Today's Diva Words:  "That's 'Queen Bitch' to YOU."

September 5, 2007

The phrase "where to begin" hardly seems adequate.  It has definitely been an eventful and enlightening and difficult week, but like so many other challenges in my life, I am glad it happened.  I am sorry to leave everyone in the dark when EOS looked like it would be no more, but at the time, choices were fairly limited.

Normally, as all of you know, I share pretty much everything and gather around me my counsel of wise friends to help me figure out what to do next and how to handle whatever situation comes up with grace and dignity.  I am grateful to have people in my life who I trust and who I can depend on absolutely.  This is the first time in my life that I've had that and I never knew how much I missed it.  This time, however, I wanted to keep it to myself and turn the energy inward instead of outward.

It's no secret that men and women often have difficulty communicating and Eric and I are no exception.  You would think that as much as we do talk, chattering away like old women day and night, calling one another through the day and barely making a move the other doesn't know about that we'd be good at it by now, but we definitely do hit our Mars/Venus brick walls from time to time.  Last week was one of them.  I swear, how many times do we listen to men, watch their mouths moving and wonder how they can not see how insulting what they are saying actual is?! 

As often tends to be the case, Eric had some really good points about my life and a rut I was in, but it was cased up in such a shitty package that I was too busy being defensive and reactionary to hear any of the points.  It was definitely one of our uglier moments and I'm not proud of how I handled it some of the time.  I try to live my life in such a way that I don't have regrets, but I haven't managed to do so yet and last week was a prime example.  Scaring the kids with your shouting is definitely forbidden and I blew that one way out of the water. 

The fact of the matter is that when a stay-at-home mom is spending 8-9 hours a day doing something that has absolutely no value to the family itself and when chore that are vital to the home are being left undone as a result, something's gotta give.  Eric really shouldn't have to work outside the home and them come home and work inside the home because I was too busy spending the day researching and writing a column on Paris Hilton's arrest and how fat Val Kilmer has gotten.  It's fun, sure, but there has to be a balance and my life had fallen way off balance.  At first, there were no compromises available, only ultimatums.  He'd sat on his frustrations for so long that the top of his head was coming off. 

After the dust settled and I got over the indignity of it all, I found myself grateful for the blast of clarity and perception.  I wish I could have gotten past his delivery (flawed as it was in his frustration) to see the reality of his observation earlier on before we spent a day of anger and fear and resentment.  All day long, I prayed for the strength to see what I needed to see, accept what I needed to accept and do what I needed to do.  By the end of the day, things were better, but we have spent the last week finding our footing again.

In the interim, I've been busy trying to improve the house, which, as most of you know, was a project before all this happened.  I completely cleaned out the laundry room and the closet under the stairs, getting them functional and more streamlined.  That was Thursday and Friday.  Saturday and Sunday (yes, both days, all day), I pulled absolutely everything out of the first side of the shed (it has two rooms with separate entrances from the outside - this was the bigger side) and went through every box, every bag, every shelf.  There is now a giant trash pile beside my house (inside the fence, so it's not readily visible) that will go to the dump soon.  I got out about 10 boxes of clothing total for donations and a huge bunch of toys and household items.  I bought plastic bins at Walmart to use instead of cardboard boxes and managed to get enough space cleared out to move all of the storage I had inside the house to the shed, plus have room for the exercise equipment since Andrea and I have been walking the mountain for cardio rather than relying on the machines.  Those we will use in the winter when the other side of the shed is cleared out and emptied into the new sheds, making an exercise room. 

I was going to do more after the shed, but I swear, it took all of the wind out of me.  I finished up pretty much the last of it on Monday morning and then collapsed.  I still have a box of things to sort that had to come inside.  I put all of the clothes in boxes, bags and baskets on one side of the front deck and all of the stuff/junk on the other side (an old vacuum cleaner, TV, computer monitors, toys, etc) on the other side and called Jack.  Jack is an older guy up here who is coordinating the flea market for the Fire Department, plus he takes clothes and shoes down to St Patrick's Church for their clothes closet.  He came by today and took most of the clothes (left about 4 boxes) and pretty much none of the junk, meaning that my crap is so bad that it's rejected by flea markets.  Not sure what I'm going to do with it now.  Gotta think on it.


I don't do yard sales.

I go to them; I don't have them.  That is the balance of things.

Oh.  The new journal look.  I felt tired of beautiful mountain vistas and inspiring rainbows and sedate trees.  They are lovely and have their place, but I feel like I want to work from an active place of empowerment rather than from a docile place of tranquility.  I need energy, not relaxation, so I'm tapping into my queen self.

Eric will be here in a bit to take me out for the rest of the day for my birthday celebration, bless his heart.  Today is #46.  I figure given the lifespan of women in my family, I'm almost to halfway done.  We are going to go get lunch, do some errands, eat some more, then come home.  This is, I believe, the first year he has remembered (he always seems to think it's the 6th) and he has been asking me for a week or more what I want to do, which I find tremendously sweet.  I just found out that Marcia and Andrea are taking me out to Olive Garden  for lunch tomorrow (yum!).  I feel spoiled ever so sweetly.  Georgia sent me some beautiful scented empowered candles (one to banish assholishness and one to banish cravings), plus a great Queen book.  All were completely perfect.  Andie brought me over a musical card this morning when we exercised.  It's a good year.  :)

On Monday, we went to the California State Fair and saw Weird Al Yankovic in concert with the kids.  I was reminded of how much I detest fairs and carnivals and how much I love Weird Al.  It was great fun.  We ended up getting home around midnight and I had to get up with Delena at 5:30, so we were pretty wasted tired.  Last night, Eric and I ended up staying up later than usual to watch another episode of Lost and so I'm tired to day too.  It's so debilitating to not get enough sleep. I don't think people realize how much joy it bleeds away.

Today, at Eric's suggestion, I've been lolling around not doing jack shit.  Exercising and running through some laundry was about the extent of my activity.

So on to the house and its progress:

The laundry room is now fully functional.  Eric got a desk at a yard sale for $5 (very nice solid wood one) and is turning it into something of an office.  It looked like this before:

...but now it's all cleared out and nice.  Photos will come later, I promise. I got some Jasco paint remover and spent a couple of hours figuring out it was not going to work to take the white paint off of the fireplace.  To remind you, it looks like this:

I started with a few bricks on the hearth and followed directions on the can to the letter.  Using a single edged razor blade and steel wool, I was finally able to get to the brick in a couple of places, but couldn't get it any better off than pink.  Seeing that I was going to have to do this all the way up to the ceiling, I quickly decided to return the $25 can of Jasco to Home Depot and instead, paint the fireplace.  I got a really nice barn red (not fire engine red...let me find it for you).  Slightly redder and lighter than this.  I will leave the mortar white between the bricks and only paint the brick faces. 

I have vinyl tiles to put up behind the stovetop instead of wallpaper or paint for easy cleanup:

I intend to do that whole wall, under the window and behind where the microwave lives.  Don't yet know what color I am going to paint the cupboards.

September 7th

Here it is 2 days after I left off before and I feel as though my eyes are going to bleed out all over the desk.

That's about all I had to say about the decorating for now anyway.  I got the Sherwin Williams Black Bean paint for the cupboards, the beams in the living room and the trim in the family room.  I also got the wallpaper remover for the kitchen and bathroom.  Starting next week, Eric is taking off 3 days a week to work on the house with me, so I'll have back up.

Today, I ended up doing something I never thought I'd ever, ever do.  After 12 years of being out of that particular business, I spent 3 hours taking an online test to be a medical transcriptionist again.  I worked for 4 years transcribing for Edwards AFB (where the space shuttles lands sometimes) and George AFB (now closed).  Both were in house and both hospital, ER and clinic transcription.  That was in the old days when we actually listened to tapes and started and stopped them and such.  Evidently, things are quite different now.  Through a very roundabout way, I found out that a company that does all in-home transcription is hiring full time and part time.  I can work completely out of my home and they will provide me with a new computer already loaded with the programs I'll need to do the job.  The dictations come through Real Audio Player or Windows Media Player and play right on your computer as you type.

I was very worried about how dated my experience is on this because they were quite specific in their job requirements that they wanted "recent" experience, but there were no parameters about what they considered to be "recent," so I just went for it.  I had to take a medical terminology test (multiple choice) that involved matching, prefixes, suffixes and spelling.  After that, there were 4 practical tests for dictation.  Fortunately (and surprisingly), they were not timed test, but instead focusing on accuracy.  It was also open book, so you could research if you needed too, which was good because there was a guy who was in for a allograft nephrectomy and was on about eight jillion medications.  Medications were my only real worry point because they have changed so much in 12 years and I was fairly clueless and didn't really even know where to begin to study, so I just didn't.  I finally got the thing done and sent out (online) and the acceptance screen said that a recruiter would be contacting me after my test had been reviewed and assessed.  The woman I know up here who has been working for this company (Medi-Quist) said that it took them about a week to get back to her.  My thought is that I did my very best and it's out of my hands now.  If I get it, I'll know that I'm supposed to be working, at least part time, at this point in my life.  If I don't get it, tra la, back to my carefree life of reckless abandon and chaise-lying-chocolate-eating.  If I get it, that will be some nice Christmas money.  If I don't, that will be some nice time I can use to pursue my own interests.  Either way, I win.

But wow!!  I have not been intellectually challenged in a long, long time and *sniff*  my brain hoits. 

Today is Nathan's 8th birthday and he's all sated and happy from his presents.  On Sunday, he has his actual party and it doesn't look hopeful for much of anyone to show up.  It's at a pizza place in town, so I was going to give each kid a couple of dollars in quarters and turn'em loose on the video game arcade. 

Eric took me out for a nice lunch at Olive Garden on my birthday.  Then we shopped for some of the supplies I needed to get busy on the house.  The next day, my friends, Marcia and Andrea, took me out for a nice lunch at the Olive Garden (both times = Chicken Alfredo and Smoke Mozzarella Fonduta - you can never have too much of those) and then we went shoppppping in Folsom (of "___ Prison Blues" fame) and had a ton of fun.  We barely got back in time to meet the bus for the kids.  I goofed off the rest of the night and then was all transcriptiony cerebral today, so needless to say, I've accomplished very little on the house redo.  Tomorrow, I hope to get busy on Delena's room and get a few other things done. It's been lovely having time off, but I've missed writing and I've missed being busy working on the house.  I did, however, exercise every single day for a minimum of an hour.  Today was Yoga Friday and JoAnn was here, but Andrea was not.  JoAnn is very focused and determined during exercise and doesn't talk much as a result.  Andrea and I are always chatting really animatedly and hardly even notice that we're working out.  We still get the results, but we were more involved with the visiting.  Without her to talk to, the session was a lot longer and more difficult. 

I forgot to mention that I broke my toe!  It's the one next to my baby toe on my left foot and evidently, when I was working on the house at some point, I kicked something wrong and broke my toe.  I remember whacking my foot and thinking, "OW!  My TOE!" but didn't even bother to remember what it was I'd done.  The next day (last Friday), I was washing in the shower and scrubbing the dirt off my feet (up here, there's plenty - trust me, our dirt is dirtier than your dirt) and my toe HURT and the dirt WOULDN'T COME OFF!  I realized it was a bad bruise and my toe was just throbbing away.  It swelled up like a little blue sausage and bled out into the top of my foot. It's still a little swollen, but the discoloration is gone and it doesn't throb as much.  It's just tender to the touch (or the bending). 

Ow!  Don't break your toe!

I expect that I am back on track with updating the personal journal, even though it's not Life Forensics at this point.  I will still be thinking about things a lot and waxing all spiritual from time to time, but doing a constant life autopsy was starting to feel like work.  That's why I created the Diva Lair.

Take care and still, even though it's a different journal, be particular,


Graphics by Cathie Designs