Apartment Life

First, to start I wasn’t going to write this.

I thought about it, and said that my apartment life would be funny to write about. Then, before I knew it, I apparently allowed anxiety to make the decision not to make this post.

Well shit. That was sneaky.

So now, I am going to write about it.

I have been living in a 3 bedroom apartment for nearly 4 months now.

The last time I lived in an apartment, I was a newlywed, now divorced. Also now, happily engaged. I had no kids. Now I have 4. I had no dogs. Now I have 2 Boxers.

Unfortunately, the past 3 years have been a true test of strength and it has lead us to downsize.

Living in an apartment building is interesting.

Luckily, because we have a 3 bedroom unit, our floorplan is a bit different than the 1 and 2 bedrooms.

This means, as we walk the long hallway past 10 other apartments, we hear what they are watching on tv. Conversations. The other day, a mans voice was heard in extacy through one door on my way to the laundry room. Oh my.

If someone is cooking fish, you get to smell fish. If someone is cooking bacon, you now instantly want bacon. When I make good smelling dinners, I think in my head, “how about that?”, wondering if my neighbors can smell it.

When showering, you must remain vigilant. You can usually tell a change is coming by the sound of the water pressure fluctuating. But, even still, if not quick enough you take the risk of 2nd degree burns. All because someone somewhere flushed a toilet or turned their sink on to brush their teeth.

Most people you see around, you have given a name to. Like, the crazy bike lady( remember this name, I will revisit her later), grumpy laundry lady, the doppelgänger car guy, the gamer dude….

I know the names of two people that live in our building, and I know the office girls that work here.

Now I will tell you about crazy bike lady.

She is an older woman.

She has signs hanging in her apartment window saying “don’t park here” and “no parking”. And nobody does.

She drives a car with a bike rack. When she leaves she walks out of the building and takes it with her, and when she comes home, it comes off and back inside with her.

It’s rusty and old as shit. Only once have we seen her riding it around here. Squealing and squeaking as she pedaled.

Often times when she leaves, she turns her hazard lights on as she slowly drives for the parking lot exit.

Yes, I have no life.

We have had to be evacuated by police because the people replacing the carpeting in the common areas were causing so much dust that it caused the smoke alarms to go off.

After the fire department ventilated the hallway and left, the workers again, caused the alarms to go off. We didn’t leave that time. But, the ear piercing sound continued until someone finally figured out how to shut it up.

You find out very quickly how disrespectful people can be. Leaving messes or doing stupid things that doesn’t affect them, but possibly the next person.

Leaving dryer sheets to litter the laundry room floor. There is a trash can right there. Or detergent spills. Leaving the dryer lint trap full of their scuzzy underwear fuzz.

NOT CLEANING UP AFTER THEIR DOG!

We have blatantly watched people, specifically one guy, not clean up after his dog repeatedly. We can see him from the couch if the blind is open. He takes his dog into the grass, watch it squat, and not once have we seen him bend over and pick up anything.

Then, you have to rely on everyone else not to do something stupid that could affect the entire building.

For instance, burning some food. Which resulted in building 1 to have to be evacuated and no shit, there were 4 different fire departments here.

We have to deal with the thumping and bumping from the tenants above who have 6 children, and you hope that your little maniacs are not causing the same disruption to the family below.

Apartment life definitely has its perks though. No grass cutting. No snow shoveling. Less space to clean. If something breaks, they fix it.

They recoated the parking lot recently. It caused chaos with parking availability until they were done, but we got to watch a guy we called ZZtop in action.

They even have special events around here, like this weekend they are hosting a trunk or treat for the kids to dress up in their costumes and get candy from participants who decorate the trunks of their cars.

We have a beautiful view from our balcony.

We can watch the horses in the fields at the stables nearby.

Lugging laundry and groceries down the hallway is a bitch, but we find ways to deal with it.

All in all it’s not so bad. This is where our journey has taken us right now.

Every day is certainly a new day. A new day for some people watching. Another day to be a part of a new adventure.

Ultimately, Another day to make the best of it.

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I’m gonna’ write a book

Yes, I know “gonna” is not correct.

I excelled in school at english and writing.

It has always been something I enjoy.

I used to write poetry all the time.

So now, I am going to try my hand at a book.

What about, you ask?

I could write about my life. All its ups and downs and twists and turns.

But, one little girl inspired me.

I am going to write a kids book.

One evening, my 4 year old was drawing with her sisters.

She came to me proudly holding a piece of paper. She was happy to show me her latest picture.

As she explained to me each character and what was going on, my eyes kept going back to one specific doodle.

I kept thinking how damn cute this little guy is.

He needed a name. So I asked her what she would name him.

She called him Barnie. I went for the non-traditional spelling so as not to be confused with that other once famous character.

So, here we have Barnie. This cute, little, and happy character.

I have to write a story about him.

I have actually finished a rough draft of the story and what goes on each page.

And because my daughter created this character, she is going to supply the illustrations.

This may take time. But, it will be so worth it. I am going to gather her drawings and use them in the book.

My idea may go nowhere.

And that is ok. I will get to scratch something off my bucket list and make a memory with my child.

Meant to be a mom

It occurred to me just a but ago, while I was making an ass out of myself to entertain Peyton, I am meant to be a mom.

Go back about 20 years and I would tell you differently.

I was never really around kids and babies growing up. I didn’t hate them, but I also had no opinion on them.

I have never been able to pinpoint where exactly in life I belong, but I sure as hell didn’t envision myself having 4 kids, all girls.

I have had my doubts, and haven’t we all. That moment where you just don’t think you can take much more.

My journey is a little bit different than most.

I also never planned to get a divorce.

Of all the obstacles I have faced in life, getting a divorce has been the most difficult.

The challenges continue.

You resolve one issue and have another one. Or there are things that remain hurdles and you just have to realize that it comes with the territory.

Like they say, “there are no winners in war”, and divorce is just that. No matter how ugly or amicable they are.

There are still casualties.

Through it all, I have primarily remained unchanged when it comes to how I am as a mom.

I have changed. I have grown. Life has changed. It is all just part of the aftermath.

I realized, that even though I didn’t see my life going in this direction, I had no planned direction to begin with.

I am literally writing my book of life as I go along. The following pages are blank, and I can write them as I wish.

Even though I didn’t go to college, get a degree, buy a big house, travel and whatever else goes along in the package of a “successful” person, I am successful.

I am good at being a mom. I am meant to be in this position.

If I were to sit down and list all the tasks and duties I perform just to keep them alive and well, the list would have no end.

Add in all the extras and well if it were a job, I would be getting totally screwed on pay and benefits.

But, I don’t bitch. Even though I struggle every day with the complexity of life in general.

I sometimes get tired. I get angry and sick just like everybody else. I am not perfect.

When I truly look at where I am, I am doing something I love. I am caring and nurturing and loving and it comes naturally.

I have improved my motherly abilities and damn it, I am proud.

4 little lives depend on me and I go above and beyond for them.

I am truly meant to be a mom.

If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would have 4 beautiful lives to love and to hold and to help them to grow, I would have just laughed.

I have been through so much in recent years. I have quit and given up on things. But, my love and desire to be a mom is still as strong as ever.

I have succeeded at something.

Self Conscious

My skin has always been an issue.

I always wished I were one of those girls walking around with flawless skin.

Adult acne, due to hormones, was always a problem, up until now.

Us moms, our bodies go through so much shit as we age and go through pregnancies and beyond.

I am not at the beyond yet, but I know it’s around the bend as I approach 40.

This last pregnancy left me with a new skin problem that has really trampled my self esteem.

Mask of pregnancy or Malasma.

It it characterized by brown or dark patches of skin, mainly on the face.

Finally, my skin is pretty clear of acne, but now I have brown spots.

I guess I just can’t win.

So, today I finally got a haircut after many months.

And, I am sharing my face. Make up helps. But, it still looks like I have a 5 o’clock shadow above my lip and my forehead is affected too.

But, I have this gorgeous little girl now.

I have a 5 year old who also has marks on her face. She was born with a port wine stain on the side of her face and up around a part of her eye.

She rocks it! She is so beautiful. She is fully aware of them and just says that the birthmark just makes her her.

So, even though my spots aren’t as dramatic as my daughters, they are there. I am sure my anxiety fuels me feeling bad about them too.

Feeling good today with my haircut and not caring what anybody thinks.

I hate Wednesdays

Every week, Wednesday is a crappy day.

I call it transition day.

That is the day I say my super “goodbyes” and “I love you’s” before they get on the bus.

That is the day I have to ride my preschooler to school and not come back for her.

Oh how my heart aches.

I know it is only a few days. I know it gives me more of a chance to relax and breathe. As much as I can with a three month old in the house.

But, I hate them.

Every Wednesday I think about my girls almost non stop. Hope they are having a good day. Which I basically do every day, but Wednesday I know I won’t get to see their smiling faces as they get off the bus. I won’t get the chance to ask them “how was school?”.

I don’t get to pick my 4 year old up from school and spend the next few hours with her without her older sisters.

Not to mention, Wednesdays seem to be particularly rough for her. Sometimes having break downs in school.

Wednesdays may be hump day for those who work. Yes, it’s the middle of the week and getting closer to the break the weekend offers.

For me, it’s the beginning of the count down until I see my girls faces again. One of the worst things about divorce.

So this morning, as I drove my one princess to school, we laughed and we talked and her happiness made me smile.

That song “Feel it still” was on the radio. (The only thing I can think of when I hear it, is that dude on the treadmill). I don’t normally listen to the radio because it is not my genre of music, but she was grinning and grooving. Like any mom would, I joined in.

I captured that moment at a red light.

And it has had me smiling ever since.

So, I am going to try to make the best of the time they are away. Because, in a few days, I have the opportunity to make more memories with them. That is something to look forward to.

Fearless

I love to write.

I don’t really know why I don’t come here more often.

Wait a minute, it’s that little bitch called anxiety.

The why’s with no answer.

It occurred to me just a bit ago, that on most nights, we’ll say around 8:30 or so. I have kids. Bedtime never happens quickly or smoothly for that matter. But, around that time I get to shift down a gear.

And most nights when this happens, I find myself being able to hear my thoughts once again.

These thoughts of all the things I can and should do.

The empowering thoughts of lighting a fire under myself and start tackling life again.

Quit smoking. Get back in shape. Be more me with less fear.

I used to be fearless. Except for spiders, that fear has and will always exist. I used to be independent, bold and strong.

I lost it.

So, every night I get a chance to revisit these thoughts, I always devise a plan. I tell myself tomorrow is a new day. I can make changes. I have the control. Instead of sitting idle as my anxiety takes the wheel, I am going to quit fearing the maybes and the no’s. I am not going to continue to coast on by each day and just hope a giant wave doesn’t come crashing down.

I am going to do at least one thing that makes me uncomfortable. That puts me in a vulnerable position that I’ll do anything in my power to avoid.

My life has been nothing short of chaos since my divorce. I am tired and battered and bruised.

But, only I can make the changes, improve and grow.

So, tomorrow. No matter what it may be. I am going to do something. I am not going to let that little voice that talks me out of everything to have total control.

I am going to surprise that bitch anxiety.

And hopefully I can build on that.

I have been drifting for far too long. If I truly love my family and want what is best for them, then I should be able to muster up enough strength to fight back.

I want better.

Mom guilt

I often struggle with the back and forth of whether or not I fucked up. 

Not because I am unhappy. Not because I miss what I had. But, because I disrupted three small lives. 

Every single Wednesday when I drop my two youngest girls off at preschool, I walk back to my car thinking about how I won’t get to see them later. 

My youngest is almost 4, but she often has breakdowns. Sometimes before we even make it to the drop off line at school. 

She doesn’t want to go to daddy’s. Of course I know it can’t be bad there. 

She is just becoming more aware of things and doesn’t like the back and forth. 

She literally zipped up her coat after I tried to take it off in protest. 

There goes the mommy guilt. 

That certainly makes Wednesdays more difficult. 

We have good Wednesdays with no fight. 

But, I still walk solemnly back to my car, missing them already. 

That and the requirement to stay afloat in life now, now that it has been completely turned upside down, are probably the two toughest things about divorce. 

But, no matter the obstacles, I try to remind myself each day that I am in a better place. I have made it this far. 

I look at pictures of moments I have captured with my family. 

I smile because, as mom, I always go above and beyond to take care of them. 

Just remember. I am human, so that doesn’t make me perfect.

Regardless of financial status. Regardless of the size of our house. Regardless of any other circumstances. 

I can not allow mommy guilt to make me second guess all the love and care I put forth. 

That is what means the most. 

Sure, I miss them like crazy when they are gone. 

But, I know those smiling faces are coming back to me. So that I can go above and beyond for my family again.