Miss Murder Asks For Help…And It’s AWESOME.

It’s perfectly fine to ask for help…unless you’re me, that is. Or, I suspect, you. If your mother, spouse, friend, or sibling needed help, wouldn’t you leap to give it? Wouldn’t you stretch out your hand instantly? And sometimes you don’t know they need help unless they ask. Why don’t they just ASK?

Because it’s hard. Because we live in this crazy society where we feel like we have to do everything, and do it perfectly, and do it alone.

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On the front porch with Marsh at 3 AM

This isn’t how societies work. This isn’t how the human animal works. Once we lived in villages and helping each other meant surviving. We didn’t hunt, gather, or parent alone. What suddenly makes us think that we have somehow evolved to do that now, especially when things are more complicated than ever?

We’re weary. We’re taught that busy is better. I know very few people who actually enjoy their lives, and many simply try to survive it.

This is me on a typical day: Get three kiddos to school. Arrange/attend appointments. Keep up with friends, “maintain a presence,” volunteer for my church and community. I try to write/read/blurb/clean/feed the pets/feed the family/feed my soul. And it isn’t working.

The house has fallen. Six hours of volunteering for church a week leaves me exhausted. My writing is stalling and I feel like an imposter who can’t do anything very well.

Help.

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Baking Banana Bread at 4:00 AM

I tried to ask it. If only people would do more around the house, or follow through their commitments at work, or listen to me when I say no the first time instead of trying to wear me down to a yes. But I’m not good at asking for help. It means I’m not pulling my weight. It means I’m not doing my best, and that means I need to try harder.

Then I ran across an awesome deal on housecleaning. You heard me. Housecleaning.

How many times have you thought, “If I were rich, I’d pay someone to clean my house!” I thought that, too. It would be a glorious thing.  But it’s something only rich, busy people do. Not people with stay-at-home careers, like me.

Except it is. My husband thought it was a great idea and encouraged me to try it. We hired them to come, and they came today.

It. Was. Awesome.

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My super shiny kitchen! I just made banana bread there a few hours ago!

Picture this: I had just gotten over either the flu or a diabetic thing, I can’t be sure. But I was weak. Thanks to anxiety about life, I had only slept an hour and a half the night before, from 5:30 am until 7:00 am. (Note exhibit A and B, with the cat and banana bread, all at weird hours of the night.) All three kids had been home for spring break, satelliting around me like drunk fireflies. I’m on a tight writing deadline. I’m pretty rachet.

So I open the door and there are three smiling women. They ask me to prioritize what I’d like them to work on. They are impossibly kind to my children. They are very patient with my son.

They are my backup. They’ve got me, boo.

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The microwave is so shiny that I’m not even ashamed when the door falls off!

These women have my back. They start on the bathrooms and I tackle the kids’ rooms. They move to the kitchen while I knock out the laundry. Four people working in tandem is a beautiful thing. And when the dust (quite literally) clears, I have my home back. I’m happy, they’re happy, and I feel a huge sense of relief.

It felt good. I feel like I gained some emotional balance. I think I’ll have them back every six months or so for a good deep clean that feels like it touched my soul as well as my walls. It took two hours for this, and that was all. Two hours. I spent more time than that on the front porch last night, petting cats and looking at Pinterest like a goon.

It was worth it.

“Help” isn’t a long word, but it’s certainly a difficult one to say. But, oh, am I glad I said it. My husband didn’t laugh. My friends didn’t laugh. My mother didn’t point at the dirty laundry and tsk. They were supportive, and it turns out the only one judging me harshly was myself.

Have a lovely day, my friends!

A Very Crappy Tuesday: The Universe Has It In For Miss Murder

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They say Tuesday’s child is full of grace. Apparently that isn’t so!

This morning was off to a rousing start when I slept through my alarm. Oldest had decided to go traipsing around outside in bare feet, scaring me and the neighbors. I got him settled, the power inexplicably went off (why?),and then I managed to get Middlest to her early morning honor choir. We rushed back, I got Oldest onto his bus, and then took Littlest BACK to the school for kindergarten.  I was already tired and it wasn’t 9 am yet.

Did I mention that my phone is tripping? It called my husband twice and my best friend once. It wasn’t in my purse or pocket, but sitting on the table, untouched, both times. With that, the power, and the car seat electronically adjusting itself back and forth all day without being touched, I’ve decided I have an electrical gremlin causing havoc.

Niko’s favorite blanket was left in the motel eight hours away, so I promised to replace it. I get to the store, buy my things, and come back to find that somebody has parked so close behind me that I could barely open my trunk and I didn’t have room to stand behind it to load stuff. Because of this, I was loading things awkwardly from the side, hurt my shoulder, and dropped a piece of heavy furniture on my hand. Man. That hurt. Extra points for not starting the offending car on fire for parking far too close. I think I would have been justified. When I went to hop into the car, the seat had adjusted itself so far forward that there was no way I was getting in there. Stupid gremlins.

Came home to ice my hand, which was throbbing and swelling. While carrying a glass jar I just bought, I tripped over Taco Truck (one of our two stray cats), dropped the jar, and then stepped on the glass with bare feet. I left bloody footprints as I limped off to take care of my foot, which was awesome because I still had difficulty with one hand and shoulder. But my Star Wars Band-Aids are AWESOME.

Honestly, at this point I wanted to hide in my room and never come out again, but it was time for me to pick up the three kiddos and get to gettin’. Also, I have a short story and a revision to turn in this week. And a church thing tonight where we’ll be in charge of running and jumping children. Also, my husband is out of town on a business trip and I’m holding down the fort, alone and wounded.

I’m grateful that I’ve taken some Tylenol and I have enough distance from it to realize that it’s funny.  If I was watching a movie, I’d point at the screen and yell out, “Stay in bed, you poor sap! The universe is out to kill you!”

The universe may kill me yet. We’ll see. But at least I tried, and I’d give myself a hearty high five for that except that it would hurt far too much. 😛

This Is What Love Looks Like

I’m under some pretty intense deadlines and other stresses. How do you eat an elephant? You unhinge your jaw and try to devour all of it at once. Naturally.

I came home from an unscheduled grocery store run (Arg, it ate up half an hour I didn’t intend to lose!) to this beautiful spread by Middlest.

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“You need to eat, Mom. You forgot all morning.”

This is what love looks like.

The First Day of School

It’s all crazy.  Lunches were made.

Pictures were taken.

Darling, your backpack goes on your back.

 

 

And then the craziness ensued.  There was a bus, yes, but it was taking my son to the wrong school.  We just managed to get him to school, then turn around and retrace our steps to get our daughter to her school.  Now the baby (hello, baby) thinks that she’s the only child. She’s sitting on my lap at this very moment, eating a spare copy of a writing contract.

I’m surprised at the depth of my emotion. I’m torn between “My babies!” and “Huzzah, so much more time!” My goal is to put in four hours of writing/writing related activities every day while the kidlets are learning naughty words in school.  This will help me achieve my deadlines, and will just plain rock. It’s the beginning of a new era for me, and I’m so digging it.

Have a good one, my friends.  Know that you are loved.

Can’t Talk Now. Meeting A Deadline.

Which is so awesome! The last week has been a blur since Baby Cyborg Ninja came home.  Why is she a cyborg, you ask?  They wouldn’t bust her out of the hospital unless her monitors came with her.  I plug Sweet Thang into the wall and let her charge.  Run and tell that.

I’m finishing the edited draft of my demon novel and sending it to my group tonight.  They’ll go over it yet again (I pay them in cookies and absolute adoration) and then I’ll send the  final polished draft to my agent during next month’s holiday weekend. It feels so good to have my family all together, and writing going well, and the house hasn’t blown off of its foundation.  Yet.

So! I leave you with an absolutely awesome picture!

Guide Me, Kenny Rogers!

I did the craziest thing.  I thought back to when I was a kid out in the country, and we’d run around singing Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler”.  (Don’t you judge me!)  To this day I think of the words, “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and those-soon-to-be, I knew when to fold ’em. I folded and I ran for the hills.

I’m usually fantastic with deadlines. I can put on The Bunny Ears of Might and write like a possessed woman if I need to.  But I admit that I get overwhelmed, and this has been a particularly crazy time.  Throw in the fact that my family came down with the bubonic plague (well, okay, a Las Vegas cold, but it’s practically the same thing) and I realized that I had bit off more than I could chew.

I emailed several dear, dear people explaining that I had to push my self-imposed deadlines back a bit.  These weren’t hard and fast deadlines, which I had already worked to hit, but deadlines that I either asked for or gave myself in order to motivate me.  As one friend put it, there isn’t really anything riding on it, and why stress and become more ill when it isn’t necessary?  The people who I work with are dears, and very kind, and I currently breathe a sigh of relief with four major deadlines off of my back at the moment.  The only project that I’m absolutely still working on is finishing my novel before Robby D, but I’m even prepared to dance around horribly and sing an awful song as penance for not completing on time, if necessary.  It feels good.  Thank you, Kenny Rogers.  And now, enjoy this song, and my awesome, rural childhood. 😉

WIP Wednesday: The Gauntlet is Thrown

 

Wow, and it was thrown in  a big way.  My goal is to have my Williams Project in the hands of Mr. Agenty Man J by November first.  This gives me a concrete deadline as well as clearing my plate for my fifth NaNoWriMo, yeah?  I can totally do it.  First I have to take all of my separate chapters and put them together in some sort of cohesive structure so I can give it to the Illiterati.  But I’m dragging my feet.  Wah, it’s too daunting, I’ve never written a novel length nonfic piece before, I can’t get myself over that initial hurdle, boo hoo hoo.  So what did my fantastic writer’s group do? 

They issued a challenge.

Ooh, I feel my eyes starting to glow just thinking about it!

Ryan Bridger, aka Battle Bunny, challenged me this: I will write two more chapters this week and put the book together for Illiterati meeting next Tuesday.  If I do this, he will write a theme song on the guitar or piano for any story that I have written.  I get to choose.

“Great!” says I.  “What happens if I don’t do it?”

Which won’t happen, of course.  Because a song?  Awesome! And oh yeah, I hate to lose.

“If you don’t do it,” he says, “you have to credit the book to Ryan Bridger.”

Whaaaaat?  Ryan will have credit for writing a wrenching story about mothering a child with a rare genetic disorder?  Oh no he didn’t!

When I was done laughing, we shook on it.  And today I’m going to throw myself into the project.

This is why I love my group.  They get me 100% and know how to motivate.  Plus when we’re done?  We’re all hitting the rollercoasters.  Thanks, guys! 😀