Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's Allowed (updated)

Updated 2/26 5:30PM-
I pulled into the driveway and noticed that the car had moved...he went to the store!  I had to hold back my tears, I was on the phone with my sister and just kept saying "oh my god, he went to the store, he went to the store!"  Knowing what a major step this is she was so happy for him and me.

Today I am reminding myself that it is alright to allow myself to be frustrated with the changes Will's TBI has brought into our lives.

I am allowed to not love being solely responsible for anything that needs to be done outside of the home and for most things inside.

I am allowed to be disappointed when he says he's going to do something but his anxiety gets the best of him and he doesn't even try.

I am allowed to want a release from the stress that all of this causes, knowing that there just aren't enough hours in the day.

I am allowed to be hurt when he is so wrapped up in his own issues that he doesn't even acknowledge when I tell him I am having issues as well.

This is a struggle and just because it's been 5 years since his accident the struggle hasn't gone away.  I'm having a hard time today, I am having very selfish thoughts.  Well, I don't know if they are selfish, they feel selfish because I truly do understand his issues but if he would just try, to go to the market it would make me so happy.  Even if he gets there and can't go in...I don't know, like I said I am being selfish but as long as I can get over it this is allowed too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Joys of Underemployment - Really

I have a secret to tell you, I like being underemployed.  I know, I know this is against everything that I am supposed to believe, everything I was taught at that fancy private business college but it’s the truth.  I get to work around 7:50 every day and, quite literally, the moment that clock hits five I am the first one out the door.  I am the Speedy Gonzales of punching out and shutting down.

I am a receptionist.  I have the same job that I had just out of college.  I answer phones, I e-file documents, I take care of the mail.  This is what I was hired to do.  There are a few other jobs that I have taken on to fill my day, things that wouldn’t normally be trusted to “just a receptionist” and I’m glad for them but it’s still not rocket science.   There are a few things I won’t do, I won’t get your coffee, I won’t  file your work so you can spend the afternoon chatting in the kitchen, (unless your name is on the building)I won’t screen your calls – a girls has to have her limits.

When looking for a job after leaving the hellish field of life insurance sales I applied for anything and everything.  I just wanted to work, needed to work.  I sent my resume to my current employer after reading the posting and thinking “I can do that in my sleep” and didn’t expect to hear back because I am so over qualified.  When they called the next day I took the interview, with a 5 year employment gap beggars can’t be choosers.   A good amount of the interview was about my (over) qualifications and I was honest with them:  “As long as I’m busy I will welcome a low stress job.”  And that’s what I have – I could stand to be a little busier though.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not running around with “Proud Receptionist” stickers on my cars – when someone I graduated college with asks what I’m doing now I am pretty embarrassed to admit that if we worked together I would be getting their calls.  I have to remember that their lives look nothing like mine.  I glad that they don’t have the stress of a wounded warrior – even when things are going well it’s a weight I carry around always.  My employers here know all about him and have been great about the days I’ve had to go home and let him rest or go to immediate VA appointments.   When I leave work I LEAVE work, I don’t bring things home, I don’t stay awake thinking about phone calls I transferred to the wrong person – none of that.  

There are some disadvantages to being the front desk girl, the biggest is that I am constantly talked down to.  I am not an idiot, don't treat my like one of your kids.  When people call I say the name of the company, several times a day someone responds with "Hello ABC Company this is..." hahaha, you were pretending like the place I work is my real funny - no.  When I take my break someone sits at my desk.  Get away from my desk and no you may not reorganize it.  And finally the pay, it's not BMW type money but we don't need that, I am paid for what is expected of me so if I spend the afternoon reading a book I don't feel bad about it, I am not being paid to be busy every second of the day.

I still take pride in my work, I think when you are underemployed there is the chance of becoming complacent and sloppy, I’ve made a point to not let that happen.  I know I am not curing cancer but if I don’t do my job correctly no one in the office can get anything done.  I just had my review and my boss had nothing but good things to say about me which always feels nice.  Now, I don’t plan to be a receptionist for the rest of my working life, we are actually in the process of moving me to the sales team but it’s a long process.  I told my new boss that I hope the compensation of the new job is enough to make me want to add some work stress to my life because as of right now we are making ends meet while I am on a working vacation.  I’m excited to see what the next professional step will be but for now I am enjoying  getting paid to hang out and answer the phone every few minutes of so, and there isn’t a damn thing wrong with that.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Can Do That

When I decided to put the excuses down and get healthy there was one driving force: my girls.  They have been robbed the super physically active and healthy father that Will would have been thanks to his war injuries so I wasn’t going to rob them of a healthy mother as well.  Many times when things got hard I reminded myself that what happened to Will is irreversible, we have no course other than to accept the hand that he’s been dealt and live the best life we can given our circumstance.  This doesn’t mean we stop hoping and celebrating the advances he makes in his recovery but we just know not to count on anything and appreciate everything.  I can’t even remember how many times I said or thought “one of us has to be healthy” when I really wanted to give up and eat a jar of Nutella and that’s really been my battle cry.

This winter has been a bitch.  The snow has been record breaking and unlike anything I’ve ever seen, even as a seasoned New Englander.  We have our driveway plowed by our landlord but the walkways to the basement/laundry, to the driveway, and a place for the dog to do his business, those all fall on us.  During the first blizzard Will was out there every few hours busting his ass to keep ahead of the accumulation and the next day we thought that he was going to be fine after all of that physical labor,  he didn’t have the headache or stiffness that he usually had after physical activity so we started to think maybe the worst was over, but we were wrong.  Two days later he was throwing up, unable to move, irritable and just miserable.  He pushed it too hard, he just can't do that any more.

Over the next month of storms I knew it fell on me.  I didn't mind, I welcomed the new workout - I hate snow and cold but I didn't have a choice.  Growing up I never shoveled, that's what brothers are for so I really had no idea what I was doing.  After my first round I figured it out, push with my legs, use my abs to get it over the high snow was hard work but I could do it.  I had to do, one of us had to and thankfully one of us could.

This isn't a hoe-hum-look-how-hard-my-life-is post.  This is more of a, hot-damn-I'm-a-bad-ass-and-I-can-do-this post.  Had I let myself continue down that unhealthy path I was headed down I don't know what we would have done, 2 years ago I was not strong enough to shovel out of 4 inches of snow, 34....forget it.  But now, well now - forget it, I've got that!  I may not be 100% happy with how I look, I have some body image issues to work through, but grabbing a sledge hammer and removing inches of ice from my walkway yesterday, that was empowering.  I highly recommend it.

I am not saying I loved every minute out there but when I wanted to complain about all the hard work I thought about all those people who simply can't shovel and I was grateful.  I am able, I am strong, I am a member of an amazing team.  I know Will has so much guilt and a bruised ego about not doing the "man's" work but like I said, we can't change the past but we are making the best of where we are now.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Skinny

Yesterday I shared a TBT picture on my personal facebook page, it was my best friend and me when we were about 8 or 9 years old.  It’s the 4th of July and we are helping get the pie eating contest set up at the campground where we spent our summers.  At that age and in that place we wore our bathing suits from sun up to sun down so there we were looking at the pies in our bathing suites.  It is one of my favorite pictures but when you look closely at it you can already see my insecurities, while my friend is in her bathing suit without a care in the world I am covered up with a T-shirt and I assure it it’s not because I was cold.

I knew people would like the picture, my friend and I are pretty amazing and that campground was the definition of heaven on earth.  I expected any comments on the picture to be about the campground or the longing for summer weather or the 80s fashion,  most were but one comment really stuck out to me.  A friend of my friend (who also knew the campground very well) said: “Priceless you haven't gained a pound since”.  Seems innocent enough, unless you really think about it.

I have been struggling with this topic for a long time, it’s not a secret that I successfully lost a good amount of weight a little over a year ago and for a long time after that I struggled to keep weight on.  It wasn’t because I was still dieting or (as others assumed) starving myself, I was at the lowest point in my life: back home after 8 years and feeling lonelier than ever with a marriage on the edge of disaster.  My in my months of misery I heard the same thing over and over again “you look great!”.  That was it, I was thin I must have it all under control because I couldn’t even fill out my size 2s.

It’s everywhere, not the need to be skinny but the need to look skinny.  Even today, now at a happier and healthier weight, I still feel that surge of glee when someone says that I look skinny.  Why is that?  I have so much more than being skinny to be proud of.  In the past year my husband and I have worked our asses off to move from near divorce to stronger than we’ve ever been, my girls are smart and funny (but not as funny as they think they are) and happy, I go to work every day at a job who is desperate to keep me and with people I don’t mind seeing every day.  I am in a great place but…well, wasn’t it nice last winter when not a single ounce of me jiggled as I jogged?

Back to my friend, I asked her if I could write about that picture I posted and the comment about her weight and (obviously) she said to go for it.   She didn’t even notice that the comment was weird which isn’t anything to do with her intelligence but just on how we are as a society.  Yes my friend is still very skinny but it’s not by accident.  If someone asked me to describe her I am sure “skinny” would be on the list somewhere near the end but up at the top would be “healthy”, “inspirational”, “strong”, “dedicated”, “fearless”.  Like I said, she’s not skinny by accident – it’s not like what happened to me where life literally sucked the fat out of me – she is constantly training for half marathons along with her husband.  While I sit at my desk in a comfy office chair she sits on an exercise ball.  She fuels her body with what she knows it needs and then, her healthy lifestyle allows for her to treat herself as she pleases.  You may see her eating junk food surrounded by her kids and think that she’s a lucky bitch who gets to be skinny because of the good genes afforded her in the genetic lottery but you would be wrong.  She’s worked hard and overcome so much to live the life that she has chosen for herself, that is not luck.

So yea, she’s skinny but she is so much more than that.  I am so much more than that.  You are so much more than that.  We know this, so why is it that when we want to reassure someone our go to compliment is “you look so skinny!”?  As if that is the only thing that matters.  I wish we could stop, I have been trying to stop.  I am trying with my girls, sure they know what a calorie is, they see my Polar watch/heartrate monitor, they know that a calorie is a measurement of energy.  TC has started to ask me why she can’t have junk food all the time and I’ve started to explain (as much as I can to a 5 year old) the idea of energy in and energy our and being  healthy and happy.  I work so hard not to call myself fat/skinny/fluffy….any of that around my girls.  I hope they never get that feeling of glee that I still get when someone tells me that I look skinny. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Real Problem With Winter (it's pants)

I am so over winter, yup I’m saying it –I’m ready to let my boots collect dust.  We went from a super gray January to a white February.  Blindingly white.  I won’t complain about all of the snow like last time (FYI we got another 14” yesterday!) nope, today I am going to complain about what all this white stuff forces me to do:

Wear pants.

While I am lucky to be able to wear jeans at work I still feel trapped.  My legs are begging to break free from this denim prison.   Even now that I have my lovely space heater at the office wearing dresses and skirts is not easy.  Heels around snowdrifts – well it’s not pretty.  Sure I could wear my boots and change into my shoes but in all honesty I am way too lazy for that.  So here I sit, in my jeans – again. 

It’s not just my work wardrobe but my workout clothes too, I want to throw on a running skirt and bang out a 5K on my town loop but nope I am forced to wear my workout pants on the super boring treadmill.  I this swear is messing with my head, after about 20 minutes on there I am so bored I convince myself that I am too tired to keep my pace and once your head is out of a run your legs don’t matter.  20 minutes into a run outside and I am still a mile from my house so not running is just stupid.  Every snowflake that falls means I am even further away from finding a sidewalk let alone running on one.

So winter = pants and pants suck therefore winter sucks. 

38 days until spring.  26 days until daylight savings begins.  Hopefully not many more until we see our first 50 day, and when that happens (and the snow has melted away enough) you bet your ass I am wearing strappy sandals, I don’t care what the calendar says. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It Snowed, We Cleaned

I don’t know if you guys know this but we got a little snow here in the northeast.  I understand that living in New England means snow, that is part of the deal but this is getting ridiculous!  We got 8 inches, which I considered a lot of snow.  Nope, that’s nothing.  A few days later we got 32 inches in one day.  32 inches + 8 inches = 40 inches…that’s a lot of snow.  Yesterday we got another 18 inches.  So for those of you who don’t like to math in your head I’ll tell you that we have almost 5 feet of snow out there in some areas.  (Which really isn’t 5 feet because as the new snow falls it compacts the old snow but for dramatics I will just go with ALMOST 5 FEET!)

After the first round of snow, now it's just too high to play in, we'll lose them!
Being the seasoned New Englander that I am I have survived hurricanes, blizzards, drought, hell even some small earthquakes but last week’s blizzard  really scared me.  The thought of losing power and consequently our heat (which is gas but the controls are electric) with the kids and impassable roads stranding us was a little much for me.  Luckily we made it through without so much as a flicker of the lights.  This put ‘fireplace’ at the top of my list for our forever home.  
Shoveling selfie, moving is hard today but I blasted 705 calories moving that stuff around!
  There are a lot of things you can do while stuck in your house, I always end up baking because who doesn’t want to smell cookies while you watch the snow fall?  The next most common thing we do in our house is fight with the kids to clean up their toys.  This has resulted in their toy collection being cut down by about 75% which is wonderful.  But the toys that cause the biggest problems are also the toys we really like them playing with, legos!  Those damn things are everywhere!  And it’s no exaggeration that stepping on one is a pain only bested by childbirth but they inspire creativity in my kids as well as forces them to work together so it really pains us to take them away. 

The struggle is real.

During the storm yesterday I took my extra day off to really get the playroom the way I like it.  They have so much more fun playing with it’s clean and I sleep better at night knowing it’s clean (I don’t know why, I just do) so I am hoping it can stay this way.  The problem is that we have 2 different parents with different parenting styles.  I am not the stay at home parent but I am still more of a primary care giver if that makes any sense.  They eat what I buy, the meals I plan, the toys I pick, in rooms I clean…I am not saying this to crap on my husband or complain but in our situation this is the reality.  If every day was a snow day the girls would be better about cleaning, like when I was the stay at home parent, but they are not.  But I digress, I think the playroom looks great.

Word on the street is that we are getting more snow, measured again in feet – not inches soon.  If this keeps up we will all be hugely fat having gorged on baked goods living in the most organize home because I refuse to let a free day off go to waste.

45 days until spring!