The Finish Line

Sheepdog has always said, “If you see Stacy running, you had better call the police.  Because someone has got to be chasing her.”

You see, my husband knows me well and he definitely knows that I do not like to run.  I never have.  I’m just not so inclined.  I am more of a cheerleader.

But Sheepdog is a runner.  He is mostly a bike rider, but he is also a runner.  Run, Sheepdog, run.

He has been running throughout most of our marriage.  No, not away from our marriage, silly.  Throughout.  Although, in truth, maybe sometimes he is dreaming of running away.  I know I sometimes do.  Just not while running.  But I digress.

Sheepdog has completed a couple of triathlons, but the swimming part always gets him.  He swims like I would imagine a T-rex swimming… like he weighs in the tons and has disproportionately short arms.  The triathlon I remember best he did in Brigantine, New Jersey, when Kid B was just an itty-bitty thing.  They started off swimming in waves.  Each wave (divided by age and gender) had a different color rubber swim cap, so it made it easier to identify your swimmer when they finished the swim portion through the rough waves of the bay.  I don’t recall exactly, but I do recall that his wave (young, fast men in robin’s egg blue caps) came bobbing to shore first, but not Sheepdog.  Then the young, fast women started to swim in.  Still no sign of Sheepdog.  The older, not-so-fast men, then some kids and even the older women started running out of the cold water.  I think a couple of handicapped people swam to shore, as did a woman who was well over 100-years-old (I might be remembering that part incorrectly, but you get my point).  Finally, Sheepdog wearily dragged himself up the boat ramp and onto his bike.  Satisfied that he did not have to be brought in on a rescue boat, he then took off angrily on his bike as if it were an extension of his own body.  He rode like the wind.

And he ran like the wind, too, all the way to the finish line back on par with many of the fast, young men.  And I stood there with Kid A and Kid B and the diaper bags and the snacks and the double stroller, and I think my parents were there too, and we cheered as loud as our voices would cheer as Sheepdog ran under the marker and clocked his time.  It was a grand celebration at that finish line.

Sheepdog has also competed in marathons.  That same year, he ran in the 39th Atlantic City marathon.  Once again, I stood at the windy finish line with Kid A and Kid B and the diaper bags and the snacks and the double stroller, and we cheered and hollered as he completed twenty-six point two miles of running along the boardwalk and the streets of Atlantic County using only the power of his own mind and body.  And he did it in just under four hours.  And it was again a grand celebration at the finish line, especially because this time he didn’t almost die in some back bay because of his dinosaur flaw.

Sheepdog says, "I was running!"

Sheepdog says, “I was running!”

He went on to run another marathon in Philadelphia after Kid C was born.  He trained so as to not die on the swim portion and he “Tri-ed” again a few more times after we moved to Georgia.  He has ridden in countless bike races, all over these United States.  They are each different but sometimes the races all blur together in my mind.  The end is always a grand celebration at the finish line.  A celebration of athleticism, of willpower of the human mind, of setting and attaining seemingly impossible goals.  And of not drowning.  But mostly the finish line is a celebration of people.

Yes, I have stood and celebrated at many finish lines.  My heart aches for those who were there at the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.  I watched the news in horror, found hope in the helpers and cheered with America when they captured the suspect.  Boston may be strong, but I fear they are a little bit harder inside after the events that unfolded last week.  I know I wondered if I would ever want to be at any finish line ever again.

But then I decided something…  I decided that I do still wish to be there.  I want to celebrate athleticism and willpower and goals.  Mostly, I want to cheer for the people, because mostly, people are good.  I will continue to send my kids off to school.  I will keep going to the movies.  I will continue to live this life that I have been blessed with to the fullest.  I will try to be one of the helpers.  And I will ALWAYS be cheering as loudly as I can at the finish line.  And I hope to see you all there.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Press of Atlantic City article about Sheepdog

Put ‘Em On the Glass

I like Monday mornings.  I’m not being sarcastic.  Mondays are my “get it done/ bang it out” days… laundry, grocery shopping, a fast workout, appointments.  I figure I’ll have one long, crappy day that is filled with as many of the sucky chores as I can cram in.  Then, later in the week I can do the fun stuff… bake, visit with a friend, watch a Kevin Smith movie marathon, nap, maybe post a blog or two.

Sheepdog always calls me to chat on Mondays and I’m all like, “Why do you keep calling me… I’m BUSY!”  Plus, we just spent the whole weekend together.  What the hell else could we have to talk about?  I like doing stuff together on the weekends, with the kids or without, but the OCD in me really likes it when Monday morning rolls around and Sheepdog has pedaled his way down the street and the kids are all out the door and I can get down to brass tacks with my To-Do list.  I’m always slow to start on Mondays, but once I get going, I am a machine.

Early this morning Kid D and Kid E had crawled into bed with me to cuddle.  We still had a half an hour before we needed to start the day so I was still trying to actually sleep, but the boys were having none of that.  Kid E was perfecting his explosion sound effects (his latest hobby) and Kid D was having a full-on, all-parties-have-to-participate conversation.

“How was your sleep, Mom?”

“Mmmmmm.”

“What does that even mean?  Are you hungry, or still sleeping?  It is supposed to rain today.  80 percent chance, according to The Weather Channel.  My game will probably be canceled.  We are supposed to play the Nationals again.  They are really, really good.  We have had, like, 5 games with the Nationals get rescheduled because of bad weather already this season.  I don’t know how we’re going to make them all up.  Dad and I had a really great practice yesterday.  I was working on my hitting and he kept yelling at me and throwing things at me so I would be distracted.  But I did a good job staying focused.  Did you hear that new song by Muse yet?  I heard it on the radio and I really like it.  Are you going to buy it on iTunes?  You should and then I can download it.  Can you do that for me?  Can you do it today, so you don’t forget?  What else are you doing today?”

“Shhhhblammm!” goes Kid E.

I slowly and reluctantly began to wake up.  And I remembered that it was “bang it out” day and I had an appointment on my schedule first thing this morning.  So, without much thought, I answered the chatty kid.

“I have a doctor’s appointment early this morning.”

“What for?”  Of course.

“Well, it is just an annual exam.”

“Exam of what?”  Nosy bastard.  I’m still tired and I have a lot to do today and I’m not in the mood to play 20 Questions.  I’m just going to give it to him straight.

“Technically, it is of my boobies.”  That’ll shut him up, if only because he’ll be giggling for the next ten minutes.

“Shhhblammm!  Shhhblammm!  Shhhblammm!” goes Kid E again, and then he chimes in, “What about your boobies?”  He joins his brother in fits of laughter.

“All right, gentlemen.  That’s enough.  I am going to the doctor to have them make sure that my boobies are healthy.  It is something that every woman should do every year.  Eat right, exercise and get your girl parts and boobies checked.”

“Are they checking your boobies for milk?”  Smartass.

“No, Mr. Smartypants.  These boobies no longer make milk.”

Kid E goes back to sound effect production, but Kid D is contemplative.  I can tell his mind is back to working overtime.  And then he cracks a smile as he turns to inform his little brother.

“Oh, I get it.  They’re checking to make sure that her milk hasn’t turned into cheese!”

Shhhblammm, indeed.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

images

Animals Gone Wild Kingdom

Sheepdog quite possibly killed a rabbit.  Or maybe he did not.  He could just be hopping around totally unharmed.  We will never know.

This is what I do know…

For a decade Sheepdog has been working in Buckhead, which is the uptown district of Atlanta.  It is about 25 miles (approximately 3.17 hours in ATL real traffic time) from our house.  For at least a couple of years now Sheepdog has been taking public transportation to work.  This means that he wakes up during the 5 o’clock (Good Lord, I didn’t even know that was humanly possible) hour, drives his car to the MARTA bus stop at Windward, rides the bus to the northern-most Red Line MARTA train station at North Springs (exit 5C on GA-400N), then takes a train to Buckhead.  Finally, he walks the last block or so to his office.  It saves us a ton of money in gas and he is often able to work, make phone calls or read/ sleep during his commute.  According to Sheepdog this really sucks, especially when gas prices skyrocket and public transportation becomes SRO (standing room only).  But he is the ultimate team player, so he endures.

Then sometime around the end of October Sheepdog came home and announced that he wanted to start commuting to work on his bicycle.  And no, I’m not joking.  My immediate response was that he was certainly NOT riding a bike to work because he would surely make me a widow (with five freaking children!), especially given the fact that drivers despise cyclists around here and often try to nudge them off of the roads.  And it’s not just me that does this.  Soooooo… End of the Crazy Discussion.

Whenever Sheepdog talks about wanting (in fact NEEDING) to ride his bike, I always start singing the song "Bicycle Race" by Queen in my head. It is awesome (the song, not my singing)

As always is the case when I flex my muscles in the “And That’s Final!” way, the jokester that is my God immediately brought a new person into my life to expose me to a different perspective on things.  On Halloween night I walked around our neighborhood shadowing Kid C and her friends.  With me were a few of the friends’ parents, some of whom I did not know.  At some point during the night I talked to a dad who, as it turns out, does triathlons and is an especially enthusiastic cyclist and thought it was just the best thing ever that Sheepdog was considering a 2-wheeled commute to his office.  He proceeded to tell me all of the reasons why throughout the long evening.  Awesome.

I then went home and told Sheepdog that he could look into riding his bike to work.  As long as I was convinced that it wasn’t a suicide mission, I would consider endorsing his plan.

The word “tenacious” was brought up by my dad during a toast to Sheepdog and I at our wedding all those many years ago.  My dad explained that it takes tenacity to have a successful marriage, and I believe that Sheepdog took that sage advice to heart.  Moreover, he also applies that same tenacity to other aspects of his life.  When Sheepdog gets an idea in his head, he is more often than not tirelessly persistent until that idea comes to fruition.  I knew that once he started considering riding to his office, he would figure out a way to make it happen even if I wasn’t totally on board.  My dad also said during that same speech at our wedding, “Stacy’s personality is such that it takes a very special man to live with her,” but I forgave him for that because it is kind of true.

So Sheepdog promised that approximately 90% of this commute would take place on “very safe” bike path routes, and after he successfully dispelled my fears that he would be on said bike path routes when it was mostly dark outside (“…and do you know who is on bike path routes at these insane times?  Undesirables fleeing from the law, serial killers, sex offenders and vampires, that’s who!”), I agreed with the plan for him to ride his bike to work.  But I had some conditions.

1.  No intentional riding in the rain.

2.  Always be defensive and alert while riding, especially on the 10% of the ride that is not classified as “very safe.”

3.  He must text me every day when he gets to work to let me know that he has arrived safely so I can cross “call life insurance company” off my To-Do list (at least on that day).

I will have to say that the arrangement seems to be working out fine.  Sheepdog has gotten caught in some sudden and unexpected (Me: “Why didn’t you check the forecast, dummy?”) downpours, but he hasn’t melted yet.  He says he is very careful, yet he insists on listening to his iPod while riding, which I am less than thrilled about because it means he is not paying attention as fully as I would want him to.  But he wears a very bright, flashy light thing and he does text me that he is safe every morning, even though I forget I have a phone and often don’t check my messages until after 10 a.m. or sometimes not at all.

Then one day Sheepdog posted this on Facebook:

Rabbit run! Crazy commute this morning. Lots of rabbits on the bike path. Hit one but we are both okay (think he bounced off of the crank).
app.strava.com
commuted 21.9 miles by bike.

What the what?  A rabbit?  Here I am worried about angry drivers crashing into him, or murderers and the undead chasing him in the dark woods, and he gets attacked by Little Bunny Foo-Foo?  Then today I saw about eight deer running through our neighborhood around 7:00 a.m. when I was driving some kids to school.  And don’t get me started on the darting, schizophrenic squirrel population.  They could all easily hit my Sheepdog.  It is like Jumanji out there.  It just goes to show that you never know what dangers may be lurking, even in the “very safe” sections of the world.

Please be safe, Sheepdog.  And please take off the damn headphones. xo

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

BRB

Oh, hello.  I’ll bet you thought that I forgot about you.  Well, I promise that I didn’t.  I have been appropriately guilt-ridden for not properly tending to this blog over the past few weeks (months), but frankly there are six other people who live in this house who have become increasingly demanding lately and they tend to yell and cry right in my face when I ignore them.  This blog just silently nags at me.  What with the squeaky wheel and all, appeasing the natives comes first.  Then I tend to collapse into my bed, exhausted.

I honestly can not believe the speed at which time is passing.  I feel like I’m living in some kind of crazy warp.  Every day I wake up and I blink and it is night.  I am trying to enjoy the little things and live in the moment and all of the stuff that they tell you to do in the country music songs, but it seems an impossible task when complete months are whizzing by me without fully registering.  For example, just last week I went to the bathroom and saw some blood and presumed I was dying rather than believe that four weeks had passed since my last period.  It in fact had, but it felt like there was just no way that was possible.

So I find myself re-adjusting my daily schedule.  I am playing virtually no video games and I hardly even recognize the Atlanta Housewives anymore (Kim’s son is probably in high school now, for all I know).  Santa brought me P90X2 for Christmas (by the way, he and the pleasantly plump Mrs. are on the Biggest Loser this season, which is totally freaking my younger kids out) and I have been working out almost every day as well.  The kids’ sports and activities are back in full swing, as is school (picture me Tebowing for the short Winter Break).  But I love, love, love writing this blog, so I just have to make a few more adjustments so I can fit it back into my daily life.  Or I have to invent some kind of machine that can create more hours in the day.  I should get Sheepdog working on that.

Did you see the game last night? This kid is something special.

I think it was Kid C that noticed me mumbling something one day as I was walking from the kitchen out to the garage.  She was waiting for me in the car because I had to drive her somewhere.  As I climbed in to my seat she asked me, “Did you just whisper ‘BRB,’ and who were you talking to because the door is closed?”

For those of you who don’t text, or live in this century, or maybe still use a Palm device, I’ll explain that “BRB” is short for “be right back.”  And apparently I have been saying it to nobody in particular every time I go out for a while now.  I didn’t consciously realize I was saying it at all.

So I thought about it while I was driving around.  Maybe I was saying “BRB” to the house.  Maybe I was saying it to the people who were inside (although sometimes there were none).  But I’d really like to think that I was saying “BRB” to my blog.  Because I really do miss it.  And in my weird time warped existence, maybe I am just now getting right back.  So here’s to many more blog posts in 2012, and me finding the time to write them!

Also, effective immediately you can find This Is How I Do It at http://www.tihidi.com (the “wordpress” part is now unnecessary).  And some of you mentioned that you stopped getting notifications whenever I publish new posts.  Wordpress still can not figure that one out, but you can re-subscribe by entering your email at the top right of any page.  As always, thank you for reading and I hope you are enjoying the peek behind my curtain.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

I Like Sir Mix-A-Lot

I was cleaning off the kitchen table after breakfast on Saturday morning.  It was just me and Kid A and both of the boys.  Sheepdog and Kid B were at another soccer tournament in Tucker, GA, and Kid C had a sleepover at Nanny’s house the night before and hadn’t gotten back yet.  I was planning my day out loud.  I needed to schedule a run (even though when you run as slowly as I do it is technically called a “walk”) and I was trying to get myself excited about it.

“Well,” I began, “Yesterday marked exactly three months until Daddy and I go to Mexico on our vacation.”

“That’s nice,” said six-year-old Kid D.  At least somebody in the room was listening to me and my stream-of-consciousness ramblings.  Although he was very engrossed in NCAA football, so he may have been talking to the television and not to me.  Or his father has already taught him to always acknowledge the sound of a woman’s voice, even if it was in that “Sure, I’m paying attention to you” way.

I continued, “… and I am not planning on taking this big butt on our trip, so I need to fit in a run-slash-walk and then I’m going to do some P90X.”

Kid D was all of a sudden clearly paying attention to me (presumably because I said the word “butt”).  He put down the remote and came over to me in the kitchen.  “Mom, you have to bring your butt with you.  How else are you going to sit down?” he inquired.

I clarified, “I am still bringing a butt on the trip, just not this great, big one.  It will be a smaller version of my current butt.”

None of my other kids in the room said a word.  And either Kid D totally understood me, or his father has also already taught him how to navigate the DANGER! DANGER! that can often result when women are discussing their weight.

“Well, I already think you’re beautiful, mom,” said my loving, angelic, currently ranked #1 son.  I was both proud of his compassion and flattered by his compliment.

Then the dumb boy added, “But I think it’s great that you’re finally getting skinny because big butts don’t really fit on airplane seats.”

Then he gave me a hug and went right back to watching College Game Day live from Houston.  Oh, how quickly they can fall out of favor.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was also a Monday, so it was laundry day, grocery shopping day and Kid A had an interview in midtown at 7PM, so she and Sheepdog were not home for dinner.  Best birthday ever, you say?  Wait… it gets better.

The day started around 12:15AM when Kid E moseyed into our bedroom and asked to cuddle with me.  As I took him by the hand and led him back to his own room, I cursed him silently for waking me.  This back-and-forth routine continued over the next three hours.  The silent cursing did not last long.  Every time I would start to fall asleep again, Kid E would tap me on the shoulder.  By the hundredth time I felt like I was being tortured.  On one trip back to his bed I told him congratulations on giving me the worst birthday present ever.

His confused response was, “But I didn’t even get you a present.”

If somebody is up during the night I always try my best not to disturb Sheepdog, because he has to get up early and go to a real job.  By 3:45AM I was exhausted, infuriated, desperate, and on the verge of tears.  I no longer cared about Sheepdog and his stupid job.  So the next time Kid E came in I ignored him.  Sheepdog finally heard him (“Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom…”  Seriously, how does the man NOT wake up?) and he jumped out of bed.

“WHAT?” whisper-yelled Sheepdog.

“I have to pee,” said Kid E, very matter-of-factly, with a hint of “What would you have me do…urinate in my bed?  I’m no savage!”  So Sheepdog took him to the bathroom and then back to his room.  At last, the kid was sleepy enough to stay in there.

“Happy Birthday, ” Sheepdog whispered to me when he came back.  “I’m sorry you’ve had a crappy night.”

“I’m thinking of moving out,” was my very serious response.  I don’t remember if I dreamed over the next three hours, but if I did it was probably about locking myself behind multiple doors with heavy deadbolts.

I wish for world peace. And for skinny thighs.

I woke up later to Kid D screaming that his stomach hurt as he was running past me into my bathroom.  “I don’t feel so good,” he sighed as he crawled in bed next to me.  I didn’t even care if he had washed his hands first.

As I was zombie-walking down the hall to put Kid C onto the elementary school bus, I realized that Kid B had overslept and she would need a ride to school.  This keeps getting better.

Actually, it did get better.  Kids A, B and C went off to school.  Kid D felt fine, so I dropped him off as well when I was taking Kid E to preschool.  Then I went home and collapsed until I decided to make my own birthday cupcakes for dinner.

Sleep is a funny thing.  I am a girl who needs a good nine hours, so I rarely hit my mark.  I make up for it by sleeping in on the weekends (Shout out! Sheepdog for helping me do that) and taking occasional naps.  You’d think I would be used to interrupted rest after having five babies, but I never adjusted.  The cumulative effect of sixteen years of sleep deprivation has left an indelible mark on my personality.  I’m meaner and even more sarcastic.  I have even been known to growl on occasion.  I have to use more under eye concealer.  It is not a good thing.

It is a good thing that Kid E has some sixth sense thing happening, because he was one more sleepless night away from being put up for auction on eBay.  Last night he went to bed without incident and then slept through the entire night.  I am a different person today than I was yesterday.

Today I feel like I can take on the world.  Today I feel like I am a Disney Princess and everyone around me is a singing animal.  Today I am She-Ra, Princess of Power.  Today I feel like Wonder Woman and Laura Croft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer all rolled into one, except not all fit and and wearing some sexy ass-kicking costume because I’ve just been too tired to work out lately.

But today I have the energy to fix that!  I’m gonna go work out right now.  Then I’ll probably take a nap, because who knows what tonight will hold.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Have You Heard About the Lonesome Loser?

Today was officially the first day of preschool for Kid E.  I have to say that it was kind of a letdown.  We didn’t make a big deal out of it last night.  We didn’t pick out a special first day of school outfit.  I almost forgot to take him in on time (and no, it was not because I was playing video games… smart asses) and I didn’t even stop to take his picture out front.  I already did that stuff three weeks ago when he went to camp.  He gave me a high-five then went into the room without so much as a glance in my direction.  So I just paid his tuition and went outside to my car.  It was then that I realized that I had my freedom back, at least for three and a half hours each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I got kind of tingly thinking about what I was going to do today.

As I was climbing into the driver’s seat I heard music pumping from the speakers outside of the pizzeria next door.

Sit down, take a look at yourself
Don’t you want to be somebody
Someday somebody’s gonna see inside
You have to face up, you can’t run and hide

Damn you, Little River Band.

I really do not like it when the universe smacks me on the head and demands that I pay attention.  But there was my message, coming at me on the voices of Australian rockers.  And I have learned that you either pay attention to these messages, or you’d better get ready for a fight that you will probably never, ever win.

So today I will make a plan.  Today I will set goals.  I will write them on paper and I will post them where I will see them every day.  And I will be productive and proud.

So actually I thank you, Little River Band.  And I think that’s Australian for “light a fire under your butt.”

For my easy-going friends

... and for my Type A peeps - Holla!

Wish me luck for tomorrow…