Jealousy

Jealousy and Envy are two things that I have been REALLY struggling with recently. It can be really difficult to keep in mind that we all run our own race, that we are all here to live our own lives and that no one way is better than another.

Today I am babysitting my sisters munchkins. They adore their cousins and my kids adore them and I think they are the most precious little people I have ever met excluding my own darlings of course. The reason for the babysitting is that my sister and her husband have just bought themselves a house together. I am currently sitting at their dining table, while they are back at their old rental cleaning and prepping to move out.

I KNOW she has had to fight really hard for this house, and that she has had to work her ass off and that her husband has too… but my heart is still turning a really ugly shade of green. All I want is a house of my own for myself and my kids.

The house is really lovely, the “worst house on the best street” and I can see why in that the last owner neglected allot of things. They are a few weeks into living here and I can SEE all of the work that they have put into it. But I can also see how awesome it is. They have painted and decorated each of their kids rooms in their own colour scheme and the kids have each got their own furniture and decor. The rooms are GORGEOUS. Their backyard is enormous and will be a haven once they have it all cleared out and put together. All in all the house has great bones.

Meanwhile my kids and I are renting from my other sister. I couldn’t buy a house if I wanted too let alone a house as lovely as this one. I know it’s ugly to be jealous. I know it is petty and ridiculous. But I just cannot seem to shake the feeling of just petty envy.
Once upon a time I had my own success. I worked hard, had my own house, had a “good” husband (at least to the outside world, he cleaned up nice and was polite and personable). I had money and kids and I was young and pretty. Now I feel like I am working against the tide trying to just scrape some of those things back. It really at this stage FEELS like an uphill battle that I am fighting on my own and while I know it will make me stronger it can be so damned hard not to throw myself on the floor and pout and whine about “why me?” Why does this have to be so damned hard for ME!?

Which then brings me back to some people have it MUCH harder. Insanely harder than I do. They have health issues, their kids have health issues, they are living below the poverty line they have an Ex who can stalk them and who does, they have an Ex who is trying to take their children away or they have an Ex who plays games through the court system. I don’t have to deal with any of that rubbish. Some times I forget that. Sometimes I forget that my pain such as it is isn’t unique. That being a single mother is not unique (15% of families in Australia are single parent families) working and going to uni isn’t unique, not having the money to buy a house is not unique, not having the money to buy a new car is not unique. Like I am not at all uniquely disadvantaged. In fact I am very privileged. I have a job, I am able to get a further education and in fact my job feeds into that education and I am able to meet both aspects. I am privileged to have 3 healthy kids and the time to write here. I am privileged to have my own health for the most part aside from the bits that I have pissed away through silliness or eating FAR TOO MUCH. I am beyond lucky. It can just sometimes be hard being the least successful of your siblings. It’s not a position that I have been in before and it’s not one that I like to be honest.

D Day

Today was D Day. Literally for my Aunty Kylie. As I said in my previous post she chose assisted dying so we knew the date. She was enthusiastically ready for it to come, she welcomed death with open arms. She was radiant as my Nanna said and it is true, she was. It was actually a privilege that I got to be a part of that experience. I was lucky that I got to be there and that I got to see her so surrounded by love.

I stayed later than allot of other people. Allot of the family fled the scene almost straight away. But I wanted to comfort my Nanna, as always her sisters (my Great Aunts) were there, but one couldn’t face the day, and it felt wrong that there were only 3 of the sisters there, so I stood in as the fourth.

But my Great Aunt said something as I was walking out with her and we stood at the front of the hospital that triggered me. “She had every opportunity in life ripped away from her” and it is painfully true. My Aunt was 10 years older than me. I am 39. She will never see her 50th birthday, she never got the opportunity to build a career that she loved, she never got the chance to travel widely or to buy her own home. She lived away from home for a while but moved back when my Nanna got divorced and never left because just as Nanna was re-finding her feet she got sick. Her body failed her. Her life feels so unfinished, so unfulfilled.

My Aunt told me that when she goes she is going to have a bone to pick with God. That she heard once a story/parable about god weaves a tapestry with each of our lives, some bright threads, some dark and the shuttle weaves it’s way back and forth and creates the pattern and story of our lives and from where we sit underneath we can’t see the pattern, we can’t see the reason behind the dark threads and the pain. But once we meet our God that he will reveal his masterpiece. I know that her faith brings her comfort, especially given that her husband is quite a bit older than she is and she fears losing him in the next few years.

But for me I can’t help but wonder what sort of God would do this? What sort of God would strip a person of every opportunity, every mile stone? What sort of God would leave someone who loved him so much, and Aunty Kylie really did love her God, so bereft. Please do not misunderstand she was surrounded by love. Nanna spoke after she passed about how she was recognised around their little area as the happy lady, she was known for greeting everyone she met with “hello sunshine!” Which is also how she greeted us when we visited or called. She deserved more. She deserved to have the opportunity to use her hands to make her art, she deserved to have a happy relationship with someone who loves and values her. She deserved to have friends who actually stayed in touch rather than just visiting AFTER shit got so bad.

Selfishly it has also prompted me to really consider as death often does my own life, wants, needs, failings and successes. I want to honour my Aunt and carry her forward with me rather than leaving her behind. One of the things that I so greatly admired about Aunty Kylie is that she never ever seemed to ask “why me?”. I’m sure that in the quiet of the night she probably did, hell I am sure that with those that she felt really comfortable she probably did, but not around the rest of us and it’s also not how she lived her life. She drained every drop of joy from her life, she found the joy in all of the things that she could. Be it a Disney movie (she had just about the entire back catalogue) to her love of fan fiction. Despite being limited in what she could do she still found joy in the things that she was able to do.

Right up until the VERY END she was determined to do everything she still COULD do for herself by herself. She controlled every little thing that she possibly could even if that thing was “only” mixing her own drinks and ice-chips. She was an active participant in her own treatment and she commanded the respect of the staff and the people around her.

She was so brave, or at least it seemed that way. She dived into death. She was so ready. There was not a second of hesitancy and I can’t help but admire that. And to be honest I have no idea if she was running away from the pain and the limitations of her body or if she was running to the freedom of what lies beyond the veil, but the bravery is what gets me. She had not one second of hesitation. I know that I would have hesitated.

I already miss my Aunty. I already know that she is a loss to us, and I really believe to the world or at least to her little part of it.

When it rains it pours

I don’t know what it is about life, it feels like everything tracks along so ho hum, so stable so normal then all of a sudden BAM!

I don’t think that I have posted about my Aunty Kylie here before. She was my favourite Aunt growing up. Mainly because when I was born she was all of 10 years old (my Mum was the oldest and she was the youngest), but also because she is pretty damned cool. My favourite early memory is her allowing me to play with her barbies who were all bald or who had crewcuts. She would get bored of them, get a new one and chop off their hair. I would have been all of 2 or 3 at that stage but I loved her dolls because because well Barbie of course! But also because they were hers! When we visited my grandparents while I was growing up I would sleep in her room every time. Which alternately made me feel really special AND really annoyed because I would wake up to my sisters in the next room laughing and carrying on so I would try to creep out of bed, as silently as possible, invariably I would get half way across the room and I would hear her grunt at me to get back in the bed! EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. At those times admittedly she wasn’t my favourite. When she was in her early 20’s she was a hippy chick which was the early 90’s so right on trend for the flower power revival. All tie dye and cheese cloth skirts and love and light. In fact to this day that is how she signs off her messages to everyone “love and light XX”. I remember her jail breaking me from Boarding school as a teenager which was awesome.
She was also an artist, she could sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper and create beauty. It was a delight to watch her draw.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been roses and candy. There have been times when we are cross at each other and didn’t speak. But I knew that she loved me no matter what.

Well Aunty Kylie has been sick for a long time. She has a fairly rare set of diseases that have been killing her for over a decade. The worst part of it all is that in the beginning it should have been easily treatable but she is allergic to the medications that would treat it! So now here we are, she is dying.

It is horrifying that her life has been cut short the way that it has, she will never see her 50th birthday, she has been so restricted from so many things because of her illness that to me at least her life feels unfinished. I always thought when she was younger that she would make a beautiful bride, that we would have more cousins because surely she would have some, that she would get the confidence to sell her art and maybe make something. It is cruel that so much has been taken away from her so gradually that even for her family it has been unnoticeable in the day to day. I didn’t realise until she was in the hospital just how tight her skin had gotten and how much that restricted her mobility. I didn’t recognise the havoc that was being wrought on her insides until she went into hospital and I saw how sick she was.

The only thing to be grateful for in this situation was the Dying with Dignity laws that have just been introduced in our part of the world (Western Australia). I am not here for a debate on the laws. I have been supportive of them for years. But in this instance I am absolutely in favour of them. The truth of the situation is that Aunty Kylie is going to die, and she will die soon and there is not one person in our family who doesn’t want to keep her with us for a little longer. Just a few days or a few hours, we all want her to get better, we all want for her to have ONE more good day. We have now reached the stage where that just isn’t a possibility. At this stage a “good day” is a day that she can have a few bites of food and MAYBE keep it down. She is progressively being pumped full of more and more drugs just to keep her “comfortable”. This is no way to live. She is dying slowly and painfully and miserably. She is uncomfortable, overwhelmed and unable to advocate for herself. She had plans to utilise the law before she went to hospice, her chosen day falls next week. Unfortunately she isn’t going to make it that far, and if she is made to go any further the road just gets darker and harder from here. So my Aunt is going to die tomorrow or the next day. I don’t know exactly how they go about the dying, I know that they are going to have to wean her off of her current drug levels to get clear consent, and the fact that that is terrifying to ME let alone her is awful and a clear indication of how important this is. I know that they will use drugs in order to kill her and I know that she is looking forward to finally finding an end to the suffering.

I don’t even know why I have shared all of this. I am not sure why I have felt the need to share. I suppose so that I know that even if it is only here that a small part of my Aunty will be memorialised?

I keep coming back!

I obviously have no consistency which is pretty much the story of my life.

So please let me reintroduce myself once again. Hi my name is Andy, I have kept this blog up and running on my own tiny sliver of the internet for a few years now but have never really committed fully to it. I think the reason why if you go any further back than this becomes pretty obvious very very fast. I wasn’t being authentic.

I spent the first couple of years that I was writing this blog stressed the hell out about anonymity and protecting myself and my kids from my Ex and against anything he might throw at us. But I have finally realised that this isn’t going to be a problem anymore.

I still want to protect the kids anonymity a bit because they have the right to determine how they want to be seen on the internet and by people at large. But for me, I have this little sliver of the net to just be me.

So what do I have going on? Well I am STILL studying… I know STILL. It has been a long assed degree I can tell you that much. In the meantime I have finished a Cert IV in Human Resources and I am still a fair bit away from actually finishing my degree but I am making slow but steady headway.

About 2 years ago now I started working for a solar power installation company which was a great “getting back into the workforce” job. But the pay was a bit rubbish and the hours that were required were… not great for the kids and I. I mean the advantage was I was 10 minutes from the office… the disadvantage was I was 10 minutes from the office IYKWIM?

About a year ago I quit there and went to work for 2.5 months at a psychology practice which was hellacious. One of the bosses was lovely, the other…. Yeah.

But the 2.5 months that I was there primed me perfectly to slot into the role that I am currently in which is AWESOME. I work for a Human Services Organisation which sounds really airy fairy but the reality of it is that we provide care homes for people with disabilities and we are now branching out into different areas of Human Services like assisting those who are having issues with their government housing agreements and those who are entering or exiting the justice system who are also disabled. I am about to come up on my 1 year anniversary and it is incredible how much I love my job.

Moody, Mischief and Mayhem now have a little 4 legged sister who I sometimes affectionately call Maniac. She is the ratbaggiest of ratbags but also the Goodest of Girls when she wants to be. Clara is a 6 month old German Short Haired Pointer who brings a lot of joy to the entire family but has turned into my little shadow. Right now she is snoozing next to me in her bed in my office while I am SUPPOSED to be working on assignments but i am doing this instead. She is WAY WAY too smart for my own good, case in point being that I managed to accidentally train her that if she brings me a sock (rather than chewing it up) that she gets a treat, so now she will STEAL socks, either from the kids bedrooms or the clean laundry (or the laundry basket if the kids actually get them in there) and stand in front of the kitchen and make a disgruntled half whine half bark noise until someone gets her her well deserved treat.

So the rest of life. I am currently living in my younger sisters house, she needed to not live alone so she moved in with our Mum and had an empty house and the rental crises hit with landlords wanting to charge $400 plus a week for a 3 bedroom house. So she is scratching my back while am scratching hers. It’s a nice little house and we are all settling in… although we have been here 2 months and I am still living surrounded by boxes. So come the end of this month (which is the end of the semester) I am going to finish putting stuff away and finally settle in.

I am still single. I am happy to stay single for the time being. The concept of dating is … well… not appealing to say the least. Every time I start to consider it as an option someone at work mentions something stupid that their husband has done and that fixes the problem for another month which is awesome.

Tinman is not a problem for the time being. I am just going back through trying to figure out what I have shared and what I haven’t. He is still in jail. He is due out in a few years but to be honest right now that is a future me problem. His Mum occasionally tries to get me to baby him by making the first step towards him having contact with the kids but the more that I am thinking about it the less that I am willing to play the games anymore. It has been over a year now since he has had any contact with the kids outside of birthday and Christmas cards. It is what it is and I am done fretting over it.

She has recently popped up again asking me to write him a nice letter, to encourage him to call the kids. I was so close, in fact I drafted and re-drafted it over and over trying to be “nice” but then I realised, he is a 39 year old man. Who has all but abandoned his kids. Why am I being nice about this? He most certainly wouldn’t be treating me with kid gloves if the situation was reversed. So I have re-written the letter again. It is no longer “nice”. I have made a concerted effort to take all of “my” stuff out of it but I have gone through and listed all of the crap he has pulled with the kids from withholding child support to not contacting them to verbally abusing me in front of them or around them. I am making it clear that I will no longer be taking instruction from his Mum and that if he wants to talk to the kids he will be required to work with me in order to make that happen and exactly what behaviour I will and will not tolerate (literally do not call me names, yell, etc).

I am going to go before the kids kill each other doing the dishes. But hopefully I can make this at least a semi regular thing.

Working again!

So the biggest news of the day so far is that I HAVE A JOB!

I could not be more excited. Not only is it really local (less than 20 minutes door to door) but it is also full-time and and admin job!! I am back in an office baby!

I have gone out and bought a few new tops in preparation and have aready started as of Thursday which has been super exciting. The office is small and is based in the warehouse which means that it is your typical warehouse office, small and has a very haphazard quality to it, BUT the people are lovely, and the product is good.

But they NEED an administrator badly. I saw their electronic files and about had a heart attack! It was insane! They have no stationary account set up, they have excel spreadsheets they are using for their work which are good, but all over the place. I am so excited to dig in and start fixing stuff!

 

The juggle is already proving to be difficult, I need to have the kids at daycare in the early morning which is proving to be a challenge. In order to get taken to school the latest they can arrive is 8 am and we almost missed that today. So it is something to work on.

The upside is that I now have a key to work which is AWESOME and I am soon to get a buzzer to get into and out of the gate (because they shut it at 6pm… which means no getting out if I am late at work, which means that provided that I am careful I can stay until the kids need to be picked up!

Outside of work things are ticking along. I am learning *slowly* to be more proactive. Taking care of things before I *feel* like it… not an easy task for a procrastinator but necessary if I want to have everything run smoothly from now on!

The kids are adapting to their new classrooms and years. Even Mischief has taken to doing her homework MOSTLY without complaint which is a nice change from practically having to tie her to the chair last year (no children were harmed in the persuit of homework completion I promise!). She has voluntarily asked to do her homework reading which is AMAZING. I think she has finally realised that it is actively holding her back from her work.

Life got away again!

I keep trying and trying to make this a regular habit. I keeep thinking if I can just do XYZ then I will get a regular posting habit…. and then I fall off the wagon again!

So it’s now November…. I have finished my exams for the semester (thank all of the Deities). I ended up with a distinction and 2 credits… not BAD results. I mean I passed…. that said I’m honestly not thrilled either. I want to do better and I need to figure out how to get out of my own way to make that happen.

My little sister who started uni at the same time as I did graduates this semester. Which is awesome, I am so proud of her!! She has worked so hard for this. She is about to take her first real steps into the adult world and I am so thrilled for her. My other little siblings also completed their first full year of uni and I am so proud of them too, it is awesome to see who they are becoming as young adults, I has been amazing to watch them grow up from little toddlers to now these fully fledged humans.

Speaking of growing up. Moody has finally hit the tween angst stage. He is usually such a good boy but for some reason during an outing the other day he lost his ever loving little mind and decided that a temper tantrum involving not responding when I called to him and storming off repeatedly and acting the fool was a good choice… I am trying to be fair and reasonable but it’s really really hard!

Mischief and Mayhem are both doing well… Mischief has started seeing a therapist to deal with her scratching when she is stressed. Hopefully it helps. At the very least she has bonded with the therapist so that is a start.

Other changes have involved me starting work at one of the local big grocery chains which has been amazing. I am grateful for the work and for the extra money coming in to the house each week. The only goal at this stage is to increase my hours or potentially get another job / a better job. I am not looking a gift horse in the mouth but it would be nice to have more money / hours.

The things we do for our kids

Moody’s Dad got his ass kicked out of his rental a couple of weeks ago, he apparently hadn’t paid his rent on time repeatedly and so no surprise they declined to renew his lease. As a result he asked if we wanted to borrow his couch. I figured win for me because I can put off buying one for the play-room, and win for him because he can get a smaller storage unit. The downside of course is that he is now renting a room in a share house. Moody is 12, sleeping on the floor of his fathers room every other weekend isn’t really a great option. So now Moody’s Dad is parking his ass in the play-room every other weekend or so to spend time with Moody. Fun times.

But all in all it’s a small sacrifice and at least he is respecting my space.

Last Friday there was a lights show in the city where we live. I took the kids out on the second last night of the show to see what it was all about and got some pretty good photos. Dad has given me his old DSLR Canon 500D which is a great beginners camera. So I figured 2 birds, one stone.

 

 

They had a pretty good time and aside from being worried the whole time that I was going to lose one of them in the crowd so did I, which is always a nice coincidence.

Rock bottom… kind of

I am pretty sure that you don’t come here for updates on my weight :). Hell *I* don’t come here to update on my weight! But I have hit rock bottom. Or rather I have hit peak weight…. but either way I thought I had hit it before… and then evidently I realised that the bottom was made of delicious chocolate coated, deep fried deliciousness and I just kept eating…. which is kind of humiliating… kind of expected. Exercise and fitness is NOT something that comes naturally to me. I am the girl who skipped gym class by having my period every single week. Then when that stopped working I played off of having a bone deformity in my wrists (which is actually real) which unfortunately meant that anything requiring contact (hitting things) or twisting motions (throwing things) or fast movements (throwing things) or putting pressure on my wrists (pushups) was out. To be perfectly honest all of those things are true, but none of them affect my legs… or my ability to at least TRY and participate.

Since I left school I have had a very up and down relationship with my weight. After leaving Tinman for the first time I fell in love with walking the dog and we would walk for 5km every day, then I graduated to the gym, but then I took it too too far and ended up with all sorts of disordered patterns (working out for a couple of hours once or twice a day, 5 or 6 days per week while not really eating allot).

So once I got pregnant with Moody a couple of years later I just ate everything and I ballooned from about 50kg to over 80 and that is where I stayed until I decided after Mayhem was born that I needed to do SOMETHING, not necessarily fitness related but I felt like I was stagnating, like the world was passing me by. So I took up running. I set my sights on the Bridge Run, a 10km course that ran over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I attacked it. I ran it in September of 2013 and between the training for that and breastfeeding I pretty much shed the weight like it was nothing (except slogging it around the neighbourhood for an hour at a time in the cold and the rain several times a week… you know … nothing). I ran the race in 2013 (so the year after he was born) and was so proud of myself. But then I stopped again.

I lost allot of weight after Tinman left me this time around. Which was 3 years ago. I have a MOUNTAIN of size 12 clothes in my wardrobe that I can’t wear because unfortunately the heartbreak diet has a limited effectiveness span and I ran out the clock without really thinking about doing what I needed to do to stay where I was.

So here I am again, and wondering what the hell happened. So this is kind of me coming out, acknowledging that something needs to change. Not just because I want back into those size 12 clothes but also because I want to feel good again, instead of waking up sore, and spending days hobbling around, having sore knees and hips and shoulders…. so back to Fitness Fridays it will be.