moving


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’m feeling rather scatterbrained and ADD this evening.  Sprinkle in some writer’s block and you got yourself one hopeless blogger.  However, I wanted to once again begin anew and attempt an entry a day for the month.  Gotta get those writing juices flowing somehow.  So here’s December 1st.  Wish I could say I was off to a good start!

Why is my brain scattered you ask?  Ok, so you didn’t, but I’ll tell you anyway.  Pull up a seat.  This will only hurt for a second.  (And it will hurt me more than it hurts you.)  Give me a minute while I attempt to reign in some of my flurry of brain farts…

  1. Christmas is a mere 24 days away and yet I am still recovering from my Thanksgiving induced food coma.  For shit’s sake, I’m still digesting my (delicious) fried turkey and yet I cannot avoid the constant, blaring reminders that I better:  trim the tree (gotta get one first), deck the halls, get a card-worthy photo of the kids, send the cards, visit Santa, and buybuybuybuy.  Oh and if you know where I can get my hands on those damn Zhu Zhu pets, drop me a line.
  2. Moving.  Yeah, the sob story continues.  We are desperately trying to find a decent house to rent within our kids’ current school district.  Apparently I’d have an easier time trying to find Bin Laden.  I guess that’s what I get for moving to Rural East Jabib.  We’ve got until January 31st.  tick…tick…tick
  3. Our Diner.  It’s still chillin’ down there in Charlotte, waiting for a cash infusion.  Making my husband nuts.  Giving us both major agida.  It’s set to open sometime this winter–God, Yahweh, Allah, whoever, willing, it still will open.  This Diner is an ongoing source of stress for us.  This topic alone could fill an infinite number of blogs.  It is certainly filling up an infinite number of my brain cells, as evidenced by the number of gray hairs sprouting from the area immediately above.
  4. My kids.  Status quo.  I have an eleven year old whose behavior is strikingly similar to that of a two-year-old.  My memories of myself at this age (ohmygod I am SO sorry Mom!) and her good grades are the only things keeping me from abandoning her at the Amish farm up the road.  I also have a six-year-old whose awesome hilarious personality is the only thing serving her as a means of personal self-defense.  Sort of like how a puppy’s cuteness is the only thing keeping her alive after she has peed all over your white carpet.
  5. Have I mentioned my job yet?  I am finally, gainfully employed!  I never would have imagined that teaching a roomful of snotty-nosed preschoolers would make me so happy, but hell yes it does!  Sense of purpose, feeling like I make a difference, getting out of my house for a good reason other than shopping, bringing home a paycheck…all that and more are making me feel pretty darn good these days!  Number 5 here is basically the one thing that’s keeping me from going nutty from Numbers 1-4!

So, there you have it.  Those are the biggest brain toots anyhow.  Of course there are vast numbers of other, silent-but-deadly ones jostling for space in there, but I won’t bore you with those.  Suffice it to say that the majority of them revolve around my ever-shrinking wallet (See item #5 above–I am a preschool teacher.  Read:  not paid shit.) 

However, I must also add that lately, no matter how much Items 1-5 are weighing upon me, I can end each day with a smile.  No matter how crazy the day was, no matter how stressed I may be about tomorrow, I can still go to bed feeling far more blessed than cursed.  No matter what, I know I can always count on the one and only thing that matters to me:  hearing “I love you” from every person in this house.  I don’t care if it makes me sound like a peddler of cliche…as long as I have that to look forward to every night, I know life is good.

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.

My back aches.  My arms are sore.  My hands have blisters.  I can’t believe we finally made it through what was basically  “Extreme Makeover Move Out Edition”.  We even did it without wanting to clobber each other more than once or twice.  But it’s done.  House:  empty.  House contents:  on their way to PA.  Us:  back in LBI, slightly battered but glad to be done with it.  The kids:  best welcome home partiers ever.  (Man I missed them!)

It was tough enough saying goodbye the first time I left.  We’re so grateful to have gotten someone to rent our house, but it meant we had to go back and rip the band-aid off the nearly healed wound.  We were too busy to shed too many tears this time though.  Three days of packing kept us in a near constant state of goal-focused narrow mindedness.  Too busy to be emotional.  Gotta figure out where I put the roll of tape!

Then I woke up this morning to this:

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Which certainly didn’t jive with this:

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or this:

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Or the nice chili dinner over at the Hager’s, or catching up with my neighbor Ann and baby Grace who is now 1 and walking.  Or hanging out with Michelle and the wondertwins and laughing over the latest neighborhood gossip.  Saying goodbye to all these people was something I was used to doing regularly–we hung out all the time but eventually of course, we had meals to make, errands to run or kids to fetch, which necessitated a “see ya later”! 

Only I used to walk back into my house to do whatever it was, knowing I’d see them all tomorrow.  Today, however, I walked back to my house to lock it up one last time before someone else would be calling it “home.”  Today, while my back might be sore and my arms might be tired, it is my heart that aches the most.

I found my camera, but not my sanity.

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 And last, but not least, we see the disgruntled, hired help  husband.

 

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(Oh my God is that my grandmother’s antique desk acting as the support system for my living room furniture???)

I want it all to be done.   Yesterday.

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