When Life Is Extra Stress, With A Little Humor On The Side

Sometimes “good” change is traumatic.  Even well-organized plans lose their way.  Positive thinkers can choose to throw a pity party and succumb to dwelling on what is wrong, rather than appreciating what is right.

I learned all of this and more during our move, which turned into a spectacular mess.  The plan was to move from our ‘old’ house right into our ‘new’ house. Snags occurred on the new house, and it didn’t close until two days later.  During that time, we were given deluxe accommodations (sarcasm) at a local motel with all of our belongings sitting in a U-Haul, and a flat bed trailer, outside.

2 Kids + 3 Cats + 3 Dogs in a ~200 square foot room for 2 days = 4 cranky family members

Positive Note:  we got possession of our house and moved most of our furniture inside before it started to rain.

I like my own space.  I need alone time – quiet time to myself.  Without this, I allowed myself to dwell on the difficulties of the situation.  I worked myself into tearful outbursts, stressed over our miserable situation.  In short: if this was a stress test, I failed.  Failed miserably.

Two days after we moved in, my husband couldn’t find our Yorkie, Josie, when he went to take the dogs out in the morning.  We searched for several hours, inside and out, but didn’t see any sign of her.  Every neighbor he had spoken to had been friendly, but reminded him that coyotes were out the night before.  My husband and I cried, but not in front of the kids.

My older son decided to make signs and post them on the mailbox in case someone found her.  I eyed the hawk flying overhead and didn’t see the use, but let him make the signs anyway because that’s what he needed to do.

04-14 Lost Dog2

Late that night, I got a phone call from a police officer.  He asked if we were the ones that put the lost dog signs on the mailboxes.  My first thought: Great. We’re going to get a ticket for posting signs. (Just call me “Negative Nellie!”)

It turns out that he found Josie early that morning and had come back to see if anyone had put up signs about a lost dog – he found my son’s signs and called us.  My husband picked her up that night and she only missed 2 doses of her seizure medication.

For the umpteenth time in just a few days, I cried.  But this time, it was different.  Rather than wallowing in misery, I recognized my blessings.  I realized that the last few days were full of rocks in our path that I turned into mountains.  I finally got the message that those seemingly huge setbacks would be transformed into stories we can (maybe) laugh about in the future.

I am reminded that state of mind matters, hope promotes life, and negativity yields defeat.

Left:  view from our old house; Right:  view from our new house
Left: view from back patio of our old house; Right: view from deck of our new house

So that was the Cliff’s Notes version of the last few weeks.  Now for some humor.  On Saturday, I spent several hours cleaning the oven in our newly acquired house.  I avoid ranting on this blog, but to say I was furious at the condition of the gas range would be an understatement:

This is the side wall - one of the less disgusting views.
This is a side wall of the oven – one of the less disgusting views.

I showed the oven to my older son and asked him what he thought.  “That’s gross,” he said.  I explained that when he is older and gets his own place, the right thing to do is to leave it how he would like to have it left for him.

Well, hearing the word “gross,” my younger son (seven years old) ran into the kitchen.  He looked inside the oven and exclaimed, “that is gross…that’s even worse than the naked people in Washington DC!”


Further questioning revealed that he had seen something on the news.  I didn’t recall such an event, but a Google search yielded this story from several months ago, which must be what he saw.

I had to laugh because not everyone has an oven that’s even grosser than naked protestors!  I love it when the kids are able to make me laugh even when I’m in a mood that sends my husband heading for cover!

I hope you are able to laugh your way through stress this Sunday 🙂

Getting Comfortable With Change


Sometimes I get so used to where I am that I forget the door is open.  I accept the literal and figurative bars that trap me and don’t bother to explore other options.  I get comfortable.

03-01 Cat

For several years, I’ve dreamed of living somewhere else; leaving this miserable desert.  I’ve struggled to acknowledge the occasional beauty in the vast brown landscape.  I’ve tried to tell myself that being sandwiched in traffic on the freeway with a million other people really isn’t that bad (okay, I know that the entire population of 1.5 million isn’t on the freeway when I am, but it sure feels like it when I’m stopped and staring at their taillights through a thick cloud of exhaust).

I’ve reminded myself that living somewhere else wasn’t an option:  we had eight more years for my husband to get a full pension; my family lives here; my parents aren’t getting any younger and might need me; besides, the kids have a great school and their friends.  Oh, the list of excuses could go on.

When my husband (unfairly) lost his job last year, leaving didn’t occur to us.  We cut expenses and hunkered down in our comfortable place. He found another job fairly quickly – but it’s just a job.  There are no benefits…no vacation, no sick time, no appreciation for a job well done, and no chance for growth.

In January, I got the crazy idea of moving to northern Arizona.  The climate is more to our liking.  There are seasons- not the normal “cold”, “warmer”, “hot” and “miserably hot” that we’re used to.  Since then, we’ve bought a house, sold our house and are preparing for new life in a small town later this month.   This is the only home we’ve lived in since we were married sixteen years ago.  My parents aren’t thrilled with the idea.  It’s more what they don’t say than what they do.  Some friends express envy, while others look at us like we’ve lost our minds and ask, “why?”  We respond, “Why not?”

I’m turning forty this year.  It’s time to be free from others’ expectations.  I’m shrugging off their assumptions that I’m in a mid-life crisis.  I think it’s more of a mid-life realization:  life’s too short to live it tomorrow.  I’m claiming my life as my own.  Selfish?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

As if moving wasn’t change enough, I carried the theme a step further by ending over two years of procrastination and indecision:  I got eleven inches chopped off my hair.

03-01 CatHair

I was excited to find out that my hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love (I’ve always wanted to do it, but never had the opportunity.)  Perhaps someone else will enjoy it more than I did.

03-01 Hair
Now that’ll give them something to talk about 🙂