Tag Archives: work

May Day vs Mayday!

I used to love May Day.  Bulbs blooming, grass getting green, days at least STARTING to try and get a little longer…..  the promise of summer relaxation looming, full of promise, on the horizon.  Oh yeah.

But when you are a parent, May Day becomes more like MAYDAY!!

There is so much to do – May is the moment that the insanely big wave of all the parental shit you are doing finally breaks, and washes over you… grab something and hold the f*ck on, or be sucked out into the sea of trying to wrap up a school year while simultaneously plotting an entire summer AND making sure you have everything you need in place for the coming school year.

MAYDAY MAYDAY, we have a mom down! Send coffee!! Send wine!!  Throw up some shameless bargaining prayer!!

Every time I open my email, I find a new deluge of invitations for end-of-year school year activities, and forms to fill out for summer day camp, and even more forms for the coming fall, and (the worst) an unending supply of notices regarding MORE fees for said summer and fall.

All of the flat surfaces in our house are covered in forms and notices and finished products, with a fresh new hell of paper added to the pile each evening when Jr’s backpack explodes in a crapstorm that leads me to believe nightly that “this must’ve been the big day for sending stuff home.”  But no…. no no…  Silly, silly Keri.   Tomorrow’s pile will make you long for the smaller size of today’s.

The entire last 3 weeks leading up to the final day of the school year is an m-f-ing blur.  It is like I KNOW the days must actually be passing, but I can’t remember where they go.

A great example of this is that I actually started writing this the week BEFORE May Day.  As in, May 1st.  But then I blinked, got buried in a backpack paper explosion, and OH LOOK, it is May 15th.

This past weekend I cooked brunch for my parents to celebrate Mothers’ Day – and part of that “celebration” included 20 minutes where we all poured over our summer calendars, marking out all of the things we already KNOW are happening – followed by scrutinizing the leftover dates to see where we can wedge in other things that we all need or want to happen.

When did summer turn into something I need project management software for!?

Not to mention the last week of school that is roaring up on us – otherwise known as “the week Keri is going to office in her car in the school parking lot,” evidently.  I think there is at least one family participation activity a day for us in Jr’s class from now until the end of school.   There needs to be some sort of “emergency May mom clone” that we can all keep in the basement storage closet and just charge her up to trade off conference calls and field days…  family picnics and reconciliation reports….  appreciation teas and power points… and play performances and making meals and permission slip completion and new hire intros and sports physicals and laundry and bank file approval and swimming lessons and magazine submissions and carpool and HVAC tune ups and bedtime story books and ……

MAYDAY MAYDAY!!!!

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The Heart Attack That Wasn’t

Getting ready for the fireworks- and outside of my safety zone – for this awesome kiddo. And.for myself.

Last Wednesday morning, one week ago today, was really nothing special at all.  I got myself and Jr up and ready and out the door, lingered over some time with my parents when I dropped the kiddo off to spend the day with them, and headed into the office since there were some visitors from the main office in town and it is always nice to have some “face time” with long-distance colleagues.

4 hours later I was being carted out on a (extraordinarily tall) stretcher to an ambulance waiting in the parking lot.  (Seriously – I had no idea you were so high up on those things… are they all so freakin’ high!?)   Minutes before that, I was 100% convinced that I was having a heart attack, had waited too long to act, and was going to die in my office waiting for the paramedics only a few minutes away.

Soooo, none of that was true. Thank God.

What did happen?  I can’t be sure yet – my primary care doc and neurologist are still ordering up tests to check things like hormone levels (getting old is sure fun, isn’t it) and look for any changes on MRIs (to rule out any new lesions that might indicate a change in disease course for my M.S.)  We shall see what the results are when the dust settles.

But if I had to guess, hindsight being 20/20?

Anxiety Attack.

Horrible, no-good, very bad, worse and different than I have ever experienced, Anxiety Attack.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Or should I say you dirty unwelcome bitch.

I don’t talk about my long history with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder here very often.  Or at least not seriously.  I joke about having refilled my Ativan script for an upcoming flight, I hint about my extra worry and helicopter parenting.  I poke fun and I minimize and brush by it without really talking much at all.

Talking about it makes me worry that I might panic from talking about it.

That’s the thing.  Once it starts, it is a horrible, vicious, unending loop.  It feeds on fear of itself.

And this time was different.  I can ALWAYS pinpoint a cause, no matter how little or unreasonable.  I always know what caused an attack. Because of that I can head many off at the pass by taking precautions or making extra preparations before a particular activity, (or, worst case, by not doing it at all, which sucks but doesn’t happen often any more.)  But not this time.  There was no warning.  There was no trigger.  It felt SO MUCH WORSE than anything I had ever experienced before.   My whole body tensed;  heart racing, feeling like it was being squeezed by something;  chest pains; dizziness…

Something awful was clearly happening to me.

In my mind I know that statement is no less true because it wasn’t a heart attack.  I remind myself that constantly.  But anxiety is cruel in other ways too – it hides inside of you, it is difficult for others to see and to understand.  It builds on the shame of each “why don’t you just calm down/snap out of it/stop worrying/choose differently” look and comment,  well-meaning or otherwise.  Because in your heart you are asking that too.  “Why can’t I just calm down?” “Why can’t I just enjoy this activity like others do?”  “Why do I have to plan and overthink and worry?” “Why can I not be free of this?”  “WHY?”

My 20s were a blur of panic.  Sometimes as an under-riding current of general anxiety, others as months of crippling waves of panic leaving me trapped by worry and fear, never venturing out of my walkable urban neighborhood.  Shortly after I got married my mom made a last desperate plea for me to get help.  I didn’t want the weight of the anchor that my panic and anxiety was to prevent the journey my new husband and I had just started together in our marriage and so I agreed.

Almost immediately I wished I had reached out long before – and little by little, my world grew again.

This week – in the hours and days since the heart attack that wasn’t, I have gone about making follow up appointments and tracking referrals and insurance claims and all of the business of tying up loose ends that happens after an ER visit.  But I have been watchful, waiting guardedly for a hint that the next one is coming.

This time I will fight, clawing to keep every inch I have gained back, every experience I have won back over from terror to ease…  I know that there are setbacks, and that is fine.  But I refuse to accept a spiral.  I will deny shame a place in the battle this time, and I will be am being proactive.

This time panic, you can’t come for me.  This time I am coming for you.

 

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If you are experiencing Anxiety or Panic Attacks – PLEASE reach out.  Your doctor is a great initial resource, there amazing groups full of supportive people in many areas and even online.  It took me years – heed my mother’s advice now and reach out. (I didn’t know then what I know now.  My mother is always right.)

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Dat Workin’ Mom Lyfe. Just Sayin’.

I spent 4 long days traveling for business last week, a topic that I have rambled shamelessly on about touched on briefly in the past. (You can read about all the deodorant failing, seat companion farting, 40000 ft cocktailing magic here, should you be so inclined.)

It has its positives and negatives, for sure.  I love my team. I love my boss.  I dare say I even love getting to experience Boston.

But I HATE leaving Jr.  Like HAAATTTEEE it.

So after 4 long days away, I was SO excited to see my offspring – imagining all of the cuddles we would share as he drifted off to sleep on my lap, not wanting to let me go for even one second after being without me for so long.

image

Playing with the crab hat I brought him, shortly before becoming a different kind of crab.

All of that lasted exactly 2 minutes “in real life.”

Then he decided he wasn’t tired, wanted to rip his room apart instead, and spent the next 2 hours yelling through his door how mean I was, and that I should go back to Boston.

Queue the horrific mom guilt with a side of Chardonnay and a few tears.

Mom life is HARD, yo.

Just sayin’

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Toddler Law. Just Sayin’.

A toddler doesn’t ALWAYS have to poop in his pants.

But if he does, it is when you literally have one foot out the door, running 20 minutes late already, on a day when every big wig you care about from the East coast office is going to be on site at your location.

And it is a monster messy poo for the ages.

 

Just Sayin’.

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The M.U.V.

Frederico Escapé is a mess.
Let me qualify that statement, actually. The INSIDE of Frederico Escapé is a mess.
For realzies.
The depth of the disaster hit me full force recently when “Corporate-y me” found herself feverishly pitching Scholastic order forms, hordes of napkins, junk mail, bobby pins, paci-covers and gah-knows-what-else into the back seat so my colleague from the Boston office could get a lift. (lucky him, eh?)
He is one of my faves, and has witnessed the special horror that is my desk, so he was a-ok with the sitch, but seriously, yo, it’s getting pretty thick in there.
The thing is – 99.99999999999% of the time the Keri-mobile is transporting Jr. and Mommy. Nobody else.
My beloved U.U.V. (Urban Utility Vehicle) of my city-dwelling, self-centric days has given way to the unintentional, unavoidable metamorphosis of suburban parenting:
The M.U.V. (Mom Utility Vehicle.)
Deceptively clean and serene in outward appearance : blueish gray, shiny, windows free of grime.
But crack open one of those doors fitted with the extra sun screen to protect tiny eyes and ZOMG!
Who pulled the pin out of the mom-supply bomb!?
Wet wipes and tissues, blankies and pacis, tiny baseball caps and T-shirts…. All mixing together, ever-churning as the car stops and starts and turns and takes on new layers.
A suddenly-yellow light produces an almost-impossible-in-size forward wave of sippies and goldfish “cackers” and school newsletters from below the seats. It is surreal, even to me.
Don’t misunderstand me here – I am not going down without a fight. I have all kinds of equipment designed to keep everything I could ever need in my M.U.V. organized, tidy, and available with no digging below the seat required. There is the handy cargo bay organizer wedged next to Binky-the-wonder-dog’s collapsible crate in the “way back.” It houses extra coats/layers for the whole family, picnic blankies, balls, and other “outdoorsy” items any Colorado native feels somehow compelled to drive around with at all times. It is stuffed full. I never remember what the hell is in that thing. It does make a nice wedge to keep Jr’s City Mini stroller from sliding around when I stop fast with it back there. (Stopping fast seems to cause a lot of issues for me. Maybe I am not the stellar driver I think I am. Nah.)
In the seat pocket in front of Jr’s throne car seat, an industrial-sized container of wet wipes, a box of tissues, and a trash bag for keeping the used versions of those paper products contained. Mostly. (Again, see “stopping fast” references. Damnit!) Below his feet a bin for toys and pacis and cloth books (no paper when I can’t reach him – he is a paper eater, and the freeway is no time to attempt to break that habit.)
In theory I have everything in place I need for the M.U.V. to be as shiny on the inside as it is on the out.

Except Life.
Except when 2 nights of barfing makes it MANDITORY for me to cover every square inch of interior in the burp-cloth collection I am relieved to say I still have pack-ratted away in the basement just to drive the 5 minutes to the doctor’s office. (Which end up not being barfed on, and living wadded up on the floorboard for months, because that third arm I keep asking for seems to be on backorder.)
Except that a toddler with a snack trap full of cheerios is happy as a clam eating away and singing along to Veggie Tales until that moment when he isn’t – and the cheerios become some sort of anger confetti, whipped around the interior of the vehicle to express his unease. This never takes place on a side street when pulling over might be possible. Not offering snacks at all IS a possibility; however it may result in said toddler deciding that the carseat is, in fact, the portal to hell, and the firey flames are creeping up his backside as I attempt to pilot Frederico safely to our destination.
The Mr’s reaction to this, er, situation, ranges from a mild side eye when I rush after a minor crumb explosion in the garage (“ants, Keri… you will cause ants,”) to recoiling in horror at the idea of actually riding anywhere in my rolling preschool.
Whatever – I’d pit my M.U.V. against his Jeep that he treats like a Bentley in an end-of-times sitch any day.
Blankets, water, books and games – hell our family could eat like kings off that floor board for WEEKS and be fat and happy. (Kings eat ground up teddy grahams and goldfish, right?) Crisis AVERTED.
What do you suppose The Mr. would do in the same situation in his ride? Keep warm with that tiny little shammy he cleans his sunglasses with? Gnaw on a floor mat?
Mmm hmmm.
LONG LIVE THE M.U.V.!!!
(Seriously though – what’s that smell?)

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