What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Ahh – good communication skills.  Have you noticed how much we tend to throw those three words around?  We claim to want them – in our relationships with our spouses, our kids, our friends, our parents, at work.

We even put those words on our resumes:

…I am very organized and possess “good communication skills”… and blah, blah, blah.

And yet – people are communicating less and less.  Sure, our Facebook friends like our statuses.  Our followers retweet our tweets.  Our family members comment on our Instagram photos.  And we text each other like texting is our job.

And yet….

When J. and I were first married, there was no Internet.  No texting.  Just phone calls and face to face…wait for it…communication.  Looking back, I don’t know that it was necessarily good communication.  But that’s what happens in the honeymoon phase:

I don’t have to tell him what I want or need because he just knows (yeah, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little).

She doesn’t need me to tell her.  After all, she finishes my sentences for me.  Um, yeah.

While a lack of communication isn’t the sole reason our marriage broke down, it was certainly a contributing factor.  But just because we aren’t together anymore, doesn’t mean we don’t still have to communicate.  After all, we still have a son to parent and he is watching us more now than ever before.

Apparently, we have a loooooooong way to go as evidenced by today’s events:

My teenager was set to attend a field trip today, leaving the school at 9:30 am and returning at 5 pm.  Because I was supposed to have attended a concert with my parents and wouldn’t be back in time to pick the teen up, I had texted my teen’s dad on Saturday asking him to pick the teen up instead.  My text read:

“Can you pick M. up from school tomorrow at 5pm and bring him home?  I will be at J’s performance and won’t make it home in time.”

His response (via text of course) was “ok”.

Once I got the response I was looking for, I texted my teenager (who stayed the night at a buddy’s house):  “Dad is picking you up from your field trip tomorrow, but I will still drop you off in the morning, ok?”

To which my son, texted “ok”.

Seems pretty straightforward, right?  Here’s what really went down.

I took my teen to the bus at 9:30 am.  He’d had breakfast, his vitamins and I gave him spending money.  What he neglected to tell me until we were walking out of the front door was that his phone charger had broken the day before (at his buddys house), his phone was now dead, and he needed a charger.  My charger.

So, of course I gave it to him because you never know when there is an emergency, right?

Fast forward to mid-afternoon.  I had been home sick the entire weekend but was relieved that at least the teen’s dad would be picking him up from the field trip so I didn’t have to leave the house again.  Wrong.

Teen texted me to say “I’m here”.

Not, “I’ll be at the school in about 15 minutes”.

“I’m here”.

It was not 5pm.  It was 4:10pm.

Problem #1.  Why was my son texting me?  His dad was supposed to be picking him up.  After all, he had texted the words “ok”.

But his dad lives in a town 15 minutes away.  Although I was sick, I was home and not at the concert.  Easier to just go pick him up.

Problem #2.  Because my own phone wasn’t fully charged and I was without my charger, my phone DIED as soon as my son’s text came in.  But that shouldn’t matter because I’d be seeing him in 5 minutes anyway and would get my charger back, right?  Wrong.

Problem #3.  I sat at the school for 20 minutes watching every other kid get into a car.  My own kid was nowhere to be found.  It occurred to me that my son must have realized that his dad was supposed to have picked him and he texted him instead.  So I came home…to find an empty house.

Problem #4.  My son did come a few minutes later.  One of the other kids gave him a ride home and he was completely oblivious to what had occurred.  “But Mom, I texted you “Nvm I got a ride”.  Yeah.

Problem #5.  I put my phone on MY charger and, as soon as I could, I texted my son’s dad.  “Never mind about picking up M.  He is already home.”

And do you know what my son’s dad did?  Texted me back:  “What do you mean?  I’m picking him up Monday right?”

See, he actually read the text on SUNDAY.  Even though it was delivered on SATURDAY.  So, to him, “tomorrow” was Monday.  You see where this is going right?

So, I have come to a new understanding of what it means to have “good communication”.  Because the message you send isn’t necessarily the message that is received.

And we only have to look at the breakdown of families, the loss of friendships, and the problems in the workplace as proof.  Emails have a purpose.  Texts can be quick and efficient.  Facebook is fun.

But when it comes to good communication...dare I say real communication, word of mouth is best.  And even though I’ve been parenting for 25 years (my son is the only one left at home) I have to make some changes myself.  Because if I don’t start modeling better communication skills NOW, I’ll be doing a lot of apologizing to my future daughter-in-law later.

From Step Parent to Single Parent

Hey friends – how have ya been?  It has been a long time since I sat down at this blog and quite frankly, I’m a little surprised to be here now.  A whole bunch of LIFE has happened since I was here last.

Here are the highlights and the lowlights:

1.  Hubs and I are no longer, well, Hubs and I.  It’s a little weird to call him “Ex Hubs” so I’ll just refer to him as J.  That is, if I need to refer to him.  I’m hoping I won’t.

2.  I went back to work full time.  The three years I spent at home during my teen’s middle school years FLEW by.  Being the sole bread winner for my family has been an adjustment but, trust me, there is plenty of new ranting material.

3.  Only one of the step-kids (the one who I raised from the time he was 3 and is now almost 24) still wants anything to do with me.  He still acknowledges me on my birthday and at Christmas and has a great relationship with his little brother, my teenager.

4.  The other step-kid (the one who I raised from the time she was 5 and is now almost 26) hates me.  Loathes me.  Would love nothing more than to kick me in the nethers.  All because her dad crossed the line (more than once) and I wouldn’t stand for it.

5.  I went from being a Grandma by marriage (I was “MiMi) to not being a Grandma at all.  Hard to say how I feel about that.

So, it’s been an adjustment.  And I’m still working it out.  But many of you stuck with me on Facebook and on Twitter (holla!) and for that, I am grateful.  I was able to get some much needed comic relief and now maybe, just maybe, I’ll get back to writing.

In the meantime, it’s just the two of us now.  And that’s OK by me.

Just the two of us now.  And that's OK!

Just the two of us now. And that’s OK!

Stay tuned!

Time to Step Up

Hello lovelies!  Today, I am featured over at Momma Blog This to talk about the role of step-parent.

This subject is near and dear to my heart and I know the joys and struggles that go with it.  So take a minute to check it out and let me know YOUR step-parenting frustrations and triumphs won’t ya?  You can check it out here!

Musings From the Shower – Sadder But Wiser Girl

Welcome to another weekly edition of Musings From the Shower.  Today, I’m so excited to feature a blogger who is near and dear to my heart ~ Sarah, from the Sadder But Wiser Girl.  I love Sarah because she is a gifted writer (duh!), has a family that is all kinds of cute, opens up my ears to an eclectic mix of music each week, appreciates Sheldon Cooper, and lives in the left armpit of the Midwest (I live in the right).  Whew!  That’s a lot of reasons to love someone.  And seriously, if you haven’t already, go check out her hilarity at Sadder But Wiser Girl.  I promise, you won’t feel sad at all.

And now, for Sarah’s Musings From the Shower:

musings from the shower meme

Not Quite Death By Shower

scream

Ah the shower!  That’s the place where I tend to have my best thoughts.  Why not, when you are surrounded by water and have nowhere to write things down, of course you will have those thoughts that will have gone *POOF* by the time you get out!  I do believe that I have lost about 4,000 great award winning writings between the shower and getting clothed.

Like today.  I had at least three great ideas for blog posts in there.  By the time  I was out, I remembered about enough to make that opening paragraph.  Go ME.

I’ve toyed with the idea of recording myself in the shower.  Not like THAT-get your mind out of the gutter!  You won’t be seeing any videos of me on http://www.ditzymomsshowering.com .  I meant an audio recording.  That way not only could I harm the eardrums of the world by exposing them to my renditions of “Shut Up and Drive”, “It Will Rain”, and “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, I also could record my every thought provided I would have them out loud.

So instead of great ideas making their way to paper, my showering often results in some sort of life threatening injury because it is SUCH a dangerous place.  They should really have disclaimers, especially in my shower which is the size of a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Note:  There is no macaroni and cheese in my shower, which is probably a good thing, because my kids would never come out!

Anyway, where was I?  Oh right.  Shower injuries.

I’m so accident prone in our shower that I wonder if I should try to figure out how to have a Life Alert button installed.  This is not because I have fallen and can’t get up, instead my injuries tend to me more of a different nature.

Recently I managed to slice my finger open attempting to open a can of something or other.  It wasn’t just a little cut, it was a deep cut that bled and bled.  I had to drop everything to get a paper towel to soak up all the blood,  and then clean it and put a band-aid on it.  It’s okay, I’m Red Cross certified.

In case you didn’t know, band-aids don’t stay on in the shower.

When I went to bathe, the band-aid of course came right off.  I didn’t figure it was a big deal, because at the time I wasn’t bleeding.  Then in the midst of showering I somehow managed to open the cut.

I’m sure you can imagine what happened next.  Here I was in the middle of showering, blood gushing everywhere.  At least I was in the shower, right?  It could have been worse-at least here the blood went right down the drain.

After a short amount of time of profuse bleeding, I figured that I should at least try and stop the bleeding, since it would be very bad to lose consciousness from blood loss while it was just me and the kids at home.  I’d really hate to have to explain that one to the paramedics.

So I tried to find something to stop the bleeding, and whacked my head on faucet knob so hard that I saw stars.  So much for avoiding unconsciousness….

To add insult to my injuries, I then I rammed my knee into the wall, HARD.  Jack Tripper would have been proud.

Eventually, I was able to find my way out of the shower, control the bleeding, get a new band-aid and take some ibuprofen for my bruises.

That evening my husband asked me why I was so frazzled.  “Oh, I just tried to take a shower.”

In honor of this post today, I cut my finger open trying to do dishes.  I’m just waiting to see what happens when I bathe later tonight…

 shower curtain silhouette

Yes there was bleeding in my shower, no there was no murderer hiding in there!

sarah

When she isn’t suffering from extreme blood loss due to showering, Sarah Almond pens the wildly unpopular blog The Sadder But Wiser Girl.  She also spends her time catering to the whims of two adorable future Nobel Prize winners and her very tired evil genius husband.  You can find her random anxious ramblings at http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com

Panties In a Bunch

“Panties in a bunch” is a term I have heard over and over throughout my lifetime.  It has been thrown at me by my parents, my husband, my friends and even my teenager.

So you got a B on the Calculus final.  No big deal.  Don’t get your panties in a bunch.  (said my well meaning mom)

Yes, I bought a motorcycle.  But I can drive it to work because it gets better gas mileage than the truck.  Try to see the positives and don’t get your panties in a bunch.  (said my manopausal husband)

But I didn’t think you “liked” him, liked him.  And we only kissed once.  Geez, don’t get your panties in a bunch.  (said my former good friend)

I’ll finish my chores when my show is over so stop nagging me, okay?  Talk about getting your panties in a bunch.  (said my teenager – just once – that’s all it took)

I used to think that *I* was the problem.  That I wanted too much.  That I made a big deal out of little things.  That I cared more than I should.  So each time I heard these words, I felt shame.  And I retreated back into my safe, quiet world trying desperately trying not to bother anyone.  It always seemed that being a martyr, or a victim, was better than having my panties in a bunch. 

I started this blog a week before Easter.  It seemed like a great idea at the time.  There were plenty of funny stories about my kids, my husband, our pets, my journey down Menopause Lane.  And I’ve had so much fun writing our stories, reading others’ stories, and interacting with readers both here and through social media.

But lately, blogging hasn’t been…..well……fun.  At least not for me.  Sure, blogging is time consuming.  There’s the writing, the planning, the photo creation, site checking, promotion, etc.  I expected all of that.  I enjoy all of that.

But sometimes, blogging can be a soul crushing experience.  Someone leaves a hurtful comment.  You lose fans because you took the “un-funny” route.  You work on a post for hours and nobody reads it.  You spend countless hours reading other blogs but they don’t take the time to notice yours.  It’s enough to get my panties in a bunch. 

In fact, I was thisclose to shutting it down and walking away.  I was willing to give up something I love to do (even if I don’t do it well).  But then, I decided to go back to where I started – reading blogs I love and allowing their awesomeness to inspire me.  Not only did I catch up on new posts, but I went back and read old ones that I commented on and discovered their comments back to me.

Excuse me while I get a tissue (cue the Jeopardy! music).

Okay, I’m back and still feeling a little verklempt.

The truth is, it’s 3:30 AM on Tuesday morning and I am feeling hopeful again.  I’m no longer going to worry about likes, or fans, or followers.  I’m no longer going to worry about comments from mean spirited people who make disparaging remarks when they don’t even know me.  And I’m not going to stress about whether I write daily or weekly.  I’m just going to write.

And if it bothers someone, then it’s that someone’s responsibility to just move on, thankyouverymuch.  Just as I don’t think parenting is a competition, I don’t think blogging is either.  We all have gifts, talents and skills.  We all bring something to the table.

And speaking of bringing something to the table, I’d like coffee and doughnuts please.  Like I said, it’s 3:30 AM and there is no chance of me going to sleep anytime soon.  And if I have to be awake AND hungry at this God forsaken hour, it may get my panties in a bunch .

That's me on the far left.  And my panties are, quite literally, in a bunch as evidenced by my dress in my tights.

That’s me on the far left. And my panties are, quite literally, in a bunch as evidenced by my dress in my tights.

Musings From the Shower – The Pursuit of Normal

Woo Hoo – it’s Wednesday.  Can I get a what? what?  Time for another edition of Musings From the Shower and today we feature Vicky from The Pursuit of Normal.  Vicky is a working mom from Cali with 2 adorable boys.  Today as she journeys down her path to normal, she asks the question “am I rude”?

musings from the shower meme

 

Am I being rude?

Like most moms, there are two places I can get some peace and quiet and allow my mind to wander.  The first is in the car… when I’m alone.  It’s not unusual for me to arrive at a destination having no idea how I got there.  I should probably be concerned by this.  Typically, though, I ‘m just rather impressed about my robot-like skills.  The second place for peaceful ponderings is the shower.  I write 97% of all blog posts in the shower. I also have meaningful conversations with my husband, work out any conflicts with friends and family and sing an awesome version of “We Are Never Getting Back Together” in there as well.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to drive alone much these days as the boys are home for summer and my shower schedule is less than consistent.  Don’t judge me.  However, I discovered a third place where my thoughts can roam free- the nail place.  I only get a pedicure 2-3 times a year so I don’t have a lot of free-thinking-while-inhaling-fiberglass-fumes time. But last week I got a pedicure before my family vacation and here’s what went through my mind… Brace yourselves.

I should be ashamed to admit this… I spend a ridiculous amount of time worrying about what others think of me.  I think it’s a latent high school habit that has lingered- kind of like my need to change my outfit 3 times before I go anywhere.

Some part of  me, and I don’t know how dominant that part is (name that movie) recognizes that I should really get over myself.  First of all, who cares what people think. I’m diving head first toward 40 and at some point I’m going to need to adopt the “I don’t’ give a rip what you think” attitude. (Maybe that will come with 42?) Secondly, I recognize how ridiculous this is because most people aren’t thinking about me simply because they are too busy thinking about themselves… kind of like me. Vicious cycle.

That being said, my fear of what others think of me is dominated by my concern that I am perceived as rude. For example…

Am I an “a-hole” for being on my iPhone for the duration of my pedicure? I mean, if I were reading a magazine, no one would consider that rude, right? So is it more rude if I’m reading on my iPhone rather than a magazine?  Now I’m at least smart enough to know that talking on the phone during a pedicure is rude- although the woman who is painting my piggies has no problem answering her phone 7 times while mid-massage.  But is it rude for me toss the occasional smile her way and otherwise ignore her the rest of the time?  I mean the poor woman has to manhandle my nasty feet. Does that mean I should do her a favor and let her off the hook for small talk, or does that mean I at least owe her a happy conversation as payment for maneuvering between the gigantic space between my first and second toe and wrestling with my pinky toe that sits on top of my fourth toe?

 toes

See what I mean? They say a picture says a thousand words.  This pictures says 7, “You better give me a big tip.”

I’ve tried talking with the nail lady but to be perfectly honest, getting a pedicure a few times a year is one of the few times I’m seated (with a massage chair smacking the crap out of my back) and alone.  I don’t really want to make small talk. With two verbal Olympians at home, my whole life is small talk. Can’t I just say, “No, I’d just like the regular $20 pedicure, not the spa pedicure”? I’ll even throw in a, “I don’t want the callous removal, thank you.”

And if proper pedicure etiquette isn’t hard enough to navigate, there’s also my fear of being rude while driving.  I’m a big proponent of the Driver Wave.  Most people are pretty rude while driving.  It’s all honking, finger gesturing, hand flailing and the “I’m going to stare at you until your skin melts off your body because you are driving too slowly.” So I make a conscious effort to be a Friendly Driver and practice the Driver Wave as often as possible. Let me merge into your lane? Friendly Driver Wave for you! Allow me to pass you on the left? Here’s a Friendly Driver Wave for you as well! Oh my gosh! I accidentally cut you off.  Here’s a Friendly Driver Wave with a sheepish smile thrown in for good measure.

But the guy I just cut off was too busy veering to the left to avoid hitting me and he missed my Friendly Driver Wave.  Now he thinks I’m a jerk, right? He thinks I’m unfriendly and selfish and a careless driver.  He sees I have two kids in the back so he must also assume I’m a terrible mother.  I threw you a friendly, apologetic gesture, Sir! Please don’t judge me! Now I have to spend the next 15 minutes trying pull up alongside this gentlemen and engage my second driving gesture: the Sorry Smile.  I’ve finally tracked you down, Mister, and you are going to acknowledge my Sorry Smile and answer with your own It’s Not A Problem, I See I Misjudged You smile.  That’s how this road language works!

I realize on some level that neither the nail lady nor the car man are thinking much of anything about me.  They will buff, polish and drive by hundreds of people today and I won’t even register in their memory… right?  I also realize how incredibly lame I am for even worrying about it.  So I’ll spare you from hearing about my fear of being rude to dressing room attendants which causes me to rehang and return to the rack all clothes I’ve tried on, and the near panic I feel when pulling up to the drive thru window at Starbucks to collect my drink when I’m talking on the speaker phone in my car.  (Oh the pressure! Do I rudely interrupt the person on the phone and put her on hold or do I rudely give the Barista a small smile and ignore her friendly greeting and keep talking to my Phone Friend!?) And don’t even get me started on the amount of stuttering I do when asked, “Would you like help with your groceries today, Mam?” I don’t know the answer! I don’t need help, but do you want to get out from under these terrible fluorescent lights that are doing nothing to help your complexion? Are you asking because it’s your job or are you sending me a covert signal letting me know you need some fresh air!? AAHH! It’s too much pressure I tell you!

There are just too many confusing social situations for me to navigate. So I have adopted a simple philosophy learned from the great penguins from  “Madagascar”… “Just smile and wave, smile and wave.”

Please note the irony that I wrote this entire post on my iPhone while ignoring the lady giving me a pedicure.

That’s just my normal.

 

Flirtin’ with 50 (aka Bodily Functions Don’t Fail Me Now!)

betty boop menopause

Welcome to another Friday edition of Flirtin’ with 50 (aka Bodily Functions Don’t Fail Me Now!).  I started this segment for all of us who are “of a certain age” and find that our bodily functions are just no longer under our control.  Last week, I talked about giving a butt serenade to my son and his friends.  It was spontaneous, it was funny and nobody got hurt.

Today, urine for a big surprise!  Yep, I’m going there.

Like many moms, I had one fine baby shower before the teen arrived on the scene.  Friends and family from all over came to pat my belly, tell me what a blessing I was about to receive, and I got lots and lots of these:

diaper

Source: http://thevineys.blogspot.com

Making his bladder gladder became my son’s job.  He peed in his sleep.  He peed in the bathtub.  He peed on his curtains.  Mostly, he peed on me.  And occasionally, he peed in his diaper.

But then the time came for one of these:

potty_chair

Source:  http://wellcommons.com

and a pair of these:

Yes, I got the 5 pack!

Yes, I got the 5 pack!

Source:  www.walmart.com

as well as these:

pull-up-diapers

Source:  http://dannymclarty.com

Nothing quite says “big boy” like taking a whizz by yourself.  As the boy got older, he mastered staying dry all night long.  He became proud of his ability to control his need for the porcelain prince.  In fact, he delighted in showing his dad how he could water the bushes behind the shed or write his name in the snow.

All I knew was that it was goodbye diapers!  Or so I thought.

Mother Nature is a mofo sometimes.  Just ask the bride who had to say hello to Aunt Flo at her wedding even though she wasn’t invited.

When I was in my 20’s, I had the self control of a Tibetan monk.  Except during Happy Hour.  And except on Taco Tuesdays.  But you get what I’m sayin’.

Long road trip with nary a bathroom in sight?  No matter.  I could hold it for hours.

On a camping trip (yeah, let’s call it a camping trip) and have to pee in the woods when you hear footsteps?  I could stop that stream on a DIME.  And again, hold the rest for hours.  While running.  And screaming.

I was very proud of my muscle control.  Especially since it was the only muscle I truly had control over.  Lord knows it wasn’t my abs, or my tongue.  In fact, I should have gotten some kind of royalty checks from the Kegels because of my fine example.

But in the last year or so, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend.  When I laugh (mostly from reading blogs I love).  When I sneeze.  When I wake up.

Have you heard of the spritz?  No, it’s not a new soda from the fine folks at Pepsi.  It’s the term for when you “pee a little” even though you haven’t exactly assumed the position.  Maybe you saw this commercial:

And I have to come to grips that I might actually need to start plunking down money for these things.  Doesn’t it just figure?  I am getting SO close to the day where I no longer have to keep tampons and pads on hand and yet I have to contend with this:

Poise-Hour-Glass-Shape-Free-Sample

(I even got a FREE sample)

Hubs is finally to the point where he’s willing to pick up a box of Tampax (nothing says you’re in a committed relationship more than buying a box of tampons) when he runs to the store.  I’m pretty sure that he won’t be picking these up any time soon.  And truth be told, you are very unlikely to see me walking around Target with this box in my cart either.

I wonder if the fine folks at Poise offer free shipping to their repeat customers.  Looks like I get to find out.