Friday, April 11, 2014

Departure

When I was five I would sometimes wake up before everyone else, so I would do what any kid that age would do in such a situation; I'd turn on the TV and fold the laundry while watching Mr. Rogers. Yes...you read that right...I was folding laundry at age 5.


When I was eight I found out that the lady across the street whom I regularly babysat for was out-of-town at a funeral. Her husband was home with the kids. This elicited immediate sympathy and spurred me into action. So I did what any eight year old would do. I made and brought them dinner, all by myself. That's right...I said 8. (Macaroni and Cheese Rookie-Style...recipe to follow)


From a very young age, if I've been anything, I've been domestic. There is no doubt that this is my calling in life. It's what makes me happy. By the time I was 30, I had been blessed with a husband, five kids and a lifestyle that allowed me to be all kinds of domestic, all day long. But two years ago, that all changed.


One phone call, twelve months and four moving trucks later, I found myself surrendering my cherished title of Homemaker for that of Administrative Assistant instead. Working mother. Desk drone. Adrenaline and duty (and shopping for the most darling professional wardrobe) helped with the transition, but still...I will never forget the first time I ate lunch...at my desk...alone. What?


Let me say that again. I ate lunch. At my desk. Alone. But it's what we working people do, frequently, as I've come to discover. And let me just say...it never feels right (and I hope it never does). I'm not sure what lessons I'm supposed to be learning from this experience because frankly I spend most of my time in survival mode, but here's what I can tell you so far:


1. When you hear of a working mom who comes home at the end of an eight hour work day and makes dinner for her family, that doesn't just fall under the "expected" category or even the "admirable" category...it's freakin' awesome! Maybe you're intimidated by the woman on your street whose homemade pie wins a blue ribbon at the state fair every year or whose preschool age triplets have already performed a violin concerto with the symphony. Forget about it. These women have nothing on the gal who brings home the bacon AND fries it up in a pan. Bravo, lady! Bravo!


2. If you think my comments in #1 are fighting words and you wanna have a throw-down between working moms and stay-at-home moms now, do us all a favor and don't. C'mon...that's a dead horse and we all know it. We are sisters, we are awesome, and we need to rock-it in whatever station in life we find ourselves in. Let's not be stupid; it makes our awesomeness look frumpy.


3. It's really nice out here in the work-a-day world. People are nice. They put forth an effort to make time at the office as pleasant, attractive, and civil as can be. With that being said;  how big of a leap is it for the breadwinner at your house to go from that atmosphere to the one waiting for them at home?

 I hope however far the distance, that it's at least gradual. That it's free of sweat pants and smeared mascara. That they're given a little time to transition from the 9-5 grind to whomever you need them to be at home. Think Scuba diving decompression chamber, maybe? I know, I can't believe I'm saying this either but now that I have been both the one who is come home to and the one who comes home and I have both playbooks in my possession...I have to say: soften it up girls. You both need those first 15 minutes of his arrival home to be tender and sweet.

  4. See comment #2 if comment #3 makes you mad.

 Macaroni and Cheese - Rookie Style

Dump box of noodles into pot of water. Fish the wet cheese packet back out of water. Turn on heat and bring water to boil. Get distracted and leave the pot until most of the water has boiled out. Dump contents of cheese packet into soggy noodle/cloudy water mixture. Stir and serve.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saturday Night Fever

Several months ago, I started to think that it was time for a party.  At first I imagined it would be something like a house-warming party and that we would have it as soon as we were finished with all the remodeling we were doing at our house.  But that idea was hatched at the beginning of the project, back when we had a more romantic idea of what it would be like once everything was complete.  Back when it was man vs. house and we were the obvious victors-to-be.  But since it ended up being less victor-like and more let's-call-it-a-truce-like, the celebrating element just wasn't there.

 But the party bug was.  It emerged again, several months later during that week in January where my oncologist sent me through a round of tests, including a nuclear bone scan, because she thought my cancer had metastasized to my bones. This time my party was more like a  going away party because I'm pretty sure metastatic cancer in your bones has bon voyage written all over it.  Negative.  My symptoms were merely a case of Costochondritis.

Well, the terrible diagnosis went away, but the desire to hang out with all my favorite people didn't.  I thought...why should I wait for an excuse to celebrate my wonderful life with all the people who had made it so?  The party was on and this time, it was a birthday party!

The Facebook invites went out to 200 friends (give or take), and the hard copy invitations went out to 70 of those same people, the 70 whom I thought were most likely to come.  But after they went out, and I mean right after, I experienced the weirdest mix of remorse and dread that I have ever felt.  It turned into anxiety and it haunted me for days.  I was miserable.  Turns out there's a thing called "hospitality induced anxiety" and I had it bad.  At one point, five or six hours before the party began, I actually thought "if I got in my car right now and started driving...how far away could I get before anyone noticed I was missing?"  If the answer had been "so far that you would drive right into the ocean",  I would have been ok with that.

Why wouldn't the idea of having this party go away? Why had actually throwing this party become tantamount to drowning in the ocean?  Hosting had never bothered me before.  I have come up with a couple of theories, but it really doesn't matter anymore because in the end, the party came, the people came (over 50) and it was so much fun! They even gave me presents...a thing which I hadn't even considered before.  But...yay presents!  And yay friends and family.  Saturday night was great, thanks to you!