A Functioning Mutant is a Delegating Mutant

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I have vented a lot on here about my lack of organization, the stress with the house, and so on and so forth. A lot of you have chimed in with amazing ideas and suggestions and encouragement (as usual, because I have the best readers on the internets EVA).

So, I have been tweaking things around here. Little things. And some of it, is actually working. Stuff like…

Child Labor

I force myself to delegate more and more household chores– especially to Eldest who is beyond old enough to start carrying around a bigger load of responsibility. But also to Daughter and Baby. What have I had the kids do? Well on top of the usual things they already do I have had Eldest empty out the dishwasher with the assistance of Baby and/or Daughter. I’ve also had him load it if anything happened to be in the sink while the dishwasher was full of clean dishes. Daughter is now fully responsible for feeding the cat. I made two changes to make sure she could do this easily. 1) I put a plastic cup in the giant bag of cat food so she could just scoop out the food instead of carry and pour it out. 2) I switched the wet food to this stuff by Meow Mix called Pate Toppers. Why? Because the containers are plastic with foil lids that peel right off. Much easier to do, and safer, than the metal cans. Also, the plastic is recyclable. I have them help me fold laundry, especially socks which I hate doing. I aim to clean while they are present and then delegate appropriate tasks. Wiping down surfaces with a Clorox wipe for instance. Cleaning the place mats. Running the vacuum cleaner. Emptying the bathroom trash cans. I have also employed them more often in meal prep– especially breakfast and occasionally lunch and seldomly in dinner or dessert. Eldest is especially good at this one but Daughter is as well. Baby is good at setting the kids table settings and getting cups of water for everyone.

Google Calendar

Where have you been all my life? I have toyed with Google Calendar before but recently I have made it a point to really abuse it and have gone so far as to set it up properly with settings I prefer (Pop Up Reminders FTW) and even shared it with Stallion and set Stallion up with one so I could better track his work schedule which always changes and is a nightmare to keep track of mentally. I still keep a paper calendar in my purse because entering things in my phone is a pain in the booty-bum and my Nexus 7 has a knack for not being in my purse, not having a charged battery, and/or not being in a wireless hotspot when I need to enter a reminder. I also like that I can email events to people as I’m entering them. So, for instance when I updated my calendar to show Eldest’s upcoming Track and Field meet, I also had it dash a quick email to MutantWino, MutantPirate, and MutantDad since they have all shown interest in attending his meets and have even made it to one already.

Prep

I have been working really hard on getting things taken care of ahead of time. I prep lunches the night before, except mine and I don’t know why I do that. I make sure the uniforms are prepped. I put everything that needs to go out the door with us the next day clustered together on the dining table (one day when I’m financially stable, I will be doing some work on my entry so that it is an awesome Home Base area thing). And when I add reminders to my Google calendars, I try and set the time for evening hours– earlier if it’s something the kids need to do and later if it’s something I need to do. I am also prepping food-wise as much as possible. I haven’t really done another formal meal plan but I want to. And I do try and at least somewhat think about what I have food-wise and what to make with it when. On Sunday, I hard-boiled ten eggs and put them in a tray in the fridge so we’d have access to them all week. It’s been a great extra to throw into lunch boxes and my kids LOVE them. It’s easy to do and so this is something I will do more regularly. I have also started purchasing more snack food. I know it’s more expensive to buy the little bags of cookies individually packaged but I am just not going to package them myself. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Grilling

About a month or so ago, my family had another Grand Round of Shuffling Objects. My aunt and uncle were downsizing, Mutant Pirate bought his first home, and Mutant Wino is settling down with a fiancee into a house they will be purchasing from her mother soon so he is expanding. Anyways, things were shuffled around and I ended up with my parents gas grill. I have never grilled anything on a BBQ in my life and now I’m wondering what the hell took me so long (besides cash flow to actually purchase one of course). Almost every single thing I have put on that grill has turned out heavenly (except for the one time I wanted to char the Tandoori chicken I had cooked in the crock pot and then forgot about- doh!) and there are no pats and pans to clean and there is no cooked food smell in the house and I don’t even lose my appetite after cooking! It’s the best thing ever!!! I have made burgers, steaks, fish, even pasta on the thing. It’s fast and it’s easy and it gives me a reason to be outside of the house where I can’t hear the screaming of the children.

Stopped Caring

About the money that is. Sort of. I have been driving myself absolutely crazy trying to keep everything afloat financially. Counting pennies to make sure I have enough to pay this, that, and the other. Hounding Child Support Enforcement. And so on and so forth and then I just STOPPED. I gave up. On everything. I gave up on paying off my debts. I gave up on tracking my spending. I gave up on the idea of ever seeing child support again. I even gave up on the idea of paying every single bill on time. Yup. Just. Stopped. Caring. I recognize this is not a healthy way to live. I know that I cannot and will not sustain this for a long period of time. And I also know the way I was living before was just as unhealthy and just as unsustainable and finally everything cracked and fell apart. Credit cards are loaded up again. I’ve had some late bills I completely forgot about or flat out didn’t have money for. I had a bounced check. I even had one of my accounts cleaned out by credit card fraud. Someone got access to a nasty adult website at the cost of $90 of my precious money. I just felt like the more I kept fighting the money thing, the more ferocious it got. It was like a hydra. Cut off one head and eight more grow back in its place. So I stopped cutting and settled for lamely poking and some lazy dodging. Funny enough, a random child support check for $100 showed up (two days before my $90 was stolen so there you go). Does it mean things will be turning around soon? Maybe, maybe not. Do I care? Not yet, no.

I believe that each of us has limits and that includes limits on the number of things we can consciously dedicated time and energy to. Because life shifts constantly, these things need constant re-evaluation and re-prioritization. Right now, my focus is on 1) Organization, 2) School, and 3) Relationship Strengthening (romantic, family, kids, friends, and with myself). And that is all I can handle in a serious, dedicated, and consistent manner. It’s not that everything else gets thrown to the curb, it’s just that everything else gets handled as well as it can with whatever energy and other resources I may have left after dealing with 1, 2, and 3. As one of those becomes easier to handle and needs less and less of my attention, other priorities can ease up and absorb me some more. But right now, these are three biggies and they win, period end of story.

So, that’s where I am. And that’s where I am going. Thanks again for your suggestions. I have been trying them out here and there and it’s been nice knowing I have such a great team of cheerleading readers. But I’m curious– what do you think of limits as far as priorities go? Do you shift things around constantly or do you stay focused on pretty much the same things all the time? If so, do you find you need to shake things up now and then? Do you know what your limits are? What are you focusing on big time right now?

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Regarding the death of an angry man

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“Peace” by Mariam Askanani on Flickr

Last night, we heard the news we’ve been waiting to hear for almost ten years. He’s dead. Immediate reaction? “Finally, the bastard’s dead. Is it Castro’s turn yet?” What do you expect? I’m Cuban-American.

But, I’ve gotten some sleep, I’ve read the news, I’ve read all sorts of reactions, and I’ve been thinking so much. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the people who suffered because of this man’s hate-filled agenda and I’m not just talking about the victims of 9/11. I hope they feel something positive today—whether it be some sort of peace or relief or closure or whatever else they want to feel while at the same time dealing with the negative feelings and memories stirred up by his name. I know it’s not the end of their suffering. His death doesn’t bring loved ones back to life. His death doesn’t grow back limbs restore brain function or cleans lungs. His death doesn’t erase trauma. His death doesn’t fix relationships torn asunder by stress, grief, or illness. His death doesn’t even ease the partisan tension in our own government his actions sparked into a relentless roar that has become swollen and bloated and beyond the scope of remembering what it was all about to begin with. So I hope there is some sort of comfort for them especially as he and images of his destruction are plastered everywhere you turn.

Also, I’ve been thinking about the importance of individuals—apart and together. This man had money. This man had passion. This man had ideas. This man had plans. However, most importantly this man had people. This man had believers. This man had followers. This man had hiders. This man had secret-keepers. This man didn’t operate with paid mercenaries from an alien race. He operated with people with passion and conviction and determination—excellent qualities turned deadly in the absence of love and peace.

Ever since I was a child, the Golden Rule has been important to me. More than any idea of gods, systems of beliefs, or words of faith the simple idea to treat others as you would have them treat you just makes sense. It is logical and pure and simple. It’s even in physics—for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. If we all made a concerted effort to embrace this simple notion, what a wonderful world it would be. I understand anger. I understand hate. I understand revulsion. I understand frustration. I understand vengeance. These are extremely powerful motivators. But, if before you acted on these motivators you really considered your actions may be returned to you and/or your loved ones—would you act to the harshest degree you envisioned? Would you act negatively at all?

There are cruel people in this world. There are self-serving, egotistical, hate-filled people in this world. They’re everywhere. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors with varying degrees of wealth, status, and power. People like this don’t appeal to the Golden Rule. They appeal to motivators. As long as we are able to envision what the receiving end is like, as long as we practice empathy, the motivators are empty. These people strip away love from those they are trying to convert. They empty your soul of peace and charge it with restless anger.

I am happy for President Obama and the armed forces. We all know what a sense of accomplishment, relief, and confidence slashing off the biggest most giant item on your To-Do list can bring. I have no problems with celebrating the first big piece of welcome news this nation has had in a long while. But I also hope we learn, we remember, we understand.

“Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

It’s just better that way

"I swear I don't know what time it is but I know this means nothing much to me and I hear the voices ringing in my head and they keep telling, telling me to let go, let go, telling me to let go, let go, it would be better that way. Let it go let it go. It could be better that way. Let it go, let it go. It's just better that way. Let it go, let it go."

I'm ready. I'm ready to stop the insanity and let it all go and start fresh. It's been the most shattering experience of my life even though I've been preparing for it forever it seems. It's really surprising the way the fear, the grief, the loneliness, the monster of it all just has a way of rushing up behind me and striking without warning.

Living life has been a challenge. My eyes fill with tears in the most inane places (today at Big Lots for instance while shopping for soap) and for the most tiny of reasons (realizing that said soap didn't have to appeal to anyone but me), some times no reason at all (today walking down my hallways towards my bedroom). Being at work is the absolute worst. I don't have a job that keeps me interacting with people all day. I am alone at my desk. It's the most brutal thing in the world when the silence does nothing but shove the most awful thoughts into your brain. The past few days have been insanely hard. I have just had breakdown after breakdown.

Strangely, talking about it doesn't really help. Many times, it makes it so much harder. This baffles me because I usually feel so much better getting things out. In this case, however, I am more keen on a wound-like approach. Mama always told me my scabs would never heal if I just kept picking at them. So I'm leaving this one alone, throwing a band-aid on it and turning my attention to other things. The problem is when there's nothing to turn to, I guess.

I'm done though. I'm ready to be free of the pain. I'm ready to start healing. I'm done with the wicked thoughts that tear me apart and fill me with doubt and self-loathing. I am ready to come out of this happy. I am ready to come out of this free. I have all that I need– me. Everything else is extra. It's time to trim down to the basics.

I am so ready. I feel so free, it's insanely strange. I'm not necessarily free, I have three children. But on some level, I am. My heart is free. My soul is free. My poor heart. I have damaged it so much, I hope it forgives me. I'm ready for the real thing. The true love.

"When I was a young boy my momma said to me there's only one girl in the world for you and she probably lives in Tahiti. I'll go the whole wide world, I'll go the whole wide world just to find her."

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

It's a tear my hair out day.

Starting Tuesday J's pretty much been wrapped up in this insane conference his company's been doing and so he's been a ghost. Last night I don't know what time he came in. He says 2:30. My experience has been to add anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to his answers. I guess the difference this time is that I am PMSing HARD and really I'm just not in the mood to be Single Mom. My house is beyond words disgusting. I mean seriously, you guys should see the leaning tower of clothes in my room. How it's still standing is beyond me but it's spilling onto the dresser and spreading all over the floor. There is crap EVERYWHERE. And the dishes have been untouched since Sunday night I'm pretty sure. So finally I got tired of the stink and shoved everything into the dishwasher. And I just can't will myself to do ANYTHING. I'm really shocked I did the dishwasher thing. I'm pretty sure my grandmother and mother think I'm either very ill, pregnant, or severely depressed because they keep checking on me and I know pity when I see it tattooed on your forehead.

I hate that.

Hate's a strong word. I really don't like that.

This week, I have also been really scatter-brained. I mean it's really in a bad way. I just can't focus on anything. I'm a mess at work and I've had to do the whole tunnel vision thing and go Man-Brain because every multi-tasking attempt on my end has been epic fail.

Burned out is an understatement.

And I'm really distracted by photography all of a sudden. It's strange. It kind of came out of nowhere although I'm sure it came from somewhere!

The thing that has me most distracted is Baby. He's been having these insane spells of stomach pain since about the end of January. And all they've been able to say so far is "Constipation!" but I just don't buy that. Today I just got so worked up about it I really almost did go across the street to the Children's Hospital. We went there in February. This time I was ready. I was gonna say, "My baby's sick and I'm not leaving until you tell me what's wrong with him and so help me if you tell me it's a cold because you are an overpaid snotty LIAR" I sweartogawd THIS close.

Instead I called the pediatrician's office and they were just closing up and the poor girl who answered my phone call kinda freaked out when I told her what had been going on and I think she could tell that I was really close to crying and she told me to bring him in first thing tomorrow morning so the doctor and I could work a new plan of action.

I don't understand why these things take DAYS or WEEKS. My baby is in PAIN. PAIN. Not uncomfortable. Not cranky. He's in freaking hardcore ohmygod face turns red PAIN. I videotaped an episode of it last night. Because I just don't think they believe me. Or that they understand me. It's hard to watch.

I feel really defeated today. Like if I was in a boxing match and the round just ended and I'd be in my corner I'd be telling my Coach that look really I'm done with this fight. Next fist that makes contact, I'm hitting that mat and I'm not waking up until tomorrow. Or maybe next week.

Last time I went to the psychologist she asked me again if I wasn't interested in some medication to even me out.

No thank you.

But maybe… no. No thank you.

Oh Baby

They are so magical aren't they? God their skin is unlike anything else. And their hair is this delicious softness that you wish they could replicate for pillows. Or blankets. The way they fit so perfectly against your body. They're not long and dangly yet. Just perfectly sized. And they're smooshy with baby fat. Oh those cheeks. Oh those lips. Oh those lashes. Oh that nose. The quick and small breaths. The tenderness. And the fleetingness of it all. The startling fact that on the grand scale of life this stage is like a grain of rice. That warmth. That fierce love and protectiveness. The genuine and grand wishes of all the happiness in the world. The wonderment of it all. Where will you go? What will you do? What will you say? Who will you love along the way? The smell. That which each breath you inhale their softness. It's in the smell. I swear to you it is. I don't get to relish a sleeping baby much. It goes with the whole thing that as nice as it is, I think babies sleep better in cribs once they've gone to the appropriate no more night feeding stage. And my experience has been that they like it a lot and as much as they'd like to sleep on you they just don't do as hot. They squirm a lot trying to get comfy because this body of yours it's not THEIR bed. But every now and then, for just a few minutes, I get a really sleepy and snuggly baby in my arms and on my body. And I pay so much attention to the moment that it brings tears to my eyes. Every time. Swear.

My babies, my life. So simple.

Holy Cow!

Hi

*insert sheepish grin here*

I won't really try to explain or anything. Let me just say that I'm in my new house. I love it. I have TIME and you have no idea how insanely wonderful TIME is. Delicious.

The real reason I'm here is because I feel like spewing on my new obsession and I intend on perusing LiveJournal as I have so many times before when a new interest takes hold. We've seen it all here– scapbooking, ATC's, knitting, swapping, Flickr, Etsy, PostCrossing, etc. So what has me going these days? What could it be?

Getting rid of this post-third-baby body!!!!

You know, the worst part is that I am not doing too badly. At all. I actually look really good for having had my third baby SIX MONTHS ago. The other day, I even managed to march into work wearing a Banana Republic skirt in a size ZERO. HELLO!

But,  I have jiggles. Major jiggles. Major jiggly pouch issues. And thanks to my best friend I'm now sort of obsessed with my butt too. This all started about a week or two before Halloween. The whole thing with wearing a sexy costume just got me really fixated on my body. Not only that but my best guy friend and one of my best girlfriends have been completely fixated with exercising lately. So when the two people you talk with all day are constantly talking about their bodies or their exercise routine or their diet or everything, well I can't speak for you but personally I can't help but looking at myself–hard. So I bought some DVDs and yanked out my NYC Ballet DVD and I started working out and I started losing weight! Hooray! I was really into it! I jogged in the mornings or did my DVDs. I took the kids out for a walk. Then I started taking an even closer look at what I was eating and I found this FANTASTIC site: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com and I joined up. A couple of days later I got a e-mail from them to try a four week full body makeover. FUN! I had just started a four week ab program they had but this looked great! So I've been doing it as best as I can and I'm in the second week. Kinda. I prefer to think I'm in my first week.

Funny enough, my biggest challenge to doing this workout challenge consistently, has been TIME. Because while I now have time to play with my kids, have dinner with my husband, and relax on the computer, I find it hard to find time to work out. And it's because this program requires about 45 minutes to an hour. When I first started working out in general, my resolution to this problem was working out at five in the morning. But seriously. Waking up at five in the morning to work out in a winter morning SUCKS. And yes this is Miami and winter mornings rarely drop below 50 but it's still cold and gloomy and dark.

So I've been working out at night, usually 8:30, 9ish.  I try and get motivation from my friends. And from me. The other day I got insanely excited because when I raised my arms to put my hair into a ponytail, I saw these really pretty indentations on my shoulder that I'd never seen before. WOW! But then I glanced down and that STUPID JIGGLY POUCH was there. Mocking me. So I punished myself yesterday with a long bike ride with Daughter on the back in the morning and my four week workout in the evening. Today, I forced myself to sweat gallons with the help of The Bollywood Dance Workout.

I'm kind of proud of myself. Clearly I have lost a lot of weight (although my Wii Fit says I gained THREE pounds in less than TWO WEEKS). But most of the time, I find myself FRUSTRATED that I'm out of shape and jiggly as Jello.

So I'm here. Putting it out there. Motivation motivation motivation.