Airing Dirty Laundry

for all the world wide web to see

The post without a title January 21, 2010

Filed under: me being a whiney brat,random ramblings,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:00 am

I’m just going to start typing and see where this post ends up.

But just a little forewarning, it’s not going to be pretty.

For weeks now, I’ve been feeling like there’s something . . .wrong. I’m not sure that I can do it justice by trying to explain it. I just feel . . .unhappy. And I don’t know why.

I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful child, and a (at least I hope) secure job. What do I really have to complain about? Why do I feel this way?

It’s almost like I’m going through the motions. I get up at 5:00, spend an hour on the treadmill or elliptical, shower, get Maggie up and dressed, get ready for work, eat breakfast, and head out the door. After work, I come home, throw a load of laundry in, play with Maggie for 45 minutes or so, put her to bed, then Mike and I make dinner, clean up, wash that day’s bottles and make them for the next day, pack my lunch, and then either fold laundry or pay bills or clean or whatever until I collapse into bed. Just to get up and do it all over again the next day. And the next day.

As regimented as I am (or try to be) about certain things, maybe I’m struggling with such a predictable routine. Maybe this is too much of a routine. All the spontaneity is gone. Mike and I can’t go out to dinner during the week because Maggie goes to bed so early and there’s not enough time (and we don’t DARE keep her up later than she wants to be—we’ve made that mistake before). And I really don’t even want to go out to dinner, because what fun is it to sit in a restaurant when I could be rolling around on the floor with Maggie at home? There are times when I run errands after work, but then I feel guilty because that cuts into the little amount of time I have with Maggie. So I feel like I’m never home, but yet I feel housebound at the same time. It used to be on the drive home from work, I’d wonder what we were going to do that night. Now, I don’t have to wonder. I know. Down to the minute.

I find myself crying at the drop of a hat, over stupid things. Like, REALLY stupid things. Things that I’m too embarrassed to write about. I struggled a little with crying jags after Maggie was born—the hormonal kind. But these are different. Where I was once more likely to laugh at something, now I’m more likely to be upset at it. It’s like all of the humor has been leeched out of me. I’m just getting through each day and onto the next.

Maybe this will all change once spring comes. Already there’s a little daylight left when I leave work each day, and I know it’s just a matter of time before the sun will be shining brightly and the flowers will be in bloom. Maybe that’s all it will take.

But in the meantime, do I just continue on through the next month. Two? What if I don’t feel better once the weather’s a little nicer?

I’ve also been struggling with panic attacks, or at least what I think are panic attacks. I all of a sudden feel helpless and claustrophobic. Like the walls are closing in on me but I’m too frozen to escape. Trapped. I break out into a cold sweat, get dizzy, and then a minute or two later, I’m fine. And every time I have one, I think it’s the last one. That they’ll go away. And then I have another one.

So I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m not asking for help, or advice, or anything. I’m just . . .venting I guess. And hoping I come back to read this in a few weeks or a month and laugh about how silly I was.

And I’m not going to go back and re-read this now. I’m just going to hit “publish”.

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Going back November 15, 2009

Filed under: daily grind,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:03 am

I go back to work on Tuesday.

“Conflicted” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

I have to go back.  I don’t have a choice.  The little things like health insurance, retirement plans, and, well, a paycheck, make it necessary for me to go. 

But, if I had a choice, if money and benefits were not an issue, would I want to stay home?

Actually, no.  At least not full time.

I feel guilty even typing that. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love being here with Maggie. I’ve fully enjoyed the time I was able to be off.  I was thankful that by having a C-section, my doctor wouldn’t release me to return to work for 8 weeks, and then I had 2 weeks of vacation time that I was able to use so that I could have a full 10 weeks with my baby.  And I know that when we drop her off at day care, I’ll cry and spend a good portion of the day missing her.  I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.

But I need more of a challenge, I guess you could say.  Not that raising a child isn’t challenging enough, but I sometimes feel the need for “shop talk” that doesn’t revolve around children.  I need more adult interaction, a reason to wear something nicer than jeans, someplace to go where I can take a purse instead of a diaper bag.

And I feel so selfish wanting that.

I know that by the end of next week (if not sooner), I’ll be longing for the days to be like they’ve been for the past two months.  The novelty of returning to work will wear off quickly.  I’m only the third woman at my company to have a child since it was founded over 15 years ago and will be the first one to come back; the other two quit after their children were born.  Most of the people I work with are older than me, and most are men.  With the exception of a few, no one’s really going to want to hear me blather on about Maggie.  There will soon be a such a sharp division between “work” and “home”, and I know that will irritate me to a degree.

I’m a fairly organized person (just don’t look in my basement or garage, because either one would totally blow your mind).  But my organization skills are going to be put to the test once I go back to work.  Being off work, I’ve been able to keep the house somewhat clean.  I’m almost always caught up on laundry (but I love doing laundry, so don’t let that depress you if you have mounds of it to do).  I’ve been able to spend time blogging. I started my Christmas shopping, something I usually don’t do until mid-December.  I even cooked a real dinner every once in awhile (and I freaking HATE to cook).

But once I go back, that will all change.  And quickly.  Just the thought of getting up in the morning, getting Maggie up/dressed/fed, making bottles to go with her to day care, getting showered and dressed, packing my lunch, and getting out the door by 7:15 at the absolute latest makes me want to curl up in a ball.  Figuring out how to get the house clean, the laundry done, errands and grocery shopping accomplished, and meals made is going to be a juggling act.  I’ll have about 2 precious hours each day to spend with Maggie during the week, and I’m already feeling a little bitter about that.  There won’t be enough hours in the day.

I’m whining, I know.  So many people do this.  People with more job responsibilites and longer hours.  People who travel for their job and don’t even have the chance to spend 2 hours a day with their children.  People with more children.  People with children that don’t sleep as much or as soundly as mine does at night.  People who don’t have a spouse that is willing to help.  People that don’t have a spouse at all.

I know it will all work out.  That we’ll get into a routine.  That some things will be sacrificed (such as cleaning the bathrooms, because I hate cleaning bathrooms).  We’ll find our balance.  We’ll find our groove.  We’ll hit the lottery.  OK, maybe I’m stretching it on that last one.

But right now, I’m overwhelmed.  I want to work.  I want to stay home.  I don’t know what the hell I want.

So, I guess the ideal situation would be for me to work part-time, get paid what I do now (or more . . .) for working full-time, retain my health benefits and retirement plan and stock options, and have the flexibility to work when I want.  Then I could still have a lot of the day to spend with Maggie and wouldn’t have to put her in (or pay for) day care. Is that too much to ask, really?

OK, back to reality!

 

It’s not all good all of the time October 19, 2009

Filed under: friends,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 7:48 pm

I think it’s time to get back to being a “real” blogger.  I spent the past 10 or 11 months writing almost exclusively about being pregnant, and then, since her birth, Maggie. Everything was happyhappyjoyjoy.

I loved being pregnant.  I loved every minute of it.  During the times early on when I felt sick to the last few days when I started to get uncomfortable, I really couldn’t complain.  I had difficulty getting pregnant and staying pregnant, so every moment of my pregnancy with Maggie was cherished and never taken for granted.  Throughout that time, I learned that it’s not all about ME anymore.  I was carrying a life, a precious life, inside of me, and my discomfort ceased to matter.   I would have done whatever it would have taken to carry her to term and make sure she was healthy, regardless of how it affected me.

And now that she’s here, it’s easy to write about the wonders and joys of having a beautiful, healthy baby.  It’s easy to post pictures of her, to document her milestones, to capture the essence of her NOW, before she changes and grows with the passage of time.

It’s not as easy to write about everything else. It’s not as easy to admit to the changes in my life since Maggie’s birth that aren’t positive, or that I haven’t reacted positively to.

It’s easier to post a picture of a happy baby.

(Even one who is losing her hair in weird patches.  Why can’t it ALL just fall out at once and be done with it?  It didn’t start falling out until the day I made an appointment to have her pictures taken . . .c’mon kiddo, we’ve got a deadline on the hair loss situation here!)

Anyhow, the bottom line is that I’ve struggled a lot in the past six weeks.  More than I expected to.  More than I’ve let on to ANYONE, except Mike, because, well, he has to deal with me on a daily basis.  It hasn’t had anything to do with being capable as a parent; it’s not that kind of struggle.  It’s more of me being an emotional, mental, and physical wreck.

It’s never been so severe that I thought it was post-partum depression.  I’m still healing–in a lot of ways–and I expected a certain amount of recovery.  And I know that a lot of what I’ve experienced over the past month and a half can be attributed to hormones.  I guess I just never realized that hormones can be so . . .powerful.

There have been days that I basically curled up in a ball on the couch with Maggie in the bouncy on the floor next to me for hours at a time.  There have been other days where I’ve been a whirlwind of accomplishment–successfully juggling taking care of Maggie with everything else that needs to get done and feeling on top of the world about how capable I am of doing it ALL.

I never thought that the highs would be so high, or that the lows would be so . . .low. 

A friend of mine said to me once that she went through what she called a “mourning period” after the birth of her first child.  She mourned for the way her life used to be.  Independence. Spontaneity.  Freedom.  They were all gone.  She was responsible for another life.  Would always think about someone else first.  When she said that to me, I first thought “how selfish”.  Now I think I have a better understanding of what she meant.  And it’s not about being selfish, it’s more about adjusting to the changes that come along with having a baby.

I am not “just myself” anymore.  Mike and I aren’t “just a couple” anymore.  We’re a package deal.  And that package is now high maintenance.  Is always at the forefront of our thoughts.  Is always our number one priority.  Our “go with the flow” lifestyle is a lot more structured than it ever was before.  And that’s not a bad thing; it’s just an adjustment.

I’ve always been one to make a decisions quickly and to move on, confident in my choice.  But now some of the decisions I have to make don’t affect just me, or just Mike and I.  I can’t just adopt  my “devil may care” attitude and laugh it off if the decision is the wrong one, shrug my shoulders, and carry on.  Because now Maggie factors in, and my decisions will affect her too, and us as a family unit.

[Sorry to be so vague, but I have reasons for not being more specific.]

To complicate things, I’ve never been one to readily admit to a struggle.  It’s always been easier for me to play it up that everything’s rosy and that I have everything under control.  It’s rare that I would go to someone, even a close friend, and admit that I need any kind of help.

But today, I called a friend.  One that I’ve been meaning to call for weeks.  One that I haven’t talked to in a few months.

And, somehow, without me asking, and–I think–without her knowing, she helped me.

After talking to her, just having a conversation catching up on each other’s lives and hearing about her experiences after having her son, I feel so much better about some of the things that have been bothering me.  I feel . . .refreshed, for lack of a better word.  I feel like I can cope a little better, and make some decisions that need to be made with a little more confidence.

Michele has always had that effect . . .she gives me perspective.  Always at a time when I need it most. 

And she makes me laugh.  Always at a time when I need it most.

Michele and I posing as iguanas (inside joke!) 2 years ago when she came to visit for a weekend.

 

Anymore November 6, 2008

Filed under: blogging,life lessons,me being a whiney brat,random ramblings,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:09 pm

I don’t envy the “popular” bloggers.  If I was one of them, I think I’d eventually find myself in fear of the written word.  One hateful or overly-critical comment/email too many and I’d hightail it out of the blogosphere immediately.

As it is, I feel like I limit what I say write.  I would only write in specific detail about a friend if I had his or her permission to do so.  I mask the names of my family members to a certain extent.  I don’t write certain posts that are brewing in my head because I feel like I’d be sharing too much.  Things that maybe certain people would take offense to.  My original intention was to have this be a totally anonymous blog, but over time I added a link to it on my Goodreads profile.  And then my Facebook profile.  So now it’s not-so-anonymous and there’s a chance that if I bitch about someone in particular, one of my real-life friends may be able to figure out who that person is . . .and, well, my reason for this blog is not to start some snarky war where people’s feelings get hurt (whether intentional or not).

Today, I said “screw it.”  This is MY blog.  It’s for ME.  It’s ABOUT me.  My life.  And when something happens in MY LIFE that weighs on my mind for a week and I feel like I’m holding it in because I’m afraid of singling out one specific person . . . .screw it.

That’s when I have to remind myself that this is my journal, what will one day be my history.  And if something’s affecting me to the point that THIS THING is affecting me, I need to let it out.  So here goes.

Last week I played bunco with a fairly large group of people.  All women.  Some I know really well, some are just “casual friends”–we know each other’s names and can have a “Hi, how ya doin’?”-type conversation but don’t just call each other and chat.  When we were broken into groups, one of the women (a casual friend) said to a good friend of mine in front of two other people (I wasn’t in the group), “I guess she (meaning ME) isn’t pregnant anymore, since she’s drinking.”

We’ll call this casual friend Elaine.  I’d like to give Elaine the benefit of the doubt.  I’d like to think that maybe it somehow just slipped out of her mouth and she regretted it instantly.  But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that that wasn’t the case.

I’m a fairly laid-back person.  With so many things, I feel that I can forgive and forget and move on.  But I’ve been thinking about this for over a week now, so apparently I’m not moving on.

Earlier this week on my way home from work, I saw Elaine standing in a neighbor’s yard, about 15 feet from my car as I stopped at a stop sign.  I couldn’t meet her eyes.  I couldn’t even wave.  Tears welled up that I fought back, and I continued on my way.

What she said hurt me.  First of all, I had never told her that I was pregnant, so obviously I had never told her that I miscarried.  And it’s not as if she took me aside and said “I knew you were pregnant earlier this year, so something happened, and I want to make sure you’re doing OK and see if you wanted to talk to somebody about it.”  There was no compassion, no concern.  Instead, it was “I guess she’s not pregnant anymore.”  In front of a group of people.

I hide my struggle with fertility/miscarriage a lot.  I joke about it, my favorite defense mechanism after sleeping it off (which didn’t work in this case).  We named our kitten Forrest because that’s the boy name that Mike loved and I would never agree to it when we were discussing baby names.  So we named the cat Forrest the Cat, Not the Kid–Forrest the Cat for short.

But each day as I dutifully chart my BBT, each month when I get my period, I get a little bit . . .sadder.  I remember my disbelief at the positive pregnancy tests in April, and I want that disbelieving/hopeful/too-good-to-be-true feeling back.  That overwhelming sense of awe that two people can create another one.  That I could be a MOTHER.

I don’t need reminders from people I barely know that I’m not pregnant anymore.   If Elaine really wanted the scoop about my situation without asking me directly, she could have least waited until I wasn’t in same house as her to ask someone else.  And she could have done it a hell of a lot more delicately.  Does she really not understand that every morning when I take my temperature, I recognize that I’m not pregnant anymore?  Or when I called the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment to discuss fertility medication, I was pretty aware that I wasn’t pregnant anymore?   Or as I flip the pages of the calendar, ever closer to what was my December 25th due date, that I think about not being pregnant anymore?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

On a related note, I found out on Halloween that three of my neighbors are pregnant.  I guess there’s hope that there’s something in the water and it’s working it’s way up the street to me. . . .

 

I purposely waited until NOW to talk about politics November 5, 2008

Filed under: secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 7:28 pm

It’s over.  Our 44th President has been elected.  Who did I vote for?  None of your damn business.

Politics to me is personal.  Only two people know what my vote was–one is me, of course, and the other is Mike.  But up until I told him, even Mike wasn’t sure who I was going to vote for.

I like it that way.  I like that my vote is MINE.  I enjoy being the neutral party when Mike and his brother/friends/random strangers get into heated political debates.  I like to sit back and take it all in before making a decision.  I like to be able to learn about both parties and both candidates without going into it thinking “I am a Democrat; I MUST vote for Obama” or “I am a Republican: I MUST vote for McCain.”

When I first registered to vote, I registered (and am still registered) as Independent.  Yesterday was my fourth oppotunity to vote in a Presidential election.  I have voted each time and I’ve found that after weighing each candidate in each election and making my choice, I have voted for the same party each time.  But will I switch my registration to have that party’s name on it instead of showing “Independent”?  Will I publicly proclaim that I am a ________?  No.  Because next time around, who knows what my choices will be and what my feelings will be towards each candidate’s platform?  I like being somewhat neutral until I do my research and make my own decision.  And I’m thankful that as an American, it is my RIGHT to make MY decision.

Mike is very vocal about politics.  He’s a die-hard Democrat and Obama supporter.  He even put a sign up in our front yard to declare his allegiance and support. 

 

That’s fine by me.  He’s passionate about his beliefs and wants to show it.  Did he ask if he could put the sign up in our yard, since it’s, you know, OUR yard.  No.  Big deal.  Did he or his sign influence my vote in any way?  No. If I felt so strongly about one candidate or the other and wanted to publicly announce it, I’d get a sign too.  But I don’t, so I didn’t. 

I’ve read a lot of posts today about how things are going to change now that Obama has been elected President (some very positive, some very negative).  For our sake, I hope things DO change.  McCain or Obama, things NEED to change.  Is either one perfect for the job?  No. 

But is anyone?

 

This is SO difficult! October 10, 2008

Filed under: secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:26 am

I snagged this one from I Hate Whine, and although it’s quick, it’s so hard for me to NOT explain.  Or make a snarky comment.  Please don’t think any less of me for some of my answers!

YES/NO GAME RULES ARE AS FOLLOWS:

You can only say yes or no. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone asks!

Over 18? Yes

Danced in front of your mirror naked? Yes

Ever told a lie? Yes

Been arrested? No

Kissed a picture? Yes

Fallen asleep at work/school? No

Held an actual snake? Yes

Ever run a red light? Yes

Ever drink and drive? Yes

Been suspended from school? Yes

Ever been fired from a job? No

Totaled a car/motorbike in an accident? No

Sang karaoke? Yes

Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? Yes

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Yes

Ever laughed until you wet yourself? No

Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes

Kissed in the rain? Yes

Sang in the shower? Yes

Sat on a rooftop? Yes

Thought about your past with regret? Yes

Been pushed in the pool with your clothes on? No

Shaved your head? No

Blacked out from drinking? Yes

Had a gym membership? Yes

Been in a band? No

Shot a gun? Yes

Liked someone with nobody else knowing about it? Yes

Played strip poker? Yes

Been to a strip joint? Yes

Donated Blood? Yes

Liked someone you shouldn’t? Yes

Have a tattoo? Yes

Have or had any piercings besides ears? No

Made out with a complete stranger? Yes

Caught someone cheating on you? Yes

Skinny dipped? Yes

Regret any of your ex’s? Yes

Been to a rodeo? Yes

Been to a NASCAR race? No

Been in Love? YES

 

Forget about the VP debate, let’s talk about eyebrows October 3, 2008

Filed under: hair,life lessons,random ramblings,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 1:03 pm

I remember being a pre-pubescent girl and wishing fervently to “become a woman.”  At the time, I thought that meant getting my period, and, well, that was about it. 

I read “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” for the first time in third grade at the insistence of two much-older neighbors who rode the bus with me.  We were the only 3 kids from our part of town who went to the Catholic school and due to the different start/end times of our school vs. the public school, the three of us were the only kids on the bus for a large portion of the time.  I got quite an education on that bus.

I willed myself into puberty, threw myself headlong into it, thoughtlessly leaving my childhood behind.  At age 10, I stole a pink Daisy razor from Mom and started shaving my legs.  I had seen her do it, and she was a woman, so in order to become a woman myself, I needed to shave.  So I shaved my legs.  And then my armpits.  And then, what the hell, my arms.  All without any kind of shaving cream or soap, by the way.  I must have been one big razor burn.  And then I hid the razor in my bottom dresser drawer, where I hid all of my secret stuff so that no one would find it.

In 4th grade, I begged for a bra.  I plotted and schemed for weeks–possibly even months– about how to convince her that I needed it, you know, since I didn’t have any boobage anything to put in it at the time.  I eventually came up with an indesputible rationale.  My school uniform was a white button-down shirt with a Peter Pan collar and a plaid jumper (with knee socks and saddle shoes, of course.  It’s no wonder that to this day I have absolutely zero fashion sense).  I told my mother that because my shirts were so thin and worn, the boys could see too much through them and I needed a bra.  Basically her options were to buy me new higher-quality dress shirts (“like the Lacoste shirts that the rich ALL the other girls are wearing,” I suggested), or to buy me a bra.  So off we went to JC Penney’s to get me my AAA-sized training bra. 

Years later I look back at my desire to shave and to wear a bra and wonder what the hell I was thinking.  Shaving my legs and armpits and other unmentionable regions and stuffing myself into a bra each day are almost a chore.  Did I really look forward to doing–DREAM about–this twenty-some years ago? 

The one part of my body that I’ve never had to pay much attention to–until now–was my eyebrows.  I have fair skin.  I usually call my skintone “pale”, but “fair” seems much more complimentary, so let’s go with that.  I have dyed blonde light brown hair with blonde highlights, and my eyebrows were even lighter than my *ahem* chemically-enhanced hair color.  They were thin in shape and fine in texture.  For years they were almost invisible, or at least barely noticeable.  In my world, you don’t fix what ain’t broke, so I never touched my eyebrows.  Not once.  No plucking, tweezing, waxing, shaving.  Nothing.

A few years ago, I felt that even though you couldn’t see them, maybe they needed more shape to them.  Knowing that I have extremely sensitive skin where even the smallest pimple is a huge glaring red blemish, I didn’t even consider waxing.  Instead, I opted for a small battery-powered Avon trimmer, and every few months I would zip-zip around the edges, use one of the tools to cut the remaining hair shorter, and that was it.

In March, on a whim, I asked the girl who cuts my hair (she’s 10 years younger than me, so yes, she’s still a “girl”) to do my eyebrows.  She had been cutting my hair for 6 months at the time, so I trusted her.  I warned her about my sensitive skin.  I also made it a condition of my “procedure” that she not do anything drastic–the last thing I wanted was to have to pencil my eyebrows back on until they grew in.  She did a great job, I was red for about an hour or so, and life went on.

In the time since then, my eyebrows morphed into two woolly bear caterpillars trying to meet in the middle.  If they were any indcation of how severe this winter is going to be, boy, we’re in for a doozy.  They got thicker.  And darker.  And BIGGER.  My little Avon trimmer choked on them and eventually died.  Plus, I would shake so much just looking at them that trimming was a sketchy process.  I decided to leave it to the professionals.

So last night I was getting my hair did and I asked if she’d have time to do my eyebrows.  This time I didn’t preface it with a 500-word essay on just how sensitive my skin is and how I didn’t want much taken off.   After the first rrr–iiiiippppp, I realized my error but it was too late to turn back.  Once the swelling goes down and the redness goes away, I’m sure they’ll look nice.   But so far it’s been 16 hours and I still look like a Neanderthal with my (red) forehead jutting out–minus the hair, of course.

Where did that hair come from?  Why did it wait until now to sprout?  Will my brows come back in full force again, or was that some kind of one-time hormonal aberration?  Will I have to get this done every three months?  Every six weeks?  EVERY MONTH?  Will I have to schedule my brow waxing on a Friday night, go home immediately, and stay in my house with an icepack on my forehead for 2 days until I’m not embarrassed to be out in public?  And where will hair start to sprout next?  Maybe I’ll end up looking like the Neanderthal after all.

If only I would have known 25 years ago what “womanhood” REALLY was . . . .