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Things have been a little rough here at the start of the new year, so it's time for another edition of the "glass-is-half-empty" version of my Daybook. Not that I can't whine at the cheeriest of prompts, but these ones are expressly designed to showcase my complaints. Ready?

The Distracted Woman's Daybook - Dark Side Edition
(idea based on one by Peggy Hostetler, who certainly wouldn't want me to link her from this page; concept revision by Angie Brennan; other changes are mine)

my 'Mad Men Yourself' iconSomething I'd like to change about the outside of my home... are the pillars on my two front porches. Yeah, thanks to adding an addition to the house 15 years ago, we have two front doors and, correspondingly, two front porches. Each porch boasts one of these pillars, supporting a corner of a little portico (typical suburban tract house design). They are made of painted wood, and while the newer pillar is merely shabby, the one that's original to the house is in downright terrible shape -- and has been for some time. Indeed, the Man bought a replacement for it almost a decade ago, when he still lived here, but because of the finesse required to swap out a load-bearing post, he never followed through on the project. I didn't nag him about it at the time -- it's not as if I knew how to do it, either -- and now that the repair is long overdue, there's no one *to* nag. I suppose I could hire someone, but this feels like a moral debt (one of many he owes the family), so I'd really like to persuade him to do it.

Something I'd like to change about the inside of my home... is the paint. The whole place, barring a few rooms, needs a paint job (seriously, except in the dining room, music room, and upstairs bathroom, all the paint is original to the walls). But I can't paint till I clear up the clutter, which means getting rid of some things.

My latest food-related disaster... was joining Weight Watchers, on impulse, last Wednesday. Don't get me wrong: I needed to start some kinda of serious weight-loss effort, and I suppose WW is as good as any other program. But I'm having a hard time adjusting to dieting in the age of the smart phone. To do the current Weight Watchers program, I've had to download an app for tracking my consumption, which is measured not in calories or food-group "shares," but in "points." Said points are assigned to a serving of an item based on its calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein; the app accepts the inputs and performs the calculation using a formula that's invisible to the user. I guess the purpose of such secrecy is to keep people from joining the group just to get the points formula, then quitting in order to save paying the weekly membership fees, but it has had the effect of robbing me of any sense of agency in the proceedings. Still, I am going to try it, because goodness knows my previous diet (the "eat whatever you crave, whenever you crave it" plan) wasn't really working out for me.

I am obsessing about... Number Three Son. He is in a serious anti-school phase right now, and, if I'm honest, at least some of the rebellion seems connected to the spoiling he's gotten from being the only kid at home with his mom in the years post-divorce. See, one of the ways in which I've coped with my constant sadness has been by being super-lenient on myself about everything -- which is to say, pretty much requiring nothing more of myself than that I get up, wear clean clothes, and show up to work every day. I guess I was similarly easy on the boy (though I certainly didn't mean to be), and now that the world (i.e., high school) is expecting more of him than anyone has in a while, he lacks the discipline -- not to mention the will -- to rise to the challenge. He'll promise me each evening that his homework is done, then wake up the next day not actually having done all of it, then say he's feeling sick in order to try for an absence, then physically resist when I say he has to go to school anyhow. He is now taller and stronger than I am, and I cannot *make* him leave the house in the morning unless he is willing to go. All I can do is yell and cry and bargain, then he yells and cries and bargains, and by that point he genuinely does feel physically ill, while I have missed my optimal departure time and am in danger of being late to a job which is inherently intolerant of lateness.

Yesterday morning I had to leave for work before I settled the latest crisis, and I ended up phoning the Man (who works more flexible hours) to come over and deal with it. He also failed and, not wanting to leave a hysterical young teen home alone, missed a day of work as a result. We don't know what to do. Three claims that there's no bully or bad teacher whom he fears; he just doesn't want to go to school. In fact, he has asked to be home-schooled, but seeing as how I work a trio part-time jobs and could not be at home during the day to supervise his work, I can't do it.

We are talking, by the way, about a bright, otherwise good-natured, funny, decent kid. He has friends and gets a lot of invitations from their parents. He's always succeeded academically and been well thought of by authority figures. He and his brother go to church on their own, and they volunteer at events that neither I nor their dad is connected with. It is no exaggeration to say that the fact of his existence saved my life, and he's still the main reason I get up in the morning. But, I swear, he is giving me an ulcer.

I am fearing... the Trump regime. Seriously, I cry every day at the latest headlines.

I am genuinely baffled by... anyone who wouldn't have been willing to throw himself under a bus, literally, if doing so would have magically prevented the current administration from being elected. I'm not kidding. People I love voted for Trump, and I have a hard time forgiving them for it.

I suspect I will never learn... how to be happy. I'm just not good at it.

I deeply regret... the Man, but not my kids (even though, these days, dealing with him is easier than dealing with them). Yeah, I've expressed this sentiment before, but I was pretty angry at the Man this week (because how can Three's issues not be connected to the whole broken home thing???), so I'm expressing it again.

My latest fashion faux pas... has been wearing my shirts too tight. I positively SWIM in the next size up, though, so the only thing for it is to lose about 30 pounds. Oh, I need to lose even more pounds for other reasons, but 30 will help me to be comfortable in my nicest shirts again.

I am not creating... anything, though I did just do two parody songs that were big hits in my little Sherlockian sub-culture. After the first one was a success in November, the pressure was on to come up with a comparably good idea for the second one in January, and -- amazingly -- I think I managed it. However, now the pressure is really, really on. If I'm smart, I'll start thinking about the next one before I'm actually asked (so, today).

I am missing out on... lots of good podcasts, because I haven't learned how to listen on my smart phone. I guess there's an app for podcasts?

I am not reading... any of the cool books I won and/or bought at BSI Weekend. Hope I can change that, now that the semester is under way. A couple of the new volumes are non-Sherlockian efforts by Daniel Stashower -- one about the invention of television and one about a failed plot to assassinate Lincoln -- which look particularly interesting.

I've been wasting my time watching... Family Guy. Folks, I used to think that show was EVIL, and I'm not talking about the way that evangelicals disapprove of everything that isn't G-rated -- Family Guy really is objectively dreadful, by almost any civilized metric. Now, however, if nothing else is on and I am vegging out on the couch, I might tune in to FG re-runs on cable (because even though it is downright awful, it is occasionally clever). What has happened to me?

I've not been listening to... much music lately. I have tons of great CDs, so all I need to do is find a comfortable spot and set aside the time (maybe when Family Guy comes on?) for listening. I seem to recall that beautiful music was a reliable source of comfort a few years ago, and a little comfort would be nice as the Four Horsemen are saddling up.

One of my least favorite things... is crying. I shed so many tears these days (70% over Trump, 20% over the Boy, 10% other) that it's not cathartic anymore. Also, it really hurts my left eye.

I am dreading... meeting with the head-hunter about my recently-initiated search for a new line of work. Now that the Boy is having such trouble at school, I am wondering whether it's wise to give up my academic jobs, since they allow me to be with him in the afternoons and summers. But I will feel like a failure if I bail out on the job hunt before it really gets under way.

Something dumb I did... was ever let the Boy take a sick day to finish undone schoolwork. I only meant to let it happen once or twice back in middle school, stressing that it wasn't really kosher and we wouldn't make a habit of it. Now, he asks to do it once a week (more often than not, on a Monday), and most of those pleas result in a battle royal.

A pointless platitude that annoys me is... "Don't worry about the world situation; God is in control, and there's nothing He can't handle." I hear this all the time, and here's my response: sure, God can handle anything, but empirical evidence tells us that whatever it means for God to be "in control," it doesn't mean that really, really, really, really horrible things won't happen. Did God "handle" the Nazis? A person of faith is bound to say "yes," I suppose, but think of what the Nazis got away with.

So, yeah, I'm a person of faith, but I'm worried about the world, and I think everyone should be.

Here is a video I am sharing with you... Stephen Colbert reviews Trump's first week in office.




( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2017 03:57 am (UTC)
Woah, there's so many issues in this post I could talk about, but this one particularly caught my eye:
But I can't paint till I clear up the clutter, which means getting rid of some things.
It's exactly the same in my house, but worse, I expect. I had a lot of difficulty putting up a blind last weekend because there wasn't enough floor space in the 'study' for the feet of the ladder to stand. And I couldn't just move stuff within the room because there was no bare floor space. I looked at the walls & ceiling when I did eventually get on the ladder and concluded they were desperately in need of painting - but I just couldn't imagine how we could get the rooms clear enough for painters (or me). There's only space on the floor in: bathroom, kitchen, sunroom, and hall. Three bedrooms, the dining room and the study are all fully floor-occupied.

I can't leave this post without saying something about No 3 son. And what I have to say is that I really feel for you. My own parenting skills are so poor, however, I wouldn't be foolish enough to offer any further comment.
Feb. 2nd, 2017 05:34 am (UTC)
No. 3
I have said in the past that I think I'm a good parent, but I don't actually think I have any extra-special parenting *skills* -- just heaps of commitment to the enterprise (which I'm sure is true of you, too). The older boys also went through their difficult teen phases, and somehow we all made it to the other side; so I'm more optimistic than not. I don't like that I can't seem to avoid the morning battles with Three, but we are going to try some new strategies this month, including perhaps looping in a school guidance counselor.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )