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Taking a Social Media Break

January 23, 2017

I’m going to be taking a social media break. Mostly from Facebook since that is where I waste most of my time. I’m doing it for many reasons, the above mentioned wasting time is a big one, but I’m also doing it because it’s not fun anymore. Social media has turned into the Mean Girls table in 7th grade and I hated it then and hate it even more now.

Taking a Social Media Break

Twitter has always been a clusterfuck of negativity, and I am sure Instagram, and Pinterest are getting filled with just as many negative memes if not outright status updates. 

For the most part I have kept my sadness and anger under control when I peruse the status updates of friends and people who update publicly. I’m not a troll and it isn’t my job to educate anyone on the ways of persuasion. I’ve simply had enough.

Stop Being Such Douchebags to Each Other!

People are upset and I appreciate and respect that, but oh my god they are also so very rude, childish and just plain mean. 

This negativity, this aggressiveness, this unpleasantness has been going on for well over a year now, but since the election it’s gotten worse. Since the inauguration, it has gotten out of hand.

“I don’t care who started it!”

Yes, I know, I sound just like my father. 

I know there are important issues that need to be discussed. I get that people are scared and want to do whatever they can to change something… The thing is, I’m not listening anymore. And I’m really tolerant! 

This past weekend I saw women tearing at each other because the appropriate response was not given with regard to the women’s march this Saturday. According to many if you didn’t go you are considered a Trump supporter. That’s quite a leap. I had no idea my lack of desire to participate in an event would lump me in with the deplorables. 

Bittersweet

Social media, especially Facebook, is my socializing. As a single mom, I don’t get out much. Spending some time on Facebook and chatting with friends has always been a welcome way to start the day and wind it down. My time on Facebook was something I looked forward to. Now, it just makes me sad or angry, lately enraged.

And I love you people, but you are being really mean to each other right now and I’m scared. I’m afraid to leave a comment, to engage with other people, because I am afraid my inability to concisely sum up an issue with a pithy comment that is regarded by the majority as correct is lacking. That I can’t say what I want to say without pissing someone, everyone off. 

It Used to be Fun

Listen, I know that social media has never been a place to discuss issues in any sort of meaningful or deep way. Social media comments are like romance novels, you will get down and dirty by page six, or the 6th comment as the case may be. But sometimes, respectful discussions did take place.

These discussions may not have changed any minds, but when respectful they were at least enlightening. Now, it’s just a race to see who can work Hitler or the Nazis into the conversation first. No one actually expects discourse, they just want to get their clever comeback in and then wait for their tribe to hit the like button so everyone knows how influential they are.

And That Pisses Me Off

I’ve tried to reason with social media to no avail so for the time being I’m removing myself from the negativity. Unfortunately, I manage social media for many businesses so I still have to show up. However, I won’t be engaging for a while and as much as possible I will automate my presence there.

That said, I will still be hanging out at my blog and with all the free time I expect will be able to visit those blogs that are actually still blogging. I hope discussion about these interesting times can be had with less snark. If you see me on Facebook – I’m playing Candy Crush or updating a client’s status. I will automate the promotion of any posts here on Facebook and other social media. 

See, I’m explaining myself!! How stupid is that?

I’m sure I will not be gone for too long, probably until TWD returns and all has been righted in the world. I just need to get away from the negativity for a while. Life is simply too short for all of the mean girl bullshit. 

I love you all and I will miss you, but you piss me off too much to stick around right now so I’m disconnecting.

People Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off WTF?

Douchebaggery is Hard to Cure

January 2, 2017
Douchebaggery is hard to cure

Hat tip to my friend Leigh for texting this reminder – douchebaggery is hard to cure – after a meeting with a douchebag. She asked me if I really expected things to turn out any differently than they did and then followed up with the aforementioned truism.

Douchebaggery is hard to cure, indeed

In fact, I have yet to meet a douchebag who has been cured. Mostly, I suspect, because douchebags don’t want to be cured. Douchebags don’t go home and start chatting with their friends to see if maybe they were wrong. They don’t ask their friends if they were out of line. They don’t bother with self reflection because everything is about them and therefore it must be right because that is what they feel. In fact, they are the only ones worthy of feelings. 

According to the Urban Dictionary a Douchebag a:

An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intellegence, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears. 

or 

Though the common douchebag thinks he is accepted by the people around him, most of his peers dislike him. He has an inflated sense of self-worth, compounded by a lack of social grace and self-awareness. He behaves inappropriately in public, yet is completely ignorant to how pathetic he appears to others.

Apparently, I am a douchebag magnet. 

*sigh*

It’s only the second day of the new year and already I’m ready to give up because of this one 40 minute meeting. I’ll get over it, I always do. I’ll grin and bear it as we head back to court to try to resolve something that is unresolvable because douchebaggery is hard to cure. 

There are many lessons to be had, here. Unfortunately, cannot go back in time and fix this. I am proud to say that by isolating myself so well in the past several years I have managed to avoid hooking up with, becoming friends with or otherwise trusting another douchebag, but I’m still stuck with the ones I trusted before I learned this valuable lesson. 

Here’s the thing, douchebags do not wake up one morning as said douchebags. They are raised that way, from birth. The signs are there – big old red flags – but most of us ignore them because well, not being a douchebag it’s difficult to imagine anyone being such an asshole.

Blogging Send Jen on a Vacation Writing WTF?

At the End of My Rope

July 13, 2015
Mississippi River flooded

I’m at the end of my rope! My dad used to say that all the time. So much that it lost its meaning over time even if he had good reason to be hanging on to that rope’s end. Now I am at the end of the my rope. Nothing has happened to put me there, just life. I’m tired, so tired.

Midlife Crisis?

 

It may be a midlife crisis, it may be that I am sick of cleaning up after children who can’t seem to pick up after themselves and I am too tired to throw a fit to get their attention. It might be that I am tired of tripping over a dog that is terrified of thunderstorms and we live in tornado alley. It could be that when he is scared he has accidents and I am really tired of cleaning those up.

It could be that my ex husband hasn’t spent time with our daughter in going on two years now and I need a weekend to myself. It could be that I have no idea who I am anymore afraid that I am just someone who cooks and cleans and works so I can buy things for others.

It could be that I am tired of working and want to work for myself now. I am still blogging but for others. I never update my blog anymore and I miss that so much. I want to write for me not for others.

Recharge

Whatever it is I am in need of recharging my batteries. This is something my dad used to say a lot too. He was often in need of a battery recharge and would traipse off to Mexico with his friends while I stayed home and took care of my mother. I can’t go off to Mexico on a whim and if I could I don’t have any friends that could go with me.

I don’t leave the house except to run errands, visit my mother and take my daily walk so I hit 10k steps each day even though that isn’t helping me lose any weight at all.

I don’t sleep well. According to my Fitbit I wake up 11- 13 times per night! Most of those is letting the dog in and out because he is old and letting the cat in and out because she is a retched bitch who hates me. I know, I should ignore them both but if I do the dogs pees on the couch and the cat meows so loud she wakes the dead.

FML

I want someone to care for me who I didn’t give birth to. I don’t want to burden my kids with my sense of being overwhelmed. It isn’t their problem and they don’t need the added stress. I miss my father. I could call him and unload my troubles and feel a whole lot better for just having said them. He couldn’t do much about them and would often feel compelled to compete with me as to has it harder but having someone to spill it all to would be nice.

I’m hoping to take the daughter to Wisconsin Dells next month and I am looking forward to it but it’s not the kind of vacation I need. I need to be alone for a couple of days. I need to not be worried about anyone but myself while I try to put things back together. I need to know that while I am gone all hell isn’t breaking lose. I need my kids to grow up faster than they are currently doing it.

As it is right now anything could set me over the edge. Yesterday the thought of setting the table for dinner was more than I could handle. I did it but it was painful. I’ll get through this, I always do. These episodes seem to be coming more often, like a wave that recedes only to gain force and slam back into the beach. I need a break, I need a mom, I need a hug.

Kids Send Jen on a Vacation WTF?

Single Mom’s Who Celebrate Father’s Day

June 19, 2015
Lawn ornament, wind ornament for the lawn

Recently there’s been a fiery discussion on social media about single moms who celebrate Father’s Day. In other words, in addition to being celebrated by their children on Mother’s Day they also are celebrated for Father’s Day because they have had to do all the roles of the missing father. As is the case for most discussions on Facebook a vocal few think it’s horrible while the rest of us don’t care one way or another. If a mom, single or not, wants to take credit on Father’s Day I have no problem with it.

This week the morning talk shows are filled with touching stories about dads and their kids. If you’re a dad who has been an active participant in the raising of your children you deserve a medal. The dads when I was growing up weren’t around for much, instead they were at work while mom was home with the kids. They may have spent weekends tossing the ball around or teaching a child how to drive (or whatever dad’s do) but that wasn’t really my experience.

Don’t get me wrong I love my dad, but he wasn’t a very good father. He never taught me how to change a tire or fix a leaky faucet. He never tried to intimidate any potential suitors (though he commented on how cute they were on many occasions). He never threw a ball for me or my brother, though he probably would have taken us to the opera if we had been interested.

We weren’t.

My dad was gone for most of my childhood. He was either at work or at the bar trying to avoid coming home to take care of my mother who needed round the clock care due to anoxia when she had cardiac arrest brought on by an emergency tracheotomy to help her breath when her lungs became so filled with fluid from pneumonia. My mom had no short term memory, could not walk unassisted and had very poor judgment and reasoning skills. She also suffered from bipolar disorder but that was a pre – existing condition.

I got a little off track here.

As a single mom I do all the dad things, even the dad things I didn’t experience as a child. I toss a ball around with my kids. Last weekend the daughter and I replaced a leaky faucet in the kitchen. Both of us were winging it and when it actually worked and no one got electrocuted from the really bad disposal install that had to be worked around the high fives were extreme. I am the one who chased away the monsters, I am the one who cuts the grass and attempts to fix all the broken things around the house. I suck at both but I still try to do them. I am the one who puts my foot down and I am the one who puts the worm on the hook and takes the fish off of it.

My dad did his best to help out. He adored his grandchildren and was a much better grandfather than he was a father. He spent time with my son – just being there for him, and that was so important to his development. He never tossed a ball around with my son but he discussed big ideas with him and listened to all the stories my son had. He gave him confidence and encouraged him to try even when the odds seemed against him. He stepped in and helped his best to fill a void caused by my divorce and for that he was a great dad to me. Sadly he died before my daughter got to know him. Luckily my daughter has an awesome brother who has stepped up like his grandpa did.

I don’t celebrate Father’s Day. Hell, we barely celebrate Mother’s Day. Not because I’m not an awesome mom, I am, but because I don’t need a special day and truth be told it’s just a lot more work for me to celebrate it.

But I don’t care if other single moms want to claim Father’s Day as their own. If you’re a single mom, even if your ex is around every other weekend and Wednesdays, you’re still doing the day to day dad stuff and that stuff is important.

It really does take a village. We don’t have villages anymore and sadly a few too many single moms. Single dads, too. We have too many broken families and not enough friends and families jumping in to fill the void left by the missing parent.

I guess my point is, instead of bitching about who should be allowed to claim credit for Father’s Day why not get in there and lend a hand. I’m sure any single mom would much prefer to have a friend or family member step up and lend a hand in the dad department than to have to claim it as her own.

Dumb Shit I Do Send Jen on a Vacation Things I Really Like

Things To Do In Las Vegas Besides Gamble Part 1

February 16, 2014
The Golden Nugget, Things to do in Las Vegas, Fremont Street Las Vegas, Glitter Gulch

Last month I went to Las Vegas for the first time ever. I went with my BFF Stella and we had a blast. Stella sent me an email last September wondering if I would like to celebrate my birthday in Vegas with her and I jumped at the chance.

This vacation was the first time in I can’t remember that I did something without children in tow. In fact I think it was the first time I’d ever taken a vacation without family of any kind.

And it was awesome!

There was no doubt we’d be gambling and both of us had budgeted a certain amount to do so. However since neither of us are living in the lap of luxury and we aren’t professional gamblers we knew we’d have to fill our days with other things to do besides gambling.

So we bought a bus pass and toured the city.

Mostly we toured the city because I’d forgotten my medication and had to get a refill and the first drugstore we walked to had only recently removed their pharmacy from the store, though they’d not updated their website to that fact yet.

Stella had been to Las Vegas many times and was happy to show me around. She decided my birthday was a good day to visit Fremont Street.

Stella is from Seattle (though she grew up in St. Paul) and is a huge Seahawks fan. Apparently fans of the Seahawks wear their jerseys on Friday so Stella wore hers. Everywhere we went people were high fiving her, hugging her and calling out the Seahawks battle cry.

As a Vikings “fan” I couldn’t wrap my head around this kind of team loyalty.

Glitter Gulch neon Light, neon lights for Glitter Gulch, cowgirl neon lightSo Fremont Street was already a blast, even before Stella dragged my ass into Glitter Gulch.

With a two drink minimum Glitter Gulch isn’t a cheap place to visit. At $10 per Budweiser it was a pretty expensive way to get sad about the state of strippers. I’m not really sure if they were strippers or dancers. They didn’t really dance and they didn’t really strip. One rather large woman walked the length of the bar and threatened to expose herself though no one was particularly interested. Stella wanted to see someone do some pole dancing, and even asked several of the girls to do so but none of them knew how.

While the dancing left everyone wondering the street show was about to begin and that was a much better show.

 

Send Jen on a Vacation Winter

Cold Enough For You?

January 5, 2014
what do Minnesotan wear on their feet when it's really cold outside, best boots for cold weather, Sorel boots,

“Cold enough for you?”

That’s the question Minnesotans greet each other with. It’s a rhetorical question but one we start using when the temperature dips below freezing for the first time in the fall. Come summer in August we’ll ask if it’s hot enough too but we don’t use that phrase for very long.

It’s cold here in Minnesota. As I type this it’s -6°. It’s sunny and the air is crisp. So crisp it actually hurts your lungs when you breathe it in too quickly.

– 6° isn’t that cold though you’d never know that from watching any of the national news programs. I watched a nationally aired news show from New York the other day and the reporter was interviewing people on the street. He talked to families from the NY, TX and TN. All of them mentioned wearing multiple layers and complained of cold toes and noses. The temperature was 15° above zero.

At 15° above zero Minnesotans might zip up their coat. If you visit the University of Minnesota you will see many students wearing shorts.

It’s going to get colder. Much colder. And, the wind is going to kick in. The Governor has closed the schools on Monday throughout the state because temps aren’t expected to rise above -20° and wind chills could be around -50°.

When it’s this cold if you breathe in too quickly your boogers will freeze together and effectively shut off your nose breathing abilities. When it’s this cold the snow is like corn starch and sounds almost as bad as fingernails on chalkboard when you walk on it.  But when it’s this cold you can also do a lot of fun things. You can actually hammer a nail in with a frozen banana.

But mostly you look for things to do indoors because odds are the car isn’t going to start.

We’ve been hearing about the frigid air coming from Canada for a few days now. You can’t escape talk of it on the news, radio or anywhere on the web. Facebook is filled with nothing but status updates about how cold it is. We’ve been anticipating this cold snap for a while and yet there has been no run on the grocery story (though possibly the liquor store) and people aren’t panicking.

We’ve been cold before and any Minnesotan worth their Sorels knows that it gets cold like this every winter.  We’ll ride it out like we do all natural events by watching TV and feasting on hotdish.

 

 

Send Jen on a Vacation Writing

Biting The Hand That Feeds Me

June 6, 2012

I’ve been blogging for almost five years. When I first started blogging I spent all day reading other blogs, clicking on little yellow boxes and even writing a post here and there. I met a great group of people and really enjoyed reading what they had to say. Commenting was the best part of blogging in the early days because it was a way to connect with people. The comments were often the best part of the blog posts.

For the last year or so I haven’t blogged (personally) with the same gusto I did in those first couple of years. I suppose like anything the novelty wears off and what was once fun, bordering on obsessive turns into a bit of a chore.

Life takes over.

Part of my problem is that writing is what I do to pay the bills. It’s my 9-5 job and while I do love it and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, I don’t want to do it on my off time. Besides, there are other things to do besides write. I have to go out into the real world and buy groceries, pick up kids from school and even see a movie sometimes.

While I write fun stuff on this blog in my other writing I write stuff that isn’t so much fun. Finding a way to work the word reputation into a blog post isn’t the hardest work but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do either. Sometimes I do it better than others. This isn’t one of them.

Facebook ruined blogging for me. Maybe not entirely but I have to admit I would like to unplug for a couple of weeks but fear I can’t. The world we live in moves at the speed of the internet and what has take five years to build could be gone in those two weeks. Adding Facebook to the mix knocked me over the edge. I love reading blogs and connecting with people I will never meet in real life but I don’t care what they ate for lunch. Don’t even get me started on Twitter.

So how do you feel about blogging after all these years? Do you love Facebook and other social networks or would you prefer to going back to talking to your neighbor over the fence?

 

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Ex#2 Kids Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off

I Have Child Induced ADD

July 27, 2011

I do. I have child induced Attention Deficit Disorder which means I can’t focus on one task for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m not ashamed to admit I have this disorder, most mothers do. Scratch that, all mothers have child induced ADD.

It starts during gestation, though we don’t notice the degree of the disorder until after birth. In the beginning, during pregnancy, it’s innocent enough. You get excited about bringing a new child into the world, picking out cute little baby clothes, when to tell your boss, when to go back to work, if you go back to work. These thoughts take up a huge part of the brain during pregnancy, though they are completely overshadowed by the worry that comes with being a new parent. Worry that no one warns you about because if we knew about all the worry that comes with parenting no one would have kids. Add to that all the strangers who start touching your belly, asking you personal questions about breast feeding and the inevitable changes in your body that take place, it’s no wonder we can’t focus on our work.

After the child comes it’s nothing but constant distraction. Even once we are finished with the toddler stage of childhood and they can actually do things for themselves we still are constantly interrupted with stupid questions such as “what is the dog thinking now?”, “Why can’t I use a Sharpie to paint my nails?” and “Where is the hamster?!?!?”.

We might have come a long way baby but if you are a mother who works outside the home you don’t wonder why you get paid less than your male counterparts. You know why.

I know, them is fighting words, but the truth is men don’t worry about their kids when they are at the office like women do. And children don’t bother their fathers nearly as much as they do their mothers. If you are a mother and you work outside the home you know you get at least five calls or texts a day asking for something like money, to go somewhere, to do something or to tattle on a sibling. If you are a father you only get a call when something big happens like a broken leg or the house is on fire. And both of those calls usually come from the mother and not the child.

I’m not suggesting we aren’t productive, we just aren’t as productive as we could be because half our brain is worrying about the call that is coming. And, when the call doesn’t come we worry about that and call them.

Case in point: My ex husband, ex#2, picked up our daughter on Monday to take her to the pool so I could get some work done. He hadn’t had her in his possession for more than an hour before I got a call from him asking me what was in her teeth.

WTF?

I didn’t know what is in her teeth, scrape it off with a toothpick, I suggested. He said he had tried, that it was like cement and he couldn’t get it off. I don’t know what he expected me to do about the stuff in her teeth. I couldn’t see it (not even in the picture he texted me), I didn’t know what it was and as far as I was concerned she was on his time and he should be able to handle this.

Now he is not a stupid man, he isn’t prone to hysterics, though she is and I could hear her getting panicky in the background. I suggested it was time for a teeth cleaning at the dentist and didn’t think much more of it. He called me back several times to ask me what it was.

“It’s epoxy” he said, somewhat accusingly.

I don’t have epoxy, I use Elmer’s glue for all of my adhesive needs, and if I did I doubt that my 8 year old daughter would go to the basement or garage, where it would be stored, mix it together and then apply it to her teeth. Sure, she has done some questionable things in her short life but she has been warned ad nauseum to stay out of the cleaning products, and to not put things in her mouth that weren’t food. Hell, she won’t even put vegetables in her mouth, I can’t see her putting epoxy in it.

I got 7 calls within two hours about the epoxy in her mouth. I was so frustrated I told him to take her to the ER if he was so concerned. Mind you I am sure it is just tartar or plague on her teeth and I made a mental note to set up an overdue dental appointment. He told me he was going to make some calls and handle it. Why he couldn’t have done that before calling me 7 times we will never know.

I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what was on her teeth. I Googled it, I asked all my friends if they knew what it might be, and of course they didn’t because they couldn’t see it anymore than I could. The point is now that I knew about the epoxy on the teeth I had to search my home to see if I actually had any epoxy which is like trying to prove a negative. Just because I don’t think I have any, and because I didn’t see any when I tore the house up looking for it doesn’t mean it isn’t somewhere in the house. She could have found some, smeared it on her teeth and then hid it because she knew she would cause all this trouble when she realized she couldn’t get it off her teeth.

Needless to say I didn’t get a whole lot of work done on Monday.

And that’s when the kids are gone. When they are here I can’t focus on a task for more than a few minutes because I need to be updated with the status of Justin Beiber’s relationship with Selena Gomez and then I need to be convinced that I am getting this news not because someone is jealous. Then there is the constant getting of things that are placed out of reach for safety’s sake. Scissors are stored above the fridge because I worry about my children running with scissors. If the scissors are stored in a place where the kids can reach then I just know they will spend the day running with them and holding them the wrong way. I have to constantly get up and monitor the scissor usage.

Guinea pigs are routinely placed on my desk while I am working.

Yesterday morning my son’s girlfriend stopped over. My son is 18 and his girlfriend is 19. I tell you their ages because they are both taller than me and can reach anything in the house that they might need. Everyone was eating cereal and I asked her if she had had breakfast yet knowing full well she had not. I offered her some cereal and started toward the kitchen to get the bowl down and pour the milk. I stopped myself and said she was a big girl and could do both of those things on her own without my assistance.

As mothers we grow accustomed to taking care of people. We cut their meat, we pour the milk, we do all those things because when they are little they can’t do those things. But, they do grow and they learn how to pour the milk without spilling.

School starts in about a month, 43 days to exact, and I can’t wait, but I know that it will take me at least three days to grow accustomed to them not being here, and I will still get up from my desk every five minutes because it has just become a habit.

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How Did We Survive? Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off

Perimenopause and Zoloft Part 2

June 16, 2011

This is a two part series on perimenopause and antidepressants, specifically Zoloft. If you missed the first one you can catch up by reading Perimenopause and Zoloft.

For those of you who didn’t bother to read the first part, here is a short recap. For months I have been experiencing mood swings. I’m 45 years old so I figured I was probably going through some hormonal shit. Menopause is a big secret, no one seems to really know what it’s all about and the mothers who should be telling us this sort of thing aren’t as open as we are. Plus, my mother is in a nursing home with no memory left so she isn’t much help. Menopause is the word we use to describe “the change” that takes place as women age and basically become infertile. In actuality menopause is the time after periods have ceased for 12 months. The word Menopause is just a marker for the time after the change has taken place. Perimenopause on the other hand is anywhere from 3 to 12 years where women’s bodies, specifically hormones, change from normal to messed the fuck up. Perimenopause is when the hot flashes and night sweats start and when the hormones are really whacky.

Makes being a male look pretty good doesn’t it?

So, after experiencing all kinds of crazy mood swings, fits or rage and depression I called my doctor who suggested I try Zoloft for perimenopause. He had read several studies that said antidepressants seem to alleviate a lot of the symptoms of perimenopause.

Sign me up!

Let me back up a bit. I’m not the kind of person who fixes things by taking a pill. I have been on antidepressants before, for about a year, but that was because my OB/GYN strongly suggested it. I was three months pregnant and my ex husband had walked out. He eventually came back, which only made things more chaotic and unstable. My doctor figured the Paxil he gave me would help keep me calm and help with anxiety. Now of course we know how dangerous it is to take Paxil while pregnant or nursing but at the time we didn’t. I was on the lowest dose possible and never really noticed a change in my mood. I was in a stressful situation and I knew it would resolve itself with time. I didn’t want to take the antidepressant but I also didn’t want to threaten the pregnancy with my anxiety and depression. I had already lost several pregnancies as well as had a still born child so I was inclined to do whatever my doctor told me to do. My daughter shows no signs of adverse affects from the medication.

When I was on antidepressants before I felt weak. Not physically but mentally. Surely I was not the only woman who was going through a pregnancy on her own. I beat myself up for taking a pill to fix what was either not fixable or at best a shortcut to having real therapy. I didn’t bother with real therapy because there was nothing I could do to change the way my husband felt, I was just trying to do the best with the hand I had been dealt. I didn’t think a therapist could have done anything to make it better. I’m still not convinced of that. My experience with marriage counselors has been this: you spill your guts for 35 minutes and then they ask you how that make you feel and what you think about it. You don’t even get the full hour. Call me crazy but when I’m paying someone $150/hour I expect them to have the answers.

So I have had some experience with both therapy and antidepressants. When my doctor suggested Zoloft my concern was how long I would have to be on it, what it was like to get off it (it sucked getting off Paxil) and would I gain weight?

It was the Zoloft and weight gain that I was most concerned about.

My doctor said he didn’t think taking Zoloft would cause weight gain, he thought I would see a weight loss because I would be more motivated and less depressed which would likely cause me to make better choices about the food I was eating and he thought I would become more active again.

He called my prescription in to the pharmacy, took some of my blood to check my thryoid, made me schedule another appointment in a month to see how things were going and sent me on my way.

Of course I got back in my car and cried like a baby for about ten minutes. And, of course I am not really sure why I was crying. Relief? Probably.

He started me on a low dose, and then wants to slowly increase it over the next week so my body and brain adjusts properly. So far I have been taking Zoloft for three days and even though I know it takes a few weeks to feel the effects of the drug I also know I respond really well to the placebo effect and so already I am feeling much better.

I googled perimenopause and Zoloft and found a million different articles on weight gain and Zoloft. This scares me a bit. I also found a few articles or posts from people who had been prescribed Zoloft and actually lost weight, so much that they had to discontinue the medication. I’m hoping this will be what happens to me. So far I am down ten pounds since Monday but I just know 7 of them were caused by bloating.

Being a woman just rocks.

I’d love to hear your horror stories or success stories with menopause and perimenopause. You can even share your experience with antidepressants if you want. I know I am not the only one to experience all this.

 

 

Dumb Shit I Do Ex#2 Send Jen on a Vacation

Perimenopause and Zoloft

June 15, 2011

Okay guys, you can skip this one, we’ll be talking about woman things so go crack a beer and watch a game somewhere.

Are they gone?

Okay.

For the past several months I have been experiencing bouts of moodiness. Extreme moodiness which usually include crying jags on the couch, self hatred followed by watching chick flicks with Ben and Jerry. If I wasn’t crying I was yelling at someone or yelling at myself. These bouts of moodiness were usually accompanied by my period which had become irregular in the past several months. I assumed I was in perimenopause but didn’t do much more than ride the storm out and buy a lot of ice cream.

Two weeks ago I blew up at my ex husband because he offered to paint my deck for me.

I have no idea why.

After scaring him away he texted me and asked me if I was okay, he also said he would install my air conditioners and do some wiring for me.

Apparently I scared the hell out of him because while he has always been helpful he has never offered to do so much.

I texted him back that I was not okay, that I was pissed off for reasons I didn’t understand, that I needed chocolate and a hug. He offered to get me chocolate and a bucket of chicken which just sent me into a new tizzy.

That’s some insane shit. I’ve been moody before but never so irrational. However, I knew the mood would subside as my period ended. Which it did until this past weekend when the whole thing started all over again, and accompanied by my period.

I tried to muddle through the whole thing. I took my daughter the the mall to see a movie and do a little shoe shopping. I should have been on top of the world and I was until I had a near panic attack in the shoe store. It wasn’t a panic attack, it was a hot flash. It freaked the hell out of me though and nearly sent me into a full blown panic attack which if you have ever had one you know they can be pretty scary.

We left the shoe store without any shoes which was pretty depressing. I spent the rest of the weekend carb loading and lying on the couch. I had no motivation to do anything and didn’t see the point anyway.

Motivation has been lacking for a long time as well. Work had become work, I had to force myself to do anything on the computer and I was ignoring the phone whenever it rang. I was also ignoring my kids and cooking had become a thing of the past. We were eating fast food or frozen pizza because I just couldn’t bring myself to cook.

On Monday I decided I didn’t want to live this way anymore so I called my endocrinologist and told the nurse what was going on. I told her I wasn’t sure who I should be calling, my OB/GYN or someone else but I had to talk to someone and right now. She said she had an appointment for 11:30 that morning and wondered if I could make it.

“Yes, but it cuts into my nap time” I said only half jokingly.

That’s how insane I have become.

I quickly got dressed, even threw on some mascara and drove to my appointment.

I was quickly called back to the exam room which made me wonder if they don’t deal with this whole perimenopause thing a lot. I wondered if they didn’t have a standing order to get the middle aged women out of the waiting room as fast as possible so not to scare the other patients.

After getting on the scale, seeing that I was up five pounds since my last visit in October and being rather surprised it was only five pounds because of all the carb loading and couch surfing I had been doing, I sat down and filled out some questionnaire which determined I was really depressed. I wasn’t suicidal, I didn’t want to end my life I just wanted to make everyone else’s miserable.

I met with my doctor and explained everything to him. I told him that nothing major had happened in my life, things were actually pretty good and I had no reason to be so down. He asked if I was having any ‘ups’ or just ‘down’ and ‘normal’. I was having no ‘ups’ which I suppose means that I am not bipolar. Realizing that some people were having ‘ups’ and I was not was just one more thing to be depressed about. I had mounds of laundry that needed to be cleaned and put away, I could really use an ‘up’.

I told my doctor everything. I told him about the late night eating I have been doing for months and couldn’t seem to stop even though I knew I shouldn’t be doing it. I told him about my lack of desire for anything, that I didn’t want to do anything and that I felt horrible because I didn’t want to go out with friends or have fun of any kind. I told him that my moods were having an impact on my kids and that was what I wanted to end the most.

I asked him if he could write me a prescription to a week in Tahiti. Without my kids.

He said that wasn’t really an option at this time. This admission nearly had me in tears. I fought them back but wondered if I shouldn’t just let them flow because this was the kind of thing I was dealing with and maybe he should see it. I wanted to go to Tahiti, sort of. I didn’t really want to go to Tahiti because I don’t know anyone there, I look horrible in a bathing suit right now and I don’t have the money or the time to go to Tahiti. I also am pretty sure I don’t like to fly anywhere and I know I hate packing so really the whole thing sounds like a lot of trouble.

See? This is the kind of shit that goes on in my brain…

ALL. THE. TIME!

After sitting there for a few moments in silence my doctor finally suggest I take Zoloft for a few months.

To be continued….

Advice Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off

What it’s Really Like to be a Single Mother

April 4, 2011
what it's like to be a single mom

This post has been percolating for the last week (actually the last 18 years) since I read these articles:

1 in 5 US Moms Have Kids with Multiple Dads

Single Men More Likely to Cheat on Taxes

One Woman Goes Undercover on Dating Site for Cheaters

25 Richest Hedge Fund Managers Made $22 Billion Last Year

Last week as I was trying to get ready for work, get the kids ready for school and make the lunches, I caught the tail end of a segment on the Today Show about the richest hedge fund earners this year. John Paulson, Ray Dalio, Jim Simons and David Tepper all topped out the list each earning over $2 billion. I believe in capitalism so my beef is not with these men who earned these unimaginable amounts of money. More power to them. I hope they spread the wealth around a little by hiring a bunch of people as well as giving it away to charitable organizations.

Sorry, I got off track a little. I’m not angry that these men made all this money but it occurred to me as I was watching the segment, and later thinking about it, that I will never come close to earning that kind of money, I’m in the wrong profession and I am a mother. I probably work more hours than most of these men but effort doesn’t usually count. In addition to being in the wrong profession I am also a single mom and that means I will never make that kind of money without having a rich uncle somewhere or being divorced from someone like Donald Trump. Is he currently single?

Which brings us to the next article about 1 in 5 moms who have kids with multiple dads. The article is interesting and worth reading but what has stuck with me most was this:

An important message that doesn’t appear to be getting through is just how hard it is to raise a child as a single parent.

“While these women tended to be poorer than others to begin with, their whole lifetimes continue to be disadvantaged,” the study’s author, Cassandra Dorius said.

I’ll tell you how hard it is and maybe some of you will listen. Maybe some of you will rethink your assumptions about single mothers (see the comments on the article about single men tax cheaters) and maybe some of you will work on your marriage and stay together rather than look to dating sites for cheaters.

As some of you know I have been married and divorced, twice. I have one child from each marriage. I am college educated, intelligent and somewhat street smart. I don’t do drugs and I don’t gamble. And yet I have struggled for the past 18 years even though I have always been employed in one form or another. I have never gone on welfare, though I could have certainly qualified for the service.

I can work and I do now, but that wasn’t always the case.  I was not working at the time of both my divorces, but that was because both husbands thought it wise that I stay home with the children since daycare was so expensive for infants. Both marriages ended when my kids were each 8 months old. Thankfully I have had a lot of financial help from my family, but always reluctantly and always with judgment.

And judgment is just what any mother needs isn’t it?

The implication is that I am lazy or careless with money because I never seemed to have enough, when in reality what I didn’t have enough of was time. Being a single mother means you will never have enough time in the day to do what married couples do seemingly effortlessly because there is only one of you. In addition to working a full time job I have to help the kids with homework, I have to feed them, I have to wash their clothes, I have to meet with their teachers and take them to the doctor when they get sick which means I have to miss work when they get sick. It is that last one that is the real career killer and why it is I have forged a career where I can work from home. I still don’t have enough time but at least no one can threaten to fire me because my child has strep throat for the fourth time this year. Yes, I actually got fired for that.

And then I went out and found another job and another job all the while letting the things like laundry, cooking and cleaning go as well as only half paying attention to homework because I spent so much time looking for a job that wasn’t based solely on commission.

I have taken more shitty jobs than I care to recount and most of them ended poorly because the groups I worked for were shady at best. As a single mom who has been floating from one job to another for the last two decades I don’t get the interviews for companies that are trustworthy or stable. I get called back to the fly by night companies, mostly sales positions.

  • I have sold used cars and even continued after a ‘customer’ taking a test drive stated he could drive me anywhere and kill me and no one would ever know.
  • I have sold credit card processing to business owners who could not understand the terms of what they were signing.
  • I have sold Melalueca and other multi level marketing products which always cost me more than I made.
  • I have worked at retail shops making minimum wage.
  • I have worked for several questionable online companies of which I am too ashamed to list here.
  • I have cleaned houses.
  • I have even cleaned and painted properties for my real estate agent ex husband.
  • I never thought I would ever take any of these jobs but I have lived through two recessions and now there isn’t any job that is beneath me.
  • I have considered turning tricks and I have considered suicide on more than one occasion.

Not that I want to die or have sex with strangers for money but after trying everything else and still coming up short I’ve wondered if the kids wouldn’t be better off with someone who could support them. Friends and family aren’t the only ones who judge you as a single mom, pretty soon you start to do it too.

And that’s just the financial side of being a single mom.

It gets worse. You see there is no one there when a child spikes a fever in the middle of the night, to take turns cleaning up vomit or soothe the sick child. There is no one there to tell you everything is going to be okay when you don’t know how you are going to make it through one more day. There is never anyone there to back you up when trying to set boundaries for your kids, and no one ever says “Listen to your mother” and “Don’t talk to to your mother that way”. When you tell the kids if they do that one more time you will pull the car over, they know you won’t because as a single mother you just want to get from point A to point B without stopping, probably because you are almost out of gas.

As a single mother you are Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. You are the one who explains all the hard lessons of life and you are the one who more often than not has to tell them they can’t go to camp, play in an after school sport or take swimming lessons because it is just not in the budget. You are the one who has to explain to them that they won’t be able to do most of the things other kids do like go to Disney Land.

While I am not suggesting women stay in marriages that are abusive or where addiction is involved I am here to tell you that no matter how bad you think it is being married with children it is a million times harder being single with children. Forget dating, forget going out with your girlfriends, forget shopping and forget looking your age.

You see, once you are a single mom it’s hard to catch up. Being poor is really expensive and since you probably won’t have a financial net it will cost you dearly. Late payments and overdraft fees add up and you get both because even though everyone tells you not to count on child support you do anyway because it is money coming to you and all that stuff about it being a law. The bank doesn’t care that your child support payment didn’t come and they don’t care if a client didn’t pay. They are in charge of your money so you learn to suck it up in the hopes that they won’t take all of it.  As a single mom you have to make hard choices. Processed food is less expensive than healthy food and it keeps longer. You can feed your kids a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese for about $2 or you can spend a lot more and give them something healthy. Healthy eating is a luxury.

Of course you can’t share all of this with your kids because they have enough to worry about and don’t need to know about the things that keep you from sleeping most nights. It’s hard enough for any kid to grow up these days, they don’t need the added stress.

There are certainly single moms out there who are doing well.  Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan, Cheryl Crowe and other celebrities can easily afford to hire nannies and other domestic help and they make it look easy but most of us aren’t celebrities. Still, you hear of women who wrote books, started successful businesses and climbed the corporate ladder all while raising their kids on their own.  I don’t know how they did it, and I have asked God (or whoever is up there running things) numerous times to please share the secret with me because so far I haven’t figured it out. He hasn’t answered me yet but I’m still hopeful.

Of course it isn’t all doom and gloom. If you work hard enough and your kids stay healthy you can expect to achieve in 18 years what normal people do in six months.

I don’t know what I would do with those billions of dollars that the hedge fund guys earn. I can’t even imagine having that much money. Knowing what I know I would do something to help other single women who were struggling like I have. I’ve often fantasized about winning the lottery when it gets really high. I don’t buy lottery tickets so my chances of winning aren’t very good but occasionally I drive by one of the billboards with the jackpot amount all lit up and it gets me thinking what I would do with something like $315 million. While I would certainly stock my pantry, fix my leaky basement, pay off my car and maybe even take the kids to Disney Land I don’t know that I would do anything extravagant.

I would love the feeling of depositing that kind of money in my bank and watching them come to me to do a little ass kissing. And then I would give it to an accountant somewhere else so they never got their hands on any of it. I fantasize about that a lot. I also dream of having envelopes of cash, say $10,000,  at the ready so when I see a mom in the grocery store who is disheveled, telling her kids no to all the candy and toys and who clearly hasn’t slept in days (in other words a single mom because if not she would have left the kids at home) I can just hand it over to her and walk away. It wouldn’t solve all her problems, not even close, but for a few days she might just be able to breathe.

 

 

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