Random

More of the same.

Yet another brain dump! Bear with me, there’s nothing cohesive or exciting to write about, anyway.

**

On Monday, I started this:

Woof, what a month this day has been.

Today, since all this fun began, it rained. I also decided, after not sleeping, that the kids could do whatever they wanted – even if that meant 7 hours of stupid TikTok and Netflix. It won’t be like that every single day. But Monday, it was the right thing to do.

**

On Monday night, I added this:

I lie in bed at night and notice how eerily quiet it is. No cars going by. No hum of the nearby highway. No one walking home and getting into an argument at 2:37am.

**

And then this:

Anja and I went for (another) walk and tried to list the positives. For example, we haven’t driven anywhere lately. So, this is good for the environment in a manner of speaking. We can spend time outside, which is very lucky. We aren’t shopping for anything other than food and fresh flowers (which make me happy, so I consider them essential), so we aren’t spending money.

My dog is getting a whole lot of exercise and attention. He’s tired and confused.

Maybe I’ll finally learn to cook.

Probably not.

**

On Tuesday, well.

My work has, for all intents and purposes, evaporated.

*Poof!*

(I realize I’m not alone in this situation, and I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact). When you are an event planner/producer/person and events cease existing (except virtually), well then, there goes a chunk of my sense of purpose.

Which may or may not have led to a mini-existential crisis.

What can I contribute in these rather surreal times?

I don’t know yet.

**

Roll to Wednesday. And the only reason I know that is because I checked. It’s very quickly become the new normal to not have an alarm in the morning or a destination in mind for the day. I know it won’t be like this forever, but right now it feels like that stretch of time between Christmas and new years day, except exponentially.

I know that very soon I’ll have to set a schedule for myself and the kids with the premise of homeschooling. I have no idea what that will look like, beyond taking a lot of deep breaths.

**

I asked friends to send me their thoughts on their current situation. Here’s a compilation, kept anonymous:

“I think I gave my last handshake a few weeks ago.”

“It would be nice if we could play with our friends.”

“It’s like Groundhog Day… I mean I love my kids and the extra time together is for the most part great! But ya, Groundhog Day here! Same but different but still the same.”

“It’s trying to give the kids a real sense of the proportion of this virus yet not scaring them! Then realizing they just don’t understand (or really care….. I mean they’re just kids) so you get upset and then try and scare the shit out of them so they’re on the same page as us adults! ( I’m scared) Then they start calling people stupid and dumb and even though you agree you have to teach them to be compassionate and understanding !! This whole thing feels like it’s compressing the growing up timeline for my kids and I don’t like it!!”

“I actually quite like it! No pressure. Extra family time. It feels like a vacation from life if you just stay home and don’t watch too much of the news. We still have an income though so if that went away I’d be WAY more stressed I’m sure…”

“My thoughts feel random and rapid fire, interspersed with periods of calm nothingness. I go back and forth between manic “do all the things” (house projects, books, shows, home workout routines posted on social media) and a sort of aimless, almost deer-the-headlights existence.”

“I actually cried today.”

**

Stay sane, friends. And send me your thoughts.

2 meters.

 

Random

Brain dump

My normally short attention span has been contracted to that of a sea cucumber.

**

The world feels like it is shrinking daily. Our little physical bubble gets a little tighter with each new press conference and news release. Oddly, rather than feeling restrictive, I’ve found it a little comforting.

And yet at the same time, the virtual bubble gets a little bigger. I’m grateful for my friends who put up with my endless texts, who send me stupid videos, who check up on me.

Don’t get me wrong – the online news feed is like a fire hose of pure crazy, and it feels good to turn it off every once in a while and stick my head in the sand and pretend life is 100% normal.

In which case, I take my advice from a dog.

**

In that same vein, it didn’t take long for this new world order to start to feel normal. We’re more adaptable than we think.

**

People seem gentler with one another.

**

We are staring down a few months of homeschooling. There’s a reason I didn’t become a teacher. 

It’s a good thing kids are resilient.

I’ve see a few social posts saying things like “what’s the big deal with kids being out of school for a few months? Teach them to sew and change a tire. They don’t learn much in school anyway.”

Uh yeah. Here are my kids. Have at ‘er. Let me know how it goes after 4 hours.

**

It’s eerily quiet at night. No cars going anywhere.

**

I feel kind of useless and helpless. I don’t have much to contribute to those in need. Anyone else feel like this?

My current contribution level is staying home and annoying my kids by telling them to get off their phones.

**

Stay home, stay safe… stay sane.

 

Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Random

Uh, now what?

March 17: Where do we even start.

I look out my window, everything looks normal: it’s a nice spring day. Kids are on the trampoline. People are biking by, walking their dogs. Just an average day.

But it isn’t, really.

I think back to this day, one week ago, and it was all systems (mostly) go: kids were planning their trip for March break, I was still going on mine (though wondering if we pull the plug, given that the US seemed, well, yeah). Work was normal, but I was making contingency plans. We celebrated Will’s 14th birthday with a terrific family dinner. Oblivious.

Business as usual.

But it wasn’t, really.

If you’d asked me, what would a week later look like, there’s absolutely no way I could have predicted this. NO WAY.

Cue the global pandemic. And the endless Covid-19 memes.

And the giant “?” floating over all of our heads. I mean, COME ON.

So, explaining this to the kids is interesting. Their little bubble of bliss hasn’t changed all that much, expect that they can’t ski. Oh my word. What a hardship. I don’t know how many more times I can say “wash your hands”. I encourage them to go outside and to stop eating my supply of snacks. I need someone to hack Fortnite and Tiktok, stat.

I try to explain that no, I don’t know what the fuck is going on, I have not lived through something like this. The closest thing I can relate it to is 9/11… and even that had us on a plane “business as usual” about a week after those planes flew into the towers.

This feels different. However, the need to be near people, to be close to those important to me, feels very much the same.

Buzzword of 2020: “social distancing”. How quickly we’ve adopted it into our vernacular.

I’m freaking tired. I’d like to think I’m handling this well, but the constant, minute-to-minute change is rough (this isn’t me whining. This is fact.) Anxiety is pretty high. I want to keep my routine but that seems selfish, somehow? Staying off social media and reading too much news helps. Going outside helps. Seeking normalcy helps. Squeezing my people helps. WINE HELPS.

Today, we found out that school is closed indefinitely. Kids were all stoked until they realized… I’m the new homeroom teacher.

Welcome to the new normal.

(To be continued.)

Random

First World Woes

I know that blogging is pretty much dead. And that’s fine. But every once in a while, I feel the need to tell a funny (at least, it’s funny now) story.

Last week, the kids and I flew to Hawaii for our long awaited trip. It was their Christmas present and I was proud of myself for 1) keeping it a secret from them for as long as I did and 2) scoring sweet airfare on a seat sale.

Foreshadowing.

Anyway. We were all really excited to leave, and in a fit of organization, everyone was packed and ready the night before we flew, even though our flight wasn’t till 6pm the following day.

I got up early to meet Jen for a run before anyone woke up. It was snowing heavily and I decided to check in for the flight over coffee.

Me, check. Kid 1, check, Kid 2, check. Kid 3? Denied.

WTF? I was barely awake and the message on the screen didn’t register. Until it did: passport expired.

OMFG.

How did I miss this? No matter, I did.

I immediately call Jay in a complete panic (though I’m not sure why, it’s not like he could magically make her passport valid).

He calms me for a second, reassuring me that she can travel on her Nexus.

Saved!

Except, not saved.

Her Nexus is with him. In Las Vegas.

Kick everyone out of bed, c’mon kids, the holiday starts at the passport office!

Fast forward a frantic jostling, throwing whatever in the van, who needs showers, who cares, let’s go! We arrive at the office at 9:30. The man at the door assures me that all will be well, yes ma’am, just go get the photo taken and we’ll be ready for you.

Except. Not ready.

All of Service Canada’s computers are down nationwide and there is literally not one thing they can do to help.

(There are tears, at this point. Actually, there were tears earlier, too).

I’m told to go to the airport and beg.

I, wouldn’t you know, am not above begging. Off we go.

At the airport, I head straight to the Nexus office, hoping that they can help in any way. The lady at the desk is exceptionally friendly, offering hope.

Except. There is no hope.

Government shutdown in the USA means there are no American agents to help.

Off we go to the check in desk to commence begging.

Meanwhile, after 47 phone calls, Jay is at a FedEx desk overnighting the precious nexus card.

At the check in, I get precisely nowhere. And not only do I get nowhere, I discover that those magical tickets I was so proud of? Well, those suckers are non-refundable and non-changeable.

Cue more tears. I’m frustrated and I just can’t help it. Anja’s not exactly thrilled, either. Had it been just me, whatever. But the children.

Are pretty damned resilient and good natured, actually.

At this point, the guilt mingled with the feeling of utter stupidity is making me literally nauseous. It doesn’t matter how many times I get told that this happens every day, all over the airport! It’s not the end of the world! It’s not a big deal! I feel like a big ol’ failure.

The ladies at the counter are so lovely and kind, but can do little more than take my credit card and rebook us on new tickets for the next night.

We group hug (me and the kids, not me and the ticket ladies). The kids sweetly go get me a coffee (they know what makes their mama tick). We ponder what to do with our 24 hours in Vancouver.

The rest of the day was a continuous series of mini-misadventures and misfires. One of those days where you can literally do nothing right. I could not wait to go to bed and be done with it. We got to spend time with the cousins, so there is always an upside.

Fast forward 7 days… we’re safely and successfully checked in to the flght home tomorrow. The expired passport is a distant memory. We have crushed our tourist game and loved our time together, bickering siblings and all.

There’s a reason I’m not a travel agent.

Aloha.

 

Random

Boredom begets boring

It’s about 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s smokey out, but beyond that, the weather is pretty summer perfect right now.

I’m on the deck. I’ve been here since I crawled out of bed.

Anja is brushing the dog’s teeth, and just gave the cat a bath.

Rory is attaching zip ties to his bike to make it sound obnoxious.

Not really sure where Will got to.

Every once in a while, they come and check on me.

“Whatcha doing, Mum?”

“Nothing.”

“Are you bored?”

“Kinda.”

“…”

They wander away, I continue my boredom.

It’s pretty great.

July went by in the blink of an eye.

School let out/Canada Day/Denmark/Summer camp(s)/Ironman.

That literally encompasses the month. There was nothing else. Which is why I’m milking this August boredom for all it’s worth.

Oh yeah. August doubles as fat camp (I get it, I’m not fat. But I’m not fit, either). So between books and hammock swings, I’ve returned to some riding, some running. Swimming can wait (beyond the mid-ride, sweltering, I’m-gonna-die-if-I-don’t-jump-in-right-now swims).

There are races to race, adventures to go on, things to eat.

You know what else is boring? This blog. Yeesh.

 

 

Random

Spring musings

It’s currently 6:18pm. It’s still light out, and miraculously not raining. Spring has been slow in coming. I’m answering emails from the comfort of the couch, glass of wine in hand. All I can hear is screaming kids on the trampoline.

It’s blissful, in its own weird way.

I love this time of year if simply for the fact that the kids just instantly drop everything the minute they come in the door to go back outside (I mean this, literally. Daily, I trip over backpacks and shoes when I come in the door and have to yell “PICK YOUR STUFF UP!”)

Neck breaking hazards aside, it’s liberating. No one asks for TV or whines about boredom. The backyard collects extra kids for trampoline time but just as quickly empties when a game of street-wide manhunt starts.

Every once in a while it goes eerily quiet… it takes me a few moments to notice the change. If I peer over the deck railing, it’s usually to find that the boys have scattered, and there are a few girls sitting on the trampoline, quietly talking about who knows what. I retreat as I don’t want to intrude whatever little world they’ve created.

It’s evenings like this that make me appreciate, even more than usual, the community that is created by small town living.

 

Random

My Modern Family.

A few weeks ago, Jay and I had a standard parent conference with one of the kids’ teachers. When it was done, Jay left ahead of me and the teacher pulled me aside.

(If you’re new here, Jay is the father to my 3 insane children).

Awkwardly, she broached the topic of our family life: “Are you?… I, um. I heard that you aren’t together anymore? Is this true?”

I confirmed, that yes, she was correct. She looked baffled for a minute and then said that she was surprised to hear this because we seemed to get along well and that the kids are doing well. Then she kind of congratulated me and I left, now the one feeling a little awkward.

Did she just congratulate me on not being a bitch?

People get divorced all the time. I get it. Did I think I’d ever get divorced? No, of course not. You don’t get married expecting it not to be permanent. At least, I didn’t. I fully expected to emulate my parents, married for a billion years.

Yet, here we are!

The kids are currently on their way to California for March break without me. They’ll be getting some quality Dad time, doing things his way without my interference and hovering.

But! Guess what? I’m flying down as a surprise to join them and spend a few days all together.

Fear not, I’m not ruining my own surprise. My kids don’t read this. They don’t even know what a dumb blog is, anyway. Maybe one day they’ll find it and be sooooo embarrassed, mooooom.

We’re going to spend a few days over spring break doing kid and family stuff. Together.

And you know what? I’m super excited.

Has life been as I planned it? Hell no. Is it easy? Also, no. Since we separated, I’ve experienced, in various forms: rage, anger, sadness, frustration, elation, joy, disbelief, and every single emotion in between. It continues to be a terrifying roller coaster.

But now, in its current iteration, our family ‘format’ works. Is that to say it’s perfect?

Of course not.

Does it change all the time?

Yep.

Do we know what we’re doing?

Nope, not really. Isn’t that what parenting is, anyway? Winging it?

Do people judge me/us and question what we’re doing?

Probably.

And so what.

I’m really good at being self deprecating, but this is one of those times that I can say how proud I am of how far we’ve come.

Our kids are happy, healthy. Normal. They love us, we love them. We’re in this together, like it or not. There’s days where we like it, days we don’t.

But we move forward.

In our own, weird, modern family way.

 

Random

I’ll listen.

A year ago, I wrote a post about how I came to admit to myself – and others, by virtue of pressing “publish” – that I struggled with depression. It was scary but also really liberating. It was like I was forcing myself to walk the talk, to prove that there wasn’t stigma around the issue of mental health.

Fast forward 365 days. Once again, it’s “Bell Let’s talk” day in Canada. In some ways, very little has changed. In others, everything has changed.

A friend suggested that perhaps I write a follow-up, detailing how I came to tackle my situation. It took a while, but here we are.

I don’t know that one ever truly overcomes or gets “cured” of the twin towers of depression and anxiety. Rather, for myself, it is an evolving process of managing my symptoms and triggers, and figuring out what works for me. Maybe time will tell?

Of course, there are days when I feel unstoppable. Those as so fun. Partner those with days when I feel like I can’t get out of my own way and I think that’s a pretty accurate description of the roller coaster I pilot.

You know what I think that makes me? Perfectly normal.

The most critical piece in getting myself to where I am today has been to surround myself with people who make me feel safe.

I don’t think I’ve ever typed such a corny sentence, but voila. It’s my truth.

I don’t need to constantly talk about my feeeeeelings, but knowing that those upon whom I rely are there to listen if I need them is critical. Sometimes, it’s as simple as knowing that they’ll respond when I send that text that simply says “fuuuuuuuuuuuck…”. You know what I mean.

Seeking medical help (and continuing with it, still) was the best decision I could have made for myself – and for my kids. The next best decision was coming clean, as it were. Because no longer am I hiding behind a facade and suddenly, not only have I gained more people upon whom I can rely for help, I became someone that others could come to talk to.

And so, I listen. Because, I think that’s the other part of “Let’s talk”.

Let’s listen.

Here’s what I wrote last year.

I will never forget the day that I knew I needed to ask for help.

My life, as I knew it, was crumbling around me. My mother was dying. My marriage was falling apart. I didn’t know which way was up and was barely going through the motions. I was faking it in almost every aspect of my life. I was pretending I was fine.

I so clearly wasn’t fine. I was down to 100 pounds. I wasn’t sleeping. I couldn’t eat. I was barely present, I couldn’t focus and was operating in a fog, seized by anxiety.

I was scared, sad, and I felt almost paralyzed. Of course, I had a few close friends in whom I confided (to a degree), but those nights, alone at 3:00am, when my mind was spinning, it was a dark and ugly place to be.

My whole life, I’d always tried to power through the emotional stuff, driven by the motto of “this too shall pass.” Stiff upper lip, and all that, right?

But that day, as I sat at my desk unable to type because my hands were shaking so hard, operating on 3 hours sleep, I knew then that this had to stop. I called my doctor, and walked through her door 15 minutes later.

She knew immediately upon seeing me that I needed help. She was gentle but firm. She asked me what I felt were prying but necessary questions. She drew me out, listened to my halting speech, and by doing so gave me that tiny little bit of confidence, that little push I needed to take those first steps towards getting help and getting well. I needed someone to take control, to give me a plan, to confirm that no, I wasn’t losing it completely.

‘Cause it sure as hell felt like I was.

Fast forward to today.

I am healthy, mentally AND physically. I am SO much better.

I’ve learned to read the signs of when things are starting to slide. I know when to ask for help, and from whom. My treatment is, and will always be, ongoing. I don’t feel shame in this; rather, there’s a sense of power that comes with knowing that I was brave enough to take this on.

Today, in Canada, it’s #Bellletstalk day. The goal of this campaign is to invite others to join the conversation and end the stigma around mental health.

By sharing my story, I hope that in some way, you know it’s ok to share yours.

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Random

18 in 18.

  1. More outside
  2. Less inside
  3. More water
  4. Less booze
  5. More extrovert
  6. Less introvert
  7. More together
  8. Less apart
  9. More yes
  10. Less no
  11. (But sometimes) more no
  12. (and sometimes) less yes
  13. More bravery
  14. Less fear
  15. More simplicity
  16. Less complexicity
  17. More doing
  18. Less wishing

Happy new year, everyone.

Random

‘Tis the (end of the off) season!

It never fails. I cross the final finish line of the season and envision the endless days of rest and relaxation that await me… No structure! Do what I want, when I want! Eat what I want! (wait… I do that anyway).

And those first 48 hours are just magical… I enjoy doing nothing. I don’t check training peaks, I don’t get sweaty. I read, I eat. I pretend I don’t like exercise.

And then, slowly but surely, the restlessness kicks in. Runs get scheduled, we go for rides. I start to troll my favourite websites for races I can sign up for. Sure, I can go out and “do stuff” but my type-A personality (disorder) misses the structure, the planning, the goals and those little green/yellow/red boxes that taunt me and motivate me.

Goal is more green, less red.

Coach liz and I joke that we have an illness. Maybe we do. But it’s one with good side effects, I think.

This year’s off season started before I went to Maui for the Xterra… that race was done on a wing and a prayer. So while, by all appearances, it may seem like I didn’t stop, I’ve been left to my own devices for *just* long enough.

Long enough that I asked if we could get back to the checking the little green boxes 1 week earlier than planned. I couldn’t help it.

I’m oddly excited for what 2018 may bring. New goals, new races, same great people.

Anyone want to go for a ride?