Here I Go Again, On My Own

Today is the first kid-free day off I have had since December 8th. You can’t imagine the list of things that need to be done.

I can’t even count how many times I have sat down at my computer, moved the mouse and then internally shouted, “double A batteries,” while also (internally) shaking my fist in frustration.

Have I mentioned that I am crushing this whole “single working mom” thing?!

Just kidding–it is mostly crushing me.

This morning, while drinking my coffee, I wrote up my list of things to do. I took my giant 25-item list and chose my top 16–you will notice that laundry is on there 4 times. It could easily have been the only thing on my list, but I would probably get overwhelmed and give up.

25 minutes into my day, and I’ve already accomplished 3 items on my list! Of course, now I feel so accomplished, I might have to take a nap to recover from the stress of making four phone calls in under 15 minutes.

Wish me luck–this motivation might not last much longer!

For the Love of Burpees

I have a great trainer. He’s evil.

A good personal trainer is like a good therapist. These days, my trainer is equal parts trainer and therapist, probably because it’s easier for me to text Terry the Torturer and say, “let’s work out,” thank it is to call and try to fit an appointment into my schedule, just to talk to my therapist. Also, Terry throws workouts and threats at me if I don’t contact him first–there aren’t many therapists that threaten you with “Cardio of Death” if you don’t call and set up an appointment. If they exist, I’ve yet to find them.

Now, for the burpees.

Were you aware of the plethora of burpee varieties?! For many months, it was the Spartan Burpee that was the favored torture device. My sassy sarcasm lead to hundreds of spartan burpees. There were Burpees Around the World, which is an adorable way to say, “do burpees the entire distance around the gym’s track.” Then, for funsies, add a broad jump. Or a squat. Or both!

Over the last two weeks, I have had a lot of (justified, in my opinion) excuses for not making time to work out. Terry, of course, has no sympathy. It’s part of what makes him a good fit for me–I have excuses for days, and he won’t accept any of them. Find the time; make the time. It is just that easy, but, gosh, it is just as easy to say, “not today. I have too much work to do.”

The problem with every excuse is that I work in a gym. Plus I have a home gym. And I also have a goal that Terry refuses to let me forget about setting.

These days, the burped of choice is a lovely combination of burped and high-knee jump squat action. Just when you begin to think burpees can’t get worse, they get SO much worse! According to him, there will be more varieties–most likely, they will be worse than the current variety.

Maybe I should hire Terry to come to my house and threaten me with more burpees if I don’t do the dishes. But if I’m completely honest with myself, having to do dishes is so much worse than burpees.

Steevesie Road Trips: Not for the Faint of Heart

Aah, I love visiting family. Part sarcasm; part truth. I really do love my family, but something about visiting them brings out the paranoid side of my depression. I can’t help it. I try to help it, but my head does not ever want to cooperate.

Add to that the fact that we see each other maybe twice a year–they’re tight-knit, and I’m…awkward.

Regardless of how I feel about these visits, I still make that drive. I haven’t been to New York in a year,  and the last time I made the trek, crazy Emma Boxer Face was 8 weeks old–she slept in my lap a majority of the way. This time: well, if she had her way, she would’ve still tried to sit in my lap the entire way.

Who doesn’t love a good face squeeze!?

The drive up was mostly spent getting used to this new car dynamic. I used to say, “the more animals I add, the easier the drive becomes!” This was true, to a point: For years it was just Bruce, and then 7 years ago we added Jessie Kittie. She and Xander are basically a bonded pair. Or litter mates. However you want to put it, they spent our rides glued to each other.

Kittens for everyone!

Two years ago, we added Captain Sparklepaws to the mix, and instantly, car rides were that much better. A cat for every kid! There was no more fighting over Jessie, and Bruce was no longer forced to sit on any kid’s lap (which usually leads to a certain amount of torment).

May 2016, we adopted a senior boxer, and Maddie was just the best. She loved car rides, and our only traveling issue was that her old lady bladder required a few extra bathroom breaks, which really just meant the kids got more opportunities to run around. Sadly, Maddie was only meant to be in our lives for a short time, and with her passing last December, Emma entered into the picture.

Fast-forward to Friday, December 28th, 2017. 7:00am. The car packing has begun, and it’s looking good! I don’t always stay on task (what?! Stop! Seriously?!), but things were moving right along! I headed into my Mom’s basement (where the cats spend their visits), and both Captain and Jessie were sitting at the top of the stairs–all good things, since Jessie is the WORST about being caught and put in the car.

Of course, she ran. I didn’t want to scare her, so I kept my distance and tried to coerce her out with food (what big girl can resist a snack). No luck. Out of the corner of my eye, I see her jump up into the ceiling beams, above a light. Her usual hiding place at departure time. If you have never wrestled a 16lb cat, let me tell you, it’s an adventure all in itself!

The only way of removing her from above the light, was to back her out the same way she got in. She wasn’t having it. And then…is that wet? Warm, wet–did she just PEE ON ME?!?! Of course she did!

I got her out, and instantly she grabbed onto a wood beam, and was hanging rather ungracefully from the ceiling, while I tried to wrestle her off said beam. Again, this is one big lady, and there’s no good way of grabbing her. She fought the good fight, but in the end, I was victorious (although I will be honest, multiple times I thought, “would it really be the end of the world if Jessie just stayed here?” I mean, she HAD already peed on me). While bringing her upstairs, she peed on me again, so that now not only was it on my jacket, but all down my pants as well. Do you have any idea how cold it was in upstate NY Friday morning?!

Finally, EVERYONE and everything was in the car. And I was still on schedule, even after having to change my outfit (thanks Jessie). Away we went!

…Except that I needed to stop and get gas. I always do this. “I’ll fill up later,” and then I’m about to get on the highway and realize I have 60 miles until empty, and 800 miles until I get home.

I guess now is a good point to include our car ride seating arrangement: the kids are all the way in the back, sometimes with cats, sometimes without. The cats wander. My goal was to keep Emma happily in the middle row, on her own seat, looking out the window, being chill. I’m hilarious. 3 hours into our drive UP, Emma jumped the barrier and decided she would be sitting on the passenger seat. On our drive back to KY, I accepted it wasn’t worth the fight, and gave in to her sitting on the passenger seat (and sometimes directly on Bruce. He really hates her), and Bruce got to sit in my lap, because he’s about 100 years old and sleeps 99% of the time (actually, he’ll be 12 in February, and he sleeps about 98% of the time).

We were making excellent time, and I expected we would make it home by 10pm–our fastest drive ever! Mother nature had other plans, like lots of lake effect snow around Lake Erie. I was able to bypass it, and we were in the clear once more!

Of course, then we hit more snow in Columbus, Ohio. We were crawling along, and Captain decided he was getting lonely, so he came up to visit his buddy Emma. That, of course, lead to him wanting to nap in a warm place. His favorite location these days: directly behind the pedals! Have you ever tried to fight a cat out from behind your break pedal, while driving in snow?! Probably not. Do you know what’s more dangerous than texting and driving: Cat Wrangling and Driving!

With Captain finally located happily on the floor of the passenger’s side, Jessie decided to make her way up front. Why not!? Let’s all get in on this party! Of course, Jessie likes to chase windshield wipers. Should I mention again that she weighs sixteen pounds?!?! Jabba the Cat on your dashboard is not conducive to visible driving! So once again, I was trying to relocate the jello cat back to a location that isn’t my dashboard.

Which is about when I ran out of windshield wiper fluid. And when we hit 10pm, with two hours left to go. Thankfully, it was also when the snow subsided. My gosh, did I really used to do this 4-8 times a year?!

We finally made it home, after midnight. No children or animals were injured in the great road trip of 2017. I can’t promise I will do it again, without the assistance of Justin.

And then, of course, while talking to Justin this morning, he said, “did you see the 8 month old boxer who is being rehomed? He’s super cute! Stop it, Justin! Does he know who he married?! Animal adoption self control, BE STRONG!


Getting My Crappy Together

I’m drowning.

Which is weird, because I’m a lifeguard. And if I had to navigate my way through water, I’m sure I would be much better off.

Life, however, is a completely different story.

I have so much respect for every Single-Working-Mom. Honestly, I’m not even 3 months into a 12 month stint, and I keep bouncing between Gru, “I got it, I got it,” and Dierks Bentley, “what was I thinking??”

Between work, and life, I’m sucking. Not so much at work. But life? I’m sucking big time. Probably because I’m bad at multi-tasking–really bad, and rather than putting on my big girl panties and tackling what needs to be done, I hide in my blanket fort and hope it goes away. But it doesn’t.

It builds up and snowballs and gets worse. I have Fridays off from work, and from the moment the kids get on the bus to the moment I pick them up from after-school care, I feel like I’m running around like crazy and accomplishing nothing.

The week after Thanksgiving, in an attempt to be more productive, I would skip my lunchtime workouts, and would run home and get things done instead. It didn’t work. On the days I went home and tried to get anything done, I managed to accomplish next to nothing, and by Friday I was so stressed. Which is when I realized Terry the Tormentor is really my trainer/therapist, and if I wasn’t working out with him 3-4 days a week, I wasn’t de-stressing.

Which of course leads to tonight. I’m that kid that sinks straight to the bottom and stares up, hoping someone will jump in and rescue them. There’s no panic, there’s no thrashing. I’m just laying down there, quietly hoping someone will notice me.

I have a really hard time asking for help. I would rather silently sink to the bottom than let anyone know I can’t handle shit. Plus, who do you even ask? How does that even work? Help me, I’m drowning? How can you ask for help when you don’t even know how to help yourself?

Of course, now everyone will know that I can’t get my crappy together. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, let the record show that this girl is a total train-wreck who can’t handle life.

And let’s be real here, there are plenty of women who do the single working mom thing year round, without an end date. I doubt they find themselves in tears every Thursday night, because of all they need to accomplish in one free day a week. Nah, they probably keep up with their shit throughout the week, and then don’t have to be overwhelmed by the 3,000 tasks they have laid out in front of them.

Let me tell you a secret–I switched internet providers 3 months ago. But because “return Spectrum router,” has yet to make it to the top of my list, I am still paying for 2 internet services. There’s so much wi-fi in my house, my wi-fi has wi-fi. Literally. This is the kind of stuff that makes you go, “what?!”

These are probably the same things that make Justin tell me to get it together. And probably make him worry that the Germany-style, debilitating depression has kicked in. I’m not there yet. When I start throwing out pots and pans, rather than do dishes, I’ll let you know.

I’ll quietly send out an S.O.S. in morse code, from the bottom of that pool, and hope someone can hear me…

Deployment Law

First of all, Justin is not deployed. He’s just stationed 7,000 miles away from us.

Also, I had intended on writing a post about me getting peer pressured into doing the Reverse Sprint Triathlon. It will start out that way, but then thanks to “Deployment Law,” it will all go terribly wrong.

Thursday at work, I was convinced by a co-worker to do the Reverse Sprint Tri–I did it last year, so why not?! I hired a babysitter, threw my bike rack on the van, put air in my bike tires, and went out for a 4 mile run. I was ready!

Or was I?

This morning I got there, and got everything set up. I went into the pool’s guard room and dropped my stuff off. 5 minutes into the run I thought, “wait–did I bring my bike helmet into the guard room?! Surely not!” Oh, I surely did.

So, after adding a good 2/10 mile onto the already 3.4 mile run, I hopped on my bike and away I went. Biking has never been so hard. No matter what I did, I really felt like I was putting WAY too much effort into it. At 3 miles I realized the back tire was making weird noises. At miles, I hopped off to see what was up.

My tire was flat. Painfully flat. I pulled out my phone and thought about who I could possibly contact. My list of acquaintances is short, consisting mainly of people I work with–people currently working, or racing. But the truck that was bringing up the rear was rapidly approaching. Quick! Act like you’re calling someone!

I panicked, and FaceTimed Justin. The truck pulled over and asked if everything was ok: “Oh, it’s fine. I have a flat tire.”

“Do you have someone coming to pick you up? Are you sure you’re ok?”

I am a big fat liar. I told them it was fine–I just lived down the street. It’s not entirely false. I do live down the street…and then another take a left and go another 2 miles. Either that, or say, “it’s cool, but I don’t actually know people.”

Introvert problems.

I cried a little (ok, I cried a lot) to Justin: “why does this crap have to happen!?” It’s the second race I’ve failed this year. No, this wasn’t a panic attack-induced drop out, but still!

After letting him know what happened, I was offered a ride from Dom, aka the co-worker who talked me into this in the first place. I told him it was no biggie; I was almost home. Also not a lie, but I did still have a 3 mile walk back to work so I could get my car (sorry Dom, I’m a liar).

This is what we in my family call “being a Ballschmieder.”

No no, everything is fine! I am a thousand percent ok with walking my bike home, and then all the way back to work to get my car. I don’t want to be a burden–just don’t wait for me.

So, Deployment Law: basically, if it can go wrong, it will, while your husband is TDY, or deployed, or stationed on the other side of the world. Ask any army wife, and they will tell you a horrible story of something going terribly wrong while their husband was gone. It might be the same in the civilian world too, who knows. I was thinking this morning about the fact that we’ve gone a full week, and it’s been going relatively smoothly. I’m staying positive, because my worry is that it’s all downhill from here.

Or uphill, on flat tires.