Friday, August 26, 2016

Some kind of balance

In one week my event begins. I would say that I am a stress ball, but I'm not. There is very little left on my to-do list. Still more than I'd like at this point, but very little in the scheme of things.

The event is still shaping up to be my largest ever, with resultant multiplying issues and problems. We're all a little unprepared for an event of this magnitude. And with next year as my big 20 year celebration, I'm sure we'll have a similar experience. But in 2018 - what then? Still good attendance? A huge crash? These are questions we swing dance entrepreneurs have been asking ourselves since 1998, and yet we're still here. 

I am exhausted from long nights of paperwork and days of compulsive email and social media checking, yet am so hyped up that sitting quietly is kind of impossible, as much as I think I want that.

That is one thing about having a family - you have to be present for them; you have no choice. Right now diapers have to be changed, meals have to be cooked (and, of course, deposited in the garbage disposal untouched), baths administered, laundry done, etc etc. And like it or not, it does drag me out of the all-consuming insanity that the event becomes each summer. Tomorrow is the last weekend pre-event and I have to entertain them all day; I'm taking them to the baby kennel for a little while on Sunday but still have to make breakfast, dinner, etc. There will be no work accomplished for the next two days. And honestly, that is a good thing. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quiet desperation

I'm sitting at a tire place getting a flat tire repaired. I got it on the freeway last night on my way to the hotel to meet my new floor guy to take measurements. Good times. Still, no harm done - got the car up and moving, did the walk through, and got home by midnight. Thank goodness for flexible babysitters and AAA.

I had lunch with my old Nemesis the other day - which I do often. We have maintained a very positive and enjoyable friendship despite my all-consuming jealousy of her initially; I'm so glad I kept it to myself and just let it (eventually) pass as we both went on to have two children and live (mostly) happy lives. She was laid off from a high powered executive job in November and has not been able to get a new job since despite endless interviews and resume send outs. I really feel for her - I can't imagine trying to find a job in today's environment. Then she tells me - as I had suspected when she walked in - that she is pregnant again, and is in utter despair about it. She had no intention of ever having a third child and is distraught that this will make ever resuming her career that much more difficult. I really felt for her. Despite one mumsy moment when I had Theo, I quickly realized a third child in our lives would be an utter disaster, and push things from my usual "barely hanging on by the tip of my fingernails" to just falling right off that cliff. 

It's so funny how you go from being desperate to not have a baby to being desperate to have a baby to being desperate to not have a baby. I wonder how many third babies are brought into the world being unwanted but grudgingly tolerated. I wonder how many women of more than two children are boiling cauldrons of resentment. 

Is this why women in the sixties lived under hazes of Valium and booze?

I feel like there is a tipping point between two children being manageable and still being able to have somewhat of a life and having three and giving over to being consumed by family life. And many people want this, and that's great. But for me - no. Not one bit. I'm barely cutting it as it is, and this is only because I spend thousands a month on childcare even though I'm technically a stay at home mom. 

To those of you who adore little children and want nothing more to be in their presence, I salute you. The world needs you and you are awesome. I, on the other hand, especially this time of year when I have mountains of work and 800 other people that need my attention, am not that person.

Even though Bobby is starting kindergarten in just a year, I often despair when I think of how many years of my life are still going to be devoted to "little kid" stuff - diapers, major food issues, having to do everything for three people. It's three more years of having a preschooler when it comes to Theo; and when Bobby starts kindergarten our lives are going to turn upside down and not in a good way. We'll have to be up at 6 AM every day for the rest of our lives, and to try to align Theo's preschool schedule with Bobby's kindergarten schedule will cost about $1000 more a month, and even then I'll still be doing full childcare four days a week. The years 2017-2019 are going to suck. So I am going to enjoy this last leisurely year to the fullest. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Superman in heels

This is Bobby modeling his superman cape and my shoes from last night's gig.

I'm delighted when I think how cool and progressive our kids are going to be. It all starts with momma's heels.

Tomorrow we finally get together with Bobby & Theo's "diblings" - twin girls about to turn three. For now I have decided to not make a big deal about it and just tell Bobby we're meeting up with friends - we'll be at a playground where all four kids will probably run off in four directions anyway - and if it becomes a regular thing then maybe have "the talk" about his origins and who these girls are. I think that would all be over his head at the moment and he hasn't asked so I haven't been in a rush to tell him. He knows we're just a mommy family (without use of the word "just" of course!) and that he mysteriously came out of my belly, but that's about it. 

I am flirting with the idea of starting a Facebook group with our donor number to see if anyone finds us. I'll run it by the girls' moms and see if they'd be interested. Even though much of my interest in donor siblings has waned since having Theo (largely just because my plate is more than full at the moment) I do still think it would be great to have a network of half-siblings for the boys if they want access some day.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Three weeks

Today I came home to the puzzling sight of my garage door closed. But it didn't look like my garage door - it was so dark from years of dirt from not being used that it looked like a cool vintage-y copper door, which in my foolishness I thought someone had "surprise" installed for me, like the BF or my sister or the neighborhood council that once painted over all the graffiti on the garage walls. But upon closer look it was in fact my old door just pulled down (years ago the automatic door closer stopped working and I just never fixed it) - and as I bent down to wrench it open, I smelled the stench of stale cigarettes, and to my horror, discovered a homeless guy camped out in there with all his stuff. 

I blurted out, "excuse me!!! I need to park here now!" And he grumbled some curses at me and trundled along, leaving all his crap behind for me to clean up, not to mention all my wires pulled down and everything just a big mess. 

I'm pretty rattled. That garage has been the bane of my existence for some time, but to make it so I can fit an actual car in it and close the door might require extensive and expensive (and possibly not even permittable) renovations. Still, I think it's time I get an estimate. If nothing else it can be something I can work towards. Between my garage being vandalized, my car repeatedly broken into, and now this, I think I need to just find the money. 

In other news, Bobby's poop situation is *somewhat* resolved. It culminated in me just having to pin him down and clean him out and put on balm over and over and then force him to sit on the potty and poop every night, all amidst screaming and crying. It's been a nightmare. But at least we're at the end of the nightmare. 

There are only three full weeks left until my event. I have to work my butt off every day and every night until Labor Day. I feel like I can do it...I think I can do it. In the meantime in between answering emails we did get a lovely couple of hours in the park today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Everything is poop

So, Bobby is having one of his yearly strange constipation/fear of poop episodes, and it is driving me to drink.

It started with him suddenly not pooping in the potty anymore but instead going in his overnight diaper, which was a bit disappointing but I figured was just a minor setback. But then he didn't go for a couple of days, and then...uh oh...started that weird, pained clenching where he refuses to go, but then little bits squeeze out anyway, and then he picks at it all day, and it gets red and sore, and then he won't poop because his butt hurts, and he won't let me wipe it, and then his butt hurts more, and then he's up all night screaming because it hurts. This has been going on for days and I am so fucking over it I could drive us all off a cliff. 

My entire life has been washing out shitty underpants, pleading with and cajoling him to please try to sit on the toilet, please let me clean him up, please let me get some balm in there so at least it won't hurt so much, all of which is met with screaming and crying. This is all we do all day and all night long. It's a fucking nightmare that just never ends. 

What happens when he's at school? Nothing, I'm assuming. He comes home picking his butt and with underwear full of shit I have to clean up, and then he spends all night clenching and screaming and crying. 

Today I snuck some miralax into his water although he hasn't drunk any yet, and have been putting lots of diaper rash cream on his butt (all amidst tons of screaming and crying and refusal) in the vague hopes that it might make things at least somewhat better.

We're supposed to spend all day at the Ventura county fair tomorrow as my sister's visiting and I'm going to pull him out of school so we can spend one day together. Just praying we can make it through. 

I'm so stressed out I'm pulling random muscles and stubbing toes on furniture that hasn't moved position in fifteen years. Stick a fork in me - I'm DONE.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hitting the ground running

I'm hitting the ground running upon return. There is so much to do in such a short amount of time. My event - the biggest one in my nineteen years of operation by about an extra 25% - looms five weeks away. Despite all the jobs I've delegated out, most of it still falls on my shoulders, mainly, the every day work of processing orders and customer service. Because of our numbers I've had to add new things - extra classes, extra rooms, parking options - that are all more work and more money from my end. Bigger is not always better. I told my sister, until I'm rolling around in all my money naked, none of this extra work and stress feels worth it. Perhaps I'll feel differently on September 6th.

Theo is starting to use the potty, and Bobby is pretty much staying dry all night with the exception of the occasional maddening poop. I am reveling in the first event prep summer in which I am not doing childcare 100% of the time. To be honest I don't really get much work done during the daytime - I'm too acclimated to working at night at this point - but it's a great time for work phone calls and complicated errands. The other day I even got in the pool for a few minutes, a dream of mine since 2012. 

Theo is becoming quite the little man lately - he speaks in full sentences, just not ones we can understand. He is taller and thinner and no longer has his fat little belly. He and brother sleep in the same bed every night which is beyond adorable. He has become a sporadic eater and cannot sit still during mealtimes, which drives me nuts, but thankfully I went through this once before so I know what to expect.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Back to my stupid life!

Welp, I'm baaaack! 

Despite my wicked sunburn I had a really good time. I think The Big Island runs a very close second to my favorite Hawaiian island, Kauai. I picked an excellent travel companion in my friend Nancy. She was fun and up for anything and easy going. Everyone should be like this!

We saw caves, beaches, waterfalls, and volcanoes. We did a nighttime manta ray snorkel tour which was awesome. I won't lie - jumping into dark ocean water and hanging on to a questionable surfboard/pvc pipe contraption while waiting for the giant sea creatures to arrive had me a bit panicky and questioning my life choices. But they were serene and friendly and a few deep breathing exercises and I forgot that my throat felt like it was going to close up and choke me. Win win.

We did a snorkel tour of a few prime spots on Monday which was neat. I finally got a lot of use out of my snorkel set I bought during an ill-advised attempt at scuba diving some years ago. With the help of a 30spf t shirt I managed to do no further damage to my crimson back. When I go back to any part of Hawaii I am wearing these every time I go to the beach. Not sexy at all but it's clear to me now that sunscreen cannot be trusted that close to the equator, not for me anyway.

Highlights? Pretty much everything we did was awesome, thanks to extensive research on TripAdvisor and Yelp. Every attraction was fun and all the restaurants top notch. Between this and gps, vacations are a snap these days. How did we ever function without them???

First black sand beach! Fascinating! And with turtles...

A blissful moment on Hapuna beach before I burned the shit out of myself...

Farmer's market in Waimea where I bought $70 worth of jams that should show up in two weeks - yippee!

Rainbow Falls where I want to spend a whole day next time:

And Kapopo tide pools, also worth an entire day but we ran out of time:

Lovely birthday dinner on Sunday at Merrimen's in Waimea - I turned 44 in style!

Snorkeling around Captain Cook monument - crazy reef that drops off to over 120 feet deep:

Kaumana caves with graffiti from the teens and twenties:

And a final lovely sunset dinner on the beach last night:

It was a great trip. The pain from sunburn on my back and legs put a little damper on things, but didn't ruin it. Also having to drive two hours to get anywhere kind of sucked - they don't call it The Big Island for nothin' - but allowed for lots of good conversation and roadside discoveries. We would have had to spend a month there to even begin to get through all of the things I wanted to see and do. Guess I'll just have to come back a few more times! 

I read The Course of Love written by the guy who spoke on the This American Life episode about relationships that changed my life, and it was excellent. I also chipped away at The Denial of Death which was fascinating. Can't wait to really delve into that once my event is over.

Speaking of my event...well, a million people are signed up* (*slight exaggeration) and that's great and all, but it's causing lots of logistical problems. Our discounted room block is sold out and everyone is freaking out because they thought they still had a month to get a room. I am trying to arrange an overflow situation at a hotel nearby. The contests are filling up, and I have decided to spend the $10,000 or so to add another class track just to take the pressure off the other now overcrowded classes. Everyone wants special considerations, partial refunds, their own hotel room, me to fix all their problems and make everything ok. Oh, and I was called out online for suggesting on my website that it's not polite to turn down a dance and then turn around and dance with someone else - common dance floor etiquette that has been blown up into an attack on women having control of their own bodies and that I'm condoning rape culture. Yes. This is the kind of crap I have to deal with. Good times. So yeah, the event is successful and that's great and everything, but ughhhhhhhh

The BF snuck cute birthday and anniversary cards in my luggage and signed one from the boys. Awwww. 

The boys did great in my absence and even tried some new foods (yay). I admit I did miss them a lot and got a little weepy looking at all the tanned little kids running around on the beach, thinking about what a kick they would get out of it. I really hope we can have some lovely visits there with extended family someday. But for now my perhaps last single gals' trip was a blast and I'm so glad I went. 

Now...back to my stupid life!!!