Saturday, June 20, 2015

Friday night

I'm going to regret staying up so late, but dammit, it's Friday. i'm grown. I worked really hard all week. I should be able to kick back and chill for a while. Somehow, though, it doesn't matter what time they finally get to sleep, those little girls are up before the sun, ready to go go go, as if sleep were nothing more than a mere inconvenience. And they certainly don't care what time mommy finally caught some shut-eye. How is it that everything about parenting is the hardest thing and the most wonderful thing both at the same time?

I'm on top of the world.  Life is amazing.  Seriously.  My only source of sad right now is my chronic lack of sleep and the fact that my house is a wreck.  And i don't much care, honestly, about the state of the house.  Fuck it. I promise I will never look back on my life and wish longingly for the good ol' days of picking up toys and doing endless loads of laundry and endless sinks-full of dishes -  I may one day miss everything that creates those messes, but fuck cleaning them up.  I'm just being honest.  

My garden is going so well.  I took a bunch of pictures tonight and uploaded them here:

I want to show you my garden

I spend a lot more time in my garden than i do cleaning. Is that true?  I don't know if that's actually true.  I did spend a lot of hours out there last weekend, but this entire week has been a complete bust due to rain.  (Of course, I also haven't cleaned anything all week.  It's a tie.)  IT'S NOT A COMPETITION NATALIE!!!

Jimi's brother was over earlier tonight.  G loves her Uncle J, and he says our girls are the most wonderful human beings on the planet and he's absolutely correct.  Jimi stopped at a gas station on his way back after taking J home, and he brought me a Slim Jim.  It's midnight, but I'm seriously weighing the cost/benefit analysis of eating that motherfucker right now.  

Maybe I should just have another beer.  That's an awfully big time commitment, though.  

I spent two days this week doing computer process training with a guy from our St Louis office.  It makes me feel really good that they think I know my shit well enough to entrust me to train others.  Especially since I've always considered myself a terrible teacher.  I'm learning that maybe I'm not actually a terrible teacher - maybe I've just told myself that because I lack confidence and therefore I'm intimidated by the idea of having to instruct someone - what if I tell them wrong?!  But, truth be told, I'm pretty dang good at what I do - I really do know my shit.  With the upheaval and change our business is going through, I'm glad to find myself in a position of being considered valuable - the day after Memorial Day, they fired my Cincinnati counterpart, a man who'd been with the company for 43 years. As much as I may bitch and moan, I certainly don't want to find myself separated from my employment by anything other than my absolute choice.  I need my job.  I know I'd be fine, but until I'm ready to make some crazy leap, i really do enjoy the security of having money deposited in my bank account every Friday morning.  

12:25.  Still debating that Slim Jim.  And the beer.  Both?

Nah, nothing. Baby's up.

Friday, June 12, 2015

So tired...

I thought I was going to have an easy night - G was in bed asleep by 10. It's 11:33 - Cora's only just gone down for the night.  Heh - "for the night".  Right.  For the next couple hours, is more like it.

Jimi and I are so tired.  We've not slept well in weeks, and it's taking a toll.  We're grumpy and short with each other and with G when she does that annoying shit toddlers do.  Our house is a wreck because we don't have the energy to keep up during the week, and on the weekends we can only barely catch up, so there's no chance to get ahead.  It feels like a losing battle, a futile effort, but I love the way it feels to have a clean house and i want to have one again.  I'm forgetting everything - conversations are hard sometimes because I can't find the right words because my brain is just so tired.

Are we sure there's no "pause" button somewhere?  I could really use a nap.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

We all have those days

I'm in a weird place in my head these days. I feel anxious, unsettled.  Like I should be doing something else, career-wise.

I'm so tempted to delete that, because I'm not sure how much time i want to spend fleshing out those thoughts, but it's been on my mind for a long time now - most of last year, and again since I've returned from maternity leave. I have a pretty good thing going where i am now - my situation is pretty ideal and sweet, to be honest.  I can wear what i want, including jeans and tennis shoes.  I can take my dog to work (not every day, but most days lately).  When my kids are sick or my sitter has a migraine, i can bring the girls to work with me (because they'd rather have me and my girls than no me).  I'm paid a good salary; a damn fine salary, even, if you consider that i have only a high school education.  

Here's the thing, though:  I don't give a fuck about drums.  I don't care.  I just don't care. My efforts feel so pointless and stupid and small.   My company is owned by a private equity firm.  The work I do, ultimately, goes toward making rich people richer.  Maybe I'm helping put a Keurig on the counter of some bigwig's 3rd vacation home.  What the fuck?  Why?  What's the point?  I mean, beyond the fact that I have to work to make sure our mortgage is paid and we can go to the doctor when we're sick, of course.  I know why i have to work.  I think that I'm not happy with the sort of work I'm doing, for the sort of company I'm doing it for.  Not that there's anything inherently wrong with my company, But it feels unimportant.  I need to do something more; something that gives back and helps people and makes the world a happier place. 

If only i could figure out what that should be.  

Ideally?  I'd be at home every day, raising my daughters.  We'd go to the zoo and the science center and to toddler story hour at the library.  There would be tumbling classes and music classes and play groups.  My house would be clean and organized and my yard would be planted with beautiful flowers and we'd eat healthy meals each night sitting around the table and telling stories about our days in 3 languages we all spoke fluently....

I've wondered:  Is this how a midlife crisis starts? Because that scenario I just laid out there?  i know, rationally, that that shit wouldn't happen, even if I wasn't working and Jimi wasn't working and we had a full time nanny.  Let's just be honest.  But the longing I have to spend my waking hours doing something productive - actually productive, not just shuffling papers to make imaginary money for some imaginary executive - is so strong I almost turned my car around one day last week when I was heading back to the office after lunch.  I was going to turn around and pick up the girls and take them to the park.  I could almost feel the rush of fear and adrenaline when I called Jimi to tell him I was quitting my job, but that we'd figure it all out.  I didn't turn around, of course.  I went back to my desk like a good little girl and shuffled my papers and stomped down the ache in my heart when I thought of Cora's smile and Geneva's hug.  

I just re-read that paragraph.  I said I want to do something productive, and then said I almost quit my job to take the girls to the park.  Are my priorities totally fucked up?  Making Money < Taking Children To The Park.  Growing young minds?  Shaping the way my girls will approach the world?  Way more productive than customer service at the drum plant, I assure you.  I've been given this amazing task and responsibility, and it's supposed to be my number one priority, but it can't be my full time job because it literally does not pay the bills.  It breaks my heart.

No one's going to pay me to stay home and raise babies, so my next logical solution was to win the lottery.  I only matched two numbers on a $10 quick pick.  Of all the fucking luck. Then I decided I'm either going to have to start my own business (but who has money, or time, or ideas, or the balls to do something like that?), have a post go viral and land a book deal (3 posts in 7 months, that shit's gonna happen any moment), or start looking for a job in a more charitable organization.  

I think I need to be helping people in some way, and making small talk over the sound of the credit card machine processing their purchase just isn't cutting it.  But gosh, the idea of leaving a job where I've been so comfortable for so long - it's terrifying.  Starting something new?  Something unknown?  What if I fail?  Sometimes I think I'm so afraid of failing that I'm afraid to even try.  One of my first thoughts: No charity will pay me what I'm making when I don't have a college degree or any experience.  It's probably the truth, but I haven't looked yet.  The likelihood that it is true may be scary enough to keep me from looking at all.  If I look, and find something I'm qualified for that will pay me enough - what if I sent them my resume and they didn't even call?  I'm only just starting to realize that these crazy "what if" things I make up in my head are all coming from a place of fear and anxiety and I don't know when I started being so fucking afraid.  I don't want to be afraid.  I don't want to teach my girls to be afraid.  

My girls.  I want to tell them they can be anything they want, and I want them to chase their dreams.  How can I show them how to follow their passions if I don't follow mine?  Then again, maybe I should keep my passions on hold until after 6 and on weekends - and keep my ass in my desk chair from 8-5 bringing in that steady cash every week.  

See?  The crazy, it is strong.  Jimi says, "You want all of these impossible things.  You don't even waste your time with something realistic - you go right for the stuff that can't happen."  You gotta dream big, baby.  You don't get anything if you don't ask for it.  May as well ask for the impossible, right?  Maybe you'll get something awesome in return.  

I'm going to get up and go to work tomorrow.  I'll keep my eye out for some awesome, though.  Just in case.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I'm going to be a farmer when I grow up.

I've started a garden.  The rabbits and squirrels must think I've put out a buffet.  They're eating my potatoes, my watermelons, my radishes, my turnips - i have my spinach and lettuces and tomatoes covered, and they've been safe so far.

Shit.  I was supposed to water tonight.  I'll get up early and do that, I guess.  I put soaker hoses in my raised bed, and they work okay, but i think maybe the fact that i didn't really know what i was doing, or bother to actually research so i could have an idea of what i was doing, has maybe resulted in me not putting the hoses in the best possible places to keep my garden watered properly.  But you know what?  It gets watered.  And I'll have a better idea of what I'm doing and how best to do it next year.  Who knows, maybe I'll even do some book learnin' and find out how the professionals do things.

This garden has been a bit of, well, it's sort of...

I almost criticized it.  My garden is awesome.  The power of words, people.  I was telling Jimi the other night about the time, when I was about 8, my girlfriend's mom criticized a new outfit I'd been so proud of - she said it looked like i was wearing a garbage bag.  I was devastated, and the outfit I'd adored just a moment before was suddenly so embarrassing for me.  I took it off as soon as i got home and hung it back in the closet and never wore it again - forever feeling guilty because it'd been pretty expensive and I'd begged my mom to buy it for me.  And I was sad every time I saw it hanging there, because I'd loved it and that ugly mean woman had ruined it for me.  Who says something like that to a little girl?  Anyhow, back to the garden - so, someone close to me may have made a statement or two that lead me to interpret that this person finds the placement of my garden distasteful and unsightly.  And maybe enough people have slowed down while driving by to check out what I've got going on there in my side yard that I've taken notice and can't decide if I should beam with pride or cower with embarrassment.  I'm trying really hard to beam, people.  I love my garden so much.  And you know, I've had 5 neighbors ask me about my little would-be at-home grocery, but not one has offered anything that sounded like a complaint.  In fact, two shared stories of their own gardens (safely hidden away in their back yards, of course), one offering any help or cuttings, and the other actually bringing me 4 heirloom tomato plants she'd started from seeds given to her by an Amish farmer.  They're supposed to be pink.  I hope those fucking squirrels leave them alone.

I love my garden.  I go out every day and check the progress of each plant, talking to them, plucking any weeds that may have sprouted up (at first, i thought i had the fastest growing lettuces in the world!), snapping a few pictures of their progress with the intention of creating a collage I'll probably never realistically get around to, but whatever.  G digs in the dirt with me (and dug up the first batch of radishes and turnips we planted within days of us putting the seeds in the ground).

"...Maybe next year you can just move it around back."  The implication of the words is that I've put my little labor of love in an inappropriate spot.  It makes me feel small and embarrassed and I sort of want to just turn my back on the entire project and ignore it completely and let it overgrow and forget about it and just pretend it isn't even there any more.  I have a history of doing that with things.

"Yeah.  Maybe I'll move my boxes and bags and things, but leave the dirt, because dirt is heavy as shit and I'm not moving all that dirt.  I'll buy new dirt.  But I could plant flowers there next year."

"Yeah!  You could plant some shrubs and some rose bushes and some pretty ground cover..." she latches onto the idea, and you can almost hear in her voice the relief that maybe next year I won't have a 4x12 raised bed right smack in the middle of my side yard, all out in the open between the house and the street.  Or maybe it's the 9 coffee bean bags full of dirt growing potatoes and carrots and squash and pumpkins and watermelon that she finds more offensive.  probably the bags.

But here's the thing.  When I started plotting this garden back in December, all full of new-baby hormones and love and free time and shit, I spent a lot of time looking out my windows, watching which parts of my yard get the best sun during the day.  My side yard?  Sun, all day.  ALL day.  Sunny in the morning, sunny in the late afternoon, sunny in between.  That was my spot, that spot right there.  I was going to grow us some mother eating vegetables.  I have a buddy who does a compost thing at the local university, and when i asked if there'd be any to spare, she said i could have a truckload or two of compost, free of charge.  Score!  And we could get pallets from work to build the boxes.  I planned to do four 4'x4' beds, with a concrete block border (planted with herbs and bee-attracting flowers) and mulched pathways.


Okay, so, I need to stop for a moment and remind you that when I made that plan, I was like 4 weeks postpartum.  I was taking placenta pills every day.  I was nursing for 12 hours a day, but i was sleeping most nights. My toddler was cool - she was watching the fuck out of some Netflix.  I was high on life.  And apparently, living in a fantasy land.

First. Two little girls under two.  The amount of time it used to take to do something, it now takes 5 times as long.  I'm not really exaggerating.  I feel a lot of the time like I'm trying to run in quicksand.  We're in a hurry, we have to get out the door, but oh my god, first we have to change the baby, then change G, then find G's shoes, then get G's jacket, while someone's getting the baby into her seat and now G's lost Meow and we have to find her, where was she last?  In the bedroom, go get Meow, okay, we have lunches, diaper bag, laptop, coffee, let's go - GODDAMMIT Finnegan!  You cannot go to work today get back in this house!

I decided pretty quickly that us taking apart and re-appropriating pallets probably wasn't something that was actually going to happen.  I know that there are a lot of people out there who are good at doing projects like that while also having children, but we are not those people.  I feel really proud of myself when a night like tonight happens - we made it to Friday.  So I planned to buy some lumber and build boxes.  I even looked up tutorials.  I had a plan.

By the time the snow had stopped and the days were getting warmer, I'd long since been back at work full time.  My days start at 5:30 a.m. and I don't get to sit down and take that deep "I've done everything I'm supposed to do today and no one needs me at this moment and now I can take a minute to do what I want to do and just breathe" breath until after 10 most nights. (This is why I haven't blogged in 7 months - who has the time?!)  And then everyone started getting sick.  Thanks, Ohio Valley.  And then it was raining for like 4 weeks in a row.   Did I mention I also don't own a truck with which to pick up a truckload or two of compost?

I had a Kroger bag full of seed packets and a couple of Walmart bags full of bulbs and shoots and vines and roots and whatevers - I'd get them out every few days after the girls had gone to bed, or maybe on the rare occasion that they were both napping at the same time on a rainy Saturday afternoon, making notes on a little yellow notepad about how many plants I'd need of each type, how they'd be spaced, how many days to harvest.  I'd started my seeds and it was getting to be time to get them planted.  But I had no dirt and no raised bed boxes built.

Lowe's had some raised beds on sale.  We are lazy.  I bought two, along with 10 bags of garden soil.  Then I bought 10 coffee bean bags from the local roaster down the way.  I filled the bags a quarter full of dirt and seed taters and set them out in the sun, where I'd planned.

It turns out, trees grow leaves in Spring.  I'd not accounted for that when I plotted my garden.

I still get a good solid 7 hours of sun, but I'd forgotten all about the two huge trees at the head and end of our garden patch. And, as it turns out, my back yard, that was all shady all winter, is full of sun in the summer.   And I never did get a truck to go scoop compost, so i ended up buying some garden mix soil and having it delivered.  It wasn't cheap, but at this point, who cares?  (Did I mention the tiller we bought?)

In the end, it's gong to be awesome.  Most things are growing well, and if i can keep the critters away, we should have a good crop come in.  I'm hoping i can keep G interested in helping and learning as the summer progresses and our produce starts showing up on the dinner table.  And I'm trying really hard to not be that 8 year old girl hiding away and ignoring something she loves because someone else can't quite see the same beauty I see.

I asked Jimi, "Is my garden ugly? Is it an eyesore?"

"Yeah, kinda.  But all gardens are.  You put yours there because that's the best place for it."

"But you didn't even try to stop me!  You didn't say one word about me putting out coffee bean bags full of dirt and you even built the bug-net tee pee for me!"

"No, why would I?  You're trying to grow us FOOD, to feed our family. And it's making you so happy.  Why would I say anything to discourage that?  If anyone has a problem with it, I'll tell them to go fuck themselves."

And there you have it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I'm going to start blogging again.

It's nearly 11 p.m. on a Monday night.  Our first Monday back to work after a week-long stay-cation. A week long staycation that was intended to be an opportunity for Jimi and I to catch up on some things around the house - laundry room organizing, painting, maybe a bedroom revamp. We went to the park nearly every day, and the zoo once.  We kept the girls home with us every day but Friday and we were a family all together for 8 whole days and it was wonderful.  We got our house in order (mostly) on the day the girls went to the sitter because it was Friday, the end of the week, and we couldn't possibly enter into our weekend with our house in the state it'd become while we were busy playing all week.  Nothing was painted, nothing was organized (wait- i did organize the pantry. I'm counting that), nothing was revamped.  But, hey, we spent a week together as a family.  There will be time for painting and organizing and revamping when my girls aren't tiny anymore and no longer believe my attention is the most important thing in the world.  All my life I've wanted to be the moon and stars for someone.  Now I am.  For two.  My goodness, it's a lot of work.

So yeah, I had a baby.  Back in November.  Wow.  I'm a bit late with that announcement, I guess.  Poor baby.  I've got a birth story for her drafted and saved on here somewhere.  I'll post it eventually, I promise. I have to.  If I don't, it'll give her a complex.  "You wrote about G but not about me!"  Nah.  Not happening.

Her name is Cora Jaymes, and she's beautiful and perfect in every way.  She arrived at 8:43 a.m. on Saturday November 15, 2014 weighing in at a whopping


It's 11:15 Monday night.  :)  Cora weighed 9 pounds 1.6 ounces at birth, and was 22 inches long.  She's also had a stuffy nose for the last 3 months and it seems to be coming to its peak here lately.  I had to step away just now because she got choked on phlegm in her sleep and started coughing and gagging.  She and Geneva share a room now (as of 2 weeks ago - we finally moved our 19 pound, six month old baby into a crib and out of the bassinet!), so whenever the baby starts to stir, I'm in there as quickly as i can be so she doesn't wake Geneva with her cries.  Also, it's a good idea to respond when you hear your infant gagging.

All of my worries were so dumb.  I gave that last push, the one where you've decided "I don't care how bad it hurts I just need this to be over!" and you give it everything you've got - I gave that last push, and she was out and on my stomach and I looked down at her little purple warm body and saw that sweet little face and my brain was like "Oh.  Of course."  She's my girl, my daughter, my flesh - of course I love her as much as I love Geneva.  Of course it's just that easy.  Of course.  It makes so much sense now, on this side of it, but my mom-of-one brain couldn't grasp the concept.  This love thing, it's fucking powerful.

I can't catch up on everything now, not in this one post.  And maybe there's nothing to catch up on.  We've been living - this time has been so much easier than the first time, but that's not to say it's easy.  Cora nursed easily, but constantly.  My maternity leave was 8 weeks of plopping G in front of something "educational" on Netflix while I nursed our newest family member.  Knowing that cluster feeding is a thing, and that it will pass, saved my sanity this go-round.  Also, placenta encapsulation.  10/10, would do it again.  Jimi's been awesome, as expected.  I think Cora's his favorite, but mostly because she's a sweet cuddly little baby and Geneva says no and screams and demands that "mommy do it".  She's the most awesome 2 year old that ever 2'd.  God, she's cool. Seriously.  Her vocabulary is out of this world, and she speaks so clearly.  She has amazing thoughts and comments and observations.  Well, maybe not, she's 2.  But she's really cool for 2.  She is incredibly polite, and i'm so very proud of that fact.  She says "Thank you" and "Please" and "I'm sorry" in context and with feeling.  She loves her little sister.  She is a typical toddler and throws tantrums a few times an hour, but man, you wave that baby in front of her and it doesn't matter how serious the pout, her face breaks out into an amazing smile full of sunshine and love and she literally starts to coo and goo at Cora.  She hugs her and kisses her and plays with her and takes her toys and tells her stories and is always concerned about "where's baby at?"  Cora, for her part, is an equally awesome little sister. She loves her big sister and watches her every move, and I expect we don't have long before she's mobile.  She cut her first two teeth this past week - we've been anxiously awaiting that day for months, because, as I said, she's been snotty for three months. What else do you blame a snotty happy otherwise-not-sick baby on other than teething?  Cora is going to be a coppery redhead, I think, and it looks like her eyes are going to be a stormy blue or brown.  She's fair like the rest of us, and favors Jimi more than Geneva does.  You can tell they're sisters for sure, and there were times early on when I would watch her nurse and swear I was seeing baby Geneva all over again, but they are each beautiful in their own unique ways and don't really look a whole lot alike.  And I am going to have to be so careful about how I comment on this in front of them, but oh my god Cora is so big compared to Geneva!  Cora is hanging out in the 90th percentile for weight and the 100th for height, whereas G has always been real comfortable right around the 50th percentile mark for both.  There's only a 10 pound difference in their weights right now.  They are 20 months apart.

I can't wait to watch them grow up.  They're beautiful together, and I get to help them and watch them blossom and become the amazing women they're going to be... I'm so excited that this is my life, my journey.  I am so incredibly blessed.  What did I ever do to be so lucky, to deserve such riches?

So that's why I'm going to start blogging again.  Because I've missed too much already, and I don't want to miss more.  I won't get it all, but if I can get even a small snippet of the awesome that is this moment, right now, well, it's a worthwhile investment.

It's 11:52 p.m. on the first Monday after vacation.  The alarm is set for 6 a.m., but my human alarms will ring out at 2:15, 4:00, 5:30 and finally at 5:58 with "Mommy! Milkies!"  (Yes, I'm still nursing my toddler.  STFU about it, okay?)  I've had two beers in the last hour it took to write this and I'll be honest, I've got a bit of a buzz.  A rare reminder of what it used to be like back when I could drink more than half a beer before it got to hot or, more likely, forgotten.  I've missed writing.  It feels good to do it again, like going to the gym after being away for a while, but with more beer and sitting and less sweat and moving.  I'll have to do it more often.  Also, should go to the gym.

I want to go back and edit, but editing is for suckers.  Or people who've had less than 2 beers.  G'night, friends.  Sweet dreams.


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