Friday, December 27, 2013

Trying to Get the Feeling Again

Christmas was lovely — it is pretty darn hard to ruin Christmas — but on the whole I will be delighted to have December behind me.

Money has been a struggle. EDC, my main employer, after years of financial growth and stability, suffered some huge cutbacks and had to do massive layoffs — which means that my special service, editing, is now seen as a luxury; few clients are willing or able to pay my hourly rate, and they're also simply producing less to be edited. Today's paycheck from EDC will be something like 30 bucks.

But I had a job this week, and though I usually prefer to avoid work right before the holidays, I had to grab it, given my impoverished state — and it was a deeply stressful job, requiring me to install a new software program, which caused my computer to crash every 10 seconds . . . I cried a lot. But it's done now and it's money, and that's something.

Clearly I need a new computer, as mine is ancient. As is my car. As is Husband's. Our children's computers are old too.

Big big bills, tiny tiny paychecks. Time for Mommy to bite the bullet and become a substitute teacher in January. I will also call the temp agency that ignored the resume I sent them. (I did apply for two actual jobs, as a freelance Medical Editor and a temporary Oral Historian, but haven't heard a peep re: either.)

The other main struggle has been mental health, chiefly my daughter's. I'm not sure I've ever said this out loud on my blog, but Mimosa has Asperger's syndrome, she's very shy, and social stuff is always a challenge for her. She has succeeded in making a couple of friends that she can "invite" to do things with her, but the invitations are always initiated by her; no one ever calls her, and she doesn't have what I think of as "hang out" friends. We haven't had a girlfriend just hanging out at our house since Mimosa was in elementary school.

(And I kind of laugh when I remember my own teen years; I had a wide circle of all-occasion friends, but my favorite thing to do with my two best friends when they came over was to read. We would lie on my huge antique bed, the one Mimosa now sleeps in, and read our library books. Possibly I am not the best role model for teen social dates.)

I dream of the perfect best friend for Mimosa — a quiet but fun-loving girl who likes books, movies, TV, and pop music, isn't too sporty or outdoorsy, and doesn't have a ton of other friends competing for her time and attention. I absolutely know that this girl is out there . . . but maybe Mimosa won't find her until college. I dunno. My own strategy for finding my junior high BF was to watch the girls who spent a lot of time in the school library and then to simply stalk one of them until she became my friend. (Mrs. Cynicletary will recognize this approach.) Mimosa says that she tried talking to a reader girl once, but the girl looked at her like she was crazy.

But the hardest thing is that my daughter is now part of three groups — the Madrigals, her church Youth Group, and the Into the Woods cast — and it's especially hard and lonely-making when you're technically part of a group but really just outside of it. These kids are all perfectly nice, but they don't necessarily go out of their way to include Mimosa (16 year olds are not prized for their social skills), so she teeters on the outskirts, wishing desperately to be nearer the center but completely stymied as to how to get there.

And in the meantime, a local teen girl just committed suicide, and all of us mommies of sad girls are drawing our daughters closer (metaphorically — my teen usually keeps me at arm's length).

It has been a hard, wrenching time.

Husband is having his own struggles; after years of enjoying the most collegial academic department ever, he's now enduring a new department chair, an outside hire, who has chosen Husband as his personal scapegoat and whipping boy. The situation has finally come to a head, so there's a meeting with the Dean coming soon, which, I think, will be good in that there will likely be some resolution to all this — but it has been awful to live through; my cheerful, easygoing sweetie has been glum and preoccupied, prickly and put-upon. Not fun for any of us.

In the face of all this Sturm und Drang, weight loss feels pretty incidental, I must say. But I haven't gained any weight, and lately I've been getting tons of compliments on how thin I look — which is weird; I promise you I haven't lost an ounce. Perhaps the stress of daily living is repositioning my fat pockets . . . ?!

Sorry, I know this isn't one of my funner posts. But I haven't felt much like blogging, and now you know why.

One day at a time, you know?

Today will be a good day — Mimosa and I are seeing Saving Mr. Banks, and it looks like one of M's church friends will come with us (this girl is awesome and adorable, but she has a thousand friends and is giddily flaky — not a good or reliable BF candidate, I fear), and tonight we'll eat up all the delicious leftovers in the fridge (our Christmas dinner was teriyaki steak tips, garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and red-hot apples — YUM) and make popcorn and watch The Heat, which is coming from Netflix, and possibly play a round of (slightly edited) Cards Against Humanity, which Martini got for Christmas and is hysterical, and tomorrow I'm seeing a movie with Brunie and attending Sister Hart the Elder's swelligant holiday party, and on Sunday Mimosa and I meet up with Blogger Dawn for our annual outing to see the Family Trees in Concord, Mass. — in other words, nothin' but good times ahead!

All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Cool Yule, y'all!

—Lady C, breathing in, breathing out


  1. Wishing you the most wonderful brand-new year, Lady C. with all manner of shiny, happy surprises! Love, SDF

    1. Thanks, angel! I wish the very same for you.

  2. Hang in there baby! "If you stop struggling, you stop life." - Huey Newton

    1. Oh, man -- I appreciate the sentiment, but I gotta say, that's right up there with my dad's family's dreadful motto:

      "Suffering builds character."

      Dude, I got character to burn. I could go for a little character-stifling peace and prosperity.

      But thank you for your well wishes!

  3. I know you are supposed to murmur encouraging things to a friend when she is down, but I am one of those terrible friends who will tell you, “So I was listening to the radio today and heard a quote by the author Alice Thomas Ellis: ‘There is no reciprocity. Men love women. Women love children. Children love hamsters. Hamsters don’t love anyone; it is quite hopeless.’ and it made me laugh and think of you.” Perhaps, I think, it will make you laugh… and let you know I am thinking of you.

    Let me know if you want to reconsider tread milling it with me on the speaker phone. We could catch up and if you are bored with that, I can put on Jeopardy from the TiVo and we can race each other to guess the answers. I can despair of my son never leaving home, supporting himself or having a significant other in his life. Then we can pour the same drink afterwards and pretend we are having it together and commiserate and once that’s done we can decide we are damn lucky in spite of it all.

    1. Hee! I DID laugh out loud at "hamsters"! So true. As I was chauffeuring Mimosa and the girls to movie yesterday, she said, quite audibly, to Flaky Friend, "Yeah, my family is getting on my nerves this week," and I thought, Oh, sure, and why don't you slap me a little as I pay for your ticket, YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE SNOT. But I also understand, they're driving me crazy too. Bless their hearts. :)

      OK, let me figure out where the speaker setting is on my phone and we can figure out this treadmill thing (my treadmill is LOUD). I gotta get moving, it's too icy and slushy to walk outside, and talking to you will be a lovely incentive.

      Ah, life has many sucky pieces but we are blessed with friendship, and that makes us damn lucky in spite of it all. This I know for sure.

    2. Tomorrow morning then? I will await your call...

    3. It's midnight-thirty, just got home from swanky party and am drunkity-drunk-drunk, whee!!!!! so probably not tomorrow a.m. And won't be done with Trees and (boozy) lunch tomorrow till probably....4?? maybe Monday better bet. You don't want to know how long it took me to type this accurately. Whee!!! Brunie drove, thank heaven. Fun night. Biiiigggg sangria pitcher. Did I say wheee!!! already? Wow. Better sleep now....

  4. Oh my lord, hamsters.I think I have a new motto.

    I love Mimosa so much! And she would have been the perfect friend for high school me! Stupid being old.

    1. Even at your advanced age you are such an important friend for her, and it helps me a lot to see how sparkly and fun she is with you!

      and yeah, "hamsters" is pretty awesome.