Monday, February 29, 2016

Final week

Last night was the last night in the room that has been my bedroom for fifteen years. It will be sad to give up my pleasant, quiet room at the back of the house with a view of the pool for the dark, less private center bedroom. But the value in having the boys in the back room trumps my desire to stay there. So, move I go.

All of my furniture is piled up in my dining room. I will be camping out on the couch for at least two more nights. In other words, now comes the gnarly part.

I would like to thank everyone who has weighed in on my relationship issues. I have read all the comments with much interest and have taken them to heart. I can see that my readers are just as polarized as I am about it!

I vacillate constantly between the "he's a good man, he loves you and the kids, you don't throw someone away just over a few bad habits" to "dump him now, you deserve better, these bad habits could have disastrous future implications". Every single day I have both of these thoughts at the same time. It is exhausting and leaves me drained and sad.

I don't feel like I need a boyfriend - I lived practically my entire life without one, and wouldn't be devastated if I went back to being single. But the benefits cannot be denied. Being all alone in the world with no nearby family and no devoted friends, it sure is nice to have someone who makes us a priority and would drop everything to help us/save us in an emergency. This weekend after working his butt off all week he spent the entire weekend with me at ikea buying furniture for the boys, fixing things around the house, and wresting with the boys while I got things done. I don't know how easy it would be to find someone else who would be this devoted to us, quite honestly. 

Then he goes out to the porch to smoke his millionth cigarette of the day and I want to strangle him. And so it goes.

In the meantime, Theo turns two in two weeks, and starts school two days later, which is going to be huge. I have been sticking to my diet - and let me tell you, dieting fucking sucks - and it's working. I am now down to 142 pounds. I could stop around 140, or continue on to 135 if I'm feeling ambitious. I'll play that one by ear. My bandleader sabotaged our weekend gig in Northern California next month by not returning the organizer's calls, and didn't even tell me it was off until I asked why they hadn't booked our flights yet. So, good times there. Bobby is doing awesome on the potty, I'm so proud of him and the little man he's becoming. I somehow have to get my taxes done in two weeks and plan a dual birthday party. Lord help me.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Day four

We're on Day 4 of renovations or, as I like to call it, Living in Chaos. Honestly, it hasn't been so bad. These four days of painting and plastering have been much better than the two of rewiring, partially because I'm just in it now, head down, fists clenched, with the light at the end of the tunnel looming, and partially because I am no longer nauseated, which makes everything more bearable.

I've been camped out on the couch all week, which is an odd throwback to the couple of months I left Theo in my room while I slept on the couch before I moved him up to the attic. Access to our clothes is difficult since all the furniture is pushed together and covered in drop cloths, and I really wish I'd planned a bit better and not just left my dirty bed linens all piled on the bed along with other random objects that are now sealed in a plaster dust and plastic drop cloth cocoon. 

There was brief hope yesterday that the floor guys would start tomorrow and finish Saturday, meaning the job would be done by Sunday. But now it looks like the painters may not even be done tomorrow. And so it goes. For sure by middle of next week, though, we'll be there.

I was glad Bobby didn't react badly to his room being painted over with wallpaper primer. I warned him about it for days, so when he finally saw it yesterday evening, he said he liked it. I'm not sure how he's processing all the changes. The last couple of days he's been pretty mean to me - I find myself repeatedly lecturing him about not hurting people's feelings and that saying certain things to people is mean; I'm not sure if he's acting out because of all the upheaval or if he's just at that phase of development.

When I was his age my mother was getting a divorce and dragging me and my sister into a series of flaky living arrangements, including one involving a woman who apparently had a crush on her and bent all the keys of my mother's typewriter when she was spurned. So...yeah. I think Bobby so far is living a way happier, more stable life than I did.

Here are some photos of the stenciling, including Banksy stencils, my sister painstakingly painted in Bobby's room that are now gone forever. *sniff*

Monday, February 22, 2016

Renovations, week II

When I brought Bobby home from school I told him I had to show him something crazy. I showed him my room, his future room, which currently looks like this: 

His response? 

"I hate this."

I laughed so hard I almost pissed myself. Like mother, like son. Ha ha ha!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Renovations begin

Last week my renovations began. It looks like it's going to be a marathon rather than a sprint, but that's ok with me. The inconvenience is minimized - apparently I only need to be out of my room a couple of nights, not weeks - as we'll be doing things one week at a time. Last week was rewiring both bedrooms (with two new outlets and carbon monoxide detectors in both). This week will be patching, walls and ceiling (my current room is in desperate need of a complete re-plaster). This week will suck. Week after is flooring which will have me sleeping in the dining room for a couple of nights. Then all the little details - light fixtures, new door knobs, shelves, wall paper. But as soon as the floors are done the boys move in together. Which puts Theo out of the attic for the first time in a year, and into a toddler bed. Then right after that he turns two and starts school. That's a lot of change for the little guy. I hope we can all weather it.

This last week was rough. I was still nauseated all week, and one day had to get up at 6 to let in contractors who didn't end up showing up until nearly nine anyway. It poured rain so I had nothing to do with Theo except drive around in circles. Oh, it sucked. I also just freak out when my home is chaotic and invaded. I hate it so much. But it has to happen. 

This week should have good weather so hopefully I can get in some walks as part of my diet. It's going well - down the three pounds I'm supposed to be at this point, so if I stay on track I will lose all the weight I want in the next 1-2 months. 

I discovered, after checking out the sign in forms at B's school, that the morning drop off does not have to be 7:30 AM. The gal watching the door told me mornings are flexible, that kids can be dropped off as late as nine. I was delighted! This means that when B starts kindergarten at 8 I can potentially drop T at preschool afterwards instead of getting up even earlier. So, that was a bit of a relief.

The Boyfriend casually mentioned the other night that he really wants to quit smoking, apropos of nothing. I was shocked, but didn't want to jump all over it - we talked a little bit about the pros and cons of nicotine gum before he went out to, of course, have a cigarette. I'm not sure where to go from here - it's so important to handle this gingerly; I know if I push, as I was planning, it could be disastrous. But the fact that it's something he's thinking about is a huge step in the right direction. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

My smelly Valentine

So, I finally have a Valentine's Day in a serious relationship, a first for me, and it was nothing short of a disaster. All because - guess what? I have yet another stomach bug!!!

The day before I felt sort of weak and shaky and diarrhea-y; I had chalked it up to my new diet and spending all week marching around in the hot sun. But Theo had spots of diarrhea all week, too, so I knew something was in the air. We had a challenging weekend in which I had a singing gig that went until 1 AM Saturday, then had to get up extra early the next morning to get to the baby kennel to drop the kids so The Boyfriend and I could go to the atheist church I went to a couple of times when the boys were younger. There we ran into some online atheist friends of The Boyfriend and went to lunch with them. At least this made him really happy - I was having horrible stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea at this point, but was managing to keep it together. Then we took a nap and picked up the kids, then went to our Valentines activity which was seeing his favorite movie, Moulin Rouge, at this historic theater downtown where they make a big event out of it; floor shows, dancing, bars, etc. The Boyfriend had been talking about how much he loves this movie since we first met, and has been so excited about this event. But by this time I felt so horrible, especially from having not eaten all day, that every minute I wanted to tell him that I just wanted to stay in bed. But again I sucked it up because it meant so much to him.

We skipped dinner because I couldn't bear the thought of sitting in a restaurant around food. Once we got to the theater, it was packed and loud and hot - we got seats in the nosebleed section and there were all kinds of problems around us; a loud drunk girl needing to be forcibly evicted, a foursome who got up to get a drink, came back twenty minutes later to find their seats taken and got in a big fight about it.

All the perfect environment for you when you're weak with hunger but horribly nauseated, throat and mouth so dry but every time you take a sip of water your stomach churns in painful spasms, and constantly afraid you're going to shit your pants. So, yeah, good times.

Then at last the movie starts. And it is completely inaudible. For some reason the sound is so bad that you can't hear any of the dialogue and it's just a muddy mess; everyone starts leaving and shouting for them to fix it. They turn it off, make a sweaty announcement about trying to repair the bad mix, start it up again - only to have it be exactly the same. At least this is my out - I tell The Boyfriend I can't follow it because I can't hear anything and I really just want to go home. We stumble out to the lobby where tons of angry patrons are yelling at the hapless door workers about getting refunds. The Boyfriend gets a shitty fast food dinner because he's starving, I eat a tablespoon of applesauce (resulting in intense cramping and stomach churning and general misery) and collapse into bed without brushing my teeth and with a full face of makeup on.

Oh, and no school today because it's yet another pointless school closing holiday. Awesome.

So for now the issues between me & The Boyfriend have been tabled. I need to get well first (still feeling pretty awful today, but better than yesterday) and we need to get back to some kind of norm where he's not working until midnight every night and exhausted and stressed out. 

At least all this stomach upset has jump started my ineffective diet. I'm down three pounds as of today. So...there's that.

Friday, February 12, 2016


My wood arrived today. It now has to "cure" inside the house for two weeks. I paid the flooring guy a large fee to haul it up my stairs in the 90 degree SoCal heat (yes, we're having a freakish heat wave at the moment); worth every penny. I now have two weeks of peace and quiet before everything turns upside down. I am dreading those following two weeks of construction so hard. I am going to move up my nightly tax work to next week so I can relax in the evenings when the work is going on. Who knows how bad it will get - if B may even be left with no room for a night or two - so I need my evenings to be as peaceful as possible. 

It's been an odd week. Over the weekend I got the wild hair to have a serious sit down with The Boyfriend; a possible relationship-ender. Which has sent me into a maelstrom of mixed feelings and second guessing. And then he ended up having the worst week of his life at work - everyone calling in sick and him having to manage on his own, working until almost midnight every night and miserable. He's gone home every night. So, not a good time to confront him. And now it's Valentine's Day in two days. Sigh. There's just never a good time to have "the talk".

Number one is I have to tell him he has to make a plan to quit smoking, or I'm out. He has many unhealthy, compulsive habits, but this is by far the worst as it directly affects me and my kids. Next is the all-day guzzling of energy drinks. Then it's the compulsive shopping and bad financial habits. He finally got health insurance at the end of the year, and I was excited to have him finally have a thorough checkup and get his teeth looked at - only to cancel it before it even started because he "can't afford it", yet every time we go anywhere he insists on spending hours in the gift shop to buy the boys tons of plastic crap they don't need, and throws away way more than he'd be spending on health insurance on cigarettes and energy drinks each day. It's infuriating. I had convinced myself that until we were living together or married that these were his problems and not mine...but now, seven months in, I'm questioning if I even should be contemplating a future with someone who has such an addictive, compulsive nature. It scares the crap out of me, truth be told.

And it's such a shame because he is a really good man. Good character, good brain, excellent with the kids. He's not perfect; nor am I, or anyone. But I just don't think I can live with his flaws. If he can't quit smoking and stay quit I just don't think I can go on. I have no idea how he's going to react to this. I brought it up once via text when we first started dating and he was kind of weird and defensive...and I resolved to not bring it up again so as not to be a nag. But the time has come. He'll either love me enough to quit and get healthy for us, or he won't and I'll move on. And that's that.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Diet day 4

Well, it's day four of my improvised diet and walking regime. Feeling like I needed some guidance, I started using an app that helps me track calories and exercise to make sure I stay on track. Even with these long sweaty walks every day and feeling like I'm starving myself, I have yet to lose even a quarter of a pound, and it looks like even losing five lousy pounds will take six weeks. 

I guarantee I put those five pounds on in one late night peanut butter and honey in a spoon frenzy. It's so unfair, isn't it?

I survived making heart shaped sugar cookies with my three year old tonight. It actually was fun. Cooking with my kids is something I've always thought I would do, but the practicality of it - hot ovens, sharp knives, messes - can be daunting. Still, I let B help me make some of the Christmas candies, and he enjoyed it so much that he still talks about it. He did great with the cookies tonight. And I think I'm pretty good about giving him jobs he can get a kick out of - like rolling out the dough, putting on the sprinkles, dumping ingredients in the bowl. I'm really hoping we can do more of this as he and his brother get older. Nothing sexier than a man who cooks, right?

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Weight

After a few months of pussyfooting around, I am determined to lose weight. I had always promised myself I wouldn't let myself go above 140 pounds, and yet here I am at 146, which apart from a brief stint in my early thirties, is the heaviest I've ever been outside of pregnancy. As with all of us, I've vacillated between "ah, who cares, you're not even technically overweight; you're older, you have two small children, just accept yourself and love your body," to "I know damned well the reason I'm this heavy is because I eat like crap and never move. I need to get my ass in gear." I don't even think I look that bad - but I do know that all of my clothes are too small, my jeans push my belly fat above the waist band into this super appealing paunch of flesh that didn't used to be there, I perpetually look about five months pregnant, and the $350 I just spent on fabulous 1940's gowns from Etsy was entirely for naught because both of them are a size too small. 

I was hovering around 144 until Bobby started school every day. Then instead of spending Tuesdays and Thursdays on long sweaty walks with the kids in the jogging stroller, I sit at home on my ass pissing around on the computer while Theo naps. That and a little too much enthusiastic winter baking and blammo - three more pounds. 

Back around 2004 when I was equally determined to lose weight I engineered a sensible diet for myself - dramatic cut down of carbs, no sweets, small portions, healthy stuff, plus a short Pilates workout every morning. I lost 25 pounds in a couple of months and kept it off for several years. But it was a lot of work to stay that skinny. Ultimately, I decided it wasn't worth it.

But. I think it's realistic to try to drop 5-10 pounds over the next couple of months by just making better choices. I already eat pretty damned well - no soda, no snacking, no junk food, no cereal, rarely desserts, no processed food, rarely pasta, and cook everything from scratch. You would think I'd be thin as a rail, wouldn't you? Nope. I guess there's always room for improvement!

My goal is to fit into my Etsy dresses by our next weekend event gig first weekend of March. I may not make it but I'm going to try. Theo officially starts school Tuesdays and Thursdays on March 15, so I can use those days to do challenging hikes. I can do this!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Yesterday on a whim I decided to look up kindergarten hours for Bobby's future school. Although the website only had grades 1-6 hours listed, I at least got a sense of our future (next year!), and for a long time schedule; 8 AM (gulp) to 2-ish. 

This shouldn't have come as a shock to me, since I vaguely remember my high school starting at 8:25 AM. But for some reason the reality of getting up at potentially 6 AM for the next two decades  sent me into a weird panic. 

I had always thought I'd just throw a trench coat over my pajamas and drop the kids at school and then go home and go back to bed, as my late-hours-working mother did. And eventually I will do this. But I didn't take into account the two years that T will be in preschool at completely opposite hours; starting at 12:30 which gives me only about one lousy hour a day to myself before it's time to pick up Bobby, and even worse, four miserable hours in the morning to try to keep a three year old entertained while big brother is at school. Every day. 

So, dragging my ass out of bed at 6 AM and doing full-time child care with one hour off each day while I juggle two kids under six, for fourteen hours a day.

No. Just no.

The only thing to it is to switch Theo to morning hours at preschool to at least allow me some time in the morning - four hours - before he has to be picked up at 12:30 and then Bobby around 2. It still sucks but sucks slightly less. Except T would have to be dropped at 7:30 AM. Kill me. Kill me now.

I'm sure some kind of supplemental stuff could be used to help me - nannies, after school programs, activities - but all at additional cost. I don't think there's much getting around the fact that fall of 2017-fall of 2019 are going to be really awful. 

I guess I didn't realize just how good I have it right now. We have this awesome, lazy schedule - we don't get up before 9 AM, have nearly three hours to get our acts together before school (so luxurious with kids this age who take forever to do anything and fight putting on shoes, brushing teeth, etc etc), and then once school is over it's dinner and bed. I get two hours to myself every day when Theo naps (or messes around in his crib while I work), and once he starts school (next month?) I'll have five hours a day to myself at least a couple of days a week. 

I've been horribly spoiled. The next two years with both kids in afternoon preschool are going to be the best. But then it all comes crashing down when B starts kindergarten (which may actually let out a lot earlier than posted) and I'm stuck doing full childcare again every single afternoon...pretty much forever. 

Of course I'm forgetting that when this happens I'll have a five year old and three year old. They will be completely different kids who may even be able to entertain themselves, not have to be hovered over on playgrounds for fear of falling, and will actually eat something. I may actually enjoy taking them around town for after school adventures. 

But right now I'm kind of freaked out by how restricted my life is going to be come next year. I thought I was finally going to see a little freedom...but it looks like it's going to be only temporary. I guess there's nothing to it but enjoy it while I have it, right???

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It's good to be the king

So, registration for my nineteenth event opened last night. Last year, my biggest year ever, opening night I got about 80 people, which was a record. In the past, opening night would yield anywhere from one (ouch) to forty (meh) people. As of right now I have about 160 people and enough money to live on until summer. Hello!

Is it possible that after two decades of struggle I have at last hit my stride with this event? Have I finally "made it"?

I am excited (I was psyching myself up for potentially having an "off" year in preparation for next year's giant 20th event celebration), but also a little scared. Little mom-and-pop events like this do great when they're small and manageable; you kind of know everybody and people tend to follow the rules. Once the event reaches a certain tipping point...well...things get crowded and chaotic and scary. Already I've had to handle several bitter emails complaining about how quickly my lower-priced tiers sold out ( snooze you lose), one guy even filing a fraudulent charge complaint against me as a way to get his money back on PayPal when he saw he didn't win my free pass contest (I will be challenging this). So, yeah. It's good to be the king. But it's also a little scary.

Today I had an electrician over to see about re-wiring my bedrooms before doing all the work to move the boys into mine; I am hoping to start the work this month. The contractor reminded me that once I order the hardwood it needs to "rest" inside my house for two weeks before it can be installed, and she said the work (floor installation, ceiling plastering, painting), will take another two weeks. Two weeks of having my life turned upside down and sleeping in the (open) dining room. Oh, it's going to be SO awful. Part of me wants to chuck everything and just switch bedrooms by moving furniture and the heck with the rest of it. But. The money is there now, and may not be again. The time to do it is now. I know people with toddlers and new babies all living in one room while they camp out with friends while their house sells, so it could be worse, right?