Today is Memorial Day. There's a nice breeze blowing outside, I haven't stepped out yet, but today I am going to make taking a walk my priority since it's something I always want to do, but rarely make the time and effort to slot into my schedule. Lack of sleep makes everything worse. I went to bed at a reasonable time, but stayed awake for a while and then woke up early. I didn't want to get out of bed so I drifted in and out of sleep for a while. I know that if I get more exercise I will be physically tired at night and able to get better sleep, but for now I'm happy with the progress I've been making. It's still a temptation to stay up later than I would like to, but I'm working on developing a nightly routine that encourages drowsiness at the appropriate time. My kids don't listen to me so this is another thing that I'm working on with them. Instead of yelling at them I ask them once or twice and then start thinking about a way to counter that behavior later on. When my youngest wanted to bring a birthday treat in for school and didn't pick up her things after school I told her that I hoped we would have time to run out later and I might be too tired from picking up her things to make an extra trip to the store. It was amazing how fast she picked up a dish towel and started drying dishes.
Today I am going to drop my neighbor's dishes off at Goodwill. They're nice dishes, but nobody I know needs or wants them and I know I'll be irritated if I get a low ball offer at a rummage sale that I'm planning on holding this weekend. I want them off of my counter and out of my house which is how I get with things. I put up with them until they become intolerable and then I do something drastic. In this case I've posted them on Craigslist and dropped the price without a single person inquiring so they need to go. I feel as if I've made an effort to get some money for them and I've put up with them cluttering up a shelf in my kitchen for long enough. Today I read about creating a mail station to help keep incoming mail organized. The book suggests having a bin or basket for recycling and standing over it while you go through your mail. After you've tossed the junk, it can go into one of four slots. I tried something similar a while ago, but I didn't have the bin and I only had three slots for items. I kept piling paperwork on the top file which was mine, but didn't take the time to go through it so I wound up with a towering stack of unrelated paperwork that I didn't attend to and ended up misplacing items that I needed. Getting rid of the dishes is step one. I can buy a bin if we don't already have one I can use and I can clean off the dusty file trays that I found in my closet yesterday.
I'm really excited about a lot of what I've been doing even though it's been a long slow journey. I can see things becoming cleaner, the chaos is reduced, and we are better about having a place for things. Board games are an issue in this family. People don't take care of the things they have and they don't put them away when they are done with them. The girls have been playing a Disney Trivia game that they leave out unless I ask them to put it back in the box. Today I found the box sitting on the floor behind the couch. It's probably there because we don't really have a spot for board games. The side of the box is missing and I have no idea if we still have all the pieces which is another problem we run into with games. I sorted through the games and put the ones we wanted to keep in a bin, the girls added games to that pile and now it's once again an out of control stack that needs to be organized. My sister is coming over today and I'm really looking forward to getting her advice. I'm thinking about putting games into plastic bins or bags instead of the cardboard containers they come in that are not uniform in size and don't last long in this house, but the underlying issue is that we need to take care of things that we have.
I was talking to my oldest daughter yesterday, she thinks that we do take care of things like our movies and that's another problem we have. To me, a scattered crunching of movies laid out on the carpet or stacked in a haphazard pile is not us taking care of our movies. Years ago I bought a CD wallet and organized the DVDs that we had, but that was me doing something with them and they almost never go back when people are done watching them. The girls went out with their dad yesterday and came home with a water bottle that is still sitting on my couch. In the past I would have put it in the recycling container. This is part of breaking the mom picks up after everyone cycle so it's stressful to see it sitting there, but they need to learn how to pick up their own things and I realize that my inability to let things just sit there has been part of the problem. I read something about always organizing and never feeling as if you're getting anywhere. A girlfriend of mine said it's her dream to be organized. Truthfully, I know that if most people came over, they wouldn't see too much that is horribly wrong with our house and I'm going to take most of the credit there. It's vital to go back and see that progress has been made as negative self talk can rapidly undo a fairly decent mood.
The book talked about having an exercise partner. I really need someone that I can count on to go out and take a walk with me. I used to have walking buddies at work and I really miss meeting for lunches and breaks even if it was just a few quick turns around the building. The girls have a terrible habit of sleeping in super late, getting up whenever, and staying up until all hours of the night. I had to pull my husband's old laptop out of their bed last night. I heard my oldest daughter coughing and that was upsetting too. ADD, like everything else, is worse when you're tired and it's really hard to change patterns that we've grown accustomed to over the years. The saying about birds of a feather sticking together is so true. I was always a morning person, but I married a night owl and picked up a lot of his habits. He routinely stays up past midnight and consequently is grouchy and crabby the next day. He says it doesn't matter how much sleep he gets, he's still tired, I feel the same way, but I notice that he is in a better mood in the morning when he gets more sleep.
Last January he told me that he had a change of heart and he really wanted to work on our marriage. I was reluctant and didn't believe that he was really committed. He started going to church and even ate a salad in 2014 which is something he had never done before. He bought books on improving a marriage, went to counseling, and did other things to try and show me that his heart had changed. I made a conscious effort to improve things here at home. My therapist said that we should work on things as individuals before we started working on us as a couple. I thought that was good advice so I started seeing her on a more regular basis. He didn't feel as if I was trying as hard as he was and I didn't feel as if he was doing the things that I was telling him would make me feel better. The way he's acting now reminds me so much of when we first met. His new woman may be bipolar, she lives with her sister and brother-in-law and seems very needy without good boundaries. I think he likes to get into messy and complicated relationships with women so he can come in and make them feel as if he is able to resuce them somehow. I felt that he was rescuing me from his parents. We had a lot of really long good talks which kind of fooled me into overlooking some of the red flags that were going up around us.
It's really strange to be on the other side of the drama for once. There's no way that this ends well, but I'll have to sit back and let them realize that. My aunt thinks that she has commitment issues. That could very well be. He said that she reminds him of me and that wasn't what I wanted to hear either. I'm waiting for something to snap. He can't keep going out with her, working the hours that he's been putting in, spend time with the girls, and do projects around the house and condo without something going. I'm scared of what's going to happen when this comes to an inevitable eruption so it's something I need to talk to my therapist about. I've been a lot calmer since I started taking magnesium and having structure and routines in place is comforting too. In the past he's told me that he knows that he has ADD and he just lives with it. But living with it is not dealing with it and the symptoms are getting worse instead of improving like mine are. I made myself do the dishes last night so I didn't have to wake up to them this morning. I didn't want to tackle my desk or the closet or think about the board games, but I know that if I let these things slide forever, we'll always be mired down in untidy stacks of board games toppling over each other.
I've been better about meals and buying snacks. It's really hard to do this by myself, but at least I have more freedom to do the things I want than I have in the past. He always told me that I had the power and control to do what I wanted. But I remember so many times where I would meet with passive resistance. When we were out shopping yesterday I took note of how he spoke to my oldest daughter, listening to him speak very negatively to her when she wasn't really doing anything wrong. She bought a muffin and a smoothie at the grocery store and he got on her for not having a receipt. The interesting thing there is that he doesn't like receipts and we actually got into a fight when he said that he didn't spend that much money so he didn't need to hang onto to his receipts. He's mad at her for the very thing that he tried to defend when I was talking to him about tracking our expenditures. I let him finish and then asked if next time she could get a receipt for what she had bought so the cashier didn't think that it was an item we still needed to purchase. I feel so bad for the girls. I'm an adult and that type of criticism hurts me. I can't imagine what it's like to be a kid of ours in this house. Jill walks around with money in her pocket and spends it on whatever she wants. She lacks the impulse control her sister has so all of her birthday and confirmation money will get frittered away and she won't have that money when she wants it later. He let her buy a bunch of games she could download and she'd be happy if I let her spend all day on the computer. Interrupting that escape is key and we haven't modeled that very well for her although I think I'm getting somewhat better. One step at a time is my motto for today. Rome wasn't built in a day and this house has almost twenty years of bad habits and management to overcome.