Choices and Habits

June 30, 2013

I’m exhausted. I’m not getting enough sleep these days and what I do get is fitful at best (of course blogging at midnight doesn’t help even if it is a Saturday). It’s a combination of stress and not enough exercise. I know I need to be in better shape and lose weight, but it’s hard. I’m a stress binge eater and the last few months (if not years) has been nothing but stress so eating between meals is out of control. I can do three meals a day fine, but snack times I go nuts. Only recently have I seriously considered the idea of lap band surgery. It might be one of the few ways to curb my appetite. I have problems with this though. I feel like a failure that I can’t find the wherewithal to diet and exercise. The big drawback is my daughter. We have been dealing with her weight issues for a while and now with her mom gone, I’m finally able to correct some bad eating habits; although I think she also has some of my snacking problems. I want to teach her more about being patient and how you can’t get things done instantly or by magic. I feel getting the surgery would be a constant reminder that the argument is invalid. However as my daughter’s pediatrician reminds me (as well as Susan’s sudden death) I want to be around for her for a long time, especially since I’m the only parent left. 

This is just one of the things running rampant in my brain these days.

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To all those gay married couples in America: congratulations! A well fought win. now can you help us other disenfranchised minorities in holding onto our voting rights?

 

We’re all in this together remember…

Changes to Rhythm

June 21, 2013

It’s been close to two months since I took over the reins as the sole parent to my daughter. It’s strange how things have changed and how we’re reacting to the change. The thing I notice most is how quiet it is in the house. I’m not being yelled at all the time over little things, Sophia isn’t being yelled at over little things or yelling back at her mom about it. Right now the loudest thing in the house are the cats and the air conditioners. It’s strange but good. An odd thing is I kind of miss the harassing anxiety ridden phone calls, the yelling about how anything I do with our daughter differently than she does is automatically the wrong way. It’s like a bad tooth you play with and then miss when they’ve finally pulled it out. Though like the tooth, it’s something I’ll get used to.

Sophia is taking it as well as can be expected, but well. She has her moments of anger and sadness and they often come out in unexpected ways (not doing well at an on line video game seems to be the worst of it). But all in all she isn’t doing bad. She’s doing fine at school– just recently got a 100% on her math final for the year– and some say she’s a little more outgoing in ways. Positive so far. 

I’m functional, which my friends have to remind me is a HUGE achievement. Going from weekend father to single parent in an instant is not easy, but I’m doing it. At the beginning I was all about getting through one hour at a time; at least now it’s getting by one day at a time. Sophia doesn’t want to talk about how she feels to anyone other than her therapist at school (who I will say again was an AMAZING help that first week). Unfortunately her therapist won’t be able to see her like she had been at school — that she is willing to see her even briefly during school vacation is a testament to how helpful she is to Sophia — and not talking to anyone won’t help. Her therapist helped set up something for the summer for in-house visits which should help.

Now we need to look at chores for her to do around the house. I’ve been lax in getting that structure in place for her and it would help the whole house. It needs to be done. There are times when we can both be as sedentary as her mom and that’s definitely not good for both of us for a variety of reasons; but it’s also not good that I let it slide either. We have a good calendar dry erase board which we are using to keep track of things. I’ll be getting one to put our chores for the house on this weekend. Parenting is tough; single parenting is even tougher. 

Basically there’s a rhythm to the life that you live, and right now that rhythm has changed and I’m trying to get a handle on in. I’d like things to be all okay. Unfortunately I realize that will never happen, so I hope things can at least feel okay.

For those of you who missed out on the Double Down sandwich, Dunkin Donuts has now tried to top it. As of today their menu consists of the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich. It’s a fried egg and bacon in between two halves of a glazed donut. This is not a joke. I didn’t hear about this online; I found out when someone tried to order it at the Dunkins at Alewife Station in Cambridge. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the photo on the menu. All that went through my mind were the potential slogans:

“Start your day right… with a massive coronary.”

“Cholesterol, it’s what’s for breakfast.”

And of course “America waddles on Dunkins”

Apparently this sandwich is only supposed to be 300 calories, with 20 grams of fat, which is amazing in itself. But do we need a sandwich made out of a donut?!?! What morbidly obese diabetic with a death wish came up with this idea, and what sociopathic money focused corporate executive gave this the green light??!?? Do we really need to be competing with the 10 pound hamburger challenge? With all the talk about body image and the statistics on how more Americans are growing obese, is this the kind of sandwich we really need? Sadly it might be the kind of sandwich we deserve right alongside the Double Down and the bacon ice cream sundae.

I kind of hope this dies out soon, but seeing that this was rolled out on national donut day (yeah, it is) it probably won’t.

Bookendings

June 4, 2013

I have a strange coincidental relationship with the circus. I love the circus, but it has served as an odd bookend to pivotal and painful moments in my life.

The first was when I was six or seven. My mom took me and my sister to see Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Madison Square Garden. It’s so hazy that it feels like it’s one of my earliest memories. I can see the three rings and the different acts in each, but they all seem to be going on at the same time. The elephants stood center ring with the circle of death high overhead, and the trapeze with tigers below in the other, a flying cannonball act flying above all of them. It’s a jumble, but I know I enjoyed myself and smiled a lot.

Then we came home. Across the street from our house, I could see a large moving truck in front of our house. When we got across to the other corner, I saw two uniformed movers carrying the couch in my living room out of my house into the truck. Same pattern, same liquid stain on the back support, it was my couch for sure. We got inside the house and there were boxes being taken out of the house by the same movers. My mom explained to me that dad had to move out of the house. Later I would understand this was the beginning of their separation followed by their divorce. I didn’t comprehend it then. I really don’t remember anything specific about that day or even the weeks that followed. The only images I have of that day and weeks are the circus acts and the couch in the moving van.

Since then I’ve continued to go to the circus, but these images were only recently bookended. My daughter won a school raffle to see the Big Apple Circus at the end of April. Since I’m the parent that takes Sophia places, I was her escort to the show. Her mom, Susan, gave her $10 to buy stuff at the show. It was the first tour I’ve seen of Big Apple since the departure of the Grandma character and it was still incredible. My favorite was Zhang Fan on the slack rope and Sophia loved Elayne Kramer the contortionist. It was a good time for all involved.

Then we came home. The light was on and music blaring from the computer room, so it seemed that, as usual, Susan hadn’t moved from her spot since we left a few hours earlier. At first glance into the room, it looked like she was still sitting in the backless leather seat that acted as her computer chair. Then I realized her legs were still on the seat but she was lying on her back on the floor. It didn’t register to me for a few seconds, and then it was all too real. I called 911, Sophia was screaming for her mom to get up. She kept asking if her mom was burned because her face and arms were discolored. 911 had me perform CPR until the paramedics got there to take over. The police moved Sophia into her mom’s room while the medics worked on Susan. Later they took her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The last month has been kind of a blur of activities and getting used to being thrust into the role of a single parent unexpectedly. I’m not sure what Sophia will take away from these days and weeks or what she specifically will and won’t remember. I do hope she’ll still like the circus. It’s a great place to experience and be for a bit, a respite from reality if only for a while.