Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sleep deprivation

I live it.

I am a night owl, by some strange quirk, and it makes for some interesting events. Even as a kid, I was wide awake late into the night when my peers were getting tucked into bed HOURS before I even cracked the first yawn. I'm not a morning person, and require coffee-kick-starting. This week, Evil Genius has been going in to work at FIVE IN THE MORNING. Kill. me. please. This means I get up at 4:15 to take him to work, because he doesn't have a car yet. There have been a couple days that I got up after only a few hours of napping, and one of those nights, I don't even think I caught what could be considered a nap. Dinner has suffered for my lack of energy to think, much less plan or prepare food for the less-occupied household. It's much quieter since Clone and Beast left town with my father-in-law last week. Clone is at camp, and having an ABSOLUTE BLAST! The pictures I am seeing of her show a radiant smile and sheer joy. And I'm eternally grateful to the two aunts who trade their services as nurses in exchange for camp tuition. It would be fiscally out of the question if I had to cough up the cash for her to go. So, I get to live vicariously through my daughter, always a slight pang of envy because she's been given this amazing opportunity. Beast is helping my father-in-law clean up PawPaw's lake house. PawPaw died right before Thanksgiving, and left the house to the grandchildren. It avoided some of the pesky debates that would have come up otherwise. My son and his father's father are a fair bit alike, even though the boy has feet that are identical to my dad's, minus the gross toenail from an injury.

But life here must go onward, and onward it does go. The rest of us here are going to work, pecking along...and I'm just barely scraping myself off the couch some days. I'm thankful for the McCoffee the boy brings to me in my mom-bus, with the requisite creamer and sugar to doctor it up to my taste. Smart child that he is, he brings me a large. I have trained him well in the art of avoiding a cranky mom. Of course, if he got a car so he could take himself to work, or managed to not be scheduled any earlier than say, 6 in the morning, I could probably deal with it. But the sleep deprivation is a minor trade-off for getting a child to his job. This is especially monumental considering there was a time I was seriously thinking this boy was going to be the death of me, himself, or others in the process of getting him through adolescence.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Food...and my yammering about it

Growing up broke, living off 2nd (or 8th) hand tangibles, I didn't have the same kind of upbringing my peers got. Mom didn't learn to cook from her mother, or anyone else. We ate some gross stuff, some weird stuff, and lots of carbs. The only thing Mom cooked well was roasted chicken and egg noodles with TONS of butter, but it was probably margarine. Dad's parents were Irish immigrants and the only way his mother cooked was to boil everything, and you brought the salt shaker to the table. To this day he STILL salts his food first before tasting the first bite.

So when my sister went to the doctor at the end of 2011 for an issue with sleeping 99.999% of the day during certain parts of her cycle, her doctor sent her to an endocrinologist who told her on the first visit that if she didn't get the carbs out of her diet, she was going to be diabetic inside of a year. Well those labs came back the opposite - sis is actually hypoglycemic. She still needed to get off the carbs though. Her physiology just doesn't do well when wheat is involved, plus she has other allergies to tomatoes, beans (legumes), and I forget what else. In her search for foods and recipes that she COULD eat, she found Paleo-style eating. And she's done really well eating this way. She eats more calories per day than before (1500 easily vs the <1000 she ate previously). She weighs less, feels better overall, and has more mobility where she previously had injuries that plagued her ability to walk through the house. Of course she weighs less, she's fueling her metabolism instead of scaring it into dormancy for lack of sufficient fuel. In turn she's been preaching her diet to anyone that would listen, and anyone whose eyes glazed over after several hours listening to it anyway.

Prior to her diagnosis I had been cutting back on my sugar intake for a few months. I've encountered varied levels of success in the last year. I found that in general, I crave less in the way of baked goods, carbs and sweets in general. It started by simply reducing the sugar in my coffee by one spoonful. After a while, I didn't need as much sugar in my coffee. This does not entirely apply to coffee I have gotten from McDonald's or Chick-Fil-A, as their brews are just really bold and strong. It's not bad, so much as just stronger than I usually have my own home brewed coffee. Even then, I'm not putting as much sugar in the strong coffee as I was before making a conscious effort to reduce the sugar intake.

Sis found an Irish blogger who eats Paleo, and shared the link with me. We're all over on crackbook too, but seeing as how this is a slower paced, easier to follow blog I'm just gonna share it here. The little I've perused, has been interesting. But the crackbook page/wall/timeline (what ever the hell it's called anymore) has some useful bits too.

In the meantime, my sister's improvement can be summed up nicely with: it's a VAST improvement over a year ago. My improvement can be summed up with: I crave protein and vegetables frequently before I'll crave sweets. Tonight, Evil Genius wanted to eat at Subway, and I didn't want anything. Except, they have white chocolate macadamia cookies and those are some of my favorites. And I only ate one cookie. A year ago, I would've eaten 2, and seriously considered eating the others. And the one I did eat seemed like a lot to me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I feel validated

I am a self-proclaimed slacker parent. I am NOT one of those helicopter, lawn mower, or incessantly intervening parents. This blurb online is one of many articles and anecdotes that confirm for me that I'm not doing it wrong. I have not scheduled my kids for anything except doctor's appointments and religious education classes. I've kicked them outside to play without structure, instruction beyond basic safety rules, and their own imaginations. If they took an interest in something, I let them take that lead. I have kids who, like my husband, do not like for me to nudge them too much. It becomes nagging after about the second time I open my mouth. At that point, they decide to immediately do the exact opposite of what I have been suggesting. It didn't take me long to figure out their modus operandi, and subsequently, alter my own when dealing with any of them. The kids have my big feet, and his method of doing things - their own. How's that for genetic quirks?

So, I can find enjoyment being a parent because these guys have their own minds and methods. Oh wait, that's how I wanted them to be. I have always wanted kids who could function in the world, apart from me, because I still haven't fully enjoyed my mid-life crisis, nor have I cracked too far into my bucket list. Then there's that whole issue of mortality. What kind of legacy do I want to leave via my children? Do I want kids who grow up completely incapable of handling the slightest wiggle to what life pitches?  Or do I want kids that make use of the brain and common sense God gave them? Yes, the toilet overflows occasionally. So reach back here and shut off the water supply before it gets REALLY messy, and this is how you go about effectively unclogging it without making it worse. Don't curl up in the corner sitting in poo water, whimpering about getting stinky and wet.

This morning, I was dragged from my bed at 5:10 to get Evil Genius to work at 6. We arrived at 5:36 to find 3 cars of employees waiting since 4:00 to be let in the door, and the building locked and alarmed. My 19 year old is in training to be a manager 8 months after starting his first McJob, because we drilled life's lessons into his brain, and he saw the examples we set and emulated them. He started calling the managers whose numbers he has. Secondary access to the building was gained, an alarm code shared, and employees could finally start prepping - 2 hours later than they should have been. From my mom-bus, I heard grumbling and whining from the other cars. Those are the same kids whose feelings will get hurt when they have to eventually answer to Evil Genius. How unfortunate that they were not happy to be able to get their work done finally. They would have preferred to sit in the parking lot looking at an empty building as customers came through, expecting their usual breakfast and coffee. They were going to get paid whether they sat or worked, and who wouldn't rather sit and collect a paycheck? (After a while, I'd find it boring and old, and start getting restless.) Meanwhile Evil Genius set about getting the workday started. THAT is the kind of result to my parenting that I was aiming toward. He hates being bored, and thrives on staying busy. He was a horrible kid when he was bored. He's not nearly as hyper and angry anymore since landing this job. The chaos to my calendar is an acceptable trade-off in exchange for seeing my son do a job he likes, and learning to lead.

However, I could absolutely do without this massive caffeine withdrawal headache from not getting coffee when I dropped him off, and coming home to crawl back in the bed. I should have stayed awake and had coffee at home.  Another lesson: the smallest of things you do, can have impact elsewhere.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Progress of my peace

I'm slowly making peace with my defiant friend's slow exit. I still suck as a friend, and I'll always regret that. My friend isn't on the imminent deathbed with the "last call". But when you feel your body betraying you, and nothing's working right, and you're always feeling like crap, and a good day is just a LESS crappy day, you generally prefer to warn people that your body isn't Tupperware with a nifty replacement guarantee when it breaks. And when people like me get those kinds of warnings after such a plucky individual defies every odd and prediction with gusto for DECADES, I take those warnings very seriously. My kneejerk reactions are often TOO serious, and I end up making things worse. But I am wired to just blow off what ever initial reaction comes to me and move forward. I hope I got the better part of the emotional ugly out of the way the other day. I have been spared the pain of losing a lot of people around me in my life. My husband has not, so his reactions to death are vastly different from mine. I didn't know this detail about him till the other day when I shared with him that my emotional guts were all tangled and I was useless most of that day. Even 20 years together with my husband, and I am still discovering little tidbits about him. Meanwhile, I'm generally an open book most times. So I just brain dump somewhere - a friend, here on the blog, over on Crackbook, who ever is willing to put up with my blathering for a while. I do better once I've gotten whatever it is off my mind and heart and get that kind of roadblock out of my way. Then I plug the cracks and leaks, and I pick up and keep going. Life doesn't stop just because I'm having an emotional or mental explosion. I don't have the wherewithal to just stop and crawl in a hole. That just makes me crazier. When I get certain kinds of energy, I just have to expend it somehow. It's not always pretty either. The other day was just plain ugly. I imagine there will be other unpleasant moments as I move along this part of my journey. I can't *always* be sunshine, rainbows and fairy farts. But I can be honest about what's on my mind, in my heart and go back and apologize when I've gone overboard.
I do have regrets, but that's a short list by comparison to those things that I count as blessings. I have so many that I can't even begin to name them all. I'm grateful for all of them, and don't think I'll ever repay them, or even pay them all forward. But I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for other people in my life.

Also, 19 years ago at an UNGODLY hour of the morning, after an overnight labor with a young, albeit awesome labor coach who has stuck around all this time, a mini human emerged. So, to my oldest, Happy Birthday! You're becoming quite an amazing person, and I am so glad all those lectures about work ethic and common sense sunk in after all.
And to myself : Happy BirthING Day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Must Make Peace

I'm having the worst challenge making peace with losing my friend, and trying to achieve it before she leaves this earth. She told me this morning via IM that she feels like things are shutting down, and she's not lucid, she's hallucinating and trying to fight a high fever. I'm in tears as I type this, because I haven't fully made peace with this impending loss. But I either need to hurry up about it or it's just going to compound things for me when she does leave and die. I always have difficulty with death, and she knows this, and she's been trying to help me. Meanwhile other friends around her have been jumping ship and ending things on their terms. I am no hero, and I'm no saint. And I haven't been over to visit. I'm feeling like a horrible friend, but I can't just fall off the face of the earth either. It's just not right. I hate funerals, too. I have been known to avoid them because I just loathe them. I don't want people boohooing over losing me. I'm pretty sure she doesn't either. As a matter of fact, she wants everyone to go to Disney. That's her happy place. And I'm ever-grateful that the year Disney let you in for free on your birthday, that we went together on my birthday without kids (well, except the freshly planted one that was suspected but not confirmed) and had a blast. She jokes that she got me knocked up on the teacups. She always introduces me to people as her friend from high school who married the high school sweet heart, has four kids and is still skinny, and STILL has sex with her husband! (Well, that's what you're *supposed* to do!)
And as I'm standing in my kitchen, with tears and snot filling my face, my 10 year old is making a fruit salad for herself, and singing "yummy yummy, fruit salad!", I think in an attempt to cheer me up a little. I'm creeping and inching towards making peace with my friend's impending demise, but I hate death. I hate being left behind. I hate it for the others even closer to her being left behind. And I look up and see the chainmaille bracelet she made for me that went on her sale table at one point, and remember her saying "I made this for you, and then when we didn't see each other for ages, I figured I'd try to sell it, but it didn't fit anybody. It was too small for EVERY one. You skinny bitch, you have a custom bracelet. Happy Birthday." The bracelet resides on my fridge mostly because it's got a magnetic closure, and I'm prone to losing things. And it's a happy reminder of my friend since 9th grade. So it stays there when I'm not wearing it. And now my 2 year old is telling me "it's ok mama" and wanting up so she can get snuggles. And she just told me I need to blow my nose lol. She's right. There's a LOT of snot in my nose right now. I'm gonna need a big box of heavy duty tissues.