2020-04-03 Nebraska Kind of Moody

Two days ago it was 70 degrees and sunny. This morning I woke up to sleet and a fresh layer of snow on the ground. That’s spring In Nebraska and those wild swings kind of remind me of my mood these days.

Yesterday was another really rough day. There were so many different interconnected factors at work it’s hard to separate and pin down the culprit. I mean when you can’t tell what’s a cause and what’s an effects it’s maddening. And this morning, despite the fact that I’m feeling better, I’m still very much trying to puzzle it out.

But can I puzzle it out without being dragged back down in the mud? Or should I just let it all go and think about what things I have to look forward to today? I suppose the answer lies in whatever is going to make me continue to feel better and like it or not, that’s probably a rehash.

First, the obvious which is the virus. I’ve written a little bit about listening to the news and how it just makes me want to cry. Literally. The last 3 days in a row I’ve asked Alexa for the news and it has left me standing in my kitchen in tears. The answer could be to put myself in a bubble and not listen to the news. It’s an option. But then I think that the crying is just a release that my body and mind need. That it’s cleansing and good.

I also think that there are times that I’m more prone to this spontaneous emotional outpour than others. My period is officially like 4 days late now and PMS is for real yo. I keep thinking that I just need to recognize that and ride it out. When it happens, that too is a release. I will naturally feel better.

The second time I cried was at lunchtime. I had worked for a couple of hours and a minor headache had turned into a migraine (which is also more frequent this time of the month). I had taken some meds but was still feeling incredibly nauseous. Then I read an email that said the governor of Nebraska had declared that schools would not re-open this school year and the students would not make up the time.

It hit me. Hard.

I guess I had this tiny sliver of hope that things would take a turn for the better soon and my kids would get to yet see their friends before summer. Not to mention my daughter getting to have her senior prom and graduation. My heart just sank.

At that moment I walked into the kitchen and Jim had arrived home for lunch. I read him the email and then just burst into tears again. He tried to console me, like a good man. I took the hug and kind words and then retreated to the bedroom to lay down and try to let the medicine work on my head.

The migraine did, eventually, disperse. Albeit slowly. By 2pm I was feeling a bit better and was going to take Jim’s advice and get fresh air by going for a drive. The “drive” was to the pharmacy to get my son’s prescription. In route though I was called back home by an urgent work message.

Some security thing I needed to help with. An employee being let go and my needing to revoke their access to our ticket system. That was followed by an impromptu team meeting where we were told what had happened. Just like that, a guy looses his job. Not sure what to make if that.

Anyway, I didn’t do much work yesterday and, to be fair, I didn’t have a huge problem letting that go and forgave myself for it pretty easily.

I had other things to attend to. Namely my children and the home-schooling situation. So far this week that’s been a huge fail and I was in no mood to tolerate a dismissive “I’ll do it later” attitude. I laid down the law. And finally got some traction.

I mean, my son was taking advantage all week of my working and not having time to get him up and constantly check in. Yesterday he was still lounging in bed with his phone at 3 in the freaking afternoon. I was so angry.

I might have raised my voice, but he heard me. And the only push back I got was when I tried to explain what he had done wrong answering the questions for the math assignments. His grief was more about having to do it over again than anything. Today is the first quiz from home and I want him to go into it knowing how to solve the problems.

After geometry it was AP world history, English, and physical science. I let him let intro to business and marketing go until today. And PE.

Today is fitness Friday when his PE assignment is “due”. I’m a big believer that the physical activity is so good for you and he doesn’t do enough, he’s gonna be sorry he procrastinated when he wakes to find the snow on the ground and the temps hovering in the 20s. He could have done the activity 2 days ago when it was 70, but nope.

All that home-school stuff continued through dinner and into to evening. And for the second night in a row, I sank down on the couch to watch one episode of “Tiger King” before going to bed.

Today I was awake early again (5am) and it’s now almost 7. It’s pretty sad that one of the things I’m looking forward to today is taking a shower. I’m also hoping today is the day I will finally get my flow. I’ve cried enough already. Good grief!! The question is: Should I wait until that happens before I listen to the news? 🤔

In any case, I gotta go get breakfast started.

Cheers to Better Days and Fridays!

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-02 Nowhere to Hide

There are days I’ve tried to just cruise along and behave as if it’s a normal day. I’ve worked and cared for my family and done my chores. I’ve walked and written. I’ve locked myself alone in a room to work on my thesis, shutting the whole world out, pretending it was all ok. It’s not OK and I’m not OK.

The summer before my third semester in the MFA program I attended a reading in the evening by one of the mentors, Tom Paine. His reading was comprised of poetry and visualizations with graphs about the global environment crisis. There was no trigger warning, but that’s my trigger. About two poems In, I began to cry, tears just welling up in my eyes and flowing down my cheeks.

By the end, I was a hot mess of snot and weeping, still trying to keep myself inconspicuous in the back row. I’ll admit, I don’t remember any of the poems. I was overcome. I was deep inside myself, grieving for the planet.

In another life, I’d probably be some big-shot on the cutting edge of efforts trying to stop global warming. I’m not saying I’d be a Ted Kaczynski , but I’m not saying he’s wrong either. Drastic measures are needed as well as a wake-up call.

But I’m not Ted, or a legislator, or even a person heading effort in my local community. I’m a nobody who gets angry when I can’t even get my kids to follow our household recycling rules, or water conservation suggestions, or requests to take walks outside to see what they are missing. So angry.

But that’s not my aim today. Not my point. Today I’m writing about how I’m not coping well with this pandemic. Three days in a row I ask Alexa the news and three days in a row, I end up standing in my kitchen in tears.

There are thousands of people dying in New York and they are out of resources. The people wouldn’t heed the warnings, would not comply with requests to stay home and now it’s too late. The shelter in place is now in place, so it’s official but it’s too fucking late. Much too late and it makes me sick.

Yes, they have dense population and we don’t, but people are social creatures who want to be together. Unless you mandate rules be followed instead of merely suggesting guidelines, people will just ignore it and go their own way.

Thousands of people are sick and stuck on cruise ships with no where to go, that’s sickens me.

Florida is locking down tighter now too and, again, I feel it’s too late. All those punk kids on spring break a few weeks ago have dispersed. But to where? The answer is everywhere! There is nowhere to hide.

So I can’t help listening to the news and crying apparently and I feel helpless. There’s nothing I can do but follow the rules and take care of my family, mandating my children follow the rules. That’s it. Except for perhaps trying to tend to my own mental health. Which is a constant struggle.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day and I had so much anxiety I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t work or go outside or even just sit on the couch and relax. Literally I could feel my heart race all day and each time I tried to focus on something it just fell off the rails as soon as I thought about it. I wasted the whole damn day.

I should also mention that I had to go to the grocery and followed the house rule of wearing a mask. I would have felt ridiculous but I wasn’t the only one. Still, it made my heart race and I had to get in and get out as quickly as I could.

Twice I tried to start writing for this blog and twice I failed to string two paragraphs together. In the morning I worked through a few meetings and then late in the afternoon I had a meeting with some of the top editorial staff of the Los Angeles Review. Forced, in a sense, to appear to be at the top of my game in order to not come across as a Mickey Mouse Mess. That and the meeting to follow lasted like two hours.

When I was done, I was exhausted. It did not help that I had been up since 4AM. When it was finally over, it was late and I was sick to my stomach and could not eat. I tried to have a glass of wine and it just sparked a headache. I melted into the couch and Jim played a few episodes of “Tiger King” for us.

I sat in that vegetative state for about 1.5 hours and then slid to the bedroom. There, I self medicated with a sleep aid and just let myself be taken over by the drug. I really didn’t care. I just wanted relief from the broken engine that my brain has become.

This morning I’m attempting to proceed my normal routine. Yes, I did dishes and listened to the news. Yes, I cried. Yes I’m currently walking on my treadmill (6.5 k steps so far) and trying in my tiny little iPhone SE (that’s equivalent to the size of the iPhone 5S for those who are into that sort of detail). It’s tiny by today’s standards and I do a lot of back spacing and fixing auto-correct mistakes.

After this I have to work for a few hours. After that I’ve got to check in on the home-school situation and just how badly the procrastination has become. After that, perhaps there will be time for me to collect my thoughts about possible submissions this week and do a few of my to-do items for the GLR. We’ll see.

For now, times up. I need to put my game face on. The kids are asleep and Jim is at work and the house is quiet. It’s just like any other day right?

With Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-26 Climbing the Pyramid is a Struggle

My basic needs are being met, and I’m grateful for that. By Maslow’s standards, I’m probably at Safety and while that’s ok, I’m desperate to go higher. But I’m stuck.

So many of my writer friends and acquaintances are writing their hearts out right now. Amid this crisis people are inspired to create. In times when you have more time because you’re isolated you can explore and let your brain wander and maybe, definitely that’s a good thing.

I’m not. And I haven’t been. I’ve got less time now, and feel less isolated, because my sanctuary has been invaded. My time has been raided and from before sun-up to after sun-down I’ve nothing left to give back to myself.

It’s work, which I’ve praised but it has transformed before my very eyes from saving grace to marauder. It’s got to level out soon. I think (I hope) today will be the start of that.

It’s not knowing how to, at the same time, homeschool. Sure, if I was twiddling my thumbs all day I would sit with my children and play task-master, checking in on their “enrichment plans”.

I’m not there, though, you know. I’m still adjusting.. fighting with my ex about where the kids are and why and all my anger and frustration that’s built up over the years comes pouring out. I just hate my ex. After all this time I’m still angry about so many things. Does one ever get over being treated so rotten by someone they love and trust with their life.

How is that possible? How can we have hurt each other so much? And when the bullshit just continues for years and years and you have to continue to take it and try to be amiable for the kids sake, it just doesn’t go away.

Yesterday I ripped him a new one on the phone and he acted like he had no idea where it was all coming from. Like an ignorant ass, he said my yelling was unfounded and something in me has changed. “You’re different now.” He said.

No shit genius. People change and perhaps I’ve grown a spine. Perhaps I’ve also been perfecting my throat-punch and he should be grateful that there’s a pandemic because if there wasn’t I might just go to his place and demonstrate my skills. I just hate him. And that’s a world I rarely use.

My son is here with me and my daughter is at his house. She’s not being very communicative and I’m just hoping she isn’t being persuaded to stay there. Gawd. It’s an awful feeling to know that the kids are stuck in this conflict with us, probably taking shrapnel from our verbal confrontations. It’s got to stop.

So, yeah, I’m just trying to figure out how to shelter in place and not lose my mind. I’ve not yet arrived at master of the art of homeschooling.

Oh, did I mention I’m behind on the whole writing a thesis bit? Or the lit-mag startup. Or, I dunno, supporting my husband and nurturing my marriage which is still less than 2 months old.

I logged onto Facebook today and that was a big mistake. So many people posting about every freaking thing and I just don’t have a positive note to contribute. Just because I say I’m grateful, doesn’t mean I’m bathing in gratitude and finding all the beauty in every little nook and corner. Facebook just makes me feel like shit. And those things I’m seeing are being posted by friends and family who I love. Why can’t I just find joy in their accomplishments and words of encouragement? What the hell is wrong with me?

Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical.

I’ve got a meeting today with the other “co-founder” of this not-yet-a-real-thing on-line lit mag. It’s been a struggle for both of us to find the time. This is a guy I just happened to be sitting across a lunch table from when approached by one of the mentors of the MFA program about this little idea. He’s a teacher and has kids so he’s in the same boat as me trying to juggle life.

We both bring unique and needed skills to the table, but we do operate differently. I like things to be organized and well planned out and he just seems to like to roll with whatever. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just an adjustment for me. We need to get shit done and were still at step 1, which is assembling a team.

Hopefully I’ll get more insight into what that looks like from his communications (which he has not copied me on). I’m a little miffed about that. If you were starting a new project together, it’s good to have Everyone have as much information as possible. So I feel a little bit in the dark on where things stand and can’t make progress forward myself until I’ve got the full picture. I’m sure I’m overthinking and overdramatizing this as usual. Hopeful today’s meeting will actually happen this time and that all will be revealed.

I mean, if our launch date is still June 1. We gotta get in gear and go. So that’s where the “go for it” attitude is such a positive.. we just really need to engage the whole team soon. Again, just hopeful we have a complete list today on who that is. we’ll see.

For now, I have to put that out of my mind so I can get to work. No place to hide.

Stuck at Safety,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-25 My Plan to Go Rogue

I’ve just written three sentences and backspaced them. I don’t think I have it in me today. It’s that little voice inside that says “go rogue”. I’m on the hook for more work and never has there been as much other stuff going on.

I don’t want to get myself all bunched up like last week when I felt so lost. So not in control over anything. Everything is happening too fast. Work gives me a feeling of order and control, but even that yesterday went wild and those west-coast people just forget that 1.) It’s two hours later here and 2.) I have a freaking life, family, school, and other responsibilities. Today I’m pushing back.

Pushing back at work means pushing a few of these long two hour meetings to a different day and blocking my calendar with spots that just say “unavailable”. Yeah, just like the good ole days.

Pushing back with my ex-husband means me sticking up for my kids and telling him what an ass he is being. I’ve got a list of bad parenting mistakes he’s making right now and I’m on the verge of just letting him fucking have it.

Pushing back at the fucking Covid rules means deciding for myself that going to the grocery store or visiting a friend is just essential. Yeah, it’s hard not to think that way when other members of this household leave all the time. Jim going to work is understandable (and they take every medical precaution to keep their staff and patients safe) but then what about the kids?

All of them have other parents and keep a schedule where they come and go. And we might have certain rules here but as soon as they are out that door, they are no longer bound by those rules.

For instance, we aren’t allowed to get fast food, takeout, or use door-dash or anything like that and can’t have people over. We’re eating what we have here at the house. That’s it.

Then I hear Jim’s son bragging about how he can’t wait to go back to his moms and his friend is going to pick him up so they can get Subway. He says “I don’t care if I get sick.” So, I get irate. What happens when he comes back to the house and starts putting his potentially contaminated hands all over the kitchen here? How is that ok?

It’s not just him. It’s my daughter too. She actually told me the biggest reason she wanted to go to her dads house was so she could drive through McDonald’s. At least she seemed a bit tentative about it and was not outwardly bragging. The arrogant bragging really, really rubs me the wrong way.

Like those ass-holes on spring break in Florida saying they don’t care if they get sick like the whole fucking world revolves around them. That’s the worst attitude to have about all this. So selfish. But thats Florida, far away from here. This attitude with Jim’s son makes me angry. This is supposed to be My house too and the health of me and my kids is paramount to me so how is it ok??!!

I feel like pressing Jim about it but I haven’t so far because he’s under enough stress. My alternative? I dunno.. going to the grocery store and visiting friends and maybe even getting my own sub-sandwich. It would be different because I’m not arrogant and I can take precautions to minimize risk. I hope my daughter is doing that too.

What else does going rogue look like. Perhaps loading up my bike and just finding a new trail somewhere to ride, all alone with nobody telling me which way to go or what to do. It’s supposed to be a nice day today. Temps close to 70. Though right now it’s kinda foggy and drizzly. I sure hope the sun comes out.

That’s all I got ya’ll. It’s enough.

Hoping to find some peace in my mind today,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-24 Turning My Frown Upside-Down

I don’t have anything positive to say today it seems. My mind is cycling through points of irritation about my ex-husband, my current husband’s son, and just not having enough time to get everything that “needs” doing done. Most of this has roots in the current state of the world and the Pandemic.

And frankly I’m so sick of thinking about it, a 7 hour workday with 4 conference calls is a welcome occurrence. What I would like to do is shift my attitude by focusing on the positive. Can I do it? Can it work? Let’s find out….

I still have a job where I can work and earn money in this time of financial uncertainty. Even if my husband was forced to stay home and had to take reductions or pauses in his paycheck, we would still be ok. Which extends to our children of course. But what about the rest of the fam?

I have one sister that manages a Trader Joes grocery store in Denver, which is an essential service so her job is secure.

I have another sister that works at a Google data center in Iowa which has also been tagged as an essential job function (by Google anyway) and in her words, “I’ll be there until I get sick or this is all over.” She’s looking at it negatively but I see that as a positive thing because she can still make moneys while some people don’t have the option. Her’s is a physical job.. server maintenance and stuff I think. It makes me wonder what the situation is with other data centers around the globe. What happens if there is nobody there to maintain the servers and we lose the internet?? 😱

My bro is also in Colorado and I think most of his job, like mine, can be done remotely. He’s an aerospace engineer for Ball. So he’s going to be ok too. His two kids are close to the same ages as mine. His daughter is home from her freshman year at college and his son is in HS and is at home for the duration too. We’re all safe in our houses, which is also a thing to be grateful for.

We have a safe place to sleep and enough food to eat. We have each other here to talk to. We can play games and watch shows and when the weather gets nice, I might even be able to convince my kids to go outside with me.

In fact. It’s supposed to be 60 today and close to 70 tomorrow. I really need to get out of the house for a walk in the fresh air. I admit I’m kind of a pansy when it comes to being outside and being cold, so the nicer weather is a prerequisite. See, I’m kinda spoiled too.

Today I do indeed have another long work day and I’m ok with that.

Well….

That didn’t seem to work. The second I ran out of things to type just now, my mind gravitated back to the situation with my ex and my son not wanting to go to his house. And just like that, back to a grumpy thought puzzle.

I can name at least 7 reasons why my son staying here is a better plan than going to spend time at his dads house. And no matter what my reasons are, my sons reasons and feelings are important too and I want to support that. He doesn’t want to go to his dad’s and that says a lot. I just have to suck it up and not be such a pushover. I also need to let it go, you know, the anger and worry. So what if C stays here? What’s his dad gonna do? Drive here and knock on our door. I don’t think so.

It’s hard for me to imagine how that would go down. I kind of start to daydream about my ex getting his ass handed to him (verbally at least) from my husband. They have met on the phone but not in person. What would it be like if THAT were their first time meeting in person??!! Priceless!! 😂

Ok.. so I guess that daydream is the thing that’s going to improve my mood so imma just roll with it.

Pretty soon now I’ve gotta get to work. I’m currently substituting jogging for Jazzercise (as long as my knees can take it anyway), so I gotta get my jog on now while I still have time.

Here’s to hoping you too can find your happy place,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-23 Navigating the New Monday

I realized yesterday that just being home doesn’t qualify as time I need to recharge my battery. I need time alone. There’s a big difference between me being home while everyone goes off to work and school when I can get down with my own intentions and plans and parting ways after breakfast where I’m still on the hook for every little thing that comes up.

I’m going to resist complaining too much about dishes, but my struggle is real. And believe me, I recognize the privilege in that, but I’ll just leave it by saying, I don’t really get a day off from my other job duties as assigned.

Yesterday my writing goal consisted of two things: 1.) Not bringing Covid into the picture and 2.) Writing a poem.

I did both so.. yay me!

I’m coming into today feeling like it’s ok if this wanders into thoughts about being quarantined for like 15 days. Yeah, 15 days ago was the last time I left the house to meet a friend or do anything that didn’t involve getting last minute supplies for the house.

It could be worse. We could be in California or New York or somewhere else in the world where it’s turning from disaster into nightmare. Here in Nebraska I feel like there were restrictions and recommendations that started to happen super-early and watching the rest of the world, it feels like a good call.

My kids were on spring break last week and so this is technically their first day of “remote learning”. For my school system that means that I’ve now got to be super involved in what they are doing with their days, continuing to use the resources we have to continue to be engaged in all subjects. Yup, they are putting it on the parents more than the teachers at this point so just add teacher to the list of my “other duties as assigned”. Whatever.

Right now I’m up and the whole house is still sleeping and I’ve got lots of my own stuff to do: school, work, reading for workshop, and lit mag stuff. I’m going to have to really work on navigating this “alone together” scenario. Even Jim is home today when normally he’d also be going to work.

In a non-Covid world he would be in Denver for a work conference and I’d either be there too visiting family or here with just the kids. And the kids would be in school of course. So today Jim has the day off and won’t go back until tomorrow. And being in healthcare, the picture of what that looks like is changing daily.

They are shifting to a tele-health model to continue to provide patient care for non-emergent cases that can be handled by video conference. It’s likely that by the end of the week, the in-office visits will be limited and that means they only need some of the staff. Of course, this could turn on a dime and get worse. Or, it could stay this way for 4 weeks and then start to get better.

I mean, if they lock down domestic travel and keep the community spread case numbers down, it could have that curve flattening effect everyone keeps talking about. Best case would be that they do get to re-open school in May. A girl can dream right??!!

My priority today is probably work stuff. At least that’s the direction my mind wants to go now. The last few weeks things have gone wild and I’ve worked more than I have in months. On one hand it’s been great but on the other it’s really cut into my schedule. I apparently don’t have a good handle on balance. No surprise there I guess.

Things this week will probably not be as crazy cuz the real project manager / scrum master is starting and she’s going to take some of the pressure off. She’s actually a friend of mine who lives in San Diego. It’s a crazy small world and the fact that we worked together 20 years ago at Methodist Hospital in Omaha and are now back together at a consulting company / dev shop that employs less than 25 people is wild.

It just so happens that we’ve both have connections back to one of the founders of our company through different channels. Me from a job I had in Omaha at a software dev company for 5 years and her from working at a hospital in California about 4 years ago. So her and I go way back and I’m excited to get to work with her again. I also know she’s a tough cookie with high standards so she’s gonna keep those devs in line!

My role on the team will start to shift this week from PM to project support. Working on organizing Jira tickets, adding the Epics, filling in fields and helping to prepare for our formal project kickoff with the customer. It’s a greenfield project which is super exciting for all the members of the team. And so far the interaction with the customer had been really good so it’s full speed ahead.

That’s probably a good place to stop and do the mic drop. 🎤

Welcome to the New Monday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-20 Best Laid Plans 🤷‍♀️

Today I’m going to try… really try to get through the last third of my manuscript and revise those pages based on feedback from my mentor. I have a call with him tomorrow.

***

I literally wrote that opening sentence 7 hours ago. I was called away by other duties as assigned and now it’s almost 4 in the afternoon. Wherever this Friday has been, it’s not been anywhere near what I was hoping for based on that sentence. I have not even opened a browser tab to access the feedback document or the thesis source document I’m editing in. Needless to say, I’ll probably be unprepared and winging it for that call tomorrow (not unlike other conversations I’ve been involved with lately).

The work thing has really blown up lately which is good, cuz $$$ but there’s a lot of big changes in general with life and it’s been leaving me feeling scattered. Like I said yesterday, at least when I’m working I’m mostly in a bubble and able to focus on the task at hand. With the school stuff, it’s a struggle. I think later today I’m gonna have to try. Maybe.

If I’m being completely honest, (and you know that’s the whole point of this right) … I haven’t showered in several days, my eating is askew and I’m just generally not feeling well. I keep taking my own temperature as if it’s suddenly going to register something different than yesterday even though I’ve been living under general quarantine for about 12 days. So yeah, paranoid.

I’ve been watching my kids and their spring break behavior, on laptops and computers for like 6 straight days now. In their rooms and not having any problem with it. I mean, my daughter is starting to have fast food withdrawal episodes but that’s about it for complaints. Are they just taking it so we’ll because they don’t realize yet it’s the end times? I dunno.

I also admit I got sucked into the FB vortex today and actually contributed to the noise. That’s how you know it’s truly the end.

Well, there you have it folks. Another post has spiraled into pandemic-y stuff. It’s like freaking unavoidable.

What else can I say? It’s Friday.. I’m gonna go take a shower and pour myself a bottle of red wine. Why not? I’m not going anywhere. To hell with goals.

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. I’m back to using pics taken in Kauai for my featured image. Daydreaming myself into the past. Hard to believe that was just 5 weeks ago.