Saturday, January 05, 2008

I am not qualified to be a landlord. Or a parent. Or a homeowner. Or probably even a human being at this point.

You know, normally I pride myself on my optimistic attitude. Normally I don’t get bogged down by silly stuff and can see the bright side of things. *Normally* I consider myself a relatively cheerful person. But I must admit, the past six weeks or so I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed.

The move, living with my mom for a week, setting up the new house, trying to ready the rent house, getting the kids in their new school right off the bat, trying to merge my “old” Oklahoma life with my “current” life, and then just about the time I felt I was coming up for air, the holidays fell on my head. None of these things are bad or stressful or evil by themselves, just that you add them all together and I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, busy all the time, yet feeling like a total loser because my “to-do” pile is consistently bigger than my “already done” pile, no matter how hard I work. It sort of hit an apex this week when Blaine was sick because instead of using this Christmas Break as an opportunity to get lots done like I planned, well, I’d look over at him, huddled under a blanket, alternately shivering freezing and then burning up and then getting up to puke, and good wife that I am, I just felt like, “Geez Louise! One more #*(&$#(*& thing to take care of!!” (Yes, he is one lucky man, isn’t he?)

I hate whiners, and yesterday I decided I was tired of listening to myself whine about it. About my life, and the stress in it. (Waaaah. What a baby. Was my kid diagnosed with cancer today? No? Then it was NOT a stressful day, is all I need to remind myself.) So I decided to get up today and make a fresh start --- mainly with my attitude. As long as I accomplish *something* every day, then it will eventually all get done, right? And I’m going to feel good about it in the meantime.

We needed a new cable outlet in our living room, and had Cox scheduled to come to the house this morning between 8am and 10am. I set my alarm for early enough that by the time he showed up at 8:30, I had already made a triple batch of chocolate chip pancakes and done two loads of laundry. Pretty good start, eh?

Then, the minute he was done, I loaded up the kids and drove to the rent house, where I met with the “handyman” I hired and discussed the work I want done. (OK, to clarify, the work I *can afford* to have done at this time.) But he seemed very competent and pleasant and receptive to my ideas, so when we were finished, I was feeling pretty damn smug about myself.

I had planned a bowling outing for my kids and let them invite a few classmates in an attempt to help them make friends here at their new school. So two moms that I don’t even know were meeting us at the bowling alley at noon sharp to take advantage of the free bowling passes that were given out on the last day before Christmas break started.

We had exactly enough time to make it to Home Depot and purchase a new medicine cabinet before going to the bowling alley … exactly. And not wasting a minute of time fell right in line with my new “Total Efficiency Time Management Strategy” Since I was on a roll and wanted today to be as productive as possible, off we went.

Walked in, found the precise size and color cabinet I needed, paid for it, walked out, and BLAM!!! The Oklahoma wind, which was blowing at about thirty degrees below zero and at about a bazillion miles per hour today, slammed into the cabinet, flipped it out of my cart, and the mirror shattered all over the Home Depot parking lot.

It was one of those slow-motion moments, where I could see the cabinet falling, and tried to catch it with my foot (the hell? What was I thinking? Do I have, like, a bionic foot?) A lady several parking spaces over saw what happened, looked me right in they eye, and said, “Wow, that sucked.” Yeah, thanks.

So I picked up as many broken shards of glass as I could, as the wind was whipping the curse words in an icy frenzy around my head, and then traipsed the entire length of the parking lot because for some reason I don’t understand, you have to walk IN one end of Home Depot and walk OUT the complete other end, so I had to carry that broken medicine cabinet (did I mention HEAVY broken medicine cabinet, despite my freakishly strong arm muscles??) all the way to the other end. I tried desperately to find a way to blame it on my children, but no, it was just the wind, and the fact that I’m too moronic to securely place things properly in the cart.

Kudos to Home Depot, they offered to let me change out the cabinet for a new one, no charge. I looked the customer service lady right in the eye and said, “But you understand there was nothing wrong with this one except the fact I’m a LOSER who broke it??” and she kindly said, “I’ll get one of the guys to help you get the new one loaded in your car.” Now how nice was that?

Except, we were now running a little short on time. And I had apparently bought the very last 30x30 surface mounting tri-fold mirror with white edging medicine cabinet they had. Oh, wait. Except for that one waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy up on the very tippy-top shelf, so they had to drag that motorized ladder from another part of the store in order to reach it.

And we were now officially late for the bowling alley.

Despite the fact I made a terrible first impression by asking these moms to meet me, then not showing up on time, they were both still waiting for me in the parking lot, free passes in hand. Free passes to the WRONG bowling alley, because I didn’t look closely enough and just assumed I was telling them the right alley. Because I’m a mirror-breaking moron.

So I loaded up their kids in my van and drove everyone to the correct bowling alley, telling the other moms that we’d eat lunch at the bowling alley, then bowl a few games, then I’d bring the kids home. I drove all the kids there, got out of the van, traipsed into the bowling alley, and discovered the restaurant doesn’t open until dinner time. So right back out to the parking lot we went, because I am a mirror-breaking, bowling-alley-protocol moron.

I took all the kids to what might have been the slowest working Burger King on the planet, but after a while, we had all been served, had eaten, and were ready to hit the lanes. Finally!

Kellen and his friend decided they didn’t want to use the bumpers, while Brayden, Kendrie, and Kendrie’s little friend did. Oh, did I mention that Brayden was already pouting because we had invited three school friends to go with her and none of them were available? She kept going on and on about how “I’m the only one here without a friend!” and I wanted to say, “What about your brother and sister? Don’t they count for anything?” Hoping things would calm down once everyone got shoes that fit (dear heavens, is that a trial all of its own or what!?!?) I put myself on a non-bumper lane with the boys, and Brayden and the two younger ones on the lane next to us, WITH bumpers.

Now, my kids enjoy bowling. They really, truly like it. But this was the first time Kellen had ever chosen to bowl without bumpers, and once he realized how much he sucked, the scowling began in earnest. By the fifth frame, when he had bowled seven gutters and had a total score of 19, he declared bowling was the stupidest game ever and he wasn’t doing it anymore. And sat down, crossed him arms across his chest, and refused to go again. When I FORCED him to finish the game, because hello, you have a GUEST here, and you are acting like a 2-yr old baby and embarrassing both yourself AND ME, he began just flinging the ball down the lane willy-nilly, not even trying, not even standing there long enough to see if he knocked any pins down. Just rolling the ball and walking back to his seat immediately with a big huge ugly pout on his face. (I’m sure if my mom is reading this, she’s laughing to herself because apparently I was a big pouter in my younger years, too. And if Blaine reads this, he’ll laugh because he says I still pout now.)

Then Brayden got beat by an 8-yr old, which really made her mad, and then Kendrie got tired and started laying down between frames. I had to admit that the only two kids acting properly were the two friends we had along, and my own children were not only embarrassing the hell out of me, but perhaps are candidates for youth boarding school. Abroad. Or, a swift kick in the ass. Either one would have been fine with me.

Then Kellen’s friend wanted to go play arcade games and I had to tell him no, because no way was I going to let him go by himself, and even bigger no way was I going to reward Kellen’s shitty behavior with money for pinball. And the longer I sat there, and watched my kids act like brats, the clearer it became that perhaps Blaine and I should have simply bought an iguana or something ten years ago instead of trying this parenting gig, at which I am so undoubtedly failing.

Finally the bowling was over, and I drove the other kids home. Riding back to our house, I lectured all the way (because we all know how much attention my kids were really paying to my rambling, right?) about how it will be a cold day in Hell before I plan anything fun for them if that’s how they’re going to act, and blah blah blah, their eyeballs were rolling back up in their heads.

Then we arrived home, I opened the garage door, still lecturing, and realized that in my rush, I didn’t pull the door closed securely enough when we left that morning. So now, the back door has been open all day, and I’ve paid good money to heat the double-car garage. Greeeeaaaaat.

That’s when it hit me. I’m too klutzy to be a good home-improvement landlord. Too easily frustrated to be a parent. And too irresponsible to be a homeowner.

Maybe I should just buy LOTS of iguanas, and try iguana farming.

Oh well, to quote Scarlett, after all, tomorrow is, another day. I’ll just keep trying, until I get it right. Or until I give the hell up and move to someplace where no-one owns a home or has any children, because that might be the only place on earth I’m qualified to live. With my iguanas.

33 comments:

Grandma J said...

You have such a way with words! It would be so totally rude of me to say I laughed my arse off, so I won't say it....even if I did laugh.
God gave some people boring lives....get up, eat breakfast...watch Oprah, eat dinner, get drunk and go to bed...day in and day out. You, my friend were given the deluxe colorful life...complete with a husband, three kids and rental property.

At least Kellen didn't have to share his house ball with some friggin lady in the next lane.

Wishing you a boring mundane 2008.
Peace.

Loralee Choate said...

That day sounds truly horrible. Every mother reading this will empathize with you.

I think you rock. Why? Because it would have been easy to give in and make it go "Smoother" in the moment and let your kid play video games and you didn't. You taught him a lesson.

You stuck to your guns and didn't bribe them into "Good" behavior!

That is awesome.

heartshapedhedges said...

I have the same sentiments....except, my "Im-gonna-be-a-great-mom-and-take-my-kids-somewhere-fun-and-memorable-even-though-Im-behind-on-my-errands-and-my-house-is-a-mess" excursion was to the Rose Parade.....where I had to holler and yank on my kids the whole time, and lectured all the way home that Im never taking them anywhere again, except, they were sleeping, so I was only talking to myself.

Glad you are getting all settled in.....

Anonymous said...

Kristie - I think you are trying to do tooooooo much!!! Schedule yourselfs a little less and it will allow you a bit more time to breathe and things may flow more smoothly for you! I should take my own advice. ;) Miss you friend
Love Erin

Lisa said...

Oh Kristie, stop giving yourself a hard time. I make a list every night of things I need to achieve the next day - and then I refine it to what can *realistically* be achieved the next day and the next night I tick em off before I prepare the next days list. It helps me. Hope today is better for you!

Anonymous said...

We all have days like that - at least those of us who are parents. I can't tell you how many times my 12 year old has made a big scene in public because something didn't go her way, She is a drama queen about everything. I think you've done an amazing job with all you've had going on in the past 2 months - give yourself a pat on the back.

Cindy
Virginia

Anonymous said...

Haven't posted before - delurking to say I enjoy reading your blog.

I agree with Erin, sounds like you're trying to do too much. Especially given all the stress you and the entire family have been under for the last several months.

I think you should allow yourself some more 'down time', so you can recharge and get back your optimism. And don't spend your 'down time' thinking about all the items on your to do list that aren't getting done!

Often times I think 'is the world going to come to an end or will someone die if I don't do [insert task here] today?' If the answer is 'No', then I tell myself not to feel bad that [insert task here] didn't get done. Of course, I don't do this with all my tasks -- don't want to carry this too far or nothing would ever get done!

It helps that my family is supportive of this approach.

Hang in there, and remember to laugh -- laughing makes you feel better!

- CJ

Marisa said...

You are so funny!! I love the way you write. I HAD to laugh even though it was such a tough day!!

Anonymous said...

make a mental note for next year... stay away from the bowling alley!! It's a disaster waiting to happen!! Make arrangements for all the kids to go to their friend's house and then sit on the couch, with a good book and a good drink and call it a day!!

Hope things are looking up...
Kristina
Brookville OHIO

Anonymous said...

A favorite song lyric of mine is, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." We've always found that philosophy helpful in our military career. I hope today is a better day!!

Gayle in AL

Donna said...

My 5-year-old, known here only as El Diablo, was totally psyched to go bowling this week after practicing for the past week on the new Wii. Imagine the crestfallen face when he remembers that bowling with a REAL ball on a REAL lane (even with the bumpers) is apparently 976.57% harder than swinging a remote in the living room. Fortunately he managed to squeeze a strike and a spare out of it and beat his older brother, so there was a modicum of redemption. We will not even discuss the giant chip in my 8-year-old's front tooth caused by running/jumping/some other forbidden activity with a plastic blowgun on New Year's Eve.

Tiffany said...

Aww ((((kristie))))) Im hoping today is better. I for one love to hear the "downside" of parenting, it makes me feel normal.
I am currently battling my almost 9 yr old to take her painkillers so she can be a functioning kid(multi level laminectomies and spinal cord detethering done a week ago)and it truly sucks, nothing like threatening the kid that just had huge amounts of crap done to her that if she doesnt take her meds lifes gonna suck and be on restrictions....not like it doesnt already suck with her not being able to play and whatnot!

Alisa said...

Just another reason I heart winter break!
We made the attempt to go to the movies yesterday.
The ONE day in So Cal that it rains. Cats and Dogs. Good day for a movie except for getting into and out of the theater. 7 year old boy and puddles. I'll leave it to your imagination.
Chin up, they go back to school soon and you'll get all caught up then!

Anonymous said...

OH, THANK GOD I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!!!
Some days it seems like it is all up hill, doesn't it?
I had my breakdown the week before Christmas...All the yelling and crying (on my part) guilted my children into good behavior for only a short time, however.
We are back to square one. The two oldest children have been in their rooms two nights at 7:45 because they can not seem to say three words to each other without arguing or insulting one another.
Oh, and did I mention that I am going to have a fifth baby in a month...am I completely crazy???
Good to know I am in such good company!!
Tomorrow will be better.
Meg
Milford, CT

lizinsumner said...

You, my dear, are FAR too hard on yourself. And, anyone with kids knows unequivocally that it is a law of nature that someone elses kids ALWAYS behave better than your own when their own parents are not there - which means the opposite is true: that your children behave better with other parents when you're not around! So, cheer up, and next time when it's the other mothers' turn, take great solace in the fact that your children will be the well behaved ones! Oh, and kudos to HD for replacing your cabinet for free! See, I TOLD you that you should have moved to Seattle instead - the worse that would've happened here is that your cabinet would've gotten wet from all of the FREAKING, ENDLESS rain!!

Anonymous said...

I've been a reader of yours for quite some time - some 3 or so odd years(since Caringbridge :)) & you never fail to make me laugh. And I know that prolly what you need right now is encouragement and support (which I can give lol) but you had me rolling on the floor with your misfortune. Sounds like you started the day off great and ended it the right way - no body bags LOL!! Having 4 children myself ages 8 and under I do feel your pain. I'm an Army wife aka lots of time away from my hubby lol so much of what I do is on my own too.

I wanted to say Thank You for lifting me out of a rough day. It will be several months before I see my hubby again and I was throwing a pity party for myself. So I decided to drop in and see what you guys had been up to. And you ALWAYS pull through for me with your family's antics. Thanks for sharing and being so damn entertaining!!

Proud Army Wife & Mother
Brandi from NC

Anonymous said...

Poor you. I think you deserve to start drinking. Right now. Just make up a pitcher of whatever it is and drink until you see 6 children instead of 3.

Jeanette, missing you in Georgia:( said...

Go have some amarettos and send me the bill.

Amy said...

You really need to get a Wii. Bowling totally rocks on it and you don't have to deal with the 'alley' part.
I think your an awesome mother, wife, landlord, friend and you are so funny!!

mom25in5 said...

Kristie;

A lesson learned from the trenches of Juvenile Diabetes...one thing you planned to accomplish in a day actually accomplished is an extremely successful day. I would count your pancakes a huge success in my world!!!

I loved reading your entry because it is every mom's life. Days like this make me want to pull the blankets over my head and wake up when they're all in college - with Grandma and Grandpa paying.

God loves us most when we're screwing up - 'cause that's when we look to Him and realize that's why He gives us "days like this".

Hoping your evening goes better - and Blaine's feeling better too.

Hugs & prayers,


Kim

Oh-so-"getting it"-Mom to:
Daniel-12
Scott-11
Bryan-9 (T1 diabetes 2/6/06)
Sarah-7
Dana-7

Ann said...

Oh Kristie, I have weeks like that too (well, not exactly like that). It's the perfectionist in us and the need to be in control that is both our worst enemy and our biggest asset. I'd like to believe it's more a blessing than a curse. Most people wouldn't begin to tackle what you have the last month. Your ability to laugh at it (when it's all said and done) is what keep you sane. You are a blessing to many.

Ann
www.jack-schrooten.blogspot.com

Monica H said...

They're kids. You're human (with freakishly over developed arm muscles). Don't be so hard on yourself. You can handle more than iguanas (although they would probably be easier and they don't pout).

Lightbulb moment: Why don't I just get an iguana???

jadine said...

Dude.

I think it's time for you to, like, fall into a vat full of money, or win a trip to the Bahamas, or something.

Seriously.

Skip the iguanas. Just download some more iTunes. And get some, nay, LOTS of Amaretto. And go to the Bahamas.

Or Pflugerville! :)

Anonymous said...

I totally feel for you and the move (and the kids behavior too!) We moved back South to Houston from the frozen NORTH of Arkansas and I thought YES we are moving closer to home. It will be GREAT! But it wasn't b/c it was Thanksgiving and christmas and we had no time to make friends and people had no time to be friends b/c they were busy with their friends already. It sucked! But it's one year later, and lots of friends along the way, and it's a whole lot better. I found the beginning of the school year was the thing that got me on track. I felt out of sorts starting at a new school mid way through the year. Anyway, I feeel your pain and hope it gets better for you as time goes on. i am sure it will. You will soon be involved at their school as you were in Georgia and that will help you meet people.

Take Care.
Claire in Texas.

Mixed Up Me said...

I have felt this way MANY times!! I feel like a failed parent everyday when my spoiled brat 11 year old acts up! Really though, what entertainment would we have without them? Or, what excuse would we have to yell until our face is bright red without them? :) Keep your chin up, you are a wonderful Mom, and someday they'll thank you . . .ar atleast that's what I tell myself anyway!!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that every time I read a post like this one from you, I would swear my life was being lived in GA/OK? My kids have embarrased me so badly before that I vowed to homeschool them forever b/c it would save me future embarrasment. Really.
The sun will come out tomorrow . . .
Tammy in dreary Ohio.

Anonymous said...

I told a friend the other day that I think I just like the concept of children.

Aren't they going back to school soon? That should help...a...lot!

Thanks for the chuckle,
Dixie in CA

Anonymous said...

I have felt your pain moving the last two times.

Glad to hear that Home Depot helped you out.

We need to schedule a girls weekend soon.
Miss you all
Rena'

Anonymous said...

When I have days like that, my best friend sings me a song. It goes: "I need a vacation from my life..."

The Bahamas sounds good...no kids...lots of booze...cute guys with no shirts...

Julie
Madison, WI

WendyK said...

I have to say that I too laughed my arse off though I know it was frustrating for you to live through. Hopefully after all that y'all have been through over the years, it is possible for you to laugh at this tomorrow as well.

There are days I feel the same way about all of the things that you have mentioned. It does seem easier to handle after dealing with cancer though.

Tomorrow is another day!

MH said...

oh. my. god. that is just about the worst day ever (barring catastrophe).

i wouldn't pick iguanas though. i'd pick cats. iguanas won't keep you warm in the winter.

Cheryl said...

Oh, life with kids can be so entertaining. I am also a lecturer and believe it or not my 2 kids fondly remember "how I wouldn't let it go and would go on and on and on" about everything. The things we laugh and talk about now are always those types of memories.

Kelly said...

I think we all feel like this at times.