Monday, October 8, 2018

Obligatory pumpkin post

So we went to the pumpkin patch while the world burned.

Actually it was a good time with the donor siblings, and as I’ve noticed every year, gets less and less stressful as the kids get older and easier to manage. Either that or after all these years my tolerance for these long kid-tastic days has gotten better. It’s definitely a little of both. 

Today Facebook showed me a picture of me on some outing three years ago with little three-year-old Bobby and one-year-old Theo. Omg they were so cute I want to rewind and go back and squeeze them real quick and then fast forward to today. I have no nostalgia for those difficult days - but they sure were cute! 

Saturday night the BF and I went to see Gary Numan, a show I’d spontaneously bought tickets for months ago and almost forgot about. Like most of us I’d kind of lost the thread of his career after his mega hit Cars, but the show he presented was this wonderfully dark, thoughtful, emotional journey through his apocalyptic latest album...oh it was just what I needed in that moment. Yes, everything is terrible, and I’m scared, too, he seemed to say. Why is it a stranger saying what you feel is so incredibly healing? He opened the show with the hard hitting “Everything Comes Down to This”, which I have been binge listening to ever since. If that song isn’t a perfect descriptor of how I feel about the upcoming mid terms, I don’t know what is. Everything - EVERYTHING - depends on what happens in just a month. The weight of that is almost unbearable. 

In happier news, over dinner before the concert the BF said appropos of nothing that he used to think he’d be fine with just dating me forever and now he sees that’s just not going to work, and he’s going to start saving up for a ring. I told him save his money, just get me something cute and vintage. I don’t ever want to talk about marriage with him because I don’t want there to ever be even the slightest thought of my having put the idea into his mind. I want to know if he does this thing that it was his idea. And of course I want that, too - I mean, why not? He’s the best man I’ve ever known, and he adores the boys and they adore him. I think we all deserve a little happiness in this shitshow, huh?




Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fingers crossed

What can any left-leaning woman in this country say about last week other than that it was anxiety-producing, triggering, and depressing? I usually avoid the finer points of this seemingly never-ending shit show called “Trump’s America” and just pop in for the highlights, but this Kavanaugh nightmare I paid attention to...a little too much. By Friday I was barely functional, full of rage and hopelessness. Fun!

So now we have a brief reprieve before the hell starts all over again this Friday waiting for the vote. Some people express optimism...I am more skeptical. The BF said today if he gets appointed and then the mid terms don’t go as we think, he’s going to lose all hope. I’m right there with him on that. 

I feel like I’m waiting for everything. My kitchen, which was supposed to have started last week, still has no start date. We are still waiting on bids for asbestos removal. Until we have that there is no start date. I’m reluctant to start packing up my kitchen in any real way until I have an actual time frame. I’ve already given up hope of any chance of this being close to done by Thanksgiving; now I don’t even know if it’ll be done by Christmas. My refurbished stove was ready for delivery last week - they agreed to store it for me for a steep rent. Good times.

In other news, Bobby has pooped his pants almost every day for the last two weeks. He had a giant BM in the toilet last night so I’m hoping he’s cleared out whatever was blocking him up...but it may be time to seek out a pediatric gastroenterologist. We just can’t go on like this. It’s frustrating and upsetting and nothing I’ve tried works for more than a couple of weeks and then we’re right back where we started.

Also, he got a note home from his teacher yesterday for bad behavior and was such a nightmare in violin class that I had to punish him when we got home. Is he tired? Stressed out that I was gone last weekend? Going through a phase? Pushing boundaries? I don’t know, but it has to stop. Both boys have been a major handful lately - no doubt because of, and adding to, my stress level. 

Things need to get better. But I feel pretty hopeless on all fronts right now. 




Friday, September 21, 2018

Family tree

Welp, the school assignment that every SMC dreads has arrived - the Family Tree. Honestly I’m kind of surprised that in this sensitive day and age they still have projects like this that could be so problematic for so many people. 

I freely admit we got a “get-out-of-single-parenthood-free” card with the addition of the boyfriend as “dad”. So at least I could stick him on there and not have to worry that Bobby will be questioned or shamed about the absence of a dad. There is a dad there...and hopefully nobody will notice that only mom’s side of the family is represented, since Bobby doesn’t know the boyfriend’s family (which pretty much only consists of a half-sister and her kids, three of which are adults). 

I had to go with who I had pictures of - so I scanned pictures of my sister and brother-in-law, my parents, my mother’s parents, and my maternal grandmother’s parents. I’m hoping the impressive stretch back to great-great-grandparents makes up for the holes in the rest of the story. 

Nobody needs to know that only one person is still living from the grandparent and beyond group - my super cray father who I haven’t seen in nearly 40 years and who Bobby will never meet. Nobody needs to know my mother just two (or three? Who knows) months ago died a horrific death in a 3rd world country of cultic medical neglect. Nobody needs to know about my grandfather’s alcoholism and grandmother’s coldness and abuse of her daughters. Any transgressions before that have long been lost to history. As well they should be. 

At the end of the project Bobby drew a heart on the trunk of the tree with arrows pointing at all of the pictures. All he sees is love when he sees the faces he knows and the people who made him. For now, let’s keep it that way. 




Saturday, September 15, 2018

Extended summer

I’m in Denver at a weekend singing gig. I feel like all I do in Denver is drink and pee in an attempt to stave off altitude sickness, yet I still feel like garbage. Oh well, I’ll be back home tomorrow! 

My event’s viral clip just broke a million views today, amidst much celebrating. I love that so many of the comments are about how happy it makes people who watch. Lindy Hop is just so joyful. I really don’t know what I’d do without it, and Lindy Hoppers, in my life.

We went to Bobby’s orchestra thing on Tuesday and I was unimpressed. Only three kids there other than Bobby, one who was unfortunately a very high energy friend of his, someone who he’s gotten in trouble with. The teacher had a very difficult time reining the kid in, and the whole thing was way below Bobby’s ability level. The teacher seemed to think he should stay at this level because “we need strong players.” The boyfriend made a good point that maybe it’ll give Bobby the confidence to perform whereas being in the upper level - assuming he’d even be approved - might be too intimidating at his age. He is definitely not keen on playing in front of people so I don’t want to traumatize him right out of the gate. I’ve been debating just pulling him out of it for how inconvenient it is for me and our schedule...and how much I don’t want to deal with keeping him from misbehaving with this other kid, while also managing a bored four-year-old for an hour...it’s a lot of stress for me. Yet...I don’t want to teach him that you can just quit things because they’re inconvenient or require work...and anything I can do to encourage his musical life I want to do. So I think I’ll muscle through it even though I’m kind of regretting getting him into it at the moment. 

Several snags in my upcoming kitchen renovation (of course); number one being my casual mention that the house is covered in asbestos siding (which will be cut into when they place new windows); somehow I thought the designer was aware of this, but she was not. So now I’ll have to pay for testing of the materials and probably spend thousands to have it removed and disposed of properly. Also, the inexpensive salvage yard sink she found for me won’t work because it needs a place for a dishwasher air gap (I don’t even have one now, but apparently it’s required by the state of CA). I spent all day researching and found one online that might work...for $2000 more. And so it goes. This is just the beginning. Just wait until we get into the walls and find the dry rot/termite damage/corroded pipes/foundation issues/mold/what have you. 

Suddenly having a cheap pre-fab ikea kitchen built isn’t sounding so bad. Just kidding. 




Friday, September 7, 2018

Done

Survived another one. Everything went fine - a lot less contentious than last year. No trouble from any of my banned and ostracized people; so glad most of that drama appears to be at least temporarily subdued. The new registration system worked well - however, I found out the day before the event that the system is no longer going to be operational after this year. So I will have to start all over again next year! Womp womp.

I’d like to say I was less stressed this year than usual - I suppose in some ways I was; I danced more than I ever have, and didn’t completely lose my voice like I usually do, was even able to do a gig in Orange County the day after I got home. But it was still stressful. I couldn’t sleep and popped awake at 6 AM every day, even when I went to bed at four; there were parking issues, the tabulator’s printer died mid-contest and the Boyfriend had to run to Office Depot to replace it, lots of little things. But when you have enough staff, and people are empowered to act on your behalf, things get taken care of. 

A couple of bright spots - I was able to offer my special jitterbug spirit award to a gay couple who danced in one of the contests and won the hearts of the audience, which was a lovely way to honor them and also make a statement about the event’s value system; and amazingly one of my contest videos has gone viral with currently almost 300,000 views. Views of videos from dance events such as this rarely garner more than a couple thousand. Will it mean anything for attendance a whole year from now? Maybe, maybe not. But I feel very confident in our future.

Re-entry has been rough, of course - early mornings and half days with Theo making it tough to get anything done. After three days I have a lot of the post-event work done, including tackling multiple harassing, insulting emails from a crazy woman demanding a refund on her weekend pass because she didn’t feel she should have to pay for parking (good times). 

I don’t feel like I am acclimated back to normal life - I won’t be for some time. Right now I’m just going through the motions: laundry, groceries, school drop offs and pick ups, homework, emails, social media. But all I want in life is to lie in bed and watch trashy TV. And yet I can’t - there’s too much to do, all the time. And so it goes.

In other news - Theo is doing much better at his school, no longer clinging to me at drop offs and slightly less crazy at home. I got a flier for a violin group at Bobby’s school that’s starting up next week - kids with experience have to audition, so I’ve emailed for an appointment. I’m hoping the fun of getting to play with other kids inspires him. Bobby got his first report card (of sorts) and he seems to be doing well. 

So now, it’s about the Time After. In two weeks the kitchen gets torn apart and we don’t get to live normally for two-three months. This is the last of the peace and quiet for a good long while.




Wednesday, August 29, 2018

More time

This thought has been on my mind all week. If only I had more time. Why is the last week before my event always such a crazed mess? Why do I always feel so overworked and stressed and run down? Surely some of this stuff could have been done earlier by me...no?

Why do you have time to write a blog, you ask? Because I need to take just a few moments on non-event activities before I lose my damned mind. I’ve been breathing, sleeping and living this event for weeks. I desperately need a break. 

It’s the time of year when being a full time parent becomes utterly intolerable. Being bogged down by cooking, laundry, homework, school pick ups and all the rest of it right now when I desperately need to be working is beyond frustrating. I’m doing my best to be upbeat and positive...but the cracks are showing.

It’s not helping that Theo has been awful the last couple of weeks. I mean, I don’t recognize this kid. He’s suddenly a little Tasmanian devil - not listening, being defiantly naughty, squirming and struggling and making every daily task just impossible. Is it the change in school? Me being distracted/short tempered/gone? Normal 4 1/2 year old developmental stuff? I don’t know but it’s made life way, way more difficult than it already is around now. Thankfully my mercurial Bobby has morphed into quite the little sweetheart lately, after years of difficulty. So often I’ve thought lately, while dealing with Theo and his current craziness, “you were supposed to be the easy one!!” 

Tonight I have hours of intense, detail-oriented work to do still, which is exactly not what my exhausted brain needs. And just one day left to wrap everything up. My day officially ends when I pick up Theo at two. That is not enough time, not by a long shot. This has been quite a shock for me - the reality of not having Theo at preschool until 5:30 three times a week. So far my work days have ended at two, one, and two this week. Now, I’m up earlier, and Theo is out of my hair by 8 AM rather than 9:30 like when we had preschool hours. But it doesn’t seem to help. I need those afternoons. 

Still, I keep reminding myself this is the last year I’ll ever have to deal with this - Theo will be eligible for afterschool next year, which means pick ups at 5:00 instead of 1:00 and 2:00. And every year they’ll be older and less high maintenance. And as of now I just have one more day of this schedule and then it’s over - Friday we pack up for the hotel, leave the boys in the hands of their trusted old babysitter, and disappear into event madness until Tuesday. And then everything will change.

How is the event going? Well. I have to admit last year, with all its 20th anniversary moving parts, was way more stressful. The new registration system has taken a huge burden off of me as I had hoped. And my numbers are really good - despite being technically an “off” year (the year right after a big anniversary year), I’m only behind by about 50 people, which is negligible at this point. So, that was a pleasant surprise. 

And so we head off to the 21st of my events. Those of us who are about to dance, salute you. 




Monday, August 20, 2018

First week

We’ve survived the first week at school, and, more importantly, the boys’ first weekend alone with daddy.

“Daddy”. The word still sticks in my throat a bit, but it’s a true term at this point - he is their dad. Even if we break up, he will still be their dad. If I die he will take over as parent. He is as invested in their future/happiness/development as I am. That’s a dad.

So I entrusted him with them from Thursday night until Sunday. And, big sigh, everything went just fine. He even didn’t leave the house a mess the way the babysitter does (filthy kitchen floor, toys everywhere, toothpaste all over the sink and towels), which shows that he listens to my gripes. He handled the school drop offs and pick ups ok, although he was late picking up Theo because he thought his pick up time was 2:30 instead of 2:18...which freaked me out until he told me there were other kids still waiting. I think all of us have that image of the scared, forgotten child sitting on the school steps. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here. I’m always so psychotically early for everything that I have no idea what happens after I’m done; how backed up parking gets, how mobbed with all the people who do things at the last minute (which is what most people do). 

I did a gig in Chicago this weekend, which went well - tough travel schedule with a red eye going and one hour’s sleep before heading back yesterday. And today I hit the ground running with just two weeks left until my event and tons of detailed work to do. Then on Thursday we do it all over again as I head to DC for another singing gig.

I still find myself pretty emotional about Theo growing up and all the changes in our lives...my brain is still struggling with all the new information and routines, and the kids are acting out a little which tells me they’re struggling to adjust, too. I wish I could say everything will be normal after my event is over...but it won’t. On the 17th my kitchen gets ripped apart, and I travel two-three weekends out of the month until the end of the year, not to mention a ten day trip to Thailand which I am sorely regretting at this point. If only that were next year and not this year. It’s going to be pretty chaotic until the end of the year.

Neither of the boys want breakfast at school and Theo is in fact not eligible for after school programs, so that’s that. 

Right now I’m treasuring the peace and quiet of a home where children are at school and no contractors are here (yet).