Deer In Headlights

The leaves are falling all around. I have been looking for the deer in our woods. I haven’t seen any yet. However, in our own household there are two deer in headlights.

According to Urbandictionary.com,  “Deer in Headlights” is  mental state of high arousal caused by anxiety, fear, panic, surprise and/or confusion[, or substance abuse].  A person experiencing the “deer in headlights” syndrome often shows behavioral signs reminding those of a deer subjected to a car’s headlights, such as widely opened eyes and a transient lack of motor reactions.

Yup, we got ourselves a couple of those around these parts.

I’ll start with me.

The last 2 months have been pretty rough on my mental and emotional state.

During this time period, I have been looking for a job. Remember my 4-part blog series “Lost and Found Identity” ? Although I sent a few resumes through the year, I decided to start the “real job search” when the boys returned back to school at the end of August.  So, I’m no dummy. I know the economy is in dire straights and that unemployment is at an all-time high.  I know I haven’t had a “real” (i.e. Paid) job for over 10 years. I know there are many qualified people out there, many of them recent college grads, looking for jobs.  I also realize that my job search has many limiting factors—location, hours, and experience level. So, I really *shouldn’t* be surprised with the lack of phone calls or responses. My resume, if not put in the circular file, is definitely at the bottom of any pile.

I read the job descriptions….and I KNOW I CAN DO WHAT IS ASKED. I tweek my resume on a daily basis.  I become transfixed with my lap top….constantly checking monster.com, indeed.com, Craigslist, staffing agency websites, professional group websites for new job postings.  I check my email. My voicemail.  NOTHING.  I can’t tell you how it has affected my self-esteem. Even if I KNOW the factors behind it. I KNOW it’s only been two months—some folks have been looking for  a job for two years!  But, in the past, I never had a problem getting a phone call for an interview……

It has turned me into a Deer In Headlights.  Anxiety. Fear. Panic. Surprise.

What compounds it is that I am SO BORED at home. I don’t have any pressing projects–no more remodeling/redecorating, no upcoming travel plans, no kids at home.  I could probably do my “home chores” in the space of one day. Maybe half a day. But I say “space it out throughout the week.” So I end up sitting and playing Free Cell on the computer.  I don’t want to leave the house. But I need to.  I should.  For my sanity. Each morning, I get anxiety butterflies in my stomach because I DREAD the nothingness that lies in the day ahead.  When I told my Hubby about this anxiety, he suggested I make lists to get through my day (he thought I was anxious because of my workload).  HELLOOOOOOO…..has he not noticed the line of sticky-notes at my table or desk with “Things to Do”? Are the essentials not getting done—laundry, dishes, cooking, bathrooms? Everything is getting done. I am just bored and tired of it all.   I NEED MORE. (I’ve had friends and Hubby suggest volunteering or going back to school….I’ve been volunteering for 10 years now, and I don’t think “additional” education is going to help me at this point. I already have an over-priced brain).

Which leads me to the other Deer in Headlights at our house. My Hubby.  And if you recall, that is exactly how I described his reaction when I asked him 10 months ago if he might possibly have a copy of my resume in his files or computer.  It hasn’t gotten any better. He claims that he has accepted the fact that I want a job and that I am sending out my resume.  However, for a man who used to be so supportive of my goals, he has shown little or no interest in my job search.   He used to send me flowers each time I took the Bar Exam to wish me luck.  Not once has he asked to see my resume. Rarely does he ask how the job search is going.  Actually, I’m not sure he does. But if I say something about a job posting I saw and responded too, he will make the appropriate “Good Luck” comment. And he has made it pretty clear that if I do find a job, everything will still be on me, and I will have to sort out the kids and schedules the house, etc…..especially if he is travelling or working late.

I understand that he is busy. He has a LOT on his plate at work. But with each passing day, I feel that my role in his life as a partner is becoming less significant.

Remember the scene in “Pretty Woman” where Richard Gere’s character says to Julia Roberts, “I’ve never treated you like a prostitute.” She responds “You just did.”

I’m NOT saying that Hubby  treats me like a prostitute.  However, when I argue that he wants me to stay home to continue my “maid-like” responsibilities and take care of his (and the kids) needs–dry cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc—he denies it.  Then, a couple of days later, he makes a statement “My truck needs an oil change.”  Is this a request? A demand? A statement? Or when he doesn’t ask me what I have planned for the day. Or when he doesn’t remember that I have an appointment scheduled for that day. About a month ago, he went FOUR DAYS without asking me anything about my day (either in the morning or after work).  How do you think that makes me feel? Like I’m just here to make sure the kids are fed, dressed, off to school, that his dry cleaning is picked up/dropped off, and the oil is changed in the cars. My life doesn’t count. When I confront him with these feelings, rather than providing positive encouragement to improve my life, he suggests that maybe we move so that “dealing with move would give me TONS to do.” OR…….”Maybe you can join a country club, play tennis, make friends and have lunch with the ladies.”  REALLY?!??  That is the type of woman you married? One who wants to go to a country club? This while I hear at least ONCE A WEEK from him “I got a great compliment today on my presentation from my boss.”  OR  “I am working with a really great, intelligent bunch of people.  When you hang around smart people, it rubs off and motivates you to work hard and do better.”  Really….tell me more….because I really have no idea what you are talking about.

I sit and think about why Hubby isn’t more supportive? Years ago, I know some of the reasons he fell in love with me was because of my independence, my education, my goals, my ambition. Granted, my goals have changed. My outlook has changed. Maybe it’s become more realistic.  Wanting to be a US Senator was a fantasy of a 16 year old girl.  Becoming an attorney was a dream of a college student from 20 years ago.  Maybe it was something  I wanted to do to make my parents proud of me. Maybe I wasn’t ready to find a “real career” so I used eduction as a way to postpone it.  However, I never signed-on to be a full time SAHM for such an extended period of time.  I expected us to be partners. Both of us would be successful working parents. Hubby knows that. But he’s become comfortable with the way things are. I don’t see him changing his habits or thinking–his job will always be more important. He’s the successful one in the relationship, and I have helped and supported him become successful because as VP of Domestic Affairs, I’ve always taken care of the daily mundane stuff. And if I go back to work that will change. He’s become A Deer in Headlights.

Today is the first time in a month that I felt like crying.  My BF remembered I have an interview today and she sent me a Good Luck text message.

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The Treehouse–a labor of love

Having 3 boys around the house, there are certain “boy things” a parent expects to hear requests for.  I suppose a treehouse is one of them.

The pleads for a treehouse started a few years ago.  Understandably, since we are surrounded by trees in our yard.  And the boys are always playing in the woods.  Boy games—like Man Hunt, Commando, etc.

Wouldn’t a TREEHOUSE be a great command center/hide-out/club meeting place/boy hang out?

Of course it would.

Hubby did a great job putting it off for a couple of years. But then, he encouraged the dream of the treehouse by saying “If we had a treehouse, how would you like it to look?” He even went so far as talking about it with the guys at work—and lo and behold–a co-worker lent him a “Treehouse Design” book!   There was NO WAY Hubby would be able to get off the hook on this one.

I recently had the pleasure of a “mommy” getaway for the National Mothers of Twins convention held in Chicago. Hubby took a couple days off from work (to parent), plus the weekend. He *really* wanted to go camping with his three sons.  His three sons *really* wanted to build a treehouse.

Guess who won? (ok, this was obvious, due to the title of the blog post)

This is what I came home to…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished! (almost)

According to Hubby, all three boys helped for 5 straight days.  Immediately after getting up and eating breakfast, they were all out at 7:30am measuring, cutting, hammering. (Yup, our neighbors love us). Towards the end, the boys needed Pep Talks to get them out to help–it was no longer fun, but WORK.  Hubby still has to put something on the outside to cover the particle board, but it’s in working order, and the kids LOVE IT!

Yay to my men!

How many steps does it take….

to find the center of a tootsie pop? No…that is not what this post is about.

Hubby came home the other day with a pedometer attached to his belt. His company is taking part in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC)….”The World’s Most Exciting Corporate Health Initiative.” It’s purpose is to increase fitness, promote teamwork, foster a competitive spirit, and supports you to be active, healthy and more productive.  Hubby’s group is a “team” and starting May 20th each person has to enter into a database how much they’ve walked (according to the pedometer). The World Health Organization recommends individuals take 10,000 steps daily to improve health and reduce the risk of disease.

(all the above information was taken from the booklet Hubby recieved for the Global Corporate Challenge)

I have to admit that I chuckled at Hubby when he told me about the GCC. Over the last couple of years, it is pretty obvious that he has a DESK JOB, and only gets up and walks around to get a cup of coffee or move to a conference room. I said “I have trouble believing that you could do 10,000 steps in one day.”

Luckily, Hubby came home with a 2nd pedometer. I asked if I could have it.  Just to see how I measure up (especially after the blog post where I listed my daily activities).

Three out of four days (so far) I have measured approximately 12,000 steps. The odd third day I had only 8000–I spent more time in my car that day than “doing” any walking.   All three of my 12K days includes my 20 minute dog walk (which I have to say includes lots of sniff-stops).  And each of those four days, I was at or near the 1/2 way mark of between 4000-5000 steps by 10am.  (I’ve always said I’m a morning person, and that’s when I get most of my chores/errands done. My energy level drops significantly at 2pm)

Hubby on the other hand has only logged 8000 steps as his high so far.

Just another example of why I’m “stagnant” in the weight-loss department–I “exercise” just enough on a daily basis. Could you imagine how effective going to the gym would be for me?

Home Sweet Home

Originally this post was to be named “The Home Stretch”, but I was afraid to jinx anything, so I decided I would write only when Hubby was actually HOME.

What an adventure—to say the least.

Train ride to London. Two days of cancelled flights (well, 4 total). Two hours on hold with AmEx Corporate Travel (thank you for your help!). Two hour wait in line for train tickets to France. Another 1 1/2 hour wait on hold with AmEx to secure a car rental reservation. Sixteen hour drive from Paris to Madrid. Without a GPS–old fashioned maps and directions sent by text by our good friends Alex & Andy. Six hours of sleep in a 48 hr period. Eight Hour flight from Madrid to Philadelphia. And then, the last leg, a 1 hr flight from Philly to Boston.

Thanks to Scott W. for being a wonderful friend and travel-mate. I can’t imagine doing this alone.

Six days total of trying to get home. He’s here. And we are so happy.

Hubby has so many stories—of comraderie, of hope, of greed, of humanity, of communicating. Of true American grit and determination. He’s already shared a few. I look forward to hearing the rest. He equates his journey to an episode of CBS’ “Amazing Race.” I totally believe it. 

Off to get some rest.

The Odyssey Continues…almost there

Happy news!  Hubby was able to get a car in Paris!! He called me at 2am to let me know! I was so excited I couldn’t fall back asleep.

I last spoke with him about 2 1/2 hours ago, and he and workmate/travel buddy were arriving at Bordeaux, France. Up until that point, the drive had been a straight shot. It’ll get a little trickier getting into Spain.

But he’s a few hours from Madrid, and that means he’ll be on a plane HOME tomorrow.

HAPPY DANCE!!!!!

The Odyssey Home

Wow–the last time I blogged was April 9th. The day after my hubby left for his Birthday adventure. I’ve been a bit busy since that day. You know, solo-parenting and other VP duties.

I’m going to share with you the comical, yet serious, yet frustrating, yet unforgettable odyssey my hubby is experiencing.

Hubby turned 40 back in January (“Birthday Week” post). On Thursday, April 8th we drove Hubby to the airport so that he could arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland to begin his 4 days of golf on some of the world’s oldest golf courses. Partaking in this adventure would be our good friend Darren, who was driving up from Manchester UK. Happy to report, the two of them had a blast!! Hubby was more appreciative of “professional” golfers—apparantly golfing 4 days in a row is hard work–mental and physical! (who would have thunk?)  Monday after their last round of golf, the guys got in the car and headed south back to Manchester. Scott would work at the UK office through Thursday (April 15) and then return home. A week apart–the longest we’ve ever been apart…but doable.

Or so we thought.

In case you haven’t heard, a volcano in Iceland erupted on Wednesday April 14th and sent a plume of smoke and ash into the earth’s atmosphere. This cloud moved south and east, heading towards Ireland, UK, and Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland). Although there is BLUE SKY in England, a cloud of smoke and ash is just SITTING over northern Europe at 20,000 ft to 30,000 ft….those altitudes that planes fly at. And, also over the airspace that transatlantic planes fly over.

If volcanic ash gets into a planes systems, the plane’s engines will shut down and it will screw with the electronics. 

From The Telegraph.co.uk:

Volcanic ash, which consists of the pulverised rock and glass created by the eruptions, can jam aircraft machinery if a plane flies through the plume, shutting down the engines. Ash can also be sucked into the cabin itself, contaminating the passengers’ environment as well as damaging the plane’s electronic systems.

 In 1982, a British Airways plane ran into difficulties after the eruption of a volcano at Galunggung, Indonesia. Ash jammed all four engines briefly, and the aircraft plummeted 24,000 feet before they could be restarted.

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Because of the dangerousness of flying in such a situation, airports are closed throughout most of Europe. (Ireland, England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, parts of Italy, most of Poland…the list goes on…)

On Thursday, when hubby heard that UK airports were closed, he was smart to take a train from Manchester down to London, where he got a hotel room about 1 mile from Heathrow. He figured he’d wait it out while being as close to the airport as he could get.

But here’s where it starts getting funny (and sad).  Hubby, who usually flies with a small suitcase (that can double as a carry-on), isn’t traveling so lightly this go-around. For starters, he has a 25′ suitcase AND his 5 foot (6 ft?) golf travel bag!! (luckily, that beast has wheels!). 

He told me the train to London was full. Knowing how everything is small in Europe, and the monsterous size of the golf bag, I asked where did he store the golf bag during the train ride…the bathroom?? No, he laughed. The train had a storage compartment in the last car.

Then, the cab driver misunderstood Hubby’s thick American accent. Instead of dropping him off at the Renaissance Hotel, he was dropped off at the Radisson. Oops. Another cab? Hello no…the Renaissance was a mile down the road. No cabbie would drive a one-mile fare. Hotel shuttle? Not in UK. So, he walks the one mile with his 25″ suitcase and monster golf bag. Hahahahahaha. What a sight that must have been!

He gets to his hotel. Calls his assistant to get a flight for Friday from London to Boston. Done.

Oops. Gets notice at 9am (est) that the airport is still closed Friday. Call assistant to book flight for Saturday (and Sunday too…just in case). Done.

Come Saturday…..Airports still closed. And Sunday’s not looking good either. Actually, the volcano is still active, there has been no change in the weather pattern what-so-ever, and airports are closed indefinitely.

OPTIONS????!!!!???

Unfortuantely, hubby is clearly not the only one STUCK. And it’s not only people wanting out of England. People are stuck ALL OVER Europe…..and the world, really. I’ve read how some Brits who were travelling in the US can’t get home. They are out of funds, so they left their hotel and are now sleeping on cots in the airport.

The train system in Europe is selling “standing room only” tickets for train rides. One story stated a man stood for a 10 hour train ride. But at least he was able to get from point A to point B.

I also just read actor John Cleese paid a cab driver over 3000 GBP (about $4500) to drive him from Oslo, Norway to Brussels.

So, where does that leave hubby and his odyssey to get home?

He was able to get the travel agency to book a ticket from Madrid to Philadelphia for Tuesday.

Why Madrid? Because it is far enough west and is away from the cloud of ash/smoke. Spain and Portugal, from what I have read, are not impacted by the air restrictions.

This morning, I spent 5 hours (give and take between kids) on the internet and on the phone, and he and his co-worker took the Tube to London to wait at 2 different rail ticket offices…..he and his co-worker scored 2 train tickets from London to Paris for Sunday.  After phone calls to Avis and Hertz, we have learned there are absolutely NO rental cars in the greater Paris area. And it is unsure whether they can get a train ticket from Paris to Madrid. The lovely Eurail customer service person I spoke with said they would have a better chance in person than I could do on the phone. All the trains were full, but for a few “reserved” seats….and it was unsure whether those were on hold for people or whether the train system was holding them for “walk up” travellers.

Our goal is to find a way for Hubby and workmate to get to Madrid by Tuesday morning.

Fingers crossed for this unbelievable journey. And prayers go out to all so that the proverbial smoke will clear and people can return to where they belong soon and safely.

Godspeed.

The Birthday Week

I didn’t have time to post last week because it was BIRTHDAY WEEK. My wonderful Hubby turned 40.

And I had a few surprises up my sleeve for him.

His actual birthday was Wednesday. I made reservations for one of his favorite steak restaurants (Capital Grille) for the whole family. The two of us, our three boys, and my mom and her SO. Yes, I was taking the kidlets to a 4-star restaurant (yikes, what was I thinking?……and they behaved GREAT).

We took our presents to the restaurant for hubby to open. The boys got him some Red Sox clothing (we had to move on after the Patriots loss), then some nice Vodka and a boating gift card. And then my gift….

One could tell it was a frame. But a picture of what? I had Scott thinking when I suggested it might be a nude photo of me (a la “How to Look Good Naked” with Gok Wan). The look on his face was “You wouldn’t bring that into a full restaurant…with your mom…and kids…here? Would you?” The look I shot him back was “You never know!” He slowly tore the wrapping paper to peak….nope! It was the 18th Hole Tee Flag from St. Andrews framed. “Oh how nice!” he said. But that wasn’t all!!!! (Pu-leez….that would be a lame 40th Bday gift!). He had to open the card to get the “real gift.”

Are you filled with suspense yet? I’m sending my honey to Scotland for 4 days in April for some serious golf at St. Andrews. This was a “DREAM” of his when we first met. And I never forgot!!

And with that type of gift (and dinner)…OF COURSE he thought I was done.

But I wasn’t!!!!!!! (Ooooh, being a sneaky Thomas can be so much fun!)

On Saturday, there would be a surprise party for him. He mentioned/asked for one at least twice in 2009. I wasn’t keen on the idea. Partying right after the holidays? Right after our trip? In the cold, when we can’t send kids outside? The idea was just not pleasant.

But then I heard of so many other people throwing parties for their hubbies. I asked 3 people who had done it—how had they done it, how did it turn out, etc…I became excited and inspired. What the hell? Let’s do it!

I was having 20 adults and 14 kids coming. And because Hubby thinks about work so much, already had a great gift, and he can be clueless, he DIDN”T KNOW A THING!

I ended up telling T&M on Saturday morning, because I needed their assistance on a few things—get Daddy to put together the 5-in-1 game table we bought (needed something for the 14 kids to do during the party) and to have Daddy take the pick-up truck to their basketball game, since it was blocking my driveway.  I offered each $5 if they could keep quiet. And if one spilled the beans, the other would get the entire $10.

T. had a few close calls. At one point, he asked if he could have his hair spiked for the party.  Mom’s quick recovery: Of course you can spike your hair for Chris’ Bday party on Monday.” And then, while assembling the game table, “Do you think we can have the big pool table AND the little pool table for the party?” Luckily, hubby was totally engrossed in the assembly instructions at this point!

I had my BFF call me at about 2pm asking me to  “meet her for margaritas.” And since I haven’t seen her since October, of course I could go and have a ‘rita. But that would mean I would miss T&M’s Basketball game.  This was my out to go pick up ice for the beer chest and the Birthday cake. I was then in “hide-out” mode until the guys left for the game. BUT OMG……they took FOREVER to leave the house!!!!! So much for “leaving early to watch the game before us.”

Eventually they left, and that gave me about 45 min. before guests started to arrive.  BFF and her family came early to help set up. Caterer came. Food all set. People came. All set.

5pm….mom calls to tell us they are on their way.

5:10…He’s here!!!!  

Voices from truck:
Hubby says “Oh, one of our neighbors is having a party” upon noticing the cars on the street.

M: giggling from the back seat…..No it’s us!!!!

So, I had hubby clueless until the last minute. It was awesome. He had such a great time! And for the next 24 hrs, all he kept saying was “I’m so CLUELESS” after replaying the (minor) clues and slip-ups from the last 2 weeks.

heeee heeeee. Good fun!