Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You Get What You Need

I'm an only child.  I was the only kid I knew who came home from the last day of school, went to her room and cried because she would miss her friends and be bored and lonely over the summer.

Living in a very quiet and calm household in which I was permitted to make neither mess nor noise, I grew into a socially awkward adult who is unable to handle the sort of chaos that most parents take as part and parcel of raising children.  I will never have actual blood-related nieces or nephews or the cradle to grave relationship of a sister or brother.  I have cousins ranging from close to distant in geography and relationship, and a friend who has blessed me with girls who call me Aunt Terrie, but I can only speculate that this is not the same as having a sibling with whom I could have shared hand me downs, chickenpox, knock down drag out fights and the eventual revelation that our childhoods were deeply dysfunctional.  Instead, it was me against my mom in the war to save my sanity, with my poor father as a helpless bystander observing the battles.  I think I won, but the war may have taken less than 35 years if I'd had an ally.

Because of all of this I decided in my late teens that I would have at least two children.  This, as with most of my early parenting decisions, was not based entirely on what I felt was right or wrong for myself, my child or my family, but more driven by the fierce desire to do everything the opposite of how mom did it.  What would Carol do?  Ok...do something else.

My mom was 23 when I was born.  Back then (in the olden days, before fire was discovered) women got married more often than not right out of high school.  So my mother was not only unconventional in almost every way, she was also quite a bit older than most of my friend's parents.  I decided I wasn't going to be old when I had my kids. I would get it over with at a young age so I could be the cool mom.

Yeah...so I had The Boy when I was 30.  While it is far more common now for a woman to wait until her career is stable to have a child, I am still one of the older moms in the room at most events.  And I am far from cool. Oh well, sh*t happens.

So I found myself at 30, with a newborn and a fresh c-section scar, with a husband who refused to take off work to help me, hemorrhaging because I was trying to do laundry and dishes and hoist around a 10 1/2 lb newborn.  I loved my baby every bit as much as any mother, but I came away from the experience with a very dim view on the process of bringing a new life into this world.  I felt very alone.  Well, because I pretty much was.  And I was terrified by the prospect of doing it again, equally alone, taking care of not only a newborn but also a toddler.  

I found excuse after excuse not to get pregnant again.  The magazines were saying that it was good to wait four years to reduce sibling rivalry.  I didn't want two in diapers at once. I needed to lose weight.

So when The Boy was 4 and I was at what Weight Watchers had determined to be my goal weight, I woke up one morning, stared at the ceiling and said to myself  "Self....you have no more excuses. I guess you have to get it over with and get pregnant again".....and I laid there and cried for about an hour until The Boy got up.  

At some point during my dissolution into a puddle of snot and self-pity, it occurred to me that this may not be the best mindset with which to undertake this adventure.  I called my best friend and said "I want to run something by you....I think maybe I don't want to have another kid".  She said "I was wondering when you were going to figure that out".

So I didn't.  It took a while to get my ex over it.  There were fights.  He was very disappointed in me.  But nine months later when he lost his job I don't think it was necessary for me to say "I told you so".  And six years after that when we got divorced it was one less life to shatter.

In the immortal words of Mick Jagger, "You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need."  And I try to approach life with that attitude as often as possible.

So yesterday when I was putting my shoes on, ready to head out the door to meet The Guy for a day together that would involve a movie, a baseball game and dinner out, on a 95 degree day, I took it in stride when he called to tell me that his back was out.  I've been trying to get over a sinus infection and constant running and lack of sleep has not been aiding the antibiotics in their mission to make me well.  I spent my Memorial day snuggled up next to my guy on the couch, watching movies and the game from the air conditioned comfort of his living room.  We spent some time, side by side, each of us on our laptops, doing some productive and some goofy stuff.  We talked a lot.  About, among other things, our common upbringings without siblings. We played with his cats.  We relaxed.  It was quiet, it was peaceful, and it was wonderful.  

You get what you need.

Today's lunch: Chicken pot pie soup.  I'll save you the picture.  It was kinda gross.  Just because it has pie in the name does not make it good.

And now...a little awesomeness in the form of Hugh Laurie singing.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


You guys, I'm out of balance.  Almost every aspect of my life right now is somehow out of whack.

Let's see, last time I checked in was, I think, shortly after my assistant quit.  From that point up until (and including) now, my ass has been firmly planted under the recycled tire mulch on the work side of the work/life seesaw.  To be perfectly honest I'm typing this at 7:18 pm on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and I originally sat down at the computer to remote in to my work desktop to do a spreadsheet for The Day Job.  That will still need to be done, but for blog sake I just need a couple of minutes to write.  I miss you guys!!

So when my assistant unceremoniously deserted me, I started to work way too much.  I'd like to say that I'm one of these people who always makes time to work out, no matter what (they do exist, I know a few), but sadly I am not.  When I have to work all day, come home and make (ok defrost) dinner, then clock in to second shift from my kitchen table, I know full well that I would feel better if I would just get up an hour earlier in the morning to lift weights....but that friggin' snooze button has a hold over me that is more powerful than that which is wielded by ice cream, margaritas or even Channing Tatum's abs.

So when I started working too much I almost completely stopped working out.

I have a normally well controlled back problem.  There are two forces pulling at my back at any given time....stress is trying to pull it out of whack, and exercise is trying to keep it...well...in whack.  It doesn't take tons of exercise to keep the problem in check.  Just consistency and a variety of cardio, weights and yoga.

Well take the extra work, add in some almost comically ill-timed misbehavior by The Boy, take away the healing forces of weight lifting and wham....I'm walkin' funny and it's not for a good reason.

This, of course, means twice weekly trips to the chiropractor...trips I have neither the time nor the money for.  Which means more stress.

So you know how they say exercise boosts your immune system?  Turns out they're not just saying that to hear their jaws flap.

Sneezing and coughing is even less fun than normal when your back is out, and a sinus infection is extra fun to get over when you're working 12 hours a day.

But at least I have my nutrition plan.  Abs are made in the kitchen yaknow.

Yeah, I crack me up.

When dinner is a break between 8 hours in the office and the 4 hours you need to put in from home before you can pass out and do it all over again, frozen pizza will win out over a salad almost every time, especially when it hurts to stand, walk and bend.

I'm here to tell you, it's a slippery slope from convincing yourself that it's ok to switch out the 55 minute workout for the 20 minute one to eating chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies for breakfast.  A steep, slippery slope indeed.  It's coated with butter and there is a brick wall at the bottom.

So I've been surviving on a diet of Shakeology, Amoxicillin (and ladies, we know what that brings with it don't we?...yeah, that too), DayQuil and whatever quick, easy, calorie-laden item happens to land within my gravitational pull.

There is a definite balance to being healthy.  I see it as a 90 degree angle, sort of a wall and a floor. I have a friend who is anorexic and a compulsive exerciser.  She is leaning...no...PUSHING hard against the wall.  It is not easy by any stretch, but she doesn't have to maintain any sort of balance.  She just keeps pushing against that wall (yaknow, until it buckles and she ends up hospitalized but that's another story).  The other extreme is the person who eats whatever they want and never exercises. That person is laying on the cold, hard floor.  Sure it's easy, but you're not really living down there.  It's hard as hell to get up and it starts to hurt after a while.

I need to find a way to stand close to the wall, without leaning or pushing on it.

On June 16th I start The Ultimate Reset.  While I am definitely going to work on getting off the floor between now and then, the real balancing act begins on that day, and I'm hoping to become good enough at walking that tightrope that when I reach the end I will be able to maintain my balance on a narrow path.  Hopefully getting my diet in check, kicking the caffeine and sugar addiction and getting the toxins out of my body will be the start to getting the rest of my body and life in balance.

Today's dinner (I don't want to talk about lunch).  This awesome salad, with Bolthouse Farms Blue Cheese Yogurt dressing.  Not bad.

Now...that spreadsheet isn't going to do itself.