Friday, April 25, 2008

A Cluttered Mind

Cleaning the house has always been my job. Sam could care less if we sat knee-deep in our own waste as long as he could lay on the couch undisturbed. Growing up in a filthy household (I do mean filthy but won't elaborate right now), I swore my house would never, ever, ever be a source of embarassment to me or my kids. Never would they be afraid to bring friend's over because of the mess and smell and I would not be ashamed to have anyone enter my front door again.

I realize this obsession is my own neurosis and of my own making. But I can NOT go an entire week without cleaning my house. When I say cleaning I mean vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting, cleaning bathrooms and all surfaces. Every night before I go to bed everything gets picked up and put away, the dishes are in the dishwasher and the house is right. I have relaxed a little as time has gone by but I still get all discombobulated if the house isn't thoroughly cleaned at least once a week.

When I worked full-time before my daughter was born, it wasn't as difficult to keep the house clean. We had a townhouse which we didn't even use the basement so that was two small floors to clean and one child to pick up after. It might have taken me an hour and a half on a Saturday morning. Then when I was home with my daughter it was therapeutic to get everyone out of the house after the weekend and get the house back in order. Now that I am back at work full-time, I hardly have time for anything let alone keeping the house to my standards.

Every once in a while I will discuss this with Sam and tell him how unfair it is that the responsibility falls to me alone and that it seems the rest of the family's mission is to undo what I worked so hard to clean. He looks at me like I'm crazy and tells me that the house isn't even dirty when I clean it. Let me assure you that I have NEVER cleaned my house when it is clean. Never happened and never will. I might be a bit OCD but I am inherently lazy and would rather sit on the computer or read a book than clean the house. It's just that my brain won't function right knowing that the house is a mess. I make half-hearted attempts to get Sam to help and enlist the kids in their help but it never fails that about 30-45 minutes into the forced cleaning session they are all driving me crazy, are in my way and not doing anything right so I kick them all out. Go to DC to a museum or go to lunch but just go.

After some thought I have decided to get a cleaning service. I realize I have spent way too much of my kid's childhoods cleaning this or that while they ask me to come see this or that or take them to the park. So I came to the conclusion that it doesn't have to be me that cleans the house. Cleaning services are professionals with much more experience than me in this area so I can trust them to get the job done, right? I have pretty much convinced myself of this fact. Now I can spend more time on the weekends with my kids doing whatever we want to. My soul is a bit lighter today knowing that within the next few hours my house will be spotless. I won't go home tonight and look around at all of the cleaning I have to get done and wonder how much of my Saturday morning will be eaten up. It is a very liberating feeling.

Of course I won't mention the amount of time I spent cleaning up last night so the cleaning service won't think I am a complete slob. I really need therapy ; )

Saturday, April 19, 2008


We are cleaning the entire outdoors today, it seems. Why do we bother picking up leaves off the ground when more fall from the trees? Isn't this much like making the bed you will sleep in again in about 12 hours?

I've been dreaming of a frosty cold beer since 10am. Before I even ate breakfast....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Playing hooky

I've been a mother since I was 21. I worked full-time until my second child was born and then decided to take a few years "off" (if you don't know why those quotes are there then you are obviously not a parent or involved aunt/uncle ; ) to enjoy my kid's childhoods and finish my degree. It was great to spend the time focused on my kids and I cherish those days because I know they will never come again. But in the process, I never really developed my own identity separate from my mother moniker and as my kids get older I struggle to find just who that person is and what she wants from life.

One of the things I am not accustomed to is doing pretty much anything without a child beside me. We don't go out a lot without them and I hardly leave the house with at least one begging to go too. Several of my friends are known to take a day or two off periodically with the kids in school and their husbands at work to catch up things they want and need to do. This never occurs to me since I usually have a crappy vacation policy at whatever job I am at or it wasn't possible when I stayed at home with the kids. Usually I save all my vacation for a measly week off with the family and any various illnesses that come up with the kids during the year. My current job's vacation policy rocks though and I get 3 weeks of vacation, 5 days of sick and 2 personal days. No more stretching it as thin as it will go especially since I can work from home when the kids are sick so I don't have to waste a day off.

Last week was so stressful that on Monday when I was looking down the barrel of a full week of unknowns, I decided to do the unthinkable. I e-mailed my boss and requested a personal day. And didn't tell Sam until my boss approved. I didn't want him trying to make any plans for me or offering to take the day off too. Immediately I e-mailed my close girlfriend (also my neighbor) and asked her if she would be interested in a long lunch with a few cocktails. The reason I love her is because of her immediate enthusiasm and she responded quickly with approval.

Of course my guilt got the best of me and I offered to go to my daughter's school for the morning. The class will take turns reading to me but that actually sounds cool to me. It will make the time go fast as I sit and figure out what I will be drinking when I get out of there.....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Preparing for a painful death

Once upon a time, I was a workout queen. On average, I walked or jogged 20-24 miles a week and did Winsor Pilates 5-6 times a week. I went from a size 18 after having my daughter to a 6-8 and lost 75 pounds. Then the inevitable slide began. I gained about 20-25 pounds back and barely log 4-8 miles a week and hardly ever fit in a Pilates workout. And I sit here a size 10-12 now. Doesn't sound awful but when people were always commenting on how much I had lost and now look at me like "WTF happened?", I get a bit self-conscious. It is time to do something about it especially when bathing suit season is around the corner.

So like I always do when I want quick (and unattainable) results, I go extreme. We ordered the p90X system by Tony Horton this weekend and it should be here later this week. I have NO idea what I have done to myself and suspect that I am going to wind up watching the workouts from the floor with my arms flung out like flat tires and crying like a newborn baby. Even at my fittest, my arms were the least toned part on my body because, let's face it, the only lifting I enjoy is the beer from the table to my mouth.

The e-mail came today that said the system is in the mail and will be here in a few days. Honestly, I shivered when I read that e-mail. This is one time I am seriously hoping the mail system breaks and loses my package. Wish me luck and don't hate me if I am blogging next week with my nose.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Not such a good week.....

For the most part, I love my job. My boss is the best boss I have ever had and my co-workers are all parents and understanding of sick kids, homework club and snow/ice days. If I need to work from home they are accomodating and don't give me a hard time. I guess there was bound to be a "rough spot" and I found it this week.

It started at the beginning of March when my boss sent that hilarious e-mail about giving us projects that would have ridiculous turn-around times. Boy, he wasn't kidding. One of the projects I was assigned was extensive but it was completed last year and "only needed the data refreshed with current population demographics". No biggie, right? WRONG!

We recently went through a payroll conversion which means all of the data I needed to refresh was in the new system (with no access to the old information) and it is a mess. I can't rely on the numbers I was getting out of it so I worked around it. Plus I had two other projects to complete by the end of March. All of this had to be done in time for a big executive meeting that was yesterday. Throw in our week of lost work from the trip to Boston and I was in a serious crunch. I haven't been with the company for long so I asked a co-worker that worked on the first project for help. She showed me what data to refresh and let me go.

Fast forward to yesterday. Boss is STRESSED out and asking for the data. I give it to him and he comes back out with a graphic I had never before laid eyes on and asked about it. Said I had never seen it and if he could tell me where he got his data, I would do my best to recreate it. He said to get with co-worker when she got in to work on it before the afternoon meeting. So I did. And she had never seen it before either. LONG story short, the presentation was not ready to go before the big executive meeting that afternoon. Boss was PISSED. He yelled at co-worker and she was pissed at me all morning today. We had a staff meeting where a second co-worker brought up the fact that if we are having trouble on a project or need help, we need to be vocal and not let it fall through the cracks. I had to stop her there and say that I knew they were looking directly at me on this but that for the record, I did what I was told needed to be done and that he never showed me the graphic before yesterday. To say I was upset is an understatement. I am fairly new and don't have all the 401(k) experience that they do besides the fact that I didn't work on the original project so didn't really know what to "refresh" and relied on co-worker's explanation.

I need to get over it. When I get upset I tend to overreact and I don't want to do that here. I love my job and need to learn how to take my lumps and let it go as lesson learned. But the child in me wants to throw a fit and storm off. At what age does one finally grow up?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Another WTF moment in my life....

Scene: Me minding my own business alternating work with clock-watching (come ON 4:30!) Enter ringing phone. It wasn't even my line but a shared line we all have and I was the only one available to answer. So I do. BIG mistake. Actual conversation follows....

Me: HR, this is Me.

She: Yes ma'am. My name is Jane Doe and I am trying to find out if I can transfer my dental insurance. I left the company and moved and want to know if I can keep the dental insurance.

Me: Well I'm not sure. This is the 401(k) department and we don't handle the medical or dental benefits. Let me see if I can find someone to help you with this. Can you hold?

She: Yes.

I walk down the hall to our benefits call center where not a freaking soul is to be found. No one. Do they not stagger lunches at all? I return to my cube.

Me: Ma'am, I'm sorry. There is no one available right now (read: they are all busy getting drunk on margaritas at Joe's Crab Shack) to answer this question but I would be happy to take a message and have them return your call as soon as they come back (think to self, Don't trust anything they say after a 3-hour liquid lunch).

She: Ok.

Me: Great. Ok, you said your name was Jane Doe. Can I get your number?

She: Yes, it is 555-1234.

Me: And what is the area code?

She: 555

Me: Yes, I have the 555-1234 already. What is your area code?

She: Oh, it is 3847 Winston Place...

Me: Ma'am, I need your area code.

She: You need what?


She: It is 555.

seriously falling out of my chair

Me: So if I am going to call you back I am going to dial 555-555-1234

She: Hold on a second while I grab a pen to write that down.

silently banging my head on the back of my chair

Me: Ma'am, I am asking about the number for us to return your call not for you to call!! If I call you back I am going to dial 555-555-1234?

She: Oh, no. You are going to dial 554.

Me: Ok, so 554-555-1234?

She: Yes.

Me: Ok ma'am. Someone will return your call as soon as possible.

Surprise! It turns out 554 isn't really an area code so no one will be returning her call anytime at all. Argh!