Wednesday, July 28, 2010

S.A.H.M. I am...

I am a S.A.H.M... I alternately love it and hate it. There are days when it is the best life in the world and days when I think I must've been brainwashed by aliens because no reasonably sane woman would intentionally subject herself to this crap!

Kids are wonderful, no really -- they are. Just usually they are more wonderful when they belong to someone else! Hubster and I teach our kids right from wrong, positive over negative, glass half full rather than half empty... you know what we all pretty much teach kids. So, WHY are they consistently on the wrong side of the equation? At parent teacher conferences there is no hint of these issues -- they all get good grades, behave well in school and are not trouble makers... so far. (fingers crossed, knockin' on wood etc...) We've made it through high school with the oldest and are hopeful our next 3 will survive it relatively unscathed. Some days I must wonder... will I SURVIVE the wait???

Staying home was a decision the Hubster and I made early, as in before we even were engaged,  much less married. I think we knew we would be getting there and strangely enough HE brought it up in the car one day without any provocation from me and as I recall, my 3 year old daughter, was singing away in the back seat while we were in traffic. So he says something along the lines of: I think that, based on our very different childhoods, you should stay home if we have any kids. Unless you really want to work, then you can if you want. What a job offer! Naturally, we had to clarify what his feelings were on the differences between our childhoods, because he is 9 years older than I am and that can mean all kinds of stuff! I was just shy of 9 when he graduated HS! LOL! Basically it came down to the fact that I was a latchkey kid, 2 brothers in daycare, two parents working, and after my parents divorce I had little to no supervision -- which was GREAT for me! However it was also how I got into a lot of trouble. I thought I was independent and could do whatever the HELL I wanted and too bad for Mom if she disagreed. On the other hand, Hubster had a whole family complete with 5 sibs, a dad and a stay at home mom -- until he was in High School. He, maybe wasn't perfect, but would have been considered a goody two-shoes by my standards.

Suffice it to say, the concept of a stable home with someone to be there for all the needs of our future kids, and let's face it -- NOT WORKING, was appealing! I was young and apparently naive about the job that lay ahead. Shortly after this conversation, on July 27, 1996, I was offered and accepted a lovely engagement ring that he picked all by himself. (HAHA, make that my boss said this is what she wants, and here is the good deal you will get for it... ;-) Oddly, I lost my job right after that and that was the last full time job I held. I did occasionally help the old boss out when he needed an extra hand, but his daughter got the full time job. I was jobless, living with my fiancĂ©e and my, now 4 year old, daughter. What a deal! I could have gotten another job, BUT soon-to-be-Hubster said, why bother? We had a wedding to plan, a honeymoon to go on, not to mention a baby to make, a home to sell and another to buy! That was going to be a BIG JOB!  So, I planned a wedding which we decided to have in November, which caused all sorts of family issues that may or may not show up here one day! We were living in an 800 sf condominium -- kitchen, dining room, living room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Nice and easy to maintain size-wise. I systematically began cleaning everything from ceiling to floor every couple days. I even had my days free, since preschool was near his office! Can I just tell you I was BORED! I really was. That is why I began to clean. I was a smoker then, so the most exciting part of my day was watching the people on the bike path from our deck while puffing away and blasting the radio.

Moving up a bit in time, I am pregnant, very sick from it and essentially non-functional  because of it. We had family turmoil from his lot. Our condo had been cleaned so well it was like a gem in a hell hole! It was listed for sale and so I was constantly having to heave my sick self out of the place for those who wished to see it. Eventually it sold and we were buying a house, moving and after a time I was feeling better. Can I tell you that cleaning an 800 sf condo vs. an 1800 sf house are two different animals. But clean and organize and garden and mow and repeat every other day or so, I did. The new neighbors must've thought I was psycho.

It took a while and after that baby followed by another baby we settled into a routine and called it our life. It turned out we picked the right place to live. Just about everywhere I turned there was a S.A.H.M. I was still a little bored and cleaned like a nut for a long time. I was finally done in by a never-ending battle with baby barf.  Hubster, awesome guy that he is got me a housekeeper. That was AMAZING, except for the fact I cleaned before she came every week so it was also another chore -- albeit one I created. I have only myself to blame for that cracked up behavior. Moving 800 miles away has taken all hopes for another housekeeper out, so my kids have had to step up and learn to do chores. It is good for them. After becoming a cleaning freak I had to learn that my kids were going to trash the house no matter what. Eventually they are also old enough to clean up behind themselves and help with household chores and cleaning more and more as they get older. So I began picking my battles. It was a looooooong process that was many years in the making and I still have a hard time not re-doing it when it isn't quite right.

Being a S.A.H.M. has been a blessing for my kids and mostly for me, but often I think I have suffocated myself and do not really know who I am anymore. It is definitely an interesting thing to think about. Conversations with others like me yield an interesting variety of feelings and assumptions either by their Hubster or the S.A.H.M. The thing that bugs me most is that quite a few of us S.A.H.M.'s feel that they have to sacrifice so much of themselves because they have chosen the privilege of staying home. They forget, as did I for a while, that this staying home business is just that -- A BUSINESS. A FULL TIME JOB! Cook, clean, mind kids, drive here, drive there, wash clothes, wash kids, remember to wash self as often as time allows, iron (if  you can really find the time for that, you are better than I am!) homework, sports, volunteer at school, pay bills, food and clothing shopping.... the list goes on. It is a sacrifice to be a S.A.H.M. so when you need to go out and get a few hours from the kids, you have the right to expect that you will be given a break by your Hubster. Sure he's been at work all day, but he is capable of minding the kids he helped create and he is capable of making the occasional dinner if you are beat, and he is capable of being in charge when you say I need to get the heck out of here for a while.

What, you say? You have a right to expect WHAT??? I know it sounds crazy. After all, you do not work and you make no money, so how can you expect that you will be allowed to go out and have adult conversation that is uninterrupted by either the kids or the Hubster -- and when they do this while you are out -- making you feel like you were wrong to go out, get your hair done in a decent salon or have equipment for doing the things you need to do in the house that is functional -- ie: appliances -- or even things to do outside for yard work, exercise or just plain fun -- ie: decent mower, good sturdy bike that fits your person, whatever. The point is, if you have the privilege of staying home, you have sacrificed for the entire family! That does not mean we get to go and spend frivolously on things. Take for instance the fact that I sort of like to mow the lawn. BUT we had 2 crappy mowers, so I was disinclined to use either. Partly because I am short and it took much more effort for me to use them and partly because  they were CRAP! I have bitched about this problem for a few years to the Hubster, and every year I got the same answer: "I guess I will just mow the lawn then, since they work fine for me..." (HAH! That there is the male martyr showing itself!) This year I finally got my new mower and I LOVE it. It is important, TO ME, that I be able to competently achieve a chore/task I set out to do. Otherwise, I feel like I am not doing the job well enough and it reflects poorly on me. After all I am a S.A.H.M. therefore I should get it right... Right? I am learning to quit thinking this way. Perfection will NEVER be achieved, but boy is that hard to remember sometimes.

Sacrifice for the sake of family is a wonderful thing for those of us who have the opportunity. However, a martyr to the family it does not make. Only we can choose to allow the sacrifice we make to be a benefit to us or make us become martyrs. Personally, I have chosen to tell my family that I am entitled to the things I need. I may have to wait a bit until we can afford certain of those things, but having a fairly agreeable husband does not hurt. After all, he does not do the laundry so who is he to judge the machine I want, especially when I take the consumer reports and online reviews to present a case for my desires.

So, S.A.H.M. I am... and martyr to the job I am NOT!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nanticoke

One of the lovliest places in my world!
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Hibiscus 2010

One of the lovely hibiscus in my back yard. Hardly something to Bitch about! =] This picture doesn't quite do justice to the luscious deep dark red color.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Your Credit Report

It is always wise to know where you stand with your credit score. This is not new news to anyone. (If it is, you must be from another planet... really!) You are apparently entitled to only 1 -- yes, just ONE -- free copy of your credit report annually. (Unless you happen to live in GA, where those lucky devils get 2...) ANYWAY, here is the kicker...You do not get to have your credit SCORE along with your report.

I don't know about anyone else, but this discovery has PISSED ME OFF! I am utterly outraged by this. Your credit score is of utmost importance and you have to PAY for it!!!??? OUTRAGEOUS!

OK, FINE -- so then you agree to pay for the dumb thing, but while Equifax will let you, TransUnion and Experian have no options -- that I could find -- to just get the score. Experian has a button that makes you think you will get your score for $7.95 by clicking on it. So far, this is not the case. Click, sign up for score, wait for e-mail approval, click approval link... NO SCORE! Yes, you read it correctly. They want you to sign up for 1 of 3 options that will cost you anywhere from $10 to $25 to get the score and the report -- mind you the report already exists and you have proof, but the web site says oh no you have no report, which translates to no score, which translates to we want you to buy another product before we give you the score and we're gonna throw in the scores from  the other 2 bureaus with it! EXCEPT I already HAVE THOSE! I got them from those bureaus. DUH!

You must jump through hoops with each credit bureau and sign up for expensive trial memberships that you must then remember to cancel or you will be charged out the frickin' wazooooooo every month! That is just GREAT! More shit to do in an already busy life and I don't really have time for this. Case in point: so far today, I have spent 4 hours doing this and still I am 1 credit score short of a turkey. Mind you, they are good ones, the 2 I have. BUT I went to considerable trouble to GET THREE and I want the third one DAMMIT! I have written a customer service inquiry...we'll see how long this takes.

Personally I think that they should be forced to give you your score with the free report. One report annually is fine, but without your score it is useless. If you want monthly reports, need to check all the time for some weird reason or just want to get all kinds of identity tracking programs from them -- then fine pay for them, that is great. Why is it that, if your protection from the big bad world is the information you get from the credit bureaus, you have to pay for your score? Given all the financial BS going on in the world today, this is an unacceptable game they are playing.

Bottom line: If it is really necessary to charge for the score, there should be a CLEAR and EASY link to just buy the damned score without all  the other crap. If Equifax can do it, then why can't the others?

I am royally pissed and I have a headache the size of Texas now all because of this stupid shit! I urge you to write your Congress and get this addressed. I am not into political haranguing, but I might just have to complain LOUDLY to someone official about this.

Meanwhile, I will wait and wait and wait until I get the 3rd score. I might even tell you if I got it! HAHA!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bitch the first...

So... there are any number of things to bitch about. The weather, the kids, the hubster, the asshole neighbor-- is there ever NOT one of these? Where is a girl to start?

This one will be a simple one: I MISS HOME!

I hate that we had to move away. I hate that we had to leave family and friends. I miss having a well known, deeply rooted support team at the ready with a place to go for a glass of wine (DK!) I hate missing everyone because it hurts, and personally I believe I have had enough hurting in my life. The suckiest part of that is...the hurting is not over. It is always lurking around the corner waiting to spring itself on me when I am not expecting it. Do I live in a constant state of fear of this? No, but I could see how easily one could fall into the trap.

Since the move, I have experienced little of the joys of making new friends. It has been a hard journey for someone who was always surrounded by friends. As A, my friend since 1st grade, can attest, it is not that we saw each other all the time, but the fact that if we wanted to see each other or needed to see each other we were able to. We kept up by phone most of the time when we lived closer, but now we don't chat much at all. I think that is my fault, whether with A or anyone else I have known almost as long. Part of me feels guilty for moving. Part of me knows that if I chit chat too much on the phone I will feel miserable for the longing that hits me after the call. It is hard enough to feel it myself, but while I am vain enough to at least hope that my friends are pained in the same way after a phone chat, it is not something I want to be responsible for. You could not know this, but I have to steel myself for phone chats, because I CRY after each and every one is done. It is pitiful, but it is because I love and miss my friends.

The midwest is supposed to be this welcoming friendly place where all are wanted. It turns out it is that way.... So long as you do not actually move here. Then you are a pariah! It gets worse though, because I have moved to the Bible Belt of America. Me... you know that girl who does not believe in organized religion or God and has a long life of shit that happened to have come to this belief. Well let's just say that you must be attached to a church here to get yourself in with the locals. So here I am the lone duck trying to fit in with a lake full of God loving geese. It ain't easy and I don't begrudge anyone their decision to have God in their life, but boy oh boy do people here not like my way of thinking!

The women I have started to make friends with here are mostly transplants themselves. These relationships are still in the early stages and there is plenty of anxiety about how to make them work as well as the ones I have back home. Although, I have to say that I cannot be sure that I was/am all that wonderful a friend. I like to think I so, but doesn't everyone? I moved and... I kind of have the feeling the tide may have shifted and yet I feel this way about ALL my old friendships so, maybe I am just... I don't even know.

Depression has played a huge part in my life here. Hubster and I made a decision based on a great many factors, which added up to moving 800 miles away from home and what we knew. As a transplant to DC, Matt had done this before, though not quite as far a distance as we went. He's paid dues with his family. He was younger and times were different, but it was by no means easier. There are penalties to be paid for moving away in ways I never expected. I am sure we will touch on these in the future.

So, how's that for the first bitch? Feedback please my friends and totally hop on the opinion wagon. We all need to know what frindships mean to each other in order to better understand each other... so maybe my old girlies can help me bridge the gap with my new girlies... What say you???

One Bitchin' Beginning

Blogging... This is new for me. I have read only a few blogs in my life. I have had no interest in blogging up to this point. My hubster recently told me that I should write a blog. Soon after, he said it again. One would have to wonder about the reason(s) he would suggest this. I have a few ideas... For the moment I will keep them to myself and giggle about them, as I have for the past few days.

The reason for this blog would have to be that I read books. LOTS AND LOTS OF BOOKS. Many varieties of books. Most recently I have read 2 books that my step-mother gave me 2 summers ago, when I was lacking reading material on a visit. I did not read them then, maybe I was not ready -- who knows. Eat, Pray, Love was the first. The Bitch in the House was the second. Both I loved and highly recommend. Many of the topics covered in these books felt like my life on someone else's paper. It was very eye opening. I read many passages to my hubster who was patient in his listening, smiled, nodded and promptly went back to doing his thing when I was done.

We'll see how long this lasts and how I feel about it as I go. I am currently keen to bitch and so I plan to. In reading the books above, I have to say that I had a profound response. I have long been familiar with my inner bitch and we have a love/hate relationship. I hope to say things that my friends will want to respond to -- positive or negative. I want to open discussions with my friends about these things, because I feel like we could all use a place to vent when we need to. Living 800 miles from home for the past 4 years, I have had no real communication with most of my friends. (Unless you count the occasional FaceBook post and some e-mails.)

I hope we girlfriends can join together, pour a glass of wine (or whatever you have handy) and share our bitches big and small.