Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Politics makes me sad. The world makes me sad.

I want to post something political, but I don't actually want to have a political conversation, I just want to convince everyone I know to not vote for one particular candidate, and we all know how super successful those facebook posts are, right?  So I won't.  I'm really terribly sick of this election; it is too scary to think too long about the potential outcomes.  I skim over the articles I really want to click on because I know it'll just depress me more and I can't control a bit of it so why should I even give it any space in my head?


That being said - you're not going to vote for Donald Trump, are you? 

I am a mother of daughters, two sweet little girls who I want to have every opportunity in this world I've brought them into.  Therefore, I cannot vote Republican.  It's a moral issue.  Republicans, the ones who make the laws, at least, do not empower women.  I will not vote for one, or for anyone who is pretending to be one. 

I believe in  science, from climate to reproduction - there are people who go to school for a long time to know a whole lot about that stuff.  Republicans, the ones who makes the laws, at least, ignore these people in favor of religion and the alter of the almighty dollars.  Therefore, I cannot vote Republican.  It's a moral issue.  

I said I don't want to talk politics, dammit. 

There is so much awfulness in the world.  Why do we allow ourselves to be inundated by it?

I'm going to practice keeping myself safe.  I think it's going to require stepping away from the internet. Facebook, specifically.  Maybe until the election is over? Maybe forever?  Maybe for just the next hour? 

I have to find a way to not worry about things I cannot control.  Syria.  Syrian refugees.  This fucking shitstorm election.  Cops killing brown people for being brown.  Homeless people.  Broke single mothers.  Rich hating the poor.  Men hating women.  Women hating women.  Me learning to hate people I used to respect because they're fucking sheep. 

I need to not give the awfulness space in my mind.  Andrea told me once, "If I can't do anything about it, I just do not give it any space in my thoughts."  I cannot for the life of me figure out how in the fuck that works in actual daily life, but I have to figure it out.  The sad seeps into everything.

I am at the top of my game - everything is going my way - and I'm not happy.  I don't think it's because I'm doing anything wrong, or because I'm lacking something.  I think it's all the noise.  I think it's just too much sad and terrible and tragic and awful, and it gets into my brain and I can't shake it.  I worry constantly about things I cannot control or fix or help, and I feel guilt and more worry because I cannot fix or help or control those things.  Maybe I need a therapist.  Hi, person reading my blog.  Welcome to my most recent therapy session.  Today I'm discussing my particular version of crazy. 

I just want to make the world a happier place.  A safer place.  I just want us to all take care of each other.  I don't understand why we're all so afraid of each other.  We're all fighting the same battles, trudging through the same trenches.  Why do we try to hold our neighbors down?  Don't we all rise together?   

I don't want this path we're on to be the legacy we're leaving for our children. 

That last sentence sounds trite, but I have never written anything with more truth behind it. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The awfulness is just too much.

I just wanted to chill out for a few minutes, let my mind go numb as I scrolled through the bullshit fluff on Facebook and reddit.  Except the horrors of the world popped up, a little baby, bloody, crying, thank goodness the sound didn't play.  Syrian horrors.  Oh God, those poor, poor people.  What the fuck is wrong with the world that we allow things like this to happen? 

Jimi gets frustrated with me.  I think about it too deeply, I go down a rabbit hole of depressing that you can't logic your way out of.  There's nothing he can say to make it better.  It is awful and it is and it always has been and always will be and of course that's depressing as fuck because just think about it for a moment.  Sure, war is in the Bible.  I'm still mad about that time Jesus said there would always be poor people - couldn't God just fix that problem?  So no forgiveness here, no understanding on my part.  Why, if God so loved the world, would he let us tear ourselves apart and destroy each other?  For the same reasons we have things like childhood cancer and pedophiles, I suppose.  A just and loving God, you say, eh?

I want to go somewhere where things like this don't happen.  We don't have bombs killing babies in the US, right?  Oh.  Wait.  We do, don't we?  We're not safe here, either.  I mean, I guess technically, the bombings here are pretty rare.  The police are way more dangerous.  Especially if you're black, especially if you're a black male. 

What I really want is for all of the killing to stop.  That's all.  I just want world peace.  And enough food for everyone.  And a safe place for everyone to sleep.  And for everyone to have a best friend.  That's all I need.

Monday, September 19, 2016

If you were all I had, I would have it all.

I'm holding tightly to the last few moments of this extended weekend, drinking hot tea with spiced rum, reading reddit, trying to get a few more of these gushy feelings out into the world.  I took a hot bath laced with Epsom salts and essential oils and nearly fell asleep.  My hips feel better, though, and my entire body is super relaxed and loose, with that delicious still-warm feeling my skin gets after soaking in too hot water, all soft and moisturized. 

Jimi's watching some series on Netflix.  I wonder what it would take to distract him...

We spent our day cleaning and grocery shopping and meal planning and playing and laughing.  Jimi got the gears on his bike adjusted, I took my time at the gym.  We ate well, healthy.  Tonight we took the girls up to the park for an hour or so, letting them run out all that energy.  Our house is not nearly as clean as I'd like, our laundry not as caught up as I'd prefer, and I only made it as far as the hallway with the vacuum. 

I'm so fucking happy.  I got the living room, hallway, and girls' bedroom vacuumed.  The girls helped clean up/pick up without argument, and did a good job.  We have clean clothes for tomorrow, at least - and the rest of the week, too, once we get through that folding; there's always tomorrow for that. (Do you fight with your laundry, too?  Live out of baskets full of clean clothes, use your dryer as an iron?)  I have lunch made for the week for myself, healthy lunches at that.  I'm pretty sure of what I'm going to feed my family for dinner all week.  I don't even mind that we have to go back to work tomorrow - it's not like we hate our jobs.  My only hesitation is that I'm afraid I'll brag too much about how awesome this weekend was, how awesome my husband is, how awesome my life is...

I'm on top of the world.  Everything is awesome.  All of it.  Even the hard stuff. 

Chicago - a whirlwind weekend

This weekend has been amazing.  I was going to put "was" amazing, but it's not over yet.  We're home from our trip, but we still have the whole day tomorrow together, so the vacation isn't over just yet. 

He took me to Chicago.  As a surprise.  For a night.  To see a play, a musical, in a little independent theater.  He kept the surprise for weeks - and would've kept it longer, but yesterday/Saturday, after we'd dropped the girls with Mom, we stopped at the Waffle House to get some breakfast before heading out, and I told him, "Okay, tell me," and he did.  Chicago.  A swank hotel in the middle of the city.  A musical called Thrones!, a parody of Game of Thrones. 

The hotel is Acme Hotel Company, and it was fabulous.  Hip and trendy, with album covers on the walls of the elevators, a chalkboard hanging from your front door, a giant zipper on the black wall in the living room, orange orbital chairs, a giant hand on the bedroom wall at the head of the bed, glowing red lips on the bathroom mirror.  A dozen roses on the table waiting for me, with a card - "10 and 4 with the love of my life".  A mini bar with $5 beers and $5 M&M packs.  A view of the city from the 10th floor.  A bed with 4 pillows and no children.

We didn't sleep the night before. You know, kids.  And then we drove 5 hours to get there.  The show started at 9:30.  The plan was to nap before the show, but that didn't pan out. *wink, wink*

I was worried about getting to the theater on time, and figured if we arrived early, there would be time to walk around and grab a drink or something until curtain. We decided to take an Uber - our first time.  Neither of us knew how it worked, so my overly-cautious scheduled pickup got us to the theater more than an hour before the lights were scheduled to go down.  And there wasn't a lot happening right next to the theater - a few restaurants and a liquor store, but no good places to sit and have a drink.  The box office was open early, though, and so was the theater's bar, so we sat in the mostly-empty lobby and waited, giggling and taking pictures of each other.  I drank two little bottles of prosecco.  Well, one.  Most of the second I spilled on the carpet under my theater seat.  Oops.

The show was good.  Musical parody theater isn't necessarily my favorite variety, but I love a good show and the energy you get from the actors.  We were in the second row, practically on stage ourselves, and the theater was small and intimate.  Mid-way through the second act, it's time for Circe's Walk of Shame, and it was so hilarious I laughed until I cried for several full minutes.  Everyone in the theater did. 

I hoped we'd have the energy after the show for nightclubs and rooftop bars and nightcaps, but there was only enough energy for a forced nightcap at the hotel bar - and that only because they'd given us tickets for free drinks when we checked in.  I drank my free drink and went to bed, sad because the night was over, wired because of the excitement, thrilled to finally be going to sleep, and so in love with my dear sweet husband. 

It was after 9 a.m., Chicago time, before I got out of bed this morning.  That's 10 a.m. local time.  I slept in until 10 a.m.!  We got up and showered and had coffee and packed up - checkout was at 11, and I was starving.  For lunch, we hit Quartino, based on a recommendation from a friend who knows about these things.  We were not disappointed - sangria, dates stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto, pasta with braised beef and tomato sauce, all served outside on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning.  It was decadent. 

We walked to Navy Pier, because we needed to do something touristy that wasn't shopping.  It was a beautiful weekend for walking in Chicago - the temperature was perfect in the mid-70s, with a light breeze.  Too quickly, it was over, time to go back to the car and drive home. 

That husband of mine.  How did I get so lucky?  He keeps me safe, he works so hard to keep me happy, he does his best to help me stay sane.  He is a devoted and loving father, an equal partner, a generous lover.  I am so fortunate, lucky, blessed, smiled upon to have him by my side. 

When we first met, my brain told me to back away slowly and not get close.  Heartbreak and sadness and disappointment were inevitable if I pursued him - he as much as told me.  He was coming off a heartbreak of his own, much more recent than my still-recent divorce, and he wasn't ready for anything that resembled a relationship, he said.  He couldn't get involved with anything of any seriousness, he warned me.  I pursued him anyhow, followed him around so much he began comparing me to a puppy, tagging along at his heels.  I told him I loved him, knowing he wouldn't say it back, and he didn't.  Not that time, at least.  But what he gave me, along with all of these warnings, was attention and kindness and a safe place to land at the end of each day - a place where I could just be the Natalie I was, the Natalie I wanted to be all the time but had always, until recently, been too scared to be.  He made me feel safe.  I cannot overstate that.  When I was with him, all of the bad scary things out there in the real world disappeared and stopped mattering.  That's why I followed him around and pursued him, because it felt like I at least knew where I stood, and the good was so good, it was totally going to be worth it when the bad finally came.  You can't live your life afraid of things, right?  I couldn't walk away for fear that he would never love me, because I'd miss out on the way he, at the very least, thought very highly of me. 

And now look at us.  We're crazy about each other - my, ehhem, doggedness, resulted in him falling head over heels for me within just a few months, and we've been inseparable ever since. We're living our happily ever after.  It's not all rainbows and unicorns, sure, but that's what makes it so good.  Because even when life is hard, it's not that hard, because we're getting through it together. 

10 and 4, baby.  10 and 4.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Every day is so full, so busy, there's not time for much looking back and reminiscing. That said, our anniversary weekend is upon us, and I keep catching glimpses of life four years ago - how full it was of magic and happy and joy.  If we had a live-in housekeeper we could probably be that way again, all the time.  *sigh*  Just kidding.  There is still magic and happy and joy - it's just different.  It's different when two become three, then four.  The dynamic shifts, as you would expect when you make entirely new people and bring their wants and needs into the intimate inner workings of your daily life. 

As much as I couldn't have imagined this life then, I can barely remember that life now.  Everything is the same, but different.  Better.  So much better.  Which is amazing, because it was unbelievably good back then. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Wherein I gush more about my husband.

I cut my gym time short tonight so I could come home and write.  Then I got here, and I don't know what to write about. There was more sleep last night, more than the last few nights.  Then Cora puked on the way out the door this morning.  Then G told me a story about how she snuck into my bedroom last night while I was asleep and took my keys and my purse and my glasses and my phone and my necklace and got in the car and drove to the market by herself because she was a very naughty girl.  And then she told a story about her "superhero Mom Natalie, and superhero Daddy and superhero sister and superhero puppy".  She thinks we're all superheroes.  If we're not doing anything else right, I think we're doing this parenting thing pretty okay.  The girls are happy and loved and loving...the kids are alright.  We're doing just fine.

I feel better when I talk to other women and realize that while I thought they totally had their shit together, they're actually treading water or semi-drowning, just like me.  I don't feel better because I want them to have a bit of the same crazy I have - but yes I do.  I am so relieved and glad that I'm not the only one.  Especially when it's women who look like they really know what they're doing - then you find out they haven't done laundry in 4 months, they just buy new clothes for everyone every few weeks and charge it on the secret store card their husband doesn't know about.  I don't actually know anyone in that situation, but if I ever write a book, she may make an appearance. 

I'm falling in love with my husband again.  I never stopped loving him or being in love with him, but you know, it's hard when you have kids and jobs and dishes and laundry and a dog.  Saturday is our fourth wedding anniversary - next month, 10/19, is ten years since the night we "met".  We'd been introduced previously, but that Thursday night in October was when we each learned the other's name.  I'd had some vague plan in the back of my mind for years that I wanted to do something special to celebrate "us" this year, but, you know, life is hard.  That was a ball I dropped. 

Jimi, though.  Jimi always picks up where I leave off, or begins when I can't. 

I dropped the ball when it comes to planning a trip for our anniversary, but I didn't slack or forget to bring my A game.  Life is hard, but goddammit, this thing we've got is good, and I'm going to try to show him that I appreciate him.  Months ago, I discovered a thing called Battlbox.  It seemed like it would be right up his alley - something he would really love, that appeals to the camper/prepper/hunter/protector in him.  I waited until I thought I timed the box to arrive just before September 17th, then planned to run the subscription through December if he liked it - you know, for his birthday and Christmas.  Because I am lazy and also when I find something I like, I really like it a lot until I don't like it anymore because I've worn it out.  Long story short, he fucking loves it, said it's the best gift I've ever given him, and that was just the first box.  Awesome!

Because he loved this awesome gift so much, and because he loves me, or because he's just the most amazing man in the history of ever and just can't help being so fucking awesome, for our actual anniversary weekend.....

I don't know.  He told me to take off work on Friday and Monday.  I don't know the plan beyond that we're dropping the girls off with Mom and Dad at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and that we'll be in the car for a couple hours, he said. 

I can't fucking wait.  Even if the few hours in the car part is bullshit and we're just coming back home to sleep and eat and screw in peace and quiet (or not), I'll be thrilled to have the time alone with my sweet husband. 

That sweet sweet man.  The one who for a decade almost has been my safe place, my comfort zone. The one who has made all of my dreams come true.  The best part of my life started when I met him.  Ten years in, I am still just aflutter and completely smitten. Moreso, even.  It's been ten years worth of amazing.  10/10, would do again.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

This is starting to become a pattern.

It's 4:22 a.m., and looky where I am!  I'd hoped to get to sleep past 3, but Cora had other plans.  Actually, she didn't have any plans - she had a nasty cough that choked her and caused her to throw up all over herself in bed, poor little baby.  So there was a bath and sheet changing and rocking...and now there is coffee and my laptop, which smells like yesterday's coffee because I left my cup sitting next to the computer when I walked away and Cora thought the coffee would look better in the laptop rather than beside it.  The keys are sticking slightly, mostly the lower right side of the keyboard, but the damn thing is working and the coffee creamer smell isn't horrible, even if it is a little too sweet.  Yay for not having to buy a new laptop this week!

I need to do laundry, but there's a big spider living down there right now and I'm terrified.  I just can't even with the spiders anymore.  I think later today I'll take the girls up to the park - there's a tree that drops hedge apples along the side of the road every year; I could grab some of those and put them around downstairs.  They're supposed to keep the creepy crawlies away.  I've tolerated the spiders for years and years, but they're getting so entitled  -  webs everywhere and teeny tiny baby spiders showing up every few months.  I appreciate that they're probably keeping other creepy crawlies away, but I have this rule about coexisting with spiders that requires them to stay out of sight so I can pretend they don't exist.  They're breaking the rules.

My goals for the day are the same as nearly every other Sunday - get the house to a state that sort of resembles clean, wash enough clothes to get us all through the week (bonus points for pairing outfits for the week tonight, too!), plan dinners for the week (maybe even do some meal prep), and somehow, in the middle of that, play with the girls in ways that enrich their minds and spirits, get them outside, get myself outside, walk the dog, go to the gym, fuck my husband...

There are never enough hours in the day.  Even if you start at 4 a.m.

I complain all the time that I need another three hours in the middle of my day, and another two at night. It feels like all of my problems would be solved with an extra day or two off each week.  Realistically, I know I'd find ways to fill those new-found hours with things that aren't on my to-do lists, but I'd get more done than I do now.    *Sigh* Maybe one day.

How do you manage it all?  What are your secrets and hints and tips and life hacks?  How do you juggle it all?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The things you learn at 4 a.m.

It's almost 4 a.m.  The house is quiet again.  I should probably go find a place to sleep, but the idea of making that effort pisses me off because I should be able to just go lay in my own bed and go to sleep, but toddlers.  So instead I've made a pot of coffee and I've decided I'm up and I'll just be up for the day and do some things I never make the time to do when the rest of the world is awake with me.  It's 3:56 a.m.

I don't write enough anymore.  Hardly ever.  I keep saying I'll do something about that, but I don't.  But I'm writing now.  Look at me.  Typing words and everything!  I guess next you'll be expecting me to actually SAY something with these words and writings, huh?  Baby steps.

I had lunch with my former boss yesterday.  It'd been six months since we'd seen each other.  He looked mostly the same - a bit thinner, maybe almost too thin in the face.  I blame stress; he's got that shit in spades these days.  I miss him, but I do not miss the stress.  Sometimes I wonder if I exaggerated all of the crazy I lived when I worked there, because six months out, it just sounds unbelievable some of the stuff I was used to.  But I didn't make it up, I didn't exaggerate - it was real and I wasn't crazy or incompetent.  It was what it was.  It was my Crucible.  I'm super fucking strong now because of it.  Right? 

Actually, I'm so insecure because of the crap I dealt with at the end that I constantly question myself now.  Nothing I do is good enough, in my mind.  I'm never doing enough.  I worry constantly my new boss and my teammates are going to decide I'm a complete charlatan, a total fuckup, and laugh and shame me out the front door. 

Well, I don't feel that way constantly anymore.  Not all the time.  Here's the thing - they love me!  They think I'm awesome.  They tell me that, and I believe them.  I know they're right - I'm pretty good at what I do.  Intellectually, I know I'm good at my job, and that I'm doing a good job.  Emotionally, I'm still trying to drop the baggage leftover from being abused at the last place.  I'm trying to forget the fear and the insecurity.  I'm trying to relearn workplace etiquette and expectations.  I'm trying to grasp the new definition of workload and responsibilities.  It's been 6 months.  Honestly, I didn't think there would be this transition period - I assumed I'd end one thing and begin another and that would be it, like flicking a light switch.  I didn't anticipate or realize that there would be emotional adjustments to go along with the change. Maybe because I had been there for SO long, and had been SO comfortable before it all went bad.  Maybe because the end felt like a bad breakup where I thought we probably still loved each other but we had to break up because we weren't healthy for each other.   

Despite this particular brand of crazy in my mind, I have not one single regret about leaving, or landing where I landed.  My new reality is so vastly different from my old one I - well, like I said, sometimes I wonder if I exaggerated or made it all up.  I am really enjoying the work I'm doing.  I'm forging relationships with my customers, learning a new business.  I have coworkers that I get to chat with all day long.  They're smart and funny and kind and helpful - the sort that I want to hang out with after work, get to know; they just seem like genuinely good people.  My boss is brilliant and sarcastic and has an easy confidence about him that makes me feel equally confident and self-conscious at the same time.  I feel on the spot when he asks me questions and feel like I give the wrong answer pretty regularly, but that's my fault and my issue, not something he's doing.  I'm struggling a bit with being the new girl, still.  I was Dan's go-to, right-hand, she-knows-all-the-answers person for so long...I miss being that person.  I want to be that person in this new life, this new world, but that role is already taken and she has a 10-years-in-the-industry head start.  New job, new environment, new role.  Starting at the beginning again is a challenge after being on top for so long. 

I'm starting to understand that maybe there are some emotional challenges and consequences resulting from this change that I didn't give enough consideration or allowance.  Maybe this has been harder on my psyche than I'd considered...maybe I'm not crazy as shit, maybe I really am just stressed by this huge change in my life.  Good change is still change, right?  Change is always a little hard, right?  Maybe just because I'm happy and thrilled and so glad to be where I am, maybe it's okay that I have struggled a bit at the same time.  Maybe I should've anticipated and been a little easier on myself.  I guess it's never too late. 

Okay.  What have we learned?

I'm totally insecure and feel like I'm not good enough/not doing enough.  This is not rational.  This is leftover baggage.  My boss found my resume on the internet and called me up and offered me a job because I'm awesome.  He thinks I'm awesome.  Evidence points to other coworkers also thinking I'm awesome.  I'm probably awesome and should stop thinking I'm going to get fired any moment or that everyone hates me.  Just go to work every day and be awesome. 

Being the new girl is hard because I want to be the one who knows the answers to all of the questions and who can fix all of our customers' problems.  And I want to be the one who sells the most steel.  I like to be first.  I want to be the best.  Six months in the industry is a tough place for this mindset.  But baby steps.  One thing at a time, and right now my job is to learn all of the things and call all of the people.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is my beginning.  No one becomes the favorite overnight.


Looky there.  I sure do miss writing.  Maybe I should do this more often. 

It's 4:50 a.m.  Let's go start the day.


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