the B variable

It’s the moments of quiet when my thoughts speak loudest – lying in bed next to Summer as she falls asleep for her nap – and the nights at home when she is with her daddy – and that first morning moment when I become aware that I am awake, eyes still closed with 10 minutes left before the alarm will start singing to me. Some days I find myself having a hard time remembering the bad stuff over the last 4 years. Other days the saddest times echo through my brain reminding me why I’m here.

When I’m alone in the quiet times, it’s good, it’s fuel, it’s not loneliness, it’s aloneness. And aloneness is healing time for me. Being here with my thoughts, working through everything, taking the time to be happy and the time to cry, to live, to do the things I enjoy, to be still with myself, it’s necessary. And it’s hard. But it’s good.

I think in the quiet. I analyze. I want to fix things. And because I think mathematically, to me there is one answer for everything. There is one solution to every math problem. I once had a 2 hour argument with someone over the fact that if A=B and B=C, then A must equal C. He tried and tried to disprove it. He came up with the most ridiculous “equations” pertaining to everyday life situations, and no matter what, A always equaled C. Plain and simple if a square is a rectangle, and a rectangle is a shape, then a square is a shape. If my car is in Chicago, and Chicago is a city, then my car is in a city. If black is white, and white is blue, then black is blue…in the logical sense as opposed to the description of what we were taught, if black TRULY equaled white, and white TRULY equaled blue, then yes, black would TRULY equal blue. It makes total sense to me.

And this is why situations like falling in love, getting married and making a promise of ’till death do us part, yet finding myself 4 years later living 8 miles away from my husband in an apartment down the street from the house we bought together, is hard to logically comprehend. I can’t fix this. I can’t explain this. There is no rational reason my brain can come up with as to why I was so 100% sure that when I said I do, I meant it forever, yet forever in reality only lasted 4 years.

I do= forever

forever=till the end of time

I do≠4 years

It’s like a crooked frame on a wall to a person with Organizational OCD. It’s not logical. It doesn’t make sense. I don’t get it. I don’t get the why or the how of that equation. If A=B, and B=C, then A=C. That. That I get. There is no why, and the how is a basic law of nature. There is no doubt, no uncertainty, no open-for-interpretation. It is what it says it is because it is. But when that logic fails you, when your marriage, your spouse, your happily ever after is no longer what you knew it to be with 100% conviction just 4 short years ago, it’s unnerving. It makes you distrustful of what you know to be true.

My dad is a wonderful man. He is a great father to me and my sisters and a good husband to my mom. This I know as fact. This is what I grew up knowing a man in a relationship to be. And this is what I have always applied to the men in my life because this was my math equation that was taught to me regarding men in relationships. What they present is what they are. And when that changes, when things show up that were not presented as part of the original equation, when an X, Y or Z is thrown in to the once perfect logical equation, I end up once again like the person with the crooked frame. I want to ignore the X, Y and Z with the little red nub of my pencil eraser. I want to fix it. I have to fix it. But when I can’t, I don’t know what to do.

So I find myself sitting and thinking a lot in the silence…trying to take all of the extra variables that were scribbled all messy on the board right in the middle of my logical little equation, others that were there all along that I didn’t see at first, and plug them into my equation to figure out how the answer ended up being L instead of C when I was so freaking sure it was C.

I’ll get it eventually. I will realize why this equation all makes sense once I can look back and see that this moment in my life (A) led me to wherever I end up (C). That without all this, I wouldn’t be where I am in 5 years. That in the ABC equation always, always A=C, the key is figuring out what B is.

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diy: how to take in jeans at the waist

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I posted a while back about taking in pants at the waist. And I had no idea how bad of an epidemic droopy drawers were until over 21,000 people read my post and pinned, and repinned, and repinned a few hundred times.

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My first post was how to take in pants from the back of the waistband which worked really well on my work pants. Last week, I decided to try a different method by taking in the waistband from the sides on a pair of jeans  that I once adored with all my heart but could no longer wear for more than an hour because they’d stretch out to the point of me flashing a little cracky every time I bent over which, let’s be real, is really only cute if you’re the Mayor of Buttcrack City. And I’m happy to report that I now have my favorite jeans back and they cling to my bunzos like a koala on a tree.

Disclaimer: By day, I am a computer technician. By night, I am a mom with a glass of wine and a sewing machine. A seamstress I am not. But I do love salvaging a good pair of pants and this worked perfectly.

Ready?

Things you’ll need:

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And go!

1. Turn your jeans inside out

2. Put them on, then figure out how to button them from the inside. ‘Tis an art, I tell ya.

3. Pinch the waistband at both sides to get a feel for how much you’ll be taking in (I made mine pretty snug and took in about an inch on each side)

4. Start pinning down one side with straight pins, trying not to pin your finger to the pants (if you do, it makes it very difficult to move on to the other side). Repeat on the other side. I actually ended up pinning from my waist down to about mid-thigh, tapering out slowly so my last pin ended up on the existing seam (I could have gone all the way to my knee but I like these jeans a little looser, more like a boyfriend cut). Long story short, your pins should look like this:

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5. Laugh at how ridiculous you look with your new hip flaps.

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6. Shimmy your way out of the jeans trying not to pull too hard for fear of the pins popping out and stabbing you in the thigh. Or so I’ve heard.

7. With your jeans still inside out, sew along your pinned line. These were my machine settings for a nice, tight straight stitch (pictures like these always help me with sewing tutorials):

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Don’t forget to backstitch (reverse back over your stitches) at the beginning and end to make sure your thread doesn’t come undone later. I may have overcompensated but I backstitched about 4 times juuuuuuuuuuust in case.

8. Unlike with my first tutorial, I didn’t cut out the excess fabric when I was finished because they were comfortable as-is, plus you then have the option to take them back out down the road if needed. But if you wanted to, you could always cut out the excess (try them on first to make sure they look ok after sewing) or fold and sew the end of the excess fabric down so it lays flat on the inside when you’re wearing them.

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9. Turn them right side out and put them on. As you can see my seams don’t line up perfectly but unless someone is literally trying to smell my hip bone, I don’t think they’d notice.

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10. Give yourself a high five for saving the money you would have spent on a new pair of jeans!

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Dear Miss Patty,

I want to start off by saying thank you. Thank you for the sleepless night I had last night, thank you for the hours I spent lying awake staring at the ceiling worrying about what in the world I am going to do now. I couldn’t turn off my brain no matter how hard I willed myself to, knowing that in 3 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour, my 5:50am alarm would be chiming in my ear telling me to wake up even though I was already wide-eyed. And trust me, as I laid there, I came up with the mother of all speeches, oh it was good, it was chock full of sarcasm and anger and all the things you should hear so you could realize just how badly one little note you left each of us parents yesterday at daycare pickup would affect us.

The note. It said that after careful consideration you have decided to close the doors at daycare because owning 2 centers has become too much to handle. That you are keeping your other center open but that there is no room for any of us. That you spent 9 months looking for a buyer and couldn’t find one so you were giving up and closing down.

You’ve been looking for 9 months. You chose to give us 11 days notice.

Do you know I work for a commercial real estate company? Do you know that I personally know an agent who buys and sells daycare centers and that’s all he does? That he has a database of thousands of people across the country who may have been interested in buying the center? No, you don’t. But had you let us families know your plan months ago, maybe, just maybe you could have gotten some help or ideas or, I don’t know, something from the brilliant mothers and fathers who drop their kids off to you every single day so they can go to work and earn their paychecks and keep coming back week after week. We could have been resources. You had dozens of people who would have done whatever they could to keep the place open, right at your fingertips but you chose to keep us in the dark, and then give us 11 whole days to figure out where we are going to take our children after a week from Friday.

I see what your plan was, tell us at the end of the day on a Monday after we’ve given you our week’s tuition, then use our deposits that we put down when we first enrolled to pay for the last week. That way you wouldn’t have to worry about giving us enough time to find somewhere else and pull our kids out before you closed the doors, leaving you with anything less than being fully funded your last 2 weeks being open. But come on. A month. You couldn’t even give us a month.

To know that you have been planning this for 9 months, nine freaking months, and didn’t have enough respect for all of the families, children and teachers who have kept your business going, who have trusted you to be a safe place for us to drop off our kids while we go to work, to give us anything more than 11 days notice before closing the doors for good? That’s the part that I can’t wrap my brain around.

On our way to daycare drop off this morning, I actually had butterflies in my stomach thinking about all the things I wanted to say to you when I got there. But when Summer and I walked through the door and you said your chipper, “hi!” I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even look you in the eye and so instead I focused on my girl, getting her settled in for the day and I left still angry. Because no matter how great my little speech could have been, it wouldn’t have changed anything. You would still be closing the doors in less than 2 weeks. I’d still be taking time off work in the next week to find a new safe place for my baby. I’d still be anxious and worried and calling at lunch time and wondering if my baby is ok and adjusting and playing with the new kids and trusting a teacher that I hope deserves her trust less than 2 weeks from now. Whatever I could have or should have said to you, it didn’t matter.

I know there’s a blessing in disguise here somewhere. I don’t see it yet. Maybe this will be good preparation for Summer when she starts school and has to adjust all over again. Maybe wherever the new place ends up being, it’ll be better. I don’t know. All I know is that I wasn’t the only mother lying wide awake last night worried, angry, and exhausted, and yes, I’m sure you’ve had plenty of sleepless nights over this decision you made, too. I just wish that there had been a little more respect given to the pregnant mom who picks up her 2 kids at the end of the day, or to Miss Mary who has been there for years and plays with those little babies like they are her own, or to Conor and Logan’s family who just started there a few months ago, or to Miss Christine who just quit her other job last week to work for you full-time, I just don’t get it. This is why I’m not a business woman because I wouldn’t have been able to face all the parents this morning after the business bomb you dropped yesterday, my compassion would have gotten in the way.

Good luck, Miss Patty. I hope you’re sleeping at night better than the rest of us.

- Summer’s Mommy

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to be almost 3

Almost a year ago I wrote about the funny little things a 2 year old does. And almost a year later….well, I’m still learning the mind of an almost 3-year-old…

Still the funny little beings they were at 2, now they’re a little wiser and braver and funnier:

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They’ll hide in the same spot every single time they play hide and seek.

When you give them an option on which shirt they want, they’ll give you the dreaded blank stare. And when you finally just pick one for them, they’ll always want the other.

They’ll take an hour and a half to eat a meal yet they can eat 3 bags of fruit snacks in 30 seconds.

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They’ll beg to watch the one show you don’t have DVR’d.

And once you do record it, they’ll never ask for it again.

They’ll find this thing at the grocery store and beg you to go on it until you finally fish a quarter out of the bottom of your purse, turn it on and then pull them off the giant scary horsey 2 seconds later as they bawl their giant doe eyes out at the terror, you bad bad mommy:

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They’ll listen to the same song over and over and over and over and over.

They’ll take all of your jewelry out of your jewelry box, toys out of the toy box, nail polish out of your nail polish bag, spoons out of the silverware drawer, throw them on the floor, and then walk away.

They’ll fill a cup in the bathtub, try to pour it into another cup but end up pouring it all over your socks.

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They’ll cry when you won’t let them wear pajamas out of the house, and then they’ll cry when you try to take them out of their day clothes before bed.

They’ll insist on sleeping with their baby, blankey, monkey, shovel, chap stick, guitar, football, a marker, and their shoes on.

They’ll want to try on every pair of sandals in the shoe store. In the middle of winter.

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They’ll spot the bouncy ball tower display thingy in every store and insist they neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed another ball that you know they’ll forget about tomorrow. And it’s always the ball on the bottom.

They’ll impress you every time you teach them a new life lesson, like how to open a door by turning the doorknob, how to open the refrigerator, and how to put water in their mouths and spit after brushing their teeth.

They’ll tell cashiers and neighbors and their teachers stories like, “I had different ones! Uh huh! Yesterday I had a pink one and a purple one and they didn’t match!” And only you know they’re talking about their sock choice from a week ago.

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They’ll make up their own language that changes daily. Take yesterday…mamba apparently meant mommy and bahstock! meant open the door. This morning I was cah-coh, and there was no word for open the door. I’m trying, I really am.

But at the end of the day…

when you’ve made your second full dinner because the first one “wasn’t good”…

and they want you to watch Frozen with them on the couch for the 4th time…

and they want to snuggle with you because, “they like you,”….

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…having an almost 3 year old will make you a little wiser, braver and funnier, too.

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toddler speak

Toddler language is its own unique creature. My dad gives my mom and I a lot of credit because we both understand everything that comes out of Summer’s mouth, and often times she’ll say something to him that ends with his eyebrow raised and a need for one of us to translate. But, just because I understand the words, well…

Last night:

“Mommy, your face is green grass,” as she patted my cheek.

Um, thanks, sweet pea, and your ankles are pink monkeys.

Then she called me a bunzo and fell asleep.

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Good talk my love.

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patience

“At the end of the day, you can either focus on what’s tearing you apart inside, or focus on what’s holding you together.”

The divorce process sucks.

Plain and simple. It fucking sucks.

It’s been a little over 4 months since we sold the house and moved out, and I am finding myself here with feet firmly planted on a mountainside with the sun shining on my shoulders and a raging tornado right next to me that keeps trying to knock me over.

The damn tornado  – it just won’t fizzle out, as much as I want it to and as hard as I try to will it away, it just keeps spinning and swirling, whispering in my ear as it goes round, “you’re alone….” “you can’t afford this anymore…” “you don’t get to see your own baby every day of her life…” “nobody is coming home from work to you anymore…” “you’re going to end up in debt again…” “no one is going to save you…”

And yet the dazzling sunshine is warm on my shoulders, rays of happiness singing softly, “no more fighting…” “no more tension…” “you can breathe again…” “the hardest part is over…” “you’re vibrantly living life again…” “you’re doing this and you’re doing it well…” “your baby is getting to see the happy in you…”  “you don’t need saving, you’re absolutely fine…” “you are brave for choosing the life you deserve…”

I so much like the sunshine better.

Yesterday I saw someone going through a dumpster, I watched as they shook out a pair of jeans they found. And my first thought was, “what a whackadoo going through the garbage, so gross…”, and then I thought about my apartment with its cushy carpeting, comfy couch, warm beds, clothes in the closets and food in the fridge, and my thoughts about this person out there took a complete turn. This person was looking for necessities in other people’s’ garbage and they didn’t give a shit who saw because it wasn’t about other people, it was about doing whatever the hell it takes to survive. And despite the tornado that keeps slapping me upside the head and throwing me into a funk, despite the divorce process and the broken heart I’m mending in therapy, despite the trying to figure out how to make $100 pay for $200 worth of groceries, I understood in that moment that life could be so much harder; unfathomably harder like it must be for anyone so desperate for things that they have to turn to the garbage to find them.

I’m going through a divorce and it is awful.

I’m dealing with a hole in my heart and it hurts.

I’m full of anxiety and it’s scary.

But…

I’m going through a divorce to make life better and I have to go through the storm to get there.

I’m dealing with a hole in my heart, but it’s been broken before and I have somehow always managed to glue it back together.

I’m full of anxiety every time I talk to my lawyer – a stress that will end soon and thank effing God for payment plans.

It’s hard, but it’s all doable.

Silver linings, baby. I have a good job. I have a happy healthy 2-year-old who likes to snuggle with her momma (and throw all her toys across the room and wake up at 5:30am and take her clothes off right before we have to go somewhere, ha). I have a nice place to call home and a good reliable car. I have friends who make me feel like my old self again, who worry about me and support me and tell me with full conviction that I am the strongest, bravest person they know. I have family who is always there for me no matter what, and would never let me get to the point where I’m looking for my next pair of pants in a dumpster. At the end of the day, my girl and I are safe and we’re happy. The tough parts, the stress and the worry and the uneasiness that have built up in this big ugly raging tornado, are a blip on the Doppler that will eventually pass leaving behind blue skies and peace and me standing, eyes closed, head back on this mountainside soaking in sunshine again. I hope nothing but the same for the person I saw yesterday.

It will take time, this I know, but as of today it is officially Spring and the warm is coming…

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my shooting star

Another little video of my Summer Bear lately…

To watch directly on YouTube, click here (boo, not available to watch on mobile devices because of the third party content)

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