Arranging for Goodbye

I started this post off as a comment in a response to Rescue Me: Over-Protective, Helicopter Parents

I realized my response became rambling and self absorbed, so it’s here.

As a parent of younger children, only one of who has reached double digits, there is a twisted hypocrisy out there. Your children must behave perfectly, but by God don’t you dare discipline them in an unapproved manner. Don’t hover, but look at that mom over there not paying enough attention to her children, we should sit here and congratulate ourselves on our superior parenting ability, oh little Johnny don’t climb so high on the approved playground equipment.

I don’t know what the balance is or if there is even a balance to attain.

I’m a single parent and my kids’ father has the children on his off days, the split is as close to 50 50 that his schedule will allow. This works out well for them and I know this is the result of decisions I made toward finding my own happiness and we are cooperative co-parents. Yet, there is a little part of me that resents the fact that the custodial rotation means my days start at 5am and don’t end until late in the evening and involve a juggle of child shlepping and work and by the time my non-working custodial days roll around I’m an exhausted mess.

It is what it is.

I was a latchkey child given too much responsibility too young. This cannot be undone and simply was the way of the time. My youngest sister is now dead and I cannot begin to explain the guilt over this. It is a Pandora’s box of pain and what ifs. If I had been a better role model, if I had paid more attention, if I hadn’t kicked her out when I had guardianship. . . shoving those back in or letting them go is unimaginably hard. Will I make the same mistakes with my own children, is this a cycle that I’ll see repeated?

Circumstances are what they are and we make the best of them. At my children’s recent parent teacher conferences I learned how proud they are of me. They see the work I do and I guess, maybe, I’m not screwing everything up. Maybe. Although it always feels like I am and that I have no idea what I’m doing. Despite everything this family has been through, we are still moving forward and they give all appearances of being healthy and well adjusted. Obnoxious, but well adjusted.  I’m okay with obnoxious.

Time will bear this out.

I’m trying.

Today, well, now it’s yesterday, I spent time with my mother and stepfather picking out Laura’s gravestone. We had her cremated in Tacoma and we had her funeral, here, back in August.

It’s time for us to lay her to rest, to let her go, and try, as hard as it is, to get back to living.

There are now more good days than bad, but I never know what will set me off. Picking out the gravestone makes sense, watching Walking Dead does not. Although I have to ask whose bright idea was it to put all that medical trauma into my favorite show? No, I don’t expect the world to stop for my grief.

I wish we still wore black armbands or had some outward symbol of pain, because there are days when the cheerful, “Hey Heather, how are you?” from someone ends up with an acquaintance getting broadsided with an accidental blurt of truth, “I’m not okay,” it’s not fair to them. They simply didn’t know that how are things is exactly the wrong question right now.

Sometimes I try to just shrug and let the question go.

Sometimes I can’t.

Yesterday I couldn’t manage to find the light, so I fell in the dark.

I’m hoping today is better; I’m standing, there’s that.

As of today I’ve been working for FeedBlitz for a full year. A year ago I had fallen asleep at the wheel, exhausted. Today I’m tired, but it’s different.

I have hope again.

I have built a new life for myself I just want some time to enjoy it. I want life to chill out for a bit and quit bringing me to my knees. And I swear, if someone tells me that I need to spend more time on my knees to get through this, I’ll call them out for being an insensitive git. I will, with the ones I love, who care, one day, one step, one foot in front of the other.

Non-sequitor: The word count is 776, not quite perfect, which is fitting.

And then there are days I hate technology

I know just enough code to be dangerous.

I know where to change things.

In general I know where to look to find things I need to make the changes I want. Unfortunately I do not always know how to fix said things when they go wrong. This generally results in 500 errors and frustration and phone calls that I know my more knowledgeable friends hate.

I’ve told you not to work on the live site.

I KNOW you did, but. . .

The caching system I was so glad I had working last night? Has saved some kind of error somewhere that is making my life annoying.

If you need me, you’ll probably found me hunched over my computer, cursing loudly -until the support line rings and then I’ll clean up my language a bit and turn on the friendly. I’m not feeling friendly though. . .

Embracing the dork


I make silly mistakes. Sometimes big, sometimes not, but generally there is an audience. I’m tired of feeling that “warm wash of shame” over stupid things that simply do not matter.

There have been nights I have sat straight up in bed regretting the most ridiculous things, because I worry that I’ll be called out for being not good enough? I may not know exactly what I worry about, but I do know that it is ridiculously tiring worrying about all those little things.

And? If we’re close enough friends that you have been in my home, that we have shared the same table, that we have laughed until we’ve cried. I think I want you to yank me aside and say, “Heather, it does not matter, knock it off.”

Yes, I committed the unpardonable sin of sharing a pic with my finger in it. Someone please take my keys, I’m obviously not going to manage at this adult thing.

Or maybe? Just maybe, I’m just human and I make silly mistakes and we will both get over them. Because? Today I got out and took a bike ride for the first time in I don’t know how long and it was beautiful and I felt good. Now there’s a little bit of me left in that picture.

/navel gazing

Choices, Change, Transition


It’s been a while.

For a long time I have dreaded even the thought of opening up this site and explaining myself. And then, through chance and happenstance -as so many things come to be- this video showed up in my awareness.

Early in the video Erika says:
But is it the horrible thing that my formative years would have me to believe, or is it the one thing that could bring me more joy than I could ever imagine?

I have moved. I’m in a little, purple house, in a funky neighborhood in an area of a town that, when I was a child, was the subject of jokes -saw your momma down on Spruill Avenue last night. . . but it has been reclaimed and is in transition.

Like me.

This is a good place to begin. The children are okay. I’m grateful. I am surrounded by friends who love me. I am grateful.

And I am happy. I can say that and it feels honest and true.

I needed that.

Happy Birthday

Mark, you have no idea how proud you make me. You fight to prove yourself every day, I see you try. With your tenacity and energy I am excited to see what your future holds. You’re wicked smart and driven, alternately cheeky and sweet. Happy 6th birthday, Little Man, quit trying to grow so fast.

Happy Birthday

It’s amazing watching you come into your own.

Pants are “icky” and sparkles and princesses color your world. I may not understand the appeal, but I love seeing life through your eyes.

I love that you stand your ground and don’t let the boys push you around. I can only hope that trait stays with you through your life. Your brothers love you, even when they are tormenting you. Don’t believe me? Just wait until the first kid outside of our family picks on you. Your brothers have already been planning for years what to do if they ever find a bully; I already feel a little sorry for that kid.

If you only knew how short these four years have been.

Use Your Klout Or How About Don’t

Saturday I was mic wrangling for the Type-A Parent Blogger Townhall Meeting. Jim Lin took a moment to remind us that marketers are people, too. I know this. Yet I can’t just let this topic go. I think the problem may be that the mistakes are so visible and feel very personal due the delivery method.

Spam isn’t personal, it’s very obvious that the email isn’t for me. “Make her cry at your man meat,” yeah, I just can’t relate, this makes it easy to delete and forget.

Halfway decent marketers do a good job of making even an email blast feel personal and I think therein lies the danger. When a boneheaded or insulting pitch arrives, the insult is perceived differently than when it’s carried out through other media. It takes a colossally offensive advertisement to rile me up and I suppose even then they are still creating effective brand recognition.

Last night an email loaded with arrogant ways to use your Klout score landed in my inbox. I thought I could leave it alone. I thought it would just sit there with all the other emails collecting virtual dust, waiting for a response. I should have deleted it.

I didn’t and now it’s still rolling through my head.

Disclosure: I have a modest Klout score and I got to go to their party in Las Vegas during Blog World Expo. I had a lot of fun. Once in a while I check my Klout score. I do this as just another way to put off more productive work (Yes, much like this post is also a procrastination tactic). I don’t obsess and I don’t include it in any metrics because it just isn’t that great and I really don’t think it matters that much.

From the email’s suggested ways to use your Klout score:

5) Problem resolution.
Your car breaks down in the middle of a road trip… Having a high Klout Score will often get you speedier service and a potential refund/credit, saving you valuable time and money.

If I ever hear of someone using their Klout score to bully a customer service rep into an upgrade, I will think less of that individual.

It is tacky.

It is saying, “Do you know who I am?”

Don’t be that person.

Call me on it if I ever am that person.


Presentation from Type-A Parent Conference

This is the visual portion of my Traffic Building Bootcamp from Type-A Parent Conference. I’m hoping to have the audio in the future. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them promptly.
Please note that this site is purposely not optimized for traffic. This is just my personal, little playground.

Deja Vu

Dear Berkeley County Water and Sewer,

The view from my front window is a little too familiar.

Do you recall May of ’08? I do.

Also, how hard would it be to knock on my door or call before you start destroying my yard?


Sleep Writing

It turns out that composing blog posts and presentations in your head while tossing and turning is, in fact, not the most effective use of one’s time and energy.

I’ll remember that in the future or maybe I’ll just try to cut out caffeine after 4 so I can take advantage of the time I do have to sleep.

Crunch time is here. I’ve got the presentation / signing on Monday, the 21st I’m doing a two hour workshop on going from blog to book for the Center for Women, that evening Aidan will receive his First Communion. I leave for New York on Monday, I’m flying out of Charlotte very early on Tuesday morning, the plan is to hole up in a hotel room for the evening and polish everything. Wednesday morning I’ll moderate a session and Wednesday afternoon I’ll present with Kelby. This means I should be able to enjoy Wednesday evening and Thursday. Friday is Aidan’s last day of school so it all has to be wrapped up by then, too. Throw in two tv promos that make my hands sweat at just the thought.

Writing that out?

Didn’t make it any better. Hold me.

Well don’t, really. I get kind of cranky when I’m stressed, it’s probably best to keep your distance.  Oh and I’m supposed to finish my article for LifeHacker.

They are coming to take me away ha ha, they are coming to take me away ho ho. . .