Sunday, March 30, 2014

Perfect Life Balance = Unicorn (Spinning Plates - Part 2)

Radslavice (Prerov) CoA CZ
Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

It's funny how things work sometimes. As you may have guessed from my Spinning Plates - Part 1 post a few days ago, I was royally irritated with both myself (for not having everything "together") and with the world in general (for conspiring against me to ensure I wouldn't have everything together). Everyone was very supportive saying they were in the same boat and they understood, reminding me that no one has it all together (even if they act like they do) and we just have to do our best. I heard you all, and understood, and nodded and agreed, but it didn't comfort me or soothe me as I wished it would. I was also pondering what all "society" and "media" tell us that we should be doing, and the ridiculous amount of pressure that is, as well as how impossible it is to truly do "everything." I started working on that list of "everything," and it had over 100 things on it before I was half way finished. I was determined to have all of my thoughts together for the promised Part 2 post this Sunday (today).

That unreasonably long list is still sitting in my draft folder, unfinished. Why? Because someone posted something on Facbook on Thursday that was exactly what I needed to hear. It is from a blog that I read infrequently (and should definitely read more often) called Momestery, and it's like she posted the previous day just for me. Here is the particular passage/paragraph that struck a chord:
"You will never find your perfect life “balance” on the path for the same reason you will never find a unicorn on the path – because these things don’t exist. Forget unicorns and balance. If you were perfectly balanced- you’d never have to take any ones hand to steady yourself, and that would be a tragedy. There is no solid ground on the path – so don’t hold your breath till you find it. Breathe deeply and keep moving forward awkwardly. You can make it down the whole path imbalanced and flailing. When you fall, give thanks for the opportunity to rest. While you’re down, send love to every other path walker who’s down with you at that moment. Then get back up. Or crawl. Crawling is encouraged and respected. Path running is fine, but crawling is much better. Crawlers travel with their eyes close to the ground – so they never miss an inch of the beautiful, rocky path. Crawlers get less glory but learn the most about the path’s terrain." -- from "5 Things I Know About the Path," by Glennon Doyle Melton of Momestery

Perfect life balance = unicorn. That's not exactly comforting or soothing, but it is a very clear statement that cut through my upset and agitation and struck my heart and mind. It's one thing to say/understand "you can't do it all." I think everyone knows that; remember, my list of "it all" would easily have been 200-300 items long. But having someone say that perfect life balance is impossible, no matter how much or how little you attempt to do/manage, is a very different thing (or was for me). Hopefully, that is an image that will stick with me the next time I'm feeling out of sorts with my out-of-sorts unbalanced world.
Currently feeling: trying to (grudgingly) let go of wanting the unicorn

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - March 26, 2014

Currently feeling: like mother and father, like son

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spinning Plates - Part 1

Spinning plates
Spinning plates by erikaflynn, on Flickr

This blog post started from a Facebook status I posted today that read:
I'm having one of those days where I feel like everyone else has their stuff together and I'm the only one dropping the ball (or two or five). If I start working on getting one non-working area together, another one that was working seems to fall apart. I just can't seem to get everything working well all at once. Please tell me it's not just me! (Or, if you *do* have everything together, how do you do it all?!)
A friend replied with:
Ok so here's the one has it 100% together 100% of the time. Social media like Facebook seems to perpetuate the myth of Superwoman. We only post triumphs and never defeats! I can usually keep about 50% of my plates spinning. The others are usually crashing to the floor around me.
I started typing a reply, and after a very short while, I realized I should just blog it. (My Facebook friends are probably grateful! LOL) I also realized there will need to be a "Part 2" to this post, which will come later. But let's focus on my personal expectations for now. So here goes!

To a certain extent she is right, though I'm also already aware of what she's saying. I'm not necessarily comparing myself to the Facebook/blog version of people. I do, however, need to realize that even with my real life friends, I don't see them every day (or week, or month, or even year). I only see them occasionally, so I do miss their "bad days," even if they seem to be managing a whole lot more than I ever can. It is also part of the reason I try to share both my successes and my failures on Facebook, Twitter, and here on my blog. I'm just as human as the next person, and it doesn't take much looking to see that I definitely do NOT have it all together. Not even close most days.

Then, on a whim, I actually started writing down all of the things I felt I should be doing in my life. Perhaps I have it more together than I feel I like I do? Maybe I'm doing better than I thought? (Note, this is my list for me; your list may differ.)

First off, and in this order, I need to be a:
  1. good mom (meet basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), love, support, guidance (and discipline, when required), homework, hopefully with dollops of fun and enrichment)
  2. good wife (love, support, time together sans child)
  3. good employee (job duties, continuous learning, maintain contacts/networking)
In addition to those three, I feel I should also (in no particular order):
  1. spend in-person time with friends and family
  2. keep in touch with other friends and family via Facebook/social media/email
  3. be a good housekeeper (that is distinct and separate from being a good mom/wife, IMO)
  4. cook at home (also NOT inherently part of being a good mom/wife)
  5. monitor health/exercise/lose weight
  6. do/arrange home improvements (interior decor, upgrades/improvements, etc.)
  7. crafts/reading/hobbies/time for myself
  8. blog (different from social media, to me)
  9. travel (including the planning; partially relates to being a good mom/enrichment)
  10. go to church (this has never successfully become part of our routine)
  11. take pictures/be better at photography (so we/Luke have pictures/memories to look back on)
  12. maybe watch TV or a movie (apparently, this should be optional in order for everything else to even have a chance of happening)
That's 15 things total, not to mention those I'm almost definitely forgetting at the moment, and also not including things that I consider impossible (or nearly so; it certainly would be impossible to do them all, which will be the Part 2 of this topic).

Even after over 15 years of being a "real" adult, I have yet to figure out how to get all 15 of these plates spinning simultaneously. Most of the time, I'd like to think I do at least a fair job on 1 through 3 (some days are better than others; last Tuesday was a terrible day in both the mom and wife departments). They are at the top of the list for a reason: they are the three most important things in my life and the ones that get the most focus, time, and care. As for numbers 4 through 15, I can only manage a few of them with varying degrees of success at any given moment. I seem to only be capable of doing 4-6 of them well at any given moment. That is substantially less than half, so my friend is handling things quite a bit better than I am. But, as soon as I try to pick up one more plate and set it spinning, one (or more!) of the others that had previously been going along well shatters as it hits the ground, no longer successfully part of the routine.

Right now, this past week or so, my strengths seem to be numbers 5 (social media), somewhat 11 (blog), 12 (travel planning), and 15 (ignore that my DVR is over 65% full). Blogging will probably be dropped in favor of trying to get cooking at home and health/weight back on track. Everything else just ain't happenin'. I could probably get up to the half mark if I let TV drop, but... but... I don't want to! ::pout:: (What can I say, I like movies and TV). Perhaps one day, I will conduct a grand experiment and give up TV for a while and see how my plates spin then. But today is not that day.

Anyway, just my current ponderings on the matter. What about you? What does your list look like?
Currently feeling: trying to hang in there

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - March 19, 2014

Currently feeling: hungry for Mexican

Saturday, March 15, 2014

First Baseball Game

We survived our first baseball game! It almost didn't happen, since Luke was sick yesterday evening. We think something he ate didn't agree with him, because it was only one "incident," and he was fine by the time he woke up this morning. Play ball!

Fielding: played center, 3rd, and 1st. Stopped a grounder and tagged a runner out at 3rd.

Hitting: got a single in his only at bat, made it to 3rd on the next single and a fielding error. Picture above is a practice swing.

But this is him actually legging out his single. He had a big goofy grin on his face the whole time! So glad he is enjoying himself.

I, however, need to work on my manual focus skills with the camera. The fence was causing more trouble today with autofocus than it did at practice, even though I was sitting in essentially the same place. Maybe I'll get it figured out by the last game.
Currently feeling: play ball!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Erin and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Image Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Or week, as the case may be. In the last 8 days, I/we have:
  • Learned of the death of a friend and attended his memorial service (a first for Luke)
  • Had an incredibly frustrating week at work
  • Discovered my father is having health problems (he is improving, but it was very scary for a few days)
  • Found a cracked drain pipe causing a ceiling collapse in the basement bathroom
  • Discovered mold due to said leaking drain pipe, which will be very expensive to clean
  • Had my car booted today because I was in such a hurry to get the data crunched for a meeting that ended up getting moved to Monday that I forgot to pay for parking online when I got to my office
  • Spent nearly 2 hours getting home from the time I got in the elevator to leave work, due to the delay from getting my car booted, waiting for the guy to show up and let me go, and some major traffic issues on the interstate
  • Helped Luke through a round of vomiting tonight (the night before his first baseball game) while the water to the house was off for the plumbers to replace the water shut off valve (water was only off for about 15 minutes, but it just had to be the 15 minutes that he was throwing up)
Are we done yet? I know I am. In fact, I'm completely over March and ready to move on to April now, thanks.
Currently feeling: buried

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cracked Drain Pipe

This is the ceiling in our basement bathroom.

Why yes, it *is* in the floor. I'm glad you noticed that. ::sigh::

Our quarterly exterminator visit was early this afternoon. When he came up the stairs from the basement and said "I have some bad news, if you don't already know it," I was expecting something critter related. You know, termites (something we don't currently treat for; I know, I know) or a mouse infestation (we saw one several months ago, but nothings since; hope he was just passing through).

I was not expecting to hear, "you have a burst pipe in your basement bathroom ceiling." Excuse me?!!

I called my husband as I was going down the basement stairs. The leak didn't seem too bad, more of a trickle really; certainly not what I envisioned when he phrased it as a "burst pipe." There were small puddles and splashes of water on the floor, but not an inch or so of standing water like I anticipated. The exterminator helped me turn off the water to the house (or so we thought; more on that in a sec), though the dripping continued due to whatever the insulation had absorbed, I'm sure.

The ceiling had obviously pulled away only recently, and the sheet rock at the top was barely wet. Given that my craft closet is on one side of the bathroom (with all of my fabric, fibers, and charts!), and many boxed up mementos are on the other side, I am truly grateful that the water damage is confined to the bathroom only. The ceiling was intact but sagging and pulled away from the corner when the exterminator found it. The pictures above and below were taken after the plumber's inspection.

When the plumber finally rendered his verdict (much) later this evening, it turned out not to be an active leak at all. Instead, it was a cracked drain pipe leading from Luke's bathtub in the "jack and jill" bathroom directly above. Luke had just taken a shower Tuesday night, and that was probably the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back (or ceiling, as the case may be). That said, it has likely been leaking at least a little bit for some time, but it only just now got bad enough to affect the ceiling. (You can see a little bit of mold right in the corner in the above picture.) That means that the water damage and mold remediation will most likely be (substantially) more expensive than the actual plumbing repair. Joy. We'll get that estimate tomorrow. Thank goodness hubby was already scheduled to work from home tomorrow so the air conditioning inspection guy could come by. We are certainly doing our part to support the service industry this week. ::rolls eyes::

The plumbing work will take several hours and will be very loud, not something we wanted him to start at 9PM right under Luke's bedroom when it was already past his bedtime. He had had an emergency call come in as he was finishing up the estimate for us, someone with a real burst pipe pumping out gallons of water. Since it wasn't an active leak and we had the water turned back on to the house, it really worked out best for everyone (us and the people with the major leak) for him to come back the next day. We'll also have him replace the water shut off valve, since the old one we used only shut off about half the water flow. Thank goodness it wasn't an actual leak!

This will be the second time in less than 5 years that same basement bathroom wall and ceiling will have been replaced! Makes me think we'll just hold off on repairing the sheet rock until we go another 5 years without incident. It's not like we ever use that bathroom anyway.

It has been quite a crummy week! I refuse to ask what else can go wrong, because something will.

Currently feeling: sad and frustrated with this week