Staying In and Staying Sane

Hey folks, just a quick check in to see how things are going. It’s been a somewhat busy week here at the Messy House. I say somewhat because the kids have been cranking out schoolwork, I’ve been insanely busy at work, and the husband has been home tackling a project or two while also keeping the little one entertained. We hustled all last week and then spent the weekend being as lazy as humanly possible…sleeping late, watching TV, and painting some art projects.

Speaking of TV, we started Tiger King.

HOLY SHIT, Y’ALL.

If you haven’t seen it, meaning you’re one of a small group by now, the show is a documentary on Netflix portraying a group of people who own Tiger Zoos in the south. Most have other animals as well, but the focus appears on tigers, leopards, lions, and other big cats. Every person they document is a little insane, and certainly a character, the main one being a guy named Joe Exotic. Now, if any of you told me that after such a good start to 2020 I’d fine myself locked in my house with my family, working, homeschooling, trying to survive a pandemic, all while winding down my evenings watching a gay, gun toting, polygamist tiger zoo owner who does meth and wears sequin shirts, I’d have laughed at the absurdity. Strangely, that’s my life now. While I’m disturbed at how many of these “big cat” parks are run, I have found that the cast of characters and craziness the show reflects has brought a welcome distraction from the stress of the current climate. My husband and I sat with incredulous looks on our faces, laughing throughout the series. Honestly, I was sad when we got to the last episode and have now resulted to watching Joe Exotic’s internet shows for a fix.

I think on the whole, we’re coping ok. While I’m plowing through work, my husband has been tackling some jobs around the house. So this is what it’s like having a husband who is at home a lot! My husband normally works insane hours and we’re pretty much like 2 ships passing each other in the night. I’ve gotten used to handling much of the daily things on my own. Having him home has been really helpful, and has taken a lot of the edge off me because I’ve been so busy with work. I suspect that when things go back to normal and he goes back to work that we’re all going to struggle with it, especially my daughter, who is thoroughly enjoying having her dad around. It also has made me a bit sad for the fact he has sacrificed so much when it comes to our family all these years. I’m happy he’s home for now, and feel relieved to know he is safely here.

Social media is full of the doom and gloom (aside from Tiger King memes, and thank God for those!) and so is the news. It’s also become increasingly obvious that the info you get from certain politicians is not aligning with the news coming out from our medical community. I trust the people who are on the front lines over those in cushy government offices. When you see and hear what our Drs and nurses say, you become inherently aware of just how scary all of this is. What’s maddening is the number of people who just disregard all the guidelines and recommendations. You start to see that the amount of people who are just garbage human beings is higher than you thought, but then you also see the helpers, the ones who bring help and cheer as well.

I had a conversation with several people who all said they are having dreams of being “out of control”, whether it was being unable to steer a runaway car, dreaming of all their teeth falling out, and many others. It shows that our minds are struggling to cope with what’s going on. Rainy days and bad weather doesn’t help when you feel trapped in your house.

As for me, we are participating in little neighborhood silly activities that bring a feeling of solidarity and hope. I’ve found my daughter and I in particular enjoy a somewhat silly activity that was started which is where at 8 pm, many neighbors come out and ring bells for 2 minutes from their front step. Every night you can step out in the fresh air and hear the twinkle of bells around the neighborhood…all neighbors in solidarity reminding each other that while it can feel quite lonely, we’re all here in this together. There’s a family or two across the way who is too far to hear them, so my daughter and I hop in the car to do a “drive by ringing” for the kids at that house. They cheer and ring their bells, and look forward to it every night. Honestly, we do too! We do a quick spin around the neighborhood streets, ringing our bells out the window and waving to everyone. Such a silly thing, but you should see the smiles on everyone’s faces. It’s our routine, it makes us smile, and we all look forward to it.

Tomorrow we have a birthday parade to attend by a little boy’s house where we will hold up hand made signs, cheer, and drive by his house to wish him a happy birthday. Again, a silly, simple act, meant to bring a smile to a little one. I’m happy to do it.

All in all, we’re hanging in there. Staying busy, staying happy, and doing the best we can. I hope you are too.

Checking in. How YOU doin'?

Well, it’s been a hot minute since I last wrote, and it seemed like a good time to hop back on the old blog and check in with everyone. Things felt incredibly surreal the past few days. Roads are quiet, places are (mostly) quiet, and I’ve spent more time outside than usual the past week. There seems to be 3 camps in all of this: Those who heed the warnings and are self quarantined, those who think it’s all bogus and who are congregating with other people, and those in the middle. I’m a middle of the line person. I’ve gone to the supermarket for food etc, but am otherwise self quarantining to keep those around me (and myself) as healthy as possible. The only real break I’ve gotten is that the little one and I have been taking long walks at the beach or around the neighborhood. We usually tackle 2-4 miles a day, and it’s my time to clean my mind of all the chaos as well as get some exercise. On the plus side? I even lost a few pounds! Perhaps I’ll even this stay at home stretch with some roots, but at least I may finish a little leaner from getting more exercise! The fresh air, peaceful scenery, and good weather has been awesome. Our beach has a little rock garden that says you may take a painted rock if you see one that calls to you, or paint rocks and leave for others. Well, the other day I found the PERFECT rock and it made me smile from ear to ear. It came home with me, so now I suppose I will be painting some rocks to replace it.

While the kids have been really responsible and self reliant for their school work, I’ve been tackling a huge pile of work at my job. I’m left exhausted and questioning if I’ll get a perfect work/life balance through all of this, but I at least feel productive. It’s not all roses though. My husband’s business had to close, so we’re struggling with that. I have no doubt we’ll manage, but it doesn’t mean things aren’t a bit scary. Unfortunately self employed people can’t collect unemployment, so we’re just going to have to take the hit.

When I was younger, my mom always told me “no matter how bad things get, there will always be someone worse off than you. See if you can be a helper”. It has certainly been true this past week, and I have spent a lot of time seeing how folks react. For every toilet paper hoarder, there are those offering help to the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. Before we knew we had to shut the business, we were in need of some supplies. A friend of mine jumped into action to help me get what we needed. I took an extra pack of toilet paper I had to a family who has a member with cancer. Multiple people in the neighborhood have offered to help pic up food or meds for those in need. Neighbors are out in their yards, staying to themselves but waving to each other, asking each other if they need something. It’s been, dare I say, rather nice.

As an introvert, I’m cut out for this “homebound” stuff. Granted, I’ve been so busy with work, the kids, and cooking that I’m not getting a lot of TV Binge time, but I am finding time for things I want to do. I navigated a few chores around the house, but I’m certainly still far behind on my grand list. I shall also be interested to see if we save much on food now that we are eating in just about every night, aside from trying to support our local places that do family meal curbside takeout. It’s nice to have my husband home.

Hang in there folks. If we can handle this whole “stay at home” thing for a couple of weeks, this too shall pass. It’s not just about our own health, but the health of all the people we love. Stay home, enjoy the down time, and spend some time taking walks or bike rides if you can (socially distanced, of course!). Things feel kind of scary right now for a lot of people, for sure. That being said, our record of making it through scary days is 100%.

Stay safe and be well my friends.

Still waiting

For C to tell me wtf she is looking for here. I even unblocked you on my phone so you could get your bullshit off your chest. Yet not a peep.

Inquiring minds want to know…WHAT DO YOU WANT?

If you insist upon acting like a child and playing games, don’t get angry when I join the fray. I’m willing to hash out whatever needs to be hashed out but instead I see you and your buddies lurking. He’ll, I’ll even meet your buddies for coffee if they want and they can ask me stuff themselves. Woman up and let’s put this 6 years of you stalking and harassing me to an end.

Then again, you’ve never owned your bullshit so why would you start now?

Hey Sad Sack…Updated

Let me start this post by saying it’s directed towards a very specific person who refuses to leave me alone.

C, What do you want? Seriously, what are you looking for here? I’ve told you over and over to leave me alone, stop stalking me, yet you keep coming back over and over. You know I can see when you do, so what are you looking for? What are you trying to accomplish? Or does your OCD prevent you from stopping this craziness?

Tell you what, C, I’m going to unblock you on my phone for a short time. Knock yourself out and tell me what you want because I’m over years and years of your fucking nonsense and harassment. Everyone is. So get it all of your chest if you need to, k?

We can all be adults here. And if we can’t, well, then let’s figure that out and I’ll move forward accordingly. So have at it.

Side note, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say Jared James probably isn’t going to be thrilled about being dragged into nonsense by people.

This is so damned pathetic I can’t even believe it.

It Comes in Threes

The other day, I broke my moratorium on posting to write a few words about a friend I never formerly met. Sometimes it feels like I spend a lot of time writing about death. Death, travel and family probably sum up my posts. One being my least favorite thing, and the other two being my most favorite. This week, we had a lot of interweaving of the three.

Friday went like any other day. Work, racing kids around here and there at night, and me looking forward to crawling into bed to relax. As I bustled around getting the kids ready to head to bed for the night, I began my nightly routine of making sure the animals were all fed. I started downstairs and worked my way upstairs to feed the guinea pigs their nightly veggies. I knew almost immediately something was wrong. They had swapped houses, and one was laying in a strange manner in his little grass house. The other looked unsettled. I gently lifted the house and saw my little piggie laying flat, breathing, but definitely not well. I panicked. I could tell without a doubt he was dying, and not far from it. I mulled over the options. I knew there weren’t many. He didn’t care for being picked up at all, it just wasn’t his thing, and I knew me trying to pick him up would cause him stress. I also knew trying to get him to a vet likely wouldn’t be helpful at this stage, and that the frigid temps would probably shock him into death as well. This wasn’t a case of simply being under the weather. I had to tell my kids the situation, and I explained it all the very best way I could. He was gone not too long after.

Now some people will say “meh, it was just a rodent”. In our home every life matters, no matter how big or small, and a loss is a loss. Our pets are all a part of our family, and we love them all dearly. My daughter and I do the most with the guinea pigs, and we were certainly hit the hardest by the loss. My husband and I cleaned the cage, set up a little coffin for our deceased piggy, and tried to comfort the other piggie the best we could. My daughter had fallen asleep before she knew he had died, camping out on one of her brother’s bunk beds, and was devastated. We held a funeral for our lost pet in our yard, my husband saying a little prayer. Years ago my father in law gifted me a large stone engraved with my mother’s name for my yard so I’d have a place to go and think about her since she’s buried overseas. I asked my daughter if she’d like to move the stone over where her little lost piggie was, and that seemed to really comfort her. It was a somber day.

The same weekend, I got a call my great uncle had passed away. I felt saddened to hear the news, but knew that the past few years had been physically very tough for him, enough so that he was unable to attend his brother’s funeral (my grandfather) which had upset him greatly. I felt relieved he was no longer suffering, but I did get upset when I realized he was the last of that generation for the family. The three siblings and the little boy my great grandparents took in during WW2, all now deceased from cancer or old age. A whole generation of love, stories and memories, all gone. It made me inherently sad.

One of the few truly happy things that came out of my grandfather’s funeral was meeting his cousin, who regaled with me with stories and love for my grandfather. Those two got along famously, and I’d never met her before. I just called her to inform her of the loss of my great uncle. She had heard already, but the two of us had a quick chat. She and I are two peas in a pod really. In the short time I’ve known her I’ve found she’s feisty, silly, and a bit messy, just like me. Our birthdays are a week apart. She’s in her 90’s now and the last one of that group left. I’m hopeful she’s around for a long time, and will go visit her when I get back to England. She’s amazing, and I am sad for not having met her sooner.

One the bright side, this year is shaping up to be pretty awesome so far, and I sure hope it continues. Plans are falling into place. I was able to make some big moves on a personal level which will open up some opportunities for my family. Travel is on the horizon, with at least 5 trips planned this year, possibly more, and I’m hopeful for a big trip next year. Mindsets are being changed. Big plans are coming down the pike. I’m more content than I’ve been in years. I’m freeing myself from anything and anyone that brings me down and it feels AMAZING. I’ll expand more when I can.

In a week, I lost 3. It’s a reminder to focus on the good, and work to fix the bad. While I’m sad for the losses, it’s a reminder, no matter how cliche, to live loud and big. I don’t want to regret not doing things. I want to go places, see things, love people with all my heart, and on my last day, know that I gave it my all.

Friends We Don’t Know: A Tribute to The Real Old Housewife.

You know, I started this blog about 8 years ago or so, along with my corresponding Twitter account. I used to write mostly about the Real Housewives franchises, and gained a small following and subscribers here. I had two small kids and spent my evenings home, so I watched quite a bit of TV while they slept. Over time, the blog evolved to include more of my adventures in motherhood, marriage, my relationship with death, crazy people, and plenty of posts where I laugh at my foibles. I spent less time on Twitter, but did manage to keep most of my followers and “Twitter friends”. One of whom, was Linda.

To be fair, I never knew her real name. I knew her by her Twitter handle. I often giggled at her posts as I scrolled through my feed on occasion. She and I saw eye to eye on a lot, and I enjoyed her posts. About a month ago, I popped onto Twitter and saw a post from her that left me unsettled. She posted that she had been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, and it had spread into her neck and spine. My thumb stopped scrolling. I paused, and began to cry.

My mom died from lung cancer. It’s the number one killing cancer, with an estimated 200,000 people diagnosed each year and 150,000 people dying from it. It’s a beast. I have multiple friends who’s parents died from lung cancer. It is swift, cruel, and painful. I felt so heartbroken for this woman I didn’t even know in person Perhaps it was the link with losing my own mom, perhaps it was just the knowledge of how it would likely play out, but it hit me harder than I ever would have expected.

Over the next few weeks, I found and followed her blog, where she details her experiences and thoughts. I read about her doctor visits, her husband, hospice, and how she felt about all of these things. I read about how she took charge of her care, telling the doctors she wanted to do things on her own terms, and I cheered her on from my little corner of the world. I worried about how her husband would cope without her. I was relieved that she found such good care in her hospice team. I felt dismayed I hadn’t seen her blog before because her writing kept me so enthralled and entertained. I was amazed at her grace and humor even during such a difficult time. I became invested in this stranger, and I was rooting her on, dammit.

It hadn’t occurred to me that I was checking Twitter daily to make sure she was ok. I didn’t write her too much but I was rooting for her from afar. Last night as I wearily crawled into bed, I suddenly realized I hadn’t checked on her all day. I hit my Twitter app, looked up her name, only to see a sweet post from her husband that she had passed away. I paused, and then broke down in tears. How do you ugly cry for a stranger you’ve never met? It’s funny how people have a way, even through just Twitter, to impact your life in a positive way. Maybe it’s the way you relate to them on some level, maybe it’s that they make you laugh or feel something deeply. Whatever it is, Linda struck a cord with me. She brightened the days with her frank humor and she handled the toughest of moments with grace, honesty, and a good old laugh.

I’m going to miss her, and if her timeline is any indication, you can see the wealth of people posting love, tributes and prayers for her. One person can make an awfully big ripple in this big pond called life. Thank you, Linda, for all the laughs you gave me, for the strength you showed me, and for posting a picture of yourself so we could see the beautiful face behind it all. Thanks for creating a ripple that reached me, and let me into your life a little bit, because I am better for it.

We were all better for knowing her, even if we didn’t know her well behind the screen.

Bye For Now, Or How to Starve a Control Freak

So most of you know I have a stalker. If you don’t, well if you look for posts tagged stalker on here, you’ll see a post r two about it.

The thing is, despite all my efforts, she won’t quit. She even knows I know exactly when she stalks me, where she’s stalking me from, and which devices she is using. But she can’t help herself. She needs to feed on what I am doing and feels entitled to my life. I must weigh pretty heavily on her mind because she’s lurking at 2-3AM and 6-7AM. Last night, for instance, I get an alert she’s on here at 2:47 AM. Who does that? It’s like she thinks about me before she goes to sleep and right when she wakes up. Creepy, right? I kept figuring it would stop eventually, even though people very close to the situation (and her) warned me it wouldn’t. Sadly, she’s a family member, so I’m sort of stuck with her leering at me at family events.

My position is that it’s a form of interpersonal terrorism. I constantly have to check my own social media accounts to see if followers are real. I have to stay block conscious. She has so many fake accounts it’s nuts. She goes by various names, has multiples on her own names. It’s exhausting and ridiculous to watch, so I can’t imagine the energy she must expend on it all. While I’m running busy with kids, work, charities, helping people, and just trying to keep all the balls in the air, she does…this. Creates her fake accounts and frantically tries to gain access to my life. When she can’t, she tries to rope her coworkers in to do the dirty work. Anything to talk around about me round that table, I guess. Folks kept telling me the crazy is strong, and I should stop writing, stop having social media, because she’ll never stop. I held strong in that I refused to give up writing my blog, something I enjoy, because she has no self control. I never saw why I should have to make huge efforts just to be left alone like any regular person. I’ve held strong that someone having mental issues doesn’t excuse their shitty behavior. Your crazy just ain’t my problem, girl. I don’t have time for it and frankly, no matter what you think you know, you don’t know me like that. Not even close.

Yet something clicked the other day. Yet again, she was lurking, seeking, and hoping for any nugget of info. She feels entitled to my life, my story, and to know what my family is doing. It’s coocoo for cocopuffs my friends. Yet here’s the thing….she won’t find anything though, because I’m taking an indefinite break. I own the domain, and I’ll hold on to it. The fact is, not everyone needs to know my every move, not everyone is entitled to a glimpse at my life. So while The Messy Housewife blog will be here, I will be on another blog I’ve created so I can share my thoughts without some sad sack of shit lurking at my every move just to see if I am happier. Newsflash: I still am. 🙂

I’ve got some changes planned in my little corner of the world, some big news coming. Not one itsy bitsy iota is hers to know. I’m excited for what’s to come, and none of that excitement will be hers. When you have a controlling person, who feels entitled to attention and information, sometimes the only solution is to starve them of every drop of attention and info. The time has come for a diet.

I’ll reach out to those of you who I know frequently like, read and comment on my posts. I hope you’ll join me on my new blog. This blog is and has been so important to me as I’ve worked through my life the past few years, but the only way to stop a control freak is to starve them of the info they so desperately crave. Maybe I’ll be back one day. For now, however, Happy Holidays to you all!

Love, Messy xx

PS: a note to my stalker: Are you even aware your daughter was going up to people at the Christmas party asking why people are mad at you and why people don’t want to speak to you anymore? No? Don’t worry, when she approached me, I didn’t tell her all you’ve done. I didn’t tell her how you’ve caused endless problems and destroyed relationships. Instead, I adulted and referred her back to you, said some kind things to her, about her, and told her she would always be loved and missed, but that adult things are messy. You’re welcome. She told me she misses me and misses coming to my house. You did this to her, not me. Just remember that. I hope your antics trying to harass me were worth it. Now please, just go away. There will be nothing for you here. No pinterest to stalk, no social media to try to gain access to, nothing for your coworkers to lurk on, nothing to gossip about around the table.