Sunday, March 18, 2012

"And I'm going to be 40....some day!"*
I have made it to the night before my 40th birthday.
The kids are asleep, and my husband is asleep in there with them.
The dog is eating dinner. <crunch crunch slurp slurp crunch>

I am cross-legged on my bed with my laptop, an old teddy bear of mine, my sleeping/snuggling blanket (that my mom gave me) and a white furry bunny "tummy time" blanket that looks like a bear rug only it's a bunny.  I couldn't bear to give it away.  (Story forthcoming.)

If you are in the habit of checking here, you have noticed that I was not writing much this past week or two.  I've not been functioning all that highly.
I think I was passively giving in to all my worst inclinations.  There was no determination left, no spunk...not that I could ever have been accused of being "spunky."  There was a lot of blocking out the world through napping whenever possible.  I pretty much did no housework.  I got some groceries and made a few meals, did some laundry, folded it, didn't get it put away.  I was really starting to drown in the detritus of our home.  Especially all of the "work" that the kids brought home!  I love it all, but I had three huge piles of it awaiting some kind of decision on its fate.  Everything was dirty.  Everything was cluttered.  Unless my husband had put his hand to it, that is.  There were a few bright spots in the kitchen.  The dishes got done.

I also made my husband hide my Ativan a day ago.  On Wednesday, I think, I took 6 or so, and on Friday I took 4.  I can't exactly say why.  I wanted to escape and maybe to punish myself in a way, although I knew this wasn't going to do anything but make me tired because I'd taken 3 or 4 before some other time in the past.  I'm only prescribed 1/2 to 1 tablet as needed for anxiety.   I can just hear the After School Special saying "It was a cry for help!"  Ha ha ha.  It was dumb, is what it was.  But nice too... nice for everything not to seem so important and for me not to feel like such a failure for a while.  I'd held onto them a long time past when my psychiatrist had said I ought to have Dan hide them and only leave me with one if I need it.  This was some months ago when I'd wanted extremely strongly to down the whole bottle, which still wouldn't have hurt me, I found out, unless alcohol were involved.  But then now I know that.  It has 1 refill, so I still feel like I have some control over my fate.  Anyway, this is just backstory.

So my dad  was due to come down to visit us today.  I remember when my grandmother used to come down to visit my house in the late '70s or early '80s.  My mother would get into high (neurotic) gear, vacuuming everything, insisting that we dust everything in the house...totally freaking out.  And I remember, ever the knowledgeable daughter, trying to convince her that Gramma was coming down to visit her and to see her, not to give our house the white-glove treatment.  I don't remember if she ever said that one day I would understand, but now I totally do.  You want to give the illusion of meeting your parents' standard of housekeeping/living in order to avoid feeling ashamed.  The funny thing is that my father wouldn't really care that much.  He'd notice, but keep his judgements mostly to himself, especially knowing I've been not doing that well.  Still, I'm glad he didn't get to see the house the way it was at 6AM this morning.

Let me preface all this with the fact that sometime in the past week my daughter's bff's mom was telling her that they needed to leave the park because she had to get home and clean because the house was a mess, and the bff said, "Not like Mydaughter'sname's!"  Now of course her mom was embarrassed that she'd say that, but the girl was not wrong.  "From the mouths of babes," right?

Then this morning my daughter says she wishes Grampa weren't coming because she didn't want him to see what a mess our house was.  This was in response to my saying I wasn't going to get to fixing her shamrock socks from Target that we bought but are hopelessly too big for her.  She was likely parroting something to that effect about not wanting people to see the mess the house was that I say.  I'm often complaining about the state of the house but not fixing it.  Still, it hurt, this first admission of shame of her home.  It kinda took my breath away.  But instead of crumpling, out came the ugly side of momma-vengence.

I decided that fine,  I was going to show her what a clean room was like—starting with hers.  We had warned her many many times that she needed to clean up her room and get detritus of childhood off the floor and put away in her cabinets and other homes we'd given her for things in her room or we were going to come through with the trash can and throw away or donate anything that wasn't being treated with respect and being cared for.  This came true today.

I threw away a bunch of birthday party "gift-bag" stuff and papers and junk from the floor and broken toys and a broken stool I've been wanting to recycle for months.  I grabbed many toys for donating to Goodwill.  You can imagine that my daughter did not respond well upon realizing what I'd been doing while she was playing and finding out when I was about 7/8 done.  There was a nasty argument about a stuffed unicorn that was under her bed (one that we'd gotten as a hand-me-down from a friend that I'd never felt good about because I guess I didn't feel great about getting hand-me-down stuffed animals.  I'm fine with all kinds of other toys and clothes, but I really am not into 2nd-homing other kids' ratty stuffed animals.  Anyway, my daughter was near hysterical that I was going to donate it and I was insisting that if it was oh so important it wouldn't have been under her bed when my husband stepped in and vouched for her that it was very special to her.  (As opposed to all of the other items in her room which are also "very special to me".  The girl is going to be a hoarder.)

Strangely, by the time I was done,  my daughter was actually excited about how great her room looked and was thanking me (?!).  I backed down and rethought a handful of items, and ended up going through the trash for the game pieces I'd tossed just because I can't stand losing game pieces and some of them were from my old games.

I then frantically straightened things up on our first floor, which has the living/dining area, kitchen and foyer.  My husband and the kids got the decorations of, yes, the Xmas tree and finally got that shoved out into the woods.  So when my father asked if I'd finally gotten the tree out, I was able to say yes.  Then my husband said, "This morning."  Thanks, hon.  We got some grief about that, though it seemed to be in good fun and not in real derision.  I was getting a bit freaked out when I was hand scrubbing the kitchen floor (it's a tiny galley kitchen with horrible flooring that only approaches non-repulsiveness this way, seriously, I'll have to post a picture) and hyperventilating a bit so I asked my dear, darling husband if he would fish out just 1 ativan for me and that helped a good deal.

When Dad finally arrived I was still putting some things away for 5 minutes or so, which I know he considers very bad manners, but I couldn't just stop there where I was, leaving things unfinished.  Doing that would bother me more than his being annoyed at that point, which is even worse manners, but so be it, it's what I did.  After that things went fine.  We talked and visited and went to my favorite pizza place for lunch, showed Dad where my husband works and the hoity-toity Stepford-like development/village/town that is across the street from his work campus, the one with the $560,000 townhouse that I covet.

We got back home and visited a little more.  This was the part where Dad worried about me and wanted me to feel more connected to him and my sister than I do/am/have been.  He was pretty clear that all this stuff I fret about, that no one else really cares.  If I could only be OK with myself, then I'd want to keep the house because I deserve to live in that standard.  I would dress better and groom myself better because I would care how I presented myself.  If I would get involved with things that were beyond me instead of spending all this time thinking about myself and what I think, I would feel better and be better connected.  I need to accomplish some small things, feel good about them and then let that lead to accomplishing greater things and feeling better about them.  Of course he knows that none of this is news to me and said he wasn't trying to lecture me.  I don't know, maybe what I need is a good lecturing.

After he left, which is always traumatic for me because I've never forgotten/gotten over his dropping me off at the University of Minnesota all by myself when I went there for grad school.  Anyway, after the inevitable neurosis of my abandonment pang I started weeding in the front yard, which always makes me feel better.  The grass is green and dark and lush, like stiff straight hair that needs cutting or combing, like David Tennant's hair done in thick green strands.  I love it this way, clumpy, before it's been mown the first time of the season.  I got dirt under my fingernails, which is always good.

Then the kids were hungry and we took them to Bob Evans Restaurant because that's where they wanted to go.  I was good and got only fruit, but then I was bad and had a slice of lemon supreme pie, and it was delicious.

*And thank you to When Harry Met Sally for my Title line.  It's been a running joke with my husband and me since the movie came out.  It's not funny anymore.

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