Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Own Worst Enemy

We're trying to sell our house and - thankfully - are in no hurry to do so. However, it's been nearly three weeks with not even a nibble and I am starting to crack.

I am my own worst enemy.

So many things our realtor wants done to increase traffic and value - new kitchen flooring, new carpet (I admit, this blue is OBnoxious), new bathroom counter.... where does it end? A new counter screams for a new sink which then makes the lighting fixture and bathroom floor look super-aged. And what if the carpet doesn't go with the walls and new kitchen floor?


People have been through the house and no one wants it - and that is where I get in trouble. I take it personally (as if my house is so ugly, gross and unlivable... laughable even) every time someone comes in and leaves. Rationally I know this is stupid - I've been through many, many houses in the last month that I haven't really liked and I would think it ridiculous for the home's owner to take it personal.


We are not strangers, anxiety and I. I have an insane fear of new things - just ask my closest friends. The few that I've told this to that do not judge and, instead, support me and get me going. (Example: I didn't use drive-up banking until I was 22 and an automatic car wash until years later.) So there, now you all know. It's my Achilles Heel.

It percolated all week. I bailed out on a craft night at the last minute Saturday afternoon. Stressed from the house, bickering with Fred, annoyed with Elliot and overly anxious about both - people not liking MY house and not knowing this craft thing (who, what, where, will they like me, will they like my craft, is it good enough for them, what if I fart, etc.)... I cracked. Bailed out of the craft thing and just sat. Sat and stared. Stared at nothing with eyes glossed over.

Regrouped last night, took my little family out to dinner and made a decision. Fred is in charge of all necessary decisions regarding the sale of the house from this point forward. I am done. I am over it.

And - guess what? I'm okay. I'm breathing. Happier, even. I am not worrying about it any more. It's taken enough of my time and energy and - quite frankly - I'm pissed that I let it get the best of me yesterday because I was really looking forward to a night away.

Thanks for listening. Anna Seckman, signing off.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hitchin' a Ride (or at least trying to)

I want to go to Cleveland and wish my sister Happy 33rd Birthday in person. I want to sing a very mouth-full-of-marble-y and off-key rendition of Happy Birthday to her and make her laugh about it (and at it) until she cries.

We could shop or eat or just hang out and talk about being what we used to think was ancient. In our 30s. Thirties, married, kid(s), houses, cars and jobs - oy, we're the 'grown ups' we never wanted to become.

Can't remember the last time we have seen each other on our actual birthdays... so if you're headed that way -- and wouldn't mind swinging through Nebraska to pick me up -- I'd appreciate it. I'll pay for gas. AND try not to have any. Well, not too much anyway.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simpler Days

On a regular Sunday visit, I entered her room and was greeted with a smile. "Rebecca!" she said. "Come over and have some tea."

I smiled a warm smile and sat on her bed with her. Grandma Wenciker was 79 years old but stuck in her teens with her neighbor Rebecca coming over to watch the Army boys walk by. And - oh! - those Army boys must have been cute. (Side Note: She eventually married one.)

By this point in her Alzheimer's, Marvin (my grandpa) had passed and no one was left to ground her ... to bring her back as close to reality as could be accomplished. Nearly every time I came, she didn't know who I was and often laughed at the thought of her being a grandmother when she was most certainly not old enough. Due to agitation on my part - and confusion on hers - I gave up explaining who I was and, instead, reveled in the good days.

That particular day was a good one.
I have SO MANY stories from the good days.

Other days were bad. She didn't know who I was, what I wanted or why I was there. The nurse's were stealing her milk and I was a nurse. Her neighbors were stealing her linens and I was a neighbor. Awful, heartbreaking and sad for me but confusing and upsetting to her. Although those trips were kept short, I don't cherish them any less. It certainly helped me come to terms with the fact that Alzheimer's is a jerk - but thankfully, more to the family instead of the victim.

My last visit was different. She knew me and said Marvin was ready for her and that she could see him. I will never forget the way she looked at me when she said that: I saw relief. I told her to go and made peace with what was inevitably coming. She didn't make it to 80.

Today would've been her 89th birthday. I miss her sassy southern-accented comments and her never-ending supply of matching tracksuits with embroidered flowers and birds. I miss painting her nails, bringing her gifts and hearing the stories. I miss being Rebecca and sipping iced tea. Happy Birthday, Grandma Wenciker. I love you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Postal Robot of the Year

11:37 enter the Post Office.

Postal Worker: How can I help you today?
Anna: I just need to mail this, cheap.
PW: Anything breakable?
A: No.
PW: Perishable, Contaminated or Otherwise Unstable?
A: No.
PW: Would you like it to have it delivered guaranteed by 3pm tomorrow afternoon for only $27.60?
A: Ha, no. Cheap.
PW: Next down the line is Priority for $4.95 that will get your package there in the next 2 - 3 days.
A: (Annoyed) No. Cheap.
PW: Well, your only option then is first class for $1.85.
A: I'll take it.
PW: It won't get there until Friday.
A: That's fine. (Isn't Friday in about 2 to 3 days?)
PW: Could go quicker with the other options.
A: No thanks. Friday is fine.
PW: Do you need a receipt of delivery letting you know exactly what time it was delivered and who signed for it?
A: No.
PW: Would you like to insure your package?
A: No. (Good grief!)
PW: Any other stamps or supplies?
A: Not today.
PW: Any Readi-Post envelopes for your next mailing?
A: (WTF???) NO.
PW: Okay then, one package going first class. Is that all?
-- Silence as rings up my big purchase --
PW: Thank you.
A: Thank you - have a nice afternoon.
PW: (Stares blankly)
A: (I think he's a robot.)

Leave branch at 11:44.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Flying: The Love/Hate Relationship

Just last month we flew the friendly skies. We had to:

Book months in advance for a decent price
Get there over an hour before takeoff
Find parking and wait for a shuttle
Get in line to use the automated system
Pay around $20 for each bag
Get in another line to show the counter person our IDs
Contemplate definition of AUTOMATED SYSTEM
Get in line at security
Show IDs again to less than friendly folks
Take off our shoes
Practically empty the carry-on
Take off any form of coat
Get cattle-prodded through the line
Shove our 3 year old through without touching him
Get yelled at for accidentally having a bag on my shoulder
Listen jerk, I said I was sorry - stop scowling
Wait as Fred continually beeps at security
Try, desperately, to get Elliot's shoes on
Yell at Elliot to not run away so I can put my shoes on
Find a place to sit facing the sun (of course)
Pay $12.00 for water, muffin and croissant
Eat the stale muffin and croissant
Learn the hard way that Elliot back washes in our water
Find a bathroom, inside security, for Elliot
Find an outlet for laptop for use... if we want to pay $3.00
Wait for an hour with sun searing our corneas
Get in line to get on the plane
Convince Elliot to stay close
Board plane and shuffle, slowly down the aisle
Sit and convince the kid to buckle up and sit still
Stuff Elliot and one of us into the nasty airplane bathroom
Listen to him whimper and whine the entire descent
Wait to deplane while rude people rush the aisle from behind
Quickly drag Elliot out to avoid being caught in the stampede
Orient ourselves and find a bathroom for Elliot

Repeat 3 times.

As much as I hate you, flying, I do love that you can get us to Mickey Mouse's house lickety-split... and that is worth the hassle.

Well, mostly anyway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mommy Wow, He's a Big Boy Now

I guess I should have seen it coming what with the walking, running and constant stream of language dripping with an attitude so spicy that it only rivals his mother's... our little boy is growing up: Elliot has his first dental appointment this Friday.

We help him brush his teeth nightly and look for remnants of that night's dinner as a way to keep him engaged. It's not at all uncommon to hear "Oh man! Did you have broccoli tonight???" from the bathroom around 8:15 p.m. followed by a giggle. I told him the dentist would probably do the same. Look around, count his teeth and maybe even brush them.

Elliot stared at me, wheels turning.

Then he grinned, saying "I show da dennis waffoles in my teetf!"

Friday, February 12, 2010

City-Wide Pajama Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, Elliot got to wear pajamas to preschool this morning. As you are well aware - or should be - I have a fondness of pajamas and love nothing more than celebrating a Pajama Day in which you do not, for any reason, get out of your pajamas all day long.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Mayor (or should I just call you Chris?):

With the current state of the City's morale (all I ever hear about is potholes these days), I think its high time we do something about it.

I hereby request that April 26 (wow - what a coincidence that that is my birthday!) be a city-wide pajama day. How great would it be? A City Council meeting with everyone in their pj's and slippers and maybe their robes. I, for one, would be a pretty happy camper and I know I am not alone. Roll out of bed, put on my glasses and hop in the car and work all day in a level of comfort not usually known in the workplace.

Please let me know what I need to do to get this moving - we'll, no doubt, need to give a definition of "pajamas" to avoid any unpleasantness.

Love, Anna

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Wonderland Cluster****

Dear Car -
Why do you smell like something is rotting inside of you? I looked under the seats today and found nothing... so could you clean up?

Dear Chick in the Giant White Thing -
I am sorry that I was in your precious way this morning. In case you didn't notice, it's snowy and slick and cars are (literally) all over the place. I turned left and all of the cars stopped so I had to suddenly stop. While I was stopping and pleading to not hit the car in front of me you felt it necessary to honk at me repeatedly. Honk away, sister, I can't go anywhere. Oh - and for a big ole truck like that... it sure is a sissy horn.

Dear City of Lincoln -
I want you to know that I support you and know that you'll get around to it. What's "it" you ask? Everything. Plowing the street - you're trying. Re-filling the potholes that are back after this sloppy mess - you're trying. Even if everyone else rails against you, know I support you.

Dear Guy that Usually Scoops Around Pershing -
Where are you? I wasn't wearing boots (more on that in a sec) so I was forced to catapult myself from one footprint to the next and I don't know who the guy is that made those prints but man, he must be tall. I didn't love showing up to work with snow packed all around and inside my shoes because there's nothing I hate more than wet socks.

Dear Elliot -
Thank you (sarcastically said) for making my feet grow a full size while carrying you around for 9 months. I had found the BEST pair of boots ever but now they do not fit. And since I don't want to wear a boot that resembles UGGs, I don't have boots. Worst part? My coworker wears my boots every time it snows. I want to hate her for it but the rational side of me thinks well, at least someone gets to wear the best boots ever.

Dear Readers -
I hope you're having a more pleasant Friday than I am.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

When Cats Learn to Read

Question: What happens when cats learn to read?
No, this isn't a trick question.

Answer: They will maul anyone defaming their character. And they will maul them while they're minding their own business, trying to go to sleep. Not moving, not teasing or taunting - just laying still. In their own bed. In the dark.

The Sneak Attack Method (or, The SAM) works best - wait until the victim is almost asleep then bound up FROM THE FLOOR and bite into their skull. Then, just as quickly, bound back down and wait for your next attempt. After they're done cussing they'll assume you were done like a sucker. Perfect time to initiate The SAM for a second time.

Don't believe me?
Come check out the hole in the side of my head.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Keeping it Real

Note: Looking for snark? Try again later. Oh - and Blogger's spacing is being a jerk so I apologize for its wonky-ness.

Today's post is about being real. I have many blogs on my reader (read: I spend most of my life reading about other people's lives) and Heather decided it was time. So here I go.

I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and moved around between the ages of 12 and 21 (Wisconsin, 3 parts of Ohio, Texas and New Mexico) before returning 'home' ... and home is where I intend to stay.

I am the third child of four; the second daughter of two. My sister and I played Barbies and school growing up and spent our summers eating Kraft macaroni and watching The Golden Girls. I am proud to say she is one of my best friends today.

For 8 years of my life, I played the flute. THAT, my friends, is how lame I was. I wasn't allowed to quit so I was even in the marching band wearing those nasty-year's-old polyester jumpsuits, suspenders, spats and giant plastic hat.

I am the proud Auntie Tidbit to a niece and nephew - Isabella and Nathaniel. I love spoiling them with handmade goodies whenever I can. My only wish is that they didn't live so far away.

I dabbled at a few Universities and ended up back here for two reasons: 1. I was broke and Aunt Betty had a basement, and 2. I had the strong urge to be near my grandparents who had been put in a nursing home with no other family in the region.

Visiting every Sunday, I heard many precious stories and I learned first-hand what Alzheimer's does to a person. Although I left in tears many times, I always came back. I was with them both when they passed later that year. I am proud to have known them the last year of their lives.

Found Fred at a Ben Folds concert a year or so later - a well behaved, small town boy that is one of the nicest and supportive people I know. We clicked instantly and have now been married for 5 1/2 years and have a 3 year old son. They are my favorite two boys.

I am a sewer and quilter and enjoy creating. I have an Etsy shop on the (very, very) side and wish I had more time to devote to it. Instead, I live vicariously through the many quilter's blogs I read.

I will read anything but Romance-Schmomance. Ewww.

Sienna, our cat, is crazier and meaner than ever.

Elliot has 3 sets of grandparents and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He is a lucky boy to have so many people in his life that love him so very much.

Although no one believes us, Elliot will be our only child. Of course, now that I typed that I will likely be the next Octo-Mom. Ick.

I don't eat vegetables - they taste so bitter!

I am scared of moths and have a general dislike all bugs.

My one and only speeding ticket was for going 84 in a 55. I was out of state. In my sister's car. No where near my sister's city. And it was like 10 pm. I thanked the trooper for not ticketing me at my actual speed which would've gotten the car impounded. [Edited to add: I've had 2 speeding tickets in my life... I just managed to forget about the other one while writing this. Ironically, both involve my sister in some way. Bad luck charm?]

Blogging is a great outlet for me. I love writing, editing and posting for the world to see. Someday, I'd like to be a writer.

I am thankful for my life - for the challenges, ups, downs, disappointments and joys. The heartaches, losses, gains and love. I wouldn't be me, and I wouldn't be here if it weren't for all of that.