Here’s the thing, which will not come as a shock to anyone who knows me.

I am bossy. I like to control whatever I can.  Sometimes so that it gets done right.  Sometimes because someone needs a nudge. Sometimes because it is security.

But it doesn’t always work out well or as planned. And that is a problem. It is exhausting. Beyond stressful. So I have decided to let go of what is no longer possible to control. For my own sanity.

Living with a 14 year old is a constant struggle, I have discovered, in many ways. But the one that irks me the most is the complete and utter lack of academic motivation.  This is a new thing, within the last six months. I have tried many methods to make her see the light – coercion, bribery, guilt, reason. Nothing has worked, or worked for long. Assignments get done, but not turned in. Tests are taken with no apparent studying, judging by the results.  She went from straight A’s to probably being unable to graduate were this high school instead of middle school.  So upon today’s review of The Source, the website where parents and students can track grades, etc., I officially give up.

I have read that this is common for middle-schoolers, but it is no longer worth my time and mental health to continue to nag and berate her. This needs to be something that she decides is important. I will, however, remove phone and internet privileges until things improve. Clearly she needs that time for school work and this cannot be a pattern that continues into high school. Sigh. Deep breath.

I also worry a lot recently about business – things have been off to a slow start at the bar. Alarmingly so. There is not much I can do about this. I post to our Facebook page, I maintain the website, try to make sure customers have a good experience so they will come back, but really, I can’t MAKE someone go there. I have to let that worry go. But it is hard. That affects more than just me.  Things have started to improve recently and I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that it keeps up.  Deeper breaths.

By letting go of these things that are beyond me, I am hoping to have more mental space for things I can control. Like my house. Mentioned many times here as being a disaster zone.  THIS I can fix.

I can make that part of my life tidy and peaceful. I can have clean surfaces and drawers with things I need, not 10 year old bank statements and empty envelopes. I can have freshly painted walls. I can have a garage with a path through it and a plan for the future. I can offload boxes and bags of dead weight.

And then I will have time for things like sewing and canning and making. For peace. I cannot wait.

mid may 2012 garden pretties

I took a little tour of the “garden” yesterday. The Geek has been ON FIRE with cleaning up the front!

We’ve had some wacky weather of late – cold, a few days of really hot, and back to coldish. I am sure the plants have no idea what to make of it. I played around a little with the photos…

Trillium bought last year at the NW Perennial Alliance Sale

One two baby blue spruces for the backyard

Strawberry – maybe the birds won’t get them all this year!

“White Shooting Star” – dodecatheon dentatum

“Golden Alexandria” – fragaria vesca


Redtwig dogwood for the backyard

white columbine – the only good kind

Fingers crossed the tomatoes I planted somehow manage to survive this crazy May weather…

do over

Maybe it’s the whole middle-aged thing (I’ll be 45 in August – probably half as old as I’ll live to be, given my genes) and some wishing for things, but I’ve been thinking about regrets a lot lately.

I’ve never trusted anyone who says they have “no regrets”. Really?! How can that be? How can anyone be so satisfied with every single decision they’ve ever made? It seems impossible. Clearly they are in denial is all I can think, and must have some doozy regrets.

I know I do. Big and small.

For one thing, I wish I had traveled when I had the chance, when we had money and pre-kids. I don’t even have a passport, for crying out loud. Were we so busy eating out and doing NOTHING that we didn’t think to GO somewhere? I should have followed Jay’s lead, who started traveling extensively starting on his 30th birthday. At this point, I think the only places he hasn’t been are the two Poles. It’s not like it’s too late to rectify the situation, but there are a few more obstacles now – namely kids and money. I will at least start with the passport.

Another whopper: college. Yes, I went, but I didn’t stick to the major I planned, which was education. I became a PR major. I have never worked in PR. I’ve had the same office job for 21 years now, largely because it’s easy and my schedule has moved with my kids. Now when I think of what changes I might make, it’s just too overwhelming to consider going back to school to become a teacher. I’ve looked into it but found nothing but full-time programs that take two years and cost beaucoup bucks. I think that ship has sailed.

I also wish we had bought a house in the early 90’s (see travel section for reasons why we didn’t.) I can remember looking in the paper and seeing Wallingford bungalows for $150K. It just wasn’t on our radar. Instead we bought in 2007, at the height of the market, and got a tiny house barely in the city limits. But at least it’s ours.

I miss some people from high school and college that I wish I had stayed in contact with.Yes, I suppose I might be able to find them on Facebook, but that seems kinda stalker-y at this point. What if they scratch their heads trying to figure out who I am? God knows I’d probably do that.

One thing I can’t decide if I regret or not: becoming a bar owner. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, and it’s given us lots of flexibility on the home front. But did we put enough thought into other options? I’d say no. And the stress of it is beginning to outweigh the advantages. I’m getting too old for this, I think.On the other hand, we’ve met some truly wonderful people through the Roanoke that I can’t imagine not knowing. This one is a tossup – it depends on the day you ask me.

Mixed in with that is regretting that I made most of the big decisions for the Geek, things that he should have decided for himself. I pushed him down the path we’re on, but what if it wasn’t the right one? What if he would have chosen differently. Yes, it’s easy to let someone else make the choices but that doesn’t mean they are always right. It weighs on me.

Not all of my regrets are heavy. I would take back that wedding dress choice in a heartbeat. Though to be fair, it was 1991 and choices were limited. Still! Those shoulders! I would have bought my last pair of jeans in a smaller size – I’m all for comfort, but these babies stretch! I would take some time to learn and plan my yard, instead of buying any little pretty thing.

To be clear, I don’t regret EVERY thing I’ve done. I still love my tattoos.I can’t believe we waited so long to get Jack.  Even though my kids and husband can drive me batty multiple times a day, none of the rest means a thing without them. The Geek is my best friend and partner. I am so proud of those damn kids even when they work my last nerve (a 15 minute shower?! Really?!)

I know it serves no purpose to look back and dwell on what might have been. But isn’t it useful to consider it going forward?