Same book, new chapter

It has been a busy two weeks as I’ve crammed in as many dentist appointments as my kids’ mouths would allow.  My husband started with a new company after quitting a truly corrupt and vindictive one and that meant we were on a serious deadline for what we could have done with our insurance.  I was able to get three kids in for cleanings, fillings, and extractions.  The kids may be unhappy with me now, but they’ll thank me later.

We’re starting the next chapter in our family and I’m optimistic.  Although we would love to have Robert home each night, he’s not at a point where he can do that just yet.  Since his experience is with entertainment transportation, and that seems to be where the money is, that’s where he’ll stay for the time being.  I do hope that it opens the door to other opportunities leading him back home that would allow us to do family activities.  I know that’s his desire, as well.  But for now,  he keeps on truckin’.

The two youngest kids will be starting a new school in mid August and I’m so excited for them!  We’ve homeschooled for the last four years (and I’ve not done what I set out to do) and I believe we have a close bond because of it.  I think their time with me out of the public school setting has allowed them the freedom to further explore their interests and talents.  Hannah has developed a love of dance, art, and theater,  Elijah has a comedic wit about him that he’s been allowed to nurture, and Matthew has cultivated his love of music and languages.  I honestly believe that having the kids away from the constant scrutiny of their peers has allowed them to strengthen their foundation in order to pursue what truly makes them happy without worrying about criticism.

I do have some concern about the influence the new kids will have on mine but I think that may be overshadowed by my joy in knowing they’ll develop friendships.  I’m hoping that since this school is geared towards the arts the kids they befriend will be more quirky and less materialistic.  It remains to be seen.

Robert has a new job, the kids have a new school, what do I have to look forward to?  My goal is to write more because I enjoy it and to look into possible freelance opportunities.  I think it’s a great way to get my feet wet and I won’t know unless I try, right?  Hopefully I can couple my writing with my weight loss trials, as well.  I’m failing at it and I’m sure others are too, so maybe our commiseration will lead to success!  Well, that’s what my fat ass is wanting anyway…

I have goals.

I’m also determined to declutter my life.  I have too much stuff and not enough space to store it.  Our belongings invade my space and it bothers my brain-it’s hard to focus when nothing is where it should be.  So I’d like to throw a bunch of unecessary crap away.

I have a dumpster and I’m not afraid to use it.

Clothes, papers, shoeboxes;  just junk  I don’t need and want to be rid of.  I’m about to throw two of my thrift store chairs out and get a couple of bean bag chairs or something.  My animals won’t stay off the furniture so there’s no point in having anything nice since they hair bomb it.  Sweetpea decided she couldn’t get a good enough cubby hole in our big comfy chair so she ate a good chunk into it.  Foam balls everywhere.  Our kitten, Phillip, loves to use this foam as soccer balls so I find them all over the house-even in my bed.  Can you picture it?  Lord help me.

So here we are, standing at the precipice.  We can embark on this new adventure knowing it may have its tough spots but if we keep our eyes on the prize,  I think it will be worthwhile.

A midday hike to clear my head

I’m getting increasingly stressed about the idea of my husband switching jobs-the company he is currently with is making certain changes which are not conducive to a good working environment and so he is looking at his options.  This means we will no longer have the same insurance and we’ll most likely take a financial hit.  He’s in the trucking industry and is away for long stretches of time.  While he’s been away, two of the kids have moved out, the other three are rapidly moving closer to adulthood, and his own health has declined.  I’d love to see him find employment that has him home in the evenings or at the very least, the weekends.  We all miss him and want him to be healthy and happy.

In order for him to possibly have a local job, he would most likely be forced to take a serious pay cut which would mean we would have to pick up the slack somewhere…this means me.  Somehow, I need to make some money.  I haven’t worked since 2010 when I was a home health aide.  Before that, I taught for a year at a private school, was a substitute teacher, and was in college completing my degree in English.  Honestly, I have no clue what I would even be good at, let alone where to begin my search.  I would absolutely love to work from home but is there even such a thing anymore?  I know people somehow manage to earn money off of their blogging and various other social media ventures but I’m completely out of my element in that area.  How exactly does one do that?

So here I am-what does an unemployed 42 year old mother of five kids do when faced with the challenge of finding supplemental income?

I grabbed my daughter and we went for a hike yesterday.  I needed to get some nature in my lungs, be off of my bed, outside of my house, away from the noise in my head.  I needed some pine trees, wildflowers, and bugs crawling in my socks-some sweat, slippery dirt, and climbing.  I also realized quickly just how out of shape I’d gotten.


 

About halfway up, I realized I had worn the wrong shoes.  Converse sneakers do not have the tread needed to navigate through the slippery surfaces and I easily envisioned myself landing with my feet over my head and having to be helicoptered out of there. We’d be easy to find between my heavy breathing and Hannah’s lime green socks.

We spotted several lizards that seemed to be trying to race us down the hill and only encountered a handful of people, which was very nice.  There was quite a collection of poops along the trail and I’m sure at least one was from the mountain lion the sign at the gate warned us about.

The sun felt good on my bare arms and the breeze helped relax me somewhat.  Bonding with my girl was a great escape-exactly what I needed.  She’ll be twelve in August and I relish the time we spend together while I’m still in her good favor;  before I turn into the woman that no longer knows anything.

As for extra money and me gaining employment, who knows, I don’t know what I’m qualified to do other than possibly work at Taco Bell.  What does a B.A. in English get you nowadays other than snickers and giggles from engineers?

Laughter is the bees knees

My kids are a constant source of amusement, whether they’re creating comic strips, drawing, writing stories-you name it, they keep me entertained.

They took this little snippet while staying at my mom’s for a visit and I laugh out loud each time I watch it. I think they need their own Youtube channel.

Wino

Day 4

I haven’t had a drink since Monday night when I decided that I really need to let my liver have a vacation.  I came to that conclusion after my second martini.

Wine is my favorite drink;  red wine, to be specific.  I follow wine people on Instagram-they’re always cheery with a full glass in their hands wearing their fancy dresses and high heels that I’d break my neck in.  There’s a certain alluring quality to the image.

The reality is, I don’t have occasion to wear the fancy dresses or high heels.  I drink to quiet my mind and have a sense of peace, even if it only lasts until I refill my glass.  I’d like to say it hasn’t become an issue.  I’d like to say that I don’t think about it a thousand times throughout the day.

I’m overwhelmed with the chaos my oldest son has brought to my house.  His drug addiction and the “friends” who follow him are inescapable.  I have mothers and aunts showing up at my door looking for their kids.  “I have no idea where they are,”  I say.  Because I don’t and I really don’t care.

His drug addiction has infested my house like a bad case of roaches and no matter what I do to try to rid myself of them, they multiply and hide in the shadows.

Have you ever heard what comes out of an addict’s mouth?

“Fuck the police.”

“I stabbed my mom’s boyfriend in the head.”

“I’m not afraid of guns.”

“I hate you and wish you’d never been born.”

One of the many reasons I’ve become so fond of having a glass in my hand-It settles these conversations;  quiets them enough so I can get through my day.  But lately, the drinks have become the louder voice and infiltrate any quiet I manage to get.

So I’m taking a break.  It’s hard.  Real hard, I won’t lie.

I have a restraining order against my son and between that and everything else he brings, I’ve been a bit stressed.  Understatement of the century, folks.  But I have other kids and they deserve more than a mom too buried in guilt and intoxication to take them out to dinner or to go buy book 4 in the series they’re reading.

I’ll do it because I can and because I don’t like to lose.

 

Thrift Store Life

I buy my furniture from thrift stores.  Five kids, three dogs, and 6 million cats make having nice furniture cost prohibitive-not to mention the mental anguish it causes me to have something I enjoy ruined.  So, I usually grab a kid and head to our local thrift store when it’s time to replace something.  Our latest purchase was an olive-green wing back chair, circa 1965.  It had faint patterns woven into the fabric and as the clerk said, it’s got great bones.  No rips or tears that I could find and it didn’t smell of doctor’s office-I think I paid about $20 with the coupon I’d received in my email.  That’s a pretty good deal, in my opinion.

I already knew where I wanted to place this new chair-near the tv, close to the window, by the door.  I could find a lovely throw to place over the top and be able to sit there with my coffee and look out the window.  That was the idea.  Sweetpea, my ugly little terrier mix, had other ideas.  She promptly jumped up and made herself quite at home.  I yelled at her to get down but knew I had to temper my anger somewhat because, little did I know when I named her, all this dog would do is pee when she gets upset.  So I tried to raise my voice an octave and calmly say, “Sweetpea, come on, get down.”  She lowered her face into the chair and raised her beady eyes at me.  “Sweetpea, let’s go, get down.”  I snapped my fingers towards the floor to let her know I meant business.  Apparently she did too because she peed all over my new old chair and then scurried away.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

It would appear that not only did I need to buy thrift store furniture, I needed to keep the furniture covered in towels like my grandma.  She always kept her chairs and couch covered in towels to prevent wear and tear on her purchases-she was a product of The Great Depression so everything she bought she put a lot of thought into. Her pieces meant something to her.  Mine are utilitarian and though I try to find something cute and quirky, who would ever know because they’re covered in towels!  I’m overrun with animals who dirty my things out of revenge.

I would love to have my mom over to visit-she’d like to come by for a cup of coffee after doing her weekly bank business, but she insists on wearing black pants.  Harmless, yes, you’d think that were true.  Not in my house of three chairs-one each containing a Sweetpea, Baxter, and random cat.  Each chair has a towel, each towel has an animal, and under each animal is a towel covered in animal hair.  So my mom, with her black pants, would leave my house wearing not-so-black fluffy pants.  I tell her to wear jeans, she won’t.

The animals aren’t the only mess makers, however.  As I mentioned, I have five kids-one of whom has since moved away.  But even only four kids make crappy furniture a necessity.    My oldest son is a walking disaster;  his hands are always dirty and doesn’t see the need for soap.  He usually leaves his half drunk milk on the floor next to a chair and his cereal bowl with mushy Fruit Loops atop a guitar amp.  He’s nearly 22 and I feel for his future wife.

My 14-year-old son has an aversion to water so his feet are usually dirty and I can tell where he likes to sit since he leaves dirty footprints on a chair towel or pretty pink chenille throw.  I ask him why he doesn’t wash his feet and he likes to give me varying excuses ranging from “The water, it burns!” to “Notice didn’t get sick at Christmas, unlike the rest of you?  That’s because I’ve built up my antibodies.”  Clever dirty boy.

The eleven year old, my only girl, has developed an addiction to making slime.  She makes a new batch nearly every day, though I’m seriously running into an Elmer’s glue shortage in my area.  Did you know slime making is an actual thing on Instagram?  Hordes of kids and adults make it-some use glitter, paint, styrofoam balls…you name it, they’ll put it into the slime.  So, it should come as no surprise when I say that I have glitter everywhere.  Everywhere.  It’s on the tile, in the furniture, in the cat’s fur…I find little specks in my socks and on my eyelid.  The slime itself can usually be found next to the sink in random bowls I attempt to put into the dishwasher.  Dried clumps that were failed slime attempts and the really mushy ones that she plans to save but hasn’t yet transferred into her very own slime bowls. If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry.

I tell myself that furniture pieces are just objects upon which to rest or socialize.  They don’t have to be fancy, just sturdy, and can easily be replaced.  There will come a time when the kids are grown and off with their own families, my messy dear little dogs and cats will have left this earth, and it will just be me and my husband.  We can have expensive fabric chairs and couches if we wish, but I’ll always trade, in a heartbeat, those material things, for the messy little fingers and toes all over my olive-green, circa 1965, thrift store chair.

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(August 2015, my brood at my brother’s wedding)