Thursday, January 16, 2014

Medicated Masses

This is all anyone needs.
Here's a secret: I have some pretty heavy mental health issues. I'm in the process of switching medications, which means for the next week, I'm off mine.
You know what I've realized in this lull between pill popping?
My being medicated helps those around me much more than it actually helps me. The people who spend time with me don't see it this way, of course.
All they see is me sobbing uncontrollably over Burger King adding unwanted Buffalo sauce to my chicken strips and think it's because I'm off the meds. Or maybe they see me raising my voice just slightly when a child doesn't put her books away after being told for the eleventieth time in an hour, and think I've lost my damned mind and obviously that's a mental health issue and can't possibly be a mothering issue.
I can't ever just have a bad day. I can't possibly lose my schmidt because none of the eleventy kids around here ever listen to me the first time, or I didn't even want Burger King to begin with and definitely didn't want nasty Buffalo sauce making my strips all soggy. I can't ever just be PMSing.
The trouble with having diagnosed mental illnesses is that everyone thinks you're crazy all the time. Normal things that would make anyone annoyed or irrational are overlooked in favor of fixing a problem that always falls to the crazy person.
It's possible that sometimes I'm actually the rational one, except I have all of these fancy letters in my medical chart, like an alphabet soup of diagnoses that certify that can't be so.
News flash: Being on the medication didn't make me uncrazy (or, you know, sane) and it didn't even really help me manage the crazy. All it actually does is allow me to internalize the sobbing and self loathing and screams. So no one else ever has to know about it or deal with it or witness a meltdown.
And that is all most people care about. If they don't have to witness or deal with or be affected by it, they're happy, and since I'm not voicing my extreme disgust with any and everything, it must mean that it's all under control, right?
Eh. Not really. But I'll go back to popping the pills like a dutiful patient because even my doctor doesn't want to hear about what's really bothering me. He just wants to know the side effects I'm dealing with and offer me another pill to manage them.
What no one knows is that I'm a mess. Medicine or not, I have meltdowns and panic attacks and triggers and anxiety about things. Most things, actually. The medicine doesn't actually make me feel any better than I do now. It does, however, allow me to keep my mouth shut about it, giving everyone the impression I'm being helped.
Really, it's much more helpful to those around me than it is to me. But hey, who doesn't want a little unending lethargy, weight gain, lack of sex drive, hair loss, memory loss, random muscle spasms and hangnails if it provides comfort to others? That's all completely worth the illusion of normalcy, right?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


There's a woman I regularly Facebook stalk (oh, be quiet. You know you do it too) who commented on something the other day with "We're expecting again, so blah blah blahdeblah blah" Now, I'm not completely obtuse. Of course I know, when used in that context, 'expecting' means pregnant.
But why does it make sense to us?
Whenever someone tells me (or I read it illicitly on their Facebook that's not set to private) that they're expecting, all I can think is "expecting what?"
Well, we're expecting a baby, but we might get a puppy instead? I expect to become a mother, but I might decide to be a rock star in nine months instead?
I mean, seriously.
Why this simple phrase, used as a euphemism by so many so we can all pretend if we sit around and expect babies we don't have to actually have sex or use science or whatever and no one has to be made uncomfortable with their knowledge of our private sexytime habits and lack of reliable birth control, annoys me so much, I cannot say.
But I think it has something to do with the fact that pregnancy skeeves me out.
Fetuses, to me, look like watery aliens. 3D images, which expecting parents are ridiculously proud of, are even worse. It was bad enough when it was a black square with some wavy and mostly unidentifiable white and gray blobs that we all had to pretend impressed us.
But seeing it in sepia, with the features clear and obvious? That's creepy to me.
Also, when a woman is nearing the end of her due date, there are times you can actually see the baby moving under her stretched-taut skin. Again, that's creepy.
I'm not prudish. I don't mind hearing about people's unproductive sex lives. The minute you add unborn babies to the mix, though, I'm out.
Pregnancy is a disgusting but natural business that's carried out by slightly less than half the world's population. I myself have been in said condition two times. Both times, I avoided talking about all the shit things pregnancy does to a woman's body. I avoided letting people touch my expanding midriff. I avoided spending time with other pregnant people.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who is completely weirded out by this lifegiving process. But what I do know is that many more people think it's awesome and amazing and even sexy.
I'm expecting to never change my opinion of pregnancy, and the very fact that I find myself in the minority on this is bananas to me.

Friday, January 10, 2014


Husband and I were gifted a new washer and dryer recently. This was cause for celebratory dance moves and toasts and many happy moments, because our old washer leaked like some sort of broken dam and our dryer squealed like I was trying to tumble banshees in its drum.
We desperately needed new appliances.
Husband is a huge researcher when it comes to major (and even minor) purchases, so he decided on a set he thought would work for our family, I looked over the reviews and manuals and agreed, and we were off to the races.
The laundry making magic machines were ordered in mid-December, and we received a shipment time frame of the 27-January 2. I expected, with the holidays screwing up my ability to have clean clothes without a hassle, that they'd be delivered at the far end of the delivery period.
Come January 2, I called the shipping company to find out what time they'd be in the area.
FedEx, if you didn't know, only brings the goodies from Amazon that aren't several hundred pounds.
This day just happened to be the day that the entire northeast was caught in what can only be described as Snowmageddon. The shipping company wasn't going to be making any deliveries for the rest of that week.
While I was frustrated (read: completely fucking livid) that my machines weren't going to be here on time, and my laundry pile was going to continue to get backed up, what really made me go apeshit was the lack of customer service I received.
Getting in touch with a human was difficult enough. When I finally did, her only response was "The weather's bad, we're not coming." I asked her when she thought they might come, and she said she'd look into it and get back to me.
Several hours later, I'd not heard a word. So I called again, and again reached the same person.
This time, I asked to speak to her manager after it became clear she had no desire or interest to help me, with her short, rude New Yorker tones and brusque "The isn't my problem" attitude.
Upon my request, which I felt was warranted and polite, she informed me that the manager was in a meeting, and promptly hung up.
This person whose only job was to provide customer service had hung up on a customer without providing any sort of service.
I think we've probably all worked jobs where dealing with the public was part of our duty. I certainly have, and while there were definitely times I was mentally throat punching a difficult customer, I was never rude to the damned faces. You know why? Because I needed my frigging job, that's why.
The third time I got through to a human, I spoke with a male customer service rep, who apologized for his coworker's behavior and promised to have the manager, who was actually in a meeting, call me back.
A few hours later, I received a phone call from Mark* who had very few good things to tell me (as in, none, except that he'd be reviewing his employee's tapes and recommending retraining, which is probably a load of horseshit to get the angry woman to shut up).
Apparently, this shipping company only makes runs to my part of the country two days a week- Thursdays and Fridays. So the earliest possible date I would have received my new appliances, barring natural winter weather, was January 2. Which, if you'll recall, was the last possible date I was given.
Why the load had to travel past my house to get to the distribution center was beyond me, and also not part of Mark's jurisdiction, but those were the facts.
When asked why his company didn't inform the seller of their shipping routes so that people could plan accordingly, and not waste an entire week sitting around waiting for a delivery that wasn't ever going to come the same way I waited futilely for John Miller to realize I was the love of his life in 9th grade, Mark had no answers.
Apparently, just like John, who wasn't even aware of my existence, Mark's company was blithely going about its business with no regard for the people who lived with five children and needed to do three loads of laundry a day simply to stay ahead of the piles.
To get back to the point, I was told I'd now be waiting another week before I could even hope to see my delivery.
Except that it was traveling across the northeastern part of the country, where we can reasonably expect winter to last the next eleventy dozen weeks, and there would never be any guarantees that I'd be able to happily do laundry again until spring.
This was enough to make a person go ballistic, but I held on to the tiny thread of composure I had left and resigned myself to never having the mountains of laundry currently heaped in every room of my house finished again.
Then, there was a post-blizzard miracle: the shipping company called on Wednesday to confirm a Friday morning delivery. To compound my everlasting joy, the actual driver called Thursday night, and delivered my shiny new friends in the late evening.
HUsband and I wasted no time hooking them up, and now I'm happily sorting, washing, drying, folding and ironing again like a real adult who has at least some of her shit together.
No leaks, no screaming, and best of all, no more dealing with that particular delivery company.

*Name changed to protect the guilty 

Monday, January 6, 2014


This is what it looks like when I try to sneak out of my house unnoticed.
There's an old saying that goes "I'm only reasonably good at being a stay at home mom when my children don't stay at home." This saying dates back several years, to when I first realized I'd be making the transition from working full time to staying at home full time, and began making this statement to pretty much anyone who would listen.
You see, staying at home? It's freaking hard.
Not only are you surrounded by other people, and their messes and noise all. the. damn. time, but you're also cut off from such niceties as business lunches and alone time commutes and having conversations with adults that don't center around which child you grounded that day and why.
So, since all the eleventy dozen kids have been off from school for holidays for the past two weeks and I have not had one single moment to myself unless I was claiming to be pooping, of course it makes sense that the weather would turn to shit and I'd be stuck home with all of them for another couple of days.
Who needs to shower in peace?
You'd think, given the fact that the kids are all half-grown, that there'd be little to no need for me to actively watch them and guide them and be all up in their grills every second, right? Yeah, well, you'd think wrong.
There's arguing over which three of them get to be on Netflix at any given time. Arguing over whose turn it is to use the computer. Arguing over who ate the last everything bagel and why the cream cheese was left out. Arguing over whose towels is in a moldy heap on the floor. Arguing over who is arguing.
Not only are they bigger, noisier, messier, more expensive versions of their toddler selves, but the whole reason they're home is because the weather's shit. This means I can't leave, either.
On the flip side, I've enjoyed a silent cup of coffee this morning and got the kitchen mopped- if you tell kids they'll be put to work if they venture downstairs in the morning, they magically manage to sleep in.
That's freaking bananas, but hey, whatever works.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Holy Honesty

A week or so ago, we had Christmas. This blog is meant to be all about honesty, so let me go ahead and be honest here.
Christmas? Not so much fun for me, really.
The eleventy dozen kids that live with me are none of them as appreciative as I believe they should be. They're entitled and spoiled, and it makes me nuts. However, they are also lucky that Daddy enjoys shopping and giving gifts. So their Christmas isn't ruined by my grinchy behavior, and I am talked down from the ledge that would have me returning everything throughout the couple of months we spend shopping and hiding and wrapping.
On top of all that, there's the whole family obligation bullshit to deal with. Husband's family is awesome.
My own?
Not so much.
Actually, my family is great. Too far away to actually see often, but nice. My mother?
Not. Nice.
So when I have to see her, I'm only filled with anxiety and dread. Why, then, do I still feel compelled to spend any time whatsoever with her? Why bother spending my previous time with someone who makes me so unhappy?
Well, because I have kids, that's why. I want my children to have a good relationship with me when they're my age, so I pretend to be able to handle being civil to my own mother.
This flawed logic?
Totally bananas.