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Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Ups

Exhaustion is still there. I'm still having trouble adulting (although at least part of that should dissipate as soon as these antibiotics for sinus infection kick in).

But there are ups as well as downs.

Lizzy will be tested for Hi-Cap (that's for Highly Capable; it's our district's version of elementary school AP classes) as soon as they do it (before the end of the school year). To that end, we are also having her assessed for ADHD, as I probably had it (they called it hyperactivity in the '70s) and her dad certainly did. Don't worry; we don't want to medicate her into zombie-like form. I just want all the fabulous focus tools her teachers have been using with fair success to be official; that way she can use them during other testing, avoiding failing a test by jumping up and down in the middle of it. I want to thank my friend Aileen (again) as she is a huge help with this stuff, being a teacher herself. The letter template requesting such services was especially great.

Abby is (again) in a mainstage production at Studio East (we're trying them both out for their usual winter production, 'Twas the Night, but that's another post). Right now she's in rehearsals for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as an Oompa Loompa, one of Charlie's classmates, and a cook in the Gloop home. Note: they are not being painted orange. She's having an absolute blast, especially as it's one of her favorites. It was one of Laston's too, and she's dedicating this performance to him.

If you want tickets, click the link up there and choose a performance for Cast A to see Abby.

I have a friend who is a printer, and she is making up booklets of all the nice things people said about Laston online and at the memorial, and I will have a (very) few to give out, in addition to the ones for my place, Leanna's household, Laston's parents, his brother, etc.

Another friend (as I found out today when I got a lovely gift in the mail) was making a wrap for Laston when he went into hospice care. A wrap in this context is either a narrow shawl or a wide scarf, and it's a beautiful blue-gray color. She sent it to me with a note saying to consider it a hug from her whenever I need it. Happy tears.

Laston's publisher, the kids, everyone has been so kind. So there are ups too. And we need to remember that.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rough Week Adulting

Nothing really went wrong.

But I remain in awe of you natural introverts for ever going out and Interacting With People.

I worked four days this week, nearly all of each shift each day (I work four ten-hour days). I was so exhausted by lunchtime that I ended up taking long lunches to regroup for the second half of those days.

Now some of it may be that I had been off work for over a month, but I don't remember it being this hard either time that I wanted to stay home with either of my babies, and those were eight-week absences due to c-section.

Income I need, so work I must.

Even when I don't want to move from my cozy little nest.

Thursday was the worst, because I spoke with a customer whose phone bill was so high because she stayed home with dying grandparent while the rest of the family were out of the country.

I did not lose it. I did not cry.

At least not until the customer was off my phone.

And then I went to Third Grade Curriculum Night for Lizzy. It was actually okay, except that I skipped the assembly afterward. The 30 or so adults with a scattering of children in Lizzy's classroom I could handle. A gym-full I was pretty sure I couldn't; there are seven third-grade classrooms in her school (and I've been to the welcome-to-school assembly at one of the elementary schools in our district at least once a year for the past nine years; I think I've got the gist).

Friday I had off, almost didn't go to Weight Watchers (but gained less than I feared), and spent most of the day feeling vaguely weepy. No particular reason except the obvious.

Today we got up late, had brunch (note: the kids will take advantage. No, just because you had what serves as breakfast at eleven does not mean you get dessert while mom is feeding a neighbor's cat), and I took Leanna back to her mom and took Abby to rehearsal and Movie Night (they earned a movie with the whole group).Then Lizzy and I did some more shed-cleaning, some more books-to-Half-Pricing, and went out to dinner with the proceeds (and a coupon Lizzy got because she's a member of their kids' club and it's still her birthday month).

So I had Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday off. Did I get any of the stuff done I wanted to do? Very little of it; I just haven't go energy or motivation apparently. I did manage to get a little cash out of Half-Price Books, get rid of a bunch of random crap lying around, and put out old clothes for a charity pickup that apparently isn't scheduled until October 22nd. Did I mention that I'm also even more forgetful than usual; it never even occurred to me to look at the month on the confirmation, and I only saw "Saturday").

Oh, and I designated an area of my fridge as "School Lunches Stuff" so Lizzy can pack her own lunch. Go me.

And I'm still exhausted, to the point where if Lizzy's willing to let Grandma help her clean her room, I'm willing to be disapproved of for the state of her room.

Just too tired to care.

Don't fret; I'm not a danger to myself or others.

It's just that between the depression and the guilt (I know the guilt is irrational, but I feel guilty for such crimes as Seeing the Infinitesimal Silver Lining of Not Having Another Adult to Work Around In the House) I just want to do nothing. I want to read and eat and sleep (that last isn't working real well, which adds to the exhaustion) and play video games and do nothing else.

But I can't. I have a household to maintain, kids to parent, homework to help with, bills to pay, and Guilder to blame for it.

Heh... and writing. Writing always helps me feel better.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Ravenclaw for Certain

Miz Liz is a Ravenclaw; there is no question. As her father was, and as I sometimes am, when the Sorting Hat does not peg me as Hufflepuff.

For those of you who do not know the Hogwarts houses, assuming you've been living in a dark cave without access to the outside world, here's a link to the Sorting Hat's own definitions as portrayed in the first book. In Lizzy's own fair summation, they are "the brave ones, the clever ones, the nice ones, and the ones who do what they want."

Abby's a Hufflepuff, as mentioned here, but the dual test shows her as a Huffledor; that is to say primarily nice with a side of brave. I'm a Ravenpuff by that test: clever with kind bits.

Lizzy comes out as a Ravendor. She's definitely the former, not often the latter.

Even before last month she was not the bravest kid on the block; she's high strung and prone to nightmares and the like. She even had night terrors as a baby and toddler.

This is why I've been reading the Harry Potter books to her; she has the reading level even at just-nine but not the scary-tolerance to read them on her own.

Last week was our first oh-hell-no moment with a book for her; we got the the chapter with the cave in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and she was just done. She escaped to the bathroom and asked me to read the chapter to myself and then summarize it for her.

I had the same feeling when Season Four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer looked to me to be too um... adult for 13yo Abby.

Yeah, so Harry and friends are going to have to survive without Lizzy's input or even knowledge for awhile, and Lizzy and I are going to start Mom's Comfort Fantasy Lit together as soon as we're done with Public School Superhero, which she got for her birthday.

Clever is good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"No-one Expects You to Be 100%..."

...except me, of course.

Yes, I know it's silly for me to expect it of myself, and in my head, I don't.

In my gut there's a different story.

But today one of the mentors told me that, in those exact words, and it was something of an epiphany.

Because that situational introversion I told you about a week or so ago? It still holds.

How do you natural introverts do it? I mean, the Friendly part of the Smart, Friendly, Fast credo of Advanced Tech Support at AT&T is the (usually) easy part for me. It takes no energy whatsoever, and I can in fact gain energy from it.

Usually being the key word, because today notsomuch.

I'm generally the other two as well (Smart and Fast can be taught), but I didn't really expect those to work well today.

The Friendly I expected.

And I did do it.

But it was freaking exhausting.

I have tomorrow off though, and then I work Thursday, and then I have Friday and Saturday off.

Thanks for the epiphany, J. And thanks for the oven cleaning help, Mom.

Because tomorrow I have a friend coming over, and now I don't have to do a lot, because the oven is clean (and safe) and the Oh-My-God-I'll-Never-Be-Able-To-Deal-Again ordeal is over and done with. Thank Google.

It'll take time, but I'm pretty sure I got this.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho


It's that time again.

Going back to work tomorrow.

I feel a whole lot better - more confident, less weepy, less scared - than I did this time a couple weeks ago. The depression-induced introversion is still there, but I can handle three days of work, and - more to the point - I'm recovered enough to not bring down my entire team with me. Or to mouth off to customers and get myself fired, lol.

Likely I'll really want my cozy nest after work and on my days off; I'm probably not up to going out with friends for a while, not when I'm working too.

But I need the income, and I need the routine. (And I have safety nets in the form of FMLA and Ativan should I need them, but I don't think I will, or not the latter anyway; I haven't taken an Ativan or even half of one in almost two weeks now).

I have three lunches packed, laundry and dishes running, and tea steeping.

I'll probably need a couple hours or so once I get there for going through email, learning about the iPhone 7, stuff like that before I get on the phones, But I do like being on the phone with customers.

And I'm looking forward to it.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Happy Birthday to Her

Miz Liz had a very low key birthday party / playdate this afternoon.




And how well do her friends and her friends' parents (and her sisters' friends) know our little Girly Geek?

From Leanna, her mom, and Leanna's friend, she got a cute little figurine that is called Sir Hoots-a-Lot; he's the pet for the Monster High character Ghoulia Yelps. They also got her a huge set of Squinkies 'Do Drops, which are teeny little toys with exchangeable (hair)dos.

Remember when Lizzy and Abby were both in Studio East's production of 'Twas the Night for 2015? They have an adult watching the littlest kids between scenes, and Lizzy's favorite of these adults (because she makes balloon animals and she was just "really nice") happens to be the mom of one of Abby's favorite SE friends, K. They brought Lizzy a Balloon Animals Kit, which all the kids spent the rest of the afternoon using.

There was a crystal growing kit from Abby's other SE friend who attended, A, and a planetarium projector from Lizzy's friend S from school and Girl Scouts. Another Scout friend brought a sampler of gifts, a book about superheroes, a Teen Wonder Woman action figure, and a Build-your-Own Dreamcatcher necklace. And our lovely neighbor friends from down the street


This is in addition to the special things and doings and such from her little cousin (Chubby Puppies! Kitten) and her grandparents (clothes and outings and books and you name it) and others who love her (a STEM subscription from TinkerCrate, a homemade pillowcase, the Girls' Book of Adventure, and others).

A really good time was had by all, and Lizzy's addiction to SCIENCE was satisfied.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

"In This House..."

...we do <insert thing here>

There are holiday ones, family ones, etc. My good friend +Tiffany Downes posted one on her Facebook page the other day.

It was of the "we do Geek" variety.

I loved it, but there were a few fandoms missing on hers that I wanted, and a few on her example that don't apply to us (like Winter is Coming; I know the reference, but the kids aren't anywhere near old enough yet).

So I went looking on Etsy for one that had what I wanted.

I didn't find one, but I did find C. Coleman Graphics, and the proprietor was kind enough to customize one for me. She used the correct fonts for each fandom (and I was seriously impressed at the ones she knew; some of them require a very specific geek knowledge to get). So I ordered the one she designed for me as a graphics file.

For my birthday (later this month) I plan to have it printed and framed, and I will hang it on the wall opposite my front door.

I'm not going to post the actual file here, with the special fonts and all; if you want one, order your own from Ms Coleman (not that Ms Coleman). But I'll post our final text.

We believe in Magic
in Middle-Earth and Mordor
Once Upon a Time and in a
Galaxy Far Far Away
Here the question is Doctor Who?
and the answer is 42
We know that this guy are sick,
the Candyman Can
and our Princess is in another castle
We get to the Labyrinth
through a Wardrobe or a Looking-Glass
We aim to misbehave
and we don't care what Muggles think
Undomesticated equines 
could not remove us
We never give up, never surrender
even when we're mostly dead all day
because in this house

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

She's Got a Golden Ticket!

Not exactly; she's not one of the five Ticketholders.

But Abby is an Oompa Loompa (and probably random classmate/candyshop kid) in Studio East's upcoming production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (note: Abby is in Cast A if you want to see her). 

To her this feels like she got all five Golden Tickets; she's so excited about it (and she got her favorite math teacher and she got both Advanced Drama and Beginning Art as eight grade electives) that she couldn't stop talking. She's a motormouth anyway, all three of us are, but this was exceptionally fast and babbly even for her.

These are huge Good Things for her.

And although yesterday was stupid-busy for me, I did okay too. Which is saying something, given my last blog post.

Let's see, what all happened yesterday...?

  1. Got Lizzy off to her first day of third grade.
  2. Abby and I went to the bank and finished clearing up all the close-Laston's-account-and-transfer-bills-to-my-account stuff.
  3. Then we went to the store to return an outfit I bought for Lizzy but was too small when we tried it on. We exchanged it for another and also bought donut holes for Lizzy's birthday celebration at school.
  4. Went to the doctor to pick up the completed epi-pen release form that we dropped off last week. This is where we hit our first snag. The girls' doctor is on vacation and her MA hadn't gotten the form to the substitute doc before the MA too went out of town.
    1. An aside - why doesn't our local branch of PacMed keep the local school district's medication release forms on file? They told me this happens every year; shouldn't they have them? Even if it was only for the school district in which the particular branch is located (like Northshore for PacMed Bothell, or Lake Washington for the Totem Lake branch) it would be easier.
    2. In any case, we go to the school (all the way across town, as the Northshore district is fairly rural) and tell the nurse we need her to fax the form and have it faxed back. She is happy to do this.
  5. While there, we mention in passing to the attendance office that we haven't received a course schedule yet. Did the potential-but-unrealized strike delay things? Um... Mrs Kirkland; you were supposed to come to the back-to-school fair and get it there. It was a couple weeks ago (yeah, we had other things on our minds at the time). Okay, can we get it now? Sure, just wait for the eighth grade counselor to come out of his office and he'll get it for you. (Another counselor got it before he was done).
  6. By this point I'm starting to wear a bit thin; I keep catching myself wringing my hands and having to consciously take deep breaths. So Abby and I go to lunch at Mongolian Grill, where we make good choices by abjuring rice and limiting fortune cookies and drinking water.
  7. Went to the elementary school to distribute donut holes to Lizzy's class. First Day Madness in full effect. Thank Google for Abby, who - while she feels awkward wearing a Visitor badge at the school she attended - is picking up some of my people-ing slack.
  8. Ran by my work and ordered some tamales from our HACEMOS Employee Resource Group. This did not require much conversation and I was remarkably calm in the workplace.
  9. Got home and collapsed in an exhausted and temporarily-introverted heap on the couch. It only took five hours to reduce me to this, but they were very busy hours, with some complications that would have undone me this time last week. Watched some TV with Abby. Fell asleep.
  10. Sent Abby to take out garbage and get Lizzy at school bus stop. Made breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs and country potatoes)
  11. Took Lizzy to mom's. Took Abby to Parent Meeting and First Rehearsal at Studio East. Did okay except for a little hand-wringing when phrases like "life happens" were uttered by Studio East staff (they have no way of knowing this is currently an anxiety trigger for me). Then I got hugged by another parent and fell apart just a little bit. Each successive hug was a bit easier. 
So, did it exhaust me like it did last blog post? Yes, although I feel rather less fragile. Those eggshell cracks I glued up with an extra week and a half off seem to be stronger than the pre-crack eggshells. I feel much more confident about returning to work soon, probably Sunday or Monday. And I do still have an FMLA safety net if I get overwhelmed.

So maybe I got a Golden Ticket too. Or at least a Bronze, maybe a Silver.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Depression and the Homebody

I've always been a bit of a homebody, in spite of my ridiculously outgoing personality and extroverted take on life. As a rule I'd rather host than be hosted.

But because I am that cheerfully friendly extrovert, I've never really minded going out, especially if there were friends available to hang out with, game with, talk to; I enjoy people.

Lately, notsomuch.

Oh, I still enjoy people. I just want to enjoy them while I'm safely in my own little nest, or one of the few places that may as well be, like my mother's house.

So I am looking forward to the guests I'm having this evening, and time at my mom's tomorrow for Lizzy's birthday, and possibly another guest tomorrow night (it's end-of-the-summer-sleepover-weekend, you know).

I dreaded the elementary school meet-and-greet on Thursday (although I'm certainly comfortable there, and it was fine, if exhausting.Same with the ear-piercing for Miz Liz: exhausting).

Even taking Abby up to her dad's this weekend was tiring, and that was just driving (albeit in a thunder-squall, which - in spite of Seattle's reputation - doesn't really happen all that often).

This is probably exactly why my attendance manager and my team manager convinced me that I wasn't ready to go back to work last Tuesday. I'm completely comfy in my workplace, to the point where I can fall asleep in the break room. But it was really hard for me to be there (and probably hard on my lovely coworkers, who have serious empathy and just wanted to figuratively cuddle me).

Is temporary introversion a common part of depression? I don't know; usually my depression is seasonal and mostly revolves around irritability. Just ask my ex-husband, LOL; I was not my usual cheerful RavenPuff (or HuffleClaw, seriously, take the test) self from October through March or so most of the time we were married.

Heck, even Laston would probably have agreed with that assessment, although he'd talk around it so as not to hurt my feelings.

It's not just me either. Leanna's still at Numb (the memorial seems to have made some of the Numb wear off for me, which I think is why the depression is much worse this week than it was this time last week). Abby doesn't want to talk about it (though she may be talking to her friends). Lizzy is swinging between her normal cheerful bouncy self and an unusually strong manifestation of her scared self, which is why I wrote this on Facebook and G+ this morning:

Dear Abby,
Please do not read your little sister Goosebumps stories anymore, no matter how not-scary they are in your opinion.
Love, Mom.

In any case, we seem to all be at Exacerbated-Normal; like my homebody-ness, Abby's conflict-avoidance, and Lizzy's bedtime-fears are worse than usual. Eggshells everywhere.

And as always, writing it out helps me, at least.