Thursday, March 27, 2014

Party all night

I need help. Once or twice every couple of weeks, the boys wake up in the middle of the night - like 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. - and decide that it's time to get up for the day and play. I think W is the one who wakes up, and then he wakes R so he has a playmate. I go in and explain that it's still nighttime and they need to be quiet and go back to sleep. They're quiet for maybe five or ten minutes - just long enough for me to doze back off - then the talking and playing starts up all over again. This cycle repeats four or five times over the next one-to-four hours, with my level of rage escalating each time until I finally do something regrettable (like taking away TV for the day). Some nights, the whole episode only takes an hour or so, some nights we're all awake for the day from the first time they wake me up. Needless to say, these super-fun nights result in all of us being exceedingly tired and cranky for at least the next day.

I don't know what to do about this. No amount of talking, yelling, screaming, threatening, persuading, or punishment (except sometimes taking away TV) seems to convince them that it's still nighttime and they need to sleep. They have an Ok to Wake! clock, and they understand that they're not allowed to get up until it turns green (most mornings, I'll hear one of them yell to the other, "It's gween! It's morning!"), but that doesn't seem to apply before the sun is up. I'll point out to them when I go in that the clock isn't green, but they still go right back to playing.

This isn't something terribly regular, but it happens often enough that it's killing my sleep. I was finally getting to a point in my post-child life where I felt like I was getting a decent amount of sleep. I was starting to remember what it felt like to not be totally sleep deprived. Of course, after all that whining about single parenting yesterday, you understand that I'm the only one who is around to deal with this insanity. What can I do to stop this?

I've long posited that my children are trying to kill me. Please help me continue to thwart them. Please?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Single parenting

As Timmy so kindly pointed out to me in our session yesterday, I've apparently moved out of the "I'm free! I'm free! WOOOOOOO!" stage and into the "major life things are up in the air" (I hate up in the air) and "I'm perhaps a smidge lonely" (I miss hugs and cuddling. Not that there was a ton of that in the past year-plus, but at least the option was available. I need physical contact) and "single parenting is effing HARD, yo" stages of this grand divorce adventure. I'm still happy, but the wild elation has been tempered a bit by the "realities" of "life" and other such mundane things.

The fact that I'm writing about any of this tells me I need to process more than I got around to in my 55-minute session yesterday. And tonight I've chosen parenting.

So. Single parenting. It sucks so much more than I thought it would. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but, man, is it difficult. I've discovered that I took the mere presence as another adult in the house for granted. For a number of reasons - that I don't care to discuss here - I wasn't always comfortable leaving B alone with the boys, but having a second adult around, even if he wasn't always available, made my life considerably easier. I usually didn't have to worry about getting the kids home from daycare when I had a trial go awry and got stuck at work late, and I was free to do my grocery shopping, or errand running, or answering Michelle's 9:00 p.m. "Target?" text after the boys were sleeping. I have none of that support now. I'm trying to adapt to this is ways that do NOT include grocery shopping with a four- and five-year-old before dinner, but it's a struggle. I've only been to the lunchroom with my coworkers a handful of times in the past couple of months because I'm trying to do everything I used to do after bedtime during my lunch hour, with only marginal success.

The other extremely difficult-to-deal-with thing is never getting a break. Yes, I have my scheduled every-Wednesday-night-and-every-other-weekend time off, but that's more-or-less at the whim of someone who doesn't like me very much right now. I rely on the scheduled-ness and predictability of those visits to maintain my sanity, and when they don't happen when they're supposed to (and they don't happen when they're supposed to more than I prefer), I get, uh, a tiny bit cranky, to put it mildly. Other than visitation times, it's all Mommy, all the time. And it gets brutal. I'm not - nor have I ever claimed to be - the kind of mother who can spend all of her time with her kids. I need time off from being Mom, desperately. I'm not getting enough of that right now. I don't have the resources to hire a sitter every week or so when I need a break, nor do I have an extensive network of people upon whom I can dump the kids; my mom can only be called on so much.

That brings me to my final big issue:  I don't have other single parents in my support network. I have wonderful, dear friends, some with kids, some without, who have held me up and been beside me and listened to my bitch through everything so far. But they haven't lived being a single parent. It's far harder than flying solo when a spouse is on a trip or works a lot. Trust me on this. I need to find a local source for single parent friends (preferably ones with kids close to the boys' ages) so I have some peers who are living the dream right along with me.

So there's that. I'm feeling marginally more processed. One issue down, a hundred billion more to go. (We could very easily take care of another if anyone cares to come over to snuggle with me while we watch "House of Cards." I'm just sayin'.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bits and blurbs - overworked edition

You guys. Work is INSANE right now. It's been trial, trial, trial, deadline, NEW deadline, MORE deadline, non-work-stuff-that's-sort-of-work-related-and-must-be-done-NOW, and trial. I mean, I've been working at home - frantically, might I add - ever since last Thursday night. This is unheard of for me. I think the last time I worked on a weekend was like two years ago (I know, I know. All the other lawyers can hate me a lot little right now). It doesn't help that I had a commitment all day Saturday, B sent the kids home Sunday morning because he was sick, and, oh, I don't have a second parent to pick up any of the slack any more. And I'm probably not even going to get the decision that's currently in crunch time done in time, which is the part that really chaps my ass.

With that in mind, I decided I needed to take 15 minutes off, so I'm here. Let's begin.
  • Our trial tomorrow is about trees. Seriously. Trees. We are empaneling a jury to sit for two-to-three days because of a fight over trees. Sometimes I hate litigants.

  • One of the issues in the trial involves "recreational use" and I just keep thinking that this trial would be so much more fun and interesting if the "recreational use" we're discussing was about some plant matter that ISN'T trees.

  • The decision I'm panicking over involves one of my least favorite companies ever. I truly despise this place. It's local, and I warn everyone I know away from it because the contract they use is SO unconscionable. Their general counsel is good (not good in general; just good at keeping this evil contract alive), though, and has never had it invalidated. I came close one time, but they settled the day before the judge could issue the order. It was signed and waiting to be filed. I was so mad.

  • To cover my ass in case this particular general counsel (A) finds my blog, and (B) realizes I'm talking about him and his company, I should probably add here that my disdain for his company doesn't prevent me from applying the law appropriately. It pisses me off that I have to keep letting them win (they're involved in a LOT of lawsuits), but the law's the law. Some day, though, they'll go down in flames, whether it's in my court or elsewhere, and I will relish it.

  • On a topic unrelated to work, I finally moved the boys' daycare. We started at the new center yesterday, and the five minute commute (versus the previous hour-round-trip-to-park-in-my-driveway-and-walk-half-a-block-to-work commute) has been wonderful. Yesterday, I had enough time to go to kegs and eggs (sans kegs, of course, since I didn't feel like getting fired) with a friend after dropping the boys off, and today we slept a full hour later than we had been on weekdays. It was glorious. It was also apparently confusing for W. He asked me if today was a stay at home day, since we got up so late.

  • The boys seem to be doing well and liking the new place so far. They've taken off without saying goodbye or getting hugs and kisses both days, and totally ignored me so they could keep playing both evenings. Fingers crossed that this continues.

  • The new daycare situation means that B is going to be doing his midweek visits at my house. I'm less than thrilled by this, but I kinda brought it on myself. I just hope he doesn't get the kids too early so that I have time to run home and change after work before I head out to wherever I'm spending my evening.

  • Can I just tell you again how much I'm loving being on my own? It's sort of awesome. Even the less-than-awesome parts don't feel so bad. I'm happy.

  • Along those lines, I seem to have realized that I'm no longer miserable and want to have friends again, so I'm working on patching up some relationships that took major hits over the past five or so years. I also need to figure out where I can come up with some friends who live in my town. Ideally, I need some with kids (so we can have play dates) and some without (so I can call them on a random kidless Saturday when I feel like doing something other than sitting at home and watching House of Cards).

  • I was out of town last weekend, and stayed with a law school friend Friday night. She thought we should go out, and decided to meet up with some of her friends at a karaoke bar. Now, I'm not really a karaoke fan, but figured I'd go with it. We get there, and it is the crappiest, divey-est, townie-est bar I've been to in a long, long time. Neither of us knew such bars existed in real cities. Add to that that all of her friends are people she met while doing musicals with community theaters, and the fact that I haven't been out with not-lawyers in a very long time, and it made for a quite hilarious (and uncomfortable for my inner introvert) evening. I don't think I'd ever go back, but one time made a good story.

  • I've passed my break time-limit. I have to do a couple more hours of work before bed. Then up bright and early for TREES. Woo!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fated

I've spent the majority of my adult life inadvertently following in my mom's footsteps. I've done it all, from moving on to the same street in the same little burg, to making the same stupid financial missteps, to marrying a man who was like my dad in the worst possible way. Some of these things I knew about and tried to avoid (e.g. marrying my dad) and others I only found out about after the fact (e.g. living on the same street in the same random little town). Regardless, it's been kind of weird.

On Saturday, my mom and I went shopping and out to lunch in my new town. While we were out and about, I pointed out the bar where my friends and I (mostly, it seems recently, I) like to hang out. Mom took one look at the location and started laughing. Turns out, my bar used to be her bar. And in one of its former iterations (you know, years and years and years ago), it's where she met my dad. My only response was along the lines of, "Holy hell. Can I do nothing of my own?"

So. There's one more little thing from my mom's past that I've unknowingly repeated. But trust me when I say that I will NOT make the mistake of getting involved with any guy I might pick up there. I've already married her husband once, and that's plenty for me.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Bits and blurbs - no-sponsibility edition

Tonight marks the beginning of the first weekend that B's had the boys and I've not been traveling. I'm celebrating by drinking an inadvisably large glass of wine and eating ice cream. Let's dig in!
  • I sat through a horribly boring divorce trial this week. Those three days reminded me how lucky I am to NOT have to do DR work very often. I was thinking very unkind thoughts about each of the four attorneys (and their clients) as 4:30 came and went this afternoon.

  • Speaking of the glut of attorneys trying this case, I figured out that the defense team billed, conservatively, $15,000 for this trial. I told my boss that I'm going to go work for the defense firm as a paralegal just for the pay raise. Given the rate at which they bill her time, she's got to be making far more than I am right now. Thankfully he laughed at me and didn't fire me.

  • I was fairly incensed this evening when the defendant asked me if I'm in law school. I heard her and the female defense attorney discussing me and my role in the courtroom during a break, and I'm assuming the female attorney told the defendant I'm in law school. This particular attorney went to law school with me (she was a year behind), so she knew better. I may have a law student's job, but I'm a lawyer, dammit!

  • I knew there was a reason (beside her grating voice) that I never liked her in law school.

  • I've been feeling smugly adult tonight because I cooked myself dinner (stir fry!) using my brand new, fancy-pants knives my BFF sent me as a housewarming present. (Which was prompted by her firsthand experience with my crappy collection of knives my mom bought at auctions when I first moved into a house in college, and mainly consists of a paring knife my roommate used for splitting pills, a boning knife, and what was likely a steak knife.) And while dinner was cooking, I also prepared tomorrow night's crockpot dinner (chicken and dumplings!). I did not, however, do the dishes afterward. That's on the agenda for tomorrow night. Envy my exciting life.

  • My best friend came to visit me last weekend, and we went out to dinner and to the bar afterward. This will sound awful, but I was getting hit on (by older guys (and now that I'm in my 30s, older guys are in their 40s, which just seems creepy and weird until I remember, no, you're 31, so it's not really creepy and weird that 42-year-olds are hitting on you. Right?)), which I found...gratifying. Like, maybe I'm not a pathetic, depleted old hag who will forever remain alone and lonely? Or maybe they were just really drunk and didn't know any better.

  • My counselor would (will) yell at me for that last sentence. Doesn't mean I don't still think it, though.

  • Although, in truth, I gave one guy my number (because I was really drunk) and he texted me. And I'm not unhappy about that. So, yeah.

  • But that doesn't mean I have any intention of getting into any sort of relationship with a man. Because I don't. I just find it flattering that somebody liked me enough to talk to me again after the booze wore off.

  • Don't tell me it's probably just because he wanted (wants) to get in my pants. I'm fully aware of that, thanks.

  • And while all that's going on, I also find myself with conflicting thoughts toward B. Earlier tonight, for example, as I started eating my dinner, I found myself wondering if he's eating and taking care of himself (I mean, it's not like I took much care of him over the last couple of years, but whatever). An hour later, I found myself thinking highly uncharitable things about him because he got to keep the juice glasses that make perfect portion-controlled ice cream bowls.

  • I hate the dogs that surround my house with the fiery passion of a 1000 suns. Between the five (FIVE) of them, there is barking ALL. THE. TIME. It's maddening. I don't normally wish ill-will upon animals, but I'm not gonna cry if all five of them simultaneously get run over by a semi or something.

  • I think I'm going to bake bread tomorrow. Arwen posted about it yesterday, and it sounds like an excellent idea. Cleaning the house will only take me an hour or two tomorrow (it's amazing how that works when you actually clean your house on a regular basis), and I've got a lot of time to fill before I have to go back to being a responsible mother on Sunday, so why not?

  • Also, I'm slowly working my way through the backlog in my reader, so I'm reading blogs again. Sort of. I think Feedly marks posts as read after 30 days because nothing in my current list goes back further than that, and I know I cleared everything around New Year's and haven't really read since then. I should have two months to catch up on, not just one. Anyway, if I leave a super-belated comment on something, that's why.

  • I turned the thermostat up two degrees because I was cold, and I have to say that it feels delightful in here now. I kind of want to keep it at 70 all the time now, but I know I won't. Damn you, responsible self, for caring about things like saving money and conserving resources!

  • Speaking of resources, my new city won't accept glass in our recycling bins. Do they not realize that the second highest volume of recyclable materials - behind only Diet Coke cans - leaving my home these days is wine bottles? What am I supposed to do with them?

  • I've decided that I'm buying my bestie one of Urban Decay's Naked palettes for her 30th birthday. Anyone *coughcoughLAURAcough* know where I might be able to pick one up for less than 52 bucks? And if you were to be surprised by one, which would you pick?

  • I'm trying to come up with ways - preferably inexpensive ones - to spend some of my child-free time. I have a couple of dinner dates (with girlfriends, FYI) lined up for my Wednesday nights, but the weekends are trickier. I'm sure I'll feel more settled when I'm here alone after I've done it a few times, but it's just so weird to be completely home alone for 48-ish hours. It's not something I've had much of for the past, oh, decade, so it feels...off, somehow. I had a friend tell me this would happen, but I didn't believe him. I can never tell him that, though, for fear of the gloating.

  • It is extremely difficult to curl up on the couch to do, well, anything, when you don't have a couch. In case you were wondering.

  • I should probably get to bed. I've got a big day of nothing I have to do tomorrow.