Updates, Confessions, and Countdowns

Ahhhhh… The 26th–30th of December have to be the most “restful” days of the year. These were the days when I would start a knitting project for myself and spend a few hours watching sappy rom-coms or bingeing a show, because I literally had nothing else demanding my time (we will not mention the cleaning or second-semester Co-op prep that needs to be done—that can happen between January 1st and 5th, when it’s a new year and I’m supposed to be all motivated and stuff).

But I have a bit of a confession to make: Christmas didn’t really…”happen”…this year. I mean, we did have some presents to open, sorta, on Christmas morning. We spent wonderful time with family. I did manage to get a tree up around 10pm Christmas Eve (my trusty, dusty 12″ backup tree with battery-powered lights, which was all I could bring myself to set up this year). But neither my husband nor I were feeling the spirit, and we were not even motivated by guilt or our children to make the magic happen this year.

See, we’re both kinda jaded and burnt out at the moment. I spent much of the week leading up to Christmas trying to keep a massive inflammatory issue at the Symphony down to a controlled burn. We managed to make some decisions during that week that mitigated the disaster somewhat, but I confess that I am still frustrated, angry, and downright DONE WITH IT. I wish I could go into detail, but I cannot. Suffice it to say, I’d rather go back to Covid policy discussions. Those were a breeze compared to this enormous train wreck I’ve found myself smack in the middle of.

(I’d just finished reading back over old blog posts, and found it somewhat hilarious that I’d been trying to back out of committees and commitments with them, but now I’m so embroiled in everything, even more than I was before! And I am currently so fully fed-up with some of my colleagues that I just might quit earlier than June 30th, when my elected term is up. I’m hanging by a string right now.)

On the military front, my husband’s job is not what it promised it would be, and he’s dealing with a certain level of frustration—but he is home far more often than he used to be and there is a light at the end of the tunnel (which is probably not a train). However, every fiscal year continues to get worse, with how late (and erroneously) they publish active-duty Guard orders. We were five weeks without active-duty eligibility (more than 30 days, which can screw up the works even more if the right incompetent people are in charge), which meant no healthcare for any of us. Their “fix” was to erase our eligibility from the time Husband started his new Title-10 job last June (around the time I fixed our last eligibility issue, following his return from deployment—I should just tell this whole story in another post, because I can go into detail with this, and it’s a doozy!).

Long story short (because I can tell the long version later), I had to start pulling strings that I learned to pull the last time we had an issue like this, and it was like an escape-room puzzle: Pull one string to correct past eligibility (which should not have disappeared!), and you erase current eligibility! Which string do I pull to make us fully eligible, like we have been the entire time my husband has been commuting to work for the past six months?!

AHEM. Near as I can tell, it’s FINNNNALLLLLY been fixed—three whole months later!—and I should be able to start calling doctors, setting up new appointments and rescheduling old ones, and doing the dance of “referral, authorization, or that’s-not-covered-don’t-even-bother”. And somehow I have to figure out whether I still have my vision insurance…

So we’re kinda exhausted. On all fronts.

BUT! We’re also well-fed! The HelloFresh kit has been super helpful while I’ve been struggling to just barely keep things going at home. I’ve made some very tasty dishes, learned a few recipe hacks, and have figured out at least two nights a week when I can take time to cook the meal kits. I’ve also regained some motivation for cooking some of my own recipes on other nights that may be busier or have less time in the evening to make much. We don’t eat quite as much frozen pizza as we did, and I’m not subsisting on pasta when I’m hungry but lacking motivation to eat it with anything but butter.

And, even though no real Christmas traditions (other than procrastination) were exercised this year, I did get some baking done, and that does wonders for my mood (if not my waistline, LOL), because I’m good at baking, and the smells are uplifting.

Now I’m looking a new year in the face, and I’m trying not to delude myself into thinking that this year is the year I actually keep anything resembling a New Year’s Resolution or list of goals. At this point, I’m happy if I can keep putting one foot in front of the other and gain some ground over what I had before.

I wear a Fossil smartwatch (Google Wear OS), and one of the customizable faces has a calendar countdown. Right now, it’s set for June 30th, 2023, just a little over 180 days from now. I also have an alarm set on my phone for 10pm June 30th, so I can even see how many minutes and seconds until I can FULLY peace out, without the risk of anyone calling me last-minute. I’m not under the illusion that I’ll be entirely free on that date, but I’m going to do the best I can to make a clean cut and not go back, not even to help with any little things (because that is a slippery slope!). My hope is that we’ll have a new CEO in place (even if he is an interim) who will be able to do the straightening up and cleaning house that those of us who’ve been in charge for the last three or four years have not been able to do. I’m praying he’s a great fit, and can right the ship before it drives itself straight into the Bay of Good Intentions and crashes into the Cliffs of Terrible Execution (which is where it’s headed right now).

Ugh. I need more coffee and a break from the computer… Next post, I’ll try to tell the long tale of “Why the Guard Bureau Sucks, and Other Woes of Military Service”. Until then, I hope you have a fabulous transition into 2023!

Failing Forward

I wish it were easier these days to put words down on paper — or on a screen, as it happens. Even with the speed and ease of typing, it’s hard to get the words from head to hands. They either crowd all over themselves in a rush to get out, such that I can’t make heads or tails of any single thought — or they scatter to the four winds, and even though I had plenty of ideas to write about just before opening the laptop, I suddenly have nothing.

This is a draft that was only a title when I opened it — a head without a body. I don’t even remember when I started it, then left it, forgotten, in the drafts folder. But it pretty much embodies the way I feel about any progress I try to make in anything I do these days. I do accomplish things, but even the simplest tasks seem to take great effort to see through to the end. So you can imagine how the more complicated ones are doing . . .

I’ve been slowly backing out of everything I used to be involved with in the Before Times (that is not a paying job or a benefit my kids, to be clear). I’ve already posted about quitting the two choirs I was in. The next thing I’m giving up is most of the committee involvement I’ve gotten myself into. I will still be a secretary on the Symphony Board, but after this current project ends, I will not be filling any leadership positions or taking point on any committee projects — or even embroiling myself in any great needs that come up while we transition back and forth from virtual to live to hybrid. At least, not for the next year.

My husband’s deployment is looming, and I’ll have another nine or ten months of single parenthood, wherein we figure out how to take school more seriously, create routines that don’t stress us out entirely, and focus on the boys’ therapy and medical needs, which are growing more intense. My youngest and I cross swords constantly when he doesn’t want to do something, and my oldest and I tend to flounder in ADHD confusion more often than we’re intentional about things. We make a great team. 😅 Therapy is about to take an even more complicated turn, but I can’t quite talk about that yet, because it’s already kind of overwhelming and I still sort of need to process it.

I have two weeks to help wrap up this online auction and gala we’re doing for the Symphony (wanna check it out? CLICK HERE), and while it’s been a great experience in people management, leadership, event coordination, and a whole new world of stress and crazy, I’ve felt like I was in over my head for months. How on earth did I find myself in charge of it?? Because I helped last year? How do I not get in charge of it again?? 😆

It might not have been quite as stressful if it hadn’t come on the heels of spending all summer and winter helping to create and manage a whole new virtual membership model and an advertising/sponsorship system, while butting heads with those who don’t quite understand the virtual world (to put it nicely), who have strong opinions and impractical ideas, because they’ve neither had the experience with virtual communities and their dynamics, nor ever really known how to reach out to anyone younger than my generation. We’ve had Zoom meetings almost every Thursday night for months, sometimes two meetings back-to-back or an extra on a different day of the week, which wouldn’t be quite as difficult if I also hadn’t started teaching co-op on Thursday mornings (one volunteer thing I continue to plan to do, because the boys benefit from it, too). Some people can do Zoom meetings all day, every day, but I cannot. I like the occasional Zoom gathering with friends or family, but full meetings get exhausting.

In the meantime, I can barely keep up with the boys’ needs, or even my own. I can’t even plan meals. I really suck at being a homemaker. 😆 But I need to step those things up to fulfill therapy goals and create a healthier environment for everyone in the house. This is not a small goal or an easy accomplishment. It’s going to take months, even years.

I do remind myself from time to time that there are things I’m good at: editing, being diplomatic, sticking to commitments, trying to be organized, mostly getting things done by deadlines (this took years of training, and I still do suck at it sometimes), not starving all the living things in my house (despite my lack of planning), managing our money, teaching, and making checklists. There are some other things, probably, but those are things I can usually sort of do with some measure of consistency and be successful at.

But, often, my inner adult is falling forward on her face and laying there . . . done with everything. And it’s not that I’m constantly busy all the time — I goof off way more than I should. It’s just that there is so much in my head and outside of it demanding my mental energy that there’s almost nothing left for other people, and that is not a good problem to have as a wife, mother, teacher, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, neighbor, etc.

Add to this Covid-lockdown fatigue and stress, lack of exercise or daylight, and seriously flagging creativity, and it’s no wonder that all I want to do is spend a week alone at the ocean, staring out a window and drinking coffee. . . . *dreaming* *sigh* (NOTE: I have rented a beach house for the weekend after my birthday, and will be spending three nights there, doing exactly what I stated above. In silence. I might do other things, too, but I greatly look forward to silence and no commitments. I’ll write about it later.)

I’m grateful I have the resources to take time out sometimes, but guilt will always play a role, no matter how much I “deserve” or need the break. I think more people can relate to that than they admit. 😉 But since I can’t just up and quit, I have to take these breaks and keep “failing forward to success” (a phrase I learned while selling Mary Kay, which has never quite sat well with me, but pretty much defines my life. I just wish I could see more success, for as many failures as I feel I’ve accomplished . . . 😝).

All right, I’m risking continued rambling and too long a post, so I’d better end this. I still have family to pay attention to and a lot of video and sound editing, as well as scripts to write and other little tasks to keep up on while I still have the time. I also need to drink my coffee, because even though it’s 10:30am, I’m still groggy and don’t want to be awake.

How is it February already?