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Monday, June 2, 2014

Motherhood Sucks

Motherhood sucks

My oldest is 14, I only have 2 kids and I am still on my first husband. And in a minute you will see why it is nice that he is still putting up with me. Husband is in the military so we move every few years and it was hard to find career worthy jobs – I decided to stay home and call that my job. Well it was way too thankless.

At work you get paid, and the boss doesn’t care what you do with that money. As a SAHM you are expected to keep everyone happy while figuring out how to save money to prove that you have contributed to the family. For me that meant I didn’t buy myself things like new clothes, or get my hair done. A job offers accolades when you do well, at home you can never please everyone. When a project is finished at the office you celebrate and review what went well and how to improve the next project. When dinner is finished there is no thank you and as a prize I get to do the dishes. There will be more dishes in 2 hours after everyone has dessert, so I guess that ‘project’ is never done.

To add insult to injury while dinner and then dishes are being done the rest of the family does as they please – watch TV, play on computers, enjoy their free time. This year I have decided to do as I please and to force the rest of the family into working. It was hard. When they complained I wanted to jump in and take over, but I believed that my movie watching was just as important as their free time so I kept my ass on that couch!! When guilt over the mess in the kitchen started to upset my stomach, I walked to the living room and checked into Facebook. My time and effort have paid off; I think I found some new hobbies. The fact that they really can do house work shows me that I can get a job, and it won’t lead to social services visiting my home.

Best of all, I am not caught up in getting stuff done so that I actually stop and spend time really listening to my kids instead of multitasking my way through a conversation. I still don’t get many thank yous, and the place is a little out of control sometimes – but it is worth it to have a life. Maybe motherhood isn’t too bad, maybe I was just doing it wrong. Shhh don’t tell my husband.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back to the Gym

So I have been trying to lose weight for – well since I turned 12 and I am 44 now so . . .you do the math. After 40, with 2 kids and a couple bouts of depression, where I stayed in bed for months I was in really bad physical condition and I decided to make a change. It took 2 years of trying different workout methods, and eating plans before I realized that I couldn’t make myself work hard enough to change alone – I got a trainer 3x a week and she made me hurt every day. I love her – she saved my life.

 It took 12 months to lose 50 pounds, and then we moved. So I lost my gym, my grocery store, and my workout buddies. I got settled and started again – thankfully I didn’t gain any of the weight back, unfortunately I didn’t keep making progress either. So here I sit with really another 50 pounds to lose to be healthy, again trying to make a go of it on my own. (I hear the song “All By Myself” playing, hmmm).

A local friend is a runner and got me to try a race with giant inflatables.

 I started the couch to 5k program using this app so that I wouldn’t slow down the real runners too much.

It went well in 4 weeks I got to where I could run for 90 second intervals at a pretty good pace. On day one of the program my 60 second run on a treadmill showed my heart rate going to 188,(might have been close to a heart attack, but since I didn’t pass out it’s all good) by the fourth week I was running faster and my heart rate only made it to 170 and my recovery was much faster. We did 3.5 miles with 11 obstacles in just under an hour – not bad for newbies.

We finished the race and I didn’t have another one on the calendar so I didn’t run for 3 weeks – I walked and did the elliptical but it was a half-assed effort. Truth be told I really dislike running, but I found it was an easy way to knock out 300+ calories in 30 minutes, then 30 minutes on core work and some weight lifting and you have real progress in 1 hour. I returned reluctantly to the gym, and decided to start again at week 1 but day 3, I thought maybe I had a little conditioning left – WOW I was shocked I ran the whole routine at my faster speeds and without any extra recovery time, and no slowing down WOO-HOO!!!

I am back to the gym, on my way to being in great shape!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Count down to PCS (permanent change of duty station)

As you might have gathered from earlier posts we are getting stationed in South Korea. This was a real shock to all of us it was 27th on our wish list followed by Ft Rucker, AL; and Ft Polk LA – and my spouse already has over 20 years in the Army so we would be potentially retiring at the end of our tour in Korea – hmm seems complicated to me.  We live our lives “at the needs of the Army” so South Korea it will be.

In 4 weeks we have managed to get 2 passports each (one of the bureaucratic hoops we get to jump through), the cat and dog have their shots and lab work, we had our physicals, and some needed paperwork has come in so that I can start the next series of appointments.  My time has been loaded with interesting ‘things to do’, seems our last duty station didn’t put any of our medical visits in the computer so I had to re-do all the fun appointments – the boob smasher, and every lady loves “could you scoot a little farther down the table?” Fortunately even with the constant need to do things twice we are still moving down the check list.

 Unfortunately it has taken up so much of my time I haven’t been able to do research on the fun parts of moving to South Korea, just the nuts and bolts of getting 4 humans, a dog, and a cat there. I have lots of ideas I want to research – local festivals, National events and celebrations, and basic info- what is the weather like  *sigh* hopefully I will have some cool things to tell eventually, right now I need to get on the phone and check the cost of shipping an 80 pound Lab from Dallas to Seoul . . . .

Sunday, April 27, 2014


GRRRR . . .

 I did make it to the gym, and Oh My Gods!!! It did as I needed; I had a great day full of energy. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back again this week – grr spent lots of time dealing with bureaucrats trying to get things done for the big move.

 I am trying to complete the ‘to do’ list for the Army, clean out and organize the closets and shelves, get to the gym 3x or more a week, get myself career ready, keep kids inline, have a hobby (reading, and embroidery), and do regular wife work and for me this ends in A LOT of stress. I am left wondering if regular people get freaked out trying to ‘do’ life or I am special – and not in a good or acceptable way. AND let the whining begin – am I disorganized, or under motivated? Some days I crank through work and feel great and other days I am trapped in a cycle of crazy. Let’s be clear here, the crazy can be of my own creation, one of those days where I go into one room to put an item away and get distracted by a pile of items to put away, or end up involved in another project. This leads to many projects started but few finished – I think of it as the shiny effect, you know- “oh, look something shiny . . .”. Other days the crazy is from outside sources, endless time on hold or some additional project that wasn’t on my to do list.

That is my usual method of staying on track – the beloved to do list. On a bad day I will back fill the list with items like shower, eat lunch, and check email just so I have items to cross off. Of course I also end up transferring the jobs I don’t like – filing and bill paying might be on the list for a week. Spouse was making fun of me the other day when I was getting stressed and I said, “I need to empty my brain, and make a to do list, to relieve some stress.” Well he thought that was hilarious! I got to hear about it all day – but it really does keep me focused and on track, and prevents jobs from falling through the cracks. I guess that is my answer for stress control – make a list, and for happiness put go to gym at the top.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Depression is so sneaky

Depression is so sneaky

I have had a relationship with depression for most of my life, it took me to the age of 35 to realize it was real, and not my fault. I spent the early years thinking it was something I could power through – and to some extent I still feel this way. I spent some years on medications, like so many people these days, for just over 2 years I have been off medications.  It is hard to have a flaw you can’t control you can only mitigate its effect on your life, but I have found ways to work through the dark days.

So let’s look at what depression looks like for me this week; my mother died suddenly 6 months ago and I worry a lot about my dad, his elderly dog passed away a few days ago, and we are getting sent overseas to Korea with the military for 2 years - -lots of big things to deal with not to mention the little things of everyday life with teens.  I find myself battling that tired achy feeling, I have learned over the years this isn’t a bug or germ manifesting in me there is no reason to go to bed and wait to get better. In the past that was what I did, but that can take months and no real sickness arrives just more lethargy. Inactivity feeds on itself and you can end up in bed for a long time, that is how depression sneaks back into your life. What would help is going to the gym, get feel good hormones flowing and get sweaty – but I am not there yet. For the last 2 days I have pushed on through the fog and exhausted feelings to get stuff done and so far I still have my head above water, my face is sometimes covered in tears but I am pressing on.

I have gone out to my volunteer job this week, and took the kids to an art exhibit. Today laundry is getting done and dinner is in the works. The final push really is that trip to the gym, it makes all the difference for my mood – even when I cry while I work out, hey it happens!! When I was young it seemed I could just cry it all out then move on, but I have found that in this decade tears lead to more tears. Let’s hope I get to the gym, and turn the corner. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hemorrhaging Money

How many things can break???

You need a time line to appreciate how much these last 2 months sucked for me and the ride is still going. At the end of February, so a mere 8 weeks ago all the items in my house with a plug started to revolt. The Vacuum was dying – so for my birthday I figured I was getting a new one (my birthday is the end of February) NOT my choice but such is adulthood we don’t always get what we want. Before we could get the Dyson I wanted because of course I need a $400+ vacuum, one of the computers broke, and the light bulb for the large TV went out. The bulb and computer parts both cost over $200. AND I had a rafting trip, on the Rio Grande planned for the first week of March, our spring break. All the breakage so far was stuff we didn’t need to replace immediately so spouse and I decided to wait until after the rafting trip to spend the money, leaving a cash buffer for our traveling. 

Trying to keep up with the fur from our lab and cat became a small challenge, and the large TV on the floor to the side of the entertainment center which now had a TV 1/3 the size, added interesting ambience to the d├ęcor in our house.  We live in Army quarters, which means it looks like really nice section 8 housing – in NC we bought a house which I loved and we couldn’t sell when we moved so it is rented, for less than the mortgage of course because it is how my life works! Anywhoo, the quarters are small but work fine and it has encouraged us to thin out our stuff – it also means I kinda have a landlord. This came in handy when on the Thursday night of our Military Formal our refrigerator, died the one they had come out to repair 2x already. We called, no one called back that night so 7 am after our formal we called again – when the guy came I was insisting on a new unit since we were leaving town on Sunday. They came through but I had to throw out all the food from the fridge and freezer and file the claim with the property manager – while I am packing a family for a rafting/camping trip and scheduling pet sitters and getting grandpa from the airport to join us.

Trip was great, I will tell more about it later.

After 3 days unplugged I return to a message on my phone that the heat pump on the rented house in NC broke. UGH, I know this will cost thousands!! I told them to get a quote and called a few other places for additional quotes – the phone tag is still going on 8 weeks later but it looks like this will cost $4000 hmmm guess I am sweeping the floor and the little tv is here to stay.

Two weeks later the washer, which is 3 yrs old starts making noise – I call the guy who fixed our freezer which the movers broke in August. He came out it was $100 for parts and labor. Then spouse’s smart phone, a Samsung only 2 yrs old starts acting up even with tech support they can’t get it fixed so off to the ATT store. It was cheaper to buy the phone and get the lower rate plan than to get the “free” phone. Ok, at this point I am hemorrhaging money the savings is gone and we are getting tight – PLUS since we know we move in July so I can’t really go get a job.

Five days after we get the phone, we get orders for Korea. I was shell shocked for about 24 hours trying to process what this means and what our options are . . .we decide to all stay together so the kids, pets and I are going to Korea we have about 100 days to complete all the things needed to satisfy the Army, the US government, and the Korean government to allow us to follow our soldier to Korea.  By The WAY the phones won’t work there, and none of the large appliances will go. I spend a few hours each day trying to get the correct people on the phone for appointments and paper work. Pets get shots and blood work on Friday – they call me that afternoon, one of the 4 shots they gave the poor cat was out of date so in 3 weeks he needs to go in for that again. NO ONE answers the phone at the passport office to tell me what the rules are and what we need – I have verified that to travel outside of Korea we have to buy our own passports the Army will only give us paperwork to get in country – and seriously travel is why you go overseas. The passports are $135 each we need 4.

That brings me to this weekend and Saturday with laundry sorted and piled in the laundry room, the dryer stopped heating. It is good to live in the desert even jeans only took 5 hours to dry outside. So I called Jorge to come out to look at the dryer – he was amazed!! I gotta say I am not sure what Karma I am reaping here but I am hoping it will run out soon!!!  More on Rafting the Rio Grande next time . . . 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Misery might love company, but I am not interested in your company.

Misery might love company, but I am not interested in your company.

You know those people who have to one up every statement you make. I get it sometimes you do know more than me – rarely but it does happen. So I have been married 16 years all of those years we were in the Army, I grew up an Army Brat and I am over 40 with 2 kids both teens at this point – what are the chances that a 24 year old has more general knowledge than me about being an Army anything? Yet, you continue to go on and on about Army life not letting me get a word in edge wise.

Also recently there was a senior spouse,(which means the wife of a senior military member, these folks have at least 15 years of military service and have earned their way to a high rank where they have (theoretically) influence in the military) was misbehaving in a public forum where the wife of The Sergeant Major of the Army (yes you got that right there is only ONE of these in the entire Army so he is that important) was kind enough to come talk to a group of spouses about what to expect in the Army and ask about what issues she should focus on in her work to make our lives better. Well this heifer thought it meant she could air out her grievances about the Military as a whole and chose this moment to whine about how unhappy she is here at this post. SERIOUSLY!!! Don’t get me wrong I have been known to shut down an entire discussion panel when asked my opinion, which had to do with scheduling and why our soldiers couldn’t have a schedule that was generally stable and in place for a 3 day lead time, not changing on a nightly basis. I DO NOT expect the Army to make me personally happy at every duty station, like this gal seemed to think was her right.

Why did these 2 things set me off down ranter’s lane? I think it was because there just doesn’t seem to be anyplace that is safe from the stupid. I get the young wife thinks her situation is special, and after 5-10 years of service she (hopefully) will get that her ‘issues’ are just what the Army is about. BUT the other one should have enough time in the Army as spouse, or enough years under her belt (yup, I said it are you an adult?), or maybe just real world experience to know and understand that you don’t tell an auditorium full of strangers that you are miserable then pout and stomp your feet.  In the end the most frustrating thing is neither one will listen when people try to help – young wife has a long list of reasons why my advice won’t work in her super special situation – and senior wife had not taken time to join any of the social events, classes, or gatherings that are open and offered at every post I have ever been at. In the end I want to tell folks like this that being miserable is a choice and if you really are unhappy do something about it, join a class, ask friends for help, HELL go make friends and if all else fails leave, move, divorce change your life. BUT for God’s sake stop expecting the rest of us to give a damn that you wallow in your misery!!!