So, the first two entries of my blog explain how I got to embrace the idea of blogging. 1) It's therapeutic to a SAHM and not as visible as Facebook and 2) I think I may be crazy; maybe this outlet will make me less crazy. If you happen upon this unadvertised blog because we're friends or because you just happened to find me, then read. I hope you'll enjoy. This is the place where I plan to be an open book.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Funny Life Is

My Freshman year in high school there was a boy I paid little attention to.  He was tall and thin and blonde.  He occasionally sneered his lip at me or rolled his eyes and it was easy to tell I got on his nerves; I was a little loud and obnoxious.   Then our Sophomore year rolled around without much change.  But when our Junior year arrived, a common friend had transferred into our school.  A common friend that would allow us to have a mutual respect for each other and eventually allow a friendship to form.  By our Senior year, this tall blonde guy and I actually laughed quite a bit together and enjoyed biding our time as a trio with that common friend.

Fast forward through graduation and picking colleges three hours apart, Blondie and I were starting our college experiences.  As we continued to hang out during weekends and summers that we made it back home, we eventually became a duo when that common friend joined the army.

Here's where it gets interesting.  Blondie was dating other girls and I was dating other boys, but my sister - MY SISTER! - decided she liked this boy and that we was HER preferred choice for a brother-in-law.  (It's always all about her.  ;-)  )  She started quietly and subtly telling me how handsome he was.  Started slowly changing my perspective of him when I'd never previously viewed him as anything but a friend.  I brushed it off and ignored her for quite some time.  THEN one night in a Waffle House (all great things in the South could potentially be tied to a Waffle House, fyi) she actually said right there in front of him that we should just kiss once.  See if there are any sparks and then she'd leave us alone.  Keep in mind this is the first he'd ever heard of this nonsense from the relationship pusher I called a sister!  I was HUMILIATED!  Without saying a word, I simply got up and walked to the juke box to escape the awkwardness.  Little did I know during my absence, he confessed he'd be open if he thought I'd remotely reciprocate.  It was a rare time that this blonde friend was candid.

Fast forward a day or two later, he and I were hanging out at a friend's home and I determine it was time to leave.  Blondie walked me out to my car, like the gentleman he was. I looked up at him knowing what he said to my sister that night and told him, "It's not that I don't find you attractive or anything; I just don't want to ruin our friendship."  But as true as these words were, I was relieved to say them.  I didn't want a relationship with my <shudders> friend.  I was off the hook!  I saved the friendship and didn't hurt feelings! But then he leaned down and gave me a firm, closed-mouth kiss on the lips.  Not a quick peck, but one of those slightly longer ones that made me really wish for more.  I sat there like a fool with my eyes closed and my chin pointed up and out waiting for another.  AND IT NEVER HAPPENED.  I put myself out there and this turd just teased me!  What. The. Hell?

A few weeks went by and he dated another girl and I dated another boy, but we continued to hang out when we both came home on weekends every two to four weeks.  Then one night we found ourselves watching VH-1 on my parents' couch.  Eventually my head finds its way into his lap and he played with my hair for some good time.  I laid there thinking about things, about him, and wondering where I wanted things to go.  Had he and my sister plotted together?  And if so, why was I so easy to trick?  Why did I really want this friend to kiss me so badly?  Curiosity? Fate?  Then the video "Champagne Supernova" came on the TV in it's weird psychedelicness and I laid there so relaxed and so very curious thinking this would be a cool song to have a first kiss to.  Then time crept on by and the video was almost over. At the last second a little light bulb went off telling me "DUH!  He's never going to kiss you if you're facing the TV, idiot!"  So I looked up at him and it must have been fate because in that instant he leaned over and planted a real kiss on me.  FINALLY!  And there WAS chemistry and I WAS interested.

That was April 4th, 1996.  We were nineteen years old and looking to spend the next three years apart in college.  I told him I didn't want to be serious; I mean, it didn't take me long to ditch the boyfriend I had when I moved away back in August.  I was worried I'd lose one of the best friends I'd ever had because of distance and stupidity, but we enjoyed the summer and we were young.  Our Fall semester was like three whole months away!  Then August 1996 rolled back around before we knew it and it was time to move away for our Sophomore year.  I sat at his show (yes, this tall, blonde, handsome fella was in a band) and watched at least two or three girls give him way too much attention afterwards.  IT WAS TOO MUCH!  In a snap decision I walked up to him and announced that I wanted to be serious and did not want us to date other people.  Jealous much?  :D  Much to my joy he simply said, "Okay."  He was mine and I still didn't realize that meant forever.

All of our Sophomore year, he was mine.  Our Junior year, specifically November 1997, we were engaged and April 1st 2000, we said "I do."

I cannot thank my sister enough for being the one to slap me straight when I almost let a good thing slip by.  I owe her a lot in life for being amazing, but this by far was the greatest gift she ever gave me.

And I cannot thank my husband enough for being the boyfriend, fiancĂ©, husband, and father to my children I always dreamed of.   So April 1st, 2014 is our fourteenth anniversary and I am still very much in love with the best friend I have ever had and looking forward to fifty more.



P.S. Clay and I believe the secret to a successful marriage involves never, EVER seeing each other poop.  Take that advice, my friends.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Workplace Revolution?

So Clay used some of his precious off time (his first off days in 2012, mind you) a few weeks ago because I was working my 2nd of two full-time weeks I committed to my work. It was so cool to switch roles, me going to work full-time and him being 'Mr. Mom'. But it also got me thinking.
Wouldn't it be cool if neither of us had to work full-time? Wouldn't it be cool if our children knew both parents the same? But oh yeah, there's that whole medical insurance thing. We can't be responsible parents if we don't have insurance. Certainly our children's health should supersede being workplace mavericks. Right?

In an ideal world, I would wish us to work similar hours, maybe 8:30-3 with a half hour lunch. This way we could work as a team to get the children to school and then again as a team to provide a wholesome dinner and homework assistance. We'd each give our employer 30 in-office hours a week (if not more from home because of our work ethic) and to our children it would not be a luxury or treat to have more time with their daddy. You see, I'm only one person and value my husband's input tremendously. There have been so many times that I've been so frustrated with one child refusing to eat or another child refusing to sleep that I'm at my wit's end. The husband comes in from a long day of work and all it takes is one suggestion from a different perspective and boom. The situation is resolved and I am left wishing we could tag-team our way through parenting all the time. But isn't that the way it should be? It took a 50/50 effort to make them. Why should it be an 80/20, 70/30, or even a 60/40 effort in raising them? That, my friends, is a little screwy in my eyes.

You see, there is so much talk about the break down of family and marriage, but nothing in the lifestyle is done to alleviate family stress. Employees working in the midst of capitalism never balk at the demands of corporations because our society values the dollar more. More service to my employer means more workplace success; more workplace success means more more annual income; more annual income means an easier and less stressful existence, right? Don't get me wrong, I value a nice kitchen, a reliable car, and clothes that give me confidence. I'm simply saying we've lost grip on a healthy balance in life. 

Whether it is a family with two full-time working parents, one full-time working parent and one full-time homemaker, or a single parent juggling it all, it seems that parenting is a stressful situation and we are constantly driven to find a way to make ends meet.  Those that are willing to "sell their souls" by taking on the extra hours, projects, duties, etc.  are the ones that bring home the promotions and extra cash, but also the extra stress and extra fatigue.  I'm not finger pointing at anyone, I just want to know how much we are going to continue to take before we demand a workplace revolution.  Why don't we get more choices on hours?  Why don't we allow non-full-time people to have healthcare?  Why is it so crazy to think about two parents working part-time versus both full-time or one full-time and one no-time?   Would anyone else out there dream of this type of workplace existence or is it just me and my little family?  Just curious. . .

Monday, March 5, 2012

35 & Counting

Well, dad, it does seem like it was just yesterday.

Hmmm.  February 15th was my 35th birthday.  What to think, what to do, what to say?  Well in my wisdom, I have figured out there is a negative correlation between getting older and thinking my parents are crazy.  Have you?  My dad has always said nostalgic things like "It was just like yesterday when you were small" or "Life goes by in just a blink of the eye." and I used to shrug it off as an old person statement or simply shrug it off.  But not now.  Now I catch myself saying those things on occasion and most definitely thinking them.   I think back about my parents and remember them getting so peeved about me not going to sleep.  And now I get it.  Ohhhhh do I get it.  I realize my parents were just like me.  As a child I allowed them no room for mistakes from the pedestal I placed them on. Now I clearly see they were people who were comical, fun, and enjoyed being parents.  They were human and flawed, normal and (for the most part) sane.  It's an amazing thing when your life comes full circle.  Seeing things from your parents' perspectives is so life changing.  It's especially funny that what you couldn't see for a lifetime can become visible in a matter of just a few months or even minutes. 
When Margaux turned three, I started an early mid-life crisis.  I can't believe the little human that was non-existent yesterday is no doubt a child now and no longer a baby or toddler today.  Then Steve Jobs passed away and I was bombarded with all these inspirational quotes that made me feel incredibly unsatisfied and lazy and I thought I was just going to cry.  But seriously, chew on this one.  No, really chew on it.  Think about it and think about your life.  That one didn't move you?  Try this one.  Steve Jobs was only 56 when he passed away.  Knowing he felt fulfilled when I didn't had me in a tailspin.  Pair that with suddenly losing a close friend you feel is still so young and: VOILA!  Mid-life crisis.  So what to do?  Oh Lord, I dunno, but it's gonna be something.  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Actually

Also the title of one of my favorite movies, this is a good title for my post.  Some people say Valentine's Day is the Hallmark Holiday.  So many people I know dislike Valentine's Day because they say it was created to put pressure on people to spend money.  You're certainly the asshole in the relationship if you ignore it.  Every year people buy crappy presents such as balloons and teddy bears and drop loads of cash on short-lived items like flowers or dinner. They fret over the card or whether or not the gift might be misconstrued to mean something different like "you're fat" or "the house is filthy".   But if your significant other is especially sensitive, he or she will purchase a thoughtful gift like the butt/face towel.  Nothing means I love you more than saying, "I don't want you to wipe your face where your stinky butt was."  Certainly this would surely guarantee some V-day nookie.  But I like Valentine's Day.  I like it a lot.  For me to be a tom-boy you'd think I'd get nauseous at the site of all the pink and hearts, flowers and balloons, but I don't.  You see, Valentine's Day means something different for me.  I've always looked forward to it.  My parents also always chose to give my sister and me a little something for Valentine's Day.  Sometimes it would be a little box of chocolates and sometimes it'd be a necklace.  And there's always the elementary joy of exchanging very cool Scooby Doo Valentines with your classmates.  Regardless, Valentine's Day to me is about taking the time out from everyday life to stop and say, "I love you."  My husband will not be so stupid that he picks February 14th to work late.  There will be no "Weekday Wagon" (we attempt to save money by trying not to deplete our booze supply on
"Awww, so thoughtful!  You shouldn't have."
 weekdays) and it won't be a regular old night.  He may or may not purchase flowers (if he did I'd love it as I always do) and we won't rush into the restaurant scene to blow tons of money on prix fixe menus and a sitter.   What we will do is have dinner together as a family, have wine together after the kids are asleep, possibly go to bed early, and hopefully have sex.  That, my dear people, is romance in a can these days and I LOVE IT.  Yes, that occurs on days that aren't Valentine's Day and No, we don't have to have Valentine's Day to make it happen, but February 14th is a holiday that we treat like a holiday and for that I am grateful.

Am I crazy? We may not know for sure until April of 2015.

I have been through a roller coaster of emotions over the last four and half years.  Sometimes I'm indignant about my rants being justified and other times I look back and am thrilled my husband has stuck by my side (because God knows lots of men would have run for the hills).
Starting around September 2007 I've been all out crazy.  It started with work and boss woes.  I went through the ups and downs of job responsibilities changing and dealt with a performance improvement plan (PIP) that I completed successfully (sarcastic 'yay.'), but the entire time I was doing it I felt it was complete and utter bullshit.  Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot about politics and diplomacy in the corporate world during this process, but still how can a company redefine an entire department and its qualifications without a percentage of the people failing miserably?  So in April of 2008 when I was four months pregnant and my company was going through yet another down-sizing, my husband and I made the decision for me to take a severance package.  You see, I was at-risk of being laid-off with my history of a PIP and all and a voluntary departure would benefit us so much better than an involuntary situation.  It was an incredibly hard thing to go through; dealing with the emotions of pregnancy and the fear of unemployment.  I worked my last day during my sixth month of pregnancy.  Friends encouraged me to apply for work with this enormous belly hanging off the front of me telling me stories of different people they knew who'd gotten job offers at eight months pregnant, but I was a realist and knew that was improbable.   Regardless, I applied to jobs and got called for interviews.  There is likely NOTHING more humbling than walking into a job interview to see the realization on the faces of those doing the hiring that they'd wasted their time on me.  The eyes went straight to my stomach and then the forced smile and eye contact began.  I'd walk out every time with less confidence and pride as I'd walked in with.  Thus begins my life as a "kept woman" a.k.a. a SAHM a.k.a. mommy.  The timeline went like this: 
  • January 2008 - Found out I was pregnant
  • March 2008 - Chose to leave job I'd spent eight and a half years at
  • June 2008 - Worked my last day at that company
  • June-July 2008 - Applied and interviewed for jobs
  • August 2008 - Ate bonbons and watched my stories
  • September 2008 - Accepted God's blessing and became a mom.  Wow!
By the time our precious bundle arrived, Clay and I had decided I was going to stay home for at least a year.  Staying home one year would allow me to breastfeed for 12 months without having to pump at my place of work.  Fast forward one year and Clay and I had decided to expand our family one last time.  I had no loyalty established with an employer so this made the most sense to us.  We were incredibly fortunate and our little man came to be very easily.  I spent our tenth wedding anniversary pregnant instead of taking some exciting couples trip, but that was okay.  In June of 2010 we welcomed baby number two.  So if you think about it, when I weaned in August of 2010 I'd been pregnant or breast feeding for just under four years.  Now here it is February of 2012 and I'm more neurotic than ever.  So what's my excuse?  It certainly can't be hormones at this point. Or does it take three and three quarters years to undo this mess?  (Oh God, I hope not.)  If that's true then I should be good ol' Shelly by June 2015.  Wow.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Facebook is not where it's at.

What a sweet, dear friend I lost.
I recently lost a good friend.  It was sudden and unexpected.  It has been hard.  But what made me most displeased about the situation (besides losing said friend) was that someone with good intentions made the comment that I was "putting it out there" that I was grieving.  I say good intentions because I think this person was trying to check on me and see how severely upset and/or depressed I was, but what exactly does "putting it out there" mean?  Does it mean that I'm wrong for saying "Lost a dear friend today and am heartsick I didn't make more time to spend with him. Please keep the love of his life in your prayers." the same day he passed away or "Having a rough time of it. Little prayers, please, friends."  48 hours later?  I really didn't consider myself being too transparent or public about one of the moments when I hurt the deepest.  I simply thought it was what one could expect from a Facebook friend that is suffering the loss of a close friend.    That being said, I found myself unintenionally filtering any pain, grief, anger, frustration, annoyance and misery I might have experienced.  It has now been over two months and I'm still feeling down and out, stressed, mentally fatigued, and sad.  But I no longer feel comfortable placing my true feelings online.  At least not on Facebook.  So I started this blog.  This blog will be me unfiltered.  I will not care about voicing my political feelings, my personal feelings, my religious feelings, and certainly not my human feelings.  This blog may be a good recipe or it could be a good rant.  Regardless, I plan on making this my complete and total outlet for sanity preservation.  Here goes.