Not Quite the Promised Land

I’ve been a parent for almost six years. Six long, eventful years of having a tiny entourage in my wake at almost all times. It’s been busy. And stressful. And awesome. And messy. And the best.

Now, though, for the first time, I have both kids in school at the same time, twice a week. This means that at least twice a week, I have a slight panic that I’ve driven away from school and forgotten someone. I go home to my quiet house, where I  drink coffee in peace and watch grown-up shows loudly and without interruption. No one tries to drown LEGOs in my coffee, no one needs me to watch them jump on the trampoline, and I can listen to grown-up music in the car without worrying that my kids are going to learn a bunch of fun new words.

It’s terrific, really. I like it quite a bit, but I’ll admit that it’s kind of weird at the same time. Thanks to ongoing physical therapy and doctor appointments, I don’t have a ton of spare time to relax, but the time I do is wonderful.

So take heed, parents of young children: A time is coming when all your kids will be in school all at the same time. Peace and quiet will be yours. Availability to meet friends for coffee or make a doctors appointment is coming. It’s not quite the promised land of parenting, but it’s darn close.

Ready…Set…Go!

Today’s the big day! I’ve got my notes ready, my PowerPoint deck finished, my nails done, and my hair and makeup mostly under control. I’m ready!

I’m going back to school…Sort of. Today will be my first visit to the Northwest University campus since I graduated eight years ago. I can’t wait!

Ostriching

1342565622332_8577846The sheer amount of not blogging I’ve been doing is astounding, I know. Truth be told, I was working so much and for so long that I kind of burned myself out a little. Between my tiny humans (whose care and upbringing is my sole responsibility between the hours of 7 AM – 6 PM Monday through Friday) and my writing career (which has been unexpectedly fruitful lately), I was working myself to death trying to cram two separate day jobs into the same twenty-four hour day.

So I did what any sensible, responsible adult does when confronted with burn-out: I hid my head in the sand for a few weeks. I took Saturday afternoons off to spend time with friends instead of hunched over my laptop. I laid down on the couch while my kids napped and watched mindless TV. I painted my nails, and folded laundry in peace, and remembered what it felt like to relax.

It was awesome. I highly recommend it should you have the opportunity.

What I wasn’t doing, though, was blogging, so sorry about that. Even writers get the blues, I guess, except in my case it really wasn’t the blues and was more of a crazy-around-the-eyes.

But now my new book (Bai Tide) is coming out in less than two weeks, and I have a guest speaker gig at my alma mater next week, and suddenly all these commitments I’ve been avoiding are tapping their watch faces and wondering what I’m planning to say to a room full of students for seventy-five minutes.

If I suddenly look like a bird, it’s because I’m winging it at the moment (ha! See what I did there? I made a bad joke!). Balance is not the kind of thing you figure out once and then you’re set for the rest of your life. Especially when you’re a parent. Kids are constantly changing, there’s no point fighting that because that’s the whole point! Still, it makes for some dicey situations.

For now, I’m cautiously back, and if you’ll excuse me, I have a presentation to prepare so I don’t look like an (even bigger than normal) idiot next week.

Stress Ball

Not gonna lie, it’s been a stressful week. No, scratch that, a stressful month. No, wait, just kidding, it’s been a stressful winter. Let’s just go with winter. The whole darn thing has been a no-hitter streak of high-stakes waiting, with a few regular ol’ life stressors added in here and there for extra flavor.

Well looky here, it turns out you really CAN find just about anything online if you look hard enough...

Well looky here, it turns out you really CAN find just about anything online if you look hard enough…

Here’s something you may not have known: Shutting down a business is, how to say this delicately? It sucks. It sucks a lot. It sucks so much, it’s enough to convince me that anyone foolish enough to consider starting a business should be taken out back and shaken vigorously until their crazy ideas fall right out of one or both of their ears.

Not that Wes’s business has been all bad. It’s afforded him a ton of opportunities and growth and was undoubtedly a net positive. We are, however, knee-deep in wrapping up loose ends and as such the positives are more or less intangible while we finish everything up.

So we did the waiting and the interviewing thing for a few months, and that was stressful. And then one of Wes’s closest friends passed away and that was stressful. And then Wes got food poisoning right before his final interview for the awesome company, and that was stressful. And in between that was Thanksgiving, Christmas, baby showers, car trouble, deadlines for me, deadlines for Wes, and, you know, typical parenting stuff.

I spent all day on Friday getting everything together for our personal taxes. Wes spent all day doing the final bookkeeping for his business so he can file those taxes and be done with it. We are pushing hard to get everything done so that when he starts his new job at the awesome company on the 30th, we’ll have a clean slate and life can go back to normal again.

Because wouldn’t that be nice? Wes can’t wait to dive into his new job, I’m excited for him to get to talk to real, actual people every day, and who can say no to incredible health insurance, paid time off, and interesting work with high-caliber people?

Here. Have a daffodil. Daffodils are like the anti-stress. They're sunshine flowers. Soak it up, guys.

Here. Have a daffodil. Daffodils are like the anti-stress. They’re sunshine flowers. Soak it up, guys.

And of course Bai Tide comes out in a few months, and I just figured out how book #4 is going to start, and the weather is going to start improving here any day now.

Things are looking up. Here’s hoping for a respite from the stresses we’ve been hosting like house guests so we can take a few deep breaths and try to collectively ratchet down our blood pressures a bit. The hope is that by doing this final push to get everything done before Wes’s new job starts, we’re giving ourselves the chance to start fresh. I think that’ll make Wes’s Herculean effort to finish his To Do list worth it.

As for me, I’m going to keep stress-eating M&M’s, getting my notes together for the various workshops I’m leading soon, and grinding out marketing and promotional stuff for Bai Tide. Fingers crossed that I get to see my cover soon. CAN’T WAIT.

Up, Down, Left, and Right

Yep, this man has multiple job offers. Probably because he knows how to enjoy a pineapple properly.

Yep, this man has multiple job offers. Probably because he knows how to enjoy a pineapple properly.

This was a really, truly, very strange week. Up, down, left, and right, if you catch my drift. Wes received job offers this week! Hooray! My best friend’s baby had some tummy trouble and they had to spend a few days in the hospital. Sad. I finished enrolling my kids in school for next year! Hooray! Wes and I are putting the finishing touches on the logistics of wrapping up his company. Sad.

And there were other things happening, too. A whole bunch of people wrote and posted reviews for Blood Money on Amazon for me, which was awesome, and my friend Matt (who is King of the Beta Readers) finished reading through and giving me his notes on Take the Bai Road (which is book #2 of my upcoming series), and THAT is awesome too. I’ve been emailing, organizing, phone calling, budget figuring, and baby visiting like crazy this week, and now that we’ve finally made it to Friday I find myself so. very. happy. to put a cherry on top of this week and call it done.

But! The important thing to remember is, my friend’s baby is A-OK and Wes has job offers. Offers, you guys. As in plural. He’s going to make his final decision by the end of today and then we’re celebrating with a bottle of Prosecco and some homemade chocolate chip cookies. We roll hard here at Casa de Mitchell.

We’re hopeful for a Seahawks win this weekend, because nothing would tie a bow on top of the successful conclusion of Wes’s job search like his team going to the Super Bowl.

And that’s it for me. Like I said, up, down, left, and right, and through it all the reliable, never-ending narrative of my life that is laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning.

Go Hawks! And happy weekend to all of you! May you all have a terrific weekend, unless you’re rooting for the Green Bay Packers, in which case I kind of hope the very end of your weekend is kind of disappointing but only because your football team lost and not for any other reason.