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?

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.

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.

The Buzz Continues

Thanksgiving weekend is finally over, and I am positively buzzing with energy, which is surprising really, as I may have a bit of a stomach bug. Mentally, I’m in a great space, which also is surprising as I’m once again learning that I need to pay a bit closer attention to actions and less to words. Regardless, I feel like I’m going to come out of all of it just fine.

The weekend started with my daughter and I doing some baking and cooking for the holiday. She’s one of those kids who at the end of the day, really just wants to hang out with the adults she loves. It doesn’t much matter what she is doing, she just wants to help and be involved. She enjoys helping me cook, and I know it will serve her well when she gets older. I didn’t have much desire to learn how to cook when I was her age. Then I moved, my mom passed away, and I really learned how to do most dishes after I got married. My daughter will be ahead of the game. Even my son is learning to cook and happily will make a meal. After we finished, we packed up our goodies and went to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. It was a laid back day full of amazing food and loads of laughter. Occasionally after dinner, a few of us will do a little late night shopping, but this year I had to bail because I had packing to do, as well as some jobs around the house to prep for the weekend.

Friday, the kids and I headed up north to visit my dad, stepmother, and her family. After the married, this became a bi annual tradition. We also get together over the summer as well before the kids go back to school. They have truly become family and it’s always a good time filled with food, wine, and fun. This year the huge group of us went to see Frozen 2, and then topped off the night with a Christmas parade. The little town we were in is really quaint and beautiful, and the crisp air made everything just perfect. We all headed back to the house to allow the kids to run and play (there are 7 in total now) before we had dinner.

It was lovely to see my dad, as I haven’t been able to see him much this year. Even when we met up in the UK for my grandfather’s funeral, it was a busy time for both of us and we didn’t get a ton of time to spend together. This weekend, he seemed much more relaxed than the last time I had seen him and we had some really good conversations. I felt lighter and refreshed after having talked with him. I’m truly lucky to have him. He always has my back and is certainly a calming force.

The weekend trip was filled with great food, delicious wines, and great people. The kids had a great time and got along really well, being silly and joking with each other more than usual. The quiet and peace allowed me to mull over some things.

For starters, I took a little time to pause and mull over some changes that need to be made. My focus is on my little family of four, and my feeling is we need to make choices based on what’s best for us. Not everyone will like it, but I always feel that people who love you want the best for you. I feel the time is coming to start moving and shaking and getting things in a better place than they were. The chips are landing in just such a way that I am excited to finally be able to make some changes to really improve our lives. It’s exciting, and I feel light weights are being lifted. Each small step leads towards an end goal.

After coming home mentally refreshed (although physically not feeling so great), I was able to do a little Christmas shopping. I love Christmas shopping. Well, let me refrain, I love online shopping. The stores kick in my anxiety this time of year. I was able to pick up a few needed items for the husband and kids, which made me feel elated, some of them I am really excited about giving. I’m really trying to budget myself and pace myself out this holiday season. I’ve found that Christmas doesn’t really work well with my procrastinating nature. I’m terrible at pacing myself, and always end up stressed out, trying to tackle a million projects at the last minute. There is always so much to do in December. This year, I’m setting myself a goal to do a few things each day, so that I can spread the work out over a month. I’m already tackling my list, bit by bit, and it’s got me feeling excited for the season rather than stressed out. Again, small changes towards a bigger goal.

Now that I have my mind in a great place, it’s time to start making other changes too. It’s refreshing, and I feel much less stressed with each step I take. I have a good feeling that within the next year, I’m going to feel some big weights lifted off my shoulders. I’m ecstatic. I don’t know what it is about this time of year. It’s cozy and comfy, but it also feels like a hibernation that prepares us for the changing year ahead. I’m hopeful to get a head start on what’s to come. I know I’m mentioning change, and haven’t specified a whole lot of what change will be coming, but I’ll expand upon them as time progresses.

For now, it’s time to circle em up, look after the ones who look after us, and focus on betterment of not only myself, but my little family as well. After all, winter is coming.

Holiday Good vs Evil, My Adventures in Costco

If you’ve followed along on here you likely know I run a program at the school for children in need. I run it off donations and it has really turned into a second full time job (without monetary pay, but happiness pay instead). I provide uniforms, coats, toiletries and supplies to kids or families that need them. Occasionally, I get a parent who needs a coat or something, and if I have it available, I will let them have it. Unfortunately, I don’t work with shoes because it would be overwhelming and I have space constraints. Today I noticed on of my parents I have worked with, who is lovely, was searching on Facebook for a pair of shoes as hers had ripped and she hadn’t started her new job. I had a gift card and knew I could get her a solid pair of new shoes with a portion of the money, so I headed off to one of my favorite stores, Costco.

BIG MISTAKE.

You’d think it wouldn’t be too crowded on a weekday evening, right? Well, I can tell you that normally it’s not. I pop down during the week for items all the time (I just LOVE Costco), but stupid me forgot the proximity to Thanksgiving. Holy cow, it was CRAZY busy in there. I grabbed a cart, because I can never leave with just one item, and braced myself. Once inside, I navigated to where they had shoes. I was looking for the woman’s size when another woman tried to get passed, but couldn’t. I backed my cart up to allow her by. Well, she apparently didn’t navigate the corner well, and bumped the shoe display, causing numerous boxes to fall. She quickly started grabbing them and stacking them back up, her cart parked behind her. She was hustling to get the shoes back up, when an older lady stormed up with her cart. “I NEED TO GET THROUGH NOW!” she bellowed, and grabbed the poor woman’s cart and yanked it backwards. She demanded the woman move, and made some snarky remark.

Y’all, I couldn’t help myself.

“WOAH THERE!” I yelled, and proceeded to explain how we’ve all got stuff to do, but it’s just a dick move to be that entitled and that rude to people. The poor woman trying to put the shoes back looked at first panicked and then inherently grateful. People around us looked a bit surprised. One woman started grinning. The older woman turned and apologized to the woman with the shoes.

I swear, the holidays can pull out the very best of people, or the utter worst.

I grab 2 other items before realizing, horrified, that I had forgotten the gift card to pay for the shoes with out in my car. I mulled over leaving my cart, racing out to the car in the crowded parking lot filled with stressed people not paying proper attention, and decided that convenience overrode funds. I decided the shoes wouldn’t come from the closet project, they would come from me personally, and I would cover the cost myself. I headed up to the front where the registers were.

I have seen cows herded better than the horror show up at the front. I stood and sighed, knowing I’d be there for a while, although knowing Costco has great cashiers and I’d make it out sooner than I would at most other stores. I picked a line that seemed to have people holding their items in hand, figuring it was more of an “express lane” vibe and I’d be out pretty quick.

An older lady moved from her lane behind me, but almost next to me. “None of the lines seem great” she said with a smile, and the two of us chatted over how crazy it was in the store that day. I explained what I was doing, she told me she was getting her son a gift. She laughed and said “well, the line I was in moved faster than I thought, I could have been out by now!” I smiled and joked “but then you’d have missed meeting me!” It was a simple interaction, but I honestly enjoyed chatting with her. I let her go ahead of me. She resisted, but I told her I insisted. She put her items on the belt, and the woman in front of her turned and said something with a stern look on her face. I didn’t catch what was said. My new friend turned and told me the lady ahead had told her off for being “pushy” with her items on the belt. I guess those 4 little items the lady had got too close to stern lady’s brussel sprouts.

Really? This is the stuff people worry about? Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a pretty happy person. Maybe it’s the fact the reason I was at the store was because I know what it’s like to struggle and wanted to do something kind for another person. Look, I’m kind of an impatient person sometimes. I get grumpy too. But OOF people are testy as hell these days. A little kindness to each other would sure go a long way.

I cheered my new friend up and she smiled and waved as she walked out. I maneuvered through the parking lot (almost getting hit by a car as a woman tried to gun it through the busy lot) and was grateful to settle into the quiet of my own car.

Kindness. It’s important, folks. Try not to be a dick, eh?