Friday, September 7, 2018

The melting part of a meltdown

This meltdown has been building for awhile. Between stress work, stress from home, stress from Teddy's upcoming surgery and stress in general, I'm been feeling out of sorts for awhile and aware how thread-barred I've been becoming.

So when yesterday I misread an email that landed me in some hot water with my boss, followed by a rough morning with her in general, combined with a follow-up email from Maddy's teacher where she flippantly asked about meeting times and then another email from Teddy's surgeon where he decided Teddy needs to see a hearing specialist prior to surgery next Thursday (he's had 2.5 months to sit on the information I gave him), the meltdown began.

And though my boss apologized later, making it clear she wants me to communicate with her, I didn't feel any better as now I'm convinced my contract isn't going to be extended.

And though Maddy's teacher explained in a follow up email that she just wanted to chat in general, I emailed a request to the principle for a formal sit-down as I already know this type of communication will lead to future conflict and this needs to be rectified now, making me agitated that I have to initiate these boundaries

And though the ENT staff is scrambling to get Teddy in to be seen, the surgeon and I are now angry with one another as I pointed out that this delay really is not acceptable (and he's angry as physicians aren't use to this type of push-back), meaning today is a cooling-off period before an escalation happens that cannot be undone.

Somehow I got through the work day, but last night was spent with me pacing and floating in-and-out of tears, with Grey finding me curled up in the kitchen at one point. I'm consumed with guilt over all the negativity and am gripped by fear that comes with once again having to resume a job hunt. I'm tired of feeling like a failure and less-than based on a career-path I chose.

But above all, I'm angry. And that's not a great place to be.

Despite next to no sleep and a commute that continues to be taxing (~100 miles every day has been wearing), I'm trying to pull myself together today to get final pieces put into place for this event tomorrow. Grey has stepped up and will be the primary parent for the next 48 hours and even Maddy and Teddy have agreed to jump in to help out by showing Grey the ropes to their typical day. Still, I feel like goo, with next to no skeleton for support. And that sucks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Playing tourist

Sunday, while every local headed out of the Bay Area, Grey and I decided to play tourist and venture into the city explore. My younger self use to turn up my nose at any activity that fell under "tourist attraction," but my opinion has changed as I've aged. After all, even if outwardly cheesy, these activities are often a lot of fun and far too many locals miss out one something that truly can be unique to an area.

After a lot of back-and-forth, we settled on Fisherman's Wharf as our destination. And despite a late start (really don't recommend arriving at any location at 11 am), we ended up having a fun morning/early afternoon exploring the piers and taking in the sights

It was on the walk back to the car that Grey commented about how rare it is for us to spend a day out together. A big part of this has to do with all the chaos over the last 5 years. Between moving, work stress and housing stress, there's not been much room for taking any down time. And as Grey reflected on this, I thought more about how this was a major factor that separated us from a lot of other people in our circle. How others around us have found a way to schedule vacation time while we've had it on the back-burner.

I'm hoping that this day-trip is the beginning of change on that front. Though I have no grand illusions about going somewhere exotic, simple trips like this where we can get away and reset while not having to worry about employment status or where our home will still exist seems like something reasonable to aim for.

In light of that, I'm hoping we'll have another opportunity to play tourist again. Because I hear the cable cars are a worthwhile experience.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Its the week of a major event at work. Tensions are high as all of us are preparing for a showcase of updated curriculum and introducing the science education community to new team members. And there's the added fact that my future with this organization rides on Saturday going well. All leading me to second-guess myself and my worth given that I've not been included in meetings about aspects I was previously a part of.

Then there's the email from Maddy's teacher, requesting a meeting as she's been struggling with communicating followed by no response to me asking for when we can meet.

The cherry on top of this that we are looking at moving again in 6 months. Our current apartment complex is transitioning with cooperate management that is clearly interested only in profit. Between the garbage bins being filled to the brim as word has gotten out that this complex is a great place for illegal dumping, a lot of pot smoke, repairs piling up (and threats from management for me not to do them) and dealing with neighborhood kids have been peeking into our windows (parents are no where to be found), we're realizing there isn't a sustainable community here.

It's not often that I find myself wanting to throw in the towel. Usually I can find a reason to power through a day, holding onto promises of progress and movement forward. But today has been a blue day where I feel both like a complete failure and angry about being pushed around as there doesn't seem to be a solution.

Even though I know a letter from a lawyer would make the next 6 months bearable with our living situation. That Maddy's teacher will get back to me and we'll work out a solution for moving forward. And following this Saturday I'll have an answer about my future with this company.

Monday, September 3, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Opposite of the plan

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Yesterday, after some bribery and encouragement, I took Maddy and Teddy out to the parking lot for a maiden voyage on their fully reassembled bikes. Holding onto the back of their seats, I did what so many have described before, chanting "pedal!" as they gained speed before letting go. And though there were a couple of stumbles, 20 minutes later they were both biking around the parking lot with am amused looking Grey documenting the whole scene, including a very winded Cristy

As all of this was happening, some of the neighbors came out to watch, commenting on how quickly Maddy and Teddy have learned to ride. I had to laugh as what they were witnessing could easily be misinterpreted for the how the whole experience actually played out, with them missing all the moments over the past 2 months that had all gone completely opposite to plan.

Like the fact that I never intended to use training wheels, yet quickly threw that idea out the window after a week being on modified balance bikes (seats lowered and no pedals) as they were bored from pushing themselves around and didn't know how to get themselves moving. 

Followed by the fact we would go on to spend the rest of July and most of August on training wheels, with both kids picking up speed and Teddy getting off his training wheels for the most part, but both resisting the idea of removing said training wheels as they figured out that was what was keeping them balanced. 

How it took Maddy basically breaking her training wheels from all the leaning, followed by a night of serious argument with Grey after I asked if we could somehow fix the problem (we couldn't and he's still convinced I shouldn't be allowed to make future bike-related purchases), that lead to a fit of anger on my part resulting in removing the training wheels all together as well as pedals and lowering the seats again. 

And how over the next week following that ugly night, where I didn't see a way forward, both Teddy and Maddy would put it all together, mastering balancing on their modified balance bikes and then going on to riding them like it was second nature.

All of this has been a bit heady for me given that I thrive on plans. I like mapping out how to attack situations, making small modifications as needed but generally sticking to the skeleton that was laid out. Despite this, my life so far has gone no where near what was planned and I've often found that when I buck "going with the flow" I tend to lose. The problem is that a lack of structure is stressful for me and it's not where I tend to thrive. But what I'm reminded of is that too much structure and rigidity is also harmful. That we as humans learn best through failed experiments, finding roads and options we rarely would considered unless pushed.

We still have a way to go with biking before I can send Maddy and Teddy off on the trail with Grey (that's my current pipe-dream). Teddy is doing well with getting himself started on the flat, but gravel trails are a bit more difficult. Maddy still is more cautious and needs to gain confidence with speed; hills are going to be hard for her. Yet watching them both today on the school playground blacktop, zipping around the courtyard, I was reminded that oftentimes the best things come in ways that I could never have planned.

Something I need to hold fast to for this coming week.

Monday, August 27, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Chemistry in the kitchen

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Lessons learned from today's experiment:

1) Ball size matters

 2) Ratio of frosting to cake is key to success

3) The presence of chocolate in cocoa butter makes a HUGE difference in consistency
4) Vegetable oil does wondrous things to chocolate.

Experiment 2 next week.

Sunday, August 26, 2018


On Friday, Maddy and Teddy finished preschool. It's a bittersweet end to an era, given they've been in some form of daycare since they were 5 months old and our family has generally benefited from the relationships with the teachers and the schools. Still, we're officially in a weird limbo of no school for the next two days, meaning I have two gift days of being home with them full time, helping them prepare for their first day of Kindergarten.

There's so many things I have on my list of final experiences: baking together, making thank you cards for all their previous teachers who have gotten us to where we are today, getting in some final midday bike rides and maybe trying to hit the pool one final time. Everyone around me telling me how precious and special this time is, making it seem like there's a need for it to be picture perfect.

But the reality is, none of it will be. There will likely be fights and struggles; moments where we'll want to be done with each other. I also have to work during these two days, so there will be some creative juggling happening. Meaning these last 2 days will likely be far from perfect.

Our world is currently focused on the "perfect moments," fueled by social media and unrealistic expectations. It's interesting how sneaky this pressure is applied, either with well-meaning questions or check-lists of things we need to do. 

And yet, what makes something a perfect memory is usually something that seems benign or is unexpected. A touch, a moment, a shared exchange, but even joy or humor during something that is otherwise a disaster or the calm that comes from making up. Things that generally aren't planned.

Today we went on a hike with Lucas and Moon. And it was during a moment when Maddy declared that she was tired and couldn't possibly walk another step (1 mile away from the car) that I lifted her into my arms and walked while she wrapped her body around me. All while one cousin was in tears over being terrified about the wasps and Teddy was tearing off ahead of the group, causing all the adults to panic. In that moment (with Teddy fetched and accounted for), I could feel the weight of this young girl and knew the day was rapidly approaching that carrying her would be next to impossible. 

All of it reminding me that "perfect" is not something we can actually define and hold to a standard. And that sometimes "perfect" comes in the most imperfect moments 

Monday, August 20, 2018

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