Moving Is a Mess

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I just moved. There are boxes to the left of me, boxes to the right and here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

The house is pretty much a wreck and will be for some time until I can budget for the repairs.
I don’t know where to find the energy. I don’t know where to start.

The worst part? I started this website where people turn to me for advice and if they only knew. . .

Signed,

Heather

Heather says:

Oh, Heather,  Heather, Heather¹ what will I do with you?

So what if they know. What are they going to do? Write about it on some other website where people in different circumstances can giggle about it? Who cares?

You’re farther than you think. You only have one last load of stuff to get from the previous house and most of that stuff isn’t even coming to this house. You are just in that annoying place where it feels like the more you do the bigger mess you’re making. It will get better.

Set a timer.

And for fifteen minutes do things that will let you actually put away other things. Clear off the shelves in the laundry room so you can put away the canned goods instead of tripping over them.

Decide on a dishwasher already so you can have it installed and actually be able to put dishes away. Or maybe suck it up and install it yourself this weekend.

Call your stepbrother and make him commit to picking up the dining room table so you can set yours up. If he won’t commit put it in the yard and on Craigslist. Then at least you won’t look like you’re living in a bar after last call.

Ask for help to put the bunkbeds together. They aren’t magically going to do it themselves and you -no matter what you tell yourself- are not strong enough to do it yourself. But, you do have to actually ask.

Good enough is good enough. The kids aren’t going to care that you had takeout for a week straight or that you made them eat off of paper plates until the dishwasher was installed. Some people will judge, but it wasn’t their decision.

The kids are going to remember that they helped you fix the drain under the sink. They are going to remember that you let them help paint their rooms. They are going to remember the bonfire you’ll have to clear out the yard debris.

They are going to learn that it’s okay to live in a house that needs a lot of work. Well, they will as long as they see you doing the work -and while they will whine about it now, they’ll be glad they helped. They will eventually feel pride in ownership. And if they don’t, play the mom guilt card, that’s why you had kids, isn’t it?

The kids are also going to learn that if you don’t like the way things are that you make an effort and change them.

You just can’t keep letting every obstacle send you back to the start. It’s annoying and I’m tired of you whining about it.

Seriously.

Get off your butt and make those phone calls and see if you can’t at least get two boxes sorted out before you have to get the kids from school.

And hey, Heather, cut yourself some slack. None of this will matter in six months.

Send your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com

¹If you’re a child of the seventies or eighties, you wouldn’t even blink at the idea of a Heather addressing another Heather. In fact, growing up in this very neighborhood, my best friend was Heather. She lived just around the corner and we were inseparable for years.

 

(I decided to let y’all in on some internal dialogue rather than sitting here and thinking I should write, I should clean, I should work, I should, I should, I should. So I did. Things are getting better, even if from the outside it looks a whole lot messier.)

Sunday Confessional with a Splash of Margarita

Heather says:

This isn’t particularly Home Ec related, but sometimes life is more than the chores that make it easier.

As many of you know, last year was incredibly difficult. Okay, I can see my therapist giving me a look, last year was insane.

Yet I’m still standing.

In fact, now I’m standing with a few more freckles. I just got back from Cozumel, Mexico. I saved up for and took my first solo vacation. (Trust me, Customs thought it was a little weird, too when I re-entered the country. Are you sure you traveled alone? You didn’t meet friends?) Back in November, as things were just starting to fall back into place a really good Groupon deal crossed my radar. I jumped on it and bought that “dream vacation.” Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to go somewhere warm and have nothing to do. And. if anything, last year taught me that life won’t hand you the things you want and may cut the ride short.

So I went.

It turns out that I am truly awful at doing nothing.

I brought a crapton -technical term- of Kindle books (Highlights include but are not limited to): Looking for Alaska, The Book ThiefThe Off Season (actually I read all three in this series but this one was the emotional sucker punch),  Innocence: A Novel, and Socially Awkward: A Novel. I dove back into the Flavia de Luce Series which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a book for pre-teens with a strong, smart, sassy female lead. Yes, I read YA and teen fiction and quite happily, thank you. If a book is well-written, it doesn’t matter the demographic.

It turns out you can avoid a lot by being busy and last year I avoided mourning by burying myself in work and busyness.

So what happens when you go to Cozumel alone, armed only with books?

You meet wonderful people who offer to drag you up to North Dakota to set you up with a man -completely unnecessary and I’m sure North Dakota is perfectly nice, but I live in the South for many reasons and warmth is fairly high on that list. (And please understand that’s only what’s wrong with that idea on the surface, we aren’t going to get into the deeper aspects, that would get too ranty for my taste.)

You take SCUBA lessons and get PADI certified for Open Water*, only to rupture an eardrum and end up spending a lot of time sitting in a boat with a captain who speaks no English and probably has no interest in your clumsy grasp of kitchen Spanish.

You learn that all-inclusive means that margaritas are way too easy to order and end up going to bed ridiculously early. When you go to bed ridiculously early, you wake up ridiculously early in a town that runs on tourist time. Hello many more hours to fill.

You learn that hot water is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. (My room had none.)

You learn that you can survive without a smart phone, but that you miss all the people on the other side far more than you ever imagined.

And you finally cry. A lot. Mostly in private, but I’m pretty sure the staff at the hotel wondered who the weird, crying woman was. And apparently you let perfect strangers hug you in the bathroom.

And weirdly, you start to feel better.

NotesAnd, maybe, just maybe you’ll see yourself in a book. Tsh Oxenrider, in Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World stated, “[…]work is my leisure of choice.”

I know what that looks like and I’m finally okay with it. 

So this wasn’t the standard Sunday Confessional, but it’s a big one for me. I know I need to make sure important things don’t fall off my radar, but I need to quit trying to define myself in ways that don’t fit my preferences.

What about you?

What do you have to get off your chest?

 

Sunday Confessional, the oh boy, it’s been a while edition.

Heather says:

Hi.

I haven’t even thought about the Sunday Confessionals in a long, long time.

However, last night, as I was preparing to wrap my daughter’s presents for today’s surprise party¹, I realized that Scotch Tape has yet to enter my home. I’ve managed to get glue sticks and scissors and odds and ends for the youngest to entertain herself, but tape for myself? Apparently not.

I sat on my bed and used a glue stick. Now THAT, my friends, is Saturday night entertainment. It’s an amateur wrapping job at best, but really all she’s going to care is that they are pink. Right? And cake, I’m sure she’s going to care that there is cake and Hello Kitty and My Little Pony – which there’s another confession right there. I frigging adore Pinkie Pie, quite possibly the most obnoxious cartoon character in the show and she makes me giggle while I’m in here trying to write.

Speaking of unhealthy cartoon affection. . . I am an unabashed Phineas and Ferb
fan. Hands down, it is the best cartoon ever made. Disney, you have won my respect with your geek references and general awesome. My phone’s ringtones? All Super Mario and Phineas and Ferb. . . Support calls for FeedBlitz? Doofenschmertz Evil Incorporated *jazz hands*

Finally, yesterday I decided to be all kinds of productive. I made two large batches of food for dinner. Why? I had an afternoon free and it’s back to football season, only now with the added complication of a forty minute drive on my days. (I moved). So there I was with a huge skillet of sausage, peppers, and onions and a gluten-free version of enchiladas. And then I lost all initiative and we had both for dinner. (Yes, there are leftovers, I had intended on making something else for dinner). Sigh. So much for well balanced on the days I don’t have to work.

So there we go, life is settling into a new normal but normal is not and never will be perfect. That said, I’m finally finding my equilibrium and that includes the ability to let myself relax and not feel like I have to work like a crazy workaholic person hopped up on deadlines.

What do you have for this week’s Sunday Confessional? Feel free to link to a post, if you’ve written it up elsewhere.

¹FYI it’s kind of difficult to give a kid a surprise party when a surprise party is pretty much the only thing they ask for. Thank goodness for good friends.

Monday Morning Confessional, I Have Jury Duty

Heather says:

File this one under, “Sometimes I really wish I had a normal 9-5 job so I could keep the days of the week straight.”

You know how on Sundays the chore chart reminds everyone to check their schedules?

I forgot.

This means I completely spaced, until five minutes ago, that I have jury duty this afternoon.

This being human thing? It’s for the birds.

So tell me, what air headed thing have you done lately? Hopefully they won’t take my phone away and your comments will entertain me until I have to pay attention. Oh and tomorrow? We leave for Minnesota, 24 hours in the car with kids, send some good thoughts in this direction and include some caffeine in those thoughts.

A Case of the Mondays When I Should Have Been Doing a Sunday Confessional

Heather says:

Holy cow, I had a heck of week. The up, down, crazy, sideways and what the heck am I doing kind of week. I know it’s Monday morning, but each time I opened my browser to start working on this week’s Sunday Confessional (which would have been long enough before Sunday came along) someone in my household lost their ever-loving-minds.

Most of you know what the Sunday Confessional series is, but for those who are newbies (oh hai! And welcome to Home Ec 101) it’s the series in which I try to point out that no one is ever going to get their lives magazine perfect. And I never want to contribute to anyone feeling like they are somehow less of a person because their homes and lives don’t match media and judgy mcjudgerson Internet Standards. The Sunday Confessional isn’t about celebrating mediocrity, it’s more about just admitting that no, we ALL have bad days or weeks. And I want to be sure you understand that we are almost always -in our heads at least- comparing our own absolute worst moments with other people’s best foot forward.

Last Monday I flew home from San Francisco where I had been meeting with the Method brand -and oh my, I cannot wait to tell you about that, I have never fallen in love with a company before and I have butterflies. . .  we talked chemistry and the environment and cleaning and and and post coming later today, I’ll stop gushing now.

Tuesday, I started my new job. I’m now a server in an Irish pub three nights a week. I love it, it’s exactly the kind of escape from startup / homeschooler / working from home life I needed. What I need now is a way to manage my time more effectively -the fact that it’s Monday and I’m writing Sunday’s post should say something. Friday another server called in and I was thrown into the Friday night rush on what should have been a training shift. That really wasn’t a big deal, I did serve for years in my past life, it was just a matter of having to cut myself some slack for not knowing all of the ins and outs of their computer system and hoping they’d cut me the same slack. I made it through. Saturday I picked up a shift because the server that called in had to be replaced. Let’s just say it ended up being a very, very late night thanks to the time change* and my children do not have a snooze button.

Sunday morning my dog ripped off a toenail and created a scene straight out of Dexter for me to clean up just a few minutes before I had to get the kids ready for Sunday school. You know, I really hope no one in my household disappears unexpectedly, I’ll have a lot of explaining to do when the crime scene people show up with the black lights. Yeah, the floor only got a lick and a promise kind of cleaning, the deep clean has to wait until tomorrow -hopefully.

Today? I have to figure out how to get all of these metaphorical juggling balls back into the air, maybe I’ll breathe after my shift ends tonight.

What about you? What do you have to get off your chest? I know it’s Monday, but we just had the time change, so we’re all running a bit behind.

*No, it wasn’t the kind of late night that results in a hangover, it was just a late night running my mouth with actual adults.