It’s Aerobic Mom

Most of the time, my teens stay in their rooms, only surfacing to graze in the kitchen, ask for my credit card to buy something on x-box, or to ask me another word for whatever word is needed in an essay (possess, student, display, you name it.  I’m like a walking thesaurus, only I’m really an accountant, so I totally suck in the word department).

Dare I pull out my aerobic step to get in a short twenty-minute workout and teens instantly appear.  It’s like ringing a dinner bell.  They come running to feast on wisecracks at poor old, sweaty, out-of-breath mom’s expense.

MonoBoy:  “Mom, it sounded like you were beating someone out here.”

LoverBoy:  “Well, that board she’s using sure is taking a beating.”

(Yes, he’s romantic and sweet like his father. [eye roll])

Then there is MonoBoy’s “whooooop” sound every time I step up and extend my arms and one leg “like Superman.”

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its Aerobic Mom!”

Bloodsuckers, that’s what they are.  Lurking in their dark rooms and coming out to drain the dignity out of me.

I’d smack them if I had the energy to swing, but alas, all of those Superman moves makes my arms hurt too much to swing at anything.

This That and Maybe the Other

I started composing about twenty-five different blogposts this week, and successfully completed and posted none.  But I guess you knew that last part already.  Let’s just say I’ve been on a helluva roller coaster ride at the Emotional Amusement Park.

Even as I sat down to finally type something, I was flooded with a million thoughts about all of the things that have been going on.  And so, it looks like I have no choice but to put it all into a list.  (Maybe I do have a choice, but I love lists, so get over it.)

1)  Wife Goes On recently suggested the book “Getting Them Sober” by Toby Rice Drews.  I divorced my alcoholic and therefore, at first glance, I didn’t think that this book was for me.  Oh, was I wrong.  The author must have been lurking around my house with microphones for many, many years.  Certain quotes in the book were the EXACT words that came out of the mouth of my ex.  I can’t figure out how he channeled the thoughts inside my head, though.  (I guess the more likely scenario is that it was a textbook relationship between an alcoholic and a co-dependent.  But I’m clinging to my hope of being special, and thus, someone must have been creeping around my house to get the material for this book. Okay?)  I wanted to give an example from the book that would sum it up, but there are just too many examples to choose from and I’m already facing too many decisions.

If you have ever lived with an alcoholic or someone who you think might have a problem but you’re not sure, READ THIS BOOK.  I’ve already ordered Volume 4, which deals with separation and divorce.  (Yes, I skipped over Volumes 2 & 3, which goes against everything that I am, but in light of recent events, I think I need it the most.)

2)  They call me Mean Mom.  (That’s probably the G-Rated version of what they call me, but a mom can dream.)  My boys have been home less than a week, and the youngest is already grounded from his x-box.  You see, Mono Boy developed quite the love for his little x-box while he was laid up for five months with mono.  Not my favorite thing, but I went with it.  And when he returned from his dad’s after a month away, I was understanding when he holed up in his room for three days for an x-box marathon.  But then he started exhibiting signs of a full-blown addiction – lying and disobeying rules – and playtime was over.

I asked him if he fed the dogs and he said “yes.”  You wanna re-think your answer?  And remember that I rarely ask a question that I don’t already know the answer to.  “Uh, I’m going to do it right now.” Alas, it was too late.  I was mad.

Then…AND THEN…he took advantage of my going to bed early to stay up past his bedtime to play x-box.  His bedtime, I might add, is midnight in the summer, but I guess he forgot because he was awake at three o’clock in the morning.  Have aliens invaded Earth and taken control of your mind?  No?  Well then, you’re grounded.

3)  Tomorrow is my birthday.  I will no longer be just forty. I will be forty-one, and sadly, forty will be missed.  My big plans are to chaperone a Church Youth Trip to a water park.  I’m a rebel like that.  I have been having anxiety about it and not because I will be chaperoning teenagers, but because I will be in a bathing suit in public.  It’s definitely not my favorite.  Actually in my “Top Three Things I Hate To Do And Avoid At All Costs.”  But time with my boys is more important than my fragile ego, so I volunteered.

Well today, I was semi-stalking Brittany Herself’s blog, and I came across a video of her talk at TED.  While she was speaking about changing the idea of women needing to be a size two to be beautiful, she took off her clothes and stood in her bathing suit.  In front of strangers.  And then put it on the internet.  Needless to say, she is my idol.  I. Love. Her.  So tomorrow, as I take off my bathing suit cover-up, I will try not to cling to it for dear life.  Instead, I will think of Brittany.  When I see someone thin and start to feel self-conscious, I will think of Brittany. Because Brittany rocks!

4)  If my never again Just Forty birthday wasn’t enough to make me feel old, yesterday my oldest son turned fifteen.  FIFTEEN.  How can that be?  Just the day before, I brought him home from the hospital, swaddled in a blanket, full of bright ideas and big plans.  (I was full of ideas, not him.  Well, as far as I know.)  Anyway, now he is fifteen and he is learning to drive and he starts high school in just a few weeks.  I’m afraid to go to sleep because when I wake up, it will be time to take him to high school.  There just isn’t enough time to finish all of those big plans.  (On that note, we are definitely going white-water rafting in Colorado next summer.  Anyone have any suggestions?)

5)  And as if THAT wasn’t enough to deal with, yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my divorce.  (Don’t tell my son.  Why taint his perfect day?)  You know how I started that 4th anniversary day?  Arguing with my ex.  This upcoming weekend is his per our decree, and despite the fact that he is homeless, he was still keeping up the charade of getting them.  I told him about the water park trip, since we might be a little late getting back for his pick up time.  And although I was entitled to extra time for my birthday, he chose to get an attitude.  (It’s an alcoholic thing per that wonderful book in #1.)  He was demanding and arrogant.  I finally couldn’t take it and pointed out that he didn’t exactly have a home to keep them. And on that note, aren’t you supposed to provide notice to me and the court and the state about your change of residence?  Where exactly is that notice? Or the residence?  The text I got back read, “Lunch?”  (I will have to save the rest of this story for a blogpost of its own.  There’s just too much to tell in one little bullet point.)

6)  Moving along…I received word that I am listed as a witness in custody suit for the guy that I dated for a while after my divorce.  You know, the one with that other kind of addiction.  The one that I don’t like to talk about.  And now I might have to sit in front of a judge and talk about it.  Um, no thanks?  I have to pick up my kids or clean my toilet or something else that day.  Whatever day it is.  I’ve also received word that the ex-boyfriend wants to make amends for the things that he did to hurt me.  I can’t decide which one sounds like the least amount of fun because they both involve talking about things that I don’t want to talk about.  Ever.  Never Ever.  Which is why I rode off into the sunset, never to return.  Never Ever.

7)  I always joke that I have paid my therapist so much over the past five years that she could build and fully furnish a beach house.  Let me tell you that after all of this stuff in just one week, the woman deserves a lake house after this week’s session.  My mouth opened and the stories fell out as soon as my butt hit the couch.  (Hmmm…kinda like Dodgeball?)  Normally, at therapy, I just get head nods, shoulder shrugs, hmmm’s, smiles, and the occasional eye roll.  This time she was more vocal.  Perhaps it was because I had more insight, thanks to all of my recent readings, and we could openly discuss my issues and plan for the future.  Or maybe it’s because I took a breath long enough for her to get a word in edgewise.  Either way, it was very freeing.  I feel so much lighter.  Aahhh, I needed that.

And now I need to go and check on the grounded kid and the older kid that makes me want to cry when I look at him because MY BABY IS GROWING UP.  Waaaahhh!


I’m failing Fitness 101

Once upon a time, in the days before marriage, kids, divorce, and drama, I was an athlete.  No really, I was.  I used to run several miles every morning and play soccer competitively. In fact, I lived for soccer.

These, my friends, are no longer those days.  In fact, just today I failed Fitness 101.

Rule #1:  Do not eat a greasy sandwich an hour before  attending a Zumba class.  You might puke.  Or, at a minimum, you will pray to God that you will puke so that you can feel better.

I won’t make that mistake again.  At least not until next Zumba Tuesday.

After I recovered from Zumba, I had dinner with a delightful new friend that I share a lot in common with.  We are both independently wealthy, Nobel Peace Prize recipients, and former supermodels.

And we have bridges for sale in the Mojave Desert.

Alas, we actually share a lot of the yucky stuff in common – ex-husbands that breeze in and out of our boys’ lives and only pay child support when threatened with court.

My mother was actually the first to discover this friend years ago.  When my parents got a divorce, Mom attended Divorce Care group meetings at a church.  She kept telling me about this woman, and insisted that I meet her because we had so much in common.  Uh, Mom, what could we possibly have in common?  She is divorced and I am MARRIED.

Fast forward a few years.  Mothers are very wise.  Don’t ever doubt it.

We had a great time at dinner tonight, sharing stories and laughing.  Seriously, some of the situations that we have been in are funnier than fiction.  We couldn’t make this stuff up if tried.

For example, one early Saturday morning, I received a phone call from the police department asking if I still owned a certain over-sized truck that was registered in my name.  Yes and no.  Why?

Apparently, The Ex needed gas after a night out on the town, but when he got to the pump, he realized that he did not have his wallet.  When he tried to leave the gas station, the truck completely ran out of gas and stalled.  He called his drunk friend to bring him money for gas.  Once the friend arrived, the geniuses realized , “Oh my, the gas station isn’t even open,” so they left the truck AT THE PUMP and went home to pass out.  When the gas station opened the next day, the attendant reported the abandoned truck to the police and it was towed away.  I was the lucky one that got to call The Ex about it.

Me:        Do you need a ride to our kid’s basketball game today?

Ex:          “Yeah, how’d you know?”

Me:         Just a hunch.  Do you know where your truck is?

Ex:          “Not really.  Do you?”

Me:        Uh, yes, because the police woke me up at 6:00am!

My new friend hasn’t had that exact thing happen, but her ex has been to prison for failure to pay child support, so we can just call it a tie in the Winning-at-Losing Game.

She’s considering trying Zumba, so I will soon find out if we have that in common.  You know, the being fitness-challenged thing.  Or I could discover that it’s just me failing Zumba class.

Death by Zumba

I’m having second thoughts about this new church that we joined.  I think that they might be trying to kill me.  We joined just a few months ago.  We felt right at home from the first time that we visited.  Like family.

It’s probably because our family is at this church.  I worked in the church nursery when I was in high school.  My mom has worked in their Mother’s Day Out Program for twenty-five years.  Everyone knows Miss B in the baby room.  My kids went through their MDO program.  My sisters kids went through their MDO program.

Joining this church felt like coming home after a long absence, rather than embarking on a new, unknown adventure.  Divorce has provided enough in the area of the unknown. This was a breath of fresh air.

Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the church that we had attended for years.  It was a church that I chose with my husband.  He liked the preacher, and that meant that he wouldn’t fight me (much) about going to church on Sundays.  We chose to raise our kids in that church.

The divorce changed me.  (I’m sorry, but that statement cracks me up because it is the Understatement of the Year.)  In some ways, I have become someone new.  In other ways, I have found the old version of me.  The me before I became the dutiful wife of an alcoholic.  I found my roots.

I can’t take credit for the decision to change churches, though.  My oldest son was the spiritual leader on that trail.  He started attending the Youth meetings with his friend.  Then he started going to church with his friend.  At the time, I was avoiding church on Sundays.  Talk about guilt!

I asked him if he was interested in making it our church home.  Oh my, the nagging began.  I visited the church two Sundays, and YES, FOR PETE’S SAKE, WE WILL JOIN TODAY.  We stood in front of the congregation and the pastor introduced us to our new church family.  “This is Miss B’s daughter and grandsons.”  Immediately, recognition spread through the pews.

Now that we have joined, my sister and her kids attend along with us.  Let me tell you something.  When you feel like your family is broken…when you feel lost and alone…nothing feels better than sitting with your sister and all of your kids at church.

Until your Size 2 sister opens the bulletin and says, “Oh, look, the church is offering free Zumba classes on Tuesdays.  We should do that.”  And then on Tuesday, she drives to your house and drags you to the church for torture.  I mean, Zumba.

Oh wait.  The light bulb just went on.  It’s not the church that is trying to kill me.  It’s my sister.  Yes, that makes more sense.  This is all just payback for the raking.

Zumba Fitness


The Back Forty

Body by JakeConfession:  I haven’t made it to Day 2 of the Couch to 5k Program.  I’m not intentionally avoiding it; I’ve just been busy raking the back forty.  And by “back forty,” I mean the forty feet of property behind my house that was once a backyard, but turned into a jungle.

You know what I blame, don’t you?  Stupid freakin’ mono.  Hear me out.  During the mono months, my oldest son was busy with school, track, and soccer.  My youngest son was busy sleeping, complaining about a headache, and losing weight.  I was busy working, shuttling the oldest son, and waking the younger son to work on school makeup work.

Yard work was not high on the priority list. And after hearing my oldest son say, “I have to do everything around here because HE’s sick” for the hundredth time, I stopped asking him to mow.  We maintained the front yard, but kept the backyard our dirty little secret.

When our small dog decided that the jungle was too dangerous and started doing his business on the patio, I figured it was time to move it to the top of the To Do list.  i began the chore of finding someone who I can trust.  I remembered that a girl that I grew up with was married to someone who owned a Lawn Service company.  I knew that fact because I had prepared his tax returns back in my days of public accountancy.

Score.  Someone that I can trust.  You have no idea how important that is to a single mom.

He quoted a price that had my friends offering to cut my yard with scissors, but I knew the amount of work that was going to have to go into it.  I estimated that the yard cuttings would fill up somewhere around fifty bags.

And you know what?  I was right.  You know how I know that?  I RAKED IT.

Add that guy to the list of people who I can’t trust and would possibly like to run over with The Tank.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it, but I live in southeast Texas, where temperatures are in the 100s.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you leave grass cuttings on the lawn for more than, let’s say two minutes during the heat of the Texas day, it suffocates and burns your grass.

I returned from the lake after the two-minute mark, and oh my, what has he done?  So I ran to Wal-Mart and bought several rakes, and called some family to help save my sanity.  I mean, my yard.

Let me describe my yard crew to you.

Me – I’m allergic to everything nature.  An allergist once told me that I should stay indoors next to an air conditioner at all times.  (Yeah, ‘cause that’s a realistic request.)  But I look pretty hot wearing a face mask for yard work projects.  And the rash on my face from the allergic reaction is pretty sexy too.

My mom – A few years ago, she was diagnosed with a lung disease despite the fact that she never smoked a day in her life.  Of course, my dad smoked all forty years that they were married before he left her for someone else.  Doesn’t that beat all?

My sister – Several years ago, she endured chemotherapy and radiation in a fight against cancer.  She won the battle, but because of scar tissue, she is left with the use of only one arm.

My boys – Two teenagers griping and bickering the entire time.  “Mom, he’s been bagging the whole time.  It’s not fair.  Tell him to rake.”

Right now, you are probably wondering if you can hire this gang of work horses for your yard.  And you totally should because we finished the job in just two nights.  (It’s Texas remember, you can’t start working until 6pm when it no longer feels like you are raking the face of the sun.)

I’d give myself a pat on the back, but I can’t lift my arms because they are so sore.

Who needs Body by Jake?  I’ve got Body by Rake.