Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

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Sometimes It Is Not Fun Being an Adult

January 12, 2014

When the Chief asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said, “I was thinking about that. Could we combine Christmas with our anniversary, not get each other anything, and go to this bed-and-breakfast that I’ve been dying to go to and have been watching its blog like a hawk?”

The Chief was game and I was given the go ahead to look for a sitter for the girls.

Then the Chief gave me for Christmas a pair of earrings we had scoped out at an antique shop downtown. Now I did get him to narrow down how much he spent and I don’t think that he paid too much for them. I would like them appraised to see if the stones are real but the earrings themselves are 14k gold.

So our anniversary came and went and so did some weird weather. It is fortuitous that we did not go on our actual anniversary because of the weather. (The next day was a snow day and that could have been disastrous.)

We were planning on going tomorrow. But it has been nagging at me. The cost. The cost of one night. I know, I know it is the experience of staying in a historic building, having cocktail hour, a luxury bath, gas fire-place, amazing food in the morning, time alone, just the two of us… I’m worth it. He’s worth it (though I’m not so sure he’d enjoy it as much as I would). 18 years is a pretty good accomplishment.

But we have a family cruise to Hawaii this summer. I’m going to want to do as many excursions as possible. The amount we would have spent in the accommodation, taxes and for a sitter for the night could pay for 1 or 2 excursions for a family of 4 depending on what we choose to do.

I was talking to the father of the sitter, letting him know we’d tell her tonight if we still needed her. “Yeah, we usually end up taking the kids with us because there will be a time when it’s just us.” I said, “We’re going on this trip but it’s not like we’ll have privacy.” He laughed, “Sure you will. Just send them to the beach.” T1, who will be sharing a cabin with other cousins, piped in, “Or just send T2 to our cabin!”

It is not just that. In recent days I looked around at our more than adequate home and started listing that I’d still really like–our bathroom redone and we truly need to admit we need a king size bed if we’re ever going to get decent sleep any time soon. This could mean a whole new bedroom set (ours is 18 years old now). And he has a list of his own–new kitchen floor, new front door, etc. None of this will be inexpensive. We just got a new hot water heater, new washer & dryer, and replaced the french doors. Not cheap at all. Those three were definite needs and not the wants of a new bathroom sink.

And the kicker? The Chief and I just had physicals. Our GP is an old friend–I’m talking I’ve known him since 9th grade. He went in to see the Chief and said, “Not that your wife told me to say anything to you, but you don’t seem too particularly thrilled with your employment situation. What’s it going to take for you to stop sailing?”

“For my wife and children to agree to live on half my salary.”

Don’t get me wrong, the Chief is pretty selfless and doesn’t make us feel like a burden. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that it is me that refers to myself as spoiled and blessed that I don’t have to work. I’ve struggled with that and I’ve panicked about that–I can be immobilized by the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” But the Chief has never made me feel like he resents us. He has expressed displeasure when he’s felt unappreciated but he’s right. The girls especially have had moments of thoughtless unappreciation.

I just spent the month of November being thankful and December is about serving, giving, and counting those blessings all over again. If the Chief is one of my top blessings, is it right for me to ask him to take me to what boils down to as an extravagance in light of all the home improvements I just complained about and the already planned expensive Hawaiian trip .. for “our anniversary”? Is it appreciative to ask him to spend money of something he might not enjoy as much as me?

Okay, just to be balanced, if the Chief asked me to spend our anniversary at a woodworking show, you better believed I’d roll my eyes, groan, make sure there was a nice hotel and restaurant involved before I’d agree to go with him. (And yes, I’ve spent my birthday at a woodworking show with him but it was followed by a Trace Atkins & Bill Engvall concert–seemed like a reasonable exchange!) The Chief agreed to the B-n-B idea without asking for something for him.

I wanted the Chief to step in and say, “Let’s save the money for Hawaii.” But he wouldn’t. He felt like he was in between a rock and a hard place. He listened to what I had to say. If he gave his thumbs up, I’d enjoy it–I’d have a blast. But I’d probably feel the guilt later when I had another sleepless night or complained again about or mismatched medicine cabinets. Or had even more guilt as we signed up for our excursions. Would it be worth it.

The Chief came up with the only grown-up solution. “If you’re going to feel guilty, let’s not go and go shopping for a king size bed this week.”

He’s a good guy, that Chief of mine.

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Too Connected…?

March 25, 2013

Without social media I am not sure I’d be picking up the phone trying to contact people to give them my condolences. First of all, I doubt I’d have the phone numbers. Besides, I hate the telephone. But social media causes all kinds of social etiquette questions and new situations. Think about how people are having to send “Sorry but you’re not invited” announcements for weddings and parties that are public knowledge because of social media.

For example, I have one friend who announced in church that a family member passed but did not mention it on FB. Mutual friends started posting condolences. What if the person didn’t want it to be so public? People certainly would not want to cause additional pain intentionally.

Someone else who had a baby did not want information about said baby on FB due to the nature of her job.

My heart is still aching for my friend and the loss of her daughter. It was right there on FB. Eventually when the grandmother said something, I sent my condolences to her as well. Here’s the deal and dilemma: this family is large and has several ex’s in several generations but all the children seem to still communicate. This loss will surely be felt by most. But I’ve hesitated sending condolences to those in the family I know mutually (and am FB friends with) because I don’t know if they know for one thing. Obviously I would not plaster their page with “I’m sorry for your loss” if they haven’t said anything but I still hesitate to send a private note. Because, second, while children may still have relationships that is no guarantee ex’s do or that they keep in touch with ex-steps. No one needs extra drama at this time of such tragic loss.

Certainly, social media has its merits for being able to reach out at a time of loss–or joy–but the etiquette rules are so blurry.

I think it would be safe to say one should “mind their own business” and just be there for the friend when the service is announced. Social media makes everything everyone’s business. While it can be the fastest way to get the word out and stay connected, it can be the fastest way to get the word out… if you know what I mean.

Just thoughts I’m pondering as I just wish I could do or say something more than I’m so sorry. My prayers for this family have been unending.

The other thought I keep thinking about is how we always tend to say all the wrong things and often the person suffering the loss ends up feeling like they have to comfort everyone else! I posted a quip about “hug your children no matter how old they are. we are not guaranteed tomorrow.” So many started asking me what was wrong. I did say an old friend lost a child too soon … much the same way I blogged on here. But it generated “Oh I’m so sorry” as if it was my loss. Certainly many said they would pray for this family and I think that is a wonderful bonus of social media. They certainly need our prayers.

But it wasn’t about me. I don’t need comforting–I found myself making sure I was saying my heart aches for her–because it is not my heart breaking for the loss of a child. I just wanted, out of that ache, to remind people to cherish their loved ones. Life is just too short.

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I Promised….

March 19, 2013

a bunch of posts after my scrapbooking weekend. But I don’t know where to start.

Often that feeling is exactly what keeps people from ever starting anything. It can be paralyzing. I figured if I put this off much longer I’d forget what I wanted to write and I’d be hard pressed to find new things to write.

I have lots to say just not lots of focus or time to say them.

I will start with the birthday. I’m not sure why I celebrate it any more … okay, that doesn’t sound right. There was a time when my birthday represented more negative than positive. I guess now I just don’t want a big fuss because I don’t need anything or particularly expect anything. I get to celebrate my birthday with my friends, scrapbooking for 48 hours. What more could I want?

But I have dear friends who in spite of my protests “No, no, don’t do anything/give anything!” still took me out to lunch and gave me gifts. Really, just the long lunch was fine (but I love my new Wonder Woman cooler cup!). We actually had the hubby of one friend join us to celebrate his birthday too. And I ate the chocolate moose muffin from Mimi’s Cafe for dinner–how’s that for celebrating on the wild side?

The best thing ?… the Chief worked hard to find just the right gift. He spent a few days searching Ebay auctions and researching and at 9 PM on Sunday night won an auction to give me my own oboe! I had to ask him what brought this about and his reply was simply “You said you wanted one.”

Trying not to pass up a teaching moment, I made sure that when the Chief asked me what I thought an oboe was worth and how much he should spend that T1 was within ear shot and I replied, “I know how much I wouldn’t go over because this is definitely a want and not a need.” I am happy to say the Chief has mad Ebay auction skills and got a great price for this oboe.

It has been over 20 years since I’ve played. I loved going to the music store and buying the reed and cleaning kit. I even picked up the same lesson books T2 is studying out of — BTW, alto sax and oboe are in the same key so we can work together — and some simple music.

Playing the oboe is exhausting! It is coming back to me and I don’t sound as much like a duck as I did in 9th grade which earned me the Duckie award from the band teacher. I still have the duck Christmas ornament my band geek friends gave me. 🙂

To anyone else this might seem like an odd gift but really it was the perfect gift. In a lot of ways it was the Chief saying “I love you” without saying those words. It reminded me of our first Valentines where he won me a copy of the stuffed Chewbacca doll my dog ate (this was back in the beginnings of Ebay in 1996). Again, what an odd but awesome gift that had “I love you” written all over it.

Of course I’ve had a few hecklers say “If all you had to do was say you wanted some

A modern oboe with a reed.

A modern oboe with a reed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

thing, next time go big!” Nah, to me this was big.

Thanks, Chief. I love you too.

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Hmmm…

October 19, 2012

So I body-checked T1 into the wall and took down two 14 year olds. Not sure if I should be proud of that but after subbing 5th grade for two days it felt so good!

Ask me about all my aches and pains in the morning.

Where have I been for the past month? Riding the continual roller coaster that is my life. The Chief came home.

Surprise! Hey, welcome home; take a nap ’cause I’m subbing so I’ll see you this afternoon!

Now that I think about it, because you’re home and the house is in the middle of being painted, can you change out the mirror and light fixture while the crew is working?

What? The old one was a fire hazard?! Surprise! It is just like being at work–did I say welcome home yet?

I actually did feel bad about that. I really do make it a point to let the Chief get his land-legs before throwing my massive to-do list at him. But really if he hadn’t taken down the fixture before the guys painted, if we had discovered all the not-to-code problems later, it would have been a waste to have had the bathroom done. Now the bathroom looks awesome–and it is to code too.

I’ve been subbing quite a bit. All by request too. Half-day here, full-day there. It takes a lot out of me but not as much as it used to. And I’ve turned down jobs too. Two days in a row is max for me. I need to recharge my batteries after that. Or run down and plow over teenage soccer players…

T2 has been declared “Normal.” Okay, yes, what I saw was unusual but according to her blood work everything returned to normal. So it wasn’t a defect in her blood–it was her blood reacting to something. Either the viruses giving her the ear infections or the antibiotics for said viruses. We even looked at a very common condition that many (I’m talking many) people have and don’t even know it. Now according to my one very knowledgable friend who keeps me sane in situations like this, one “normal” result for this condition does not necessarily mean that is the case. But it is not a life threatening condition so I’m not going to sweat it at the moment.

I can just imagine T2 at doctor appointments in the future listing all her mystery illnesses–before she even gets to the whacked out genes and family history! Honestly, I’m really wishing she didn’t have these mystery illnesses. It would be a lot less stressful for us. Especially because it only seems to happen when the Chief is at sea. At least the Chief was home to get the good news.

I’m pretty certain I posted this … my mom has breast cancer.

My.

mom.

has.

breast.

cancer.

I wear my pretty butterfly shirt on the days she has chemo. That development was a shock to us. I think I’m still numb. My sister had a call back on her first mammogram but it was just a calcification. Mom lost her hair. We’re not talking the thinning I’ve had since starting MTX. No. Her’s came out in clumps. She asked my brother to shave the rest.

My mom has cancer.

Actually, she’d had a non-melanoma skin cancer before. But this is different.

Did some reading. Seems that on those commercials that list all the side-effects of the drugs I’m on just to be able to walk … “And other cancers” means non-melanoma skin cancers and metastatic breast cancer. Um, hello? I’m pale. Very pale. I already have half her genes anyway so who is to say the drugs will have anything to do with it anyway?

I still get goosebumps when I think about the most amazing and real way God answered my prayers this summer at camp and yet I found myself morbidly asking why? Why answer my prayers? Why heal me? Yeah, the thoughts of my own mortality mixed with the realizations that my parents, the Chief’s parents just aren’t getting any younger. After all, my father had spent a month in the hospital prior to all this. Did He answer so that all my ducks were in a row? Closure before the bottom fell out?

I don’t know. I’m still numb. Sure other people’s lives are worse off. Other people’s parents are ill, far more seriously than my mother (she is only Stage 1 and prognosis is very good). T2 is NOT sick … abnormally normal, but not sick. The Chief is an amazingly supportive husband and the girls and I lack for nothing.

But I have panic attacks every week when scouts rolls around. I can only physically and mentally sub for two days in a row max–what would happen if I actually had to work full-time? The Chief and I are still working on things … getting closure was only the beginning and I have such a long way to go. Between me and him I still have to figure out how much is/was the PTSD, how much was me and how much was him … we’re in uncharted marriage ground here.

Speaking of uncharted territory … my 12-year-old. I’m supposed to be keeping track of how she behaves when it is just me and when the Chief is home. Actually, I’m beginning to think it may be more telling to look at her behavior and moods when it involves or doesn’t involve her sister. Jealousy is a green-eyed monster disguised as a blue-eyed girl in this case. And I’m still left wondering how much of it is the PTSD, how much is just me and how much is her … and how badly have I already messed her up? And how do I help?

That is what I have been up to. Thanks for stopping by!

BTW, choice number two with the “oriental rug” and black dress has gotten the overwhelming approval. I’ll post on the event after it takes place next month.

And I go for my first mammogram next week. I’ll post about that too.

Oh, and I know God answered for His glory–I’ve just got to figure out how He wants me to show that, to live that in my life. I know He’ll give me that answer too, if I just look harder and finish what He set in motion.

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