RSS Feed

Seems Like a Great Day For A Biblical-Sized Freak Out, Doesn’t It?

Posted on

I was out of Red Bull this morning — sugar-free Red Bull, to be exact — and apparently it was enough to cause me to lose my mind.

Well, that’s not completely true.

Honestly, I was losing my mind last night as well and when I realized I had woven the F-word at least three times into my conversation with my nine year old. You know you’re crossing over into “Mom’s-Gone-Loco” mode when your kid doesn’t even blink anymore when you drop the ‘ol F-bomb.

::sigh::

Before you start flooding my comments section with lectures or placing anonymous phone calls to CPS, let me just take a moment to remind you that dropping the F-bomb on my kids is not a normal adjective that I like to employ. Yes, even when they sigh and flop and fuss in response to me telling them to get in the shower.

Yes, kids…ANOTHER SHOWER! You just spent eight hours at summer camp and your face smells like old cheese. You played hard and need to bathe. You do not live in the 1700s where bathing was a luxury and rarely occurred more than once a week. Welcome to the future. Welcome to a time of Dippin’ Dots, WiFi and erasable ink pens. Welcome to my rules and my expectations. NOW GET YOUR ASS IN THE BATHROOM BEFORE I LOSE MY F…. MIND!

See how things escalate there? I know. It’s not pretty.

In the midst of shower-mageddon last night, I realized that a large majority of kid-stuff missed the car ride from dad’s place to mom’s place, or whatever politically correct terms you’re supposed to call those places. (“The townhouse” and “The apartment” I think is what I’m supposed to be referring to them as so I don’t cause undo stress on my children’s fragile sense of belonging.)

Honestly, I find that more confusing. What if one day we live in the same type of lodging structure? How do we delineate between the two then? “Kids, did you leave your shoes at 123 Maple Drive or are they in your room at 567 Elm Street?” or “GUYS! Hurry up! I need to hustle and get you over that tan house where you also reside!” Ugh.

You know, there are just some people who know where your buttons are. And no, I’m not referring to the kind of buttons that make you smile and laugh (Puppet shows starring common socks with googly eyes, gummy candy and new shoes). Nope. I’m not talking about those little gems.

I’m talking about those OTHER buttons. (Hence my reference to the F-word above.) The buttons where the letters have been rubbed off because they’ve been triggered one too many times. The buttons that are all grimy and sticky and when they get pressed, they get stuck down into the keyboard and just cover your screen with middle finger emoticons. (Crap, now I’m sad my keyboard doesn’t have a middle finger emoji button. And here I thought we lived in the future.)

It could be someone in your family, a coworker, your kids, an elderly driver, a weird friend or perhaps your ex who knows just where those buttons are hiding. And no matter how long it’s been, they seem able to traipse through all your walls of barbed wire and whizzing defense mechanisms and just *BAM* initiate the melt-down sequence that you’ve been trying so desperately to avoid.

Here’s where you say, “Well, Jenny, you know that we are responsible for our own choices and actions. No one can be blamed for triggering your crazy. You are ultimately responsible for your own reactions.” And here I say, “Well, yes, maybe that’s true, but shut up right now cause this is my blog and I’m in the middle of ranting.”

In the grand scheme of things, a kid forgetting his shoes at the other parent’s house is not a crises.

Your other kid forgetting her camp shirt and swim goggles there is not a giant deal.

Both kids leaving behind their swim towels when they have a swimming field trip the next morning? Again, not the end of the world.

But combine that with anti-shower kid flops, running out of cheese in the middle of making quesadillas for dinner and a united kid-refusal to turn off Minecraft?

::INSERT SCREAMING NOISES!::

Do you ever overhear yourself talking and think, “Who the crap is that? She sounds like a total shrew!” Then you realize that it happens to be YOUR MOUTH making those nasty barking sounds and you feel like a complete ass-hat?

Check out that doofus. She can never seem to tuck her ears in right.

Check out that doofus. She can never seem to tuck her ears in right.

Cue my early morning snap-fest which only served to feed the impression that I’ve lost my mind and now everyone from my “old days” must simply bear with me for the sake of “Doing what God wants them to”.

There’s a certain facial expression that comes with that decision and I’m not sure if you people realize you’re making it, but you are. You totally are…This is of course if you choose to make eye contact with me at all.

But my ex is not as lucky as old friends I see only once or twice a year. He’s got to deal with my face once a week, or more than that if our children are feeling especially amnesiac and leave their crap behind.

The sigh and the expression that says “Mommy’s now just someone we tolerate because we all have to. God help us all.” is a sure-fire way to deploy my bitch-missiles. Fine, fine, fine, they were already armed, loaded and steaming on the launchpad by the time “the look” appeared but you get my point.

I hate feeling all prickly and cranky. Especially when I’m at a time in my life that’s actually really, really good! I have made some new friendships that have blown me away with their authenticity and care. I am super happy with my job and I love the team I get to work with. I got to listen to Glee in the car and NO ONE ROLLED THEIR EYES or made gagging noises! What a beautiful time to be alive!

In the midst of an emotional cluster fuck, most people have a few go-to options that they like to use to help recalibrate.

For some, it’s exercise like boxing, running or even yoga. 

Sometimes I’ve chosen running too and it really does help distract me from being upset with the issue at hand and instead I get upset about how awful running is. Works like a charm, but I’ve never had the feelings of prickliness just completely dissolve as I sweat like a steamed up hot dog.

Lots of times, we run to other people and hash out the whole story.

These sessions are made way better with wine, soft Kleenex (screw you, cheap knock off brand) and a good set of listening ears on the other person’s nicely shaped noggin. But again, I’ve had lots of vent sessions with people who have then just made me feel worse about myself, so using your friends as a “Get Out Of Misery FREE” card, can be tricky.

Driving is also kinda my jam.

But at 8:45 with a work meeting in less than 30 minutes, that wasn’t an option for me this morning.

Oh, but my favorite “reset button” is sleep.

You know the type of sleep where you fuss and cry so much that you finally just collapse and go mildly comatose? Totally similar to an over-tired toddler throwing tantrum – I totally specialize in that type of sleep!

It reminds me of my favorite Bible stories. Ha! And here you thought I was now a Child of the Damned! Fooled you! Hang with me here…Or you can follow along in I Kings starting in chapter 18 if you’d like.

So this guy named Elijah had just kicked some serious butt with the whole “Your-god-Baal-versus-my-God-Jehovah” thing. He even got a little sassy in that story and taunted the Baal priests by telling them to shout louder because maybe their god Baal was asleep or travelling. (If being a smart-ass is allowed in God’s kingdom, then I’m totally on the right track!)

The story goes on with lots of fire and a good, soaking rain storm that the place had been needing for quite some time. All good things.

But then, in dramatic Old Testament fashion, shit got real again and Jezebel was bent on making Elijah’s life a living hell. Well, she was bent on slaughtering him with a really sharp sword  just like he had just done to all her humiliated Baal-priests after the aforementioned showdown, but you catch my drift.

So he freaked out and ran away by himself into the wilderness. He started with a friend by his side but then flounced off all alone. Then he sat down under a broom bush (or tree, depending on what fancy version of the Bible you dig) and threw a giant-ass hissy fit. He yelled and cried until he tuckered himself out and fell asleep.

But when he woke up, he felt a little better. God had the courtesy to let him sleep it off and sent an angel down to start a fire and make Elijah a snack. What a guy!

Today, I got a moment to flop down on my big, puffy bed, and fall asleep too. I had to set the timer on my phone because I still needed to go to get up and go back to work. I kinda doubted an angel of God would be there assembling my Lunchable for me after all my dramatics.

I also made myself a chai in the vain attempt to replace the caffeine I had lost from the lack of Red Bull in my fridge that morning.

Yep. I felt a little better.

But you know what really helped me most of all? Getting a chance to come here and write it all down. For me, it seems to be the best way to get some perspective and really distance myself from all the emotion and frustration of a situation.

I won’t be skipping my other methods of coping (a surprise phone call, snuggles from my kids, wine) but I really appreciate this place where I can go and dump it all out, sift through it for the realities, and then take it all back in again and move on to the next thing that’s headed my way.

Thanks for being here. I hope you find what works for you when you are needing peace and comfort too.

 

Contrary Ways

Posted on

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

“With silver bells and cockle shells

And pretty maids all in a row.”

When I was two, my mom picked out nursery rhyme wallpaper for my new bedroom.

My room was awesome! Besides the super-cool nursery rhyme wallpaper that my mom would read to me as she tucked me in at night, I also had a fancy walk-in closet that later served me as a clubhouse, my Morse code practice room, and a secret hiding space for the treasure box where I stored that one neon friendship bracelet Aaron S. gave me on a whim in 9th grade.

When I was little, I had absolutely no idea what it meant to be contrary. I just liked the way the words sounded when they came out of my mom’s mouth. I was also in the dark about what the heck a cockle shell was, but I still liked the “Mary, Mary” rhyme the best. There was also one on my wall about Little Boy Blue, but he seemed like such a slacker at his job, it was hard for me to root for him.

As I grew up, there were always popular bands, TV characters, even flavors that everyone around me seemed to gravitate to. I don’t know why, but I often tried to pick the opposite of what everyone else liked, just so I could feel original or special.

When everyone liked Dylan on 90210, I chose the Jason Priestly poster for my wall.

When blue Squeeze-Its came out, I tried to stay faithful to orange, even though I knew blue was way cooler looking.

Odie was my favorite character on Garfield and Eeyore was the best of the Winnie the Pooh gang.

The first anti-pop culture stand I took was when I was about 10, when the band The New Kids on the Block emerged on the scene.

I decided that they were totally lame-balls, and I made it my full-time job to make fun of them whenever I could. Shaming people because of their music choice became my ticket to cool-town and I proudly made jokes at everyone’s’ expense and sassily plugged my ears in defiance as I skated to their song at the local skating rink.

I was such a big meanie-face! But then again, they were boys, and at that time, famous boys were still incredibly icky (and unreachable) to me, so they were easy targets. Plus, I was still into the Debbie Gibson tapes I’d been rocking in my walkman for the past two years so really, one could easily question my musical tastes.

Recently I’ve seen my nine-year old follow in my young protestation footsteps as he decided to take a stand against hot lunch. I have no idea where he got the idea to protest so actively against his school’s nutritious and honestly, pretty damn healthy, lunch choices but he is 100% committed to his cause.

I even got a call from his teacher during this past school year where she told me that my son had been so successful in making fun of hot lunch, that some girls refused to eat their food anymore because they were so worried he’d end up making fun of them.

::face palm::

Shaming kids so bad they refuse to eat? UGH. This is not the type of “leadership” his dad and I have been trying to encourage in the boy.

We had a talk about his campaigning but my mini-activist refused to change his position on hot lunch. I finally got him to understand that he needed to stop making kids feel like doofus’ if they had to eat hot lunch and he agreed to reign in his demonstrations and jokes.

Now we’re in the midst of summer camp and guess what? They serve the EXACT. SAME. FOOD. as the school’s hot lunch! Ha! He still chooses not to eat the lunch but decides to fill up on snacks he brings from home or the camp snacks that are somehow “acceptable” to his activist palette.

My son also has been known to choose things in purple or pink, just because he knows people expect that to be a “girl color”. He loves to be contrary and today, I’m going to love to be contrary too.

It really does amaze me sometimes to see people get so INTO causes. My Facebook feed is a Petri dish of people who are speaking out about organic food, local farming politics, parenting preferences, natural childbirth and of course, the damn San Francisco Giants. (Blech)

But one trend I’ve seen so much of lately is a curious hatred of something I hold quite near and dear. So it’s time that someone stood up to the bullying and took a stand.

Greetings from...my face!

Greetings from…my face!

Here’s my truth, people: I have zero problems with posting pictures of myself on my own or with my kids or friends on random channels of social media. Commonly referred to (with disgust, might I add) as a “Selfie” the self-collected photo method isn’t really new to the photo taking world, but for some reason, it’s gained a whole new anti-following of people.

One of my favorite pictures I had of my best friend and I in high school was a selfie we took with my mom’s Canon Joy automatic camera. Our faces were kinda washed out from the giant flash that was mere centimeters from our face, but it was still a great shot! It lived on the sun visor in my car, firmly attached with Garfield stickers.

Most of my selfies these days stem from the sheer lack of humans around me. #SingleMom

 

My kids are used to the “Hey, guys - smile!” thing by now. Oh, and hey! Look who's being contrary?

My kids are used to the “Hey, guys – smile!” thing by now. Oh, and hey! Look who’s being contrary? Turkey…

But I love capturing photos of random daily events or when my I feel like I need to grab a picture of my kids because they seem to grow bigger every day. Sometimes I want a picture of myself because I managed to have a great hair day. You know. The important stuff.

I hate that people automatically think you’re incredibly vain whenever you post selfies of yourself. Is it true for my case, absolutely. 100%. If there is a camera around, I want my face all up in that business!

But you know, I love seeing your face too! So if you want to post pictures of yourself with the whole awkward arm thing and your friends cheek to cheek, go right on ahead! The duck face is kinda weird, so if you’re going to join my selfie-love train, I’d rather see you smile, but you know what, I’m not in charge here so you do whatever floats your boat.

Love and cheese-balls,

Jenny

Badminton

PS: This is the level of photograph I get when I ask others around me to take a picture. This one was by my seven year old daughter. Note the finger in the upper corner? The awkward and unflattering posture I have? At least I managed to hit the shuttlecock. Boom. Not everyday you get to include that word into a blog post, eh?

Mama Pajama

Posted on

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching.

Let me rephrase that.

Mother’s Day is THIS FREAKING SUNDAY and not next Sunday like I had thought all along.

Frick.

The sheer speediness of this holiday is kind of catching me off-guard but this could be a good thing. You know, like when the nurse turns around and – BAM! – there she goes with the shot in the arm. No gentle countdown or rubbery-knot-around-the-arm thing, just a shot out of nowhere! Ouch!

Yep. Let’s get this over with. That’s kind of where I’m at this year.

I’m all for celebrating my mom, she’s awesome! But once again, I’m the kid who gets mixed up on her dates and sends her card late. BOO!

They need to make belated Mother’s Day (and let’s face it, Father’s Day) cards for kids like me.

Here in Chico, my kids are hanging in there like champs with the whole one-week-at-mom’s and one-week-at-dad’s place thing. They will be hanging out with me most of the day on Sunday, which was simply the luck of previous scheduling and, to my knowledge, had nothing to do with the momly-occassion on the calendar.

But at 7 and days-away-from 9, my kids are still pretty little when it comes to spearheading holiday celebrations. Sure, my seven year-old has given me an early Mother’s Day present that involved a hot glue gun, sea shells and orange craft foam this week, but that will most likely be the extent of the “Thanks for being our mom” stuff this year.

That’s OK, though.

I think my wariness of the holiday this year is tightly wrapped in the whole “You suck as a mom because you chose to divorce your spouse” message that exists in my life at the moment.

If you’re new to my blog, here are some quick facts to get you up to date:

  • I think Jesus is pretty cool and I’m glad He thinks I’m pretty neat too.
  • I was married for 13 years until I decided not to do that anymore.
  • Many of my friends and members of my church family are really disappointed in me and have done their best to distance themselves from my messy, mean choices.

Ok, you all caught up now? Cool. Back to where I was going with that previous thought.

So many people out there from the church-club insist if you choose to get a divorce that you are anti-family. The general feeling is that if you choose divorce, you are a selfish person who is choosing themselves over the greater good of everyone around you. You are grieving the Holy Spirit and sucking as a Christian. You need to get your crap together and just stick with it. If you only had tried harder, had more date nights, held hands while arguing, etc., then God could have been glorified in your life. Now look what you’ve done! No friendship for you! If I’m supporting you, I’m supporting your choices and I just can’t do that since I’m into Jesus and I can’t be seen as someone who loves people who screw up big-time like yourself.

On the other side of things, there have also been lots of support and encouragement from some old friends and many new ones that have kind of stumbled into my life. The message from them is: No one knows the whole story. Our friendship is not conditionally based on the choices you make. Your other friends are complete assholes. It’s OK – you’re still a good mom.

And here I am in the middle of the two trying to sort things out for myself. It’s been an interesting 10 months, let me tell you!

Honestly, this Mother’s Day, my goal is to just try and enjoy myself and be thankful.

I’m reminding myself that worked my ass off to become a mother in the first place. I have two kids who can take me out with one smile across the room. I am so lucky to have them in my life.

If they decide to surprise me with my favorite breakfast in bed or roses on the table, that’ll be awesome, but I’m just going to settle for warm cuddles and (hopefully) a lack of smelly feet odors and sibling bickering. Fingers crossed!

Have a fun Mother’s Day, everyone! I think you’re all pretty fantastic.

 

Jeez, Thursday! Back Off…

Posted on

You know when you have a million things to do and you suddenly realize (with great panic) that you’ve been sitting still and staring into space for the last five minutes, doing nothing at all?

Or maybe you’ve found yourself responding to emails and chats one minute, then the next, you’re standing over your radiant space heater, leaning your head on the cubicle wall for just one moment of frickin’ peace?

That’s kind of been my day, so needless to say, the conditions weren’t exactly primed for an easy evening with my kids.

Because I had a moment of insanity, I decided to drag my children to Target tonight after work. This timeframe is also dangerously close to dinner time. (Super-moms may be rolling their eyes at that last line and feeling pretty superior right now because they would NEVER drag their tired and hungry kids to the store at the end of the day. Luckily, I have never had any claim on the title of ‘Super Mom’ so feel free to enjoy your moment of superiority, ladies.)

You can guess the joyful time the three of us had in the cereal aisle. Hashtag – meltdown city.

In the checkout line, I caught a dad staring at me. His kid was little, so maybe he was thinking, “Oh crap…they aren’t done with the fits by that age? Frick.” I felt bad for depressing the guy.

It’s a miracle I did not attempt to leave my kids in the parking lot. If you would have happened to pop on by, they would have been the creatures saying rude things to each other and putting on a great show of pure shit-storm chaos.

Violet would’ve been the crying, floppy, shrieky one, screaming at her brother and Jackson would have been the boy laughing, poking and mimicking her, causing her fury to boil over into further unladylike fits.

If CPS had been called, I think they would have waited in the car before approaching them so they wouldn’t have to deal with their antics. I imagine that the CPS workers would have done rock-paper-scissors to decide who had to approach the wildlings who had, by now, taken over the Target cart corral and made it their own personal jungle gym slash perch of terror.

Beware, cart boy! These kids are insane and they would like nothing more than to attack from above and steal your robotic cart-pushy-thing. You and your skinny khaki pants are no match for their sheer cunning and maniacal determination to get you riled up and push all of your ‘angry-face’ buttons. May God have mercy on your soul.

But I managed to stifle the urge to abandon my children to their own fate and drove them home instead. TV was taken away for the evening. Further drama ensued. Is it 8:00 yet?

I found my wine glass and decided to make dinner while the two crazy-pants’ were doomed to read by themselves on their beds. Taco mountain was served. Dinner time!

Did you know that I love peach-flavored Jolly Ranchers (which I haven’t seen since high school) yet the thought of peach-flavored yogurt makes me want to hurl? It’s true. And tonight at dinner, between the sloppy table manners of my offspring and rancid smell of my eight year old’s toes, this very thought sprang to the front of my mind and I thought, “I have to blog about that!”

So now you know. I have specific preferences when it comes to the artificial flavor of peach.

::sigh:: That feels better.

I really should be tackling a pile of work, yet here I am, writing innocuous things and Googling the word “innocuous” to make sure I used it correctly.

Hmm. Apparently it means that I would be writing harmless things that would not offend anyone. We’ll see about that. Who knows if the Target cart-boy is a Blogorama reader. He may not have appreciated my jab at his stupid pants.

Here’s to you, oh curious reader. I hope your evening is full of peace and a lack of shrieking children. It’s been nice to have you here again and I’ll see what I can do about coming to visit you more often.

 

Love,

Jenny

 

Cozy Thoughts and Confessions of a Thumb Sucker

Posted on

I’ve got this thing with sock monkeys.

Not quite to the level where my affinity would ever, EVER, justify the wearing of this little number.

In fact, if something is made from fleece and has attached feet, I can guarantee you that I’m OUT.

But nonetheless, I do own at least three sock monkey themed Christmas ornaments, a fleece blanket, (wait – TWO fleece blankets) and my preferred slipper choice for the last four winters have all been sock-monkey themed.

To me, a sock monkey is the perfect symbol for silly-coziness, which is something that is unbelievably comforting to me.

When I was little, I had a sock monkey named George.

For some reason, my brain tells me that he was handmade by my great grandma Harriet. I have no idea if that fact is true or not, but I have believed it for so long, it might as well be. (Hey, dad! Now I see how you do that! Awesome!)

George was a sock monkey that had button eyes, a little cap and a nice, skinny tail. I was in the throes of my thumb sucking phase. (Right-hand only, conducted when resting or watching TV, everyday until I was eight, people. EIGHT! Thank God for braces…)

George was my go-to thumb sucking counterpart of the moment. Before him was Kermie the Frog — not to be confused with the actual “Kermit the Frog”. To me, Kermie was just as good, even if he was not quite authentic.

Then came and Potbelly the Koala. I think I even incorporated one of my mother’s throw pillows for a short time. Most likely, the lace-trimmed, beige, couch-pillow became part of the routine after one of my animal accessories had been confiscated with the false hope that it would persuade me from inhaling my own body part in a disappointing, drooly fashion that could only be considered as awkward and parentally-embarrassing in Dr. Spock’s opinion.

My childhood vice was all about combining texture with the sweet spot that existed right above my upper lip. There was nothing that could compete with the sheer, peaceful bliss that accompanied my thumb sucking sessions. Not the American cheese slice that I had folded into as many tiny squares as I possibly could (to make the before-dinner snack last longer) or the amazing burst you could get from a Gobble Stick (R.I.P. you delicious, cheese-filled wonder-snack).

With Kermie, I managed to rub the fur tight off his right arm, leaving behind this strange mesh fabric that felt amazing to three-year-old-me.

Potbelly the Koala was only as important as his rough tag. Unfortunately, his tag was sewn into the seam that ran along the bottom of his body, so I’d have to turn him ass-up, legs out, to properly access the taggy goods. It’s one thing to see a child sucking their thumb while cuddling their stuffed animal. It’s another thing entirely to see them taking advantage of a poor stuffed marsupial in that fashion.

George was similarly taken advantage of. With George the sock monkey, it was all about the junction where the tail had been sewn onto his slender, stuffed body. In fact, I ended up rubbing his tail right off. Through the threads and through the fabric – POOF! No more tail. My mother attached a bumpy piece of dark, brown, calico fabric to George’s back. Not just where his tail had been. Nope.The patch covered up nearly his entire back.

And yet, it didn’t stop me and my quest.

I began to utilize the top corner of the fabric and was desperate to keep George in my life.

Then one day, my mother made Georgette.

Georgette was a brand new sock monkey that my mom had surprised me with after a nap. Or at least, I think I had been sleeping before she walked into my room on Dallin Street with a new, plump and clean sock monkey in her hands.

Georgette was fatter than George. She had a sweet, little apron attached to her clean, socky body and a hat that matched George’s in style, yet not drooly grime.

She was beautiful and my mother had made her just for me.

I took her in my hands and promptly threw her across the room and screamed, “I HATE HER!”

This is the part of the story where my mother’s heart either broke into a thousand pieces or hardened into a Fortress of Solitude. I really don’t know what she did or how she handled my lack of appreciation. I was much too busy burying my face into my pillow and screaming because I would no longer get to have George.

George was disgustingly crusty, and his sock-body was too weak to handle the washing machine without dissolving completely. It was time to add him to the burn pile and pray that he became a real monkey and scamper away with all his monkey friends. (Yes, I absolutely LOVE the story of “The Velveteen Rabbit”, by the way. And no – we did not have a burn pile. I grew up in the desert suburbs. Those were not normally allowed.)

I’m not sure when I warmed up to the idea of Georgette the Sock Monkey, but I have seen photographic proof that I, indeed, stopped hating her. In old, out of focus pictures that I took myself with my mom’s fancy automatic camera (a Canon Joy) you can see Georgette posing in with a rose in a vase, or you can see her just hanging out on my bed with my throw pillows. Sometimes I’d dress her up in my Cabbage Patch clothes to keep her from getting bored with her apron.

Georgette was the last animal that I remember being bonded with as a kid. Soon my baby sister was born, my thumb sucking stopped, and Georgette got added to the top of the hutch of my dresser with all the other stuffed animals I collected, yet was never interested in enough to actually play with*

Sock monkeys are now still a soothing sight and I don’t think I’ll grow out of them soon. Do I need another sock monkey magnet/t-shirt/pair of pajama bottoms? No. I think I’m good. Ok, well, maybe the pajama bottoms but only for when it’s SUPER cold or I have the flu.

*One time I decided to decorate my hutch with Christmas lights. You know, the giant C9 bulbs that were meant for outdoor use only? I laid them across the laps of my stuffed animals and came back from an evening errand with my parents to a strange burning smell. I’ll always be sorry about that, random teddy bear wearing a hand-knit sweater. Sorry about branding you with a giant red Christmas light. My bad.

My Evil Twin Takes Over and Goes a Little Crazy

I have started this blog post to you, oh, curious reader, for weeks.

It usually goes something like this:

Version 1:

Hey guys! What’s up! Have you heard the news? This loser’s getting divorced!

Inner thoughts to myself: Um. No. You can’t just drop a bomb on people like that. Try and make it more of a gentle update.

Version 2:
Hi everyone.

I know I haven’t updated the blog in a while but life’s been a bit of a clusterf**k.

Have you heard about my midlife crisis? You know, the one where I lose my mind and decide to leave my husband after 13 years? Yeah. I haven’t been too keen on writing anything about that lately. In other news, have you heard about twerking? What’s that all about?

So…yeah. I’ve got that going for me.

As soon as I get the nerve to look you in the virtual eye admit to you all that, yes, I have chosen to divorce my spouse of 13 years, I chicken out. I realize there’s no way in the world that I can explain my situation to you, no matter how many stories or explanations I attempt to tell you.

Even away from my church/God-centered circle of friends and acquaintances, quitting a marriage is seen as one of life’s biggest fuck ups.

Quitter. Failure. The one who gave up. That girl who didn’t fight for her family.

The new identity that comes with this choice is a heavy one, albeit, accurate.

This blog has always been a place where I could go and be 100% me.

I could tell you all about my opinions on raising suburban chickens (over it) and my thoughts on one piece bathing suits (gah). Even if I was polarizing or making fun of something you love (TOMS shoes) you’d still love me, and read my posts, and sometimes, even sometimes, I could get you to share a post or leave a comment.

But I get it.

Showing someone love and support when they’ve stepped into some serious shit is a really tricky thing.

Especially when they didn’t just step in a little bit of shit. This gal took off her shoes and rolled around in the stuff!

I know it’s hard to be around someone who stinks so bad. (Look out! It could be contagious!)

At first there was a small army who came out in mass to see what could be done. There was a day I had six different phone calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages from family and friends who were trying to find out just what had I let happen to my life.

Now it’s pretty quiet.

I don’t mind the silence all the time, honestly. Talking about how much you suck and looking into the faces of people you love and care for while you systematically watch them lose respect for you is a pretty lame thing.

People keep telling me that I’m not the same person I was a few months ago and that’s absolutely true. I have made decisions that will resonate with me, my family and people I haven’t even met, until I leave this earth. There’s nothing I can do that can rewind the clock and change things, despite what I sometimes tell myself.

I’d really like to get back to this blog space, even though it is such a blatant picture of what my life once was and now what it isn’t.

But this is Jenny’s Blog-o-rama, and I’m still Jenny. I may not be the Jenny you know and love anymore but I still exist. And I still love to write.

Human. Hurting. Sorry. Embarrassed. Angry. Fed up. These are also parts of my new identity.

I am and will continue to be amazed by the people who choose to avoid eye contact with me at church or in the store, and those who reach out to me to say “You’re an idiot, but I still love you. Cheers to your crazy-assed life.”

Who knows where you fall into the spectrum.

Maybe you’re reading this for more gossip-worthy tidbits to share at the next girl’s night?

Maybe you’re just an old friend who likes to stalk my blog every now and then to see if I mention anything about you or our old life together? (Hey there!)

Perhaps you’ve never even met me, yet you stumbled here to my blog post by mistake and are super-glad to read about someone else out there that sucks even worse than you do. It’s pretty thrilling to realize that you are not the worst person in a room, am I right?

But there’s a lot about me that’s stayed the same through all this.

Here’s a small list, in case you were wondering:

I still am into the whole ‘God-thing’, despite my life choices that appear to not jive too well with that statement.

I still adore my children, despite the fact that I only have them under my roof every other week now.

There is no one else I’d want to parent my kids with and no one else who could love them like their dad. I am happy that they have him in their lives and that I never have to worry about them when they are away from me. He’s a kick-ass dad and together, we made two of the most incredible, little humans this planet has ever seen. They will grow strong and be covered in love, and they will go on to do amazing things for the world and the people around them, despite the failing of their parent’s marriage.

(Seriously, if you come at me with the whole “you’ve ruined your kids’ life” thing, I will punch you in the vag. Back off, bitches.)

I still hate sushi, coffee, and most vegetables.

I still think the whole organic food craze is annoying and, in most cases, irrelevant to my daily life.

I have no idea how you’re supposed to act around a person like me, but I can tell you that I still like laughing, going to movies and hanging out with people. Don Draper is still the sexiest guy on TV and if you just want to talk about Mad Men with me, and avoid all deeper life questions, I’m totally cool with that.

If anything, I just wanted you all to know that I’m going to be writing here again, and if you hear me mention “my new place” or the fact that my kids are “with their dad this week”, you’ll know why.

I won’t be writing about the gory details behind things. I know this touches so many other people, and it’s not my place to tell their story or shine the light on them when they just want to lay low, heal and move on with their lives.

So, yeah. I guess that’s about it. I hope you are all doing well and that life has been full of rainbows and sunshine for you. Despite the shit storm that my life has been under, there have been some really great moments of love and laughter.

I hope those continue to grow and I can’t wait to share more of them with you here.

Splash! Some Dumb Things I’ve Done To Impress Boys

Posted on

I was having a conversation with one of our delightful new interns this morning about the dumbest things I have ever done to impress a boy.

“I’m very competitive. I can out-dumb ANYONE when it comes to boys!” I challenged.

If you’ve read any of these old blog posts, you know that I am 100% right.

I honestly didn’t know that adjusting your likes and dislikes to impress a boy was a “thing” until I saw the movie “Runaway Bride”.

I was 19 years old, engaged to be married, and surprisingly, my ridiculously young headed-for-marriage age was not my only issue. I distinctly remember the scene where they realize that Julia Roberts’ character, Maggie, always changed the way she ordered her eggs, based on who she was engaged to.

My eyes flew open at the screen as I remembered that I too, had converted to the “I’ll have my eggs like his, please” way of dating. For the record, I ate my fair share of eggs over-hard with the yolks broken for YEARS! That is not how I like my eggs, but I was so desperate to show this boy just how similar we were (we weren’t) so that maybe he’d try dating me again. This tactic had a fail rate of 100%.

For the record, I like my eggs fried (over medium) or like this amazing egg beauty above. Hard boiled with a soft yolk - thank you, Pinterest for changing my breakfast world.

For the record, I like my eggs fried (over medium) or like this amazing egg beauty above. Hard boiled with a soft yolk – thank you, Pinterest for changing my breakfast world.

I was always the ‘chaser’ when it came to early adolescent dating, so presenting yourself as an ideal, date-worthy candidate was something I could have majored in because I had done it so many times. Here are a few of my cringe-worthy attempts to win the heart of that special guy.

Summer 1992 – It’s just like swimming, but for Jesus.

I alluded to an old example of my boy-impressions-gone-bad a while back, and I think I’m finally ready to bring you all (hey, mom) up to speed.

The main man of my awkward Jr. High/early high school time (3 years, folks…that’s like a million years in teenage time!) was Aaron S. We cleverly referred to him as “N” (the last letter in his first name) so we could write “J + N” on everything from our hands, binders, homework and Kleenex boxes without being too obvious.

Ha! I actually kept a straight face when I wrote the ‘without being too obvious’ part of that last sentence. No, no, no, dear reader. I was the QUEEN of obvious. Everybody, at all times, was able to tell who I was into at any given moment.

I met Aaron at youth group on St. Patrick’s Day when I was in 7th grade. We were on the same team and had to form a leprechaun out of chewing gum that had been thoroughly processed by the team members’ mouths. It was gross. It was also an idea I think I stole when I worked in Jr. High ministry later in life.

From that moment on, I was smitten. He didn’t go to my school, which was a minor setback when you are 12 and you can’t exactly go drive and see your friends whenever you wanted. School was pretty much the only pool of candidates that I had for my crush-dom.

So, that night I agreed to come back to youth group with my friend who had invited me for many months to come. She was stoked to have scored a ‘new-to-church’ friend — I was stoked to see Aaron’s glorious face every Wednesday night, so it was kind of an even trade.

I later learned that Aaron didn’t just go to youth group on Wednesday night. OH NO! His papa, a giant guy that had once had his jaw wired shut, was the head pastor. WHAT?!

I learned early on as I leaked / shouted my hormonal interest in the boy that A’s parents had put up a protective wall of ‘you can’t date until you are 16’ around him. They were good. But I was ready to wait for guy, and to show it, I would begin working on my extra shiny Jesus-loving exterior.

Jesus and I were hommes, sure, and I learned about him every day at my teeny Christian school from six to seventeen. But I had never gone to church regularly or did things like listen to Christian music. I had a Bible, but I usually only cracked it for doing my Bible class homework. Which, for the record, may sound like it’s easy (Just write “Jesus” and it should work) but it was not! Our weekly Bible quizzes in high school were enough to stress you out faster than you could say ‘ex nihilio’. (Shout out to our amazing Bible teacher, Mr. Wright! You’re awesome!)

Anyway, the first step in Operation Spiritual Awesomeness was raising my hand when the youth pastor, Sean, asked if anyone would be interested in getting baptized that summer. At that church, there was a built in pool that got covered up with gymnasium/stage flooring when it wasn’t being used for the holy purpose of spiritually bathing your sins away. It was super cool, in a Transformers, sort of way.

Another highlight was that usually, the head pastor, A’s super-dad, would come over to the youth building and do the devoted dunkings himself. PERFECT! This would make an amazing impression on the family and we’d be picking out fonts for wedding invitations in no time!

But before you got baptized, you had to go to a class and be put through the wringer to see if you really knew what you were doing. We don’t want any fake baptisms going on here now, do we? Cowardly, I grabbed my best friend, Jaime and dragged her to class with me. She wasn’t so sure about the whole thing, but since teenage girls rarely do anything by themselves, she humored me and went along with the whole thing.

Our Bible class knowledge scored us a gleaming “You’re Ready for Baptism” stamp of approval, and the date was set.

Normally, a child’s baptism would be a big deal for a religious family. Alas, my parents tolerated my spiritual whims but never were on the sidelines with a big pair of foam prayer hands shouting “Hallelujah!” at me as I waltzed by in all my holier-than-thou glory. They agreed to go to the baptism, though, and I thought it would be a wonderful time for the future in laws to get to know each other.

In the meantime,  I blissfully went forward with the planning of how exactly I would hold my nose as I went underwater and what I would wear that would allow me to get wet yet still maintain my strict codes of morality. One false move in the garment department and things could be over before they even waited four years to get started! (I had an ongoing internal countdown that would remind me how long it was until his 16th birthday.)

When the day finally came, and all the grown ups piled into the youth room to witness the spiritual milestones about to take place, I scanned to room and realized that not only wasn’t’ my main wannabe-squeeze there, his entire family was nowhere to be seen either. What the…? Sadly, I learned that A and his family were all gone on summer vacation that Wednesday. None of them would witness my moving outward pledge to the Lord. What a jip!

I went forward with the dunking anyway because I never could let down a crowd. I got a cheesy certificate to remind me of my grown up decision and hung it on my wall next to all my Jonathan Brandis  posters.

Lesson learned. Baptisms: 1. Jenny impressing a boy: 0.

Totally Tuned In

Music and movies were a quick go-to area of flexibility in my ‘to impress a boy’ quiver. I listened and spent more money on tapes and CDs that he liked than I did on my own music, and was sure to play his favorites whenever he was in the car.

One of my proudest moments was when I finally admitted, on a long car trip up to Washington state, that no, in fact, I did NOT like Pink Floyd. I actually rather despised them. Their music made me want to shove pencils in my ears and cry a thousand tears. Maybe I had come to the point that this guy would never, ever date me again, so I could finally admit such an unheard of truth, but it was a major milestone in my relationship life.

Even now, in my early, blooming thirties, I really enjoy changing the station and making a mature “BLECH” sound whenever I hear Pink Floyd, just to continue to reinforce my point.

Adidas = Love

I came across some old photos of me wearing anything and everything that had to do with soccer, even though I had never played. Getting kicked in the butt by Jennie M. in elementary school after she told me to squat down and hold the ball (a la Charlie Brown) had quickly reinforced that the sport was not for me. But I was sure my sporty gear would show this soccer-star that I was prime date-meat. It didn’t work. Even after I drove 7+ hours to watch one of his college soccer games.

I’m not sure if I’d classify painful heels, murderously uncomfortable undergarments or hold-your-breath dresses to the list, but they were definitely worn with the sole purpose of looking as hot as possible, and therefore, to impress a guy, so perhaps I should add them to the list.

Have you ever compromised some of your likes and dislikes to impress a romantic interest? Please tell me I’m not the only one to get baptized for a boy…Does that baptism even count? Meh. I think I’ll call it good, but let me know if we need to plan another event or something. You know how I love me some spotlight : )

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30 other followers