Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Did you beat yourself up today?

"The only hard part is the waiting around and getting yourself back up to wrestle another match."~Mike Campbell

Yesterday I forgot my sons' Parent-Teacher conference.  Yeah - that was bad enough.  But it was the annual 504 review to extend the assistance he receives.  And I didn't remember it until 12:30 in the morning. I was still fighting to get Jacob to go to sleep.  I had a thought to e-mail his teacher that he would probably be tired and then the sinking feeling hit the pit of my stomach.

It was a pretty bad Supermom day anyways.  Kiara got a D in Science, so I was trying to help her study for her test.  When I say study, I mean pulling teeth to convince this child that she didn't know the subject matter as well as she thought.  I persevered through attitude and rolled eyes and other pre-teen protests until she flat out fell asleep on the couch.  So much for that child.

Child #2 also fell asleep and woke up not only on the wrong side of the bed, she woke up in an altered universe.  Hormonal is not even close to describing how Brianna woke up.  Poor Jacob.  Between the two sisters, he is swimming in Estrogen and attitude!

Went to karate testing.  Got my next belt despite the knockouts that happened there.  One step away from black belt now.  This was the only good thing that happened.

After karate, I send everyone for showers and bed.  That's when the real trouble started.  They refused to go to sleep.  You can make them go to bed, but you can't make them sleep (at least not legally anyways).  After fighting with them for 30 minutes - and they had already gone to sleep later than their normal bedtime - I told them that ice cream after their karate testing the next day was out.  Jacob fell out.  He threw a fit for another 30 minutes.  As I've said before, he has an extreme persistance that could drive Mother Theresa to drink. 

I finally made him come downstairs so his sisters (note: Science test tomorrow and already sleep-deprived) could get some rest.  He had a look on his face that would melt the coldest of hearts.  He said simply "I'm sorry Mommy."  And those three words spoke more than you can imagine.  It was more than he was just sorry for being up still.  He was sorry for having this crappy disease that drives me insane.  Sorry for putting me and his sisters through this suffering.  Sorry for being who he is.

So, now back to the top of this blog.  To beat myself up.  I'm sitting on my couch, thinking that I should e-mail his teacher.  Holding my child as he holds me just as tightly and we console each other.  Because neither one of us will ever be what we should be but so much more than we could ever have expected.  And we will continue to fight.  And beat ourselves up...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I am a doormat

"There is a delicate balance of putting yourself last and not being a doormat and thinking of yourself first and not coming off as selfish, arrogant or bossy. We spend the majority of our lives attempting to perfect this balance."
Cindy L. Teachey

Today I have to call a vendor (again) and tell them that their machine is crap and to take it back.  I know that's not going to happen because we already paid for the machine.  But it's the principal of the matter.  We got this machine in, it doesn't do what it's supposed to do consistently and they need to take care of it.  Unfortunately I have to prove the machine is broken in order to get someone to make a service call.

And that's where the problem begins.  I have to argue our position.  I am not a born debater.  I'll fight to the death if I think I'm right, but finding the words sometimes becomes a problem.  At least until I get so pissed that I can see red.  Then I go into full battle mode.  Otherwise I shrink back and settle.

I don't know when I became a doormat.  Was I born this way or have people beat me down enough in life that took me to this place?  The verbal and emotional abuse I endured had to contribute to this condition.  But I had to be vulnerable to even start accepting that treatment.  And I fall so easily back into that groove.  And then I get frustrated at myself for letting it happen.

I'm lucky to be in a relationship now with someone who would never treat me as less than an equal.  But he's only one person.  The world can be a tough place if you can't stand up for yourself.  Especially in a man's world like manufacturing.  There are some great people out there, but right behind them is another that would steal candy from a baby. 

So, today I am pissed.   At the people in my past that have made me more of a doormat than I should be.  At the vendor causing me to work through lunch again.  Mainly for allowing myself to struggle so much with something that should be cut and dry. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

30 days and counting...oh hell...

This post title is actually 100 60 30 days and counting... but Blogspot won't let me edit font.  So much for technology.

"How soon 'not now' becomes never." ~Martin Luther

I started writing a blog post around 70 days or so ago.  You see, I did a crazy thing.  When I say crazy, I mean insane, loco en la cabeza totally nuts kind of thing.  I let some really good fellow cellmates friends talk me into signing up for a 5K run.  No, not just a run - a mud run.  A warrior dash.  A grueling run at the end of August at the hottest point of the summer through mud and 12 or so obstacles.  The same weekend I am moving.  And going to a wedding.  And picking my kids up in Tennessee.  With school starting two days later.

And of course I am really in shape sort of in shape a couch potato. Fully prepared for a run.  No worries about the tires and ropes and of course the wall.  The insurmountable obstacle I have since recruited several friends to encourage me help me up push my large bottom over. Did I mention the 5K run in the midst of said obstacles?

I'm all gung ho in May about this race.  I have 100 days to get fit.  Very doable.  I start out of the gates strong.  I start my C25K (Couch to 5K for you other couch potatoes) running program.  I'm eating better.  I save a ton of motivational pictures.  I order P90X.  I am not only going to be fit but I'm going to be ripped.  Melt my muffin top and shred my arms.  I'll be climbing rock walls in no time.  10K's by Fall and a half marathon in January.  I can see the bumper sticker now: 13.1.  Yeah me!

Now comes June.  I'm still running once or twice a week.  I managed to open P90X and see what's inside.  Work and summer break for the kids are keeping me busy.  I have two months so even though I'm behind, I can still make it.  I won't be at the front of the pack but I should at least finish the race.  And then the kids go to Tennessee.  Wayne and I are working on the house.  And I skip a few days of running.  And then some more.

And now it's August.  I have exactly 24 days to get my butt in shape.  I am really in trouble.  I watch the videos on their website again for motivation.  These are all young college kids that look like they took a stroll through the park or hardened trained runners that do this kind of thing for fun every day.  There are no 41-year-old single mom of three kids in spandex and three layers of sports bras to keep from getting a black eye.

I could give up at this point.  But I already paid.  And I said I was going.  Yet if I don't drop out, you may find me at the bottom of the muddy creek.  I should just walk away and let somebody in much better shape run this race.  But I'm not a quitter.  Just a procrastinator.  One that will push ahead even when all logic says there is no way in hell this will happen.

So, on August 27th, you will find me lying in a prone position somewhere.  Hopefully in my bed and not still in the creek.  Sore and bruised beyond tolerable levels.  Wondering what the heck possessed me to prove that somewhere inside this not-quite-so-young body is a runner.  And hopefully, with a lot of luck and quite a bit of psychosis, proof that I finished a race I never should have entered in the first place.

Monday, July 30, 2012

So I'm Not A Perfect Mom...

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one." ~Jill Churchill

Well,  I can add the not-so-perfect mom title to my not-so-secret life.  The other day started out a bit more stressful than normal. Due to new working hours, I have to be at work at 6:15 so I get up at 5 a.m.  Brianna woke up with a belly ache. She walked around for a few minutes and decided it might be gas and she's ok. Just as she's going to bed, Jacob woke up and said his cheek hurts. Since he was sniffling with a stuffy nose, I play nurse and try to clear this up and gave him a warm compress. He eventually fell back to sleep.

And now the dilemma that all working moms (and some dads) go through: do I call in sick and take care of them or are they well enough to go to school and suffer it out? If I stay home, they'll be fine by 9 and want to play the Wii all day. If not, I take a chance that the school nurse will be calling me.  And since I have a new job, I am still in my probationary period.  Calling off is not an option - at least not a very good one.

Bundle that with the fact that my dad was having double knee surgery the same day.  Therefore, half my family was going to be at the hospital including my sister who watches them in the mornings.  I made the decision to send them both to school.  And I hated myself for that.  Knowing that I should be at home snuggling with them instead of at work killed me.  I don't think this part ever gets any easier.

I got a phone call at 2:00 that Brianna still wasn't feeling well and asking me to come get her.  As if I weren't feeling guilty enough.  She only has 45 minutes left of school.  By the time I get with my boss and drive over, she will probably only have 10 minutes left.  So I decided to stay at work and ask her if she can tough it out.  She does but comes home and crashes on the couch as soon as she sits down.  And on the up side, they both felt better the next day, so no more guilt trip.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for so many families nowadays.  No more June Cleaver.  Mom is not waiting in the kitchen with an after school snack and cooking dinner.  No pretty dress and stockings (not to mention the coned bras lol).  I'm more likely in a tank and shorts, ripping off the godawful underwire the moment I get a chance.  Dinner is either drive thru, pizza or Spaghetti-O's if it's a soccer practice/karate/church/Cub Scout night or some microwaved version of a home-cooked meal.  Homework is rushed through if not completed at 9 p.m. because they forgot.  If there is consistency, it is more like constant chaos and not a flowing and relaxed "play with Eddie Haskell until the street light comes on" kind of evening.

On the positive side of things, I get off of work at 4:00 now, so I get to pick the kids up a bit earlier and feed them a halfway decent meal before we go anywhere now.  I kinda sorta get to be "that mom" to some small degree.  Looking around at society and how things could be for me as a single mom, I count myself very blessed.

So, I won't be the mom at all of the PTA meetings or walking into school with every hair in place in the perfect suit.  I won't be sending in treats for every event, but I will probably stay up until 3 a.m. making cupcakes for their holiday party.  I can't attend every in-school during school hours performance, but I'll be there for the important ones.  And with a few extra hugs and kisses, I won't be a perfect mom, but hopefully they'll know I did the best I could to be a good mom.- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


"Joy is the feeling of grinning inside."
~ Melba Colgrove

What makes a person happy? How is it that some people can find the joy in the smallest of things and others have a bank account that would make King Midas envious and are miserable?

I'm at at a bowling party for one of my daughters' friends. The girls are on the verge of middle school. They are having a good time but are constantly aware that everyone is watching them. They stay in-tune for cues from their friends that they are still staying cool. They notice the boys in the next lane and straighten their hair and giggle just a little bit more. 

It's almost sad to watch them heading into adulthood at lightning speed. Knowing the hurdles they face. Realizing that with the good times there are usually an equal amount of painful ones. That some of these friends will fall to the wayside due to fights over a boy or a misplaced word.

And then down the alley is a large group of handicapped people. Autistic, retarded; I'm not sure of the politically correct term nowadays. They don't care one bit what they are wearing or if someone is watching them. They aren't hitting every pin. Sometimes they don't even hit one.

Each one has their own unique style an it is fascinating. Just to be able to let go and have fun regardless must be a great feeling. There is no competition. Everyone cheers no matter who is bowling.  There is a look of pure joy and happiness shining through their smiles.  Watching them makes me happy and also makes me feel like I'm holding myself back from true happiness.

What makes us "normal" people different? Do those few extra chromosomes include jealousy, vanity and cruelty?  Why do we care so much what other people think?  What makes us give control of our happiness and confidence to others?  When do we start "learning" this?  How do we supress this instinct long enough to be happy? 

So, we have to choose to take the bindings off that keep us from joy.  However it is that we are built, whether it is learned or instinctive, has given us this ability to make that choice.  If we continue to stay unhappy, we now have put that responibility on our own shoulders.  Whether it is from your job, your relationships, the family you choose or the family that chose you, you do have the choice.  Take the time to let go a bit and really throw yourself into that happiness.  You never know what might happen!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dead Man Walking

"It was simply a slow, dead man walking kind of thing. I had expected turbulence, the worst I experienced was people averting their eyes and the most common reaction was people looking at me, silence." ~Ray McGovern

It's a pretty crappy feeling-the knowing. Before it was just an inkling; a suspicion that things are not quite right. But when you find out for sure it really smacks you in the face.

And that sucks because you tell yourself that you are just over-thinking the situation. Maybe the tell-tale signs that you imagine are from stress or the lack of sleep.

Unfortunately I have been blessed (or cursed depending on how you look at it) with the ability to read through the BS and lies. I try for a while to live in denial. Put my rose-colored glasses on and ignore the bad. Forget the negative because I had a few good days.

But the conclusion is looming ever so much closer. I can no longer ignore the writing on the wall. I knew from the beginning of taking this job that it would be an uphill battle. It wasn't that I was starting a new job after 18 years. I walked into a storm. I saw it the first day I started an almost turned around and ran the other way.

And yet I stayed. I was given a challenge from a friend to make the most of what I had. To use my talents to make it a better place. I did my best for the most part. I didn't quite make lemonade, but it was drinkable.

But my best wasn't good enough. I've known it for a while. It's a fight I will never win no matter how hard I try. The system isn't there. There is very little teamwork and loyalty. Whatever glue was holding it together has washed away when we recently lost some amazing players-some by choice and one in such disregard for his hard work and effort that my stomach churns when I think about it. I see the looks as I walk through the plant. I now know a bit of what it feels to walk the green mile. "Dead man walking" rings in my ears as I take each step, just biding my time until the inevitable happens and they turn off the fake smiles and show their true selves.

I know that it's time to grow up and realize that the real world isn't always pretty and most of the time is very harsh. It takes more than a good work ethic and talent. It takes schmoozing and politics and a lot of time being born the right sex. I can't do anything about the last one and I refuse to play the first two. That's not me and so I will continue to fight and uphill battle for the rest of my career. I won't throw someone under the bus and walk right over them in order to get ahead or keep my job.

So, that means I start looking (again). I know there is something better waiting for me around the corner. This is one of those times in my life that God is forcing me to look for the door. He will take care of me and my kids. I am so grateful for the people that still look out for me as I continue my journey. As for the rest, all I can say is karma is a bitch.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When my best is just not good enough...

"Sometimes doing your best is not good enough.  Sometimes you must do what is required." ~Winston Churchill

This month has been a tough one on me.  There's a lot going on and never enough time to get it done.  As I've mentioned before, I tend to take on too much and expect even more out of myself.  It usually isn't pretty when it's all said and done.

My mom job has been crazy.  The girls are in a musical and the practices pay off in the end.  Add those to the already busy karate, choir, band, Awana, Cub Scout and getting ready for Middle School meetings and it is a recipe for disaster all by itself.  And just as Tech Week begins (4-5 hour practices every day for a week), the soccer coaches call for practices.  Really?  They couldn't wait just one more week?

So, I'm not acing the mom thing this month.  The laundry is multiplying by the minute.  The dishes have been kept from climbing out of the sink.  The fridge and cupboards are looking lonely.  My kids are surviving but I just feel like I could do better.

And then there is work.  This is the busiest I have been in 14 years.  How can I pinpoint it that close?  I mean - I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday (if I had time to eat it - it was probably the crust off of Jacob's PB&J sandwich for lunch).  How can I remember back that far?  Well, 14 years ago - give or take a month - I was 1) launching my first full Honda program, 2) final exams for school since I was working full time and going to school full time and 3) getting married.  I had scheduled myself a half a day off on Friday to give me a few minutes to get the last minute details ready for the wedding.

I planned as well as I could.  Tried not to procrastinate on anything.  I had my nails done the weekend before.  Needless to say, by Thursday I had bitten the nails completely off.  My nerves were shot.  I squeaked by on the launch.  I guess I passed my exams since they gave me my degree and at least showed up at the church before my mom did (inside joke but mom knows what I'm talking about).  Nothing went as well as it should and I'm sure I took a few years off of my life that week.

This entire month seems like that week.  I have three major tools launching at work.  I was told "this is the most important program we have launching in the next five years."  No pressure or anything.  I feel like I have pulled and dragged two of the three tools through the program.  No amount of lists or meetings or planning could make this a smooth transition.  I've prayed.  I've cried (a lot).  I've cursed and begged and worked 18 hour days to no avail.  When Chrysler got here, I felt like we had the Three Stooges running the show.  I take that back - they probably would have done a better job.  At least everyone would have been laughing at the end.

No laughing here.  Just those looks.  You know - the "I'm sorry you failed and didn't do a better job for us" looks.  Like my boyfriend just dumped me or something.  "Poor, pitiful Michele.  It's too bad she didn't do more."

Well, unfortunately I feel like I did the best I could.  This time it just wasn't good enough.  And it's making me feel like I'm not very good at this.  20 years of experience and I couldn't pull it off.  We didn't fail.  But we didn't pass either.  They were disappointed.  My boss was disappointed.  The CEO was disappointed.  And I feel like crap.  And it sucks - big time.  I've gone over and over in my head what else I could have done and I've got nothin'.

So, does that mean I'm not enough?  I don't know the answer to that right now.  No - I'm not downing myself.  I know I'm capable.  But am I as good as I've built myself up to be in my mind?  Am I deceiving myself that I have the skills and gifts to do this?  I know God wouldn't put more on me than I can handle.  For the moment, I just don't know what my next step will be so as usual I will persevere.  Besides, there's laundry waiting...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


"Coherence and closure are deep human desires that are presently unfashionable.  But they are always both frightening and enchantingly desirable.  Falling in love, characteristically, combs the appearances of the world, and of the particular lover's history, out of a random tangle and into a coherent plot." ~A.S Byatt

Closing a task is not something I was born with.  Actually, you could say that I have anti-closure.  I am great out of the gates but I have a very difficult time completing anything. I'm serious - I really have a problem with it!

This is why I sucked at selling cars.  The month after I left, six people bought cars from the new salesman.  I was great at pitching but couldn't round home plate.  I'm the same with home projects.  I have so many crafts that I have started and sit in boxes unfinished.

My life has kinda been the same way.  I always seem to sabotage myself so I can't do well no matter what.  Dr. Lehman says that it's the 'defeated perfectionist' in me.  I set myself up for failure.  I take on so many things that there is no possibility to ever succeed, proving to myself that I can't do it all.

Don't get me wrong - I'm capable.  I have been given gifts that allow me to do almost anything.  If I don't know how I'm a quick learner.  But it's like I slow way down as I see that finish line.

Well, God has other plans for me apparently.  Take being a homeowner.  My goal for the past two years has been to use my 401k money to pay cash for a home.  House after house fell through.  My money dwindled.  The outlook was not good.  Not good at all.  Then came this house in another city.  There's a hundred reasons to buy it and half as many not to.  It was a great deal.  Not too much money to fix up - just a lot of time and elbow grease.

But it was taking a long time to come to a decision.  Some delays on the owner's end, more on mine.  I hemmed and hawed at making a final decision.  I prayed.  I finally gave it up to Him and asked Him to run with it.

So, despite my best efforts to undermine myself, as of last week,  I am officially a homeowner.  Lock, stock and barrel.  Paid for completely.  Mine and my three beautiful children.  As usual, it's not where I would have picked and we'll still live in an apartment for a while longer, but I own a home.  He is stronger than I am and has plans for me despite my best (or worst efforts).  Thank you God for taking care of me and loving me no matter what.  And thanks to all of you for your support through my journey.  I can't wait to drag me feet for what is around the next corner...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Monster I Hate The Most

"...Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too.  They live inside us, and sometimes, they win."~Steven King

Hate is a strong word.  One that we hesitate to use but tend to throw around quite carelessly.  I can't think of one good synonym of the word or the emotion.  When I use it I realize the power that it carries so know that I don't use it lightly.

But I HATE this disease.  This disorder that the medical profession so easily diagnoses and tosses medication like a band-aid over an amputation.  You still bleed out.  You lose something in the process.  Life is never normal whether on the medication or not.  He's too calm when he is on it and off the charts when he isn't.  Too hyper or depressed - we never know from day to day.

I'm talking about ADHD.  No, I don't have it.  As you know, my precious son does.  I can't even imagine how he feels.  I get glimpses sometimes.  He tells me that he is glad I gave him the medicine so he can be good.  Geez - he's seven!  He shouldn't have to worry about trying to be good.  He should only have to be concerned about which Mario game to play.  The pressure he feels on a daily basis must be almost unbearable.

I do, however, know how I feel.  I feel angry.  Really angry.  I'm a mom.  I'm supposed to be able to fix things.  I should be able to kiss his forehead and make this just go away.  I can't fix it no matter how hard I try.  I'm an Engineer - there has to be a solution.  But the only solutions available are temporary and half-effective at best.

I'm sad.  I cry when he tells me he has had a bad day.  When he throws a fit because he just doesn't know what else to do.  I understand.  I want to be on the floor kicking and screaming too.

I'm frustrated.  Why can't the doctor give me the antidote?  Why can we cure cancer but can't conquer this miniscule disease?  What causes it?  Why do so many more children have this now than when I was a kid?

I'm defeated.  I want to be able to just let him go and be himself when he is in "that mood."  But I can't because there are just too many constraints that society puts on behavior.

I feel like a failure.  I never feel like I can be just the right mom he needs.  I don't have time to make him the perfect meals every time which might just help him.  I can't force him to eat when he completely loses his appetite until he is getting ready for bed and then he is starving.  I can't be a force field to shield him from the ones who would judge him too quickly and punish too harshly not realizing he just can't help himself.

And then there's the emotion I can't even put a name to.  I love this little man more than life itself.  I would lay my life down for this child.  But there are the times when I just can't do anything else.  I don't have the energy.  I don't have the heart.  There's just nothing left.  That's when I just hug him and wait for his batteries to wear down and then cry softly to myself.

So, we exist.  We take it one day at a time.  Trying to survive.  Trying to protect his little heart from the people that would rob him of what happiness he can scrounge up.  Making it through one more school day and one more bedtime where we can just collapse exhausted.  Waiting for the day I find Excalibur's Sword so I can vanquish this monster once and for all and get the happily ever after for both of us.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Too Christian...

"Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." 
~ 2 Timothy 2:15

I've been seeing a lot of publicity on Tim Tebow.  You know, the NFL quarterback that gets down on one knee to give thanks to God.  They've even made his actions a verb.  Someone was "Tebow-ing."  This has brought a lot of controversy everywhere I go.  Even the Christian radio station talks about it daily.

What's wrong with a Christian guy being grateful for the talents he was blessed with?  Apparently the problem is that he is doing it in public.  It isn't acceptable to let millions of people know that you pray.  It's OK if you want to point up to the sky quickly or say a silent prayer on the sidelines but Heaven forbid you do it on National television.  That's just not right.

It is OK however to dance around like a fool in the end zone.  OK to high five or smack another guys' rear end.  It's even OK to have bad sportsmanship and taunt the other team.  But you can't kneel.  You can't mention God or scripture verses in an interview.  You can't put John 3:16 on your face for everyone to see.  Do you see a pattern here?

I have run into the same situation in my own life.  When I started dating, it was suggested that maybe I should tone down that I go to church twice a week.  Perhaps I would give off the wrong impression.  I would hate to have anyone I've just met think I'm the wrong kind of girl [please note the sarcasm].  I've had people sneer at status updates.  Like how could God really have had anything to do with the weather?  No one will come out and confront me directly.  But it's the little things.  Wayne gets the same response when he tells his buddies how God brought us together.  It's probably tougher on him because he has to be a "man."  Well, he's the manliest man I've ever met and he'll be the first one to tell you about Jesus.

We're obviously being "Too Christian."  I'm letting people know that I have faith in the Lord above.  I try to give him credit for the blessings in my life.  I ask for prayers when I need them.  No, I don't have an audience of a million plus people.  I can't get the message out to that many people.  But I am being watched.  By my co-workers.  By my friends.  By people at karate and soccer and play practice.  By my family.  Last but not least, by three precious angels that learn more from what I don't say than what I do say.  

And I know I'm not perfect.  God doesn't expect me to be.  But since I'm Christian, a lot of people do.  "See - she's a hypocrite because she's not perfect.  And she calls herself a Christian."   There was only one perfect human being and I'm not it.  But I will continue to grow and learn.  I'll tell you that God was responsible for giving me the three beautiful children I have.  He gave me Wayne, who continues to bless me as we grow in an amazing "Too Christian" relationship.  He puts food on my table and a roof over my head.  He blesses me with things too numerous to count.

So, at the end of the day I'm afraid that I will be "stuck" with the label of being "Too Christian."  If you don't like it, tough.  I'm not changing.  Well, maybe I am but it won't be in the direction you want.  I'd rather be accused for being a Christian than mistaken for not being one. And for all of you naysayers, I hope Tebow never backs down.  That's exactly what Satan wants.