Camp NaNoWriMo, Dear Diary

Dear Diary – Ten Years from Now

7-6-2029

Dear Diary,

Retirement is close. I can see it but I can’t touch it yet. It’s within grasp, but just out of reach. I can’t believe I’ve been a medical assistant for nearly 20 years. Where has the time gone? I never thought, in a million years, I would 1. be working in healthcare and 2. STILL working in healthcare. But I’m old, it’s too late to start looking for another job now. My doctor is getting close to retiring, too. He’s about seven years younger than me but surgery is hard on the body and I can see it’s taking a toll on him. He can’t last much longer. It’s hard to believe that our physician assistant is still with us as well. She’s so smart and beautiful I’m sure she could have made way more money with another doctor/hospital/specialty but my doctor and PA have a special relationship and they have worked together for so long I guess she figured it was easier to just stick with what you know.

I know the feeling.

There are times I miss our old nurses. We’re on our third nurse now in the past ten years. Babies grow up, opportunities present themselves and our nurses have gone on to greener pastures: it’s just me, Dr. So-and-So and our PA.

The three amigos. The clinic has gone through so many people over the past ten years I’ve truly lost count. I’m one of two left standing from the original crew. I’m either stupid or loyal, I haven’t decided which yet.

I’ve written so many stories and even submitted a few but have only received rejections. I suppose I shouldn’t give up but it’s hard to keep going when I feel like I’m the only one who likes what I write. I suppose I can really hit it hard when I actually retire.

Kevin wants me to retire in two years but I’m thinking it will be closer to five or six. I feel like retirement will be like my years when I was a stay-at-home mom and though I don’t regret staying home with the boys when they were little, I was bored out of my mind. Will retirement be like that? Other than reading and writing, what else is there to do? Kevin would respond with, “You could always do housework,” which my retort will be, and always has been “haha, I’m not your mom, when are you going to realize that?”

I think I could have rocked being a nurse. No. I don’t think, I KNOW. I’m a great multi-tasker and think quick on my feet. I toyed with the idea, briefly, in 2019, but I had zero interest in going to school, studying and of course, going into debt to pay for school. Not to mention ….. PEOPLE. They just exhaust me. At least, they used to, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t be everything to all people. All I can do is my best and I know, in my heart, that I give 150%  and that’s all I can give. You can’t please everyone so why not just be true to yourself? At the end of the day, does it really matter? In the grand scheme of things, Earth continues to rotate, the sun will set and the moon will rise and a new day will begin regardless of how crappy the day before might have been. I’m glad I didn’t listen to the people who were trying to talk me into going into nursing, I just don’t think it would have been a good fit. I’m empathetic but only to a point, the bottom line is, I just don’t have enough patience to deal with …. PEOPLE.

I would have rocked it though. You and I both know it.

Kevin is nearly 70. I can’t believe how OLD we are. It sounds old, and there are certainly days we feel old, but in a lot of ways, we are still those 30-something people who were just starting out with life juggling careers and young boys. I don’t feel my age in my mind but unfortunately, my body does feel my age. I know I have a good 25 (plus?) years left but I do find myself thinking about death more and more. I pray that Kevin and I both go at the same time and in our sleep. I would hope for something quiet and painless. I want to go together because honestly, I can’t imagine my life without Kevin. We’ve been married nearly 40  years – I can’t even remember my life before him. I certainly don’t want to think about my life after him.

I do find myself thinking about what will happen in our second life, when Christ comes back for us and raises us from the dead to inherit paradise on Earth. Will we know one another? Or will we be two strangers assigned different rewards and lives? Not knowing each other, or not knowing our children and extended family really makes me sad. I try not to think about it too much as I trust God and I’m sure it will be great, but I would be lying if the thought didn’t bother me.

A lot.

Blake is 37 and Brandon is 35. Blake is still not married but he’s dated a few quiet girls here and there. It used to bother me that he might not ever get married but I would rather he be alone and happy than be saddled with a woman who isn’t nice to him and miserable. Brandon is doing well. I’m really fond of my daughter-in-law, thank God, and their little girls are the apple of mine and Kevin’s eye. I love seeing them with Kevin, he just dotes on them. I always wondered what kind of dad he would have been if we had had a girl. He’s been an amazing dad to our sons and he’s a pretty great grandpa.

Blake is a manager of a retail store. He has really stepped up to the bat and proven his organizational skills. People respect him because he’s a man of few words and that keeps people guessing about him.

Brandon is a game developer and lives in Belgium Brussels. It really bothered me at first, him living so far away with the grandbabies, but it gives us an excuse to fly over and see him and his family and honestly, Belgium is a really cool place.

Roy still lives across the street from us. His dog Misty died and he now has another Shih tzu who is a bit more spirited than Misty was but seems to adore Roy. His tremors are worse now and we think he might have Parkinson’s. He hasn’t been formally diagnosed but he sees a neurologist in a few months so we’ll see.

Kevin finally broke down and bought a new(er) truck. His old truck finally bit the dust about six years ago and he has another Ford 150 that he’s driving around. He and Roy still go around to estate/garage sales and collect things but they don’t do it as often as they used to. Kevin sold his Genesis. It was a great car but he never drove it, so he sold it to make room in the garage for more thrift items to put in his booth and to make himself another workshop as he continues the challenge of fixing things up.

I bought my dream car, a Fiat Spider, black. It’s completely impractical but so much fun to drive! Not to mention, I look GOOD driving it. ha!

No plans to sell the houses. I mean, why? It’s just the two of us, we certainly don’t need anything bigger though I’m not going to lie, we do talk about maybe selling at times to maybe buy something smaller and using the excess money to put into investments or to add to our retirement accounts. We always wanted a brick home and I’ve always thought it would be nice to have a basement, but I’ve gone this long without one, I don’t suppose I need one now.

Our parents are doing well. Kevin’s mom is still with us though she’s slowed down considerably, she’s living with Kevin’s oldest sister. Kevin’s dad passed away about five years ago. Mom and dad are still going strong though I feel like dad is looking more frail but goodness, he’s over 80 now. I try and go over and look after them as much as I can.

Who knows how life will look in another ten years. I try not to think about my own mortality too much. I really don’t know why it bothers me so much, maybe I feel like I haven’t exhausted life yet.  Whatever life throws at me, I pray I have my mind, my body and am not a burden on my loved ones.

Post Six
Dear Diary, Parenting

Dear Diary: A Father’s Connection

Dear Diary:

All he ever wanted was to connect with them.

When we found out we were going to have sons, Kevin did what most fathers do: he fantasized about doing guy things with his sons someday. He would teach them things, he would grow close to them, he would have little buddies to hang out with.

That hasn’t really happened. Oh sure. Our sons love their father (probably more than me since he’s so much more rational with them than I am and plus – I’m a girl), but I don’t think Kevin feels like they are as close as he would like them to be. It’s taken him years to really find common ground with them. Kevin is a fix-it sort of personality. He enjoys challenges. He likes puzzles. He takes a hold of a problem and doesn’t let go until he figures it out and then conquers it.

I call him my bulldog because he simply doesn’t let anything go. (Which, on one hand, is a good trait to have because stubborn people are generally more successful simply because they don’t give up. But on the other hand, you have to learn when to quit because after you’ve reached a certain point, that point where you know in your heart it’s not going to work, it just becomes a waste of time and life is too short to beat dead horses).

But our boys aren’t interested in the same things as Kevin – not really. They could care less how to monkey rig a problem, or make something last longer than it was intended to last. They don’t care about creative maintenance solutions – they would rather just go out and buy something new than figure out what the problem is.

(They come by that mentality honestly. *ahem*)

They aren’t fascinated with problems or problem solving. (Kevin is an accountant and enjoys figuring out logical solutions to messy presentations).

They could care less about cars.

Or cooking.

Or music. (Though Jazz does love his saxophone, he’s not really interested in the type of music that Kevin loves – grungy guitar rock-type songs).

They don’t give a rat’s behind about yard work. Or house maintenance. (Though they should and will whenever they get to the homeowners stage one day).

Our sons are spoiled, entitled and have never really had a tough day in their life. And we take total blame for that. We molded them. We protected them. And they will have a rude awakening one day, I’m sure.

Reality is not all about rainbows and unicorns. Am I right?

So, when the boys saved up enough money to upgrade their computers (they both work with Kevin and Kevin pays them minimum wage and swears that he couldn’t run his business without them because he’s getting more and more clients) and bought customized parts to build bigger and better gaming computers and asked for Kevin’s advice on what to buy and then spent hours in the kitchen together putting those parts back together again, Kevin was in absolute heaven.

Finally. He found common ground. Finally. He found something they were all interested in and could bond over together.

He was happy. He told me he was happy. His actions spelled happiness. And it warmed my heart to see all three of them grow that much closer.

I have reached a point in motherhood where I am no longer inside their world: I’m outside looking in. It’s a weird position to be in considering I was one of those helicopter moms who wouldn’t allow their boys to say “BOO” unless I gave them permission to say “BOO.” In some ways, I miss those days. I miss my little boys who looked to me for guidance and relied on me to take care of them.

But mostly, I glad those days are over. I’m ready for them to take the reins of their lives and ride their choices into the sunset. I’m ready for them to meet adulthood without me hovering in the background. I will always be there for them if they need me, but I no longer wish to be the first person who they turn to if they have problems.

They are no longer boys, they are men. And they need their father now more than ever to teach them HOW to become men. It’s Kevin’s turn to take the parental reins and though one small part of me is sad, most of me is fascinated by the changes I see almost on a daily basis. I find myself in an interesting situation now: I’m the parent on the other side of the looking glass now. Though my job as their mother will never be complete, I think I’ve played my last mothering card – we’re using a new deck now and it’s Kevin’s turn to deal them a new hand.

It warms my heart to see Kevin so happy to take over. He eagerly took on that responsibility yesterday when he helped Jazz put his newly built computer back together again and their father/son conversation left me feeling warm, safe and secure inside – they are both in such good hands. Kevin is an excellent father – I couldn’t have prayed for a better father to my sons. He’s patient, kind, and considerate. He openly tells them he loves them, and is not embarrassed about the admission.

I think Kevin has solidified that father/son connection he craved.

Dear Diary, Work Stuff

Dear Diary: In the Middle of the Work Drama

Dear Diary:

I knew this was going to happen..

How could it not? You simply CAN NOT put a handful of women into one room, hour after hour, day after day, and NOT deal with the gossip wars. I’m trying so hard not to get sucked into the middle of it, but in not taking a side?

I’m each side’s confidante.

It’s incredibly awkward. Especially when I can stay objective enough to see both sides of the story. Each side has a valid point and though I understand the frustration and the resentment, it really does not do any good to get upset about it.

Everyone has faults, and quirks, and annoying things about them. (Except me – I’m pretty close to awesome, but that’s beside the point *ahem*). The trick, the true test of character, to me, is how you deal with all of these … erhm … complications. Me? I tend to just shrug them off because quite frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass. I’m there to do a job. And though it’s important to me that people like me? My life will not end if they do not.

*shrug* Such is life.

So when one of the girls I work with takes an hour and a half for lunch (we are only allowed thirty minutes), sure, I get annoyed, but I don’t go out of my way to snitch to my boss about it. Or when one of the gals I work with is so anal about doing things PRECISELY by the book and sees the world through black and white lenses (though we all know that the world tends to be a pretty shade of gray because every person/situation is unique and you can’t apply a “one-size-fits-all” label), sure, there are times I want to rip those glasses right off her face, but I don’t, because what’s the point? It might be immediately satisfying but I have to work with this gal every day – I’m more interested in keeping the peace.

I also get REALLY ANNOYED when my co-worker makes a POINT of picking up the phone to make a call at the PRECISE moment that a patient is ready to check out. She does this on purpose so she won’t have to help them and guess who ends up helping the patient even though this person has already helped 3/4 of the patient load that day and is UP TO HER EYEBALLS in things to do?

Yep. Me.

That probably annoys me most of all. Because I CAN NOT stand people who will not at least make an effort to do their job. It’s selfish, lazy and why the hell are they employed anyway? But still … I get over it. Because I’m a FIRM believer in what goes around, comes around. I’m fairly confident that my boss is intelligent enough that she sees what is going on. And I’m equally confident that my performance will speak for itself.

So I keep my mouth shut and I release my irritation in passive aggressive ways and I (im)patiently wait for karma to make her rounds.

But in the meantime, the drama rages all around me.

This past Thursday and Friday were particularly bad for one of the gals I work with. (I work closely with three of the other gals – let’s call them gal #1, gal #2 and gal #4 (because technically, I’m gal #3). Gal #1 has been there the longest. So she tends to bend the rules a bit, which just annoys the every loving crap out of gal #4. (Gal #2 is laid back, a sweetheart and makes an effort to stay out of the drama – which is why she’s my favorite, actually). So really, the war is between gal #1 and gal #4. Gal #1 is going through a lot of personal problems right now. She’s caught in the middle of an awkward love triangle with her best friend and her husband and well … suffice it to say, she has been under A LOT of stress because of it. (Which is THE NUMBER ONE REASON why I don’t have a best friend. I can’t STAND drama and I refuse to get sucked into someone else’s drama). She took an hour and half lunch the other day in order to try and get a handle on it. But because we were short handed (gal #2 was off that day), that meant I couldn’t leave to go to lunch.

Now honestly? I didn’t really care. Sure. I was a bit annoyed, but I was so busy that I just didn’t give it much thought. But it was simply too much for gal #4 and she complained to our boss.

Gal #1 got pulled into the office and reprimanded when she got back from lunch. Which did NOT help gal #1’s stressful situation, but to be fair, she should have said something about taking a longer lunch so we would have at least been aware of what was going on.

And gal #4 complaining about gal #1 not doing her job? Is a little like calling the kettle black because gal #4 helps the least amount of patients and the ones she does help, she tends to make it SO MUCH HARDER than it should be.

She’s exhausting to be around, quite frankly.

And this is just a small sample of the underlying currents that I have to swim against every day.

It’s the battle of the alpha females, I guess. And though I’d classify myself as an alpha female, I’d also say I’m a SUBTLE alpha female in that I bide my time and wait for the other alpha females to hang themselves, because it’s going to happen eventually.

It’s just all so … silly in the grand scheme of things. Women are so incredibly mean to each other and I’ve never quite figured out why aside from the obvious jealously factor. I’m amused by the games, actually. It’s sort of fascinating to watch women nibble on each other, like a school of piranhas attacking a meaty piece of flesh.

No. I prefer to sit back, observe, strategize and bide my time. I prefer to study my cards a bit more carefully before I play my hand. Because it pays off to be careful and patient.

Trust me. *sadistic smile*

Dear Diary

Dear Diary: Feeling Good

Dear Diary: I’m proud of myself.

I’ve been back on the workout wagon and I’m feeling REALLY good. Better than I’ve felt in YEARS.

As soon as my six weeks post-surgery restriction was up, I started working out again. I’ve been quite addicted to the Nintendo Wii’s EA Sports Active program. I’m currently doing the 30-day challenge and I’m having a blast. (I just finished number 15 last night). It is SO FUN to watch my (well-toned) avatar move along with me that I quite forget that my muscles are screaming and straining.

The workouts are only about 20 minutes long, but I’m quite winded after they’re over. The sessions typically end with a jog around the track and if there’s one thing I’ve never been very good at, it was running. But I’ve been sticking to it and I can tell it’s starting to pay off.

My clothes are fitting nicely again.

In fact, I’m wearing my skinny jeans again and though they still bite me around the waist line, they aren’t so uncomfortable that I can’t breathe. (Like they did when I first put them on).

I bought a pair of white jeans from Land’s End the other day (I KNOW! I’m almost embarrassed to admit that), and they fit perfectly. I can’t wait to wear them after Memorial Day.

*ahem*

It is so nice to be able to go to the bathroom normally again!!!!!!! I’m sorry for bringing this up, but it’s been such a huge problem in my life for so many years that now that it’s been resolved and I’m passing, er, stuff on a daily basis, I feel like a new woman. I thank God that I was able to finally get my intestinal issues resolved and I thank God for the wonderful doctor who fixed me.

Also? I got my hair cut off. I had about four inches whacked off and I love it. I can literally blow it dry, spray it with a bit of hairspray and call it a hairdo. It’s been so nice to have a “style” again and I will likely keep it this length forEVER.

Or until I can’t stand looking at it anymore – which ever comes first.

Life is good. I haven’t felt this great in years. The only thing I wish I could now somehow “fix” is my fatigue. It’s better now that I’m working out and I’ve been taking iron and calcium once again (I had to stop taking it for a while because it would only serve to clog things up in there and God knows I didn’t need things to move any more slowly), but I still have days, like today, where all I have the energy to do is just stare at the wall.

To say this annoys me would be putting it nicely. I’m just hoping that it will level off once my body finds a new normal from all of this exercising (that’s what happens with my appetite – I am RAVENOUS for a few days after starting an exercise program and then it levels off and my appetite goes back down to a manageable level).

But wow. The fatigue is mind numbing sometimes. And I mean that literally. I. Just. Can’t. Think.

I haven’t been sleeping that great. I’m a light sleeper, so everything wakes me up. Last night for example, I woke up because our neighbor’s stupid dog started barking at 3:00 a.m. Then I had to nudge Kevin because his sleep apnea mask had come off and he was snoring in my ear, then I woke up because I was hot (another by-product of my working out again. Which won’t level off, I’ll simply have to deal with. I’m one of those people who profusely sweat standing still), so I woke up this morning feeling really groggy and lethargic.

Anyway, if fatigue is the only physical ailment I have to contend with, I’ll take it. I know there are so many people out there that are forced to deal with so many serious physical problems that I feel rather stupid even bringing it up.

I work out every day, except Tuesdays and Fridays. There is really no reason why I picked those days as my days off, it just sort of worked out (get it?) that way. I do about twenty minutes of EA Sports Active and then right afterward, I get on the treadmill and speed walk for 40 minutes while watching an episode from a TV show. (I don’t watch TV – I rent the DVD’s from Netflix. Right now, I’m watching “Private Practice” and I will be starting the “Heros” series this weekend).

Though I try and watch what I eat, I’m not going overboard. I still have a daily sweet of some sort (or not – the point is, I can’t deprive myself or I go crazy and obsess about it) and try and balance my calorie intake (and all that really means is – I had a donut today which means I can’t have any candy or any other junk food for the day) and that’s it. That’s all I do. I keep busy so I don’t think about stuffing my face.

Then I see results. My clothes start fitting better. My poochy belly shrinks and that motivates me to continue.

And did I mention I’m feeling pretty good? 🙂

I have no idea how long this exercise spurt will last – sometimes it lasts for months, sometimes only weeks, but I feel good now and I’m going to hang on to that feeling for as long as I possibly can.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary … Too Cold

What a freaking cold day. The high only made it to 20 degrees. That’s pretty cold, even for Missouri. And even for December.

I had my weekly lunch date with Kevin – we went to Zios. Kevin has this theory – if he eats pasta, then he won’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night. And yes, he usually wakes me up around 3:00 in the morning to go eat a bowl of cereal or drink a protein drink. I’m getting a little worried about him, he’s hungry all the time.

We were leaving Zios when I noticed that my low-tire light came on. Again. I love my car, and the tires are awesome to drive on? But they are sort of notorious for leaking air. After I dropped Kevin back off at work, I went to the gas station near our house to check it out.

The winds were not only strong, they were biting – as in, single digit biting. I checked all of my tires and three tires were sitting at 25 lbs. They’re supposed to have 32 lbs. So, I set about airing them up. Only, I had to pay 0.75 cents to run the damn thing and then I had to pull and tug the hose out of the box and step on it so it wouldn’t whip back into the box when I wasn’t using it. I got the first tire aired up, finally, when I couldn’t handle the cold anymore and had to sit in my car to warm up.

By the time I was warm enough to air up my other tires, the stupid air had shut off and I had to pay another 0.75 cents to turn it back on again. That’s a $1.50 for AIR.

How stupid.

*****

I think I have the bulk of my Christmas shopping done. I talked to the boys after school today and all three of us put our heads together to try and come up with something for Kevin. I get so impatient with Kev because he won’t TELL me what he wants.

“I just want your love,” he says.

Aargh! He’s GOT that already. I want to give him something fun to open on Christmas morning.

“I gave you a wish list.”

Which consisted of: cords for his guitar, a microphone stand and guitar strings.

YEAH. How exciting!

So, the boys and I brainstormed and we came up with something that I think he’s going to LOVE.

I can not WAIT until Christmas morning just so I can see his face. It should be pretty entertaining. And to top it off? I got the best deal!! I can’t wait to tell you about it because YES, it’s that good.

The boys are done – for the most part. I still need to get some stocking stuffers, but that shouldn’t be too hard. We have gag gifts to buy for the family exchange and I want to buy my mom and dad something.

Other than that? I’m done shopping. Now I’m just waiting on packages to arrive. Don’t you love how you can get all of your shopping done and not even step outside your house?!

*****

We went over to Kevin’s parents’ house tonight to see his uncle. We had some of my MIL’s famous tacos (YUM! I only ate one because they are so greasy!) and then we played a little game where we had to draw a number and pick a gift. The next person could either draw a number and pick out a gift, or steal the gift of the person before them.

It’s all quite fun and all IN good fun. All of the presents were bought at the dollar store, so they weren’t anything big, but I think those are the best kinds of gifts to give because no one truly cares about the gift itself and can just concentrate on having fun.

I didn’t pick a gift, I took the mug that Jazz picked out. He got another gift and got an awesome Coke glass. Dude got a huge candy bar, but traded it for Tootsie Rolls and Kevin got a packet of 100 Grand mini bars.

*****

Two new business opportunities have jumped out at me and if I play my cards right, I might be able to seal the deals.

I’m excited, and yet I’m not. I always get extremely nervous when I start a new project just because I’m so focused on trying to design something that the client both wants and feels proud of. It quite stresses me out, to be honest.

I really need to get back into the business groove. Kevin has officially resigned as CFO and is now just a regular employee of the company. In fact, the company’s assets were sold this past Friday and now it’s all downhill from here.

I wonder what’s at the bottom of this hill?

Only time will tell.

image via mikE~510

Dear Diary

Dear Diary … Yesterday Was a Strange Day

Dear Diary:

I spent the entire day oscillating between sad, lonely, despondent, resigned and then back to sad again.

I don’t have many days like that, but when they happen, they tend to thwack me over the head so hard that I’m left grappling for balance the next day.

Like now. I’m grappling.

I’m so tired. And I have yet another headache. I can’t stand people who whine and complain and yet here I am, whining and complaining.

I’m tired because I spent the entire day, yesterday, fending off this overwhelming depression. It just sat on me all day long and no matter how many times I tried to throw it off and get up, I couldn’t.

Why did I feel this way, you ask?

It was yet another birthday.

*sigh*

I’ve never been a big birthday-kind of girl. I mean, sure, they were fun when I was a girl, especially because mom always made such a big deal out of our birthdays. And even though I turned my nose up at her efforts, or her sheer silliness, inside? I loved it. I ate it up. My mom never failed to make me feel special on my special day.

And then, I grew up. And got out on my own and though the people in my life continued to make me feel special on my special day, I pushed them away … and I don’t really know why. I think I reached a point in my life where it all started feeling so … silly. So … narcissistic. Which is stupid, because one SHOULD celebrate the day one is born. But I don’t know, all of the attention bestowed on me started making me feel … weird.

I don’t like people making a big deal out of my birthday. Honestly, a “Happy Birthday!” is the extent of the acknowledgment I need or want for my birthday. I’m not really interested in receiving gifts because I’m always wondering, in the back of my mind, how OBLIGATED did they feel to go out and buy me something?

I always picture people turning up their nose and thinking, “Oh GOD, it’s Karen’s birthday. I better get to the store and buy her a card and a gift because she’s my wife/mother/daughter/friend and it’s the responsible and RIGHT thing to do.”

Honestly? If people feel like that, I would rather they save their money. I don’t want pity gifts, thank you very much.

And yet, it’s nice to be remembered on my birthday. There’s a side of me that is secretly tickled whenever someone DOES buy me a gift, even though I ADAMANTLY request no gifts. It’s like I’ve given them an out and they have CHOSEN to not take it.

I know this doesn’t make sense. But feelings sometimes don’t make sense.

Kevin gave me a card. And the boys gave me a card. Only, they didn’t. Kevin picked out the card FOR them FROM them to give to me and though I appreciate the sentiment and I realize that he doesn’t have the time to take them card shopping, it still … bothers me, on some level.

The boys would easily forget my birthday if Kevin didn’t say something. And again, this … bothers me. It’s not something that will scar me for life or anything, after all, they are teenage boys, absorbed in their self-imposed worlds (I certainly don’t remember doing much for my parents’ birthdays when I was a teenager), but still … *sad face*

Hello. I’m momma.

I always take the boys out to shop for Kevin’s birthday cards. They pick out their own to give to him and it amuses me to watch what they pick – they are so indicative of their personalities. And any time the boys need to pick out a birthday card for their friends, they pick it out themselves (though there is generally a lot of grumbling because THEY’RE MALE and shopping for cards, heck, shopping in general, is just not something most males get into).

I do this because I think it’s important that they THINK about someone other than themselves.

I have gotten to the point where I dread November 9th.

I am uncomfortable being the center of attention.

I am uncomfortable with the whole social awkwardness that birthdays sometimes impose on loved ones.

I am uncomfortable growing one year older.

I am now in my mid-40’s. How the HELL did that even happen?!

Dear Diary

Dear Diary: Dressed and Ready to Par-tay

Dear Diary:

Thank goodness that’s over.

I spent the better part of the weekend on dress patrol. I know you’re probably sick to death reading about this stupid dress saga, and believe me, I’m sick of writing about it, but it’s a big deal to me because, well, you and I both know – I don’t DO shopping very well. And when I’m actually successful at finding something that fits and something that I like, I’m afraid it’s news worthy.

I got a late start on Saturday. A and M were over and whenever the boys have someone sleep over, I simply DON’T sleep. It’s the mother bear in me I suppose. I’m not only responsible for my boys, I’m now responsible for my sister’s boys too and that sometimes weighs heavily on my mind so that I can’t shut my brain off no matter how hard I try.

I finally summoned enough energy to leave the house about 3:00 in the afternoon. Kevin was at band practice, the boys were busy doing … geeky teenage boy stuff and I had finally talked myself into removing my butt from my chair and getting this odious task over with once and for all.

Hunting for a dress on Saturday was my THIRD trip out to look for a stupid dress. Shopping is like making a trip to the gynecologist for me so you can imagine how enthusiastic I was feeling by this point – I just wanted to get this stupid task over and done with.

I was determined to come home with a dress at all costs.

I only had about two hours before I needed to get back home and cook dinner for five hungry men/boys so I was in tunnel mode.

Tunnel mode means I’m completely focused on my task and get the hell out of my way – I’m on a mission.

Woe to the person who dares to cross my agenda.

I started out at JCPenney’s. And I found about six possibilities right off the bat, which is saying a lot considering they were having a sale and everything was nearly 50% off and really picked over.

I waited for a dressing room (because the place was packed and the atmosphere had a rushed, almost desperate, feel to it) and tried on the dresses.

No offense to JCP or to anyone who has bought a little black dress from JCP but they just felt … cheap. They looked and felt cheaply made and I simply wasn’t impressed with any of them. So, I put them back on the rack and headed back to Macy’s.

The last time I was at Macy’s I was in a hurry (even more so than Saturday) and I had somehow missed a whole section of dresses. I was on my way out the door when I noticed them – hence the reason I went back to take a look.

I grabbed several dresses and headed to the fitting room. At this point in my search, I was thinking outside my comfort zone. I just wanted a damn dress – I honestly didn’t care if it was something I would have normally worn or even of the price. I was feeling desperate and anxious just to cross this hunt off my list.

The dress I fell in love with was absolutely everything I never would have gone for initially. I tried to find a picture of it online, but no luck. Let me see if I can describe it for you:

It was a figure-hugging short (just above the knee) stretchy, spaghetti strap dress. And it had vertical layers of tiers that only accentuated your curves. It was white on top, a baby blue around the waist and then a darker blue around the bottom. All of the colors blended into each other so it was a soft combination of pretty colors as opposed to in your face COLOR – COLOR – COLOR blocks.

I felt sexy as hell in that dress.

I kept it on longer than the rest of the dresses I had tried on. I wanted it. Bad. But the practical side of my brain kicked in (thank goodness) and I knew it simply wasn’t going to happen.

Pros: It looked freaking hot. I felt sexy in it. Kevin would salivate.

Cons: It was $150.00. It was dated, meaning it would pass the fashion muster for a few years but then would look ridiculous when the trend passed. It was $150.00. I would never have an occasion to wear it. It was $150.00.

In the end, I reluctantly took it off and put it back on the rack. *sigh*

My search continued.

As a last ditch effort, I browsed the clearance rack. I don’t normally browse clearance racks because I never, ever, find anything in my size or something I would even remotely consider wearing.

But I looked. And I’m so glad I did.

I found another dress. This one was black and quite similar to the first one I bought – no wonder I liked it. It was timeless and the price was right.

I put it on my “seriously consider” list. I also hid it among some other dresses so some other desperate woman looking for a party dress wouldn’t snatch it up before I had made up my mind about it.

I headed back out to Dillard’s for one last look. I’ll be honest, I loved Dillard’s selections. But their prices … wow. They were a good $20, sometimes $30 more than Macy’s (exact dresses) so it sort of pained me to have to go back, but their dress selection was awesome.

I tried on ten more dresses (no, I’m not exaggerating).

But in the end, I went back to Macy’s and bought the dress I had found on the clearance rack. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was the most practical because of the price and the fact that I could get away with wearing it for many, many years.

The only problem? It’s a size smaller than I normally wear so … if I gain any weight, I’m going to have a problem fitting into it when it comes time to wear it. The bodice is so tight that I feel like I’m wearing a strait jacket with every breath I take.

But hey. Not being able to breathe is a small price to pay to put this dress issue behind me once and for all.

Here’s what I learned from my dress-shopping experience: It is freaking hard to balance self-imposed criteria when looking for a dress. For example: I was looking for something that was classy, sophisticated, wasn’t too young for me, something that looked sexy but wasn’t slutty at the same time and didn’t require a loan from the bank in order to buy.

And I think THAT’S the biggest reason why I hate clothes shopping. It’s that whole trying to find the middle ground thing. I’m a pretty modest person and I like to dress sexy now and again, but if it means being uncomfortable in order to achieve that sexy look, I’m not interested (unless I’ve been hunting for a damn dress for one solid week and then all bets are off).

I simply don’t have the patience required to find decent-trendy-looking clothes.

And because I know you’re going to want to see the dresses I’ve picked, I modeled them for you. I’ll try not to burn your retinas … too much. 🙂

dresses

(Please ignore my bra. I’ll wear a strapless bra – I’m not THAT tacky).

I know. They’re both black. *yawn* But hey, black is black and black is timeless so … hush. 🙂

And would you believe this is my first (and probably last) pair of strappy shoes?? I found these at Payless for $17.00:

legs

I just hope I remember how to walk in heels. I haven’t worn heels in about seven years.

So that’s it. I’m DONE talking about dresses.

I’m sure you’re relieved.

I know I am.

(word count: 1317)

Dear Diary

Dear Diary: You Should Have Known

dear_diary Dear Diary:

You should have known. You should have known that putting any kind of restrictions on me would backfire – pronto.

Here I was, consistently writing and posting, day-in, day-out, sometimes twice, even THREE times a day, just cranking out the word count when BAM – I had to go and put a restriction on myself by posting that dad-blasted 1,000 words a day button in the sidebar.

Now, I feel OBLIGATED to write 1,000 words a day and guess what?! I’m completely blank. Not one word, not one letter, not even a DOT of an idea is forming in my head.

Well, this sucks rocks.

Tough. I will trudge forward. I am a professional (it says so, right here on this fancy piece of paper) and I WILL persevere. I will do what any professional does when he/she gets too overwhelmed with self-imposed responsibilities – I will ignore you.

Button? What button?

Anyway …

I had lunch with Kevin yesterday. I love going to lunch with him. It gets me out of the house. It’s our private time.

And I get to bask in his dressed-up-professional-handsome glory.

*sigh* I miss dressing up to go to work every day.

We ate at Qdoba. I had my usual grilled veggie burrito (my favorite! I’d marry it if I wasn’t already married!) and he had his usual … er … burrito (damn, the name escapes me right this minute).

He talked about work. I listened. There could be some big-time changes for him in his professional life and I’m not sure how I feel about that. On one hand – wow. The responsibility. On the other hand – wow. The responsibility.

Of course, if I wasn’t aware that I had the Internet looking over my shoulder, reading this entry, then I might be able to go into details, but suffice it to say – it’s a good thing we are people who can roll with the punches.

Just sayin’.

We talked about our cruise. Duh. It’s coming up fast and we’re really excited. The kids are excited – I think. It’s hard to tell what is up with them right now seeing as how they’ve turned into these video game/computer zombies. They have been glued to their seats ever since school got out and it’s really starting to bother me. Do they really not have any other interest other than video games/computer?

And why does that bother me SO much? After all, they are only living by my example considering I’m on my computer so much of the day blogging, writing and oh yeah, working.

*sigh* Perhaps I’m uncomfortable with them being on their games/computers so much because when I look at them, I’m really looking at an aspect of myself and I’m thinking I’m not liking that aspect very much?

I don’t know. That’s too deep for me right now. I don’t want to think about it.

So, the cruise thing. Yeah, we’re excited. And I think it’s affecting Kevin’s attitude because he’s just been so … on edge lately. I think it’s largely due to the fact that he knows he’s about to have an entire week off, in the sun and fun and that food will be available to him 24/7 (food is always SUCH a big deal when we go on vacation. Not to me, but when you have three boys …)

I remember I always used to sort of hate vacations when I was working – the anticipation of going just threw me off rhythm for weeks beforehand and then I had such a sucky attitude for a few weeks afterward because HELLO!? Who wants to come back to work after having so much fun WITHOUT it?

So yeah, I can understand his attitude and I’m trying to adjust by walking on eggshells.

And we BOTH know how much I hate walking on eggshells. Been there, done that – caused major problems.

After lunch, I went shopping.

It was an accident, quite frankly. I had just dropped him back off at work and I was thinking about the cruise when I realized, with a jolt of surprise, that I only had a short time left before we had to leave and *gasp*, I didn’t have anything to wear for the formal nights!!

I believe I mentioned, (didn’t I?) that the only party dresses I own are the crushed black velvet kind?

Right. Think Elvis painting.

They’re terribly dated, immature and quite hideous, now that I think about them.

So, um, yeah, picture this – a 43-year old woman walking in with her dashingly handsome husband and sons dressed to the nines in their dress slacks and ties and me – a walking Elvis painting.

Gag me with a spoon.

I’m sure I would have been part of many funny, memorable vacation moments for a lot of folks.

So yeah, I panicked. I dropped by Dillards – just to take a quick look.

I should have known it would be an expensive quick look.

I was impressed by the sheer number of dresses to look through. They had devoted an entire corner of the store to party dresses so right off the bat, I became dizzy. Where do I even start?!

So, I did what I always do when I go shopping, I started with the mannequins. I figure if the mannequins have on something that I like, then chances are, the surrounding clothes might be a good place to start.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

I tried on several dresses and quite frankly, I was very pleased that I fit into my size so comfortably. All of the working out had definitely paid off. Granted, I hadn’t actually lost a size, but at least the size I was comfortable wearing was loose on me – and that’s all I had really been going for anyway.

I knew, as soon as I tried it on, it was THE ONE. It fit perfectly. And it was classy, yet flirty. And I felt pretty in it. And I LOVED the cowl back – so sexy.

I bought it.

I couldn’t remember if our cruise had one or two formal nights, so I came home, looked it up on their website – two formal nights.

Crap. Would it be tacky to wear the same dress again?

I went back out to Macy’s to see what they had.

I was disappointed as their selection wasn’t NEARLY as grand as Dillards, but I did happen to find another dress, totally NOT me but one I liked instantly.

Isn’t that strange?

Well here, I took a picture of them.

dresses

The black one has a lace bodice and a cowl back:

Isn’t that sexy?!

And I know, the flowery one – totally not me. But it’s linen and I thought the black strip on the bodice and skirt made it seem more dressy and I really wanted something cruise-y feeling, hence the tropical flair.

When I showed Kevin, he wasn’t all that enthused. But I was elated, I felt comfortable with my selections (well, I am still wondering a bit about the flowery one) and he totally popped my bubble by taking a look at the size.

WTF?

That made me mad. What difference does it make what size it is?! I’m an Amazon woman – get over it!!

I don’t know why he insists on making me out to be this petite woman – it will never happen. It’s physically impossible.

But after cooling my heels for a bit, I started thinking about it. I think he was just curious because he wanted to know my size and weight. After all, my size and weight are more closely guarded than state secrets.

(Which, now that I think about it, aren’t really all that closely guarded anymore, are they).

I modeled them for him and when he saw them on me, I think he actually liked them a bit more. I honestly think one of the biggest reasons he wasn’t too enthusiastic about my dresses was because I had to spend money in order to buy them.

And ya’ll KNOW me, I don’t LIKE spending money either, but when it comes time to enter that dining room, and he sees how all of the other women put me to shame on what they’re wearing and that I will at least look halfway decent, I think he’ll get over the sticker shock.

I do feel guilty though. And trust me when I say, I’ll wear these dresses every chance I get and will likely not buy anything else like this for another ten years (which was the last time I bought any sort of party dress).

Now … to find some dress slacks for the boys …

(UPDATE: I returned the flowery dress. I just didn’t think it was formal enough. So now … I’m on the hunt for another formal dress. Aargh!)

(word count: 1433)