Thursday, July 24, 2008

Help wanted

I just mentioned to a friend the other day that I believe I attract chaos.  Like a magnet.  However, I don't feel overly anxious about any one thing more than the other.  I think that I have always attracted chaos and this is just the way life is meant to be lived for me.

One thing I do contemplate often, though, is how to stop this madness.  I wonder, though, if I really have more than anyone else, or if I just notice it more than others.  I heard this morning that the minimum wage went up making a person's yearly salary, at this wage, $13 thousand and some change.  That is about two thousand below the poverty level.  When I compare my life to a single mother making minimum wage, I know I have nothing to complain about.  But I write for myself, so I'll complain.

My nesting cleanse is not going so well.  I was cleaning like a mad woman for awhile, but then it all came to a screeching halt while I was in Minnesota and San Francisco.  I now have the old feelings of laziness.   I don't want to clean or organized.  I think it's similar to getting to the gym for others.  The desire comes and goes in waves.  I'm in low tide - I hate the disorganized state of the house, but can't figure out how to get my beached ass off the sand.

Face it.  I've been living in a dream world since I left my job in May.  I've had free days and fun nights for quite some time now.  This "not working" gig is pretty great, but reality has hit.  I need a job.  A great job that will allow me to work from home.  I want to be home for the kids and our family.  Two full-time working parents were no good for our children.  Neither Chris nor me are any good at switching gears at the end of the day so that we can be a great parent and cook.  We are more likely to come home, grab a beer and chips, and then open the door to the pantry and stare.  Soon it's 7 PM and we're throwing hotdogs in the microwave again.  All beef, but still hotdogs.  I want to do more with all the opportunities I've been exposed to on the internet.  With my writing or my photography.  That will involve taking risks.  Not monetarily necessarily, but self-esteem wise.  I need to stop beating myself up and find the confidence in my creativity somewhere in myself.  It's now or never.

A colleague and friend I worked with last year, Nicole, lent me a great book on this very topic.  One of the quotes that made a lasting impact on me came from the first chapter, "We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic."  This can be interpreted in many ways, but I tied it directly to my outlook on a future as a photographer.  My self talk in general is pretty awful, but when you ask me about my ability to succeed as a professional photographer - watch out.  The language becomes pretty foul.  I would never talk as poorly about anyone else (except G.W.) as I do myself.

Beyond my disgruntlement over my cleaning prowess, and my worry about my future career, I have other concerns.  Like the state of my yard and basement.  Remember the projects we started last year?  They're not done.  Not even close.  This goes back to the money discussion.  We've never had enough to do everything we want, but our priority has been travel this year.  Unfortunately, I never realized when perusing the Expedia site, how frustrated I would be 15 months later after we started our projects, staring at their unfinished state.  I want my kids to have a back yard.  I want a guest room and an extra bath.  We NEED a second bathroom.

It's hard to complain about this out loud, at home, because my husband is the "contractor" for all of these projects.  He's an extremely competent construction project manager by day, but can't seem to bring his amazing organizational strategies from his professional life into his home life.  Again, I can't complain.  Who wants to do all evening, and weekend, what they've been doing all week, but at some point I'm going to have a nervous breakdown about all of this. (Consider this a warning, Christopher)  I hate thinking about what the neighbors must think.  I don't like it that my kids know how to crawl up to the electrical panel to flip the breakers that turn on the basement lights.  I know it will all get done someday - I just want that day to come sooner rather than later.

This leads me to my kids.  Staying home all day with them has been trying this summer.  Vacationing with them was also hard because I was often single parenting.  Harrison and Ella have become so much easier, in so many ways, but the squabbling.  I cannot stand the squabbling, and then the subsequent tattling.  I wish I was set up like a tape player.  Whenever they are upset with each other, and want me to settle a dispute, I could direct them to push the "Play" button.  This would be the recording:  "You need to figure this out between the two of you."  Then I would hit the "Rewind" button so that the recording was all queued up for the next battle.

For the first time, in a very long time, I am completely in the dark about my future.  I have no idea what to expect.  I thought that I had a job opportunity that would solve all my problems, but it fell through for now.  I was devastated, but weirdly calm about it.  Maybe it's because the first two people I told were calm.  Chris said to me that it "...was just another bump in the road."  Nicole told me that she believed that it wasn't meant to be.  That something better suited for me was in my future.

I can live with these thoughts for a while longer, but soon I will need to know how to pay the mortgage.  For now, I'm going to forget all of this and go watch "Alvin and the Chipmunks" with my kids.  This will be their fourth time watching it this week. 

We believe in getting the most out of our rental movie dollar.


sarah said...

All of this? All of this? quiet now. Sit with yourself. The answers will come. They are already there.

Kristen said...

how exciting to be on the verge of change and getting ready to embrace your dreams. You can do it, Carol.

Sharkey said...

That last line made me smile. You have a way with words--you could definitely do some writing.

And if people will pay me to take their pictures? People would certainly pay you to take pictures.

You do have a lot of talents, and I know you'll find a way to use them that benefits you and your family. Looking forward to watching the story unfold . . . .

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Lorrie said...

Recent visitor to your blog and first time posting here...

My husband recommended I read "The Artist's Way" when I was so depressed by my loss of creativity in adulthood. It's an amazing book. Whenever I need a self-esteem pick-me-up, that book does it.

Oh, and I am so with you on the feeling overwhelmed by house mess/disorganization but having trouble motivating myself to do anything about it. The good news is that at least when you DO find the motivation and make progress, it feels so wonderfully rewarding--it liberates and calms my busy mind.

Nicole said...

I'm excited to see you writing about photography. You're brilliant at it, you know?

Parents left and now I'm dealing with quite a mess I've created for myself. This too shall pass.


Kyran said...

i've got to second the artist's way. Preferably find a friend or two to meet weekly and do it with you. I had to make a deal with myself to push on through my own eye-rolling in places, but it absolutely changed my life. It's like a cleanse for all the toxic/negative beliefs that you don't even know you have.

carol, it was nice to meet you and chat a little bit at maggie's. good luck with everything. I'll be checking back to see how it's going.

be well.

Denise said...

Carol, I love reading your blog because in many ways we are completely different but somes days it seems our lives are completely parallel.

Isn't it crazy when you look at your life and certain parts just seem wildly out of control? I just went through this in my life as well. What really helped me was just sitting down one night and making a list of what was bothering me in my life. It sounds like you have that done.

After the list, I just started writing down small tasks I could do that would help get me closer to where I wanted to be. I am a list girl, so the more I can cross off on my list the better I feel. I've also learned that many small tasks are easier for my mind to grasp than a few mammoth tasks (like 'vacuuming' compared to 'clean the house').

Anyway - I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in what you are feeling. But be warned, although working from home is rewarding (I made the switch two years ago and will never change it if I can help it) but it does bring stresses of a different nature. It is difficult trying to get work (all types) done when the kids are around all the time - but it sounds like summer is the only time you'll really have to deal with that. My three children are all still under six years old so this is an ongoing issue for me still.

I can't see what path you choose for your new career. Good luck and remember you have many people in your corner.

Denise said...

...can't * wait to * see...


Jane-Fay said...

Your husband and mine share the same occupation, I'm an accountant. We learned long ago that our respective jobs are the last thing we want to do when we get home, SO he handles the investments/financial stuff and I take care of the home improvement and repairs. None of it's rocket science.
I hope you find the perfect job!

Anonymous said...

I just opened the pantry and stared.

It was comforting to read that I am not the only one who is afflicted with the question:

What the hell am I gonna cook tonight?

Hang in there Carol. Breathe...

Anonymous said...

Hope is a powerful thing. Hold onto it. Believe in it.

Sounds corny, but I swear half of what pulls me through the hardest parts of my life is hope.