Monday, April 20, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and the Imaginary

Look, let's admit it, parenting teens is hard.  And unpleasant.  And a lot of other things.  But we have also made it hard on ourselves. 

Oh yes people, it's not only their fault.  We have some responsibility in this too. 

 In 1975 only 5% of first births were to moms age 30 or older.  In 1975 I was 7 years old.  I remember 1975! 

 Oldsmobile selling car of 1975
 Starsky and Hutch!

By 2010 that number was 25%.  

You may not realize what a big deal that is, but think of it this way.........if you give birth to your first and you are 23 years old, then when you are 45 they are 22.  With any luck they are long gone from your home.  At the very least, they are finishing college in some far away city.

On the other hand if you are OVER 30 when you have them, and let's be generous and say you are just barely over and 31, then when you are 45 they are 14. 



Just barely a teenager, with all the teenage angst and drama still ahead of them.  The difference between 14 and 22 is MONUMENTAL. But the biggest thing is you.  At 45 you are most likely in peri-menopause.  Think about that for a minute.  Would you rather have a 22 year old who is on their own, or a 14 year old living in your home, looking down the barrel at high school, friend drama, social media, proms, drivers licenses, blah, blah, blah, while you are going through hot flashes and all that goes with it???

It's like all of you are on a hormonal roller coaster at the same time, only they are going up, up, up and you are going down, down, down.  

I had my first at 29 and my second at 32.  I am 46, almost 47.  They are 17 and 14.  It's uglier than I ever thought it would be.  You always read those parenting articles about how older parents are more patient, etc.  Maybe they mean OLDER, because I have the patience of a gnat.  Seriously.....and they are even worse than I am!  We have enough emotional drama around here to take down a small village without even trying.  I'm surprised that The Hub's can live through it.  Sometimes I catch him staring at all of us like we are aliens, or have horns sprouting from our heads or something.

But it's total different on the way up than it is on the way down, which makes for some interesting parenting moments!  They have very real problems that they tend to think are imaginary, and very imaginary problems that they tend to think are real.


So do I.  But mine are the exact opposite of theirs.  All their imaginary stuff?  It's real.  All their "real" stuff? Completely imaginary.  They tend to disagree.  Loudly, often and vehemently.  

For example....

They think that the doing of, or not doing of as the case may be, their homework is not a problem.  I disagree.  The 3 F's?  Totally a problem, and a major one in my world!  So, when I have a hissy fit and insist they do the work, it infuriates me exponentially that they stare at me like they have no idea why I could possible be upset!

But when I take their cell phone away for the missing work?  To me this is not a problem.  I didn't have phone as a teen.  I lived.  But to them....a fate worse than death.  Imaginary.

Me.....what they eat is very important.  Organic, veggies, not processed, no fast food.  To them this "problem" is totally imaginary.  They would rather survive off McDonald's and Monster Energy Drinks.

Sleep. Oh.  Thing 1 and I so seriously part ways on this one that we nearly come to blows.  He is a night owl. He wants to stay up until 12 or later.  I love sleep.  It is my holy grail, I am always searching for it.  There are nights (last night comes to mind) when I march up and down the hallway INSISTING he GO TO BED, while he insists that HE IS NOT TIRED, all the while I am counting the hours of sleep I can get if he just complies and getting madder and madder.  I am certain I am right.  He is just as certain he is right.  I quote studies about how much sleep teens need, how sleep effects your moods, etc.  He thinks "studies" are stupid.  

It is this way about everything.  I have no patience because I lost it all along they way.  They have no patience because they haven't learned it yet.  The Hub's actually had a conversation with Thing 1 today that went like this...

"If you make your mother miserable I am going to be upset because that is going to make my life miserable and if that happens I will be sure to make your life miserable.....understand????" It is like a bad episode of the Soprano's around here.
Then, just when I am as mad as I can get.....I burst into tears.  Because peri-menopause, that's why.

They never burst into tears.  

I guess that means they win.  For now.  

But I still control the cell phone contract......

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's Not An Official Diagnosis

"People with anorexia nervosa .....see themselves as fat even when they are very thin."  --Web M.D.  ( because we should all check WebMD all the time....there are things wrong with you and you don't even know it!)

This is a very serious disease that can lead to numerous medical problems and even death.  

This is also NOT WHAT I HAVE.

What I have is the exact opposite of this.  It doesn't have a name, but I assure you it is very real.  I remember clearly the first time it came to me that something might not be right with my thinking. It was 10 years ago, in January of 2005, and I was on a cruise with some girlfriends.  Now, if you haven't been on a cruise you may not know this, but they take your picture all the time!  Its a little like Disneyland, where they are constantly taking a photo of your group and then trying to get you to buy it for some ridiculous amount of money.  So, on formal dinner night, we were all herded in front of some obnoxious backdrop and they snapped away.  Just like Disney, they also rapidly print all the photos (while we were eating!) and then fill the lobby area with them so you can search for yours, exclaim of its loveliness, or not, and proceed to the desk they have set up and pay.

Me on the cruise, far left, all in green for some reason

Now, there were a lot of people on this cruise so my girlfriends and I split up and started searching these large rolling bulletin boards for our photo among all the others. As luck would have it, I was the one who located it. Then is when a very strange thing happened.  Before I tell you what it was, there are a few facts you need to keep in mind.....

I had lived in this exact body for 36 years at that point.
I had the exact same face for 36 years at that point
I was wearing a dress that I had owned for 10 years (don't ask)
I had known all the other people in the photo for 20 years

So, as a looked over the board, I ran across our picture.  As I stared at it, all I could think to myself was this....

"Well, theres J, and J and T....but who is that fat girl with them?"
"When on earth did they have their photo taken with someone else?"
"Was there some way this could be a mistake made by the photographer?"

I have no idea how long it took me to realize that I was the "fat girl" in the photo!  In my memory it seems like forever, but it probably was just a couple of seconds in reality.  However, it really startled me to realize that I had been momentarily unable to recognize myself.  

That is the first clear instance I recall of this happening, but by becoming aware of it, I have been better able to tell when its happening. Isn't that what they say?  Admitting you have a problem is the first step to doing something about it?  10 years later I am still waiting for step 2 to kick into gear, you know, the part where I do something about this, but I have got step one down to a science. 

Put me in a department store with a rack full of jeans or shorts without tags and ask me to pick the pair I think is my size.  I have actually done this to myself (minus the no tag part.....I don't rip them all off or anything, I prefer not to get picked up by security).  I will pick one at least 2 sizes smaller than my actual size.  And I have been this size for YEARS.  It is not a new thing.  Conversely, when I pick up the pants that are my size, I stare at them thinking, "these can not possibly fit.  They are HUGE"  They fit every time.  Apparently my minds eye works a lot like the side view mirror on my car......where objects are not their actual size.

If it only happened occasionally I guess it would just be a weird random little quirk, but it happens all the time!  Every time I get dressed and look in the large mirror in my bedroom I am surprised by my size.  It's the same damn mirror I walk past 15 times a day!  Of course,  I realize that as far as large people go, I'm not really that large.  But you should see how thin I am in my mind!!!  I look good. It probably also explains why I haven't really lost any weight over the years.  Oh sure, every so often I have done some damn Atkins, South Beach, calorie counting thing and knocked off about 15 pounds, but then, as I get closer to matching the inside and outside, I totally slack off.  I put it all back on, plus a few friends it picked up while it was away.  But inside, still skinny!!!!  I also realize that I purposely fool myself!  I wear the same certain clothes all the time, the ones that make you "feel thin" (you know what I all have them) and I can occasionally stand in front of the mirror in a certain way to minimize anything I don't want to see so I can proceed to live in denial-land!

It is actually a pretty nice way to live, when you can get away with it.  The problem is when you can't, when you are jarred into reality.  Since that happens regularly, it can be kind of difficult, being all happy and getting ready to go out to dinner one minute, then all of a sudden feeling like you have been tricked and better just drink water and eat a salad!

 Above:  Thinking, Hey I look Ok in this one!

But then I turned sideways......OOPS!

This is the entire driving force behind all the shopping I do also.  I don't really care how fashionable anything is, what color it is or where I might wear it.  The only question I ask myself in the dressing room is "Does this make me look fat?"  I would, in all likelihood, purchase a 60's purple polka-dot mini dress if I thought it made me look thin.  The funniest thing about that statement is that I logically know that clothes do NOT "make me look" thin or fat or anything else.  I am what I am, and if I "look fat" in something it's because I am, not because of that particular pair of shorts.

As if all this isn't bad enough, now that I have reached a certain age, the same damn thing is happening with my face!  I have been looking at my face long enough that I can actually brush my hair, teeth, etc without really seeing it, if you know what I mean.  But take a selfie?  Catch myself unguarded in a reflection?  All of a sudden I am completely freaked out and wondering WHEN DID I GET THIS OLD AND HOW COME NO ONE TOLD ME MY FACE WAS WRINKLING UP AND SLIDING OFF???  

I understand why people have plastic surgery now.  They have scared the shit out of themselves in the mirror and are trying to do something, anything, to rectify the situation.  I, however, cannot afford plastic surgery, so mostly I just sit around looking at The Hub's and saying things like "It's Ok that we are getting old, right?"  He assures me it is.  Except for the part where his hair is thinning.  He hates that.  

Funny thing is, I could not care less about his hair.  It wouldn't matter to me if he went completely bald, but it totally upsets him every time he sees it in a photo.  I guess we will just have to proceed into the next stage of our lives deliriously delusional and assisting each other with our respective phases of denial.  

Not a bad way to live at all, if you can get it.  But seriously......Im going to have to do something about this weight.  

Just not today.  I have been invited out to dinner.

Monday, April 6, 2015

SonRise Service

I have always wanted to go to sunrise service on Easter Sunday.  But, for obvious reason, I have always NOT gone to sunrise service on Easter Sunday.  The "obvious reasons" being that it's at sunrise.

I took this at sunset, but whatever.  You cant tell the difference.

So somewhere in my alcohol deprived Lent festivities I decided that this was going to be THE YEAR.  After asking around it became apparent that I would be alone at said service. In stepped my Very Dear Friend!  Her husband was to be out of town and she would be happy to go!  And with that, everything was set for 6:30 a.m.  You would think that knowing it was at 6:30 a.m. would give me pause, but again, Im alcohol deprived, so my decision making process is impaired.

When my alarm goes off Sunday morning at 5:45 a.m. I am no longer impaired.  Im stunned.  Shocked.  Disoriented even.  But I am crystal clear. 

I have suddenly realized the error of my ways.  

Had I not been meeting someone, I am certain I would have turned off the clock and gone back to sleep, chalking this up to "I tried but it was hard" and promising to do some sort of service-thingy later.  The night before VDF (very dear friend) had texted me about carpooling to church, but I had declined, uncertain of my ability to be on time.  Understand is 1 mile from my house.  Her house is directly in between.  I declined anyway.

So I jumped out of bed, mostly to keep myself awake, and proceed to go about "getting ready" with light speed.  I was moving in a daze, but it was a rapid daze.  Within minutes my second mistake came to light.  Since I was going to be at church when the sun rose, it was now still dark.  And people (namely The Hub's) were sleeping, so I could not turn on the light.  I should have laid out my outfit the night before, but alas, that required planning I was not capable of at the time.  So I grab the tiny flashlight on my night stand that's there in case of emergencies and proceed to try and gather clothing for this.  

Thats when problem #3 comes to light.  One that would have been easily remedied by fixing problem #2 (isn't that always how it is?).  I have no clean underwear.  This has been an ongoing theme in my life for like a month now.  I think (but don't remember) that I threw away a bunch, planning to get more.  But since I don't remember, I didn't go buy any.  Now, if this has never happened to you, just let me tell you, it leads to some interesting choices. The short yellow/white skirt I had chosen was O.U.T.  Now I have to rethink everything.  In the dark.  With a flashlight.  So I pick a floor length, double layer skirt.  Which leaves me with limited shirt choices.  I pick one, try it on and it looks terrible with the new skirt.  OR, as far as I can tell it does.  The flashlight is very small.  So I move on to the only other possible shirt.  It's the one that sits in your closet and every time you see it you think...."why is this in here??  it doesn't even fit!!"  But whatever, I'm in a hurry.

I get dressed and rush in to the bathroom.  There, I curl my hair, moisturize, deodorize, and and apply my make-up.  Finally ready, I proceed downstairs.  

Only to discover that it is only 6:00 a.m.  15 minutes, start to finish.  So, having time to spare, I make a cup of coffee.  While doing so I hear my back yard neighbor kids laughing and climbing to the top of the swing set searching for eggs.  All my pity goes to their mother for having little kids on a holiday.  Sure, it's magical, but it's also torture.

So I text VDF and tell her I can come on by and get her for church.   As I back out of my driveway I notice the full moon is still visible and its hung very low right over the mountains.  As I am admiring this and thinking there are truly benefits to rising early, I spill my coffee down the front of my shirt.  Did I mention it was white? And too small one.  And since church is only 11 minutes from starting, there will be no changing.  I had exactly 1 mile to go. 

I will greet the risen Jesus with coffee stains.  Nice.

We arrive in time to get 2 of the last seats and settle in for a lovely service and breakfast. Score!  They are serving coffee, pancakes, sausage and egg bakes ( the staple of any morning church activity worth it's salt)

Afterwards I decide to go around the block the long way and stop by our local coffee house. Which is closed.  We opt for Dutch Bros.  I have never been to Dutch Bros. before.  Let me just say this.....if Starbucks is a 40-something year old business man, Dutch Bros is a frat house!  We are greeted by 4 twenty-something year old guys in bathing suits and T-shirts wearing bunny ears who have obviously put Red Bull in their espresso.  They are waaaaay to peppy for 8 a.m.!

I arrive home at 8:20, certain I will have time to enjoy my coffee and newspaper, but before I even get into the driveway I notice that Thing 1 is up.  He is NEVER up before 10 a.m. on a day off school.  This is odd.  

I had chosen not to do the traditional hiding of the eggs this year.  Why?  Because last year I drug myself out of bed and hid something like 36 hard boiled eggs all over my yard only to be greeted by a 16-year-old and a 13-year-old who were rolling their eyes and moping through the motions acting like the only reason they were doing this was because I was making them.  I figured I would get Pinterest-creative this year.  I hid 4 plastic eggs each, color coded, in the house, with money in them!  And I hid them well!  I was sure they would enjoy this soooo much more.  I even left a note from the Easter Bunny explaining the whole thing to them.  I wasn't in the house 2 minutes when I was informed that a certain 17-year-old someone was disappointed there were no hard boiled eggs in the grass. 


After they spent 20 minutes hunting down the 8 eggs, moping their way through the process the entire time, I was informed that "that was pretty fun".

It was now 9 a.m.  And just think........I get to do it all again next year.  

Thank you Jesus for Mimosa's.  I know you love me.