Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2010?


I'm miraculously submitted my first draft of the 2011 budget late yesterday - yea!!! The ball is now in someone else's court, even if it's just for a day or two.

Friday night I got a call from our corporate office to let me know the "big" bosses and the "big-big" bosses from Hong Kong were flying in and expected to tour our facility. When this happens, everyone company wide goes into absolute freak-out mode. We end up calling each other several times a day to see where the "tour" is at so that we can anticipate our own visit. We also try and get any quick feedback about what went well and what didn't so we can make any necessary and quick adjustments. This whole fiasco goes as far as making sure our refrigerators are stocked with the appropriate soda for the visit - one time I actually called the soda manufacturer to find out where we could find it in the city. The work-up to actually getting the tour to your location is so mentally taxing that once they leave your brain is complete mush. I am REALLY looking forward moving on...

OH - here was my favorite comment I was prepped with before the visit. "Make sure you dress appropriately." SERIOUSLY?! At first I blew it off, but then spent the weekend worried about it. What does "dress appropriately" mean?!? I don't do "business casual" I always go "business." In a thinner body state, I'd have worn a suit, but newsflash: they don't fit and I'm not buying more! If I buy more suits, this will officially be a career choice for me.

I was left to ponder dumb questions like:

Is there discussion that I'm NOT dressed appropriately every day? Do I lack in accessories? Are my standard black or gray slacks too boring? My shirts too loud? Not loud enough? My hair too sloppy? Should I pull my hair back?


It went way farther than the above, but why break your brain too. It is crazy how this is 2010 and yet I feel like I should be fetching coffee and stroking egos. It is official. I don't just feel like a glorified secretary, I am a glorified secretary.





Monday, August 23, 2010

One Wish...


My sister is getting married and Saturday we (both my sisters and the 3 kids) hit a bridal shop to try on dresses. At Matron of Honor, I can't miss these things. Thankfully, my kids were SO good. I needed this on the coat tails of a pretty spicy summer with them. Both of my sisters were so sweet to them and they were so happy to see them.


My sisters really made every effort to include them in the dress buying process. My big kid picked out a few dresses for my sister to try on and she did so without any complaining. My son was given the "vote" so each time my sister came out he either gave a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Baby slept most of the time thankfully, but once she awoke the other sister totally helped in laughing and playing with her. It was exhausting, but really good to be with all of them.


At the end of the day, my sister-getting-married came to me and told me about my Big Kid's wishes. She told me that has they were getting in and out of dresses in the room together, my Big Kid was quietly making wishes. She asked her what she was wishing for, but was told she couldn't tell because they wishes may not come true. "Oh come on, just give me one" my sister said. "Okay, but you can't tell or might not ever come true." "Okay, what is it" "I wish my mommy wouldn't go to work and that she'd stay with us forever - but don't tell!" My sister didn't know what to say. She said it was both the saddest and sweetest thing she'd ever seen. I believe her...


Sometimes I forget that my big kid is still just a little kid. This morning at 4:30am I felt a tug on my blankets. "Mommy, can you please scoot over? I'm cold." "Honey, I have to get up in a little bit, just me trade you places." "No, Mommy, stay. You don't have to leave us today. It's Sunday." For a quick second, I believe her and scoot. "Thanks, Mommy" "Anytime, baby" and I shut my eyes. Twenty five minutes after that my alarm went off bringing my Monday to a reality.


I love all of them. Like them, I wish I could be home too but right now I just can't. I hope they know I'm trying to get back home with them and simultaneously that if I don't if I love them the same. I'm trying...until I get there it's these small exchanges between us I hold onto the tightest.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Puppet Chirper

This week has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. I got past the big fat green envy pill I swallowed earlier this week and am now in a weird place of "what-ever." And then life goes on...

I try to do all my Costco shopping on my lunch break to avoid dragging my kids into the pool of weekend shoppers. This way, I get in and I get out. If you're space cadet like me, you know that losing track of what day it is is a common occurrence in your life. I thought yesterday was the 19th - the first coupon day of the Costco mailer, so I zipped over to the warehouse to get my customary diaper, training pants, diaper wipe buying on. After my cart was loaded, I headed to the check with all my little clipped coupons and handed them to the cashier. "Awh...these actually aren't good until tomorrow" she said. "Really, but--" and then I stopped myself from begging. "Okay" I said, "I'm sorry...do you need me to put this all back?" "Nope, we'll have someone help with that." I left Costco with the few things I didn't have coupons for and went back to work knowing I'd waste my lunch tomorrow on the same shopping I just did.

Today was the first of the REAL "coupon" days, so the store was packed. I like to think of myself as a courteous shopper, but since I had been at work since the crack of dawn I was a little spacier than usual. As I chatted with my assistant (who was brave enough to accompany me) I tried to maneuver through the folks trying to get their free food samples. Just as I squeezed my cart through a food sampler stopped in front of me and I lightly (open to interpretation) hit him with my cart. "I'm so sorry" I say to him, initially feeling bad that I just buckled his legs from behind him, but then he made a puppet hand at me and said "Yak, yak, yak" - his hand gesturing at me like a chirping bird. Then proceeded to talk about me to his wife in a language I wasn't remotely familiar with. At first I didn't know what to say, but then I was pissed. I didn't need it from him today. Sure, I hit him, but I tried to apologize. If it me, I may not have been happy, but I wouldn't have been a dick about it.

I should have let it go, but after he started giving me the look and changing languages on me, I saw red. "I said I was sorry" I barked. "Yeah, I WAS talking and--" I had to stop myself short from turning into a screaming lunatic. My assistant was with me and was turning red with the laughter she tried so hard to keep in. I did hit him after all and he had every right to be annoyed, but when did people get so rude?! He could have ignored me, he could have even snapped at me, but puppet hand gestures? Seriously?

I made a bee-line for the shortest line I could find and got out of there as soon as possible. My first budget draft is due Monday morning and I suppose I'm wound a little tight. I'm cracked out on coffee I'm so tired. I can't stop yawning and I didn't even bother to put on makeup today. I'm counting down until this whole mess is over...

P.S. - I didn't win the lottery either, but I'll keep trying. You can't win if you don't play, right?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Not Fair Monday

We spend a lot of time with our kids trying to teach them about humility and kindness, to focus on what we have and not what we don't, to be thankful about the life that we have and the food we eat every night. We hope we are helping to pave a life of fulfilment for them. So, why can't I follow my own advice?!

On paper, I feel like we are living the American dream: a faithful husband, 3 kids, a successful career, a nice house, 3 cars, a nanny--so what's my problem? The paper doesn't show how hard that "American Dream" is to hold onto. It doesn't show the constant monitoring of the banking account to make sure we can pay for this life. It doesn't show the unsurety of what this life we try so hard to hold onto is really bringing to us. On one hand I know I'm incredibly lucky and on the other I battle the "It's Not Fair!" demon that every once in a while gets the best of me. It got me good yesterday.

It started in morning and worked itself through my bitter day of compiling budget numbers and missing lunch. The constant questions and doubt I kept taxing myself. Why am I here? What did I do wrong to still be here? Why are my kids at the park with someone I PAY to look after them when I'd do it for free? Why am I not getting past the mommy angst I've been battling for the last 3 years!? Who the hell are the mom's who told my husband that I'd get past it at some point? Where do they live so I can go kick their asses for lying?! By the time the clock hit 5pm, I didn't care that I hadn't finished my work for the day. I just wanted my head to stop swirling.

After rushing from work (as much as one can rush in traffic) to Target so I could exchange a closet organizer at an attempt to keep my house in order, I turned and rushed to get to my daughter's soccer practice. Her practice is at a park between two neighborhoods I love. I remember looking at these homes when they were first models when my husband and I were just dating. It epitomized the very comfortable life we thought we'd have one day. The homes are big and spread out and everyones yard is well manicured. The cars are all nicely parked in their driveways and not on the curb. I think that birds actually break out in song as they hop from beautiful tree to beautiful tree in this neighborhood.

Instead of focusing on how pretty the drive in was, I drive down the smoothly paved streets and am reminded that I will most likely never be able to afford this neighborhood. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I found myself green with envy. As I sat with the other moms who actually do live in the neighborhood, I found myself wishing they were mean so I could have a viable reason to not like them. But they weren't. They were really nice and friendly--making my envy even worse.

Truthfully, I knew all the answers to my brain bending questions: I go to work because I really love my family and I'll keep doing it to be able to provide a life for them. At the end of the day, even in the throngs of my pity party, it's not fair that people in Africa are starving and a nice woman down the street has cancer. Brain teaser solved.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

We Made It!


Today marks my actual 10 Year Anniversary. I know my husband and I celebrated last weekend, so there's no more excitement to come, but 10 years seems like SUCH a long time to be with someone. In a lot of ways I feel like we've beat the odds - considering that the average marriage (last I checked) was about 7 years. Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that these last 10 years have been easy or the most perfect 10 years of my life, but it hasn't been. There have been great days and some pretty tough days along the way. If I had this life to do again, I'd still marry him.

My husband and my two big kids came out to the city today for lunch to celebrate our big day. They were so sweet and so happy for us. They had each painted these little ceramic "things" to give to us on our big day. As we sat at lunch and talked and laughed and really enjoyed each other, it reminded me of how lucky we are and how very different my kids' lives are from the one I had growing up.

By the time my mom was my age, she was a divorced mom of five working any job she could that would help bear the expenses. Since I was the oldest of us, I really saw the toll this took on her. Back then, I resented having the responsibility of overseeing my 4 siblings while my mom worked nights in an aluminum warehouse. It is a miracle that the house never burned down and each of us is alive. Now as an official grown-up, I'm thankful I had a chance to sharpen my diapering skills early on. I joke with my sisters that they were the "guinea pigs" who prepared me for my real kids. All joking aside, I still remember thinking to myself that I wasn't as strong as her (my mom) and that I could not do what she was doing. I know this still rings true.

Watching an ugly divorce when your a kid does 2 things to you: 1.) It makes the possibility of a divorce very real. You'll never catch yourself saying "that'll never happen to me" because you know first hand that it very well could and 2.) If you have children, you never want them to have to experience what you did. You will avoid putting them through what you went through at all costs. Unless there is abuse or adultery, you are committed to making your marriage work no matter what. My last recollections of my parents together involved crying kids, flying plates and shattered glass. We haven't hit this point at our house yet and I feel pretty good in saying we never will. I want different memories for my kids.

I think each generation gains a little more perspective from the last. I remember seeing how hard it was for my parents to keep us financially afloat and how much they lost of themselves in trying to do this over the course of their marriage. I don't want that kind of life and we're lucky we've never been forced to.

These last 10 years have been some of the hardest and best times of my life, but I'd do it all over again. Here's hoping for another 10 years!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Because the Clock Doesn't Stop


If anyone hasn't noticed, my postings recently have become almost come to a halt. Not because life and clocks haven't kept moving, but because there's been so much stuff going on I just haven't had the time or brain to know where to begin. I'm right in the middle of my busiest time at work with trying to nail down preliminary budgets for 2011. This hasn't left a lot of time for me to squeeze in much more.

School starts in two weeks and I'm not sure where the summer has gone...

My big girl turned 7, my little man turned 5 and my baby (who is barely a baby anymore) just turned 21 months and got her own toddler bed--that is still in the box. I'm not quite ready to let the crib go, but I know that's next on the list of things to purge. It's been really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my child bearing days are over. I love my kids and would have a dozen more if all the "if's" (if I had more money, if I had a bigger house, if I didn't work, if my husband would actually agree) didn't get in the way.

Last month, our family went on it's very first camping trip to Pine Mountain Lake. We went with another family we really like and who are camping veterans. I told myself before going that I was just going to let things go and allow my kids to have fun and take one day at a time. I'm pretty sure I did not do a good job of this. I felt like I was constantly reprimanding and yelling at my kids. It's not clear to me if I just couldn't let go of order or if my kids were just losing their heads. But, when you have a group of kids and one gets crazy there is the possibility of the crazy infiltrating all the kids and before you know it you have a circus on your hands. I'm alright with my own kids ruining each other, but the thought of them causing someone else's kids go down the crazy path just kills me. I've been on the other side where I watch lightbulbs go off over my kids' heads when they watch other kids get away with all sorts of bad

All things considered, I think my kids really did have a good time and I'm glad we went. It was a lot of work for two nights out in the middle of nowhere on a weak campground, but at the end of it all my friend still talked to me after the trip - which I am thankful for.

My husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary last weekend with a surprise dinner at my favorite restaurant, La Fondue , followed by the movie, The Other Guys, and a night in the fabulous Hotel Valencia. For most people - especially those still sewing their single oats this sounds pretty boring, but for us it was just right. When we got out of the movie at midnight, the town and bars was just starting to heat up. I looked at him and he looked at me and we both knew we just didn't have in us to do the the bar crawl everyone on the street was lined up for. Quiet is not something either of us know much about anymore. It was nice to just watch free T.V. as long as I wanted in a bed occupied by just us and knowing that come morning no one had to make the bed.

Trust me when I say we really needed a night for just us to go out. For the last few weeks we had just been on each other's last nerves. We had heated arguments about stupid things, yelling matches about who was right and it got to a point that I'm not sure we even liked each other for a stretch of time. In the mix of kids and life, it's easy to forget what you actually like about each other. This night gave us the opportunity to actually remember what it's like to be a husband and a wife and not just a dad and a mom to someone.

I'm going to try and be better about posting. I've forgotten a lot in the last 10 years and I want to remember everything in the next 10 years. In 10 more years I'm going to have a Senior and a Freshman in high school and baby will be in middle school. I almost cry just thinking about how fast it will come... For now, I'll try and focus on today.