The Lemonade Challenge

I’m feeling a little down. With the sting of my most recent rejection letter fresh in my mind, I started thinking about lemons. Metaphors serve to provide a concrete image to an abstract idea or thought. (See, I know my stuff) Today, while my son was playing at the local indoor playground. (it was sweltering outside today) I had this ridiculous image of person crying over a lemon. Tears dripping down a lemon. Then, I thought about throwing that lemon down on the ground and stomping on it a few times or screaming at it. The lemon does not change in my mental construction. It’s waxy outer skin completely unfazed. Until you take the time to cut the lemon in half, add sugar, and water it’s still just a lemon.

Here, is my challenge… Tell me about a time when life handed you a lemon and you made lemonade. Tell me about a time when you didn’t think your goal was attainable, but you were able to preserve.  Let’s celebrate accomplishments and flood the internet with perseverance.

 

Advertisements

Ambitions

*** I debated on whether to post this blog because it makes me sound sad and depressed. When in reality, I’m sad and depressed, but I’m writing to try to think things through. It’s 10% rant,76% pity party, and 28% self discovery. So if you’re not in the mood for a depressing post I urge you to move on to read about your passions.

Ambition and passion change over the years. The things I like now are not necessarily the things I liked back in high school. When I was in high school I thought I was going to be a great artist. Despite still loving art, finding the motivation to create a piece generally eludes me.

My mom talked me into perusing architecture because architects, “make a lot of money.” I was never passionate about building buildings and the business aspect of the craft was put offish to me.

Then, I thought I was (I accidently typed ’twas;’ I twas goingth to beith a…) going to be a scenic designer for the theatre. My impediment with theatre was the lack of theatre in my hometown. I would’ve had to traveled to faraway places, away from my family. I couldn’t do that to my grandpa.

My latest passion is teaching. I love to teach, but my passion I believe is misplaced. I love to show what I know to wow my audience. And to be frankly honest, I get anxiety attacks that are damn near debilitating, that I have to power through to keep standing, while standing in front of a classroom. I was under the conception that if I could just get in a classroom I would get “used” to standing in front of a class and the jitters would eventually wear off.  You know, like when therapists make people who are deathly afraid of spiders hold a giant spider, usually a tarantula on TV or in the movies.

So right now with my passions staunched, I am left feeling empty, pointless, and useless. I’m in between passions. I feel like my chance at doing something beneficial to the world is slipping through my fingers and find myself wondering about all the billions of people who manage to live everyday knowing that they are living to die. Do I live for happiness? And how do I obtain happiness if I have to work at a job I won’t like just to survive?

I will hear back from my latest teacher interview approximately Weds. where they will most likely say something to the effect, “Thank you Mrs. B, but we have decided to go with someone who doesn’t stutter, who has more confidence in his or her abilities, and has more/any experience in a classroom.” Okay, maybe that’s not exactly how they will turn me down, but I can read between the lines. There is a small glitter sized grain of hope that they will accept me, but then I wonder can if I really handle it considering I lost 25 lbs. during my 60 day long term subbing stint in another school. Then I turned around and gained it all back about three months later.

I think as soon as I get my next rejection, I will try to take on a different type of job. Something to cleanse the palate.

 

Epiphany

sugar high

PS he didn’t eat the whole thing.

We all know that amusement parks are overpriced for the sake of being overpriced. The last time we went to our local park my son talked me out of a tube of sugar. You know the ones: the tubes come in various lengths and prices, you can choose from about twenty different flavors on a kiosk, blah, blah, blah. The tube I let him have was $4.99.

My son is a bit of a pack rat and wouldn’t let me dispose of the empty tube. So I asked him if he’d like me to fill it up again. I happen to have purchased baking flavors on a clearance rack after Christmas last year. He enthusiastically agreed. So I pulled out the handy dandy Kitchen Aid food process and measured out how much sugar the tub held. It held a whopping 6 teaspoons or a tablespoon a half. I knew they didn’t hold a lot, but I paid five bucks for six teaspoons of sugar. I am in the wrong business.

Back to the processor. I put in one drop of cherry flavoring and a squirt of lemon because all that stuff has citric acid in it. (I think you can buy it from the store; I happened to have a lemon in the fridge) I whizzed it up and poured it in the tube. I made extra for later. And I have a happy, sugared up six year old.

No Rant Today

I was very close to my grandpa. I was a grandpa’s girl and held him in the highest regards. He passed away a few years back. My brother commented on how he had never really seen me cry until grandpa’s funeral.

At any rate, today as I was zipping back and forth on the lawn mower at my mom’s house (she broke two ribs, so I was helping)I noticed that the front lawn was mowed. Our neighbor across the street tends to the front because he parks his trucks and trailers in the drive so it wasn’t unusual. But the back end of the property was mowed as well curtesy of the neighbor to the left of her house. Which made me wonder if grandpa hadn’t set up some sort of pact with the neighbors because he knew the property was too much for one person to handle.

Or maybe my mom is just blessed with great neighbors. I guess I’ll never know. 🙂

Failure to Launch

A few years back my mom was talking to her manager about me, my schooling, or other the other things that mothers talk about their daughters. I was still in college, I believe it was the first time (my undergrad), and mom explained to her manager that I was in school and was still living at home to which her manager made some comment about me, “failing to launch.”

Even more bizarre to me was that mom decided to tell me about this conversation, or maybe it was the one and only time I went to Mom’s manager’s house with her, I don’t remember. At any rate, I stewed on this comment for days, weeks, and months. Had I really “failed to launch.” I was honestly hurt by this colloquialism. Was a failure to launch a failure at life? What had I failed at?

I was socially awkward, still am. I lived at home while I went to college, but that was more out of convenience and budget than it was because I didn’t want to move out. Hell, I felt like the ugly ducking at school because I was the only one in most of my classes that didn’t live on campus. Her words felt as tangible on my skin as a shirt and I didn’t know why they bothered me so badly.

Now I have my own house, a child, a husband that I haven’t divorced nor have plans to, two dogs, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. Even though I can’t manage to get a job in my field does that make me a failure? Have I still failed to launch? I guess my take away from this is choose your words carefully because even the most innocuous idiom can leave a physical mark.

I love my family and all, but…

Family reunions are a time for catching up and visiting with family that you haven’t seen in a while. Playing games and pranks on one another is part of the fun. What my mother doesn’t realize that since my son been born, family reunions have been a point of contention. For me they are hell.

Since my grandparents died my uncle has insisted on holding the annual 4th of July festivities at his house which is a solid two hours away from where I live and if that wasn’t enough. For some reason, only known to my mother and God, my mom insists on fixing the lion’s share of the food. *Okay, part of the reason my mom feels responsible is because A.) We have always been responsible for the food and B.) My aunt and uncle do not season ANYTHING.

Aside from the lack of salt, it’s just awkward. I only kinda know the people they are inviting  because without going into too much detail, most of the attendees are not really related to me. I don’t know the majority of these “relatives” despite my mom’s insistence that I do. And then there is Liam.

Liam’s first 4th of July was spent hooked onto my boob. Everyone on that side of the family saw my boobs that first Fourth of July. He was only two months old, he was out of his element, possibly colicky, it was hot as hell’s fire, and I breastfed. Although, the saving grace, that year, was when my aunt’s sister came up to me a gave me kudos for breastfeeding and using my boobs for what they were intended. So it wasn’t a complete wash.

Every year since, Liam’s first fourth something has happened, that has been caused by my son. When he was three-four he stole my uncle’s keys and threw them in a hornet’s net. Another year, or the same year, I don’t remember, he got into a fight with my other uncle over the TV and began hitting him. That was the year we had to explain to EVERYONE that he was autistic. Literally something has happened and at least one other “relative” has had an opinion about my son, my parenting skills, etc.

This year was uneventful. Liam had taken all of his ADHD meds. He stayed pretty much with the the other kids. My cousin brought an arsenal of firecrackers and helped keep him and the other kids occupied. When they weren’t playing with fire (supervised). All the kids were on the slip and slide or throwing water balloons. Liam has learned to self regulate to some extent so when he would get frusterated with a situation he would take a lap or two around the house or come and get me. It was great, until my relatives had toput in their two cents.

I was explaining to another uncle that there wasn’t a whole lot that Liam was allowed to get away with and he scoffed in my face. I never got the chance to explain that there is a difference between him getting away with stuff and giving him better options. He thinks differently, an “old fashion spanking” has no effect nor is useful with him. He’s strong willed. What we have learned is giving him alternate options does work. So you may think that I’ve lost control of a situation, but more often than not, believe it or not, I AM IN CONTROL.

Secondly, another cousin asked me if I make him sit down right after school to do his homework. Hell no, I’m a teacher, I don’t even like to sit down right after school and do school work myself, why would I do that to my son? I need to decompress as does he. That is my choice, don’t judge me.

Thirdly and the coup de grâce, on of my other uncles came up to me after the party was over and most everyone had left when mom and I were the last guest because, of course… He came up to me and by way of farewell said, “You couldn’t pay me enough to be that boy’s parent (indicating to my son).” I was hurt, my heart hurt. Liam has come a long way, a long, long, way. Of course if I had my way he wouldn’t have been autistic, but since he is I wouldn’t have him any other way. He loving and altheltic, and smart. He can rattle off the names of construction machine as we roll down the road; he is six for God’s sake, and a boy! Yes, he has meltdowns. He has given me more minor heart attacks than I can count, but I will never, EVER not love him because he is autistic. If anything, I will love him more. You know why, Uncle? Because he needs it more. You wouldn’t want to be my son’s parent? Well, don’t worry, you don’t have to be and I couldn’t be happier.

The Loony Bin

The nurse walked by her side directing her where to go. At each stop, they filled out more paperwork and took vitals adding to the collection of leaves on the clipboard. The nurse was younger than she was, probably only by a a few years and had on shiny black shoes that tapped with each step she took. She liked the attention. Helen checked herself in so that he couldn’t. If he brought her here, he chose when she left. This way, she was in charge.

Mowing

Mowing the lawn makes me think of my grandpa. He was the lawnmower man of Middletown, in other words he tinkered with lawnmowers. I remember countless mornings when I would wake up to the drone of a mower. To this day, there is no white noise quite as gratifying. He kept the lawn immaculate; we didn’t realize how much he did around the house until he was gone. I still think, occasionally, I can see him watching me mow the lawn out of the corner of my eye, though I hope not. That is not how I want him to spend his afterlife. But, I can’t help but think of how proud he would be of me for all the work I do around their old house, my mom’s house; he respected hard work.

back to reality

Night before last, my son and I went to visit my mom, play on my mom’s I-pad. He talked me into staying the night over at her house, which in only about twenty minutes from mine, but I agreed. The next day, yesterday, we went running around town, groceries and such, and I asked her to take me over to my house so I could let the dogs out. When we got to the house. I didn’t think anything of it. I let the dogs out, puttered around the house, and realized that the animals probably needed their food feeders filled. (try saying that three times fast, “food feeders filled”) I go down into the basement to find a swimming pool. I didn’t think it was a deep as it was, so, I like the genius that I am, wade in it. When I got to the middle of my laundry room the water was up over my ankles. I start freaking out, my mom’s upstairs with my son yelling, “What! What!” I’m just like come down here and effing look! I start grabbing things and sending them up the stairs. I’m pissed at this point because things are getting ruined. I have a chest freezer sitting in about eight inches of water.

I want it to be known that this was not my most shining moment. I know in retrospect, I didn’t handle things as well as I could have.

I rushing around trying to get things up out of the water. My son is insisting on being down there with me. Bless his heart, he was just worried about me. But I was worried, I didn’t want him in the nasty water. So, I’m screaming my head off at my son to get out of the gross water. My mom’s standing there the pillar of calmness. Which was really pissing me off because I wanted help. She went over to Lowes and bought a sump pump.

I’m down in the basement trying to  rig this damn sump pump up the way the guy at the store told us to and the water keeps shooting me in the face. I’m beyond pissed at this point because I can’t figure out how to get this thing together. (insert explicitives here) Every time I turn it on it shoots me up in the face and there my son is the thick off things. Now that I think of it, you know calmly, I would have done the same thing at his age, and did. When I was about 6-7 years old my mom’s apartment complex decided to clean the carpets in the apartment. I couldn’t stand not being in the middle of it all. I had one of those pop up tents on my bed and I crawled up in there while the cleaners shuffled the bed and it’s contents around the room to clean it, ultimately I fell asleep in the tent.

bed tent

This is like the one I had but I think mine had My Little Ponies or Strawberry Shortcake on it.

 

 

At any rate, my mom had bought a sump pump that you stick in a hole. My guess is when she went to the store to get a pump she requested a sump pump and the guy that sold it to her thought she was sticking it in a hole. In reality all we wanted to do was get the water out of my basement. So after a while, after I was frustrated to the point of crying i sat down with the instruction manual and figured out it was the wrong product, so I called Lowes explain exactly what I needed and the guy on the other end, Jeremy, explains that i needed a utility pump (I accidently typed utility pimp, give me a break my fingers are tired form cleaning up the basement). We go back and get the new pump and it takes me five minutes to hook it up and four hours to pump the water out. My mom had taken my son to her house while I waited for the pump to finish, cleaned up the rest of the basement, and polished off a bottle of Sutter Home Moscato, because damn it I deserved it.

I had pulled all the plugs to the appliances in the basement because you know….I didn’t want to get accidently electrocuted. My chest freezer unthawed, but it wasn’t a tragedy, I lost a ton of squash that may or may not have EVER gotten eaten and a chicken that was dated 2012. It probably needed done anyway.