Defying Gravity – I’ll Never Sleep Again

snake climbing

Every now and then, a friend will share something with you that you will never forget no matter how hard you try.  No.  I’m not talking about an S.T.D. (although I would agree that this, too, would be quite memorable).

This photo was sent my way to display the true talent of our local critters.  The snake in this picture was scaling a column at her house.  She took the photo.  Not google.  And she doesn’t live too far away either.  It’s a display of nature’s incredible mastery of the elements, and this creature’s dexterity is terrifying.  These animals truly become one with the earth around them.

After further research, I have learned that snakes typically limit this kind of climbing to structures with stone or brick exterior walls.  Lucky for me, our new home is all brick.  So ultimately I am good if wolves come knocking but may be hosed if and other animal invaders appear.

Consequently I have come to the conclusion that one of the outcomes below will probably occur in the near future:

  • I will build a giant bubble around our brick house and cover it with baby oil to make sure that those suckers will slide off.
  • I will never sleep again.
  • I will be getting a brand new snakeskin handbag with matching shoes.

Any votes?  (Pick the bag and shoes!)

😉  Jo

***Thanks for the memories soul sister K!

Elemental

(Nooooo I wouldn’t really hurt the snake.  With that said, he better stay outside or all bets are off.)

And That’s When I Totally Lost It

This is an actual photo of me that was taken when I went bazerk earlier this week.

When my (perceived) sense of control slips out of my grasp, I become an erratic and volatile wild animal. The smallest minor nothings explode into monstrous threats under the massive magnifying glass of my emotional frenzy. A questionable tone, another task added to the neverending must do list, sporks – virtually anything that isn’t synonymous with “nothing” may viewed as an  aggressive attack on my sanity. However it never begins that way.  I don’t expect it or plan it.  Nevertheless some Wednesdays don’t care about your plans.

Although I was tired, my day began uneventfully. I dropped my young daughter at daycare and rushed back home to tackle the mountain of work that comes with quarter end. A few minutes into the professional pile, my older daughter entered my office to let me know that there was a swarm of bugs on a plant our home.

I’m not going to feign indifference. Insects are not my favorite, but in most cases, I can live and let live. Outside. Inside is more like Thunderdome. Two bugs come in. None come out. I just can’t have that inside. And there’s no way at all I will be residing with a swarm of them. Never ever ever.

That was bad.  And while seeing that you have many many bugs is way bad, it doesn’t hold a candle to the realization that holy #&@! I think that those are termites.

That was REALLY bad.  My panic attack began, and I hyperventilated my way through a desperate phone call where I begged my pest control company to come out that same day.  Yes, all good – 2-4pm window. Ok. Better. Breathing going back to normal.  Someone would fix this.  And then my phone buzzed.  House showing request at 2pm – a couple of hours later.

Bad wasn’t covering the badness anymore. Nothing says “This is the house for you!” quite like a termite inspector reviewing a potential infestation right when a buyer walks the home.  Keep in mind, we hadn’t had a showing request for over a month.  Of all the times and days, it would have to be right then.

I called the company to have them move the pest control appointment to the next day, the hand of the clock swung wildly around as the minutes flew by, and we tried to clean to show-ready status. Having OCD and getting your house show-ready is only great on picture day and day 1.  After that, it just makes every other showing feel like you’re never enough. But I can’t stop trying.

We were still racing around trying to get the house ready when the doorbell rang. Surely they wouldn’t be attempting to view the house early??  Nope. It was the pest control guy that was supposed to be rescheduled. Panic. Why was he there when I had cancelled and the buyers could appear at any moment?? As we were talking (and I was still trying to clean), the kids started hollering in the other room.

A frickin bird had flown into the window and had become lodged in the sofa cushions on the patio. Seriously bird? Clearly I wasn’t going to leave a hurt bird or fresh carcass on the patio. The kind pest control man and I went out to figure out what needed to be done. The poor little thing was lying between the pillows. I picked it up with a towel, and it fluttered off. At least one thing went right, so I felt slightly better. The minutes still ticked away.

I begged the pest control guy to please come back later as I involuntarily itched my head and arms for the millionth time at the knowledge that my home had bugs – bleh. He left as I looked up and saw a car in  front of our house. We were past time! Panic!

We couldn’t do anything else so we jumped in the car to leave. As I opened the garage, I found myself trapped by another car in the driveway. Are you kidding me universe?? The realtor came out with a look of sheer annoyance and moved her car moments later. We drove off and one of the kids said, “Oh no!  The dog dishes are still in the sink!” He might as well have said, “Oh no! Your ratty granny panties are hanging on the television!” I was mortified. I heard my other big kid snap at him, “Hush!  You’re going to make her go even crazier!” Sadly she wasn’t trying to be funny. Thankfully it did make me laugh. Panic subsided.

Ten minutes later the showing was over. Hours of cleaning. Minutes of not liking. The realtor later gave feedback that said that the prospective buyers would have bought the house had there not been dog dishes in the sink.

(No she didn’t.)

We went back home, and I started to work again. I wanted to post something on the blog but decided to change a couple of minor settings to improve the layout. Such good ideas…such poor execution. Kaboom – total website blow up. Curse you plugins!  Panic yet again. I hollered for my husband. This wasn’t a po’ lil’ ol’ me kind of move. He’s a professional tech nerd. My nerdiness is more generalized. However he isn’t a web tech nerd, so his frustration quickly escalated as my anxiety (and supposedly) my volume also went up. He then did something that never goes well for any man. He snapped and told me to calm down.

And that’s when I totally lost it.

Lost. It. Like multiple term mayor of Crazytown, USA lost it. Banging my desk. Hitting my computer. Stamping my feet up and down madly. Screaming for him to get out. I went totally bazerk.

The story ends with a major blowup conversation about anything and everything – 99% of which had nothing to do with that moment – and a website that is working again.  Thank you Chaitanya at WP support – you saved my site and probably my marriage!

I hate those moments. “Frustrating” doesn’t remotely encompass how I feel about them. It is a terrible helpless feeling to witness yourself spiralling out of control.  You know exactly what is going to happen if the stress continues to build, but life just keeps pushing. Do you remember Vesuvius and Pompeii?  It’s like that but with less ash (so far). I flip back to normal much faster than I flip into wild animal mode, but the explosions are unwieldy and incredibly destructive in the meantime.

Like the calm after the storm, it’s been quiet here since that point.  Although I wish I could stick with perpetually smooth waters, that isn’t the ocean I sail.

As a follow up note, they weren’t termites. You are going to think I’m making this up. The pest control team said that they were crazy ants.  Can you believe it?

No wonder they felt right at home.  🐞

Joanna

Other critter battles –  https://misifusa.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/ants-wasps-and-mice-oh-my/

Partner

Parenting a Toddler Summarized in 3 Photographs

My husband works a shifted schedule to avoid heavy traffic, so he leaves ridiculously early.  Like all toddlers, my two-year old has a superhuman sense that allows her to detect when one side of a parent’s bed at the other end of the house has become vacant.  I didn’t order order a wake up call.  I really needed the extra hour and a half of sleep my clock indicated that I should have had.

Yeah.  Good luck with that.

parenting1

parenting2

parenting3

So that was my morning.  That’s also why God created caffeine.

😉 Joanna

***This is a post from my dear friend who knows how to do mornings the right way.  Maybe my kids need to go visit Aunt Maria so Mama JoJo can get some sleep…
https://joyfullyrenewed.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/sunrise-meditation/

It’s Just a Matter of Time

hand grrr

Ten points redeemable at absolutely nowhere to whomever names the owner of that mouth!

I’m going to do it.  It’s best if I lead with this so we can avoid any assumptions to the contrary.  Based on past history, it is a statistical inevitability.  I can recite all of the reasons why I shouldn’t, and I recognize that this standoff with my husband is not going to end well this weekend.  Please note that I’m not aiming to make him mad.  Rather I’m trying to figure out how to win him over to my point of view on the proper course of action in this scenario.  (Reality check – There is zero chance of my convincing him.)

parentsdontunderstand

 

Okay.  Here’s the situation.  My parents went away for a week’s vacation.  No no no.  Not that.

 

So I had hand surgery two days ago, yes?  Yes.  And the bandage / wrap should stay on my hand for one full week before the doc checks it, and then he will wrap it again for one more additional week until the stitches come out, yes?  Yes.

I prefer to see these as wise suggestions from a well-paid guy in a white coat with a knife.  My husband sees this as professional advice that must be followed to avoid problems after surgery.  Silly man!  And this is where the divergence in our approaches comes into the picture.  The impending blowup draws closer…

Me:  “Argh!  This wrap is driving me crazy.  I’m going to take it off and put a large waterproof band-aid over it instead.”

Him (comforting and calm):  “Don’t mess with it.  The doctor said to leave it alone for two weeks.”

Me (ever so casual):  Yes, I heard that as well…  But you see…it’s been two days and that’s practically same thing as two weeks.

Him (quickly moving from calm and supportive to irritated):  I’m not going to debate this with you.

Me (even more chill and smooth like buttah):  Oh me neither.  I’m just going to remove it a little bit.

Him (advancing past irritated and heading toward mad):  Noooo.  Don’t touch it.

Me:  It’s no biggie.  I can do this.  It’s easy.

Him (steely):  No.  You’re not.

Me (less casual):  Hmmmm.

Him (staring at me and waiting yet saying nothing): …

Me (looking back and responding but only in my mind):  (oh yes I am)

Him (in his mind):  (NO YOU’RE NOT)

Me (in my double secret probation mind):  (OH YES I AM!!!)

knife

This knife has cut more than a tin can and a tomato.

I’m not saying that he is wrong.  (He’s wrong!)  And I’m not saying that I’m right.  (I’m right!)  I’m just saying that I have had a dozen surgeries since I was a teenager (mainly operations on my joints), and I have played this unwaiting game every time.  See the knife in the picture?  It has been used for slicing bread and removing casts (plural) from my ankles.  My tweezers have plucked eyebrows as well as stitches.  I never make it to the follow-up appointments because I have yet to become a big enough grown up to just leave whatever it is alone.  You’re welcome orthopedic surgeons for all that messy post op time I saved you.

Noooo I don’t really think he is wrong, and yeeees I know that the doctor gave specific instructions for my benefit.

But it’s iiiiitchy!  And funky.  And then back to itchy.  And then back to funky.  It bothers me immensely.  It pesters me, and I fidget with it constantly.  I have shoved cotton gauze under the edges.  I’m about to harvest a truckload of aloe off my patio to get it to calm down.  But then the increasing invisible germ element comes back into my mind and bleh it grosses me out even more!

I doubt that I will make it through the day with this thing.  If that is the case, he will be furious (out of genuine concern for my welfare), and I will act like I don’t notice the steam coming out of his ears for the two-ish days that follow (because I’m a stubborn bonehead and I warned him that I would do this).

That’s all I have to say on this for now.  I must run to take care of other things.  For starters, I need to see what kinds of large bandages we have in the medicine cabinet.  Totally unrelated of course.  I just need to check…

mick

Help me Mick!

hand3

I can’t get no satisfaction either!

Satisfaction

Pest

What I Would Have Missed

1a

Over the past couple of months, I have not written about my strong belief in angels.  I don’t ask or need for you to believe what I say in this entry, but I can’t share my experience without doing so here.  Not that I would want to anyway.  I owe them my life.

Twenty years ago, I almost died.  There was no accident.  I wasn’t suffering from a terminal illness.  I just didn’t want to fight against my tormented mind and my broken heart anymore.  It wasn’t worth it, and I wasn’t worth it.  I was lost, and I attempted to take my life.

1d

1b

When the roller coaster of emotions was climbing upward, I could recognize that everything would be alright.  I could see possibilities all around me.  But whenever the imminent crash would happen, my ability to perceive the relevance of my existence wouldn’t merely fade – it would disappear.  The darkness would swallow me whole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had struggled for years with the unpredictability of manic depression.  I read the books.  I met with the doctors.  I took the pills.  But I couldn’t make it stop.  It was as if I had no control over my life or my sanity.  I could see it. but I couldn’t stop it.  I wanted to turn off the noise.  Turn off the pain.  Turn everything off.

1f

I couldn’t hurt myself or anyone else anymore.  I couldn’t stay any longer.  I couldn’t hold on.  I took the pills.  Handfuls of them.  I was blind with confusion and hurt.  I was going under and I wanted to let go.

I stood in the little bathroom with the empty pill bottle in my hand, and I heard a clear voice that was not my own.  “This is it.  You have to do something NOW.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A switch flipped inside me in an instant.  Immediately my head became clear and my mind snapped to attention.  I knew what I had heard, and I understood exactly what it was saying to me.

I had to get those pills out of my body right away.  I tried to throw them up but I couldn’t.  I calmly approached my mother and told her that I needed ipecac syrup or some other medicine that would force me to vomit.  She was terrified but managed to track some down.  I can still envision the countless pills floating in the water.  Even though I had expelled the pills within minutes after taking them, I still slept for two days.

1kThat experience changed me on every level.  It didn’t make the ups and downs go away.  It didn’t stop my anxiety problems, my OCD tendencies, or my mercurial emotions.  I didn’t become the easiest person to be friends with nor did I become a dream family member at all times (or even most times, but I really do try).  However my eyes were opened.  I realized that I was supposed to be here, I was not alone at any point, and my life had value.  I didn’t have the slightest idea about the blessings I would receive nor did I understand those I would give.  I didn’t understand my true value, and I suppose, to a very great extent, I still don’t.  But I knew then that my worth was beyond measure.

I matter.  We all do.

There are moments in our lives that can change everything.  Our destinies can be shaped over time or they can be flip in an instant.  When you have depression, the finality of that choice can be lost when you are in the darkness.   It will pass.1g

There is more light around you and in you than you could ever imagine.  There is beauty and wonder and love and hope and magic.  And there are angels.

Your life is precious, and you are never alone.

Do not give in to the illusion of endless darkness.  There is no darkness without the light.  The sun is always there even when you can’t see it.  Just give it a little more time.1e

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hold on a bit more.  Let the possibilities of your life become beautiful realities.  Never give up on hope.

You can’t fathom what you would never want to miss.

1l

In love and light always – Joanna

***There are countless photos I wanted to include of others who make my heart smile, but I didn’t need to ask permission from this crew.  🙂

 

And on the 8th Day, God Created Tall Boots

And this is why those tall boots are so important…

 

My daughter and I shot this little video during our nature walk yesterday (watch the tree trunk).  It’s interesting at a distance, but we maintain a firm rule on the distant location requirement.

Save your nonvenomous speeches.  That may be true in this case (and it looks like an eastern coachwhip so it probably is harmless to everything but our sanity), but we have multiple venomous varieties as well.

One last little personal note to my new tree-climbing pal the snake – What the heck dude???  Couldn’t you have just stayed on the ground like every other snake that still managed to creep us out without scaling large stationary objects that we also like to scale?  Why show off those mad climbing skillz?  You have made trees terrifying for me.  Trees dammit!  You know – those overgrown plants that made me so very happy up until the exact moment you came along!  Now every time a branch grazes my arm in the woods, I am going to react like I’m the star in a dorky live reenactment of the tomb scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Thanksssss.  Jo

Breaking Free

butterfly4aYou wouldn’t think much to look at it.  And of course that assumes that you would have even noticed it in the first place.  Many people would walk right by and yet it would remain unseen.  They don’t recognize the magic.  The wonder.  The amazing.  It’s all within view if they can simply look a little harder.

I feel this way sometimes.  I am invisible.  Hidden in the roles I play.  Camouflaged in a daily routine.  Surrounded by a beautiful facade.  At times I want to fault others for their failure to see what I have to offer, but then the realization slams into me.

The others aren’t the ones who are missing it.  I am.

I am the one who can’t see who I truly am, and I am the one who can’t recognize what I have to offer.

butterfly3aHow often do we degrade our perceptions of ourselves based on where we are in the moment?  We criticize our physical appearances.  We curse our life circumstances.  We replay our sad choices and moments of humanity in our minds and declare ourselves unworthy or unlovable.  We twist reality to meet our misconceptions and insecurities.  We assume that the world sees us this way as well.

But that doesn’t make any of those judgements true.

It is human nature to seek validation from every external source we can find.  The irony is that the wonder and mystery of our lives is not what happens on the outside.  It is without question that the experiences and individuals outside of our physical and spiritual selves are there to be enjoyed, loved, and appreciated.  They complement our human experience and allow us to grow on countless levels.  We develop with these external elements, but the true miracle that is embedded inside us was there long before they came along.

Something deep and beautiful and mysterious lies dormant within us.  It waits to break free of all that we create to keep it locked away.  We must push past our fears if we are to know our true beauty and purpose.  We are so much more than we allow others and ourselves to see.  Wake up.  Reveal your beauty to the world.  And break free!butterfly1a

Love to all of the beautiful miracles out there!  Joanna

Dormant

***pic 1 – monarch chrysalis hanging on a lemon plant on our patio
***pic 2 – monarch caterpillar having a nap before chewing up more milkweed
***pic 3 – monarch butterfly that had just emerged from another chrysalis on our patio this morning

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