Uninspired. That’s what I am. I’m not sure why.

I have a lot to say and there’s a lot going on in this brain of mine, but I’m struggling with expressing it. What are the words?  I’m just not sure.

As I drift off to sleep, I think of what to say (it’s perfect!), but then I fall asleep. By morning my brilliant word play is gone and then, I’m left with trying to recover it. This, of course, is impossible. Back to square one.

Over the last month, I’ve been hit by a school bus (I’m okay), two out of three (three? I know, we are spoiled) of our home computers crashed, and my son had to go to the ER. This series of events have just thrown me off kilter a bit. I sit down to write and my mind goes blank. What’s up with that?

Due to the bus accident, I’m in a rental van (going on week three). I miss my old, red Town & Country. But, what keeps me going is that I know we will eventually be reunited and she will look shiny and new.

The computer situation? We replaced one of the two broken home computers – the new one is so awesome! You may be wondering why we have so many computers. We have just accumulated them as our family has grown. When you have three kids and a hubs that all require the computer to do work/homework, you need three computers. (I did fail to mention that my work laptop has also crashed and it will be replaced on Monday – I have  been cursed by the Microsoft gods.)

My son? He is okay – he slipped and fell in the dugout and braced his fall with his face against the bench (ouch!). It looked way worse than it was (confirmed by a $2,000 CT scan).

Well, that’s it. Nothing earth-shattering or life-altering, just life.

Hopefully, this funk will go away soon and I can get back to dazzling you with my insightful, brilliant and funny posts!

The Year of Letting Go

This begins my official year of letting go. You see, my oldest has officially started her senior year in high school. Next year at this time we will be driving her to college. *sigh* 

Actually, this year is a big one for me because all three of my kids are experiencing transitions – Ray is a senior, Maddie entered high school as a freshman (I have two kids in high school, acckkk!) and my baby entered the world of junior high as a 6th grader. You’ll have to excuse me, but I’m a bit melancholy these days.

The college thing will be my first major, major transition involving one of my children (of course, besides actually bringing them into the world). I will need every bit of this year to prepare myself for day when we drop her off at college and then just drive away.

I do want to assure you that it’s not like I’m new to transitions and I do handle them pretty well:

~First day of daycare: I bawled like a baby that first day when I returned to work full-time (and every morning after that for about a month).

~First day of first grade: I sobbed like a fool after driving her to school for her first day of 1st Grade. When I dropped her off at her classroom door, she marched right in and never looked back. I wanted to give her a final smile of encouragement, but apparently she didn’t need it (I needed it more than she did. She was ready and I was not).

~First time at sleep-away camp: She had just finished 2nd grade and she was going to be gone for two nights. I cried on the way home after dropping her off. She was 90 minutes away for goodness sake! 

~Freshman year: What about the day I drove her to the Freshman Kick-off at the high school? On the way home, I cried so hard that I nearly blinded myself with tears and almost didn’t make it back to the house.

Um, after taking this stroll down memory lane, I’ve been reminded that maybe I don’t handle transitions well at all. I’m doomed.

This next milestone in both of our lives will be different from those previously mentioned. She won’t be coming home at the end of the school day.  There, I said it.

Man, you think I’m a worrier now, what is it going to be like when she doesn’t have to text me when she gets to her destination? Or ask permission to stay later somewhere or spend the night at a friend’s?

I do realize that with texting and skyping it will be easier to keep in touch with her which will ease my worry a smidge. As my parents can attest to, I rarely called home once I got to college and they couldn’t text or email me to find out why I wasn’t picking up my phone!

Wait, wait. What? I’m sorry my hubs is whispering something in my ear –  “Babe, she’s not gone yet!” Oh, yeah, right.

Did Mike and I teach her all she needs to know? My mind will be churning this year trying to make sure we’ve covered all of the important lessons. What are the important lessons? Does anyone have a list I can borrow? I’m starting to hyperventilate and I can’t think properly.

I mean, I think we’ve covered the biggies: Treat others as you would like to be treated, Be cautiously skeptic (mommy, I’m not cynical like you!), Believe in yourself, Use your common sense, Have a good work ethic, Respect yourself and others, ummm, any others? Come on, people! Help me out here.

It’s the stuff that takes a lifetime to learn that I’m concerned about (not laundry or budgeting training). Did we do her justice? I sure hope so.

I need to know if something is lacking in our life skills training at home. I’ve got two others in the queue for the push from the nest and there’s still plenty of time to amend the lesson plans!

Live Your Truth

I heard someone say this statement on TV about a month ago or so. As you can see, I’m still mulling over this one. This person (I wish I could remember who it was!) said it in response to a question regarding the key to her success.

Is this a new buzz phrase like “shift your paradigm”?

Anyway, ever since I heard this phrase I’ve been asking myself, “Am I living my truth?”. And, then I’m asking, “What the hell does that really mean, ‘living your truth’?”

For me, it means that you are being yourself in every moment, not hiding. Is that how you would interpret that statement?

That seems really hard to do. Maybe I’m the only one, but I don’t let just anyone in and see the complete Jenni.  Some trust has to be earned first. Yeah, I have rejection issues. I will admit that sometimes I still feel like the awkward 7th grader that just wants to fit in and not be rejected. Part of that girl has never left me.

So . . . . . Am I living my truth?  When the hubs and I were talking about it (after I told him my post topic), I told him that I honestly didn’t think that I was assuming my definition of the statement was accurate.

Why? The big one that popped into my mind immediately was church.

I confessed to my husband that once the kids stopped attending Sunday school, that I would probably no longer attend church. He was surprised by my statement, and in turn, I was surprised by his surprise (3 surprises in one sentence!). I suppose that’s the first time that I have voiced this aloud to him.

By the way, I’m not an atheist – I would call myself spiritual. I am open to the idea of a higher power, so it’s not that. It’s the rules and constraints of organized religion. The concept of “it’s my way or the highway”.  Christianity seems like an all or nothing proposition, right? Either you believe there is the one and only way to heaven or you don’t. Either you believe that Jesus is the Son of God or you don’t. Fence-sitting is not going to get you everlasting life.

Other than the love I feel for my friends and family, I’m not 100% sure of hardly anything in my life (My kids would roll their eyes at this one – to them, I appear to be very certain on most things).  And, I’m a little wary of those people who are. How do you grow and evolve if you’re not constantly questioning?

I feel that by attending our church (I’m a practicing Presbyterian, by the way), I am tacitly agreeing that my Jewish friends are doomed or that I whole heartedly agree that there is one way to heaven or – you get the idea. I can’t reconcile taking communion and feeling the way I do.

The hubs offered up the idea that maybe I wasn’t unique in this regard. Maybe that’s so, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel like a big faker each time I go to service.

I heard someone on the TV say that she believed in all paths to God. I really like that statement and it makes more sense to me.

Anyway, you may be wondering about my children – I have always been honest with them on my feelings toward organized religion. I’ve also told them that they need to figure it out on their own – I will not tell them what to believe when it comes to something as personal as faith. They love Sunday school, Bible study, church camp, caravan, and their church friends and I won’t be the one who gets in the way of this.

I do have many friends and family that have what I call “true” faith – these are people who attend church because it’s meaningful, not because they want to be “seen”. These are people who have shown me that their faith truly has helped them through really tough times. These are the  people who accept the Doubting Jenni “as is”. However, I’m sure some of them are praying that I eventually come around (right, dad?).

I’m not dismissing faith and religion all together – I have witnessed the meaning and comfort it brings to those in my life.  And, my church does really nice things for the community and the church members. I can’t argue with that!

I guess, if I were living my truth, I would stop attending church because I’m tired of pretending. But, I won’t because I still have my kids at home and they really enjoy it. Shhh. . . . I will have to continue with my little scam for a while.

Wow, I feel like I just sat in the confessional (and I’m not even Catholic) or just came out of the religious closet! 

Are there other areas where I may not be living my truth? Maybe. . . . .but, I have rejection/trust issues as I eluded to earlier and we’re still just getting to know one another so I will leave those for another day. 🙂

What does “living your truth” mean to you?

Still Searching

Yesterday, I read an interesting article that showed up in my Twitter feed (thanks, JS!) – This is the Worst Career Advice You Can Get. It’s posted on the blog, Resume Bear.

The title was provocative enough that I had to read it. The premise was shocking to me. But, by the end of the article, I was nodding my head. It actually gave me peace.

As you may or may not know, I’m in the 4th year of my mid-life crisis (at what age do I have to stop calling it that and just say, “crisis”?). So, this article was timely for me. It made me feel a lot better because I don’t know what I love to do. I like to do a lot of things and am pretty sure most of them aren’t career-worthy.

As a curiosity, I did order the book mentioned in the article – Do What You Are. What am I and what should I be doing? Well, I will let you know as soon as I read the book. I can’t wait to find out!

As stated in the article, “Try stuff!” That’s what I’ve been doing over the last 4 years. I’ve tried knitting, oil painting, blogging, cooking, food blogging (fogging?), kick boxing, swimming, running, etc. Now, I’m going to add another new thing to my list – drawing. 

Yeah. . . . . while in my painting class, the realization that I was severely lacking in a critical skill became glaringly clear. I really needed to know how to draw.

Take a gander at these babies ~

So, I’ve decided to learn how to draw (so I can paint better). I’ve been having a little trouble finding a beginning drawing class for my age group (they have classes for ages 10 and under). I’ve had visions of looking like Billy Madison sitting in a tiny chair at a tiny table watching 10-yr olds blow my stick-figure family drawings out of the water!

No. Thank. You.

With that image in mind, I went to my local craft store and purchased some art books for beginners, pencils and a fancy tablet of paper. I’m going to “teach” myself for a bit until I can find an appropriate class for middle-aged break-out artists like myself.

These art “things” have been sitting on the  “fancy” dining room table calling to me, “Hey, when are you gonna open us up and start drawing?” I put them there so I didn’t have to look at them – I rarely walk into the “fancy” dining room.

Why am I so intimidated? Every time I think about drawing, I’m thrown back into my 7th grade art class with Mrs. Rose. I hated art class. I was NOT good and Mrs. Rose seemed to point that out to me on a regular basis. Now, in hindsight, was she really that insensitive? Probably not. But, my insecure 12-year-old self interpreted her comments that way. You know how certain memories stick with you?

Okay, I’m drawing my Camaro using the grid process to do so. Do you know what I mean?  You rip a picture out of a magazine and using a ruler, make grid on the picture with quarter-inch squares and then you transfer your picture to a large piece of paper with a corresponding grid – do you remember doing that? I hated that project! I thought art was tedious.

Well, to make a long story short, I drew my car which I was really proud of (it actually looked like the Camaro in the picture)! She came around to my desk and . . . . . . shot me down (I can still recall this event vividly). You see, the sun that I had drawn on the horizon was “too childish and immature-looking” (see top part of the reconstruction). I needed to make it look more “artistic and modern” (see bottom part of the paper). Ummmm….. “What about my awesome car which was the whole point of the freakin’ project?”  Not a word about my car. I thought art was subjective and up for interpretation – an open-ended question with no right answer. Apparently not.

It was that day in the year of our Lord 1978 that I decided that I hated art class and anything to do with art. In my childish brain (I was twelve), it didn’t matter what I did, apparently I wasn’t good at it. That’s when I turned to and found comfort in numbers, equations and mathematics. There was only one right answer and 99% of the time I knew how to find it.

Note to Self: Be careful what you say to your children, it can make a serious impact. I try to remind myself every day.

So, back to the present. I’m trying to break out of my insecure 12-year-old self trapped in a 45-year-old body and do some drawing! Last night I finally got the courage to break out my supplies and start sketching. I read the first chapter of one of the books and, as instructed, looked at the pictures of the model tulips, put pencil to paper and Voila! A tulip was born!

You are witness to my first sketches since 7th grade art class. Behold!

Only reassuring and artistic-talent-confirming comments and opinions please. I’m still a little fragile. Of course, the hubs and the kids “said” that the sketches were “good” and “not bad”. I have a good support team.

I’m supposed to sketch about 20 minutes a day – practice makes better (I can’t say perfect in this scenario). It’s hard to find that much free time (I’m supposed to be working out 30 minutes a day too), but I’m going to make an effort.

Here’s to breaking out and trying new things!

Lists, Et Cetera, & So Forth

This week, I’ve been on a roll! I’ve finally started to cross the “big” things off of my To Do list that I created on January 24th. What day is it today? Oh, yeah, APRIL 8th!

What did I accomplish from the original* list?

*What do I mean by original? I wanted to go back to Jan 24th list to see what I’ve actually accomplished. To Do Lists are living, breathing, ever-evolving entities, aren’t they? If I put my current as-of-today list in this post (see pic), it would be too long and bore you to tears. Come to think of it, maybe this old list is making you want to stab yourself in the eye with the nearest writing utensil. If that’s the case, then maybe this post isn’t for you.

1. Bio for work website – Done! I finally finished that in early February because I had a serious deadline.  The updated page is up and running – by the way, I sound awesome (those website writers are creative)!

2. Call the Carpet Cleaners – Done! They came out in February.

3. Start my running program again – I’ve kinda started.  I went running the other day with my daughter. How did it go? I couldn’t sit or stand for the next two days without groaning because my thighs were on fire!  Walking was fine, but any transition from sitting to standing (and visa versa) was, well, a struggle. Apparently, I should have taken it easier the first time running after being on sabbatical.  (Note to self: try not to act like a 20-year-old when you’re really a 40-something-year-old).

4. Make doctor appointments for everyone (including self) – this is where I’ve finally made some headway!

Item #4:

I know, I know . . . I’m talking about my doctor appointments – this is one of the items on my list that I swore not to do as I age. To hell with the list.

Eye Doctor – Done!

Rachel and I finally went to the eye doctor – yeah, that was fun. I had to finally come face-to-face with the fact that I had to order some bifocals. I’ve been wearing monovision contacts for the last year during the day (one eye for up close, one eye for distance), but using my old glasses at night which wasn’t bad at first. THEN, it became annoying as hell because I couldn’t do puzzles while watching TV (I felt like this happened over night!). I had to lift up my glasses every time to see my puzzle, then put them back on my nose to see the TV.  My left arm looks like Popeye’s now because of all of the arm lifts completed over the last year! Why did I wait this long? Oh, hell, I didn’t want to hear it AND I didn’t want to spend $350 on a new pair of glasses!

Anyway, it’s done. I get my new glasses next week – maybe I’ll post a picture later.

Mammogram – Done!

The other appointment? It’s a little overdue – I got the reminder in September 2010.  Reminder for what? My annual mammogram. Yay! I finally had my exam today.  B-I-G fun.  Nothing does more for the 33-year-old boobs (I didn’t get them until I was 13) than a good old fashioned flattening!

Mammograms are definitely a necessary evil and I know that I shouldn’t put it off. But, I know a lot of you can relate – you get so wrapped up in taking care of everyone else, that you just don’t take care of yourself.

I excel at that.

Can I share a little bit of my appointment with you today? As most of us know (and the men can imagine), it’s an uncomfortable, barbaric, and painful ritual. I usually wince while holding my breath during the whole ordeal (and they do instruct you to hold your breath – like you need to be told that!). While wincing (which is constant throughout the entire exam), the tech doing the mammogram asked me what I thought was a very strange question –

Tech: “Are your breasts always this tender?”

Me (huh?): “Well, only while they’re being smashed between two panes of glass.”

Tech: “Oh, sure. There’s no chance that you’re pregnant, right?”

Me (I would be sobbing if that were so): “Nope.”

Tech: “I just wanted to make sure.”

I have to take a poll. Am I the only one that winces? Does everyone else stand there with smiles or stoic expressions on their faces while the girls are being tortured?  She does this to women all day long and thinks my reaction is abnormal?

Now, I’m anxious about my results. I have a week to worry – great.  That’s all I need. I’ve never had an abnormal result, but I’ve never been asked that question before either.

I still have a couple of other appointments to yet to make, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m making progress on the list. However, today’s exam kind of freaked me out, so I may procrastinate just a tad bit longer (not too much) on the other appointments if you don’t mind.

Girls, we need to take care of ourselves – no one else is going to do it! Let’s make a pact – wait. . . . pacts never really work. But, let’s at least make a promise to work harder at taking care of ourselves by adding ourselves to our lists!

Pinky Promise……

Fear & Manipulation: A Mother’s Trade Secret

My kids bought me a book for Christmas and I love it. I love it so much that I feel the need to share it with you.

It makes me laugh aloud when I’m reading it (if your child takes piano lessons at that place on Old Meridian on Wednesdays, then,”yes”, I’m the nut that sits there by myself reading and laughing). I can’t control it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me lose control like this. It’s weird.

The book is Raising the Perfect Child through Guilt and Manipulation by Elizabeth Beckwith. I wish I was part of a book club that was reading it so I could discuss it with people. She has already prepared some interesting discussion questions for us at the end of each chapter! (Sample discussion question from Chapter 3: “What are some fears that are healthy to impose upon your own child?”)

You may be thinking that I should be a little pissed that my kids thought of me when they saw the title of the book, but I’m not. They know their mommy (they all still call me this, even my junior) pretty well.

I’m only on Chapter 8 (out of 11), but I’ve already decided that Elizabeth and I could be close friends if we lived in the same area. I love her sense of humor.

So far, my favorite Chapter is #3:  How to Scare the Crap Out of Your Child (in a Positive Way). I read this chapter and was nodding my head throughout the whole thing (while laughing, of course).

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 3. She has a chart in the book of a scenario, the typical parent response, and the recommended alternative.

Sample from the chart:

Scenario:  “I’m thinking of getting a tattoo.”

Popular Response: “You’re not getting a tattoo and that’s final!”

Alternative Response: “A tattoo is forever, you know. You want to be ninety years old with a sun on your lower back? Remember what happened to Gary up the block? He got a tattoo, and next thing you know the poor kid’s got hepatitis.”

Then, she follows the chart with, “All roads lead to death. That was my mantra as a child.”

I can relate to this a lot. Not so much with my own parents, but with my maternal grandma (right, Beth?). Elizabeth’s mom reminds me a little bit of my grandma Helen. She didn’t have the hard edge of the author’s mother, but she had Chapter 3 down pat but in a softer way.

My sister and I used to stay with my grandparents for two weeks out of every summer.  They lived two states away (in WV) and it was a way for us to get to hang with them more. I remember one time I was running out of the house barefoot (I never wore shoes as kid) with my WV-friends and as I was leaving the house I grabbed a Coke. This is back in day when Cokes were still in glass bottles. 

I could hear my grandma yelling after me, “Jennifer, should you take that coke bottle with you? Be careful with that! Maybe you should put some shoes on! You’ll drop that bottle and then step on the glass and slice your foot open!!!”

I will say that I ignored her advice that day and still ran with the killer coke bottle while remaining shoeless, BUT, I was always mindful of NOT dropping the coke bottle so they wouldn’t have to amputate my useless foot later.

Grandma Helen was definitely a trendsetter. Back in the ’70s, she was already scaring the crap out of her grandchildren in positive way. Still to this day, I can’t look at a glass container of any sort without thinking about impending doom and an emergency room visit.

You can ask my kids – I’ve taken on Grandma Helen’s tactics that way. They will attest to the fact that I can link any activity to serious danger or death if given enough time. I do try to control myself a bit because I don’t want them to be completely neurotic. Fortunately, they also have a father that is the complete opposite and can balance me out a bit.

Well, I need to get back to my book. Won’t someone else pick up a copy so I have someone to laugh with? Surely, someone else out there can read this book with a knowing nod thinking (and laughing), “Yep, I already do that!” -or- “Wow, I need to try that.” -or- “Whoa, Elizabeth’s mom could have been mine!”.

A Boy and His Hair

My son thought I should write a blog post about his big transformation that occurred yesterday. So, here it is. He went from a pre-teen-Bieber-look back to the little-boy-look.




Haircuts these days are getting tough on me. Why in the world would haircuts be tough? Because of my worrier personality, my brain is constantly spiraling out of control (I know I’m not the only one out there). Watching Jack sit in the big chair getting his hair buzzed allowed me to drift off into my own little world (which can be a scary place sometimes!). My mind starts the usual rambling, one thought leading to another (kind of like the book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Do you know that book?).

It went something like this…..wow, look at all that hair, I’m glad he’s getting it buzzed, how long will he let me make his hair decisions?, will this be the last haircut where I have a say?, I can’t believe he will be in junior high next year, whoa Maddie will be a freshman and Rachel will be a senior, when will my boy stop holding my hand in public?, who am I kidding – that will stop this year, will he stay the same sweet, loving boy?, will he be as challenging as the girls were in junior high?, will he be okay in junior high?, where did the time go?, I’m glad he still looks little boyish with the buzz cut, how long will that last?, when will Jack get his growth spurt?, how will Jack handle Rachel going to college?, how will Maddie handle it?, how will I handle it?, what am I going to do when the kids are slowly leaving the house?, what am I going to do with myself and my bigass family-schedule wall calendar when I have no one to organize?, …….

And, then, gratefully, the haircut was over. He hopped out of the chair, I paid the barber and then gave my boy a B-I-G hug like he was leaving for college the next day. He looked at me like, “huh?”. Then two seconds later, I got the super big grin (love that grin).

Whew! I exhaust myself.  

He will be turning 11 soon and will be entering junior high as a 6th grader. He’s my baby and I will probably cry harder the first day of school in August 2011 than any other 1st day of school (even harder than when I drove my oldest to school on her first day of 1st grade – back then I thought that was the beginning of the end of the “baby” years.).

I was wrong. The 2011-2012 school year will be the official end of the “baby” years for the Engledows. My youngest will be entering junior high, my middle one will be a freshman at the high school and my oldest will be a senior in high school.  – waaaahhhhh!-

I know that these are just more milestones in our lives that can’t be avoided (like turning 40). They just need to be embraced. For me these milestones will be harder to embrace than the typical ones we encounter at the beginning of our lives – getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school, turning 21, graduating from college, getting your first job, getting your first apartment, getting married, buying your first house, starting a family….

All of these early milestones are about adding to our lives in some way (gaining freedom, independence, adding family) and I chased those down as fast as time would allow – I couldn’t wait!

The ones I’m beginning to experience now seem to be about letting go and that’s a weird feeling. I’m definitely not running toward these dang things – these milestones will be dragging me by my hair, while I’m kicking and screaming the entire way.

But, as people will tell me, “It’s a part of life and there’s no reason to dwell on it and make yourself crazy.”

Of course, they (dad) are absolutely right and I’ll get to work on that straight away. It’s always a work in progress for me.

Good-bye, baby years….

Happy 1st Blogaversary to Me!

March 11, 2010, I posted my first online “musing”. I just finished reading it (again) – I haven’t read it since last March when I first posted it.

Have I made any progress in training my brain to think like an easy-going, non-worrying, glass half full person? I don’t think so, but I am my own worst critic. However, if I asked the hubby or my friends (the people in my life I count on to be honest with me) I would think that they would concur. I guess I’ll have to take a poll! I’ll get back to you on that one.

Have I made any big “What If?” changes in my life? – not really. I’m still a chicken-shit at heart. Changing a chicken-shit into a brave soul is really quite a feat. This will be an ongoing, long process.

Why did I decide to start blogging? I was reading a friend of mine’s blog. I loved it and it inspired me (She hasn’t been on it in a while, but I’m waiting for her to come back to it). You should check it out. I really, really enjoy her writing.

Her blog got me thinking, “What if I started a blog? What would it be about? Me? My family? Would anyone read it? Do I care if anyone reads it? What if I do care and no one reads it?, etc., etc.”

There I was analyzing the idea to death in the usual Jenni-fashion. I told myself to shut up and just do it. So, I did.

Blogging has been really great fun. I’ve made some really nice blog friends – I’ve never met these individuals, but I feel as though I know them through their writing. They are the ones that comment the most frequently on my posts and remind me that someone is actually reading what I’m dishing out!

They are:

Shouts from the Abyss

Punch it in!

Perpetually Peeved

Living Dilbert

Recovering Dawn

Writing has been a really good exercise for me – it has really made me think. So. .  . .I’ve been thinking a lot

Wait! Maybe it’s not a good thing…I think I’ve turned into a little bit of a daydreamer (What am I thinking about?Everything). That’s not good – daydreaming is not very productive. One of my traits is having the ability to hyperfocus – it seems to be slipping. Shoot!

Any who,what was I talking about? Oh yeah! What was my most popular post?  The one that described our Bed Bug Adventure last spring. This was a couple of months before bed bugs became a big news item (we were ahead of our time!).

My second most popular post has been my first one – Thoughts on “What If?”.  I find that somewhat interesting. I guess I’m not the only one out there wondering what the heck we are supposed to be doing here.

Well, I am definitely looking forward to my next year in blogging about this, that and the other thing. I hope you are looking forward to reading about it!

image source

My Surreal Day

Today started out like any other day, except now we have TWO alarms (yipee!).  Yep, you heard me. It’s kind of a long boring story, but I’ll tell it anyway.

Okay, we’ve been using the same alarm clock since we’ve been married (20 yrs) – it was my husband’s. He’s had it since he was a kid – that makes the alarm clock about 30-35 years old. It has finally had enough – I’d look at the clock and it would be correct and then I’d turn around and it would say 19:35 pm.  What the heck is that? Military time? It had become possessed.

Sadly, we acknowledged that the time had come to buy a new-fangled one. After perusing our options at Best Buy this past weekend, we determined that alarm clocks just don’t have any style anymore. So Sad. Anyway, we finally picked one, but it was a little more complicated to set than the “old timer” (as you can imagine). The new ones are little computers now. Because we weren’t convinced that we had set it up properly, we have been using both alarm clocks since Monday morning. This morning , I had alarms going off all over the place – oh, brother! I think we’ve finally figured it out now. Time for the old one to go.

What to do with the old possessed clock? Loan it to the Smithsonian? Bury it in the backyard? Put it in the basement storage for it to collect dust? I’m just not sure. I’ll have to confer with the original owner on that one.

Back to this morning – after silencing all of the alarms, I’m up and at ’em, ready to take on the day! I’ve completed my morning routine, poured my coffee in my travel mug and headed out the door. Bam!  I spilled coffee on the driver’s seat (not sure how that happened with the travel mug, but oh well). Great. Cleaned up the mess, got in the car and headed toward my destination.

Oh, and yeah, I forgot my phone. I realized this when I was about 10 minutes from the meeting. I can live without my phone, right? I mean, I’m supposed to have it off from 9am to 1pm during the meeting anyway. My husband won’t call …..My boss won’t call…. My kids’ schools won’t call with an emergency, right? Nah… {In the back of my mind, I’m thinking about how many people will now be trying to contact me since I don’t have my phone.}

The destination? An insurance meeting. Yay. 4 hours long. I’ve never been to one of these meetings before (Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve attended many an insurance conference/meeting in my 20 yr career). This one was different. . . . . You may be wondering how? Well, read on, my friends.

My husband thinks I blacked out once I was in the parking lot (from the intense worry and anxiety about not having my phone) and then this was what I “remembered”:

Well, the host (not the speaker) was dressed in an Elmo sweatshirt and unusually chipper (I just don’t get these morning people). To sign in, I was handed a pen that had about 50 (okay, 6) bells on it.

Elmo (noticing me staring at the pen): “It was left over from mardi gras.”

Me:Well, thank goodness. That is the most annoying pen I’ve ever seen.”

Elmo:  “Well, I like it. (Oops!) It let’s me know when someone is out here signing in. (double oops!).”

Then, I walk in and see my co-workers sitting in the front row so I join them. Then, one of them leans over and tries to explain the style of these meetings to me.  Okay…..

Apparently, the theme of the meeting was “Learning our A, B, C’s” and then our host began the meeting by speaking in an Elmo-like child’s voice. What? Was I hearing things? I turn to look at my co-worker and she confirmed that I wasn’t hearing things.

Oh dear.

The host also had some door prizes (lots of door prizes) which were doled out throughout the meeting. At every seat was a candy with a number on it. The gift bags were labeled with sticky notes with just As, Bs and Cs.  Like, cc cc cc cc – this bag contained three Cookie Candles and one Chocolate Candle which elicited a loud chuckle from the crowd. Then there was one that had Apple Blossom Bubble Bath (a b b b) in it.

Then at the end of the meeting, she introduced the sponsor for our “breakfast munchies” as she had two door prizes for two lucky attendees. The first lucky number was pulled (not me) and then out of nowhere, the host had an Elmo book on her hands and was making the little hands clap while “yaying” in the Elmo voice. What????  Then, the second lucky number was pulled (again, not me) and again the Elmo clapping hands and voice. (see book below – this was the exact book).

I kinda of hope that my husband is right and that I did hallucinate most of my day today. I did find myself in my car headed home wondering if what I just experienced was real.

It was definitely the most unusual meeting I’ve ever attended. But, if I imagined it, why do I have random, meaningless notes from this meeting?  Hmm….

I guess I won’t know the truth until I confer with my co-workers on Monday.

I’ll keep you posted…..

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What Keeps Me up at Night?

WordPress Post A Week 2011 topic suggestion #56: 

What keeps me up at night?

Ummm…it might be easier to list the things that don’t keep me up at night:

  • Tornadoes – it’s a good thing the hubby is a light sleeper
  • The dog barking
  • Wondering who got kicked off American Idol – our family is Idoled out.
  • Wondering if my husband will like the dusty purple paint color I have picked for our kitchen. He will love it as soon as he sees it.
  • What I’m going to fix for dinner this week
  • Wondering about the Kardashians and how they are doing in New York
  • My awesome kids – they are really good ones!
  • My awesome hubby – 20 years this year. I got a great one!
  • If Charlie Sheen will get his kids back

Okay, the stuff that does keeps me up at night, here we go:

  • Paying for college beginning in the Fall of 2012
  • Money in general – Are we saving enough? What do our retirement accounts look like? What if we have a medical emergency? Are we too much in debt?
  • What I’m going to do with myself going forward
  • Worrying about my driving daughter when she is out
  • What disaster is lurking around the corner that would cause one of us to lose our jobs
  • I really need to exercise more – how can I make a routine?
  • Do we need new windows? If so, how do we pay for them?
  • The Middle East – I’ve got to stop watching the news! (I don’t want gas prices to hinder our trek across America this summer. Plus, will Khaddafy (sp?) do chemical warfare on his own people?)
  • One of my daughters’ math grade (shall remain unnamed).
  • If my husband’s company will continue doing well (I should leave that worry to the hubs).
  • Dexter – Maddie’s bird. Poor thing.
  • My boy’s baby teeth – they just aren’t falling out on their own.  What is up with that? Will we have to have them pulled? How much will that cost?
  • Losing our Health Insurance
  • How we are going to avoid Bed Bugs when we go on our vacation
  • Blah, Blah…..

There is no rhyme or reason to what makes the list.  Once I get it in my head, it won’t go away unless it gets resolved. As you can tell from the list, most of these items are just ongoing thoughts that I can’t really do anything about and most will remain unresolved!

Well, they just had to ask, didn’t they?!

How do people keep these thoughts from swirling around in their heads all of the time? Late at night it’s just me and my swirling thoughts.

I will say that once I do get to sleep (I generally stay up too late), it’s like raising the dead in the morning. My husband laughs because I hit the snooze exactly 3 times every morning and then I get up.

How do you calm the mind?