Air Force One

President Obama traveled to Chapel Hill today, which means Air Force One landed at RDU. After dropping Z at school, I asked E if he might want to take a little ride, maybe see some planes.

And… 3 hours later, we got to see Airforce One take off– totally cool. Because I’m a dork.

Most of this adventure from Elliot’s POV? Perhaps not as exhilarating, though he met bunches of new friends to play with, so all was not lost.

A pictorial representation of a 3 year old’s first Air Force One sighting
Why does Mom keep laughing and mumbling about “seeing the Force through the trees”.

Is there something Starwars going on over there? Nope, just some blue plane.

Now, that guy has a big camera. Let’s make faces at him.

I believe someone told me not to climb this…

I hate the wind. I hate the cold. I hate planes. Why won’t she take me home? Are there snacks in this giant suitcase thing? Dammit, not even a crumb. Perhaps it can double as a blanket? Since I have negative 25% body fat. UNLIKE THE WOMAN WITH THE CAR KEYS UP THERE.

Ahhhh… a windbreak over here in General Aviation. And a GIANT plane. Why exactly where we on the other side, freezing our arses off?

An ADHD 35 year old’s take on seeing Airforce one for the first time.

Oh cool, a tail fin
Refrain from inserting a hundred photos taken of randomness; because I could, and because I was bored.

Hello Mr. Not-Fancy Pants Photographer with a Press Pass. I’m taakkiinnnggg your piccctttuuurreee.

Wait. Scooter Man with Guitar? HAS ANYONE CHECKED TO MAKE SURE THAT’S NOT A SAWED OFF SHOTGUN? Because who rides a scooter to the airport?

A bunch of cars
See those teeny-tiny lights over the building? That would be the presidential motorcade. Which JB saw in traffic on his way to pick up Z from preschool. 30 feet away. Did he take a picture with his smart phone? Nnooooo….. *sob*

Finally, I see the end of my own boredom, when what do I hear from down below? From a tiny voice that is now wrapped in his coat, and my jacket, and using my purse as a blanket?

Mommy, I really have to pee

Y’all. I looked at him and thought– just for a second–

how bad would it be to let him just wet his pants?

Then I shook off asshole-mom– because what mom would do that?– and took the child to the bathroom.

And still made it out in time to see Air Force One taxi down the runway.

I can’t help it– every time I see one of them I start singing “here come the men in black”.

Then a little field trip over to General Aviation, because the motorcade vehicles roll separate plane, y’all. Of course, I kept calling this a C-130, which it’s not. Thank google for the correction– U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III .

It’s like watching a tiny fish swim past an orca.

I’m not sure how this random family got a tour of the plane, but having your picture taken by the pilot of this massive beast kicks ass!

This plane has nothing to do with anything, but I love how the picture turned out, so here ya go.

Gone Fishing

“Gone fishing” was one a few childhood traditions I shared with my father.

“Oh, how sweet”, you are thinking, father/daughter bonding.

That would be a HELL NO it wasn’t sweet, folks. My mom used to make him take me to get a break (from moi?! I cannot imagine why!) My Dad would agree because he wanted to fish. Eventually these trips morphed into a form of on-location punishment for my (and likely Dad’s) bad behavior.

I was 30 and married before someone (JB) pointed out that fish don’t actually have ears, therefore voiding Dad’s argument of “you’ll scare the fish” as a reason for why I couldn’t talk.

If you’ve met me IRL (or guessed from my problem with short blogs posts) I talk, a lot. Thus far, in this family, Zach is the only one who can give me true competition for long-winded, one-sided monologue-esque conversations about nothing.

So minimal talking on these father/daughter trips.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the technique criticisms; the inherent wrongness of my cast, reel, cast method instead of his preferred method of cast, sit for a thousand-million minutes, reel, cast. And this was back in the days of SPF 10… and me with my auburn hair. On the water.

Giving him a little credit, it was hard, I guess, for a swamp rat (Southern Louisiana born and bred) to watch his mostly city-bred-girl-child so utterly fail at the art of fishing.

See, I enjoy fishing. Now. Well, I like to… yes— cast, reel, cast. I still suck at bobber-watching. My adult attention span is not significantly longer than my 5 year old self’s attention span.

Short attention spans plus JB’s unfortunate overuse of general pronouns. Poor kids.

Put one hand over there, the other hand on that and swing it behind you. No, no, no— watch the hook so you don’t catch her over there.

versus

“Your left hand goes on the pole, and the thumb of your right hand holds the button down. Swing the whole rig over your shoulder, kind of like a baseball bat– WATCH THE HOOK– then, as you swing the pole forward, take your thumb off the button and let the line fly.

Listening to JB, I mentally replaced “Zach” with “Stephanie”, and time-traveled back to 1981:
“ZACH– you have to sit still, be patient. See that bobber? It will go under water, and THEN you reel in. DON’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE BOBBER.”

“ZACH– stop dipping/dragging/swinging your pole along.”

“ZACH– just let me cast it for you.”

Is anyone surprised that Zach wanted to “go sit with Mommy?”

I let him cast, reel, cast. Sure, in a few years he might need to be more serious. But, d’uh, before a child can get more serious, the child has to not view the activity as a circle of hell. Continually yelling at them to stop doing the fun part is not the way.

One of those fishing trips with Dad, a five year old me was smiling big. Dad was complaining about constantly needing to re-worm my hook. Because contrary to all of his tersely delivered fishing instructions, my twitchy, jerking, constant casting/reeling method was actually catching fish.


You see, son– what you need to do here…


Zach, how you gonna catch that fish?


Elliot, bored with the whole thing, discovers all of the neat-o stuff kept in a tackle box.


Elliot, liberating a container of red wigglers. Bad timing on my part, the vermicomposting bin building project the day before a fishing trip.


Look– it’s me and he! And one several straw hats I’ll be sporting over the summer.


See the arrow? See the worm? This was his first solo cast, people.


Hell, it made it into the water. He got much better at it as the morning moved forward.

Seasons Change and ADHD

You can always count on the weather being wacky when you live in ol’ Nawth Cackalacky–seasons change, time passes, ADHD happens. It snowed last week and yet today is a balmy 80 degrees of sunshine-y joy. While everyone else is just out there having fun, I’m hunting crabgrass and remembering that Z was going to help me build a garden thing over the winter. Which I forgot about until this morning, though remembering finally explained those random hint-like outbursts he’s been having.

I’m good with a hammer while I’m folding laundry is not a reminder, Z. I mean, really.

Seasons change, feelings change
It’s been so long since I found you
Yet it seems like yesterday
Seasons change, people change
I’ll sacrifice tomorrow
Just to have you here today

Argh— why did she plant Expose’ in my head? WHY? It could have been worse people, promise.

A classic no-fault break up song it’s not your fault, it’s not my fault. It’s those damn deciduous trees dropping their leaves!

What? You didn’t get that from this song. Google the lyrics, put your brain on the hamster wheel, and just try.

Anyway, I don’t sing this in my head about people–I only regret about 13% of the people gone from my life.

Noooo.. Instead of visualizing abandoned relationship, what I now hear in these lyrics:

“It’s been so long since I found you”
Yet it seems like yesterday

Reminders of lost things; car keys, birth certificates, money, purse, phone, medicine, clothes, random-piece-of-something-that-I-finally-threw-away-after-keeping-for-5-months-then-found-its-home, etc.

or this one:

“It feels like it’s forever
But time just runs away

which makes me glare at the clock, and my lost time. I think that 50% of tangible project I attempt takes me 83% longer than anyone else. That 50% would inch closer 75% if I included redoing my rushed first attempt. Ahem. Though none of those percentages are, 1) real, or 2) even fair, since I tend to assume that everything will take me 30 minutes, but still.

Thus, I have now semi-illogically conclude that time must be a big ol’ scaredy pants since it keeps RUNNING AWAY FROM ME.

Walls: An ADHD Metaphor

If you hadn’t noticed by now, metaphors happen to be one my favorite figures of speech. This post started off, by the way, with me searching for a youtube video on Justin Wilson; you’ll not see him mentioned again in this post– but it was what sparked the idea.

I can’t explain how Justin Wilson led to a wall metaphor about social filters between a non-ADHD* and ADHD brained person. No really, I can’t since I have since forgotten; but at the time it made perfect sense.

*I’m tired of calling these focused folks the typically-brained. Really,is the non-ADHD brain typical, or is the frantically spinning ADHD brain taking over. Think about that zombie apocalypse for a moment, all you damned linear thinkers.

When I ask JB what it’s like to focus on one idea at a time, he gives me the long, slow blink. Before answering, he stops to think, assessing whether I’m asking a legitimate question, or setting him up for an argument.

This, my friend, the stopping to consider a question or action before proceeding is a pure example of a social filter. Or for the purposes of my metaphor, a well-constructed, naturally-occurring wall responsible for protecting the inhabitant (brain) from both internal and external stimuli. I see it as the non-ADHDer carefully building a thin wall, with two tightly-controlled doors– entry and exit. Maybe a window or two. The supple walls provide protection from any low- to mid-range life happens attack. It’s only the truly life-altering events that even threaten structural damage.

Now let me describe my ADHD-brained social filter. I have naturally occurring materials, but those are for use in my Coping Mechanisms Machine, and are sadly incompatible with Wall Building. But I desperately needed a wall, so I constructed one with cobbled bits of Really Embarrassing Memory bricks, held together with my own naturally-occurring buckets of Oh Shit Did I Say/Do/Think That mortar. When construction began (long after everyone else, couldn’t find the hammer), I assumed a thicker wall was best, because it would block out more of That Which Distracts Me and keep in more of That Thought Which Is Inappropriate. Instead I learned that thicker means less flexible, and new cracks show up every day.

Instead of only one entrance and exit, my wall has…more. My brain– ever in conflict– excels and fails at compartmentalization, resulting in extra holes. Sometimes the new door comes when I acquire an irreparable (but not necessarily tragic) hole in the wall- like the one for when my Dad died, or the one for my husband, and each of the Small People.

The inside is reinforced with rolls of wallpaper reminders of my failures, and associated self-directed warnings:
that one expects way too much from you and gives you nothing back; but that one gives you a lot– you need to give her more; remember that time, during the awards ceremony in high school when you were goofing off instead of listening, and ended up in front of 500 kids, trying to accept an attendance award for the other Stephanie? That was fun. Remember when you joined the Navy one afternoon because you had a bad day at work?

I’ve recently installed a revolving door for people or ideas that come in, and want right back out. I don’t blame ’em, it’s rough behind the wall– only the strong, the similarly thinking, or the expert wall builders survive up in here. It’s the linear thinkers, who build good walls that impress me the most. How else could a Point A-B thinker survive a life with a Point Z-Q-K-B-V-27-L-Q-Shiny Squirrel-14-Z-B thinker?

Being ADHD is

There are benefits, you know.

Having an amazing idea

    and forgetting where you wrote it down, only to find that napkin scrap several years later. And keeping it because the idea is still amazing.

Never having an inside-the-box thought

    Often this totally rocks, except when it rolls instead.

Remembering to activate your brand new ATM card

    Then one Thursday, just purging the PIN number you’ve used for 3 years. True story– and I’ve done this twice. However, the second time I just waited until it came back to me– a month later.

Yearning for an organized and orderly house like some women crave fitting into their skinny jeans.

    Spending a small country’s GDP on plastic storage boxes, label makers, and other assorted organizing paraphernalia. Only to lose the box lids, and run out of labels. But then you discover modge-podge, think of the shoe boxes, and all is right with the world again. (See above regarding boxes).

Remembering the thoughtful letter you plan to write that special person: at a stoplight, in the grocery store line, while hiding in the bathroom, during planned quality time with your kid.

      but never, ever while you are surfing

failblog

    .

Staying up way too late. Every. Single. Night.

      Of

course

    you wake up in a piss-foul mood every morning. That’s the logical result of being awake until 2am, you dumbass. But those night hours? So quiet. My brain craves that quiet, but my mouth won’t listen if anyone else is awake. So here we are.

Thinking that you can make a scary ghost Halloween decoration from a milk jug, and old window sheer.

      C’mon now– isn’t that what a ghost used to be, before retail stores? And, ha– guess when I started (and forgot about)

this

    post, hunh?

Never getting around to tossing the old kitchen cabinets.

    Eventually turning them into storage unit/bookshelf for the kids’ room.

Believing you are capable of remodeling two bathrooms with very little professional help. Convincing husband of the same.

    Not only doing it, but also learning proper propane torch procedures. And quickly learning what a water leak looks like from the basement; since you didn’t level the toilets– as clearly stated in the instructions you only sorta read.

Thinking on Friday that it would be cool to paint your kitchen cabinets, and then starting on Monday.

      Listen, the only way to move forward is to stop hesitating. I

excel

    at moving forward.

Randomly deciding to sign up for a half marathon, despite previously having a “no running unless being chased philosophy”.

    Not getting bummed (or quitting) when you pulled a butt muscle. And, just yesterday, hitting the 6.5 mile mark AND still being able to walk today.

It’s not a perfect life– but it’s a good one.

Kitchen Remodel: Phase II

Remember the Phase I post from a few days ago?

You wonder– is she actually done?!
Done is often such a subjective word, don’t you think? It’s like perfect– can the pure meaning of those words exist in the world of paint or furniture placement? No, really– JB wants to know if done exists in someone else’s house.

Ahem. So the answer is no, I’m not done. But I’ve met the first major milestone– a working kitchen, with many, many coats of beautiful brilliant white paint.

There are handles to rehang and another coat of paint (hmmm…sharpie?) around the counter-tops. Speaking of molding– we need some around the top of the cabinets. And to add the furniture feet at the kick plates. And to paint the door (quick, no one look up– so don’t wanna paint that popcorn ceiling!)

But not tonight.

I’m also going to move two of our bookshelves to surround the big dining room window, adding cabinet doors at the bottom to mimic a built-in look. Which means more sanding/priming/painting.

But not tonight.

I want to add beadboard inserts to replace the current panels in the cabinet doors (paint the beadboard after cutting, then it’s just a simple glue-caulk-quicky top coat type of install). Yes, I did stare at a package of wood shims for 10 minutes, trying to decide if they could be turned into some facsimile of beadboard. Then I stared at the dremel kit and considered.

JB googled the instructions for involuntary commitment of spouse.

Thankfully, none of that is happening tonight.

The computer-armoire-turned-food-pantry needs more shelves. All the cabinets either need shelves or vertical stacking systems. Maybe some pull out drawers. Both the kitchen and dining room windows need new curtains.

But not tonight.

I want a new dining room table– round this time. Which would then free up the current table to be scavenged for parts. That I plan to turn into a mini-kitchen island. With a pot rack. On wheels.

But not tonight.

Why? Because last night, what you saw up there looked like:

Me? I set up a hard deadline by hosting my mother-in-law’s birthday dinner here today. For 11 people. Why? Because I’m not stupid organized enough to fall for those soft, internal deadlines. I need the adrenaline-fueled energy that can only come from a looming event requiring the use of whatever space is currently deconstructed.

I’m supposed to run–5.5 miles. Anyone want to take the over/under on whether THAT happens tonight?

But I did at least find the inspiration for the design– what great paper! Yes, it did occur to me to use it as wall paper accents in some of the panels. Yes, JB did threaten to lock me in the bathroom if I came within 10 feet of the kitchen with wallpaper paste. Now all I have to do is narrow down the accent color. Bright turquoise blue? Shhh… orange?

Kitchen Remodel: Phase I

Yes, it’s Phase I– of Version 4. This isn’t the first transformation for our kitchen and all the big ticket items (new floors, cabinets, appliances that aren’t brown) have long been paid for. But thus far, the total investment in Version 4 of Redesign That Kitchen is $56. $50 for low VOC Benjamin Moore paint + $6 for sponge rollers. Everything else (to include the materials for the building projects) existed down there in the region some folks call a basement. I currently call it 1200 square feet of wasted space since it’s housing a whole bunch of junk and projects to-be-determined. Part of my current obsessed motivation is getting that square footage back. Small People–and their things– take up a ridiculous amount of room.

So, version history of this kitchen?

Version I
The kitchen had blue flower vinyl flooring, complimented by the light blue dining room carpet and brown wood paneling in the dining room. And the dry-clean only curtains with giant brass thingy. Yes, we did buy this house with a dining room that looked like that picture. We replaced that carpet and the vinyl with pretending-to-be-granite-tile floors.

Version 2
Look closely– beyond the christmas tree–

We tried to salvage the original cabinets with a few coats of paint–they were, after all, real wood. However, even good paint couldn’t cover the old-lady-with-bad-kitty cabinet smell. Sniffle– look how little Z is in this picture. Totally unaware I was gestating his arch nemesis– aka, little brother.

And for 24-odd months, I lived with that kitchen.

Version 3
But at about 7 months pregnant with E– and nesting like a damn pigeon in an electric store sign– we used tax refund money to sorta upgrade the cabinets. Tax refund money and the expertise of a friend’s impulsive offer to help (meh-heh-heh). At that point, basic stock cabinets was an upgrade. A smart upgrade, since we live in a transitional neighborhood (aka, homes values probably won’t decrease, but it’s anyone’s guess if they will increase). When upgrading a house in a transitional neighborhood, one must be very careful to temper personal taste with common sense.

Was the kitchen okay, as is? Yeah, I guess so. It wastes a ton of space and it’s not very user friendly for the Small People. The Small People who really, really want to help do things– like unload the dishwasher and set the table. They are already hanging up their own laundry thanks to my installation of wire shelves and a closet rod within their reach. I feel wrong by not giving them what they want with the helping thing!

So, between pinterest, a lives-in-my-computer friend/DIY person, and the desire to use my children for manual labor, I began to get motivated. If y’all didn’t know, an ADHD person with their meds and motivation can do amazing things. Include in that a husband who leaves the country for a week, kids that go to bed at 7pm, and same ADHD lady who can’t burn off any of that gee-gee-gee-gee energy by running, and you end up with this.

By the way– don’t think I’m ignoring the children– most of this good-times-fun happened during naptime or after bed. The other little bits? Well, never underestimate what can be accomplished in 20-30 minute spurts. Of course, there was also a casualty– RIP dish drainer that was in the oven during the preheat cycle. You had a good run.

As of tonight, most everything has had its second pass of the top coat, so the painting should be done tomorrow. That’s the real bitch with painting cabinets– it takes time (most of it of the drying/preparation variety) to do a good job. But after the last bit dries, the really fun stuff is next– building!

The Beauty of Love

This was the little story that JB and I (snort, who we kidding, it was I, all I) included on our wedding announcement. Sweet, hunh?

Now, that I rediscovered the thing a few hours after screeching for him to bring me crowbar? Just amusing.
That he brought me the crowbar, with the only comment delivered being a reminder to not accidentally knock a hole in the wall? That’s trust– trust I haven’t necessarily earned.

But, hey, when I did this to the wall, in a different room, a week later, I had it patched long before he got home!

Why is the trust so impressive? Well, I ask you all– do you know what your couch looks like under the fabric and foam?

I do. I absolutely know that most couches are made of a few pieces of wood and some really strong cardboard. Why? Because I took a reciprocating saw to our old one once, just to see.

Any-hoo. I needed that crowbar because I was doing my own version of Habitat for Humanity for the homeless stuff in our house. Mostly mine. And the Small People. Not much of it is JB’s. That’s the issue with DIY (and ADHD). A person needs supplies if they are going to craft their own environment. An ADHDer goes and buys those supplies, shoves them in a drawer, laundry basket, box, bag, or closet which promptly wipes stuff’s existence from working memory. Then, while frantically looking for a missing plastic shark for the Smallest Small Person, she opens up a box, and it’s christmas all over again.

I can’t even claim this behavior is new– I’ve always been this way. Which is probably why I hooked up with a guy who moved the totality of his belongings in a Saturn Coupe, whilst I needed a 17 foot uhaul.

Then the hoarder and the minimalist had two children, whereupon they realized their stuff spreads like kudzu over a southern telephone pole. And just like kudzu, you can metaphorically burn that shit to the ground, only to step on the sharpest part of a lego brick which is lying in mocking repose right next to your bed, the very next morning. True story: I threw away a plastic kazoo 17 million times– before finally crushing it to death in the driveway and throwing it in the neighbor’s trashcan. Never underestimate the staying power of a cheap (yet costly in its annoyance factor) toy.

I started with some free wire shelving and some not-so-free tracks and brackets (why, pray tell, are those damn brackets $3.50 each? Because if you don’t want the shit to fall down, you have to buy them, that’s why). And technically those shelves were installed a few months ago– just not correctly and were being held up with duct tape, which just isn’t safe.

Thus it went from this:

to this:

Ahhh— I might not be able to get a whole room of my own, but dammit I made myself a writing nook–as per my not-resolution resolution’s list to write more. And no nook would be complete without my Quixote, ready to tilt at some windmills. And all the old shoe boxes I decoupaged, thus saving them from JB’s need to throw away the things I’m saving finishing the planned upcycling project.

One mess done, one giant one to go.

Happy Holidays!

No, really. Happy Holidays. And maybe even Merry Christmas, but when I say it I really mean, Merry Time of Santa Claus, Good Cheer and Delicious Apple Cider.

I’ve seen this blog post circulated around facebook for a few weeks, but it keeps sticking in my head. And since it keeps coming back AND I was just at the mall last night…

The only one who can take your Christ out of your Christmas is you.
How do you take Christ out of Christmas? You take Christ out of Christmas every time you:
Don’t take the high road.
Are less than loving, and patient, and kind.
Gossip, complain about, and judge others.
Are slow to listen and quick to anger.

Yeah. That. Actually, a lot of what she says. Including:

There are actual problems in the world, and whether someone says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” is not one of them.

Now, for me–and contrary to the author of the original–I do feel like the overall message of Jesus– kindness and goodwill to all mankind– is not fully represented in the celebration of his birth (not in December, BTW. The significance of Dec. 25th relates to the Roman celebration for the rebirth of the sun god, Saturn.) I mean, one of the most memorable times of JC loosing his cool is with the vendors selling schwag at his temple. Methinks he’d prefer his birthday to be a little less flashy… but I’m totally just guessing.

Even with all that, I’m not suggesting that gifts shouldn’t be purchased, or even that I don’t struggle with getting caught up in the holiday hoopla of extreme excess (people, retail stores theme the tempo of their music to make you buy more. Make a playlist and take some ear buds. Save yourself.) But the sheer mass consumption this time of year? Overlaid by the parallel conversations about the reason for the season? Yeah, the dissonance strikes me deep in my sarcastic heart. Right in the place where irony lives.

I try to stay out of walmart/target/toy-r-us for the same reason I avoid buffet-style restaurants– piss poor impulse control. Bright lights– preferably blinking in beat to the overhead musack; BOGO deals? The only medications that could suppress my ADHD in the face of that sort of visually stimulating retail porn is an Ambien. And I have to be the one who shops, because I’m the one who stores the color/character/tagless shirt preferences that are the MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER to a Small Person.

So if you see me out there in the world, with my ear buds rocking 90s hip-hop, and my mouth chomping on gum… don’t distract me by saying hello, m’kay?

Don’t trash it, repurpose it!

Don’t trash it, repurpose it! This is why I am sort of a hoarder-light. There are so many things that I can look at and think, “NO, that’s not GARBAGE! It can be reused. Into what, I have no idea.”

My darling husband is more of a, once a shower curtain, always a shower curtain kind of guy. So when our dog decided to protest the Small People by eating most of the puzzle pieces JB would have tossed the leftovers.

But I saw future opportunity! Snatching up the square tiles and hiding them adding them to my craft collection, they sat patiently for 3 years.

Apparently I’m on an anti-Pottery Barn kick. Because as I flipped through their christmas decorations and saw these signs (and prices), I immediately thought about my lonely puzzle boards.

Pottery Barn Hanging Signs

In two nights of half-watching South Park and Robot Chicken with the husband, I made these. Not perfect, not totally done. More importantly? Definitely not $100 worth of once-a-year-signs. I’m going to guesstimate my cost at $10 bucks, because once upon a time I had to buy the puzzles, the paint and the brushes. But they were all in-house when I got inspired. Which is why I don’t throw anything away.

Scattermom version