Can I Get A Do-Over??

It’s been a weird day. The even weirder thing about today, is that last Tuesday was also weird. I better start with last Tuesday–you’ll thank me later.

It was a typical day in the life of me. Typical for what my life has been this last 6 weeks: Crazy, work-filled, out of the house the entire time my kids are at school, and then home to play catch-up all evening. Shea had just informed me that our cat, Jessie, had puked in the laundry room, and was trying to cover it up with dirty socks. Obviously. What do you do when you throw up on the laundry room floor?

Ah, the adventures I have. Don’t be jealous. No really, I know it’s hard not to envy this insanity.

Off I go, to clean up regurgitated cat food, because morbidly obese Jessie likes to binge and purge. I was having a serious, one-sided discussion, with her about her need to eat too fast, and then cry about not having food. No, I will not feed you again. Eat slower, and this won’t be an issue.

And then, BAM!!! Or splat. It was super loud, whatever it was. I stood up and started asking, “what was…” There was no point continuing. Goodness, gracious, great explosion of laundry detergent.

This is what happens when a 210oz container of laundry detergent tries to murder you.

Well, that just happened.

I wiped it up with towels, washed the towels, and then our floor drain said, “too much soap,” and started spitting gross drain water all over the floor.

As a Buddhist, I should be willing to accept that these are all signs that I need a karmic boost.

This might have even been the same night that, in an attempt to figure out why we had a world of ants walking two-by-two across the floor, I located a cinnamon-and-sugar bagel Xander had “misplaced.” In his defense, I believe our puppy, Emma, knocked the bagel off the arm of the couch, which is located right up against the back of the computer desk. Xander thinks, lost and gone forever; ants think, THIS IS AMAZING!!!

I also got reprimanded for serving pasta and meat sauce on Taco Tuesday. I am not winning any Mother of the Year awards in this house. Of course, in all of my extra work hours, I have once again forgotten about the ever-important Taco Tuesday. I was reminded by Xander, on the walk home from the bus. He’s probably going to ask to trade me in for a better model–the version who remembers Taco Tuesday.

Fast forward to today. Honestly, when 23 May rolls around, if you can’t find me, I’m hiding. I’ll see you on the 24th, mmkay?

Eligible, and ineligible, all at once.

The day started moderately well. I forgot to ask my doctor to for a new prescription for birth control, but other than that, it was just another day. Until I read my email, and found out that I am not eligible for the Assistant Aquatics Manager position. Yes, I applied. And yes, I am not “qualified” for a job I have actually had. You might as well tell me I’m not qualified to breathe–wait. Maybe I’m not.

Let the record show that it doesn’t bother me.

Just kidding, it’s crushing.

Fast forward, fast forward, fast forward. Home from work, hanging out, trying to figure out what smells like…shit?

Well now, that would be the shit that Emma is playing with. Human shit, no less.

Knowing I will probably regret my actions, I walk toward the bathroom. Wouldn’t you know that one of my children, at some point in the day, took a giant poo, left the toilet open, and didn’t flush. If you were ever contemplating motherhood, let me tell you, it’s a glorious life. A gloriously shit-filled, stinky, dirty life.

Emma reached her poopie face into the toilet, grabbed a turd, and then played with it from there, to here. 30-so feet of poo smear. My gosh, I’m a lucky lady.

Also, the dish-washing fairy did not visit while I was at work. Crap.

Literal crap. Here, there, and everywhere. See why I stared with last Tuesday?! It was much more sanitary.

The Aquatics Career that Wasn’t

For the past few weeks, I have taken on the role of “Acting Aquatics Coordinator,” while the current Assistant Manager is recuperating from back surgery. It has been hectic. I had to organize and run an Easter event, which consisted of LOTS of running around, LOTS of being organized (or pretending to be at least), and LOTS of talking. Talking to parents. Talking over a sound system. Talking to angry parents. Talking to kids. So much talking happened. I put my performance major to work–only, with less singing. I spent the week telling Justin, “if I can just get through Saturday, everything will calm down and I can take a breath.”

Just kidding.

For those of you who live ABOVE the Mason/Dixon line, you probably don’t realize that summer is about to start here in the south. Which means prepping a water park to open. And doing everything required to make sure a water park  can open. I have dealt with marketing, done a lot of ordering, and sent in so many work orders. In fact, the Aquatics Director informed me yesterday, “you know, Sam, not all work orders have to be written work orders. Most you can just email.” To the magic work order fairy, obviously (as he failed to mention where one sends these work orders). Meanwhile, some high-up here at Fort Knox is sitting in his office asking, “why does Samantha Steeves need my approval to have sink sensors replaced!?” The work force on post is getting these approved work orders and thinking, “dang, we better act fast!” Maybe I’m on to something here.

In the last pay period, I worked 64 hours. I know, I know, that’s over 2 weeks. But normally, it’s a big deal if I go over 30. Which is plenty, because I still have to rush home and be a full time stay at home mom!

This afternoon when I checked my email and saw that the second Assistant Aquatics Manager position is open, and will be filled, I was excited and bummed all at once. The timing sucks.

I am the “always the bridesmaid; never the bride” of aquatics. In 2006, I was the ACTING Aquatics Director for 5 months before the position opened–2 months before we were getting ready to leave for Germany. In 2008, I was the ACTING Aquatics Director for 4 months when the position in Germany opened–a month before my due date. This time around, it’s Assistant Aquatics Director, which I was for nearly 2 years in Germany. Unfortunately, we’re less than 4 weeks away from summer vacation.

I will now sit back and watch kids a decade my junior, duke it out over a position I am beyond qualified for. Childless, 25-year-old Sam is inside screaming, “what are you doing!?!? Apply for the damn job!” And the practically-35-year-old Sam is telling that voice to quit it. This is about to be summer vacation! That time where my kids and I get to kick back, play outside, swim all day and eat ice cream, visit family, and just enjoy the weather. I so badly want to once again advance my aquatics career, but I still want to be a stay at home mom!

If this past 3 weeks has taught me anything, it’s that I am not one of those amazing women that can handle a full time job and be a functioning mother and wife. My house is a crazy mess. I’m pretty sure Xander’s school re-registration form is somewhere, waiting to be put back in his backpack (only in the military do you have to register your kids for school every year. Ah, military life).

Aquatics will always be the career I go back to, and these last 2 years have done a lot to remind me of that. I ran a pool. Heck, I ran 4 pools! When the assistant comes back, or the second assistant is hired, I will step back down to “just a lifeguard” once more. I will mentor and help them in any way I can.

Someday, in 6 or more years, I will be able to pursue my career, while Justin takes on the role of Stay at Home Dad. I can’t wait to come home at the end of the day and ask, “what did you do all day!?”

Just kidding–our house will probably be spotless.

Quarterly Date Night on Saint Patrick’s Day

Once you have kids, you realize that date nights are few and far between. Add to that the whole Army life, moving every few years, and a good solid fear of babysitters.

I’m not afraid of babysitters. That would be irrational. I am more untrustworthy. I need to know a person for about a million years before I can trust them with my kids. And then my kids being the spirited, wild children that they are, the job of babysitter really needs to come with hazard duty pay.

And then of course there’s my messiness, and the fact that I don’t want people to see my messy counters or 2 laundry baskets of Waiting-to-be-Folded clothes. There has to be trust–or a good solid week to clean.

After all is said and done, Justin and I rarely go out. The last time we had date night, it was to go to the military ball in December. You know, where my dress was really pretty, but really tight, making my ribs unable to expand, and me left breathing shallow.

I planned this night over a month ago. Originally we were going to run a 5k and see Transpotting 2 on opening night, because it was supposed to come out on 17 March, and I’m pretty super excited for the 20-years-later sequel. Well, the powers that be have decided that Transpotting 2 shouldn’t come out for 2 more weeks. It’s fine. It just means we get 2 date nights in one month, which is pretty intense for us.

That leaves us with a 5k. We are running a 5k on date night. Nothing says “I love you” like getting sweaty  and out of breath during a 3.1 mile run. Probably in the rain. Followed by dinner and drinks (for Justin. Because I’ll be driving. And I really don’t drink). Sweaty dinner. With me probably stinky. Because I’m gross. I can’t help it. All I can really hope for is that the rain will wash away some of my gross. But in all honestly, that can’t happen. Unless I bring soap.

Justin: “What’s in your armband? That is not a phone.”

Me: “No, I left my phone in the car and decided I’d be better off sticking a bar of Dove in there. 2 birds, one stone? Maybe?”

I guess the best part is, I’m not a runner. I do a lot of running, but I am by no means a runner. More a faux runner (faux being pronounced FAUX in the proper Justinese). I only decided around this time in 2014 to BECOME a runner. Prior to that, my random announcements that I would start running always ended abruptly. Usually after going out for a proposed 2 mile run, which always turned into about a .2 mile run, and then a wheezy walk back to the house. Meanwhile, Justin has been a runner basically his entire life. Up until the great hamstring tear of 2016, a slow run would be at a 8 or 9 min mile pace. For me, that is basically a sprint from start to finish. There is nothing slow about that. Now he swears he’s slow–we’ll see. I have only said about ten thousand times, “please do not feel obligated to run with me.”

Of course, what would make a 5k with your runner husband better? Oh, you know, deciding that this would be a good morning to start the Friday Kettle Bell class. Knowing full well that the instructor is intense. If you live on Fort Knox, or you are near Fort Knox and military affiliated, and have NOT taken a class with Terry Turner, do yourself a favor and take one. What was I thinking though?! My legs are sore, my arms feel like jello, and I’m going to run tonight?! I chose a 5k for date night?! Justin, carry me.

Take A Deep Breath…and Try Not to Scream

When I sat down and wrote my first blog and said this would be random and all over the place, I meant it. My life is random and all over the place. I’m trying desperately to remain calm, because I am anything BUT calm.

I suffer from depression, which manifests itself in all types of ways. Firstly (and mostly), I get angry. And not just “ooh, I was so mad.” I mean blood boiling, steam coming out of my ears anger. Where every word out of my mouth is loud and screamy, and I am often left with a sore throat. All while the little voice in my head is whispering “stop yelling,” and trying to be heard over my own voice that is streaming out of my mouth at Threat Level: Broiling Hot Lava. My husband is also somewhere about, speaking in a normal tone, telling me to stop yelling.

We Snuggled; We Snacked.

My depression has also gone so far as to become debilitating–thankfully only once. Unfortunately it was while Justin was deployed, and I was alone in Germany. And I was pregnant. And un-medicated. I could fake sanity enough to get through a 9 hour work day (which, thankfully, began at noon). My partner -in-crime (and snacking) was Bruce, our grumpy pug. We watched tv together, and got fat together. It was fabulous. I cooked for myself until I ran out of clean pots and pans. Then I ordered take-out until I built up the momentum to clean my filthy kitchen so I could start all over again. My therapist at the time was amazing, thankfully. Each week she would reassuringly say, “this week, just try to clear off…” and would name one surface in my apartment to work at. Obviously I survived, but it was certainly the lowest of low points.

Back to anger. My daughter is difficult. Shea is 8, and she is beautiful and funny and sweet. Of course then she is also defiant, confusing, and the puzzle I can not crack. Most people only see the sweet, funny girl, and that’s a good thing! Her teacher has seen both sides, and is probably the most incredible teacher she will ever have. I am beyond thankful for his ability to help her when she is at her most defiant.

This morning it was her outfit. If you know me, then you know I am very carefree. My kids can dress any way they like, even if that means Shea is wearing her white flower girl dress over a pink shirt, with rainbow leg warmers and sneakers (and Justin is staring at me and saying “she looks ridiculous!”). Today was one of those days where I had to step in, and suggest a little more. Even now, an hour after she left for school, it is only 27°F. Shea chose a long-sleeved shirt (perfect choice), multi-colored pineapple print short shorts, dinosaur leg warmers, and penguin knee socks. It was really something, BUT it’s still below freezing, so I asked her to please put a skirt over the ensemble, or a dress. Anything to add an extra layer. “I don’t have any skirts.”

“Ok, here is a skirt.”

Grumbles and growls from Shea. I then brought her 4 MORE skirts. At this point, she is whining at a low and constant hum, something like a window AC unit. My last words are “fine, then you pick something else,” and as I walk away, she is yelling at me that she has nothing.

Nothing? NOTHING?! My heart rate is rising. I’m still trying to grasp on to calm. I suggest pants, skirts, and dresses again. Justin is now reminding her that they have to leave so he can take her to school and get to work on time. It’s already 8am, which is usually when they are walking out the door. Still she refuses.

And then Calm Mom whispers goodbye, and she floats off to the land of Children-Who-Don’t-Get-Mad-and-Growl-at-Their-Parents. Blood Boiling-Angry Mom steps in. And I yell.

Justin tells me to stop yelling. I yell back that “I CAN’T!” Honestly, I can’t. I want to, but the heat building up inside has to come out somehow. For a while, I pushed it back down inside with binge eating. I would get mad; I would stand in the kitchen eating Nutella from the jar, while I searched for a bag of chocolate chips, or any other candy I could shove in my face. Then I would get a stomach ache and find myself looking in the mirror, wondering how it is that I’ve gained 50lbs since getting married.

I’m fresh out of Nutella, and there is no chocolate in the house, and I stopped the self-destructive binge-eating a year ago. So instead, I walk away. I stand in the kitchen and drink my coffee, and occasionally go to check on her progress. Now, with my EXTREMELY CALM husband’s help, she is putting on jeans. That are way too small. I snap, “those do NOT fit! PLEASE put on pants that FIT!” Justin AGAIN (and still calm-how does he do it) tells me to stop yelling. “This is RIDICULOUS! What size are these?! 6?! WHY ARE THEY EVEN IN HERE!?” I take the jeans and leave. I am most definitely making everything worse.

Justin says I created the “Shea Monster,” and he might very well be right. In my defense, I try REALLY hard to stay calm. Really I do. I can go days, weeks even without yelling, or raising my voice. My therapist, and Shea’s, have told me I need to be firm with her, and not let her walk all over me, because it seems when I give up (“you did your homework and answered every question wrong. Let’s erase your answers and work on it together. Oh, you DON’T want to correct it? Fine. Turn it in like this”), I’m letting her win. But how are you supposed to “stay firm” and hold your ground (without yelling), and not give up, when your opponent (in this case, an adorable 8 year old with ADD and Oppositional Defiance) will NEVER back down?

Now Shea is wearing a pair of jeans that are downright falling off of her. Justin asks if she has any clothes that actually fit her, and I can’t decide who I want to yell at the most. I think I just want to stand in the middle of the room, stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs. Just because. I get Shea a THIRD pair of jeans, and while she take five whole minutes putting on her sneakers, I take our puppy, Emma, outside. And breathe.

Justin and Shea leave for school. Then Justin is off to work. I have 5 hours to regain my cool, and chances are, by the time Shea walks in after school, that happy sweet girl will have returned.

I still feel like a terrible mom. Justin would (lovingly) agree. Because we love each other, and are ridiculous. He is calm, and I am volcanic. Or at least my mouth is.