Team Stubborn Asshole.

I have a point of discussion I’d like to start up. It seems in most households, there’s some sort of give/take/balance that is not how one person wants it. Maybe the division of domestic chores is to heavy on one person. Maybe someone wants more sex. Maybe someone wants a break from the kids. Maybe someone wants more personal time to pursue hobbies. There’s usually some sort of balance of something that one person needs and the other person doesn’t offer without nagging or pushing. I’m talking about issues that come up time and time again.

At what point in time do you decide, “I’ve made my feelings aware and the balance is not changing so now I’m just going to work on being okay with the way things are so I don’t become angry and bitter?”

Because I’ve done a really good job with that with some of our balance issues in our house. (And there are things he’s settled into accepting about me, too.) I’ve decided I can’t control Donnie’s schedule or priorities or decisions. But I can control my feelings about them. Years ago, when he first started triathlon training and I hadn’t started anything like that, I was angry and bitter with him every time he went on a run/ride/swim. But then I said, “Screw that. I’m doing my own thing.” And I started boot camp and it helped me let go of the bitterness towards him because I got mine own time. I’ve been doing the same in regard to balance of domestic chores. I hated being bitter he wasn’t helping enough so I started just being okay with it and it took away a lot of the general resentment I felt.

So part of me is like: I HAVE FOUND THE SECRET TO A PERFECT LIFETIME PARTNERSHIP! It’s learning to be okay with the things that you can’t change.

But the other part of me is like: UM. Is that fair?

Because, let’s be honest. There are plenty of things I haven’t really budged on either and he’s become okay with it. So, are we just the perfect example of how to be happy forever? Or are we just figuring out how to justify being stubborn assholes?

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Birthday Boy.

Wes is 7 today. SEVEN. My youngest child is SEVEN and I’m about to be FOURTY. FORTY? I have no idea. There are no red lines telling me either is wrong and I’m too lazy to look it up.)

Where were we?

OH YEAH. This guy.

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He’s seven today. Due to the chaos in our lives he’s kinda getting the shaft for his birthday. I only thought about two gifts and the rest are impulse, last-minute buys. But the good thing? Seven year olds don’t care.

We did buy him a LeBron James (Lebron? Again. Too lazy.) jersey because he’s a HUGE fan of the Cavs player because he’s totally obsessed with basketball.

Yes. My kid. Obsessed with basketball.

That would be the biggest change over the last year – his obsession with basketball. We always knew he loved it but he started playing this winter and then he started playing the video games and he got a game for Christmas and it’s just his BIGGEST love right now and it cracks me up because it just reminds me every day about my short stint as a basketball player in middle school where the only time I scored, it was for the other team.

SERIOUSLY.

So, he’s seven. He’s going to have a shirt that says “JAMES” on the back even though that’s not his name. And we’re going to eat at a Superhero Themed restaurant tonight for dinner. It’s going to be a good day, even if I have half-assed it.

Weird.

It’s 7pm at night. I never blog at night. I usually blog in the morning with my first cup of coffee. But this morning I spent my first cup of coffee folding clothes. And then my second cup of coffee mopping floors. And then my 3rd cup cleaning countertops. Because my house is on the market and I have to make sure it’s “show ready” all the time and that means that I am constantly living better than I have in years, but that I’m also losing my damn mind.

So! I’m sitting down at 7pm to blog. Mainly because it’s that or go to sleep because I woke up at 3:45am to clean and I’M TIRED AS HELL, YO.

I did go run this morning. I was really proud of that. It’s Ironman season for Donnie so he spends a lot of mornings out of the house training but the sun is rising earlier (I won’t run in the dark) and he takes Mondays off so I squeezed in a short 4-mile run before work and I am SO GLAD THAT I DID. I’m going to try my best to do at least that every day. It’s a chore to get the bike out or go for a swim but I can at least run out my front door for 40 minutes in the morning. It’s not ideal (I really need to be cycling and swimming too) but considering how insane my life is now, it’s better than nothing.

So I find myself here at 7pm, fighting off the urge to go to sleep because I’m so damn tired. So I’m doing some stream-of-consciousness blogging to try to keep myself from passing out.

We did have another showing on the house today. We haven’t heard back yet. We’re in an interesting position because we’re pretty sure our house will sell at the current price eventually because it’s a good price, but it’s a strange floorplan so it will really only appeal to a minority of house-hunters. So, we have to decide, do we just wait for that person to pay that price? Or do we drop the price to make it appeal to a wider audience? My sanity says, “SELL IT FOR $10! ANYTHING TO GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE!” But my fiscal adult self says we should wait it out since we know it’s a good price and just hold out for the perfect buyer.

I can’t wait until we’re allowed to live in filth again.

The funny thing is, we’re still probably not living “clean” by a lot of people’s standards. But those people don’t matter because they’re insane.

Speaking of insanity, I’ve documented mine just fine today with this rambling blog post. I turn 40 in 8 weeks and I woke up inspired to get my shit together before that day. So, while it may sound like I’m fading fast to the world of crazy people, I’m actually feeling really good about myself and life in general. I ran. I ate well. I cleaned. I had a good day at work. So truthfully, even though I’m tired as hell, it’s still a good day. I’m feeling good.

Okay. It’s 7:09pm now. I think I’m going to bed.

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I don’t want to go home.

Obviously, I’m having the time of my life. I’m getting up around 4:30 every morning to try to run at least 5 miles before showering and getting to Islands of Adventure when they open for park guests at 8am. They open for the general public at 9am. That one hour is my favorite hour of the day. I can practice my spellwork in Hogsmeade, I can ride whatever I want without lines, and I can take pictures to my heart’s content without fretting about being in someone’s way. Nikki has come with me every morning but the boys have taken some chances to sleep in later because this whole trip is EXHAUSTING. But I’m running on pure love of Harry Potter and knowing I have more to experience and see, or the re-experience and see again is what is getting me going everyday. I’ve loved some of the non-Harry Potter stuff too, but really I do all of that stuff so I don’t feel guilty making the kids go back to Diagon Alley again. If I had it my way I’d be there or Hogsmeade all day, just walking around and photographing the wonderful little treats around every corner.

We have 2 full days left and I’m already getting really sad. I wish we could afford to do this more than once every 6 years, and I really wish I could believe that this would not be our last full-family vacation. But the truth is, this vacation is expensive and E is 20 years old and heading to Indianapolis for the summer for an internship. I’m going to do my best to savor every hour of these next two days and really hold onto the memories and the joy that this place brings me.

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Maslow and Government Assistance

I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who have SO MANY OPINIONS about how others on government assistance should be spending their money. Not to see movies! Or eat steak! If you need the government’s help to pay your rent or buy your groceries, then you – my friend – should be the most responsible person on the planet when it comes to money.

I remember when I was poor and the government was assisting me in any number of ways – I still always splurged on payday. When I had the check in my hand, I always did something stupid with it. Sometimes I took E to a movie, sometimes we went out to eat at a fancy restaurant…like Ruby Tuesdays. Sometimes we bought a used VHS of our VERY OWN at the Hollywood Video which sold them cheap. Every two weeks, I did at least one thing with my money that I probably shouldn’t have considering I never really had enough money to pay my bills.

I think of it often as it relates to Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.

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We weren’t starving or homeless, so our very basic needs were being met, but I did worry about paying for groceries and rent as I inched closer to each payday or to the end of the month. And I definitely lived in places that weren’t very safe. So I don’t look at those bottom two layers of needs and say that we confidently fulfilled those needs on a regular basis.

And to me – if you’re not living a life where your confident that those two bottom levels of needs are going to be fulfilled every day? Then you’re not going to be making “responsible” decisions about your financial future. It sucks not knowing for sure if you’ll have enough money to pay the rent, and that’s so hard – carrying that burden around – that escaping with a trip to the movie theater is a wonderful temporary release.

Remember: I was also a smoker back then. I got plenty of notices about my utilities getting cut off, but I still found money to buy cigarettes. I was basically the person all of those articles regarding mis-spending government assistance are written about.

But until all of your basic needs are met, you’re not likely to be thinking BIG PICTURE about your needs and self actualization. You’re living day to day and your day to day is kinda miserable so if there’s something to lighten that misery, you do it. Who cares if that means you’re eating ramen for 4 weeks. Cigarettes make you feel normal and less pitiful, so they’re a priority.

I knew plenty of people during that time who fell victim to drug addiction for the very same reason.

If you’re not getting your very basic needs fulfilled, then you’ll find any shortcut you can to achieve some sort of joy – even if it’s temporary. If you’re worried your downstairs neighbor is a murder (we were, don’t ask) then you’re not thinking about how – if you saved that cigarette money – you could maybe afford to fix the air-conditioning in your car. If the math shows you can’t afford that Biology Textbook AND pay the utility bill, then you’re going to use the cash in your wallet to go see that movie with your kid because that helps you escape a little bit. And then you can’t afford EITHER the textbook OR the bill. (I assure you I made this exact decision. Several times.)

If you just got paid and the money isn’t enough to cover all of your bills, you’re going to buy NON GENERIC TOILET PAPER just because you’re sick of the cheap stuff.

Not everyone who is poor makes bad financial decisions, but there’s a whole celebrated theory of Hierarchy of Needs that explains it a little bit.

I worked two jobs, was going to school, raising a kid and couldn’t pay my bills. It was a tough life and yet I still sometimes get more depressed NOW which is INSANE to me. But that is because I was trying to just SURVIVE back then. I didn’t have time to analyze how I take criticism or my relationship with food. I was trying to just keep my head above water and if that breathing was a little easier some days because I splurged on dinner at Olive Garden? Then I was going to do it.

And that limited grocery money never EVER went to fresh foods. Could we have eaten healthier? Most definitely. But when you’re struggling paycheck to paycheck…horribly processed macaroni and cheese is one of your treats. You’re not going to put it back on the shelf just because someone told you that whole foods are better for you.

I’m not saying “LEAVE THE POOR PEOPLE ALONE!” Well, maybe I am, I don’t know. I’m just pointing out how I felt and why I sometimes bought steak and went to movies and was a smoker. And hoping that as I share this, that maybe people will be less about the pitchforks waved at people on food stamps and more about finding someone struggling in their community and maybe offering to give them a break once in awhile.