Yesterday was just what I needed. My stepfather and I spent the entire day doing projects around the house and managed to visit Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards in the process. There was something about working side by side with my stepfather, fixing things in my home, that healed my soul a little. With each screw we drilled, I felt my heart piece itself back together.
Yesterday we tried a new church. It was very... modern. They had a church rock band. Oddly, although I consider myself a progressive person, I like my church experience to be ultra traditional. I also prefer it to be a different denomination than the one we went to yesterday, but a friend of mine suggested her church, and I felt we at the very least should check it out. But now we're in the awkward position of having to admit we didn't like it... so it might have been more socially graceful to never have gone in the first place.
Things with the family visit are going okay. Hero was a bit of a devil yesterday, raising both my and Hubs' stress level through the roof. He growled at/bit us a total of four times. And we really don't want him to snap at one of my nieces. I think having a total of eight people in the house is too much for him. We're going to try to reinstate all of his training rules today and see if that helps - we'd eased up since we had company and didn't feel like teaching everyone how to train the dog. It's just so hard having so many ups and downs with him - he gets better, he regresses. And our hopes for him spike and decline along with his behavior. Because when it comes to having either a baby in the house or the dog, there can't be a contest. I don't want it to come to that, because I don't want Hero to lose. Of course I love him. More each day. Why can't our love and patience be enough? Or at the very least our love, patience, and the thousand dollars we've thrown down on his account already?
I also do appreciate my family's concern about my job search, but to be honest I have designated times I think about it, and designated times I don't. I don't think about it at nine o'clock at night. I just don't. I don't really think of it past eight. Just like I don't think of death, watch hospital dramas or sad, violent or scary movies right before bed. So when you're watching the ten o'clock news and they talk about the unemployment rate, don't start a conversation with me about how maybe if I volunteered that would lead to a job. I don't want to hear it. I want to sleep soundly, and thinking about the black hole that has become my professional future does not facilitate that.
The thing is, I'm being ungracious. I'm getting irritated with little things and reading into them that my family does not respect me or my household. My mom has overtaken my kitchen, but it's because she wants to pamper me and doesn't want me to be stressed preparing meals for everyone. My sister and her husband have made themselves completely comfortable in our home (including borrowing our car without asking) but it's because they want to make their presence in our home easier on everyone. It's just that when I'm a guest in someone's home, I'm a guest. Meaning I defer control of situations to the person who pays the mortgage. But control is something C women naturally take, and the fact that my mom and sister jump in to do so shouldn't surprise me. It's just that it leaves me feeling relegated to my pre-pubescent days of being the one everyone took care of. And right now, I don't want to be taken care of. I can't be. I want to take care of everyone else. I feel like I'm being robbed of that opportunity. I'm shoved out of the kitchen and told what the plan is rather than asked what it should be.
I'm lucky to have a family who loves me so much. I'm lucky to have people who rush in to take care of me. I know this. But I'm also an unemployed woman who can't find a job and can't support a baby in her womb, so I need to feel like I can do something. Like I'm needed for something. And lately the things I've been needed for during a normal week are cooking, entertaining, cleaning, and running my household. If you take that from my hands, there is little else I feel like I'm contributing.
And the worst part of all (yes, I am seriously complaining about having a family - I do know how ungrateful that is - I do know that people are alone during the holidays and that I'm incredibly fortunate) is that because I feel so teary, in order to keep from crying I snap at people. Because if I don't suck all the emotion out of my voice, I know it will crack and the tears will bubble over and people will rush to comfort me. After which point, they'll walk on eggshells around me. Which would definitely be intolerable.
Posted by Elle Charlie Monday, November 24, 2008 at 7:37 AM
My emotions have gone haywire. For whatever reason, having my family here has just made me hyper sensitive to both sad or sweet, touching things. Today I was driving to the bank when I saw a grandfather crossing the street with his granddaughter (who looked about 10). Too old to want her hand held, but he held onto her jacket, just the slightest bit, anyway. I could tell he wanted to keep her safe even though she may not have needed him to in that way anymore. It made me cry. That's when I realized, I've lost the battle. I can no longer predict or control the tears. Thankfully, that time I was alone and in my car. Versus yesterday, when I was with my mom and in the crowded Cracker/Cookie aisle at Cub.
Posted by Elle Charlie Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 1:23 PM
I can't explain it. My parents are here. My sis arrives tomorrow with her husband and kids. But today while my mom and I were grocery shopping, I couldn't stop my eyes from welling up. I don't know why. Or what. But it's there.
Why? Why, when there's so much to be happy about, do I have to feel so awful now?
Posted by Elle Charlie Friday, November 21, 2008 at 7:06 PM
I received this blog award from Momofonefornow over at Stop the train, I wanna get off. She's a mom of one adorable boy, a wife, and a full time student - talk about a busy life! They're also soon going to be starting the journey of trying for a second child again, so hopefully the new year will bring much excitement and good news on her blog and in her life!
Anyway, as part of the award I have to answer the following questions with just one word responses. Here goes:
1. Where is your cell phone? Dunno
2. Where is your significant other? Work
3. Your hair color? Brown(ish)
4. Your mother? Here!
5. Your father? Missouri
6. Your favorite thing? Dior
7. Your dream last night? Naughty
8. Your dream/goal? Novel
9. The room you’re in? Study
10. Your hobby? Novel
11. Your fear? Spiders
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Home!
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Apathetic
15. One of your wish list items? Baby
16. Where you grew up? New Jersey
17. The last thing you did? Shop
18. What are you wearing? Jeans
19. Your T.V.? Nothing
20. Your pet? Hero
21. Your computer? Fixed!
22. Your mood? Stressed
23. Missing someone? Yes
24. Your car? Switched
25. Something you’re not wearing? Earrings
26. Favorite store? Ann Taylor Loft
27. Your Summer? Fun
28. Love someone? TONS!
29. Your favorite color? Brown
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Today
I am going to pass it on, I promise, but my five minutes of Me Time is up so it'll have to be in my next post! Thanks so much Momofonefornow - the award made my day!
Posted by Elle Charlie at 5:53 PM
This week has been stressful. With my family's impending visit, Hero's boot camp, and my job search life has been busy. Each day seems like a never ending to do list of errands and projects. Not to mention that our computer crashed, which in and of itself took 3 days to sort out.
I'll try to sum things up with bullets, because my brain is too scattered for much else.
- Hero: Hero's been doing really well! He's like a whole different dog now that he's got some basic training under his belt. We've come to realize he's dealt with some bad stuff in the past (not pointing fingers here, but clearly he had some major trust issues that didn't stem from us). He's really thriving in our home, and has become an attentive, affectionate, lovable pooch. It's such a great feeling to bond with him. Our relationship grows stronger every day. The training is $ and very time consuming, but well worth it.
- Job stuff: This economy blows. That pretty much covers that.
- Life stuff: Two of my cousins just announced their pregnancies. I'm not okay with it, even though I thought I was totally okay with the whole baby on hold business! I haven't been able to bring myself to respond to their emails, even though I know that's horrible! I just need to muster a little more positive energy before I can pass along genuine congratulations.
- House stuff: Hubs is letting me move forward with my plan to replace the dining room carpet with the same flooring that's in the kitchen and front hall - I'm so excited! I hate that stupid carpet. It's the one part of the house I'm desperate to overhaul. I ordered flooring that I'm 99% sure is a match, and my stepfather Jack has agreed to work on the project with me while he and my mom are here! (Jack and I will be replacing outside lights, fixing toilets, hanging window treatments, etc. - he's easily bored and very handy, which = lots of fun house projects!)
- Thanksgiving: My mom and Jack arrive tomorrow. My sister, brother-in-law and two little nieces arrive Saturday. And Mookie comes to town next Wednesday. I can't wait to have my family here. Hubs is a saint for allowing them to descend upon us for two weeks straight.
I'm off to fold some laundry, but I'm definitely going to try to catch up on my blog reads as soon as possible! I miss hearing about everyone's life adventures :)
Posted by Elle Charlie Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 3:07 PM
Our computer went dead this week, and we just got it back up and running yesterday, so I've been totally offline for days! I have a lot to catch up on in blog land - I'll be working on that this weekend! Tonight we're off to see a taping of A Prairie Home Companion - how Minnesotan!
Posted by Elle Charlie Friday, November 14, 2008 at 4:46 PM
The trainer came this morning. She's very impressed with the progress Hero made in just the last week and is very optimistic now about his future. I hadn't mentioned it before, because it was too scary and sad, but she'd actually told us that he might need to be put down after her initial visit - she worried that his personality combined with his biting could be too problematic. But today she said she'd have him back playing with the kids next door soon! She said what she saw during this visit was very encouraging. (We did a lot in the last week to keep his anxiety at bay and set up behavioral boundaries in our home.)
She's a great trainer (she trained our vet's dog, so she's legit - the best in the area) - she was here for an hour and already he's learned a lot. She taught us some good, fast, practical ways to instill in him that calm, controlled, gentle behavior on his part yield positive results (treats, affection, etc.).
So YAY for Hero! Keep up the good work, little guy! On Monday we report back to her about our weekend implementing today's new training, and next weekend we start him in an eight-week class. Followed by one more home visit and then a second eight-week class. I think we can really rehabilitate him! I'm so glad we decided to try. He's worth all the time, money, and energy.
Posted by Elle Charlie Saturday, November 08, 2008 at 10:49 AM
I have to say it. I have to complain or I will explode. I'm SO sick of job hunting. SO SICK OF IT! I've found a bunch more jobs I want to apply to, but now that means I have to write another 5 cover letters. I HATE COVER LETTERS. For the love of all things good on this earth, make it stop. A job would be a fun way to spend a day compared to this nightmare land of limbo. This. Waiting. SUCKS.
SOMEONE PLEASE HIRE ME!!!!! I am worth my weight in gold, I promise!
Posted by Elle Charlie Thursday, November 06, 2008 at 11:43 AM
I have never not been proud of our country. I am a grateful citizen. But today I have regained faith in our future. Now, when an African American boy is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he can dream and aspire and think "Maybe someday I'll be president!" and know that it is possible. It is possible.
More powerful words do not exist.
Posted by Elle Charlie Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 9:07 AM
Hubs went to see his longtime family doctor this morning, Dr. S. When I'd tried to get an appointment with him shortly after we moved here they said he was no longer accepting new patients. He was full up, and had been for a while. I asked Hubs if he would try to help me when he saw Dr. S. today. Dr. S. has a great reputation, and while we're trying to get conceive we'd like to have the same family doctor. So Hubs mentioned it to him, and Dr. S. agreed to see me too! In fact, he said that's the whole joy of being a family practitioner, and that he's excited to work with us on trying to start our family.
I'm in! And the truly wonderful thing about setting down roots is that Dr. S. could be my doctor for the better part of the rest of my life. Someone who will come to know me, and who already knows my husband and his parents. I feel like this is a really good thing for us. I'm not sure why it's so important to me, but it is.
Posted by Elle Charlie Tuesday, November 04, 2008 at 12:26 PM
When I pulled up at the drive-through window at Starbucks at 7am in Hubs' flannel pj shirt (yes, it's back, and I can't promise that I'll take it off) the barista handed me my chai latte and told me, "It's already paid for, by the woman who was in front of you. She left this note." She handed me a piece of torn-off notebook paper that simply read 'Have a great day!'
I paid for the drink of the person behind me, and left the note for him.
People can be randomly nice. Isn't that just so refreshing?
Posted by Elle Charlie Monday, November 03, 2008 at 9:40 AM
Thanks for all the thoughts, everyone, don't worry - we've decided to try to rehabilitate Hero. We're having another in-house training session this Saturday and then have enrolled him in an eight-week obedience class meeting on Saturdays starting in mid-November. So we're giving up our weekends, not our little furry friend :)
This is one of those times where I guess it's good I'm not pregnant - we have a window to see if we can get this dog kid-ready.
Posted by Elle Charlie at 7:36 AM
We had the behavioral specialist to our house last night, and got some bad news about Hero. Apparently we didn't cause this problem. He seems to have a very very very difficult personality, that may never be good around kids. We have several options, naturally one of which is to find him a home that will never have kids in it. The other is try to rehabilitate him. This second option is more appealing, but also more expensive and far far more stressful and work intensive. We just want to be happy. But at the same time, this is the puppy we got. We're not the type to just give up on that.
Posted by Elle Charlie Sunday, November 02, 2008 at 10:13 AM
Steph over at Problem Solvin' Mom gave me this blog award:
Steph's blog is über creative, with tons of ideas for family fun and projects for kids, and also lots of great recipes (I just tried her Million $ Spaghetti and it was fabulous!). Steph often posts great pictures of her adorable kids, and they're guaranteed to make you smile :) She also often takes the time to reflect on the good things in her life, the things that make her happy, and that inspires me to think positively.
For this award, I have to list six things that make me happy, and pass the award on to six bloggers. Steph mentioned on her blog that she was feeling a bit blue this week, and that listing those six things was a helpful thing to be doing. I agree. I've felt a bit blue this week as well, so I'm looking forward to thinking about what brings joy to my life.
- My husband. I am truly blessed with a wonderful man. Hubs is kind, open, affectionate, understanding, responsible, and so funny.
- My family. I have a great family (albeit a bit of a non-nuclear mess). I have people I trust to catch me if I fall, and people I enjoy spending time with to boot.
- Writing. I love to write. It's like my favorite thing in the world, and always has been.
- Setting down roots. It's been a real challenge as of late, trying to find a job and make new friends and build a support network here in Minnesota. But it's working.
- Sunny days. We have a ton of huge windows in the house, and especially when it was still warm outside we'd gotten into the habit of keeping the blinds at least half closed to keep the house cool. Now that it's winter weather, I've taken to opening all the blinds as far as they'll go and letting the sunlight pour into the house. It makes me happy.
- Starbucks. Sorry, but it does. It's the one thing (particularly food-wise) that I LOVE and that I make time for every day. Since I have a habit of skipping meals, this is meaningful.
- Alison over at (un)complicate me. She's just a terrificly fun blogger with great ideas who always has creative and genuine comments for others bloggers.
- Sprite's Keeper created the Spin Cycle (which I've missed out on twice recently), posted every Friday. She provides the topic, and we all spin off of it on our own blogs and then report back to her.
- DeeMarie at My Life in a Nutshell has the most creative icon, a little cookie head! Her posts are also always creative and fun.
- Trish at The Coffee Shop is one of the first blogs I ever started reading, and her design is fun, homey, inviting, and very creative!
- Deb at From From Stilettos to Sneakers has a great blog title. She's was an über successful New York banker and is now a full time mom! (And, she just ran a marathon!)
- Cat over at Sealed for Freshness: Zipbag of Bones who is always funny, creative, and honest in her posts. Plus I love the name of her blog!
Posted by Elle Charlie Saturday, November 01, 2008 at 12:22 PM