It’s Not About The Ending

On Sunday night, a few friends sat on our sofa with Mark and I and watched the series ending of LOST.  Let me start by saying that we weren’t big Losties in the beginning.  We had no desire whatsoever to watch this stupid show.  One night though, we invited my friend Christopher to dinner and he said “Well, that’s LOST night.  So if I can watch it at your house, great.  Otherwise… you know I work nights and it’s tough for me to schedule things.”  So we chose to waste an hour of our life in order to spend several with someone we missed.

Then there was an inhaler and a guy tied to a tree and a really hot kiss and a “HOLY COW WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” moment… and well… that was it.  For the last 6 seasons, there have been an incredibly high number of those cliff hangering, soul wrenching, laughter inducing, scare you out of your seat, tear jerking moments amid the filler and the plot lines that played out too damned long during our one hour of LOST every week.

Back to Sunday night.  We’ve skipped time with friends, lost out on sleep, cut evenings out short, and made a dozen other sacrifices to be home on LOST night.  To say we were emotionally invested in this finale is an understatement of epic proportions.  To say that the finale was a letdown and I felt robbed would be an equally sized understatement.  I was angry.  Furious.  Could not believe I spent all of this time waiting for The Final Episode of LOST… for that.

lost

This morning, however, my brain accidentally drew a connecting line for me and I think I’m ok.  You see, this is my last week of my job.  As I mentioned, I’m leaving the workforce to be a small business owner, ptsa president, and baker of cookies.  It’s The Ending of an era of my life… the end of this particular series, if you will.  And it’s pretty anticlimactic.

Are you wondering what the hell I’m blabbering on about?  (Mark, don’t answer that).  It isn’t about The Finale.  It never was.  It’s about the million breathtaking moments in between the beginning and the end.  The end will always be a letdown, because the end of the roller coaster ride can never ever compete with the 3 loops in the middle.

I didn’t watch LOST for 6 seasons to get to the end.  I watched to sit on the edge of my seat and wonder what the hell was going to happen next.  And I was never disappointed.  I didn’t quit my job to be a puddle of goo on the couch… it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of the next rise.

This “series” is going to be filled with moments where I scream “HOLY HELL WHAT JUST HAPPENED!!” and it’s going to be wonderful… and sad… and frustrating… and exciting… and boring… and NONE of it will be about The Finale.

We Do It All For The Children … right?

It would be really easy to say I’m making these major life changes for my kiddos.  As a matter of fact, I’ve probably claimed many times that I just want to go into business for myself and make my own schedule so that I can be there for the girls. 

I want to be here to make their dinner and volunteer at their schools.  I want to host sleepovers and scream at them to STFU at FIVE THIRTY AM after they’ve played Eye of the Tiger back to back 78 times on Rock Band, because the new kid doesn’t know any other songs (swear to god… this really happened).  I want to have the freedom to travel with them on chorus trips and college campus visits.  I do.  But if I said I was doing it all for them, I’d be full of crap.  And you’d know it.

The truth is, I know my moments as a mom who is needed on a daily basis are numbered.  I see them slipping away faster than I ever dreamed possible.  Anna is going to be a Senior in high school and my Faitha just graduated from the 6th grade academy yesterday.  Sierra… my mini-me… is graduating 8th grade today and going off to high school in the fall.  They’re flaunting this… this… maturing into young women in front of me every day!

My heart aches at every achievement… every award… every honors class… every driving lesson.  I’m a hopeless mess at every chorus performance, report card, and glaringly responsible adult decision they make.  They’re growing up and running as fast as their legs can carry them, the legs I taught them to so proudly stand on… and walk on… and run on.  Running toward a future that I foolishly taught them was theirs for the taking.  I’m thrilled for them … amazingly proud… and even more determined that I need to create memories to hold onto once they’ve gone out to conquer the world.

But even that is only part of the reason.  The part of me that isn’t “all mom all the time” finally woke up and realized that I need to be running toward the future that’s mine for the taking too.  I’m running toward the future that my heart craves… that makes me smile when I wake up in the  morning… that will show them their mom wasn’t just giving them lip service all these years. 

Holy cow ya’all.  I think I’m finally doing it for ME.

A Note From Ida:

The support I’ve received since deciding to quit the corporate world and since I launched this website two days ago has been mindboggling.  I really need to say thank you to my family, to my friends, and to those of you who have no idea who the heck I am.  I’m honored that you’re all coming with me on this adventure, and oh what an adventure it’s going to be!

This is usually the time that I remind my sisters that there are rules against making me cry at work.  But I’m hereby striking that rule down.  I cry ya’all.  When I’m happy and when I’m sad.  When I’m proud.  When I’m overwhelmed with emotion.  So, I guess I can’t really have that rule anymore and live this dream.

Getting Started Getting It All

I’ve heard a lot of people over the years talking about Having It All.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The ones who sound like the guy on the middle of the night infomercial selling The Chopper…

YOU TOO CAN HAVE IT ALL –  ORDER MY PROGRAM AND WITH JUST 42 SIMPLE STEPS  YOU CAN SLICE, DICE, MAKE JULIENNE FRIES, AND PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE 17 YEARS EARLY WHILE YOU SLEEP.

What. Ever.

I think Having It All is a myth.  What makes me believe that?  Because All changes with every moment that passes.  My goals and family’s needs today will not be the same in 6 months or a year.  They may be similar, but they’ll evolve and grow and change.  I think you can have it all for a fleeting moment, but no longer than that.  When you achieve goals or check something off of the “always wanted to do” list, there’s always a new goal… a new dream… a new definition of what Having It All would include.

For as long as I could remember, I’ve had a list of what a perfect daily life aka It All would be for me.  I’ve wanted to do work I love… and write books… and bake cookies… and travel with my family… and blog… and  grow a vegetable garden… and volunteer at my kid’s school in the middle of the afternoon for no other reason than it’s Tuesday.  My list has evolved over the years and some things have fallen off and others have been added to, but that’s the general gist of what getting it all would be in my world.

I never believed that those things were possible because, really… who actually gets to do that? You work, you come home, you fit in the things you love to do around the things you have to do and you suck it the hell up because that’s what being a grownup is about.

Right?

And then, a few months ago, I started seeing these conversations all over my social network about “Living Your Truth” and “Escaping Mediocrity”  and “Finding Work You Love“.  I started thinking that maybe I could start getting the life that I want instead of the life that I was expected to have.  You could say I started drinking the kool aid!

I started reading books and blogs and news articles about sculpting your life into what you want it to be… and about taking back your own power.  I started telling myself that I would not continue to be the barrier to my own success.  I even started to believe all of that nonsense just a little bit more every day.

My AHA moment, and I know this will sound EXTRAORDINARILY HOKEY, was when Elizabeth posted something on twitter that resonated with me so deeply that I can’t even begin to tell you how it felt.  She said “The best thing I ever did was stop asking people what they thought I should do.”  I stopped in my tracks.

I DO that.  I have amazing fabulous ideas… and I never trust myself enough to just run with it.  I always ask.  I always alter my vision to suit what others see.  I always second guess.  And I always stop JUST short of following through.

And I’ve told you all of that to say this… This website is the beginning of me finally following my heart and GETTING IT ALL… and helping you, my friends, see that you can get it all too.  I don’t know yet exactly what it will look like or sound like, but I couldn’t wait any longer to get started.  The excuse monster was lurking.

I do know that I’ll be sharing interviews of other moms who are getting their own brand of “it all” and how they’re doing it and what their challenges are.  I’ll be telling my own stories and sharing in yours as well.  We’ll figure out the rest together.

So here goes.  I quit my day job.  My last day will be May 28th.  I’m building my own web design business and transitioning to a work from home mom and the president of the PTSA next year and I’m baking the damned cookies.  It’s not going to be easy, but I bet that it’ll be educational… for all of us.

I hope you’ll join me and keep me company and share your stories too.

LOVE!

*Edited and added a teeny bit on 5/20

A Million Businesses – Nobody Worth Referring To

I never thought I’d see the day when NOBODY “knows somebody” locally that they would dare send their friends and family to.  Yet, here I am.  Over the course of the last several years, I’ve had a need for dozens of different service providers in our area and haven’t been able to find one solid referral from my (extensive) personal network.

I shouldn’t have to go to Angie’s List or Kudzu to get a referral to a business down the street.  We should be able to ask our neighbors, friends, parents of our children’s friends, and the person in line next to us at Kroger.  When you specifically go looking for quality local businesses to spend your money, it should NOT be this damned hard!

Not once have I had someone say “Oh, you have to go to my … salon, mechanic, contractor, dentist… they’re so great!”  The warmest suggestion I’ve found in all this time has been “well, I’ve never had x done, but they do ok with y… I guess you could try there”.  Trust me folks, if the highest recommendation you’ve got going for you is “I guess they’re ok”, I’m gonna keep looking!

When did the world at large decide that receiving substandard quality of work and service is just something you have to put up with unless you do it yourself?  What the hell kind of sense does that make?  “Here, I know you just filed the skin off my knuckles while you were doing my nails, but please take my $45 PLUS TIP to make up for the trouble of having to clean my blood off your equipment.  See you in 2 weeks!” ????????

If I have to have screwed up fingernails, scary eyebrows, and a broken porch railing for the rest of my life, I will not spend any more money on shitty service from people who are phoning it in at work.

Local Small Business Owners… listen up… we’re out here.  We have money to spend on the services you provide.  We WANT to be able to refer you to our friends and become loyal repeat customers.  We WANT to be able to say “why yes, I do have a fantastic mechanic, nail salon, tax person, dog walker, lawn service…”  We just can’t find you (or you’re one of the ones doing a CRAPPY JOB).  Give us reasons to refer you to our network and we’ll love you forever.

OH! My Bad!

Have you ever seen a more irritating, poke-your-eyes-out-with-a-stick, vein-throbbing-in-your-forehead phrase in all your life?  MY BAD.

I have teenagers.  They used to be children.  They used to say “Oops.  I’m sorry.” when they screwed up or forgot to do a chore or stepped on someone’s toe.  Not anymore though.  Now it’s MY BAD.

DUDE, I KNOW IT’S YOUR BAD!  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have said “you forgot to pick up your towel from the bathroom floor.”  I would have said it to your sister.

Is it because I take the shackles off to let them leave the house and go to school every day?  Is that where they pick it up?  Is it Nickelodeon, or Radio Disney?  Do we let them watch too much PG-13 television?

I really need to know… how do they suddenly go from “I’m sorry, Mommy” to “Oh.  MY BAD”????  And how do you get them to go back, short of threatening their life (cause that didn’t work)?  Otherwise, someone tell me how to turn off the twitching, because that look is so not working for me.

I am not responsible for your child!

Since starting middle school 2 1/2 years ago, my middle child has had a friend whose mother just refuses to be responsible for.  It never fails that if there is an event at school (or THIRTY MILES FROM SCHOOL) that this child is participating in, I will get the following phone call:

“Mommy, can we give Nikia a ride to (home from) the performance? (dance, pta meeting, etc)  Her mom can’t come get her (after dark, in the pouring fucking rain).”  In the beginning, I felt bad that Nikia wouldn’t get to participate in these things if I said no, so I became the cab for someone else’s kid.

But you know… it’s been 2 1/2 damned years.  Not once has an adult in this child’s house shown up for a performance she’s in, or provided transportation for something that they signed the permission slip saying she could attend.

This weekend was my middle daughter’s birthday party, so color me shocked when (an hour before the party) I got the question.. “Mommy, can you go pick up Nikia?  She wants to come to the party.”   ……. uh, no.  We’ve got 20 guests arriving in an hour, I’m not playing taxi tonight.

“Well, she’s going to walk and she wants to know if I can walk half way and meet her?”  … uh, no.  We’ve got 20 guests arriving in an hour to see YOU and you’re not going to be walking down the road in the dark when they do.  And if she comes, I’m NOT taking her home!”

Amazingly enough, someone managed to find it in their heart to drop the child on my doorstep during the party.  Of course, she ended up inviting herself to the sleepover afterward, because she couldn’t get a ride home.  Raise your hand if you’re surprised!  Yeah, me neither.

Finally, yesterday about 3:30 in the afternoon, my husband had to take the girl home because it was raining and still nobody at her house would come and pick her up.

How do people do this?  How the hell do they just dump their kids off for everyone else to be responsible for?  How do they promise that the kid can participate in things at school and then let them down EVERY FUCKING TIME?  How do they break their kids’ hearts at every turn?  And, even more importantly, how do they teach their kids that it’s acceptable to beg, whine, needle, cajole, and negotiate to get other people to pick up their sorry ass slack?

Some people need to wake the hell up, get off the sofa, and be parents to the people they brought into this world.  And some of us (or me) need to stop enabling those other people to dump their kids off for us to care for.

I forgot where I was for just a minute

To say that I’ve been under a little stress lately might just be the understatement of my life.  So yesterday, while dangling at the very tippy edge of my sanity, I posted this on Facebook:

C.R.A.N.K.Y. ……. if you love me, you will find me a nice quiet warm place to be with nothing breakable within reach and shove chocolate under the door. #thatisall

A while later, while puttering on Facebook during a conference  call (which he can do… because he works from home… in his underwear… and nobody can see him surfing on Facebook during his calls.  fucker.)  my husband left this comment on my post:

My arms work?

Did I say fucker?  I meant … I love you hunny bunny and always will!

After the FOREVER LONG DAY I had yesterday, I drove my cranky self home … and sat in the driveway for 5 minutes flipping a coin to see if I should go in or just go crawl into a Mexico Lindo margarita. I went inside, bracing myself for the “ZOMG MOMMY YOU HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT MY DAYYYYYY” deluge.

I opened the front door, ever so cautiously… to a nearly spotless living room.  Something was definitely wrong here.  I sniffed and asked “Uh, what the hell is that smell?” and a child responded (sedately…?? WHAT) “Oh, M lit candles for you.”  and then “Oh, and he poured you a glass of wine too.  Here you go, mommy.”

Sounds from the house started penetrating the fog that is my brain.  Washing machine going.  Dryer going.  Someone washing the dishes.  At this point, I MUST have had the confused tilted head look on my face. I mean.. it looked like my house on the outside.  These looked like my children.

My husband is the most amazing guy on the planet.  He marshaled the troops (kids) and they all pitched in on a “Take care of mommy” night.  After asking just a couple of procedural questions, he got dinner started while I puttered on a couple of chores.  With a stern look, he picked up my wine glass and told me to follow him to the bedroom.  (Get your mind out of the gutter!)

He took me to our bathroom where there was a row of lit candles around the bath tub… and a small dish of chocolate truffles… and began to run a bubble bath for me.   Smiling from ear to ear, I reached into the tub to stir up some bubbles.  And then…DUN DUN DUN….

I stood up and collapsed into a heap of giggles in my husband’s arms. Just when I started to believe that I came home to the wrong house… NO HOT WATER. The youngest didn’t take a shower before school, so she took one after school instead and used up all the hot water.

I blew out the candles, ate all of the chocolates and checked my email.  But I’ll tell you what… I was smiling the entire time.

You think the Sock Monster is bad? He’s got nothing on this guy…

12… twelve… TWELVE!  That is the number of travel mug lids in my kitchen cabinet.  No mugs.  Just lids.  I am not kidding!

I have no idea where they go, or how they’re getting there.  Obviously there are multiple meanings to the term “travel mug”.  I never dreamed it meant they’d be traveling alone… and leaving their handy dandy partners (the lids) behind!

They aren’t in my van (ok, one was, but it had the lid on it…).  They aren’t on the porch.  None in my husband’s car.  None in the kids rooms.  The dogs are NOT happy that I keep looking under the beds and finding their stashes of things (mismatched socks….. hmmmm) and shuffling things around.  Still no travel mugs.  I’m almost certain they have been devoured by the long lost (and obviously more vicious) cousin of the Sock Monster.  I think we have a Travel Mug Monster.

To all you bigtime travel mug maker companies out there… please put one of those baby glove attachment strings between the cup and the lid.  That would be so very helpful.  Maybe then I would have a cabinet full of half washed mugs to bitch about instead of just those sad, lonely, pitiful looking lids who are pining for their missing mug companions.  If we could save just one travel mug from this evil and malicious monster, for under $.12 a day… oh wait… wrong plea…  If we could save just one travel mug from this evil and malicious monster by attaching a teeny tiny connector, life would be so much more pleasant for the people who have to be on the road with me in the mornings.

OH and while we’re on the subject… if you could all just pick one darned size of lid and stick with it, that’d be great.  Have you ever spent 20 minutes fishing through (TWELVE) lids to find the one that actually fits your mug so that you can go to work?  It’s annoying as hell.

So, in conclusion:

  • Attach the lids to the mugs so they don’t get traumatized by the separation (and then give me one for my birthday)
  • Make the lids uniform size
  • Get a doggie gate for the laundry room so the “sock monsters” go away.

That is all.

Word of Mouth is only as good as the mouth it’s coming out of

Dear Dave Ramsey,

The endorsements that come out of your mouth are bullshit at its finest.  Which is a shame, because your real message is amazing and changes lives.  I believe in your financial advice… and until I found out how WRONG I was, I believed in your famous Endorsed Local Providers.

After hearing you talk about how your Endorsed Local Providers are the cream of the crop who “have the heart of a teacher”, I decided to take your advice and get my taxes processed by someone on that list.  Your financial advice may have never steered me wrong, but so far the other companies you endorse are shit.

After spending almost 2 months repeatedly answering questions, following their suggestions, and trying desperately to get them to return a telephone call or answer an email in a timely manner… we finally got our taxes for last year filed… only to find out months later that they didn’t do the whole job.  So we had to file an amendment and flurry of other paperwork to get things sorted out.

Last month, the IRS told us that none of the numbers on our personal return matched the numbers on our business return and now we have to file ANOTHER amendment.

Oh yeah… and we’re going to get audited.

OH YEAH… and the IRS rejected our otherwise qualifying Offer in Compromise, costing us SIXTY THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS.

OH YEAH AND… now these amazing Endorsed Local Providers refuse to return phone calls, return emails, or schedule an appointment so that we can file yet another amendment to fix their continued screw ups.  YIPPEE!

I should have learned my lesson, but no.  I thought that, since this wasn’t the first time we had been unable to find a reliable tax accountant over the last 5 years, this was just the way tax firms worked in the 2000s.  Completely lazy, unresponsive, and incompetent.

Holy Cow was I wrong!  Last week, I took my car to one of the shops you advertise in my area about 10 times every single episode.  Good mechanics that don’t screw you out of hundreds of dollars a pop are getting harder to find, so I took another shot with someone that you recommended.

After two full business days (not including the holiday weekend), we still didn’t get a call from the garage with the ESTIMATE.  So, my hubby called today and guess what… oh, I’ll bet you know… they haven’t even looked at it.  Amazingly enough, not even an hour after he called, we got the estimate.

They say we’ll get a call today when the repairs are finished.  Maybe.  Given the track record, I’m not holding my breath.

Lesson learned.. Rest assured that this bitch won’t be using your endorsed insurance, investment, or real estate providers.

Truly,

Bitchy Momma