Bull in a China Shop


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hardest job EVER

Well, it looks as if there is a family theme forming here, because I have something to say about mothers. Dooce mentioned that motherhood is a job that most wouldn't take if they knew there were 12 hour days, no breaks and no vacations. I am whole heartedly sympathetic. I have no children of my own, (though when I was planning out my wedding when I was 9 I was sure 5 babies would quickly follow) I do, however, have a kick-ass step-daughter. I came into her life when she was 11, and married her father just short of her 13th birthday. Those years, in and of themselves, are a challenge, but when the child is not your own, there is an added measure of difficulty. And I can freely admit there were more than a few times I wanted to walk away, throw in the towel and give up.

Because she lived with her father as her caretaker for so many years, it was difficult for me to find my place as care giver, disciplinarian and resident shoulder to cry on. It became especially hard when we discovered that our parenting philosophies were wildly different. OUCH. Can you hear the thud of my expectations? I went blindly into a relationship thrilled to have a ready made family, expecting they would be equally thrilled to have my input and my motherly, feminine touch.

But, you know what? It turns out she wasn't, and still isn't your typical girl. She has taught me so much about myself, and about life.... its almost embarrassing. She once told me (at about 14) that she was glad that I came along when I did because it meant she didn't have to be "everything" to her dad. (Now don't go getting all weird and perverted now. You know I mean everything in the most honorable sense. Jeez.) And when I was able to allow myself to argue with her, and yell at her, she stopped me and said, "Ya know, just because I am angry with you right now, doesn't mean I won't wake up tomorrow and still love you." I mean, it took a child to explain to me that I can express my displeasure without damaging a relationship. Before that I was too afraid I might lose the other person's friendship, or respect, or love if I voiced my anger or frustration. Go figure.

So, this motherhood thing, whether by nature, by adoption or by marriage, or by whatever means one might become "Mother," is an amazing journey. There is much heartache, and pain and dealing with things you would rather ignore. But the rewards are rich and many.

As I mentioned in the previous post, my mother married a man with 6 kids of his own. She took on 6 step children, most of whom resented her at first, and she had to deal with 3 of her own. I am ashamed to say I wanted to give up the struggle over ONE child, because I now know my mother is a freaking SAINT for handling 9 children with class and grace! And most satisfying is that after my step-father died, his children (some of whom still seemed to resent my mother after 30 years) openly thanked my mother for putting up with them, and for standing by their father (even though on many occasions her was a big insensitive clod,) and for never treating them differently, and for loving them unconditionally, as she did her own children. They love my mom: THEIR mom. Our mom. She ROCKS!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Fathers be good

A few days ago dooce (see dooce.com) posted a blog entry that was a tribute of sorts, to her father. And her husband's father. It made me tear up, as many of her entries do. But it also made me think. It was a Valentine's Day entry, and it was particularly moving to me because, well, let's face it ladies.... for many of us our first Valentine was Daddy.

Now, I have never been a Daddy's girl, but it wasn't for the trying, let me tell you. My real dad died when I was just 9 months old. My sister was 13 and my brother was 6. (How my mother managed will be another day's entry.) When I was 4, my mom remarried a widower with 6 children of his own. It worked. We all grew up, went to college, have jobs/careers, no one has been to jail or rehab or joined a cult or anything. It was no "Brady Bunch" though. My step-father, though he was not physically abusive, basically ignored me. I was 6 years younger than the youngest of the brood. That meant that when my sibling closest in age went off to college, I was 12, and all alone. I was to be seen and not heard. That much was clear. So, I skulked through the house trying to be quiet. I never had friends over. I sat in my room and read. ALOT. I built model airplanes and race cars, I wrote poetry and short stories, I mixed concoctions with my chemistry set. I listened to Donny Osmond and Shaun Cassidy and later I melted when Genesis or Foreigner or Styx or (sigh) Journey crooned from my Sears display model stereo system.

When I was 15, we were having dinner in the dining room, as was required. The news was on. No one spoke. I decided that maybe I would comment on the meat in the pot roast; that even tough it was tasty, it was getting stuck in my teeth. My step-father came back with an idea that maybe it was just stuck because it was getting tangled in my braces. I had not had braces for nearly 2 years at that point. It became painfully obvious that he barely knew I existed. When it came to Valentine's Day, and especially Father's Day, I struggled to find a card that expressed how I felt. There are no "Gee Dad, Wish you could be proud of me, and maybe even acknowledge I exist. Happy Valen-fucking-tine's Day" cards. Nope. There are plenty of those cards that say, "You do so much for me, I learn so much being with you, thanks for being my Pop" cards. But... that just doesn't cut it.

So, here's where I'm going with all this. I know now that the way I act with men is a direct result of being ignored. I can fall in love at the slightest indication that a man might think I am the slightest bit interesting. I am a sucker for a little validation. Just please remember that when you interact with your children. Know that when your daughter is approaching puberty, and is feeling ugly or stupid or uncomfortable in her own skin, that YOUR acknowledgement of her means EVERYTHING. What she will expect from the opposite sex is based in part on the signals you did or did not give her when she was just getting used to her sexuality.

So, as the song goes... "Fathers, be good to your daughters; daughters will love like you do."

Friday, February 11, 2005

She's hot!

So, I've got this friend. I've known her since high school (that's a LONG time) and we have always been friends. Though we have taken different paths over the years, we both make an effort to stay in touch. When we are together we laugh to that point when you have to grab your crotch to keep from peeing yourself. It is as if there weren't months between visits and miles between us. And I need to see her more. She isn't so far away that I can't get there in a few hours. I've really got to work on that.

That said, let me tell you, she is an amazing woman. She is beautiful; with a great smile and an infectious laugh. She has risen up the corporate ladder in a difficult business. She lives alone in the best city in the world (NYC) and does it with class and style. She's been skydiving. She travels to foreign countries for vacation... by herself. She's funny as hell, she can cook, she can do Reiki, she can know your faults and not judge. She's a little bit anal retentive, but that is what keeps her organized and prompt. And... she's single. WHY!? How is it so many men have missed out on this amazing person?

Well, I just hope she knows how cool she is. And I hope someone else figures it out real soon too. Because she deserves it. She doesn't NEED it. But she does deserve it.

You ROCK, girl friend.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It's 3:00 am

So why is it, that I can think of 100 witty things to say and blog about when I am lying in bed at 3:00 am staring at the ceiling? I get fabulous ideas that nearly write themselves while I am rinsing the soap from my eyes in the shower. I laugh at my own cleverness when I am a mile away from my home, walking my dog.

Yet, when I get here I can't recall one witty thought or clever comment! Perhaps it is the giant black hole that is this office/company that sucks the life right out of me. Not only is the building sick, the folks I work with are a sort I had not really encountered before I started here 11 months ago. I can walk down the hall and see a coworker approaching me. I can look that person in the eye and say "good morning" and get NO RESPONSE. They like to sit in the lunch room and gossip about whomever is not in the room at the time. They keep tabs on everyone else, like little policemen or spies, running to the boss if someone is 2 minutes late. We have FLEX time people! They love to talk about reality TV or porn or some other equally offensive thing at the lunch table. They have little to offer other than talk about the weather or who the Bachelor is going to pick, or if Nick and Jessica are actually getting divorced. I can't say whether any of them has actually read a book in the last 5 years. And sometimes, when my only confidant and I are chatting, other people ask us to explain the meaning of some of the words we use. Trust me, we aren't geniuses or anything. That just shows you the level of DUH in this place.

And the building itself: POISON! There is some foul black goo that drips from the ceiling of the bathroom, and just coming close enough to breathe its foul stench will cause your eyes to burn and make your throat hurt. When the boiling heat or the freezing A/C (both of which you can count on experiencing in one day) kicks on, you could experience a headache, sneezing, immediate sinus stuffiness and pain, and on some occasions, nausea. Also, the runs often make their way around the office. And OF COURSE everyone has to comment on it and discuss it and de-fricking-scribe it. Not that I can't appreciate a good conversation about poo, amongst good friends. But, these folks are just disgusting enough before the subject of poo comes up, that I am just freaked right the hell out.

So there. How's THAT for witty and clever. (sigh)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

This is tough

Wow. Finding time for this blogging thing isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I have to do my posting at work, because at home I have no time and really can not use the computer there. But, I am wildly busy here at work. The paradox is that I am busy but BORED out of my friggin' mind! So, I am stuck fussing with busy work all day while my brain cells whither from lack of stimulation. Thus the problem with finding time to blog...

I can't blog at home because my husband is recovering from a terrible accident, and it really takes up most of my "extra" time caring for him. He is mostly alone during the day, while I am at work, and for a person as sociable and gregarious as he, it is like a punishment to be trapped at home without company. I, on the other hand, am a lover of solitude and peace. When I have finished my work day, and have talked myself silly with every phone call and visitor with questions, all I desire is quiet. All I want is to be in my home, without the talking and the listening and the relating. I want ME time. That means turning off my brain sometimes, and indulging in "King of The Hill," or "The Simpsons." That means reading a good book, or thumbing mindlessly through a magazine, or listening to music curled up on the couch with my pooch. Yet, this is not possible.

I feel for my husband. I truly do. I would not want to trade places with him, for though there is much (unwanted) quiet in his day, there is also much pain and little comfort. So, I talk when I get home. And I listen and I relate and I try to distract him from his pain. Sometimes he gets angry and he isn't very nice. But I understand where that comes from too. I wish I could help him and take the pain away. And I wish I could get away and relax and recharge without denying him, and without feeling guilty.

That is all for today.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Jobs for an introvert

I hate this job. OK, I am glad I have a job in this economy. But, I really dislike my job. And I can't think of a time when I did like any job I had.

No, wait. I worked in kennels when I was in college, and I loved it. Animals love you unconditionally. They are always happy to see you. They never tell you that you are fat, or that you have disappointed them, or that you have to stop singing "Copacabana" because you are disturbing others. People on the other hand. Well... I could do without most of them. Oh jeez. Now you are going to think I am some sort of loner/hermit lurking around in my house with the shades drawn and my nose stuck to the computer screen.

I am actually very social. I get along well with everyone. I work in Human Resources for Pete's sake! But, I really need time alone. Everyday. Hours of time alone.... sigh. I confess I am an introvert. Now, I don't say it that way because I am ashamed. On the contrary, I am a proud introvert. Its just the rest of the world ( OK, 80% ) is NOT introverted and you think us "intros" are weird. Like there is something wrong with us or something! Just because we appreciate our own company and can enjoy moments of deep thought, and we don't need the TV on constantly; there MUST be something wrong. Right?

Anyway, my point is ( thank you for getting to the point already) that I am not doing what I wanted to be doing when I was growing up and thinking about what I wanted to be doing! I had so many ideas! Archeologist, photographer for National Geographic, children's award winning author, entomologist ( that's bugs, people,) criminalist, forensic psychologist, cartographer, maybe even jet pilot. And yet, where did I end up? Pushing paper around a desk at a not for profit organization full of unprofessional and vacant sheeple. (Those folks are fodder for another post...stay tuned.) Where did I go wrong? And why did I think, as I got older, that I couldn't be ANY of those things? And why can't I be one of those things now....

What did YOU want to be when you grew up, and are you living it now?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Its only just begun...

Welcome reader...

This is just the beginning of my blog. I haven't even started it yet, really... so come back soon and see if I've actually kept doing this crazy thing. I am not very good at finishing things, but I am an EXCELLENT starter, and I am feeling very good about this new project. But, I am a busy woman, and I don't multi-task very well, and finding a quiet moment to do anything remotely creative is tough. I thought I could try this blogging thing and maybe force myself to take a few moments a day to be creative, and to appreciate those fleeting moments of beauty and wonder. Well... here goes something....