True story: Sometimes I don’t write blog posts simply because I cannot think of a good title. Sometimes I don’t write them because I don’t think anybody really cares about regular boring life shit. Then I have to emotionally smack myself around a bit until I remember that while I did start this particular blog with the intention of having readers, it’s not why I started writing in the first place. Writing blog posts was my Facebook On This Day before there was even a Facebook.
I think it’s interesting that I consider myself to be a better writer when I’m ultra anxious or somewhat (or a lot) depressed. Most of my favorite posts have been the result of feeling basically like existing was just too difficult. But if I only write during those times, this whole website would be too depressing to even be around. It would be the Eeyore of the Internet.
Right now I am deeply, physically and existentially, exhausted. But I’m not particularly anxious or depressed. Well, at least not until I start thinking about how I’m not overly anxious and then my brain decides that I should probably be anxious about not being anxious. Like, if I’m not anxious I MUST BE MISSING SOMETHING. Then I come to the conclusion that I must enjoy being anxious. And then I end up anxious about what it means to enjoy being anxious. And then I realize I don’t actually like this at all, thank you very much. And around and around.
But anyhow. Right now = feeling ok. Or, at least, my version of ok. Ok-adjacent. That’s not even the point of this post. The point of this post was that it lacks a point and that I guess that has to be ok.
It’s been a busy few weeks.
Two weeks ago, my friend Steven flew into town. I’ve known Steven for almost half our lives, and my kids call him “Uncle Steven.” Rowan’s middle name is Steven. I went to pick him up at the airport to take him back to our house. On my way, he informed me that food poisoning had hit him on the plane and that I should take him to a hotel, instead. It was bad. I’ll spare you and Steven a rehash of the details. The people at the Waffle House next to his hotel were rooting for him though, making him dry toast and plain, fluffy scrambled eggs.
I had taken a few days off work to spend with Steven, but other things kept getting in the way. When it turned out he’d be going to Asheville for two days, I booked a day at the Umstead Spa in Cary. I figured my Washington Post money should go to something special. I swear I’m going to try to do that like once every few months (I should probably start writing more, huh?). I got to spend all day at the spa — in the hot tub, in the steam room, sitting by the fire. I read my book. I took a short nap. In the afternoon I had an 80-minute massage. No electronics are allowed, and I had no reception on my phone anyhow, so I was completely cut off from the outside world for the day, and it was amazing. I think I may prefer this to my occasional solo hotel nights, and the price is similar.
The food poisoning ended up canceling his plans for Asheville, but by Friday he was feeling much better. So we had a little gathering of friends. I love seeing Steven with my kids and Charlotte’s kids. I wish he lived closer so I could see things like this more often.
The unfortunate thing is that while the adults were talking, the kids were enjoying their free reign with the sprinkles. I am not mess-adverse. I love glitter. Little pieces of paper all over the place don’t really bother me. But sprinkles, y’all. This pushed the limit even for me. Because unlike glitter, they attract ants and become sticky and difficult to sweep up. Also, the kids kept feeding us cookies that looked like this:
Saturday we took the kids to my sister’s house, and then drove to Charlottesville, VA to see Eddie From Ohio. This was some serious olden days shit. I’ve already written a whole thing about them, so I’ll just say that this show definitely didn’t disappoint.
Plus, there was a whole room that looked like this:
Steven and I looked like this. And Kim and I looked like that.
Eddie From Ohio looked like this:
The next day, we had late checkout and did not leave the hotel until 1:00 exactly. And yes, I took all the little shampoos and the pen. Obviously.
And then we come to Christmas.
I knew they’d be getting a ton of stuff on Christmas Day, so I let the kids open a present each, plus one joint present early on Christmas Eve. It turned out to be a great idea because they played with it all for hours. Rowan has been carrying his puppy everywhere. Including sleeping with it and bringing it into our room in the middle of the night, clutched in his hand, to climb into bed with me.
Lorelei decided that leaving one bowl of food for the reindeer was just far too stingy. So she made separate cups of food for each freaking reindeer, using her “special recipe” because she knows what Santa’s reindeer like best. It involved: Peanut butter, sprinkles, apple slices, carrots, and cool whip. I miss the days when we mixed a little dog food with carrots and sprinkles and called it good. This was disgusting. I always go out and dump some of the food in the trash (and then hide it) and then turn over the cups and spill some on the porch, because reindeer are messy. The bottoms of this were green sprinkle and peanut butter sludge. But Lorelei was really excited the next morning when they’d eaten it.
I showed her the NORAD Santa tracker and it blew her mind. She screamed, ” Wait! There’s a Santa tracker?!?! That means he must be real! He’s real! He’s real!” She’s at that age where her belief is starting to have cracks, but she clearly wants to keep believing, so I’m not going to stop her. She’s looking for reasons to believe.
I remember that age so clearly. We were on our way home from the Christmas Eve service at my great-grandparents’ church, about 30 minutes from our house. I was staring off into space, literally, as I gazed at the three stars in Orion’s belt (having no idea what Orion was… but those three stars are a consistent childhood Christmas eve memory for me). My mom and Granny had the radio on. The announcer came on and said that Santa’s sleigh had been spotted in the area, and they played the sound of bells jingling in the background. At that moment I saw what was certainly an airplane in the sky. But the red light and the bells made me convinced it was Santa’s sleigh being pulled by Rudolph.
So this was likely the last Christmas that Lorelei believes in Santa, though she’s a kid with a great imagination and lots of determination, so I think she’ll still enjoy it. In the meantime, it was the first Christmas where Rowan had enough awareness to really get what was going on. I wish that I had managed to get a video of him opening a little train set, he got this huge grin on his face and said “YAY!!!!” Lorelei was much more appreciative of everything this year than she has been in years past.
Here’s the world’s sweetest video of Rowan singing “You Are My Sunshine.” You can also see the awesome camp chair the kids got me. It has an organizer on the side and a cooler in the arm.
Now we have arrived in the middle of the no-man’s land that is the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Almost nobody is at work, so I’m holding down the fort in my department and doing a lot of organizing the stuff in my office. Rowan is getting his two-year-old molars and they are the worst. He is no longer sleeping through the night, and is insistent on sleeping on my arm. Sometimes he actually sleeps well, though I can’t move. Sometimes he tosses and turns. Thus my deep exhaustion.
Also, it’s winter now. I’m staring down the barrel of January. I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions, because they seem like a good way to set myself up for failure. Many years, I will try to just do a little reset. A couple of weeks without alcohol, added sugar, etc. A few weeks or a month seems more reasonable to me. One year I actually did monthly resolutions, instead of something for the whole year.
This year I need a reset. Badly. All my coping mechanisms are shit right now. Too much beer. Way too much junk food. My sugar cravings are sort of insane. Definitely too much caffeine for someone who used to drink no caffeine at all. And it’s mostly in the form of Diet Coke, which is a horrible caffeine vehicle in the first place. I’m sure none of that has been helping my sleep and subsequent exhaustion, either.
No, I’m not going to go cold turkey on both sugar and caffeine. I’d get a horrible headache and be a total bitch to be around. But I am going to try to ditch Diet Coke for unsweetened tea. I will try to cut out added sugars as much as possible. Alcohol is easy enough to cut out.
The wrench in this plan is that I’ve also decided to wean Rowan. He already knows that the “mama milk sleepin'” most of the day — it’s only awake first thing in the morning. We are going to Charleston for New Year’s, so I am going to convienantly “forget” the mama milk when we leave on New Year’s Day. I’m sure I’ll write a whole post about my many, complex feelings about all of that.
To recap: Cutting out extra sugar, diet coke and excess caffeine, beer. Also going to deal with weaning hormones. January is going to be a total shit show. I’m typing this so someone can remind me when I fall apart mid-month.
So here we go! Onward to January.