Monday, March 12, 2012


I haven't written here in a full week, but the traveling husband was flying across the country and back again (and across and back yet again) over the course of 5 days, then I was on a Girl Scout camping sleepover, and add into that my general scatterbrained state. On top of which, was The Curse, which bounces me from crying to cramping to crabby and back again, all of which puts me into a nasty funk. Part of said funk can be blamed on PMS and the accompanying narcolepsy (and yes, that blog entry is a'comin'), and part of it can be blamed on my general WTF state of mind.

As in, WTF are we doing with this life?! WTF are we doing trying to live comfortably in Northern California? WTF are we thinking about moving out of Northern California? WTF are girls so mean? WTF does my uterus hate me? WTF are people like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton rich and famous and I'm not? Do I need bigger boobs or crazier parents or WTF? Apparently, I've got a shit ton of whatnot banging around in my brain, nonstop. So does the husband. And the more spin he's in, the more we're all in.

The question of the ages for us has been: What determines quality of life? Is it having more than enough money? More than enough toys and stuff? Friends close by? Family? Can we make dear new friends at this age and stage of life, or do the people who have loved us for years love us more than anyone new ever could?

And as I watch Nine try to figure out where she fits in socially at school, I realize that that journey is never-ending. Or at least it's still in progress in this family. I mean, it's clear to all of us that we belong to each other, and that we are together by choice (and by triple-knotted heart strings). But socially, outside of our family unit, who's "A" list have we made it on? And does that even matter, or are we supposed to just focus on the five of us? (I count the puppy because he weighs more than both daughters combined. Also, I'm pretty sure he can speak English {with an accent} and has a lot to say, he just chooses to remain silent for now.)

In any case, we've been in Northern California for four years. Looking at it from the outside, we're pretty ingrained. I volunteer at school, we help out with swim team, the girls are in ballet and voice lessons and get invited to birthday parties. They have pals who've been in their classrooms and on their soccer teams for three years now, if not longer. I have built up a brilliant gaggle of women who have become friends and neighbors and confidantes and shoulders to lean on. The type of amazing women who show up before you've even asked them to. The ones who bring you pots of homegrown flowers on your birthday and pots of homemade chicken stock when you're sick. It's pretty amazing, actually. 

The traveling husband isn't so lucky as me, and his social circle up here is much smaller. And by smaller I mean, the only two guys who are together with any consistency are him and the puppy. But sometimes he wants to spend time with someone who doesn't eat poop and who's hair doesn't float into his beer. He's more gregarious than I am, he requires some social interaction with people, and he loves that sport-fueled camaraderie. I'm a little more okay with just sharing a vino or a tea with my best girls via phone or text, since that's all we can muster these days due to time changes and diaper changes. But geographical distance for us doesn't equal distance of the heart. Boys are more literal and visual, and my husband is no exception. He does see some friends occasionally, but everyone is hyper-scheduled in NorCal, and the guys here aren't as free to indulge in Sunday Funday as he would like. So he pines for his "boys" - not only his big brother, but the friends with whom he went to college. He shares history with these guys, and they know my husband and they love him and all his quirks. He's on their "A" list.

The point is, overall, justified or not, we tend to feel a bit +1*, to use the husband's term.

*You know when you were single and you got invited to a wedding, and the bride and groom were all, Oh, she doesn't have a boyfriend...well, she can just bring somebody...address her envelope with an "and Guest". And then you sent in your RSVP with a Yes, I'll be there (but you don't give a name of your guest because you don't know who to bring with you yet), so you got put down on the list as You+1. You+the nameless, faceless person who would show up with you and be charming enough and probably have a really good time and hopefully be a great dancer and definitely is nice enough to drink all that free wine without pissing anyone off, but still...just a +1.

Which brings me back to the question at hand again. What determines quality of life? Should we move to a place in the country where we can afford all the things and toys we want, even if it means being further away from friends and family? Does it matter that we'd be further away geographically? Because let's be serious, the actual time spent together at this point is minimal. I think we've determined that time spent, for us anyway, does improve quality of life, because when we do spend time with friends - location being irrelevant - we always feel good. So should we stop worrying about living in a small house filled primarily with dog hair and old furniture, and just get people over here to spend time? Or should we just move back down South? But what if we move "home" and we end up staring at each other and the walls every Saturday night anyway, because we've been gone for four years and everyone has their plans and their people and their activities all set already? And again, shouldn't we focus on making each other happy, and stop looking outward for answers? On the other hand, we all need to spend time with more than just who and what is inside of our house at all times, otherwise we go ape shit. Don't we?

Stop looking at me like that, I told you at the start that I'm funky and scatterbrained.

So, my mental to-do list then, is going to look something like this: Inhale. Meditate on what feels right for my family and myself. Outhale. Encourage Nine to find her "A" list. Inhale. Get the husband out of the house (with human friends). Outhale. Find dates on the calendar and invite friends over, and open our doors and our hearts to new people and different ways of spending quality time. Inhale. Pray (a lot) for guidance and strength and peace and continued good health. Outhale. Do laundry.

Oh, and lastly? Deep inhale. Find a way to gingerly tell Nine and Seven that they are, as of this afternoon, going to have to appreciate going commando, because the puppy has eaten yet another pair of panties, and the only way for me to keep him alive and eliminate stress (and mindblowing dog gas) from my life, is to evidently, eliminate underclothing. Outhale.

Here's to letting it all hang out, in more ways than one.


  1. Ah, yes, the lifestyle question. As you know, we're asking ourselves the same thing right now. Of course our family of five is our core, but the life we've built around us is as close to family as it gets. Decisions, decisions, wine, more wine.

  2. You're on the right track, Ed. Wine definitely helps with decision-making. Okay, it doesn't help with decision-making, but it helps in general. Keep it flowing and let me know when you find some answers. I'm happy to ride your stylish coat tails.

  3. Being one of the "Southerners" you may move towards if you decide to do so...I'd like to encourage the move! I miss you terribly and texting is not the same as seeing your beautiful smile and experiencing your wit in person as opposed to reading it! That being said, we are all over-scheduled maniacs. In fact, it is 11:58 pm and I just purchased 2 self-help books: Getting Things Done-The Art of Stress Free Productivity and a manual for how to use Evernote which everyone swears by but that I have a hard time figuring out how to use. It's crazy. And all I want is a few moments with a book without being interrupted during every sentence! Also, I spend more time reading about HOW to get organized than actually getting organized. I also spend more time reading blogs and searching the internet for creative ideas than I do ACTUALLY creating. I frustrate myself!
    So, I got off on a tangent. Back to the topic at is important but there's a good deal of family I could do without. I'd argue we've got many friends I'd choose over family when deciding where to spend our life! AND I'm quite certain that you are on many people's "A" list and don't realize it. We are at teh stage of life where the kids reign supreme and there's no time to wipe our ass in private much less have a cup of tea with a bestie.

    1. So on point, Candeye. You're strumming my pain with your fingers and singing my life with your words, girlfriend. And you're not the only one. Lots of people struggle with the self vs kid thing, I've learned. I feel better just knowing that. I'm sure I make my life harder than it has to be too. For example, why didn't I just get up early and make the girls' lunches so I don't have to make another trip in the rain to the school? Sleep is the answer. It's pretty much always the answer, I think. :) xoxoxo

  4. Just read this... no, you don't need bigger boobs or crazier parents to be rich and famous because if that were true, I'd be writing this from my poolside cabana at the Chateau Marmont right now. And we ask ourselves the same things all the time, worry about it, stress about it, then settle back on our too-expensive couch in our too-expensive house and drink our cheap wine. I will love you and be your friend wherever you are. I have a feeling I would wish we talked and saw each other more even if you lived next door and we still had daily carpet picnics. (And no gutterbrains, that's not dirty.)

    1. Ta-da! True friend. I miss our carpet picnics. I'm going to start looking for a commune where we can all live until we're so old we don't remember what a carpet picnic is. :)