Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bringing up the rear

I am so far behind all my writing buddies in NaNoWriMo-land that it is beyond funny. So far beyond funny that it has come full circle and found its way back to being humorous. Most of them have already crossed the finish line today. And good for them. I can look back now and see all the times I could have written more and, like the procrastinator I am, said to myself, "I'll write extra tomorrow," which of course never happened. But I still got words down every single day. And that is more than I can say for my norm.

I started out this morning around 8000 words in the hole with only about eighteen hours to get caught up. A daunting task to be sure. More like horrifying. It is two in the afternoon now and I have 3,370 words left to go. I know I can do this. Even if I have to count this blog post as words, I don't care. It might be cheating. You know what I say to that? FUCK. IT. I have worked my ass of this month, not just writing. Being the stay at home mom during the week, the nurse at work, the sole-provider of money for home and tuition/books for my husband.

I won't give a shit what these fifty thousand words look like at midnight tonight as long as the math works out for me. So take that NaNoWriMo--who's your bitch? Not this gal.

My rewards: Scotch, four new books, Scotch, a Gillian Welch concert tomorrow night, Scotch, and free time to do whatever the fuck I want. Oh yeah, and more Scotch.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh, the humanity!

Please excuse my negativity today. I have reached a point of maximum capacity and I must purge before I explode in a rush of festering toxic sludge. For those of you who’ve experienced this verbal emesis from me before, my apologies. 
The setup: My usual Friday marathon. Awake from 06:00 until 09:00 Saturday morning. I have been sick since Tuesday morning around 02:00. So tired at work Firday night, I fell asleep at the desk. Twice. Not just a cat nap. It was the kind of sleep that leaves you with numb extremities and an arm covered in drool. The Best twenty minutes of my life. 
Back to the point. What was my point? Negativity. Yes. So. 
After I got home, I fed the two Littlest Heathens breakfast, played with them for a half an hour before taking a shower and falling into a coma at 09:02. This is the sleep absent of dreams and full of restoration, unless of course your husband is studying and doesn’t realize the kids are giggling and fighting about four feet away from your head. Granted, there’s a wall between us and I had my earplugs in. Still loud as hell and it was two hours before I_should_have woken up.
I banged on the wall. Nothing. The giggles continued. I waited ten minutes, and by that time the decrepit old bastard next door had begun obsessive-compulsively mowing the twenty foot patch of grass outside my bedroom window (that he just mowed yesterday), before yelling—with a not-so-effective-voice since I’ve been sick for the last three days— “SHUT UP!” 
That worked for the kids. The old man outside my window? Not so much. 
So I tossed and turned and I fumed, to the point that I was too angry to fall back to sleep. Plus, I had to pee. I was pissed about that too (yuk-yuk-yuk). Fantasies of slashing the tires on Old Man’s precious lawnmower danced through my head. Or even better, I could go to their house at four o’clock in the morning and blow an air-horn, or ring the door bell incessantly until they were forced from their comfy beds to shuffle to the door in pajamas and then hide in the bushes while they looked for the mysterious prankster. Maybe a skunk could even mosey on by and spray Old Man. Ooh, ooh. Best idea ever: I could wait until he finished mowing and use our blower to move all the leaves from our yard into his yard since he was only mowing to shred up the newly-fallen leaves. 
Finally, at 4:15, after fueling the fires of my rage for forty-five minutes, I threw the covers off, stomped to the bathroom, peed, slammed the lid down and marched to the kitchen spewing my verbal curse word salad like an R-rated version of Yosemite Sam. 
My husband sat on the couch, studying like a good boy. The Littlest Heathens played quietly in the floor like angels. 
“What’s the matter, baby?” My husband looked up at me from his ventilator study guide. 
“I’m sick and I’m tired. And that fucking asshole is mowing the goddamn grass AGAIN! I am over this shit.” [Now keep in mind, the Old Man has been told by myself and my husband on more than one occasion that I work every weekend at night.]
No response from my husband. He knows when to ignore me and let me vomit my anger at other people. My kids, well, I don’t know what they were doing because I was in the kitchen taking Mucinex DM.
“He_just_mowed the leaves yesterday.”I picked up the Brita pitcher (still cursing about the selfishness of humans) because the directions say I must take this giant bitter phlegm-buster with a full glass of water. The pitcher was empty. Son of a motherless goat. 
"Why does he have to mow the part next to the bedroom? Why not the rest of the sonofabitchin' acre he lives on?" I slammed the Brita lid on the counter and a large chunk of it flew off. 
Just fucking spectacular. 
I blew out a breath (it was more of a sob, actually) and calmly retrieved the superglue from the junk drawer and glued the lid back together, holding pressure while the water filtered drop by agonizing drop.
I was angry to the point of tears and that is not an exaggeration. In that moment the world felt like a dungeon of wrongness. An inescapable Hell filled with frustration, selfishness and unfairness. I was a five year-old wearing a grown up suit that didn’t fit and itched like a mound of fire ants lived inside the fibers. 
Then I got angry all over again. This time it was aimed at myself for being the selfish one. 
So what if the old man is senile and compulsively cares for his yard. It’s his right to do that. He’s lived long enough, paid his dues, probably has a wife he can’t stand so yard work is his only freedom. Who am I to deny him the one thing he has left? I am no one. 
Except, I am [theoretically] the very person he should be sensitive to. He’s already had one ambulance ride to the hospital this year. I estimated him to be somewhere between eighty to eighty five years old. Not getting any younger or healthier. When he ends up in the ICU, will he want the nightshift nurse who’s single-handedly providing for her family of five on six and a half hours of sleep in the past two and a half days? 
No, he would want the nurse who has had a decent night/day of sleep so that they have the patience to wipe his ass when he shits the bed for the tenth time in twelve hours, or help him walk to the bathroom (a trip that can take upwards of half an hour for some ICU folks, those of them that are lucky enough to be conscious), the friendly face instead of the impatient hard-ass, the one that reminds herself to “kill ‘em with kindness” just like they taught in nursing school. 
This is the nurse that I strive to be. No matter how bad my mood, my patients don’t suffer for it. Hopefully he has the same kind of nurse when his age catches up to him and finds the hospital visits come more frequently. Maybe they won’t, but if they do, he’ll be lucky to have a nurse like me instead of one that rolls their eyes (yes, this happens, you might even know someone who’s experienced this first hand), or sighs loudly at the request for Yet Another Soda. 
My point in all this--besides the fact that I clearly need more sleep, a very long vacation and possibly some anger management--is that you have no idea how much your actions affect others. Think about it the next time you want to mow your lawn two days in a row. 
And if someone brings something to your attention on multiple occasions, particularly something that is negatively affecting others around you, listen to them. Don't just blow them off. They might not be making it up just to piss you off. Maybe they’re onto something. 
That's pretty much it. I won't rant about cops holding down protesters in order to ensure that the pepper spray makes it directly into their eyes. That's for another day.

Thanks for listening, y’all. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Addendum to The Writing Life

Ahem. It has been brought to my attention *g* by Deniz over at The Girdle of Melian (who has her own synopsis of a typical writing day) that I neglected to tell y'all about my work-writing day. Well, I work every Friday and Saturday--nightshift in the ICU--plus either a Monday or Wednesday due to my husband's class schedule. I prefer to do nightshifts all in a row, but shit happens like Husband's Decision to Make a Career Change.

So! My Friday and Monday consists of the same schedule I posted earlier except I leave for work at 6pm, work until 7am (writing when I can*), home by 8am, then sleep all day Saturday, waking up at around 5pm to go back to work. This crazy schedule means I stay up for around 26-28 hours straight--twice a week. Sunday, after work, I usually sleep a little later, waking up at 7pm-ish to cook dinner and get the kids to bed so I can read or write** after they're asleep.

*Writing at work is hit or miss. If we're busy, I get nothing done. Flu season is on its way so I won't even try. But on the nights when I'm the Charge Nurse, I can usually get a thousand words in between my paperwork, starting IVs, admitting patients (or as another Charge Nurse calls it...Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic) and putting out theoretical fires as they come up.
**The back and forth of dayshift/nightshift (especially since I can't work all three nights in a row anymore) has taken its toll on my brain. I can't write anything worth a shit when I've slept so erratically. That means Sunday nights and Tuesday nights are usually a wash for writing. But I try anyway, even though I don't typically keep what I's jibberish.

There you have it. My crazy schedule. It's no wonder I drink so much coffee and have a messy house. I've learned to accept the clutter and walk around it. Life is too short to spend it all on chores.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Writing Life

Over at the Compuserve Books and Writer's Forum, one of the members posted a synopsis of her writing day. It was leisurely and really the scenario that every aspiring writer dreams of. Breakfast, write, lunch and a t.v. show, write and edit some more. Dinner with husband, reading, etc. Honestly, it made me insanely jealous. That may sound petty, but here's why...

My typical day writing:
Wake up at 0620 start coffee. Make oldest heathen’s breakfast and wake him up.
0630 drink half a cup of coffee in complete solitude whilst checking email/facebook/twitter until youngest heathen wakes up asking for yogurt-peach then strawberry.
0640 Give oldest heathen a glass of soy milk and his probiotic, and if he’s done with breakfast administer vitamins. Youngest heathen is usually awake by now.
0650 finish giving youngest heathen her yogurt and fluff oldest heathen’s clothes in the dryer because I never got them out and folded them the night before.
0710 make oldest heathen’s lunch and check backpack for completed homework, notes, and snack. Prod youngest heathen to the bathroom to pee. Wake Middle Heathen who isn’t fond of mornings, like his mother. Get all three dressed to take Oldest to school.
0735 Take Oldest to school, home by 0800 and finish breakfast for Two Littlest Heathens
0830 Stare at laptop and decide where to start, editing or write a scene. Doesn’t matter which because I’ll be interrupted every minute or two by things like…
“Hey, Mommy.” Middle One shoves a portable game in my face. “I’m pretending Barricade is Megatron. He’s the hardest to beat.”
“Mommy,” sings the Littlest one, “I have to go pee-pee.”
“Hey, Mommy, how do you spell handwriting?”
“Mommy, I want some soy milk.”
“Hey Mommy, why do we have to brush our teeth every day?”
“Mommy, I pooted.”
“Hey, Mommy, look at this. It’s Bone Crusher and Scorpinock.”
After about ten minutes of this, I give up and close the laptop. We play outside off and on for two hours then go back in around ten or eleven to get ready for lunch.
1200 Watch Caillou, which is a guaranteed thirty minutes of no kid interruptions if I time the beginning of lunch with the beginning of the show. Write like hell for those thirty minutes. Maybe squeeze another hour playing outside after lunch or watch a movie if it’s raining/too cold/too hot.
Spend the rest of the day (in stolen five minute intervals) adding to or editing those furious words I got earlier in between more questions/statements/requests like the ones listed above.
1430 Leave to get oldest from school, dragging Middle and Littlest with me, read while waiting in school line, home by 1515 at the latest.
Snacks for everyone except me, I haven’t eaten since breakfast at 0800, forgot to write that down earlier.
[Damn, this is exhausting just typing it.]
Start homework Battle Royale by 1600. With or without alcohol.
1700 start dinner eat by 1800.
Still no time for me.
Brushing Teeth
Keeping my eyes open
2100 Everybody needs to back off before Mommy loses her shit.  Read stories and tuck each kid in their respective beds, where I usually fall asleep in one of them. If I’m lucky*, I stay awake and write til 2200 then read til 2300 and either fall asleep on the couch or go to bed to wake up at 0620** the next day and do it all again.

*I'm usually not.
**That’s if no one wakes up in the night (which is rare these days) or if Oldest doesn’t wake up at 0530 wanting to know if it’s too early to get up yet.