Peapod

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Recently, I read an article bemoaning the fact that we have become a “society of shut-ins.”  I suppose the intent of the article was to shed a disparaging light on the trends of online shopping, food delivery services, and cyber friendships.  People don’t ever have to leave their homes if they don’t want.  In fact, most of the people in this article also worked from home.  On the day I was reading this, it all sounded great to me.  I had been away from home for almost a week.  I came home to a messy house, an empty refrigerator, piles of laundry, and a broken dryer.  The idea of sequestering myself away from the world in general sounded wonderful!

To be fair, T had been working crazy hours while I was out of town.  He had prepared meals for the girls and tried to keep up with the laundry.  Emily was back to work, but still recovering from her lengthy illness.  She was sleeping almost every moment she was home.

I spent my Good Friday “holiday” calling around to find someone to repair the dryer, cleaning the house, and fighting traffic and crowds to buy groceries for my family.  That evening I readied the house for company and the holiday.  By the time I sat down late at night, I realized that almost every single moment of my life was claimed every single day.  Work, the responsibilities of running a household, four kids…there was always something I needed to do.

When I finally collapsed in bed, I tossed and turned.  I was back home from Atlanta, and the stress had been patiently waiting for me.  Emily didn’t seem to be getting better, and I was worried about her.  Luke sent me a text at 2:00 a.m. to let me know that his plane had landed in Arizona.  He and Shannon were visiting his former college roommate for the holiday.  At 8:00 a.m., my ringing phone pulled me out of a fitful sleep.  Andrew wanted to know what the password was on our cellphone account.  He was going to upgrade his phone.  Thankfully, he had the sense to quickly tell me that he would be the one paying for the upgrade.

I had been allowed six hours to sleep, but I hadn’t done much sleeping.  My mind had been busy swirling around from one thing to the next.  It seems that the moment my eyes begin to close in sleep, the worries and concerns of the day crept in to wake me up.  I pulled on my robe and shuffled out to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.  T was already gone.  Although it was Saturday, he had gone to his office to catch up on work.  Work.  Our lives seemed to revolve around work – work at our jobs, work of being parents, work of maintaining our house and household.  I sat down to drink my coffee in the morning quiet of the house.  The girls were still asleep, and the cat curled up on my lap.  I sat listening to the birds outside.  Over the sounds of nature, I could hear traffic, and I remembered a time when our lives were not like this.

Once again, I missed our old home.  I remembered other early mornings from years ago, mornings when I would walk outside and across the dewy grass in my nightgown.  There were no neighbors to worry about.  There was simply us, our home, our family, and nature.  I could look across the fields and see nothing but earth, sun, and clouds.  Of course, I am romanticizing things.  Was it really like I remember?  Yes and no.  There were those perfect moments, but there was also stress and worry.  There is always worry in life, the subject line simply changes.  What I do know was that our focus, our driving force back then, was always the same, and that has changed.  There was a time when we placed family first.  Somehow that has shifted.  Careers, success, material things, have crept up to a higher ranking in our list of priorities, and I don’t like that.  I’m not even sure how it has happened.

We are here now, in this new place, our new home, and honestly I don’t want to leave.  I have made friends here.  In many ways, we are happier now.  I don’t want to look back or try to recreate who we once were years ago.  What we need to do is make adjustments and minor tweaks to our lives so that we can capture moments of happiness again.  We need to look at what is possible to change and make those changes happen.  We need to be proactive instead of reactive.

I can’t do it all.  I can’t work all week and still be a housewife in the evenings and on weekends.  I am NOT superwoman, and I don’t want to be.  No one expects that of me.  I have just kept doing it all, and that’s my own fault.  As I sat there on Saturday morning, and I took my first stab at being a shut-in.  I placed my first grocery order on Peapod.

My order arrived tonight.  I was impressed by how easy and economical it was.  Instead of fighting traffic and shopping for two hours, I spent ten minutes putting away a week’s worth of groceries.  I stood in front of the pantry and marveled at the shelves full of food that I didn’t have to leave my house to buy.  The next step is a cleaning service.

My goal is to reclaim my weekends, myself, and my happiness.

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Cattle Prod

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Cattle Prod

Last night as I sat on the couch, I wished for a cattle prod.  I had worked all day, made dinner after work, and after dinner I went around the house picking up various messes that I had not created.  When I finally sat down, I felt worn out and lonely.  There hadn’t been one truly enjoyable moment all day.  Thank goodness, I love my job.  Work is my outlet and last night, that fact made me kind of sad.  I am extremely grateful to get paid for doing something that is often rewarding and enjoyable to me, but I am discouraged about my life outside of work. Continue Reading »

Remembering That We Are Women

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About five years ago, I received an email from a woman.  She was someone I knew through work, but not very well.  I still remember the date:  January 2, 2008.  In her email, she told me about a New Year’s resolution that she had made.  She wanted to reach out to the people in her life that she admired and wanted to get to know them on a more personal level.  It seemed that I was part of that resolution.  She and I knew each other professionally.  We were often in meetings together.  Oftentimes, she and I were the only women in attendance.  Her resolution was to reach out to women like me, women she knew in a professional sense, but wanted to get to know on a more personal level.  I’ll admit, I was a little taken aback.  Why did she want to know me?  What was this all about?  I remember briefly wondering if she was going to try to sell me something.  Pampered Chef?  Candles?  I hated those kind of “parties” where women got together and then were forced out of politeness to purchase something that they didn’t want or need. Continue Reading »

Realistic, Attainable Goals

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Yesterday morning, Emily and I were sitting in the living room messing around on our new laptops.  (YAY!)  She and I spent most of the day lounging around.  I have been plagued this past week with a recurring (and I believe stress-related) backache.  Emily was more than happy to spend a lazy Saturday keeping me company.  From time to time, our conversation broke the silence of our fingers clicking on the keyboards. Continue Reading »

Sometimes People Suck

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Anyone out there who thinks that government employees are overpaid, lazy people who can’t get a job in the private sector, think again.  Most of us have been employed in the private sector at one time or another.  Many of us will return to the private sector again at some point in the future.  That’s where I’ll be once again when I can no longer take the stress of being a government employee.  While I can only speak for myself, I am in this job, because I want to make a difference.  I believe in what I do, and that means something to me.  I’ve been in jobs before where I was nothing but a corporate drone.  Now I’m in the trenches, and most of the time I like that.  Although, all too often the people I am fighting for perceive me as an enemy or “one of the bad guys.” Continue Reading »

Blank Slate

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On Thursday, T and I are leaving on a trip.  We’ll be gone for five nights.  FIVE NIGHTS…without kids.  I was thinking about that tonight, and I realized that this will be the first time since 1988 that T and I have been alone for this long.  FIVE NIGHTS.  Oh, we have taken trips here and there.  We went to Vegas for our 25th wedding anniversary, but that was not a good time in our marriage.  We flew in, spent three awkward days trying to stay busy and not argue, and we flew back home.  We’ve taken trips to move kids or visit kids, but we haven’t taken a trip simply by ourselves since 1988. Continue Reading »

Imagine My Surprise

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I’ve been silent for a while in the blogging world.  I’ve missed writing, but I’ve been afraid.  I was a little freaked out.  A couple of weeks ago, I took a sick day.  I wasn’t feeling well, was exhausted, and I knew that the rest of my week was going to be full of long days.  Sure, I could have made it through the day, but I was running on empty.  My tank was sucking fumes.  The  morning I stayed home sick, I took things slowly.  Eventually, I ended up on my patio with my iPad and a cup of coffee.  I was going to write.  When I logged into my blog, I was shocked.  Someone from my office had logged on earlier that morning, but I was NOT in the office.  I immediately changed my password and set the blog to private. Continue Reading »