Cleaning, Awkwardness, and Feeling Lucky
Since I had children, my house has never been truly clean. I've taken time to wash things down, I've tidied toys, craft projects, books, and random sheets of paper, and I do at least one to two loads of dishes in the dishwasher per day, but I've not done everything all at once. I've found that doing a little every day will keep my house from being a complete disaster, but it will never be fully clean at any one time. Granted, for birthday parties or social events, I'll put in the extra effort and make sure that everywhere a visitor might go is clean, but my work, books, and random junk that the kids have lying about end up tossed into my room, to be later retrieved and placed on tables, etc. Of course, that is, until recently.
As you all might know, I've had issues with my health of late (for which I'm still being tested), which has impacted how quickly I move and has almost entirely stopped me from bending over to pick up anything off the floor. I feel fine--I'm not in any pain or discomfort--but every so often, I stop being able to see. Now, I'm taking medication that helps reduce the swelling in my brain, but when my blood pressure rises at all, my vision goes dark. This includes bending over. Every time I lower myself to grab something off the floor, I can't see. Needless to say, the household cleaning has suffered, and my children have had to do a lot more tidying than they used to.
That brings me to today. As a gift, my mom has offered to hire--and pay for--a small arsenal of cleaning people to buzz about my house. It's wonderful, of course, but also a little uncomfortable. Not just that these people are in my space, handling my things, but that I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I feel a bit useless, really. And guilty. I'm literally sitting on my couch with my computer and my dog in my lap as they move around me. I mean, it's their job, but I hate to think that they see me as a lazy slob. I want to jump up and help them out, or at least seem as busy as they do, but I can't.
I've heard that cleaning people gossip together about the houses they've seen, and I'm always worried that my house will be one of those stories. Do any of you ever get that? That helpless feeling, where you want to be useful but you're absolutely incapable of doing anything?
Ultimately, though, my house is getting clean, and for the next while (while I'm finishing up the rest of my testing before my final diagnosis), I'll have no mess to worry about. I'm so lucky, so grateful that I have the help that I need and an amazing, supportive family that are willing to do anything to make life easier for me. I'm a very fortunate person.
This Author's Romance Story
How do you know when the one is the one? I imagine that this answer is different for everyone, as we're all unique, and what one person finds appealing in a partner, another person might not. That being said, I knew very early on that Mr. Champagne was the one.
We were in high school when we became friends, and I was in 12th grade and he was graduated when we stated dating. The process of moving from friends to dating was painfully slow. In fact, for many months I was unsure if we were actually dating, as he'd never actually "asked me out". He maneuvered us into our first date by telling me that he and his friends were going to a movie and asked me along. I went, but it was just him. He said that the guys had something come up and couldn't make it, and I took his excuse at face value, when in reality, he hadn't asked the guys to come at all. We watched Tuxedo with Jackie Chan, that came out in 2002. Again, I still didn't know for certain that we were dating, until the spring of 2003.
I digress. I believe that most people can agree that the "little things" are paramount to making a relationship work. But there are also moments--big moments--that can shape who you are, not only as an individual, but as a couple, as well. There are also world-tilting moments that force you to look at something/someone in a different way.
Growing up, I'd heard the idiom "watch how a man treats his mother, because that's how he'll treat you one day", and I took it to heart. So, naturally, I observed, and what I saw was a man that valued his home life, loved his large, close-knit family, and showed that he cared. I saw him interact intelligently with family of all ages and make people laugh, and I knew that he'd make a wonderful conversationalist.
As strange as it is, kids would gravitate towards him whenever we were out in public. They'd come up to him and say "Hi", and he'd say "Hi" back, and make a goofy face. He had a good heart, I noted. These were the little things. The small gestures, the kindness, openness, and conciliatory gestures that filled his days, the drive to pursue the career he wanted, thoughtfulness, and a grand sense of humour... They were (and still are) some of the many things that I love about him. But in my teens, how was I to know whether or not this was the man I was meant to marry, or merely my first love?
There were two major lightbulb moments that told me that Mr. Champagne was the one. They might seem small to you, but to me these were big moments, ones that made me realize how truly unique Mr. Champagne is, and how fortunate I am that he chose me to be his.
The fist, was when I got heat exhaustion (we were both 18 at the time) and he spent the day refreshing my cold compress and washing out my bucket. It was a day-long job that I know wasn't pleasant. We stayed up all night that night, playing cards in the bathroom while I sat next to the toilet. His lack of squeamishness, and his genuine desire to help me get better and keep me company while I was at my worst were most certainly enough for me to know that this man was for keeps.
The second, was when we had a babysitting job together and he seemed to fit the role of caregiver so naturally. He played with the kids, made them dinner, played games with them, and even had no problem changing diapers and helping get them ready for bed. He was a full part of the process without complaint. That's when I knew that he was the kind of man that I wanted fathering my children.
And I was right. He took to the role of father like a fish to water. He's helpful, kind, generous, goofy, caring, and affectionate. Our kids (and I) look forward to seeing him every day. I feel lucky to have found him.
I went to the doctor this morning (because I have a nasty cold that has settled into my chest), and something happened to me in that little room that I'm certain has happened to every single other human being in the history of time. Something insulting was said to me and, instead of uttering the response that I later realized was perfect, I sat in stunned silence and let the moment pass.
For those of you who are curious, this particular circumstance was that a walk-in clinic doctor (whom I'd never before met) told me that my anxiety (the panic attacks that I've been having on a weekly-to-daily basis for the past 9 years) and my nasty cold would be cured by getting more exercise. My first desire was to shout profanities and storm out (which I didn't do), because if he actually knew my medical history (or at least looked at my file before he made a snap judgement about my weight) he would have seen that 1. I have been trying to lose weight using diet and exercise for my entire life, and 2. I have hypothyroidism. Additionally, more exercise wouldn't cure my cold and make my lungs magically better. In fact, I think that my exercising right now would merely make me cough more.
The response that I *really* wanted to give, after pondering it for the past two hours, was this: "I appreciate your insight, but your assumption is that I'm fat due to lack of exercise and poor diet. As you've made very clear, you do not know my medical history. What I'm interested in is the diagnosis that you would give to someone that is skinny."
Not only do I wish I could have put him in his place for my own reasons, but also because he could easily say the same thing to another person and they could take him seriously, potentially overlooking a life-altering anxiety issue.
This experience today (which I've had thousands of times before) made me think. If I'd been writing the scene, I'd have gotten my heroine to say exactly what she wanted to. She'd have stood up for herself.
I also realized that I generally write strong, outspoken heroines precisely because I usually get tongue-tied or stunned into silence when I'm in these social situations. So while my heroines all have a little bit of me in them, I've made them stronger, more resilient, and braver; essentially, people that I want to be more like.
Here's to hoping that the next time someone insults me, I can think of the right response, or at the very least that I'll learn to not let it hurt me.
My Crazy Dog--Post #1: Internal Clock
My little 9-year-old Chihuahua, Lady, can tell time. I haven't the faintest idea how she does it.
Anyone that knows Chihuahuas understands that they can be very loud, or "yappy". Gratefully, we've been very fortunate with ours, as she only barks when she believes someone to be at our door. Or, when she's expecting my husband to return home.
Since my husband started his new hours, he's been getting home at approximately the same time every day. Our dog has become used this, and now every single day, between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm, she is extra sensitive to sounds.
Is mine the only dog that knows how to tell the time? Are your pet's meal schedules on an internal clock? Tell me!
The Champagnes Do: The Solar Eclipse
As you all very likely know, today was the solar eclipse. As a person that has very little forethought for things like this, I waited until the last minute before preparing for the event. My husband had created the cool tube chip container viewers on Saturday, and I made the cereal box viewers this morning.
I invited my mom to join us, and as soon as the eclipse started, we walked the half block to the nearby park/field and hunkered down. They aren't in the photos, but there were a bunch of other families that had gathered on the field to watch, as well.
My kids were interested for a short while, but soon became more entertained by running and wrestling on the grass (it's the only green grass for miles, as the summer sun has dried everything up).
Below, are some of the photos that I took today.
I hope you all were able to get a glimpse (safely)! Happy Monday!
Award winning historical romance author, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.