Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A little about our journey to get here...Part I

I was doing some reminiscing this afternoon about how we've gotten to where we are today and figured maybe a little background on me would be worth typing (and hopefully, reading).  

I loved school.  I was a terrible procrastinator, but I was pretty intelligent and good at nearly everything except math.  When it came time for college, I was accepted into a local university. It was the only place I applied. 

At the time, my personal life was a bit riled up. See, I am the "fixer"... when things aren't right, I'm not right. I need to make them right or I drive myself crazy.  As such, when I see someone else floundering or needing "fixing", I'm drawn to them. I am the mama bird, the shoulder to cry on, the one who does what she can to swoop in and make everything better.  This truthfully has led to more stress and heartbreak than any one person should ever have to deal with.  People can be needy.  And when they're not in a good place, that need can very easily become abuse in some way, shape or form.  And, depending on that needy person's personality, it can become a mess REAL quick.

Nothing good was going to come of the situation I was in. And it lasted a long time. Over 4 years.  It kept me from my dreams, my goals, my life.  I dropped out of college after the first year because of the constant issues I was dealing with...jealousy, anger, resentment...something I still regret to this day. 

I needed to do something productive with my life, so I started working.  My first "real" non-retail job was working for a construction company.  I had NEVER used a computer before and knew ZERO about construction. What started as simple filing quickly developed into a very unique skill set.  I thrived. I loved exploring the computer and learning new things al on my own.  I attended no training classes, no schooling for my skills.  My employer continued to rely on me more and more.  Suddenly, I was teaching myself to build their website. Once I had that down, I was in charge of the company's marketing.  The business was booming, things were great. I was successful and I loved my job.  4 years later, I got to hire an assistant. She was young, just out of college with a marketing degree.  At the urging of my boss, she was to learn everything I knew, I was supposed to put my brain into hers.  I soon found out through the grapevine she was going to be promoted to "Marketing Director", whereas I didn't even have a real job title.  I was just Andrea, Jack of All Trades. Fix-it Girl. Go-to Girl. I was a stressed out angry mess.  I was basically training my replacement.  Not to mention, the "problem" relationship I was in also worked for the same company.  Stress wasn't even the word for it anymore.  

Soon, the stress lead to bad ulcers. The ulcers lead to feeling miserable. I suddenly started to gain weight at a really rapid pace. I stopped getting my period. Hair started to fall out of my head and started to grow in places it shouldn't be. After ballooning up 90 lbs in 4 months, I was urged by the owner's wife to go to the doctor. I was scared and nervous.  She offered to go with me.  I remember sobbing in the waiting area because I was scared to death at what was going to happen.  

After an ultrasound, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Instead of my ovaries releasing an egg each month, the follicles develop into small cysts.  My ovaries were COVERED in them. If you aren't releasing eggs, then you aren't continuing your normal cycle, which is further complicated by crazy hormones doing crazy things.  I hated myself, my situation, everything going on in my life.   

One day I just had enough.  I walked into my supervisor's office and gave notice. As you can imagine, this caused further upheaval in my already stressed life. I had no job, nothing to fall back on except my crazy roommate.  One day while patrolling the classifieds, I came across a random help wanted ad for a bakery.  Cake decorating.  I thought, hey, I can decorate cakes! What could be less stressful than being in a bakery decorating cakes?!?!  Um yeah, who is going to hire someone off the street to decorate cakes with ZERO experience??? Hell, the best I'd done was scoop frosting out of a plastic container to slop on a cake!! Oh, and some candles. Previous attempts at making anniversary cakes for my parents had pretty much ended in disaster when I was 12.  Surely there had to be more skilled applicants than me! 

But, I overhauled my entire resume, focusing in on the creative aspect of my work.  Instead of computers, I talked about the art-related parts of my job.  Somehow, by the grace of God, I got an interview. And somehow, I convinced these people (known for making the best & most popular cakes in town) to hire me...the girl who had never decorated a cake before.  I still can't recall the interview or what I said...it's all a blur now.  Little did I know, this cake decorating job was going to completely change my life.

And that is part I of my saga.  We'll continue part II tomorrow...

Monday, August 29, 2011

No, really! Washing things like it's the 18th century is totally fun!

We have three (yes, I said 3) large dogs.  We also have a doggie door.  3 large dogs + doggie door = constant mess.  I have zero control over what they do out there and have equally little control over what happens when they come inside.  Normal human beings (except my husband) wipe their feet or take off their shoes before traipsing around someone’s house.  Pets (and my husband) cannot grasp that concept. 

Because of this, I'm constantly steam-cleaning my floors. I love my nifty steamer, but it's not hand-held. The one thing I can't seem to manage well are the couches.  And yes, the couches belong to the dogs as much as...wait, I take that back- MORE than they belong to us.

From previous experience, my 15+ year old washing machine kills couch cushion covers.  Even in cold water.  So, being the ever-intelligent female I am, I start devising a plan to wash these covers without having to use the machine which will inevitably ruin them and royally tick off my hubby (the one who picked out this awful furniture to start with, but that's a story for another day).

I haul the covers outside to my outside laundry line. Which, by the way, I NEVER use. I mean really, who likes crunchy clothes?!?!  Luckily there are 12 clothespins already on the line from whoever lived here before us. Score!

I locate two buckets. And the Tide. And the hose. With the turbo-jet sprayer attachment thingamajig.  I'm all set for my little project!  I proceed to hang up the first cover.  As I begin to spray it with the turbo jet setting, it flies off the line and plops onto the ground.  Ok, apparently 3 clothespins is not enough. Unfortunately for me, my dearest husband decided to mow the lawn that morning.  Now my wet couch cushion cover is covered in grass and who knows what else. Yippie.  5 clothespins later, I'm realizing this is going to be a long process.  Spray with hose, shove it in the bucket, swish it around, try not to look at how nastydirty the water is, rinse in the other bucket, hang back on line, hose the ever-loving crap out of it some more, dump the buckets and refill them, and move to the next cover.  Since I need 5 clothespins to hold up 1 cover, it means I'm limited to doing this process very slowly. 

In the meantime, my dear sweet husband chooses to come up behind me and say (ever-so-helpfully) "Hey! You look like a little old lady doing laundry from 1800! Want me to get you a rock to beat them on?" To which I may have responded sweetly, "I'm pretty sure they used wooden bats and clubs to help beat the laundry too".  He got the hint (I'm pretty sure the lack of a smile gave it away), and luckily for him, said "Oh, they look really good though!" and went quickly back to his yard work.

Paybacks, buddy...paybacks. And thank goodness for the Industrial Revolution, for without it there may have been a lot more beaten husbands.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I swear I used to be a patient girl…

Looking back, I used to claim patience as one of my best personality traits. I’m not quite sure what has happened to me in the last ten years, but I have lost every bit of the patient person I used to be.

I could sit and wait forever for anything, it seems. An hour to get my oil changed? No problem. A week for test results? Sure! I’ve got nothing but time! Patience is a VIRTUE! And it’s all MINE!

Fast forward to me at 33 and everything is NOW. Must be RIGHT.NOW. Panic, complaining, loss of temper, irriation, anxiety and the like have become second nature to me. Nothing is fast enough. It doesn’t matter if it took 10 seconds, I want it in 9. Wait…better yet, in 7. Yeah!

I’ve also realized it’s not just me. Everyone in my life wants instant gratification. A 24-hour deadline for a design project? Of course that’s reasonable. Hand cut and piece together 300 wedding invites by the end of the day? Well, why not?!

Is it that I spent so many years of my life procrastinating? It’s a well-known fact it’s one of my biggest flaws. By spending so many years putting things off, is this panic-ridden part of my personality my payback?