The Great War

Have you ever looked in the mirror and not even recognized yourself anymore?

That’s how I feel. I don’t even recognize this person anymore. This year has been so challenging and it’s pretty much stripped away all of my best qualities, to the point where I feel like a tired old lady just ready to live with my cats and wither into dust. My finances are a mess, thanks to layoffs and lesser paying jobs, and the lack of child support. Every time I have to say no, I just feel bad. Parents should be able to afford a Slurpee, or a trip to McDonald’s, without counting all of the crack change. I should be able to send my eleventh grader lunch money. I should be able to go shopping for cute winter clothes. But instead, I’m always saying “next time,” and I know deep down they resent me because next time never comes. I’ve cut out everything that brings me any semblance of joy except for my morning cup of tea and even then, I don’t get one three days a week because I was putting money away for Xmas. I haven’t been to the gym in forever but I never picked up my shoes. I felt like if I did, it was defeat, that I would never go back. I don’t go out with my friends. Hell, I barely text. Also, if you’re my friend, I’m sorry I suck at communicating. I hate my weight, my hair, my skin, everything about my appearance and I just feel like I’ve failed at pretty much everything. It’s been a struggle to get out of bed some days. The cup isn’t half full or half empty; it’s just empty.

I suppose the last two years has taken its toll. There’s only so much you can give of yourself before you have nothing left, like the giving tree. And it’s only so long before you snap. I had two of those moments. The first one was when I needed coverage at work for a family emergency and I was told there was no one. Something in my brain snapped. For years I helped EVERYONE. Needed a shift covered? MHC. Needed help with staffing? MHC. Sick days? psh! I ONLY TOOK ONE DAY OFF FROM WORK WHEN I ALMOST DIED! And yet, the universe said “no one wants to go to where you are,” while I cried at work needing help. I called one of my colleague friends and bawled because he is an Angel sent from God. He found me some help and I could go home. But the whole way I was enraged. I loved my colleagues. I’m forever grateful to my DM for giving me a job, but I realized in that second I was right back where I was last year; trapped in a job I had to devote every second of myself to. I wanted to give my DM that person, but I don’t have it in me to give anymore. She deserves a top performer who can give her that level of buy in.

So I quit.

I found a new job with a living salary and more work life balance. I gave my notice and starting next month, I can stop selling phones once and for all and do a job that allows me to use my skills; training, development, and support. I’m excited. I was shocked I got it tbh. Do you know how many awesome candidates are looking for work? And I’m just me. But it’s a much needed change. I’ll be able to see my kids and clean my house. Maybe pet my cats. Maybe go on more dates and finally see my friends. I haven’t hung out with one of my best friends since July. It sucks dude. It’s gonna be nice to do stuff with my people again starting with the annual holiday party.

But, that was just one moment of clarity, the other came when I was a casualty of the Great War, AKA the battle to see my Lord and Saviour, Taylor Allison Swift.

I haven’t been anywhere in years. I couldn’t even go to my friend’s wedding. My kids are tired from school, teen pressures, and helping take care of their grandma when I’m at work. They deserved a trip. The opening act (Gracie Abrams) is my 15yo’s fave non Taylor performer. So I socked away every cent I had for nosebleeds. I gave up every minor luxury I have, banked the rest. I knew the tour was coming and I was going to come through. I had Verified Fan access that was supposed to carry me to the presale. I would use my income tax refund for flight and hotel, and for once, I wasn’t gonna say no. I was going to give them this one thing for Xmas and our Taycation was going to be magical. Instead, I got this.

My heart broke as the tire fire known as ticketmaster shut me out. I went to stubhub only to have my life ruined. My tiny little amount for our four shitty nosebleeds couldn’t even cover one ticket, let alone four. I had to say no again. No Taycation. No happy kids at Xmas that mom came through. Just another time I had to disappoint them. Between my work schedule, and my bank balance, and the realization that I wasn’t coming through for them, my brain broke again.

I COMPLETELY understand this is a first world issue. I am well aware that not taking my kids to see Taylor Swift won’t ruin my life. But it was just another no. Another “not this time.” I know it wasn’t my fault, and Ticketmaster is the dirt worst, but suddenly all of those times I had to say no flooded my brain; the slurpees, the tacos, the new shirt, that used CD, the discounted book, the hair dye, all of it. Every next time, or I’m sorry we don’t have it, every one just flashed through my eyes like a death scene in a movie, ending with the emptiness that this concert that meant so much to them was now, just another no. So I sat in my car and cried. I’d tell myself it’ll be okay, but we all know it’s not. It’s another thing I couldn’t do while the parents around me take their kids to Mexico for spring break and buy concert tickets for good grades. I moved them to a more affluent area and sometimes barely make rent, but I did it so they’d get a better education. But now they see how much more their friends parents can do for them. They’re good kids. They get good grades. They help at home, and are good to their friends and cats. But I let them down spectacularly every day and it just sucks.

After I was done my crying and generally being miserable, wallowing in how 2022 has been the absolute worst. It challenged me physically, mentally, and I’ve lost so much financially and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I used to take so much pride in my appearance, in my work ethic, and in my life. Now, I just don’t care. I dug a hole and I couldn’t get out. Getting a new job is awesome, but I need to fix me or I’m just transferring the misery. So, I got to work. I deep cleaned my house. I started working out at home. I called a credit counsellor to work through my debt, whether it’s through a debt management program or a consumer proposal. It sucks, but it’s what I need to do. If I don’t have to stress about money as much, little things won’t get to me, and there will be fewer instances of no. I started getting up earlier and actually wearing makeup again. I started going to bed at a reasonable time. Also, I started forgiving myself for the things I’ve been beating myself up about. I can’t change that I got laid off. I can’t fix that I put on weight because I couldn’t work out for five months. I can’t change the fact that Ticketmaster sucks. But what I can do is change my situation. I can keep watching stubhub and seat geek for cheap resale tickets. I can keep an eye for Canadian dates. I can make time to work out. I can focus on budgeting smarter with the help of the counsellor. That will help me have more money to go to the gym and say yes to a few of those smaller things. I can go into my new job motivated and excited. I can continue to focus on being a present and active parent. These are things I can change.

While the answers aren’t ideal, at least there feels like a light at the end of the tunnel, except for the Taylor Swift tickets. That shit is just hopeless. But I will be able to look in the mirror in a few months and recognize who I’m looking at, and maybe even like that person too.

Strangers

Oh, Hello!

It’s been a minute! Truthfully, I haven’t had much to talk about. I’ve been focused on my family, and adjusting to my new job, and weight loss. Not terribly interesting stuff. Weight loss has been a struggle, and after my visit with the endocrinologist, I was left even more frustrated. Apparently I was misdiagnosed with PCOS, and there’s another issue, but I had to plead for blood work to figure it out. I just got “have you considered being less fat?” YES. YES I HAVE. But then instead of addressing the actual symptoms, it was just here’s a weight loss shot. I’m getting blood work, but I had to yell at the doctor to get it. It’s absolutely shameful that women’s health is completely ignored unless you want to get pregnant. I ended up taking medication and nearly died for legit no reason and I am actually really angry about it. I’m very hesitant to take medication after what happened in April. So, I’ll go ask for a second opinion from another OB/GYN, but until then, I’m going to have to take control of my health on my own, without help from doctors who have no interest in investigating women’s health.

One thing that has been tough about weight loss has been that I have no goal to work towards. Before, I would pick a goal and work towards it, like my friend’s wedding, or the lululemon 10k. But there was no 10k and the pulmonary embolism has forced me to start all over again in terms of fitness. But I’ve finally completed my treatment, which means two things; I can get back to running, and I can drink again.

Okay not really. Anyone who knows me knows I drink on my birthday and sometimes Xmas

I’ve been thinking a lot about what is a good fitness goal for me. I really want to work towards something big, something meaningful. Like those people who do Tough Mudder, but without the masochism, and the making Tough Mudder your entire raison d’être. That’s when I decided that I’m going to quit eating fast food (except one cheat meal a month) and I am going to save all of my coins, and compete in the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run!

Photo courtesy of @ultimatehawaiiantrailrun. Give ‘em an IG follow!

All the money raised is to help at risk youth through the Keala Foundation. It combines all of my favourite things: fitness, helping others, and vacations. It’s a big goal to train for that requires me to stick to fitness goals, give up fast food, and stick to a budget, all things I’ve been trying really hard to do. I’m finally getting the hang of my new job and adjusting back to being in the store. I’m looking at how to better financially plan so I can get my debt under control, as well as reducing some costs by scaling back some cable and cellular services. I need to get healthier, so eating at home was the cheapest start. Until I can get back to the gym, it’ll be home based workouts with Deadboys Fitness and starting Couch to 5K again. I can’t keep obsessing about the year I was set back being treated for something I didn’t have. I need to focus on what is in my control, which is eating right, better financial planning, and exercise. Will I lose a ton of weight? Maybe. I did it before. Or maybe I’ll finally get answers about why I’m struggling with my health. But I know working towards some kind of goal will help me stay on task.

The other thing that is critical is eating right; no diets, no tricks. I have teenagers and I have to teach them healthy body image, including a positive relationship with food. That’s how I lost all of the weight before. No more intermittent fasting, or fad diets. I’ll watch my macros in MyFitnessPal, but that’s it. I’m a role model to three young people, I have to make sure they’re seeing someone getting healthy but not skipping meals or being really restrictive. It’s gonna be about choosing the right foods; not changing my entire diet to yo-yo with my weight.

I’m not going to pretend it’s all going to work out, but I am going to be gentle with myself while working very hard to improve. The more work I put in, the better the returns, so I’ll just keep working and keep positive, excited to see change…and hopefully go to Hawaii to run in mud and raise money to help others, which is always a good time.

Sensitive

Let me tell you about the time I could have died.

I’ve been pretty open about my weight gain and battle with PCOS. Part of that required me to take medication. I was prescribed birth control to help regulate symptoms. I’ve been taking it for a few months now, and originally I saw results. But lately I’ve noticed symptoms returning and I needed to change some things about my diet and how I exercise. I’ve been moderating my diet more, and being more cautious about what I eat, and working out before bed. My workout is what triggered this entire saga, so buckle up, as this is quite the ride.

During my Deadboys Fitness workout, I suddenly got really dizzy and needed to lay down. I assumed I was dehydrated and drank water. But I still kept feeling disoriented. I asked one of the kids to get me a snack, thinking maybe my blood sugar was low. Nothing helped. When my Apple Watch advised me my heart rate has spiked significantly walking to my bathroom, I decided maybe it was time to call an ambulance.

Now, anyone who identifies as female will tell you how important it is to advocate for yourself during a medical event. I’ve learned through the years from caring for my mom that medical professionals do not like to listen to women. Even my own health issues were largely ignored for months. I knew something was wrong; I had been hiking with one of my best friends three days earlier! Those lateral hops were nothing! But the EMT kept dismissing my concerns as “anxiety,” as my vitals were fine. But I wasn’t fine. I was winded bending over to pick up my phone. I spent hours in a waiting room in a wheelchair because walking ten steps wore me out. My chest and throat were burning like I ran a half marathon. Even the nurses said since three EKG’s, and a blood oxygen test were fine, I needed to go home. It was just stress. I insisted I see the doctor. I’m not normally one to demand things, but I’m grateful I did. The doctor said that while I looked fine, it didn’t hurt to check a few other things. So he requested an x-Ray, more blood work, and a d-dimer test, to check for clots. Within what felt like three minutes, a nurse rushed in saying we needed a CT scan RIGHT NOW. I had to take off my necklace and get into a gown ASAP. The first IV was removed to make room for IV number two. The next little bit was a blur: X-rays, needles, then a move to an observation room as my old room in the ER was taken (along with my necklace, that never made it back to me. I’m absolutely heartbroken, as the ring around my neck was a gift from my oldest friend), and now I’m hooked up to a heart monitor, blood pressure machine, and blood is being drawn from my HAND because there are no more veins in my arms available thanks to multiple blood draws and IV’s. I hadn’t eaten or drank in 13 hours. I hadn’t slept in 30 hours. There isn’t a single part of me that isn’t in mind numbing pain and worst of all, I can still barely breathe. The wait is long and miserable and that IV is driving me insane. Finally, a doctor appears and starts asking a bunch of questions:

– Do I smoke? (No)

– How often do I work out? (3-4 times/week)

– What medications am I on? (birth control)

Doctor has an “a ha!” moment. The medication triggered this. Finally I get answers. There are blood clots in my lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism. I caught it early so j should recover fully, but had I just gone to sleep, I could have suffered a cardiac event or stroke and even died. My 15yo basically saved me by waking me up out of concern. I also learned that doctors don’t enjoy black humour as a coping mechanism. Answering “obviously I’m killing it,” when asked how I was doing is the wrong answer. Who knew?

But for the next few months, things have to change; no crossfit or running for two months, blood thinners for four. No alcohol, stricter diet, and lots of rest. I also need a different treatment for PCOS. It’s a scary time and combined with my other stressors (caring for my elderly mom, raising my family, trying to find a second job to combat inflation), it’s a lot. When the doctor asked if I could reduce my stress levels, I just laughed. This was the worst time for a health issue. I won’t lie; I’m scared. I’m going to be at risk for blood clots for the rest of my life. I don’t want my kids to have to worry if mommy is gonna be okay. Right now they have to help me around the house and it’s insane. I’m supposed to take care of them, not the other way around. I’m back at work two days later because I just can’t afford to take time off. I rarely receive child support and I just can’t risk the financial hit. It’s very depressing to know you can’t afford to get sick. Also, I’ve never done well doing nothing. This has been an emotional roller coaster.

But, much like everything bad that happens in life, there’s always something positive you can find if you look hard enough. My friends and colleagues all stepped up to check in on me and offer accommodations so I can work. My oldest offered to buy her siblings some summer clothes so I wouldn’t have to stress. My other daughter offered to let me hang out with her creepy doll so I wouldn’t be lonely on bedrest. My oldest friend called me to check in, because he knew not only was I upset about my health, but by the loss of my necklace, and he took the time to check in. One of my best friends offered to help us do my groceries. My amazing boss checked in all day while I was in the hospital. My downstairs neighbour made sure to check in with the kids so I wouldn’t worry. Everyone I know made sure to help me feel loved and supported. It’s nice to know that when times are tough, I’ve got a bunch of people who have my back. A lady can’t help but feel gratitude when so many people are there for you in a crisis situation. The world is full of amazing people and I’m fortunate enough to call many of them friends.

The next few months are gonna be tough, but we will make it through, just as we have always done before. I’ll be healthier, and probably happier. I’ll also have learned that I don’t need to do everything myself, and that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes; especially if that time is “I almost died.” I’ve always put everyone ahead of myself, so I’m going to use this time to take care of myself, because I can’t be a good mom from the great beyond.

Saviour Complex

One thing I’ve learned about living through a pandemic is that when the movie industry assumed 80% of the planet wouldn’t survive the zombie apocalypse, they were correct.

Every time I log into social media, there’s someone talking about how it’s a hoax, or why they aren’t gonna stay home.

  • “My family deserves a big family holiday.”
  • “I’m still throwing a huge birthday party, it’s not fair for me to have to cancel it.”
  • “I refuse to cancel my wedding.”
  • “I shouldn’t have to wear a mask.”
  • “I’m not ruining my Christmas.”

That’s cool guys. But that’s how the zombies win in the movies.

COVID has been particularly scary for me because I have two high risk family members (one of which is one of my children), so we have tried our best to comply. I only go to work, groceries, and to the gym (and even that is sparingly because I work with people). I’ve been out in a restaurant three times in eight months. The kids didn’t get to see their dad this summer. I didn’t get to run my 10k. It’s been awful.

But I do this because I don’t trust people. One dumb dumb can infect my whole family. You read about them all of the time, the dumb dumbs that mask symptoms to go to Disney, or go to the hair salon, or whatever. I do not want to run the risk of making my family sick so I reduce my own risk by staying home as much as possible. I cancelled my annual holiday party long before the new restrictions. Even my dating life has been mindful of restrictions. I went on a first date with a guy in a restaurant, but we planned our second as a river walk with hot chocolate. I wanted to make sure I could continue to get to know someone while reducing risks, because I don’t trust people. Normally, my friends tell me that’s silly. Now, I can confidently say…

I WAS RIGHT. DO NOT TRUST PEOPLE. PEOPLE ARE THE WORST.

This week I got a call from a customer who informed me that while waiting for her test results, she realized she needed to pick up something she had ordered and came into the store instead of waiting. Well, she got her results and she’s got COVID. That item she HAD to have just put my whole family at risk. It put my team at risk. It put the safety of my coworkers and their families at risk. It put a neighbouring store at risk because the beauty treatment couldn’t wait. So many people put at risk because one person didn’t want to isolate.

This meant we all had to get tested. I got to be super stressed while I waited, worrying if I gave my kids COVID because I had to work. Worrying about if I infected my mom who’s been in poor health. Worrying about what would become of my family if I got sick. Who would raise the kids, who would pay the bills, how would we manage? This is terrifying shit. Fortunately, my test was negative. But, there’s a part of me that’s still so freaking mad that someone being completely irresponsible put so many people around me at risk.

I cannot stress this enough; every time you say your family Christmas party is too important to miss, or you don’t need a mask, you are saying “I don’t give a shit if I put you and your family at risk, I don’t want to be mildly inconvenienced.” I don’t want to be mildly inconvenienced either. I don’t enjoy mask wearing, or staying home, or not having company. I hate knowing that if things don’t change, it’ll be another year before the kids can see their grandmother in Ontario. None of this is fun. But, it’s responsible. Getting tested wasn’t fun, but it was important to make sure I wasn’t putting anyone at risk. The world isn’t just about me or you. I get that everyone wants to go to their family Christmas or out for dinner, but every time we don’t listen and just do whatever, things get worse for everyone else and that’s not fair to the people around you. It’s not just you that gets sick. It’s everyone around you. Had I gotten sick, my family could have gotten sick, as well as my coworkers at two different locations (because I drove to pick up a phone), my teenager’s coworkers, and my other customers, some who are elderly or possibly high risk.

The reason everyone in the zombie movies die is because no one thinks about how their actions impact everyone else. They just think about how they alone need to escape instead of working together to stop the zombies, and you know what happens next.

So, before you plan your huge bash at a hotel or go shopping while waiting on COVID results, or post another conspiracy blog, or about how much all of these restrictions suck, think about how most could be avoided if we as a group of people listened the first damn time. Also, make sure you tell your asthmatic friends, or your grandparents that you really don’t care what happens to them, as long as you get to shop without a mask and have friends over for the holidays, because that’s what your actions show.

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The Last Great American Dynasty

I generally don’t write about my kids, but sometimes they’re hilarious.

My teenager has made it her personal mission to marry me off. None of you are off limits apparently!

  • Platonic friend? Possible husband candidate!
  • Guy at the gym? You too!
  • Recently single colleague? Step right up!
  • My kid’s teacher? Absolutely a front runner.
  • Random dude I bumped into at Hot Topic? Yes! You are an option!

I feel like I’m living in my own personal episode of the Bachelorette, only I didn’t choose this, and Chris Harrison is really pushy.

It’s actually really cute that the kids are living their own personal version of an Olsen Twins movie. They obviously care about me. They want me to be happy. But they also want a father figure they can look up to. I can’t blame them for that. Every kid wants a father figure to be there for them, and they don’t have that. I didn’t, but then I was fortunate enough to have a foster dad that gave me someone to look up to. And I’ve been so focused on trying to do well at work and be healthier so I can be in a healthy relationship that I didn’t see how much they wanted me married off so that they have a stepdad. They’re craving having a full time father figure that doesn’t come and go or only talks to them when they make an effort. They want someone who’s all in on our family.

If we’re being honest, some of their choices are great. They’d be great partners (maybe not for me), and one made me take pause and really think it over, as if it would be a good idea. I think I actually thought it would have worked out with someone by now. I caught the bouquet at my friend’s wedding and decided it was a sign from the universe that my life was finally ready for a partner. Instead, it blew up. So, I sort of gave up for a long time. I gave up on myself and decided I wasn’t worth investing in. Then I gave up on dating. I just sort of decided this was how it was. It impacted my health, my self esteem, etc. I just didn’t care anymore.

I realize now this needed to change. I’m getting out there. I went on a first date, but the guy and I decided we’d be better off as friends. I went on another where I didn’t feel any connection. But I’m not hiding away in my hobbit hole either. It’s a start. My weight isn’t where I want it and my career isn’t either, but if I keep making excuses, I’ll keep wasting the best years of my life because I’m waiting for the perfect window to be in a relationship. So, I’ll keep going on socially distant outdoor dates with masks on and no physical contact until a swab is done. I’ve spent a long time afraid of relationships because the last long term relationship I was in was ended in such a cruel, heartless, and confusing way that I didn’t want to put myself out there again. Even my last short term relationship I felt like an afterthought, only good enough to share the dark and depressing sides, never anything positive. But nothing changes if I’m not willing to put myself out there. Obviously the kids are craving a male role model. I need to be open to creating a blended family unit, so much so that they are willing to pair me off with any dude I remotely get along with!

Basically I’m living in my own romcom. It always works out for them, maybe it’ll work out for me! If not, at least I know my family is invested enough in my happiness to make the attempt. It’s super flattering…as long as they don’t put me on the Bachelorette for real.

Be Kind

Hey guys! We get to go outside again! Isn’t that cool?!

While there are still restrictions, it’s nice to have a little bit of normal back in my life. I’m back at work and it’s been positive. I had some friends over for a barbecue potluck and it was so nice to entertain again. I’ve been back at the gym & going for walks. It’s been awesome.

After being cooped up for three months, I really want to step outside my comfort zone a little bit. Part of that is taking control of my weight. I’ve been really down on myself, but I started posting daily updates to a group on FB my friends & I use to stay accountable. I started intermittent fasting, which has helped too. But the big ones are stepping out of my comfort zone at the gym and trying to cure my unhealthy relationship with food.

Intermittent fasting and setting aside one cheat meal has really helped with this. I’m not denying myself food anymore. Instead, I’m learning what I need to fuel my body so I can be healthier. So much of my mental health is tied into diet and exercise, not necessarily to be “thin,” but to feel healthy and confident. Junk food just makes me feel badly about myself in general, but when I’m stressed, I eat. Now I’m teaching my body that we don’t just eat when I’m bored, but when I’m hungry. I’ve cut out all alcohol (not that there was much, save for that case of White Claw I would have over a month long period), save for social events, and I’m careful about junk food and fast food. It’s important that I teach my kids to have a healthy relationship with food; enjoy an occasional treat but never forget to learn the right way to nourish your body.

As for fitness, I’m trying to stop avoiding the harder workouts. Whenever I see something with a lot of running, or skipping, or a lot of burpees, because I was slow before. Now, after gaining weight during quarantine, I’ll be slower. I get so insecure about finishing last and everyone quietly waiting for me to finish so I don’t go. But part of getting healthy again means no more skipping “the hard ones.” Even if I finish last, or have the worst time, I’m not gonna get better if I let my insecurities get in the way. So, yesterday I went to the gym and did one of the “hard workouts.” I finished last. It was awful. But I did it and I went home feeling really good about the work I did. I felt empowered, like the next time I could do that style of workout better if I just keep pushing. Sure, I’ve gotta push back against the fact I’m not a morning person to get to those 6am classes, but I won’t hit my goals skipping workouts, so I need to hold myself accountable to my wellbeing and do them.

Finally, I stepped the furthest out of my comfort zone and went on a date. Yes, I left my house and met someone. He’s a great dude and I think we may go out again. I’m not setting any expectations, but I’m also putting myself out there a bit & it went okay. I didn’t let my insecurities about my weight or my age hold me back. I just did it. My weight will be fixed, I’m working on it. I’ll never be “the right age,” so I’ve just got to open myself up for romantic possibilities and not let my life pass me by. Also, my coffee was fantastic. I always forget how great the coffee shop by my house is. Will this turn into something? I dunno. If not, then maybe it will with someone else. But, I’m trying, something I hadn’t done in almost two years, since I broke up with Debbie Downer the Teacher. I’d go on a first date every quarter and not make a real effort to get to know them, and then stopped all together and used dating apps for the lolz. I figure even trying is a step in the right direction.

The only way to get better is to get uncomfortable. I promised myself I’d use this year to get better. Quarantine didn’t help, but refocusing will. The second half of 2020 is about accountability, growth, and success. I’m going to take steps every day to get better, surround myself with people who are driven to improve too, and soon we’ll be toasting to our successes…

…unless of course the murder hornets destroy us all.

It is What it is

Hey all you cool cats and kittens…

…truth time: I never finished Tiger King. I have the last episode left. I’m the worst with TV. I haven’t finished Glow either. Or Nailed It. Or anything I start except Brooklyn 99. Also the kids got me into Naruto. It’s fun except I love every character except Naruto. But my London friends are super proud that I’m finally into anime besides Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z.

Anyway, how’s life? You good? Has your new normal of teaching kids at home and zoom calls and NEVER GOING OUT ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN been treating you well? Here’s an update; this fucking sucks. It’s not all terrible. I’ve been catching up on my fitness at home, the kids and I binge watch the Simpsons, pro wrestling, and anime because we are the coolest people ever. My company is graciously paying me during this time so I’ve been working from home. I’m cooking more, and turned my Snapchat into a cooking show.

Feel free to follow along while I make chicken and other stuff.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Money is tight. We’re not broke, but there’s nothing extra and summer clothes may have to wait. The dad isn’t helping, and even if he could he wouldn’t because we do not align on how we prioritize the children. Not to mention his sister caused some issues that impacted my finances and after numerous issues involving her, I’ve had to make the decision to go no contact as it relates to the kids. The kids obviously cannot go to see their grandma this summer due to the virus and also until we get confirmation that no contact will remain intact. This sucks because the kids love their paternal grandma and she’s an awesome person who deserves to see the kids, but it’s not in the cards this summer and I feel guilty because I want them to have a relationship with their grandmother, great uncles, and American cousins.

At home, we haven’t killed each other yet, but some days it’s getting close. My mom is recovering well from her health issues, but now we have to push through to get her back to day to day normalcy, which is hard and stressing me out. I feel super selfish, but we are most definitely not going to Vegas, barring a miracle. I was so excited and now it’s not happening and I’m really sad. But I feel selfish. People are losing their homes, people are dying, losing their jobs, I’m struggling to stay caught up and I’m bummed about my vacation. It’s a dumb, first world problem and I’m awful for being upset.

However, I keep reminding myself that we’ve been through tough times before and we’ve made it through as long as we stay positive. Before I got my job with my company almost seven years ago, we were on the verge of losing everything because I was unemployed and the dad wasn’t contributing. I had to pawn all of my jewellery and my DVD player to keep us fed and housed. But, I persevered, kept looking, found work and recovered. If we keep practicing social distancing, we will be able to return to work and I can get caught up and things will feel normal again. It sucks because everyone is struggling and your mental health takes a hit when you feel alone and like you’re the only one who’s stuck and can’t get ahead. But we’re all feeling it right now; we just need to keep doing our best and push ourselves to do things to make us feel normal. So, whether it’s work from home, exercise, Netflix, or meditation. The more we embrace new normal, the better things will be when life returns to normal and we can hug our friends again.

I hope you’re all doing okay. I know this super sucks but it’ll pass soon enough. Until then, find your happy, whether it’s cooking, exercising, or watching anime while drinking White Claw. Whatever works for you. But stay safe and stay home so we can all see each other again.

2016

Hey there all you cool cats and kittens, how y’all holding up on quarantine day 672?!

Yeah, I totally watched Tiger King. Mostly because I HAD LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO DO. Also, it’s a train wreck and awful and right up my alley. But in all seriousness, how y’all doing? Still good? Found something good to watch on TV? Worked out? Played Jenga? Completely cracked the fuck up yet? COOL ME TOO.

It has been a damn week. I’m really worried about finances while I work from home. Like, genuinely scared. I’m a single parent and not receiving any support. The dad told me “you’re on your own,” when I asked for some financial help, then whined that he doesn’t even own an Xbox. Meanwhile, I’m worried that I’ll fall behind on bills to support our kids. My mom went through some major health issues this week (unrelated to COVID-19) and the kids and I had little support from our family. My friends stepped up to be my support system because they’re the best. The kids are doing their best and their teachers have been amazing, running conference calls to help them learn and grow. But I’m working from home and helping them and trying to keep the house clean and the kids alive and be mom, daughter, therapist, teacher, manager, and I’m really tired and really scared.

I’m trying my best. I’m working out, I’m meal planning (at one point my Snapchat was MHC’s dinner hour), we have family movie night. But the reality is I’m tired and I’m scared that I won’t be able to afford our home or bills or I’ll get laid off. I’m scared my mom is gonna have another health issue. I’m scared we’re all gonna crack up. It’s a lot to handle on your own & I’ve never felt more alone. I’m a social person and we are on week three of quarantine. When times got tough, I could always take a break and go to the gym or out with a friend, but now, it’s sit at home and obsess & it’s so easy to fall into the mental health trap of doom and gloom. Not gonna lie, I’m in full doom and gloom. All of this is hard and it’s even harder when you’re doing it alone. When you’re the parent, you have to stay strong and you can’t show them anything but super mom. It’s even harder when you don’t get that moment to feel afraid or vulnerable because they’re watching you every second, relying on you to make it okay. There’s no turning it off and you feel burned out and like an empty vessel with nothing left.

So, I try to stay positive by looking for the little things that can bring me joy even when everything feels bleak. For example, I’m super grateful that WrestleMania is still happening because for a few hours, I get stupid fun entertainment.

I’m also super looking forward to sitting on my porch and drinking spicy margaritas with my friends when this is over.

I’m optimistic that Vegas may still happen. I’m excited to go back to work, hopeful that my customers will have a new found appreciation for wireless devices, I know I have. This baby is keeping me connected with the outside world. It’s my lifeline right now and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I’m appreciative of everyone from grocery store workers to teachers and nurses who have done so much to help everyone, and we have a leader who’s doing his best to help us. It’s not much, but it’s something that will get us through this. Finally, every night I focus my energy on reminding myself that I can do this and we will be okay.

Even though everything feels hard and scary, and it’s day eleventy million of quarantine, I’m trying my best to stay positive so I can be a good role model to my girls, a strong presence for my family, and keep the crazy to a six out of ten so I can be ready when the time comes to go back to work. I hope you’re doing the same. Just keep on going. It’ll all work out and it’ll all be okay. Just stay home, focus on your family and yourself, and do your best to stay positive during the never ending isolation. Also, it’s okay to admit you’re scared or overwhelmed. I struggle so hard with that, but part of being mentally well is admitting we aren’t. So, right now, I’m not doing so fantastic, but I hope eventually it’ll be okay.

After Hours

How are y’all doing?

Remember when we thought 2019 was weird? Welcome to 2020, where so far, Australia was on fire, we lost Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter, some dude wants to sue the NFL because J.Lo and Shakira are hot, and now the planet has basically shut down because of the plague. Okay not the plague, but COVID-19 is something that should be taken super seriously. Wash your hands, take precautions, stay home, and don’t be a dick that hordes everything. Make sure you’re exercising social distancing. I’m grateful that my company is taking care of us during these uncertain times. I’m also a super extroverted person, so being self quarantined is the absolute fucking worst.

It’s day nine of quarantine. I was put on lockdown before my work closed due to a nagging cough from airborne allergies. It’s been great. I work from home, I homeschool the kids, I spend time with my cats, who hate us so much for being home all damn day. They’re so confused as to why humans are home all day every day and never leave. They pretend they’re mad but secretly love the attention.

Actual footage of my cats paying someone to reopen my work

I’m a social person who talks A LOT. So, naturally being at home all of the time with no social activities or places to go or shopping to do make MHC go something something. I’ve replayed (& completed) Breath of the Wild. I’ve binge watched eight seasons of the Simpsons. I’ve read news articles. I work out twice a day, homeschool the kids, and my mom is in isolation because of her age and health so is basically under the stairs like Harry Potter (if he had an apartment with a bathroom, a TV, and a fireplace). I’ve whined that I can’t play Animal Crossing because I’m concerned about finances & I don’t want to waste money on games. I played a game where you turn a potato into a Disney character. I can TOTALLY keep this up for weeks!

No seriously, I can. I’ll be kind of batshit insane, but we gotta put in this time. None of us are invincible and the only way to protect immunocompromised people like my mom or my middle daughter (who has severe asthma) is if we suck it up and stay at home. I know it super sucks, but we gotta. Yes, it’s an inconvenience and not fun, also I’m pretty sure my cute little charts are going to lose and we’ll just become Lord of the Flies, but we all need to do our part to stop other people from getting sick, as well as keeping ourselves safe.

There’s a lot of uncertainty too. Financially, will my family be okay until I go back to work? When am I going back to work? When do the kids go back to school? For purely selfish reasons, will the world be back to normal by August so I can go to Vegas? Will I be able to afford to go to Vegas? Is the Lululemon 10k cancelled? Am I a selfish person for wondering if I can go on vacation when people are getting really sick and my mom is in isolation? Are the kids going to end up killing each other and will their relationships be damaged by the 24/7 interactions? I’m sure a lot of parents feel the same way, and when you’re a single, sole support parent, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now about financials and work and keeping everyone healthy and sane, without going insane myself.

Unfortunately, it’s out of my hands. All I can do is do my best to keep everyone healthy and sane and keep my own sanity while clawing at the door like a cat wanting to do normal things like going shopping or to the movies. I also hope everyone else is staying safe and sane. These are weird and scary times and we need to be cautious, but also kind to each other during these tough times. It’s hard enough to navigate this uncertainty without making it harder on others by being an asshole. So, be good to each other, use all the cool technology we have to stay connected while socially distant, and be safe.