Reality Check One Two, One Two @ Waiting on the Coffee, Sitting on the Couch – Webster

I was so excited to sit and write a post that started with something like “everybody agrees how bad I am at Mario Kart makes zero sense given how good (actually I would say stellar) I was driving through Idaho’s curves”.

But the reality is this post is coming by way of early morning time to write due to household cat management. It’s not really an inspired moment of reflection on our road trip home. (Trust me when I say, I have a lot to share on the days in between now and the post I wrote sitting on the couch on the front deck of our house in Bellingham.)

As I am writing this, I am interrupted by our resident cat coming *out of nowhere* and screeching as she pounced on new comer cat’s paw curiously poking out from the bottom of the basement door. Cat. Management.

We have this circus cycle of cats to litter box, cats to outside, cats to basement rotation going on as we (please dear God make this work) acquaint and blend our combined three cats.

Kids are blending fine. So fine that they apparently do not sleep and I hear both sets of new sisters rounding out their “all nighters” upstairs. Good. Grief.

Personally, I am recognizing this cat wake up call this morning as an introduction to being in front of a computer screen at 5:30a as I plan to work early once the kids are back in school so I can break mid day for a couple of hours to do the whole lunch, “what are you learning”, “let’s do science” thing.

The lunch part of that equation is especially important as the teens “free feed” which, you know, makes everything harder (per a cat article on how to introduce new cats…) The weeks we did an established lunch time during quarantine seemed to work out well.

….Except now I am not sure what meal you call what they eat at noon… per some quarantine inspired song lyrics I wrote, “dinner is breakfast, and breakfast is dinner, and lunch is all the time….”

All of this to say – The reality checks will happen. All nighters will meet all day zoom school starting Monday. The cats will eventually cross actual paths. My work schedule is going to have to get serious.

And with those upcoming cruxes (life is really just a climbing route), there are plenty of other new, less challenging, realities: that I am deeply charged by when all 5 kids are together, the humor David and I find in our combined calico of cats and kids, and the confidence we have in our current phase… being in the same bed every night. These are rich, live-giving things.

I, of course, have a short list of observations and sentimentalities to explore and share. I, of course, have things I am learning and leaning into. Specifically, this notion of “being the generous and just queen” and handling blips a little better… like when my stepdaughter assumed my chimichanga was hers and asked me to remove the toppings. Rather than being a generous and just queen “oh! I thought you had your dinner, here, let’s split it”, I forfeited my longed for Mexican, nearly cried and let that moment mean more than necessary.

I had the hardest time falling asleep that night processing how I wished I had assumed my power as the woman who will be showing this young girl how to be kind and fair and generous. Then feeling the relief that I get to try again the next day. Then the wash of “man, why did I act like one of the kids”, with then the relief of “now you know”.

Ah, the cycle of process and growth…

I do need to acknowledge the role of fatigue and hunger in those moments; causing me to not handle things as well as I did the winding roads in Idaho. It’s just plain science that I will have moments where reactions are human reactions and not the strategies of well rested royalty. It’s just, I suppose, a reality check to self care and to fold in and to communicate gently.

Anyway. It’s been a couple of days so I have a lot starting to bubble up and work itself out in words and phrasing. But it’s time to wrap it up and have a little coffee time with the husband.

…It is such a neat season to be paying attention. //

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According to Ellen (who did not sleep and is walking to Starbucks as we speak with Aria), I am waiting to knock out some cats with my Captain America shield.
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Scene from last night while three pizzas, 30 toasted raviolis, 1/4 watermelon, a quart of strawberries and salad were put out on the buffet. :)

Nice Wide Turns @ David’s Office in Bellingham 8.4.20

Feeling compelled to write current thoughts after a lunch break comprised of kundalini yoga for the hips & a piece of sea salt caramel dark chocolate.

One of the main themes in my personal evolution is letting go of the need to address change in others. There are things I want our kids to learn (like cleaning up toothpaste on the counter or being considerate of what you leave in the sink) before they turn into college roommates.

Yet, the management of 5 project plans (one per kid) and the coordination of said plans with David layered by the actual household projects and pantry management on top of “work” work, desired creative bandwidth and personal time is just too much.

And… based on recent findings… unnecessary…

On my flight in on Sunday, I had just had one of those glorious crafty moments where I think of a game that is actually a great way to manipulate the kids into doing what I want them to do when I noticed how the plane was turning.

A nice, wide turn.

I felt the control of the plane, the perfect balance of steadiness and direction, and recalled this double stroller I had when Ellen and Lucy were little. It was a high end stroller, a gift from a wealthy aunt on my ex’s side, and it could turn – literally – on a dime.

Crowded zoo? #nobigdeal Packed Saturday market? #bringit The thing was engineered for quick control and change. The plane turned much differently than the stroller.

In my awareness of these two very different calculations of engineering, I realized the fault in my quirky little game that would trick all the kids into doing what I wanted. What I need to bring to this family is not control, it’s indeed a balance of steadiness and direction.

It’s a steady application of everything I am learning by allowing others their life.

Yesterday afternoon, David and I went walking in the park. I had thought a lot during the day of our household and how to set us up for healthy meals and virtual learning. I was excited to share slash just wanted to hear myself talk so I prefaced myself… I said, “Babe, I have been thinking about how I want to manage the household and I am going to tell you about it but don’t worry – you don’t have to have an opinion or feel any pressure to build on or expand the idea.”

He started to laugh. He was so grateful to know I just wanted to talk and he didn’t have to do the whole sharpen my iron thing. I have learned from experience, my zealousness and excitement can put undue pressure on his pscyhe… he ends up problem solving the thing I figured out… we get lost in words… I just wanted to talk to begin with, so this time? I released the valve right away.

After a brisk walk around the lake, pausing only once to social distance / check the view, we stopped by Whole Foods to pick up an order and David was growing hungry. I could tell because, when he is hungry, he exercises his world class ability to be mad at everything and mad at nothing at the exact same time.

I have learned to shoulder him, like how he shoulders me when I am tired and can’t think straight enough to sound anything other than curt.

His hunger also can invoke “hyper management protocol”. (I watch a lot of Avengers.) With the edge of his stomach somehow triggering a survival mindset, he will question  whether or not we need X or have Y, whether I have done X or if I know Y.

Historically speaking, I take this personally and feel a lot of pressure to know answers to all these questions. However – a key thing I have  learned is “No, babe” is the perfect answer and – most importantly – it is 100% rhetorical when he asks me “Now what, babe?” about things he knows I have never done before or places I have never been.

(PS: This is very much unlike when my children ask me where things are in CVS, like I work there.)

I have learned I do not need to take anything of the energetic imagination on; it is easier to smile, to be equally curious, to be kind, to continue.

I am not perfect at this. But I am prefacing and I am adjusting.

That turn into Sea Tac on the final descent was really fascinating to me. I have a feeling a lot of life is going to be served well by remembering the truth of staying steady and keeping my focus when maneuvering my proverbial plane.

With the kids, this looks like “invitational awareness” and tailored choices.

“Do you want to put away the clean dishes or do you want to wipe the table?”

“Feel this dough – it is so smooth!”

“Would you like to hang out with me and load the dishwasher or come in when I’m done and clean up the pots?”

“Next time you’re in the bathroom will you see how many things on the counter – toothpaste, trash, pants, nerf gun, gum wrapper, small plastic spider – are yours and see if you can count them up and then take care of your mess? Let me know if I can help you.”

Because I would be happy to.

I could tell them to do it, to fix it on a dime, but the nice, wide turn feels a lot more accommodating.

It also seems to make way for a lot more believable story as to how they became such a kind, helpful roommate.

 

Erin OS @ Making a Checklist 7.21.20

I have had a really productive two days at work. I am alert, making quick connections and moving things forward. I am getting hours worth of work done in 5 minute sprints, I am relaxing in between, and I am getting my footing on things that have long been a wash.

I am also purging my house, continually updating “life lists”, selling items on my temporary Facebook account (which – omg – Facebook got hard) and updating flights, switching laundry, sitting on the stoop after watering the garden.

The house is a total wreck but there is order in the chaos. And, at some point today between working with a car dealership on a cash offer for my car and brainstorming love it or list it options on the house, I moved two Harry Potter coin purses into a pile next to two throw pillows because “that’s where they went”.

All the while, I have been thinking about Ellen and Lucy and working with Will on what we think is best for their back to school. I moved my flight to have a week with them and just veg, see my mom. That will be nice. We have FaceTimed Aria, Kara and Maddox a couple of times and our “Married Life Business” list has items for them…

Checks benefits site…

Submits life changing event…

Adds two more items to the list to get immunization updates…

Adds item to the list to make ortho appointment…

David has been working and taking showers. He keeps the kitchen clean, is in charge of the coffee and makes routine checks out of the window; noticing how much the grass has grown “probably because of all this rain”.

He poses questions about the sump pump, why Kanye is famous, and whether or not “cars with the boom boom boom” are just a “city life thing”.

Tonight I sat on our gently used West Elm Paige Queen Sleeper (which can be yours for $400) and listened to him while he paced and talked and looked handsome.

He joined me on the couch and I asked him a thematic question about the fall, how we might talk through the ideas on the horizon with the kids.

“Babe, I’ll have to think on that – my brain is not as multithreaded as yours”.

Multithreaded. :)

“In computer architecturemultithreading is the ability of a central processing unit (CPU) to provide multiple threads of execution concurrently, supported by the operating system.” (Wikipedia, obvi)

I am for sure a million miles more productive when I have a lot to execute on. It can make me seem crazy though, preoccupied even, and fast about things.

It’s interesting to have this description from David in our marriage. I can feel this sensation of the reverb “does not compute” when I don’t get the answers I am looking for. But that’s not because I am annoyed.

It’s because I’m executing.

Interesting.

That’s all for now. Buy my stuff on Facebook. :)