Tag Archives: get it together

The irk and flow of mornings

The irk and flow of mornings

When I hired my morning sitter to manage the boys before school, I lost touch with my children.   The full impact of that really hit home this morning when my sitter had to cancel.  She called me at 6am.  Her car wouldn’t start.  I said ok, no problem, I got it from here.

I hung up and suddenly realized I had no clue.  What time should I wake them up?  When does school start?  Oh jeez, does Calvin have his reading class this morning?  What do they eat?  What about lunches?  Do they take their tennis racquets to school?  Is today the tutor?

And I quickly became an anxious wreck.  I was convinced at 6:05am I was running late when I was almost certain school didn’t start until some time after 8, or maybe 8:30.  The next two hours were hell.

I did everything wrong.  I woke them up too early.  It was too cold for cold breakfast.  They no longer eat oatmeal.  They were suppose to have hot chocolate waiting for them on the table.  “Elizabeth doesn’t fix it this way.  Where’s my marshmallow?”

Jack insisted on waffles.  “Mom, I eat three, not two, I’m not a little kid any more.”  He grabbed the plate from me and lifted it just high enough to dunk my just washed hair in the syrup.  They fought over toothpaste and who got to walk out the front door first.

Finally we load up and hit the road.  I turn the first corner and Sam knocked my coffee over, the whole cup into the driver seat where I was sitting in my go to work clothes. Of course there is no towel in the car.  That would make too much sense.  “Mom, you shouldn’t have put your coffee there.  Elizabeth doesn’t drink coffee. Why do you drink coffee?”

It’s a bittersweet thing, losing control.  I mean I feel like it should be a bittersweet thing.  It’s anything but.  I blew kisses to them as they walked away like I did when I was a stay at home mom.  Then I sped away as fast as the school zone allowed.

To wake, perchance to exercise

To wake, perchance to exercise

I was thinking this morning, as I hit the snooze button for the second time, that my good and bad days are determined by one key event: getting out of bed.

To be more precise, getting out of bed when the alarm actually goes off.  For the first time.

It’s psychological and also physiological.  If I get out of bed when I’m suppose to at 4:45am I have an immediate sense of accomplishment.  I did it, I got out from under the covers! I can do anything!

After that I make coffee and get on the treadmill.  I’m taking care of myself, increasing my metabolism, burning calories, and waking up the engine that will power my day.  I can listen to Bill Handel and his morning crew and nothing makes me smile like an irreverent cynic with great sound bites.  He’s an equal opportunity offender and I am in love with him.

I pound out two miles, sometimes I even run for some interval training, and I’m good to shower and beautify.  Then, with the extra time, I can make my lunch and fix myself a couple of boiled eggs.  I can safely and cleanly eat these as I drive to work.  As everyone in LA knows, you have to multi-task when you drive or it’s a missed opportunity.

All of this happens while the children sleep.  I’m alone.  I’m uninterrupted.  I’m self-indulgent while still being responsible.  It’s truly the best feeling and tees me up for a productive day.  Sometimes I even have time to accessorize!

Mind you, I’m having this epiphany while continuing to hit the snooze button.

You know, maybe every day is too big a reach.  Maybe I need a day off so my muscles can recover.  I heard that somewhere.  So every other day might be more realistic.  I could live with good days 50% of the time.

And that’s about the time I notice I’ve “overslept” about 15 minutes and now I’m late.

But it’s totally worth it because of the invaluable epiphany.  I can’t wait to see what my epiphany will be tomorrow.

Little things that change my life

Little things that change my life

I’m divorced.  At the time of the Great Divide, I was a stay-at-home, home schooling mom to my three sons – one of them with entry level autism.  I hadn’t worked in years.  Divorce was a big thing that changed my life.  I still grapple with the meaning of it.  My kids are back in brick and mortar school.  I’m back at work after 8 months of bitter unemployment.  I’m raising three boys to be men without a male presence.  I yell a lot.

What I never anticipated was our ability to adapt and the beauty of the unexpected simple solution.  The little things.  I have a day job, but as soon as I get home, I’m in the home office doing my part time work.  There are never-ending interruptions from the boys which always makes teleconferencing a challenge.  Most of my clients are resigned to the screaming in the background or the occasional “Mommy I have to poop.  Will you wipe my bottom?”  Right now they are in my office arguing over boiled eggs.  They don’t even like boiled eggs.  I repeat myself with withering conviction throughout the day.  “Get out of my office!”  “Let me finish my work!” and my favorite “I’ll be there in a minute!”  This is a good one: “Stop touching your brother!” That one works 24/7.

Anything I can do to reduce the stress I’m game for.  TV, for which I have a love-hate relationship, is a big trigger for tension because the boys only have a love relationship with it.  When it’s time for bed, it becomes all out war.  They’ve developed effective strategies.  The ear piercing whine is fairly reliable.  But a couple of weeks ago they did something exceptional.  They turned the volume down so I would think they had turned it off.  They faked me out.  Now I have to stop what I’m doing to get a visual on what they are up to.  I cannot trust my ears which for a mom is a really big loss.

Last night a little thing changed my life.  The guy I’m dating, the Boyfriend Candidate, is a problem solving junkie.  He must look at my house with the same glee as a mosquito in a blood bank.  He gave to me a most powerful weapon: a remote control power switch I can use on the TV’s outlet.  From my office, without warning, I can turn the TV off at its power source.  They cannot turn it back on.  They may yet find a go around; they could outsmart me.  They are younger and more flexible.  But for now, I’ll take the peaceful resignation of “What happened? Why isn’t the TV working? Barnacles.”

Adaptation is a small and beautiful thing.

I do coffee too

I do coffee too

I got a job exactly a year ago.  OK, not exactly, more like 13 months ago and it’s given me some cause to reflect.  Being “out there” then was an interesting experience.  I suppose when you are competing in a large metropolitan area for a job with thousands of other similarly qualified candidates, it couldn’t be anything other than interesting.  And grueling.  The rules of engagement have changed for a job that is traditionally undervalued:  assistant.

First of all, I’m rather lucid about who I am and what I have to offer the market.  I’m an executive assistant.  I can almost remember where I was when we changed from secretaries to assistants.  I kinda liked the secretary verbiage.  It means keeper of secrets and I was.  I am.  I digress.

Many years later I know I am not a risk-taker.  I’m not going to be the guy in the window office trying to raise money or materialize profitable ideas.  I will however be happy to execute that person’s vision and in all other ways kick ass to make it happen.

And believe it or not, industries still need secretaries.  The cutbacks of the last few years have seen many of my peers cut loose and it’s been a mistake to let them all go.  One of my window office friends works in a small industrial tools office.  Highly specialized.  They let their two assistants go rather than sacrifice the “real” talent.  Now he spends three hours on some days trying to make an airline reservation.  He spent two hours yesterday uncovering his FedEx account number.  I think their investors would croak knowing this talented sales guy who could be out nailing contracts, growing their business and ensuring their long term success is instead spending hours trying to create a six leg travel agenda that an experienced assistant could do in ten minutes – then she could help put his sales presentations together, make sure he had all of his materials for the road show and be on stand by in case he needed items FedExed (an account number she has memorized).

What I do is not glamorous, but it is significant.  And sure a lot of people can do it, but there are a few of us who do it really well.  That’s what was interesting about the interview process, trying to figure out how they were separating the wheat from the chaff.  In the end I think it came down to direct honesty rather than strategy.  I was upfront, “This isn’t rocket science, I’m not developing new ideas. I’m not even interested in being creative.  I’m interest in making you succeed, because when you win, the client wins, the investor wins and, yes, I win too.”

I’ve been doing this too long, not be in for the win.  Secretaries can have killer instincts too.  I just wish I could have brought a few of my friends with me.

What happened here?

What happened here?

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the whole process.  I’m writing an explanation in hopes that this will jump start me again.  I hear that works.

When I started blog writing over a year ago, I had tight deadlines, daily writing assignments on all kinds of topics.  There was a sense of urgency, I felt a responsibility, and I got it done.  I still get it done.  I write daily for several websites.  In the course of those writing gigs, I also was asked to blog from my unique perspective: the middle aged single mom, three young boys, one autistic, dating after 20 years, perimenopausal, retiring parents, one with Alzheimer’s point of view.  That’s a lot and you’d think there would be tons of material.  But even then, posting once a week, I would get stuck.

Then I lost the self absorbed blog.  Seems the demographic and I didn’t exactly mix.  And I missed it.  I missed the objective musing on this life and the hysterical qualities it had somehow acquired.  And speaking of acquisitions, I acquired in the last few years a boyfriend candidate, a hippie room mate, a really good friend, the belligerence of my absent-almost-ex-husband, an estranged brother, a circle of divorced mom friends, a full time job, a new set of co-workers, an old car, a crazy young guy friend, an old rock star, and a ton of threatening letters from CitiBank wondering when I’m going to pay off my ex-husband’s exorbitant debt.  Yes, bat shit crazy indeed.

So my life is richer than ever.  Almost always almost too much to handle, but one way or another it gets done.  And I’d love to write about it again which is why I started this blog many weeks ago.  But I find trying to pull together my old posts, new essays, ideas on post-it notes, memos to self in the margins of my Franklin, all just a bit daunting.  I found a note “fart on demand”.  I can’t remember for the life of me what that meant.  See, now I have to do research.  Add that to the list.

It’s sort of a big philosophical as well as practical question: how do I get on with it?  [Even at this moment, while I’m trying to think and organize ideas my Calvin is sitting at the desk across from me barking, literally. He’s my 9 year old.]   I think in the end I just have to do it.  My friend Belinda at the office told me yesterday that the only real great advice she got from her years of therapy post divorce was this:  In order to live your life, you must go through it.  So put your head down, aim forward and just go.  So that’s what I’m doing now.  But first, I’m going to give myself a break.  These postings won’t be perfect.  I’m mixing past and present, musing on the future.  Sometimes it won’t make sense.

It really is just like life.