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When The Chickie Wanders

The other day, I wrote about our adventures with trying out more of the “free range parenting”.  That post is here: Let Them Be Chickens.  I’ve found it’s been super successful in teaching my children responsibility, street smarts, etc.  That being said, we hThe daad a wrench thrown in the process this past weekend, so in the interest of being open, I’m going to share it.  I’ve already been attacked for it, chastised, etc, but if I cared about any of that, I’d have different kids because I’d be raising them based off of everyone else’s opinions and not my own.  That’s not how this whole parenting thing works.

So this weekend, my daughter asks to go outside to play.  I was in my office doing something for work, so I said sure, and that would watch her out the window.  I watched her grab her scooter, her helmet, and start going up and down the sidewalk.  Up and down, up and down.  She came to ask me if she could go to a neighbor’s, and I told her no, not today.  I watched her scooter, do some gymnastics in the yard, then hope back on the scooter.  After a few minutes, I realized that I hadn’t seen her ride by.  I called her name, but got no answer.  I yelled louder.  No response. I went outside….and she was nowhere to be seen.

Utter panic set in.  I called for my son to check the house and the back yard. I went to the neighbor’s and asked if she was there.  She wasn’t.  I checked at another neighbor’s, and she wasn’t there either.  The neighbors called other neighbors, and within minutes, a group of people banded together to look.  I didn’t even hesitate…I called the police and my husband.

Now this was scary.  Worst case, had someone grabbed her?  That being said, her scooter was nowhere to be found.  My husband pulled in, along with the police, and I showed them pictures, gave a description.  My husband walked the street and saw her scooter in a neighbor’s driveway.  She was in their yard playing with a friend from school.  I don’t know the family, so I hadn’t thought to look there.  She was crying when she realized what had happened, how worried we were, and that the police were there.

Once she was home, she went inside the house, and the police officer asked to speak to me.

Some of what he said:

“Don’t be afraid to let them outside to play.
“What you are doing is correct.  If you helicopter over them, they will not learn to be self sufficient.  We see kids all the time that if their parent is 10 minutes late they become paralyzed with fear, because their parents haven’t taught them to be ok by themselves for a few minutes”
“It’s important to have a plan.  You have one, she just needs reinforcing on the plan.”
“The days of people driving by and snatching a kid off the street are pretty much long gone.”
“I know you’re freaking out right now, because things went awry, that you’re a bad mom.  You’re doing good. ”

So today, it has been an inside day.  My daughter learned a harsh lesson about being responsible and following the plan.  My standard of “You will get privileges as long as you are responsible with them” is in effect, so she will need to earn back her chance to go back outside to play with the neighborhood kids.  She apologized unprompted and explained that she had done the wrong thing in not communicating to me what happened.

Out of this scary situation, came some really positive things.

  • I have amazing neighbors.  Within moments, keys were grabbed, cars mobilized, and other neighbors called in to help look for my daughter.
  • I reached out to the neighbor who has the house where she was, and we have planned to schedule a playdate and to communicate if the kids are playing together.
  • I saw the very best of our police department.  They got here in moments, asked me quick questions, and banded together.  Once she was found, they talked me of the proverbial ledge and reminded me that we have to raise kids to be productive members of society.  They joked with me, each other, and when it was done, they gave me a thumbs up for how I handled it and left.  Super kind, and super efficient.  I couldn’t have asked for better.
  • I have some great family members who were supportive and understood what I am doing, why I am doing it, and that sometimes things go wrong.  No judgement, no hassle, just support.
  • At the end of the day, I have been pretty vocal about what happened.  Sure, there’s been those that judged or had some negative things to say.  Shrug.  I had fears of that before saying anything but at the end of the day, I own my choices of how I parent, and own who I am.  If people don’t like it, don’t follow my lead, and do you, boo.  I’ll do me.  I definitely am left feeling confident about owning who I am.

 

So, we excelled, we faltered, and now we begin again.  Lessons learned, and we were fortunate that out of a scary situation, a ton of positive results happened.  So we begin again, with a plan a bit more fine tuned.  Someone said to me “perhaps this is exactly the lesson she needed”.  I believe it is.  She learned a lot of lessons that day.  She learned about responsibility, about sticking to a plan, communication, and why all of that is so important.  I just need to reinforce all of those lessons going forward.

 

 

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Messy Thoughts

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The other day I went to drop off my daughter at a friend’s house.  The mom, who I am friends with, looked at me and said “are you ok? you look very tired”.  Which, of course is the PC way to say “girl, you look like shit.  What the hell happened to you?” Well, first off, I had no makeup on, so part of it is that’s just my face.  Second, I’m pale, having spent no time in the tiny amount of nice weather we’re having.  Thirdly? My brain is shot.  Oh, and I have kids. And I work full time. And life is full of bullshit.

I realized today when someone told me I should go to yoga because they had gone and had a blissful experience of having a blank canvas for a mind for an hour, that my brain never shuts down unless it’s asleep, and even then it’s still running, full steam ahead.  I just don’t remember half of it.  At any given time, my brain is keeping track of all the tasks that need doing, the world around me, scheduled events, etc. If I sat here and listed off some of the chaos in my brain it would seem like I never ending series of jobs to do peppered with random thoughts.  It’s messy.

In the past 15 minutes alone:

  • I need to pull all of the items out from under the kitchen sink. I have no idea where to put them, but they need to come out for the dishwasher delivery tomorrow.  Speaking of which, how freakin’ happy am I to finally get a new dishwasher? I am not a pioneer woman. I have grown accustomed to that small luxury and I cannot wait to have it back.  Although we need someone to install it, and I have no idea when they can do it.  I cannot wait to run that first load of dishes.
  • My mom’s old car.  I love it and it brings me joy, but again this morning, there is a small issue with it.  Luckily there is a place locally that can resolve it but I need to come up with some extra cash flow to do it.
  • I need to remember my hair appointment. My god I can’t wait.  Nothing better than having your hair done.  I need some fire.
  • The whole house needs cleaning.  This is overwhelming.
  • How many fake fucking accounts can one person have?  At least they are easy to find.  Scumbadee.
  • One phone call.
  • I really need a quiet weekend with nothing to do except jobs that need doing.
  • I need to say “no” more.  The year of “yes” was great, but it’s important to learn both.
  • Passports. When? How much? When we got them last time I barely remember. Have to get those done, I don’t want to run a risk of not getting them in plenty of time.
  • Why does the cat make that little dripping sound when he snores?
  • Glycolic.  Definitely the way to go.
  • I need a better mop.
  • What was that good travel site I read about?
  • I need to read more. I want that Bianca book, but do I get it in paperback, kindle or audiobook for the car?
  • I love holding and reading books but I don’t need any more physical books in the house.
  • My new sweatshirt makes me laugh and brings me joy.
  • I need to weed through all of our clothes and get rid of over half of them.
  • I’d rather be that asshole that tells the unpopular truth every time as opposed to the alternative.
  • The end of the school year is chaos.
  • I need to resynch all my calendars and make sure I have everything on them.
  • I need to get better about putting stuff in my calendar and not saying “I’ll remember…no need to worry” because I sure as hell won’t remember.
  • The laundry room.  Bane of my existence.
  • Dinner.  I need to make it.  Last night’s was so good I feel like I have to stay on par.

That was in 15 minutes.  15 minutes my brain ran through all of that.

That’s all the chaos in my head in 15 minutes. And I read that list again…and I understand why I am tired all the time!  It seems like there are always way more things to do that seconds in a day.  I need to really scale back and start simplifying.  I need to say “no” more.  I need to end a lot of extra nonsense.

The only problem is, to get to the simplified stage takes a lot of work.

No wonder I’m tired.

 

One Day

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Oneday

One Day.

That’s all it took.  Just one, unimaginable day, and she was gone. I woke up to a call from my father saying I needed to come quickly, as the time had come and she would likely pass away soon.  The problem was, there was no “quickly” about it.  I was a good 5+ hours by car away, and still a good 4 if I tried to take a plane instead.  There was no quick. There was only tears, and fear, and horror as the “should be” 5 hour drive turned into 11 painstakingly slow hours.  I was right near the George Washington Bridge when I got the call.  I was too late. I also had a very long drive ahead.   But I am ahead of myself.

One Day.

That day I got married, and she couldn’t be there because cancer made her so weak she couldn’t travel up.  It was a Justice of the Peace wedding, not at all as I had planned in my youth.  But if my mom couldn’t be there, I didn’t want the big wedding.  I married the love of my life without either of my parents able to be there.  That’s a hard pill to swallow.

One Day.

The day my son was born.  The day I truly believe she fought and battled that cancer to be able to be there for.  She couldn’t get there until well after he was born, but she was there.  I remember her telling the nurses to be extra kind to me, because her mum was dying and there was all just so much STRESS when there should have been only happiness.

One Day,

That day my daughter was brought into this world, without her Grandmother there to wonder out loud if she had a curly haired grandchild, and to marvel how pretty and delicate she was.  I remember telling the nurse that I had held it together all day in front of visitors that I was just so heartbroken that my mom wasn’t there to meet this beautiful baby, but I couldn’t hold it any longer.  That nurse called the station to say she would be a while, sat down and let me cry while she held my hand.

One Day.

The day my father finally remarried, and I wrote a lovely speech that thrilled him, smiled for pictures, and made peace with the idea of him making that next step, all while hurting that the change had to take place because she was gone.

One Day.

The day I had my uterus taken out and knew I’d never have another baby for my mom to meet, but that same nurse was working, so I asked for her and thanked her so profusely for what she had done for me to get me through the happiest day that was still tainted with a touch of sadness.

One Day.

That day every year when mothers, including myself, are celebrated and revered, but the day is so bittersweet.  The card displays I walk past, the gift ideas I scroll past online, and the thought of “oooh, she’d love that!” only to know I won’t be buying it because she’s not there to give it to. The day when my husband and kids take me out, and I feel so special, but also a little tinged with the reminder of the loss.

One Day.

That day that I remember how she trusted me to get on my bike and ride to my friend’s, and my son asks me to do the very same thing.  Only this time, I say yes.

A lot can happen in One Day.

Chubby Girl Seeks Mediocre Body

I saw a sweatshirt the other day that had “Chubby Girl Fitness Mediocre Body Program” written on the front.  I saw it, laughed heartily, and then promptly bought it.

How could I NOT buy it?

I’ve been on the heavy side since I was a kid.  At least, that’s what I tell myself.  I look back at how fat I was then and totally wish I was that thin now.  Effectively, I was way too hard on myself and not fat at all.  I just wasn’t as stick thin as some of the kids I went to school with.  I shunned my curves, just as some of them shunned their lack of curves.  Seems like nobody is ever really happy as they are.  As an adult, I’m considered probably the on the heavier side of average.  I rock about a size 12-14.  I’ve got a lot of jiggle though. I can pinch considerably more than an inch. I can grab some handfuls.  I’ve lingered around the same size for years, aside from my first pregnancy when I ballooned up about 70 lbs from where I started, and right before I met my husband, when I was just a size 4 (sorry hubby!).  I know I wavered enough at some stages of my life that one young guy once told me I was “too fat to date” but saw me at the gym after a large weight loss, didn’t recognize me, and asked me out.  He had no idea who I was.  I declined, and told him to go screw himself.  People treat you differently depending on your weight. It’s sad, but true.  I noticed people treated me with a bit more respect when I was thinner.  They dismissed me less.  Now I know that people may say “it wasn’t your weight, but how you felt about yourself at that weight” and maybe that’s true.  Maybe my inward view of myself caused other’s perceptions of me to vary.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m a little less focused on my weight.  I just have so many other things to concern myself with.  Then at times I wonder why I am not taking better care of myself.  Some of it is lack of time, some is lack of energy.  I know my energy level would probably be higher if I was getting more exercise.  It’s a vicious little circle, that’s for sure.  I know I was feeling really great when I was doing my aqua zumba class, and getting outside more to exercise. The class got cancelled (I am SO mad about that!) and my friend let her membership expire. I stopped going.  The pounds are creeping on, and I know from a bit of research (aka, perusing online) that weight gain can be common after a hysterectomy.  I need to get myself back in gear.

suit

UPDATE: Ok, so I started this post a few days ago….and then I bailed.  Then I thought about how my hips and back is hurting every day, and how they hurt less when I was in a bit better shape.  I also realized I have been paying a hefty YMCA membership fee and not even going.  Monday I took the kids and the dog for a long walk down to the library and back.  We all commented how fun it was and how good it felt to be moving in the fresh air (we are on day 199 of the endless winter that won’t quit this year, I swear).  Tuesday, I was still on a high from the fresh air and exercise, so I crammed myself into my new swimsuit (my god I hate swimsuits.  I feel like a sausage in a casing when I put one on), got the kids in the car, and we headed to the Y.  I joined in on a deep water fit class with an instructor I hadn’t had before.  Oof.  Muscles were burning, my body was in a bit of shock.  Water classes are weird.  You’re basically weightless, doing fairly simple maneuvers, but the resistance caused by the water and the equipment used give you quite a good full body workout. I felt like jello when I left the pool.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling good.  I wasn’t as sore as expected, and I hauled my ass out of bed feeling….pretty decent, all things considered.  After I work, my husband was home with the kids, so I took, get this, not one, but TWO classes at the pool.  One deep water fit and one shallow water fit.  The shallow water class had the same instructor from the day before, and worked us fairly hard.  The other class had an instructor that looked like she might fall asleep.  I adapted the moves into what I had done the day before with the harder instructor.  I left feeling like jello again.

Now, the fact I took both of these classes with a group of people who were all about 20 years my senior? Maybe that’s a sign, considering how much of a burn I had after class, that my level of physical fitness has dropped more than I thought.  Then again, I have no shame in my game. I will rock out with the older set any time.  They are a fun group.  An elderly couple stopped me at the end of class to ask about my tattoos and tell me they thought they were SO pretty and fabulous.

Last night I slipped into a DEEP sleep and woke up feeling still tired, but refreshed at the same time.  I didn’t wake up through the night like I have been doing.  It was glorious.

Today, may be a day of rest, but then I think that if I stop, I will make an excuse the next time.  perhaps I will take the dog on an extra long walk if mother nature stops being an utter asshole.  Tomorrow, I am headed back to the pool.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, because I’m not a girl who exercises.  I’m also not very fit.  I am, however, tired of feeling the way I do.  So for the few folks who read this, I am putting this out there so perhaps I’ll be a little accountable. It’s easier to bail if you don’t tell anyone, right?

Wish this chubby girl luck on her way to that mediocre body!

 

Home and Away

In my last post, I mentioned that I was about to go for my US citizenship oath.  Well, it’s officially official, and I am now a full fledged US citizen!  Exciting, eh?  I actually have dual citizenship between where I was born and the US.  The best part of that is that I now belong officially to the two countries where all the people I love live.  I’ve always felt a tiny bit torn in life.  Part of my family was here in the US, and the other part overseas.  Whenever I would travel between the two countries, I find myself always saying I was going “home” regardless to which place I was headed. Why? because to me, both places were, and still are, home.   Home isn’t a structure.  It isn’t just the day to day of the daily grind.  Home is where the the people you love are.  Home is where you feel safe, and loved, and where happy memories are.  Home is comfort.

While I was waiting for the oath ceremony, I looked around the courtroom where it was taking place.  It was quite full, but only 30 or so of us were taking the oath.  There were people from all over the world: Portugal, Jamaica, Iran, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, just to name a few.  We all looked happy to be there, and many had a look of relief on their faces.  The immigration process is a bit of a beast, especially for some people who come from countries we don’t always agree with, or those who don’t speak English well.  In my case, you’d never guess I wasn’t an American by speaking to me.  I have a northeast accent which occasionally lapses into a bit of a southern drawl when I am tired or with my friends from the south.  People were always surprised I was a foreigner.  As someone who has had to update docs and maneuver the immigration system throughout my life, I can say it’s not always an easy process.  I speak fluent English and still struggled at times.  It’s an expensive process.  Not only that, but I think some people are probably taken advantage of in their search to navigate the system properly.  Some people in this country have been led to believe that becoming a citizen is an easy, simple process.  While my case was pretty simple, many people’s cases are long, drawn out, and difficult.  At the end of the day, I am glad the process is over and I am officially official as an American!  I have already applied for my passport, and the next step is to figure out how to register to vote.  I haven’t come this far to sit silent and not cast my vote when the time comes!  Silence gets unwanted results.

Another big change is that I purchased a “new to me” car.  That’s another process that can be shady, convoluted, and unsettling! I found a car over the state line by looking online.  The car was gorgeous, had tons of features I wanted, low miles, and was AWD.  I drove to Long Island to see it (this was after 2+ other hours of driving that day) to see the car.  It was beautiful.  I test drove it and enjoyed it.  Then we sat down to talk numbers.  Well, somehow in the middle of this conversation the price of the car started going up.  There was the sales tax, which was unavoidable.  Then DMV fees, which seemed really high.  Then the dealer started tacking on doc fees and dealer fees, and a certification fee……and before I knew it, I was almost $4,000 above the original price.  Isn’t the price supposed to be negotiated downwards? Not upwards?  I started working with them to get the price down, and got an out the door figure I felt comfortable with based on my research of that car with those specific features.  I said “I want to know the total price, out the door, with every single fee and charge included”.  Well, I didn’t buy it that night.  I wanted to go home and mull it over.  After all, a car is a big purchase.  It’s not something to take likely.  The dealer sent me the paperwork within a couple of days.  The numbers were over $1000 above our agreed upon “all inclusive out the door price”.  I balked, and explained what was agreed upon, only to be told the fees didn’t include the DMV fee.  Even the numbers they gave me didn’t match up.  At the end of the day, I called a childhood friend of mine who has a son who is a finance manager at a dealer and asked her to run the numbers by him.  He responded the fees were bogus, and that the dealer couldn’t charge me a fee to certify the car…it was against the maker’s policy.

Still, I wanted that car.  The price was in line, even with their bs fees, but we had a problem.  A BIG problem.

I didn’t trust them.

Trust is important to me. If someone lies to me, I’m not interested in dealing with them, at all. I’ve cut ties with people I’ve been close to because they’ve lied to me.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me three times, GTFOH. The fact is, if this dealership was going to keep throwing me lines of BS, I would never feel comfortable with the deal, even though it looked ok on the surface.  So now began the inward battle….do I still buy the car? Or, do I listen to that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me to cut ties and run?

Well, the answer is I did more research.  I kept looking for cars, and I found the same car, same features, same packages, with 1000 less miles, closer to home.  The base price was about 1000 more than the initial price I had seen on the other car before I got their list of bogus fees.  So I hopped in the car and drove an hour to see it.  The car was in even better shape than the other one.  Before I even test drove it, I looked the salesman in the eye and said “let’s talk numbers.  let’s talk fees.  Even the hidden ones”.

Well, yesterday I picked up my car from the second dealership.  I got the car for about the same price but this time I got it with a full bumper to bumper warranty, free oil changes, and some other perks.  I also got it with the satisfaction of listening to my gut and not going with a company that “mansplained” buying a car to me, and tried to saddle me with hidden costs and fees.

So that’s two good things in a week!

Later taters!  Stay positive, stay happy!

 

decisions

After years of having this blog, I am now faced with possibly having to move it due to an unfortunate circumstance with an online stalking situation.  I’m still mulling it over.  If you’re a follower and are interested in getting the info on the new name, please let me know.  Otherwise, stay tuned….

Follow up on the minefield…it’s blowing up

So in my last post, I went over why good deeds sometimes go punished.  Well, since that post there have been some developments.

What I am going to say, I will refer to as “allegedly”.  Everything about this post from here on out, should be construed as “allegedly”.  Got it?  Gotta cover your bases and your ass, you know?

So about a week and a half ago, I get a call from someone who has been involved with he situation from the beginning.  One of the silent few who were helpers from the get go without any public recognition. They tell me the “off” woman (from here on I’ll call her Ann) had checked the ill woman (I’ll refer to her as Sue) out of the hospital promising 24 hour care, stayed a day, and left.  Poor Sue was home, unable to access her antibiotics, and got an infection which caused all sorts of issues.  Another woman, who had been by Sue’s side since the very first few days of hospitalization, but who had been ill herself and not around for a week or so, showed up to find poor Sue in a bad way.  Sue ends up back in hospital.  Next thing you know, an investigation by the state is in process, police are being called by all sides, and wars are waged on Facebook. It’s a big ol’ mess, y’all.

In the middle of hearing how tragic and awful all of this got, I went to visit Sue.  She apologized profusely to me for believing things Ann had said about me and accused me of.   I felt a little bad, too.  Yes, she can be a bit difficult, and yes, she may not always understand how to deal with people, but Sue was nice. She is who she is, I respect that good and bad, and I wish her well.  We had a frank discussion about things, and I left feeling better for going.  I think we both felt better for having met.

Sue ended up posting a rant about what Ann had done on FB (there’s a lot involved but I am not going to go into it here).  Ann responded by attacking Sue and having all of her friends, including a guy, attack Sue and call her all sorts of names.   People who have no inside knowledge of what happened are attacking Sue. People are blindly defending Ann. The cat turds were nothing compared to the shitstorm this all turned into.  Honestly, I’d clean cat turds every single day over dealing with the people side of this bullshit.

With all the investigations, both state, police etc, I am leaving the situation be unless needed. I trust that people will do their jobs and me commenting isn’t going to help. That’s a tough pill to swallow, because I hate injustice, but I trust they will sort it all and get to the bottom of things. Frankly, I am queen of the screenshot because I have learned people are not always what they seem, so I have proof of who people are.

Sue is doing a lot better than she was when she went to hospital the second time, and is getting cared for.

I am left so sad and frustrated though that all these people bound together to do kindness and now the end result is so ugly.  The world we live in often feels cold and hopeless.  Kindness could make all the difference. I often wonder what the world would be like if we all started getting involved in being kind to people. The hardest part is keeping things like this from stopping me helping people in the future. It won’t though.  I have kids to raise and I have to show them that kindness is important, even if it doesn’t work out the way you hope.