Just A Little Clarification

I have a menopausal wife, aging parents, and two kids who are entering adolesence. 

I don’t see how you could have any questions, but I’ll continue.

It’s all drama around here, all the time.

I hit a moment yesterday, when I had just completed a horrible day at work.  Our kids’ school presented us with an unexpected bill for $1600, which we do not have right now.  I’ve never, in my entire adult life, had someone tell me I owe them money, and not be able to pay it immediately.  We also just paid a $450 electric bill.  That’s not a typo.  We’ve  had car repairs, extra doctor bills, kids that need shoes.

Our finances are so screwed up, we’re two months behind on our tithe.  Don’t worry, I’ve worked out a debt repayment plan with God.  In fact, we’ll catch up with everything in time.  But it’s a punch in the stomach in the here and now.

So, back to yesterday.  All of this is simmering in the back of my mind, and I’m exhausted from the hard day at work,and I’m frantically trying to get the kitchen clean and get dinner ready, while at the same time trying to get a post done for UBN (I have to get six done per week), and watching the clock because I had to be somewhere at 6 and I knew I wouldn’t be back home till after my normal bedtime. 

I have to be somewhere or host someone for the next 7 nights.  Then it begins again.  I just can’t say no, and somehow I end up volunteered to be somewhere every night.

Anyway, the kids were fighting and yelling and screaming at each other, like they have been doing nonstop for the last 6 months or so.  Lintilla called, and started in on me like she has for the past couple of months.  The doctors will not let her take hormone replacement therapy, and she’s been wildly emotional for quite a while now.  I know it’s not her fault, but it’s tough being on the receiving end of it all the time., with everything else going on.

Folks.

I had a meltdown.

My mind simply refused to allow any more stress into it, so it just shut down.

I’ve have a really weird habit since I was a kid: when folks I love are upset or mad, I cook, clean, and do laundry.  I’ve been doing a lot of this lately – but the people in my household are still constantly upset.  Like my mother, I’m wired so that my happiness is directly tied to the happiness of the people I love.  I’ve run myself ragged trying to will three people (whose hormones are all out of whack) into happiness.  And I’m making myself miserable in the process.  See what’s wrong with this picture?

I’m stretched so thin, you can see through me.

And I feel guilty for feeling this way, because I know many have it far worse than I do. 

Funny, my mom absolutely lost her mind when she was about my age – and I’m just like her.

So anyway – I can’t go on like this indefinitely.  I can’t do ALL of the housework, and all of the cooking, and be responsible for the happiness of each member of the household, and be ‘the man’ at work, and fully devote myself to band and church and ministry, and play peacemaker to every friend and family member, hell, every person on the planet.  There just isn’t enough me.  I have to draw some lines.

So, I need to take a step back, to find a way to undo my wiring that causes me to be depressed when any member of my family or any of my friends is anything but happy, to finally get the kids to help around the house, to tell church, or the band, or my kids’ school every now and then that I just can’t make some event or other without feeling guilty.

I can go forward this way or that way, but what I cannot do is continue going the way I was going.

That’s what I meant.

On a happier note: Warrior is home already!  6 days in the hospital – it’s a miracle.  How can I be upset in the face of that?  I’ll post more on that tomorrow.

Sorry about the vague post earlier.  I hate those.  I hope I’ve cleared some things up.

I Love It!

Here in Nashvlle, there’s a nip in the air.  (Well, considering it was pushing 100 not very long ago, upper 60’s is almost a blizzard).  I’ve been waiting for cooler weather, so I can start making cooler-weather dinners.  My “big three”, as it were: chili, beef and barley soup, and my famous chicken & dumplings.  I don’t have any ground beef (or Archer Daniels Midland beef-type-substance), so tonight, I’m making chicken and dumplings.

It’s one of the few things I can say that I cook as well as my mother.

Now, C&D is that kind of dish that causes arguments over the best preparation method.  Roll the dumplings out, or make drop-dumplings?  I can do both ways, and they turn out well.  I prefer rolled out, just because if they’re done right you get the best of both worlds: well formed dumplings AND a thicker sauce (I can’t stand runny C&D).

My method isn’t too fattening either (although it’s hard not to get seconds).

I’m just SOOOOO happy to be able to make my favorite comfort foods again!

Happy Sanity Day!

A few weeks ago, I looked at my upcoming schedule, and I saw “Colts game” and “Emmys” on the same day. 

At that point, I was already near frazzled.  I’ve been basically working one full time and two part time jobs, along with keeping my house sort-of clean and cooking dinner.  I knew that another 16-hour day, on a Sunday no less, would probably be too much (yes, I know the Titans part is leisure, but it still involves having to be somewhere, and having to plan tailgating, etc).  I knew I’d be up late, the night before a work day.

So, I scheduled a sanity day today.

I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t take time off from work unless he’s taking a vacation.  I’ve been extremely fortunate that I don’t get sick very often.  So, I’m always at the maximum of accrued paid time off days. (My company, like most, combines sick and vacation time).  Needless to say, I’ve never taken a sanity day before.

I could get used to this.

I slept late.  I did some extra Ugly Betty blogging.  I cleaned the kitchen, while listening to the morning sports boys on 104.5 – I never get to hear them.  I went to the grocery store, and stayed under budget because there was no one there to impulse buy for.  I made lasagne.  La-freakin-sangne, on a Monday!  With homemade sauce. 

I got caught up.  It sure is nice.

Deep breath.  Now, I’m ready to do it again for another six weeks.  Back to the grind.  Work, church responsibilities, band responsibilities, blogging responsibilities are all calling, all at once.  Let the insanity begin anew!

Because I took a sanity day, I think Im ready to face it.  I highly recommend them.

Quick Thought

So many problems between people are caused by digging in.  Life becomes much, much easier when you no longer concern yourself with saving face.

This has nothing to do with any of you (although, I guess it could).  But, in marriage, this advice is indispensable.

Lintilla and I had an argument last night that could have been real ugly, had we dug in.  But, after the initial flare-up and a little “alone” time, we realised that each of us was upset, but not really with each other.  Long story short: she had a really bad day, especially with a patient who called her some very nasty names.  Me?  I had lovingly prepared a dinner I thought would make her happy, and waited till she got home. And waited.  And waited, as supper got cold.

I had no reason to be mad at her, personally, but I snapped as she walked in the door.  She had no reason to be angy with me, but she snapped right back.  We could have continued and given each other some real grievances, but experience has taught us to just back away for a bit, and think about why we’re really upset.

Anyway, it occured to me: if you do not do the right thing because you are concerned with looking weak, you are weak indeed.  True strength is not giving a damn, and doing the right thing anyway.

To The Market We Will Go

For once in my life, I’m looking forward to construction moving along.  For those of you who travel West End often, you know that not one, but two grocery stores are in construction in outer Belle Meade.  They are literally across the street from one another.

There is the new Publix where HG Hill’s used to be.  And then, there’s the old Belle Meade Theater, which, among other things, is being renovated into a Harris Teeter.  Now, we could decry the heresy of turning a grand old theater into a grocery store, maybe even release a theme album, but since the property had already been a bookstore, I think that ship has sailed.

No, unlike Opry Mills, which was highly uneccessary, I embrace this change.

I work in the Centennial Park area, and live on the West Meade/Bellevue border.  My commute is 99% a straight-shot down West End.  When the HG Hill’s closed, I had zero grocery stores between my work and my home, besides the Belle Meade Kroger, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Now, I am a suburbanite, and have been all my life.  The urban way of “doing” groceries (have staples on hand, but stop near daily at the “market” to get fresh meat and veggies for the evening’s meal), is totally foreign to me.  I have a freezer and a Costco membership.  I daresay that if there was a huge disaster, but electricity was still available, I probably have enough food in my house right now to feed my family of four for over a month. 

In fact, in my wastefulness, I’ve got about ten bottles of Heinz 57 onhand because most of the time I forget that I just got some the previous week, I see it in the store and say, “We need Heinz 57!”.   This is just how we do things out my way.

But I’m looking to change that, for a couple of reasons.  First, my weekends are just getting to be too busy to block out several hours for one big grocery run.  Second, there’s the wastefulness I described above.  And third, I’d like to start using the freshest ingredients possible in my recipes.

I refuse to go to the Belle Meade Kroger – excuse me, Kroger Fresh Fare .  It was already cramped and understocked before they changed to the emphasis to upscale prepared foods.  And I know the parking is horrible there, but VALET PARKING?  And don’t get me started on their puny salad bar…

So, if I want fresh ingredients, it’s either go to the Harris Teeter in Hillsboro Village near my kids’ school, the Harris Teeter at the 70/100 split (too similar to Belle Meade Kroger), or traipse all the way out to Bellevue and go to the Hwy 70 Kroger.  If I’ve had a long day, the last thing I want to do is backtrack.

Don’t think I haven’t considered Plumgood Foods, but I don’t want to get the hippie brand of everything, I want my McBrands.  And I want to choose my own fruits, meats and veggies. 

So, I’m am looking forward VERY much to these two new stores being opened.

The only problem is that when I change my habits to just-in-time grocery inventory, I will not be prepared for the apocolypse.  But I’ll still have a month’s worth of toilet paper from Costco.

Bouncing For Joy

My birthday is in a couple of weeks.  Like any red blooded American man, I asked for a power tool.

 Mixer

Click to see the goodness.

It came early. Woot!!!!!!!!

First up: mashed potatoes.

I’m Trying To Score Some Pot(s)

I’ve got a fee-va!  Not for cowbell, but for my favorite Korean dish: bibimbap.  Oh, my goodness, but that stuff is good.  In Korean households, the dish is many times prepared from leftovers, so it is an economical dish.  UNLESS you get it at a Korean restaurant.  Then it’ll cost you a pretty penny.  They have a pretty good version at Koreana; I’ve never tried it at Korea House out my way.  The best bibimbap I’ve ever had is at a small storefront Korean restaurant in Ft Walton Beach, Florida called “Okee-Dokee”.  (Yes, they have Karaoke…)

Anyway, I’d like to make some for Lintilla for her upcoming birthday.  (The kids won’t touch it, so I’ll have to make them bulgogi that night).  To do that, I need the stone pots to cook it in.  This is what makes the dish soooooo wonderful – the bottom is lined with rice, and as the dish cooks, the “outside” rice gets crunchy and brown.  My mouth is watering thinking about it.  You pour hot chili sauce (well, I do) over the whole thing and eat up, Yummm!

So, my mission this week is to find two “dolsots” (stone pots) , and get them to my house before June 12.  Anybody know where one can buy Korean cookware (in English)?