaments (nevermind that Emma made them all herself).  It was finally resolved when Sophia saw that she had more homemade ornaments than Emma, but it was too late.  The holiday magic was gone.

I wish I could say today was a better day, what with the snow melting, the tree decorated (mainly by myself, as the kids gave up after 20 minutes and one broken ornament later) and me back at work.  Except that my day started with a knock-down, drag out fight with my husband that at this moment (14 hours later) is still unresolved. 

I would love to say going to work helped some, except all I can recall is that sometime between manipulating preschoolers’ handprints into a Christmas wreath design and picking up eleventy hundred matchbox cars, I wrenched my back something FIERCE.  I am in major pain, and adding insult to injury, this is the first time I have been able to sit down for more than 5 minutes all damn day.

I want to be able to say that tomorrow will be better, but at the rate I’m going, who knows?  I’d say it can’t get worse, but we all know what a jinx that phrase can be.  I guess I just need to re-examine that glass and somehow focus on the half-full portion.  Which, right now, is the fact that everyone in the house is asleep, I’m sitting on my arse, pumped full of Advil and there is a box of Lucky Charms with my name on it, in the pantry.   Thank goodness for the little things.  And the xanax.

My landlord called yesterday.  They have decided to move back here. Which means, when our lease ends in January, we have to MOVE AGAIN.  In light of my previous post, I guess that resolves some of my limbo issues. Unfortunately it introduces other ones.  

I have not yet absorbed the idea of leaving this house. Of packing again. Of dealing the financial and emotional crap that goes with relocating. The husband is busy wigging out enough for the both of us right now. I’m too busy trying to figure out how I will explain this to the girls.

Tonight, as I stood outside with my neighbor, watching my daughters chase fireflies with their posse of girlfriends, I couldn’t imagine taking them away from yet another home we have so fully embraced. Listening to them squeal in unison… that delightful sound mix of girly terror and pure glee…as they ran after bugs and ran away from the bats who were vying for their nights’ dinner, I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be. I’m sure my kids were feeling the same way.

I figured as a parent I might be mending broken hearts on occasion. I never thought I’d be the one breaking them though.

Being a grownup sucks.

Well howdy stranger!  It’s been a while eh?  Yeah, I know, I haven’t been the best at keeping in touch.  But you haven’t done a very good job at guilting me into trying harder.  I am a Catholic, raised by a Jew.  I need guilt in order to get motivated, you know.  But I apologize nonetheless.  Sorry for being such a shitty friend.

May have a bit to do with the fact that I can barely sit still long enough to wipe my own butt, nevermind put two coherent sentences together here.  We moved.  Again.  Ok, so it’s been 6 months now, and I probably should’ve checked in once or twice.  But this move has been taxing in ways that have less to do with unpacking boxes, and more with the emotional fallout that can emerge once you are done arranging the furniture.  Now we have to go about the business of living here.  And that my friend, is a whole different ball of packing tape…

Suffice it to say, however, that I am about as settled as one can get when they aren’t entirely sure how long they’ll actually get to live here.  At least the boxes are all unpacked and the furniture is arranged.  The kids survived intact, in spite of some minor bumps in the road (“I hate it heeeere!  I hate this school!  I hate you for making us move here!”)  They eventually found their groove and now seem to be enjoying their new surroundings and new friends.  We live in the “country” now, to speak colloquially.  We’ve never lived so far from a major city before, and while Philly is only an hour away, that is light years compared to what we’re used to.  We actually have farmers for neighbors.  Amish farmers.  It’s incredibly peaceful and beautiful, but I will wax poetic about it some other time. 

Anyway, at least the kids are happy now.  As for me and the dear husband, well, I’m not so sure we’ve found our groove yet, but I do indeed love it here.  I guess that’s why I’ve been sort of hiding from you, Dear Kitty.  This move has been our most extreme yet, for a myriad of reasons.  I have been using way too much of my mental energy just trying to come to terms with my new life here (not the least of which is getting used to having my parents and my in-laws close by once again–mostly a good thing, but there’s always a bit of the bad and the ugly where family is concerned)…and for reasons I am not yet ready to discuss here yet, I am also grappling with the fact that this new life here may be temporary.   One minute I am living and loving the ordinary, everyday moments, like driving Emma to dance, or sitting by the pool (oh yes, did I mention we have a lovely pool?  for now that is.  but it’s AWESOME).  The next, I am smacked by the reminder that this may only be temporary.  It’s hard to feel settled when I have to keep telling myself “HEY, don’t get too used to this now.”  “Don’t bother getting too comfy here.”  Why even make friends?  Also, I want to get a job (husband will 2nd that emotion), a venture that is scary enough when you haven’t been gainfully employed for the past 11 years or so.  Throw in the possibility that you’ll have to quit so you can move AGAIN, and it’s another “Why bother?” situation.

Limbo.  That’s where I live now.  And I totally get why that place between Hell and Heaven is called the same thing.

But not really HERE, I guess. I’ve missed you Dear Kitty. I’ve been swallowed by the abyss of a new house, new town, new schools, kids with adjustment disorder, husband with new job stress, blahblahblah.

I get why “abyss” defines “abysmal”.

It’s not all bad. It’s just that its taking me awhile to climb out of the pit. It’s a bit shallower each day though, and I should be able to step out into the sunlight soon (though it will help when there are ACTUAL consecutive sunny days–I haven’t seen this much snow since I lived in upstate NY 25 years ago.) 

I’ll get there. I hope you’ll still be there when I get back.

I keep cutting it close here…slipping in my posts at the last possible minute.  Story of my life.  I like to live dangerously.

This morning I awoke from yet another bizarre anxiety dream, this one about my A.T.’s overhearing me calling them A.T.’s.  It wasn’t surprising though, as I’d fallen asleep still seething about the whole situation.  Fortunately the anxiety remained with the dream, which is to say, it dissipated as quickly as the dream itself, and as I lay semi-awake in bed, my only anxiety was driven by the sound of my kids bickering in the other room.  New day, same crappy wake-up call.

The day got a bit brighter however, as soon as a more welcome sound filtered through the bedroom door…the sound of my husband’s voice.  It wasn’t what he was saying so much as the fact that he was there to say anything at all, being that this was a Saturday morning.  Before he got this new job, having Matt home on the weekend was as rare as seeing Paris Hilton eating a Denny’s Grand Slam Breakfast.  I smiled as I thought about the day that lay ahead.  The planets were obviously converging in some sort of galactic confluence (huh?) because an even more unusual event was about to take place.  An event this planet hasn’t seen since, oh, I don’t know, probably 1997.  Matt was going to go shopping with me.

Sadly, if I want to fulfill my Nablopomo promise, I need to hit “Publish” in less than 6 minutes.  I therefore cannot get into the particulars of this earth-shattering event.  Matt and I used to love going shopping together (ssh…don’t tell any of his friends, but he is quite the little mallrat.)  But since I can’t get into the details of our venture to Ocean County Mall, suffice it to say this:

Doing the tandem shopping thing on the Saturday before Christmas was a tad ill-advised.

Well, we made it.  The car ride was pretty painless.  (Save for the occasional “honey.  honey?  HONEY!  Sheesh.  I didn’t think you were going to brake.”  punctuated with “Shut the hell up already!!  Let me do the driving!!!”  Well, that’s the censored version anyhow.)   It’s amazing how different the 10 hour trip is when there aren’t two whiny, bickering children in the backseat, who need to use the bathroom every 35 miles.   I’ll admit to missing my girls terribly though.  I left one girl weepy and sad and the other with an icky cold and resulting asthma flare-up.  sigh.  I’m dreadfully tired.  I’m dreading the packing and the moving and the mess and the stress.  I am simply full of dread.  And thus I must simply go to bed.  I expect to be even more exhausted by this time tomorrow.

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