Monday, October 8, 2007

total control

I'm having serious control issues. To be perfectly accurate I probably should say serious lack of control issues. Some of it can be blamed on the weekend, but for the most part this is an ongoing thing recently. And it's gotten to the point where it's about to drive me completely insane. My problem is not that I'm trying to micromanage things into the next millennium, but that I feel I have no grip on what's going on around me. For example -

My house looks like an explosion in a paper factory. Every kind of paper - bills, newspapers, school work, scripts, junk mail, magazines, half finished kid's artwork - name it. It's on my dining room table. And my kitchen counter. And my kitchen table.

My living room is a huge pile of gaming equipment sitting in front of an entertainment hutch with a broken off door that has a chair pulled in front of it because Sasquatch is afraid a dog will hurt his XBox 360. There is an ethernet cord running from the computer room next door through the dining room and into the living room so that the most precious 360 can be internet capable. It is physically impossible to walk from one room to the other without tripping on it.

We've lived here a year and we've only painted five rooms. There is almost nothing on our walls. Our computer room, which you can't get anywhere downstairs without seeing, has become the designated trash dump for orphan furniture and exercise bikes no one uses. There is a huge roll top desk in there which is too big even with ten foot ceilings, but we need the storage because in our lovely Victorian we only have one closet downstairs. And it's tiny. The desk has become the great piling ground for every piece of crap you can imagine and is so loaded down that every time someone walks by something falls off.

I had a list of things to get done last week that all came to a screeching halt when Gumby came home sick from school Wednesday. Luckily he was the only one of my kids to get this bug, although it's tearing through the school and I certainly had a hit of it myself. He was out for the rest of the week, not leaving the house once, including for the annual School Carnival Friday night. I stayed home with him and Sasquatch and Surfer Dude went. It's the first Carnival I've ever missed.

Sasquatch seems to not care a bit that he is having serious difficulties at school and we have not been able to find the magic key to make him care. Everything is a power struggle, even when I refuse to engage. Take the backpack for instance. An innocuous piece of cloth that helps ensure that whatever you need - in class or at home - is where it should be. It should not be a loaded topic, the backpack, and yet he absolutely refuses to carry it. He has a wonderful one that I forced on him at the beginning of the school year, but it has been sitting in his locker ever since. And he is always in the position of having whatever it is he needs somewhere he isn't. I am here to tell you that, like leading a horse to water, you cannot make someone carry a backpack. The question is why in the world should you even need to make them? Why can't he just do it? I'm about to stop trying to help and just let him fall on his ass. He's never going to be the kid who learns anything the easy way, but this is killing me. He's killing me.

And Sunday I found Ratfink, the oldest of our three pet rats, dead in his cage. I had to tell Gumby that his rat had died, and he lost it. The Film Geek is, of course, out of town. Sasquatch was a huge help, and, I have to say, an absolute love to his younger brothers, who were both beside themselves. We carefully laid Ratfink in a shoe box filled with pictures from his younger days that we printed off the computer. Gumby picked out the rat's favorite colors from my Pratt and Lambert sample chips that were sitting there and we all wrote notes on the chips to put in with the rat. Then, in the pouring rain, we buried him in a corner of the yard. (I had better not see a dog anywhere near that corner). It was not an easy day.

And then there's the Fitness Regime with a Monday D-Day. I've actually been looking forward to it because that at least is something I have some control over. I arranged my day so that I could go to the gym as soon as I dropped the younger kids off at school. After that I was going to go pedal to metal on all the errands and grocery shopping and recycling and everything I didn't get done this weekend because of one thing or another. I've not gotten to my regular blog hopping either and I apologize for that.

As I was writing the sixth paragraph of this post I heard a strange noise from the bathroom and walked in to find Surfer Dude sitting on the pot and vomiting all over the floor. As I was cleaning that up Sasquatch came in wrapped in a blanket and said "I don't feel good."

You know what? Neither do I.

I feel like this...

Total Control by Martha Davis (live 2007)

[via FoxyTunes / The Motels]


ahna said...

Gosh, just when we think we have control, the world has a way of raising her loud, strident voice to remind us of our folly. Children and paper and cables and sickness... oh my. Sounds like you need a new broom. :-)
Hang in there. It will all come out straight in a couple of days.

Willowtree said...

This too shall pass.

(don't you just hate pricks who come up with useless platitudes when what you really need is a hand)

ciara said...

i started to laugh at this post especially when the backpack was referred to as an 'innocuous piece of cloth'...steve asked me what was so funny and i relayed some of the post and remarked at how much that your life resembles my life(crap everywhere and all). so far, the younger kids care about their homework, carry their backpacks, and even though they forget homework SOME of the time, they do fairly well. but my older son was like wasn't that he COULDN'T do the work, just got bored w school. that coupled w teachers who don't care in a crappy school system, he dropped out. he is planning to retake the math portion on the ged at some point, but i wish he'd hurry up already! he had excellent scores on all the other subjects and missed the math by 10 points! yes 10 POINTS.

Kaycie said...

You poor thing. It's too bad collegeville isn't closer; you need some help and I'd volunteer if it weren't for that seven or eight hour drive!

I'll send you good thoughts and keep my fingers crossed that things will look up for you and quickly.

Hang in there.

Woody's Mom said...

Oh Em Gee. My Life Revisited.. on steroids.


Oh Em Gee.

I won't even go into our parallel lives... I have cleaned up puke and gifts from the other end on the same day from the same kid. On numerous occasions...

(You're welcome.)

But there was no paper. Leave it on the dining table, and ooops! It must be in the recycle bin. I cannot tell you how many times I threw out their homework on accident.

We have a thankless job. A tiring job. Ok, an exhausting job.

Some day it's supposed to get better. I read that somewhere.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Sweetie, there is some order in all that chaos. The important stuff is still getting done.

The kids get fed, poor old rats get buried in such a thoughtful way, and vomit gets cleaned up.

Hope you feel better soon, but in the meantime, hold on to the good stuff. Sasquatch may not like school and backpacks right now but he's still there for his little brothers so, he's still there...

If it's any help. our house is also a place of many covered surfaces.

Have some wine and some hill time tonight if you get chance.
big hugs are winging their way across the ocean to you.

Stacie said...

I must admit that I was mid doughnut when I hit the part about exercising. I am feeling mildly guilty, but that will pass! :-)

I do hope things calm down some over the next few days. Hugs. Feel better soon...

Flowerpot said...

you are having a bad time aren't you? I echo thioughts about alcohol - always helps in my opinion. or I pretend it does. Take care and big hugs.

laurie said...

one thing at a time, dear.

first, everyone--including you--needs to get well.

then i'd take it one pile--not one room, mind you, that's too much--one pile at a time. and try not to worry about it too much. nobody's going to be scarred for life for growing up in a messy house. (if that were the case, i'd be covered in scars. rememer, there were 12 of us in one house. just imagine the mess....)

and the rat funeral sounds lovely and sad. time for that is much more important than time for putting the door back on the armoire.

your priorities are exactly right.
now go take a nap.

auntie barbie said...

You bring back such vivid memories to me with this post. My oldests beloved guinea pig died on the night of my husbands suprise birthday party. Imagine a hysterical 12 year old walking into a yard full of drunken party guests with a dead animal clutched to her chest. Sasquatch sounds so much like my youngest at that age. Sullen most of the time, fighting the whole school thing and her parents, but suprising us with wonderful behavior and thoughtfulness at other times.
As willowtree said "this too shall pass", just try to keep sane in the meantime.

la bellina mammina said...

I'm sorry you're going through a rough time - I don't know how many times I have been through this.

My second boy, EE is just like Sasqutch. I'm at a wit's end!!

Hope it'll pass soon and that you and your boys will feel better.

Eileen said...

Reading your post, I felt for a second that you were in my world. My house is in the exact same shape and I have the exact same battles with 2 of my girls, only over a planner, that actually spells out what the homework is suppose to be. Somedays it is seems better to stay under the covers!!! However, give yourself a break!! You work full time, in a very demanding job, are a wonderful mother that as you know is also a demanding, full time job. On top of that you, and your family has not been feeling well, for the past few weeks. It is no wonder that you are feeling out of control!!
I am very sorry about your pet rat. Sounds very, very sad, and I hope your son is doing better. I love how your handled the "funeral". That helps children so much with the grief!
Hang in there, this rough spot will pass. Take care of yourself!! Sounds like some time resting, with a good book would help a lot.

PixelPi said...

You need a nap before you even think about starting anything else.

When you get up from nap, remember that your #1 priority of the day is NOT to set up the ironing board or card table or any other flat surface in the house that can be used to put more paper on. Moving on.

The next time you are in WalMart or at a garage sale, buy a Barbie backpack. Tell Sasquatch it's the one you bought first or there's Barbie, or there's one he can buy from his allowance.

Then take another nap. When you get up, make a list. Start with a very small place. Like just the sink. The bathroom sink. When that's done, take a nap. (If you're getting tired of naps you can substitute wine, chocolate, or coffee or have all three).

By tomorrow things will be better. I promise.

Diana said...

Oh, good grief. What misery! Control is an illusion but usually you don't have it all come crashing apart at the same damn time.

Do things slow down for you in the winter? That's when I usually do my big 'throw stuff out' as I spend much more time inside out of the cold and snow. If so, try to turn a blind eye to things until you have some time to deal with them and then, after giving a small bit of warning, go to town when the kids are at school and clear the clutter. No one will speak to you after that, but sometimes that's a blessing, too.

I think you may be right about Sasquatch. You can't make him drink. He's not going to take any advice. Your options are limited unless you're ready to send him to military school. ;)

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Are you sure you don't live in my house, where every surface is covered with papers?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Oh and here's a thought on son's backpack. Did you pick it out or did he? Do the other kids have backpacks? What kind? That's very important, I've discovered.

Amy said...

Dead rat, messy house, and vomit. It's just too much. Right when you were going to be such a good girl and go exercise. I'm sorry. Here's a hug: ()

Swearing Mother said...

Hi RC: I'd recommend a bar of chocolate and a gin, but I know we are going to be babelicious so empty calories are out.

There's only one thing for it - pay the kids to tidy up, burn the backpack and let your son buy whatever he wants instead, go to the gym and release some calming endorphins and CHILL.

My house is tidy, tidy, tidy but empty too, most of the time. What the heck, your home sounds warm and great (even with the vomit).

It will all be fine, honest.

Akelamalu said...

Oh no, sounds like the dreaded lurgy has come back.

It gets easier - but not until they've left home unfortunately. :(

Akelamalu said...

PS I've just read 'Beneath The Bleeding' by Val McDermid. Another Tony Hill 'Wire in the blood' one.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Your house sounds suspiciously like mine! I think, however, if you ever came to my house, it would be some kind of consolation to your piled up papers. We have a room which is filled to the rafters with junk, apart from the furniture, most of which you can't see.

Crystal xx

The Rotten Correspondent said...

ahna - I know. Whenever I think I'm a step ahead I get smacked back down. Oh my!That'll teach me.

willowtree - no comment.

ciara - what makes them such perverse little creeps? I could just shake him.

kaycie - thank you. Today is much better than I though it would be. I have two at home, but it's still calm.So far at least.

woody's mom - yeah, but how much stronger do we need to be? I think all of us could chew iron as it is. I'm getting stronger, I'm getting stronger...

jo - the fact that Sasquatch came through yesterday was huge. It gave me hope for the future. He was a doll.

stacie - yum. doughnut. what kind, just out of curiosity? yum. doughnut.

flowerpot - I always find alcohol useful myself. Always.

laurie - that's what I'm doing today. One pile at a time. And I went and bought paint before FG had to go to work so I can start on the computer room. That should help.

auntie barbie - oh my god. I can't even imagine if there had been other people here when we found Ratfink. That sounds dreadful.

bella - it's going to pass. it is passing. what ARE we going to do with these boys??

eileen - I'm really trying to not beat myself up, but it's tricky. I don't even work full time, I work maybe 20 hours a week. And I still can't get ahead. Maybe if I spent less time on my blog?? Nah...that wouldn't help!

pixelpi - I love any list that starts with a nap. And also involves chocolate, coffee and wine. You can make up lists for me anytime you want to. I feel like I could use a nap today but haven't gotten there yet. Hmmm...

diana - that is so funny that you say that because "Control is an illusion" is a line I use a lot. Normally I don't even expect any control, so I don't know what my problem is now.

wakeup - he picked it out himself. And I had to take him to two or three places before one passed his inspection. Little pisher.

amy - hug right back. Are we living the same life this week?

swearing mother - I actually did get up at the crack of dawn and go to the gym before my husband went to work. And I really have felt a lot better since. Except I need a nap.

akela - but I don't want them to leave home. I just want them to pick up after themselves! Do you want me to add that book to the list?

The Rotten Correspondent said...

crystal - I have a room like that too. It's a back house/studio, thank god, but it's a disaster. It could be so useful, but no....

laurie said...

doug calls 'em hertzel piles. named after me. i have a lazy habit of setting stuff down on available surface space and pretty soon they're wavering, they're piled so high.

mainly books. also, mail. magazines. stuff....

our 100-some-year-old house has almost no storage space, but yesterday he climbed out of the basement and started accusing me of creating more hertzel piles (get this) inside boxes in the basement.

i maintain that if the stuff is in a box on a shelf, it's where it belongs.

he maintains it's just a hidden hertzel pile.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

laurie - Doug needs to hush or he might find himself stuffed into a hertzel pile in a box. He can become one with the pile. And if your basement is anything like our studio, it'll be a long time before anyone finds him.

belle said...

That's some week you're having, and I'm with you in its crappiness :o)
Jeff had a back pack issue for sometime, he took to dumping it in bushes on the way to school. Fortunately he seems to have out grown it.

Akelamalu said...

Once they've left and got a home of their own they start picking stuff up!

Yes you can add the book to the list - it's a good one.