Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekly Winners, Long Time Coming

Hello my lovelies.

I don't want this blog to turn into a giant sob fest, but this *IS* my blog after all. So brace yourself.

Living in a hotel sucks. Everyone in my family is on edge. There are 2 more TVs in our suite than we actually own. Needless to say, it's tough to peel kids away from tv (cable, no less). They aren't listening, except when one of their siblings is doing next to nothing to annoy them, then they listen perfectly and start a huge argument.

Violet has taken to screaming at HIGH PITCH, FULL VOLUME. What exactly am I supposed to do about that?

I have no where to go. The walls of our crackerbox hotel room are closing in on me. I don't really have any friends. I can go to a bible study with my kids or a playgroup with my kids. Both options sound fine but honestly, I'm so depressed about my situation that I really don't want to sit around with a bunch of people I've just met, pretend that I'm not about to punch myself in the face because I'm so sick of my life, and explain for the dozenth time about why we don't have a house to live in yet.

And the answer to that is: not for lack of trying. House #1 (the ugly house) we didn't get. Someone else bid on it and we lost. House #2 ended up just being too old and too small. House #3 went to a renter with a year lease right before we were going to look at it for a second showing. House #4 (we've got an accepted offer on that one) has an old guy living in it, with a reverse mortgage, and it might go into short sale. Short sale is code for "prepare to go the distance waiting for the bank to sell you this house." House #5 is pretty far out of town but it's on 15 acres, which we like, but it's zoned for agriculture so we'd have to get a special lender (not the one we're planning to use) to loan us the money. House #6 was nice & fixed up but just, really, too small for the money, considering it was about $10K over our very top budget.

Our house in TX is almost sold. We're getting screwed, we're losing ALL of our equity, and we'll be lucky if we're not upside down on our mortgage. I know our situation is neither disastrous or unique. But it really feels sucky to us. It's a very tough lesson to learn when we feel like we have so little money to play around with.

We don't have any babysitters here in WI.

I don't have a pediatrician for the kids, and they need physicals because they want to play basketball/cheerleading.

We don't have a dentist and I have a molar that is really hurting.

The kids are wanting their toys that are in storage.

I am completely, utterly, incredibly sick of eating out.

The weather is getting cold. I hate cold weather. Hate. HATE.

And I've lost my mojo for photography. I just want to quit my 365 project. I'm behind in posting the pictures (by about a week) but I really just want to say, "eff it." What am I doing this for? Am I compromising some sanity for the sake of some stupid goal that will mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING??? If I were enjoying it, that would be another story. But at this point, it's just one more thing I HAVE to do every day that I have to squeeze in. I am in a funk. I can't get the shots I want, I feel like I'm *almost* there but I miss the mark. I am my own worst critic, I know that.

I just want to be great at this, ya know? I don't want to be "pretty good" or "fairly decent". I feel like, my whole life I've been racing toward some goal of being the best at something. sports? Cheerleading? spelling? Teaching? beauty? my marriage? motherhood? writing? my prayer life? photography? I know... stupid, very stupid. Many of those things have no "best" and even if they do, the accomplishment is fleeting. Then, when I realize I can't become the best, I drop that and start chasing something else.

I vacillate between being satisfied (does that mean I'm a sell-out? accepting less than my personal best?) and being motivated to do more (am I a masochist? Putting a goal ahead of my own well-being?)

So anyway, sorry this post totally rambled but I am going to put up some photos from the last few weeks - I just havent' been doing weekly winners (or even posting on my blog regularly for that matter) in quite a while. But I miss connecting with all my WW friends. So here goes.

In the Pumpkin Patch (10/21)

The Old Seed & Feed (10/20)

Wishing she could go outside (10/17) - this is how I feel. Our window doesn't even face the outside, it faces the pool.

I miss my Maytag. (10/16)

The fun part of living in a hotel (10/16)

One of our last days in TX, it was still warm enough to wear shorts/skirts. (10/11)
strawberry skirt-7414

water on grass (10/6)
grass water-7073

Violet will be 2 next month. Man, time really flies. (10/7)

Self portrait. I hate my nose. (10/5)

young artist

twinkle lights

Go over to Lotus' place to check out the other weekly winners this week!

Texan Mama


Jennifer said...

Oh Gretchen- I am so sorry. I cannot even give you words of advice because I have been in a funk too. I hope your living situation gets sorted soon and your mood can improve. I know how you feel.... don't feel guilty about neglecting the 365 or anything else for that matter. You are dealing with a lot... dropping the project or regular photography for awhile is perfectly acceptable. Unless of course, the photography is what is still making you happy... then you need to find time for it.

Gigi said...

I imagine that living in a hotel for an extended period of time must be a living hell; especially with children. Once you find something and start getting settled, things will look brighter.

I'm sorry you are in a funk - it's hard to break out of that when things are unsettled.

And, for the record, I loved these shots - every single one.

Heather said...

Oh God we went through this 7 years ago. I only had two children, 2 and 4 at that time, but it was awful.
I reluctantly moved because it was a good opportunity for my husband and he wanted to move back North. I loved the house we had and the life we had. My parents were only a couple of hours away and life was good, but I agreed to go.

It seemed like every time we turned around another obstacle to us buying a house was put in the way, see two failed house inspections. It really was one of the worst times of my life. But we perservered and now I love my life here. My job is amazing and my friends are fantastic. My children are beyond happy. Oh and I got my 3rd child as part of the deal we made when I agreed to move. :)

I wish you lots of luck and know that things will work out for you. Just stay strong.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Why are you so damned hard on yourself? It's okay to feel like you're trapped in Sucketysuckville, because right now you are.

Watching too much TV? In this case, allow it. As long as it's nothing worse that Nick Jr or Disney channel and it allows you some peace, it's not a sin. (Although perhaps writing "damned" is...)

Keep taking pictures. When all this is done, and it will be, you'll be glad you stuck with it. It mattered to you when you signed up for it. Take more pictures of the hotel.

But stop, please stop, beating yourself up. This is not an adventure.

And I hate cold too.

Tara R. said...

LOVE the old Feed and Seed building, so much great character. The bokeh in the last photo is amazing.

Swizz said...

Oh how I feel for ya! We are out of town just for the weekend and the tv might just be the death of me...and I just have ONE! Personality changes galore in the little dude. Ugh.

Um, I like your nose! It's cute! Unlike mine, which is long and pointy. But they are the noses God gave us so they are both fantastic, right?

I've found that doing ANYTHING outside of where we are getting out even if it is just to go to the mall or Bible Study can help them unplug some.

Here is a long distance hug for you! And lots of prayers that you will: find a house you LOVE and get it easily, make friends quickly who will support you and you are comfortable with, and your funk will lift and you will once again find pleasure in the things you usually love. BTW...the house on acreage sounds great! Get a few chickens for me, will ya? Especially one of those fuzzy ones that looks like it wears pants!

nicole said...

Wait--the baby will be 2?! What?! Crazy talk.

I'm sorry things suck.

Jennifer said...

1. Photography. Just stop beating yourself up. Some of these are just so, so good. Violet in the skirt, Sally with the art supplies, the twinkle light, the pumpkin patch... just really good. If you don't want to do 365 then don't. There is no law that says you have to finish.

2. The house. Quit stressing over it. It will happen when it happens. Maybe you haven't found one yet because the right one hasn't been put up for sale. Try driving around and see if you can find any houses that have that empty look, ask the neighbors, look them up on the tax roles, whatever and try to see if you can find one on your own. My mom used to find houses to rent like this all the time.

3. Make a list of all of the things you need to do. I know it will be crazy long, but don't put things like laundry or take photos on there. Put things like find a doctor and dentist, etc. And then just do it. You can be as down in the dumps as you want, but that doesn't really excuse you with moving on with life. These are things you need to do. Do them. Go to that prayer group or whatever it is and instead of faking happiness tell them, "I really need some help adjusting to being in a new place. I need a doctor/dentist/house to purchase." There is never anything wrong with asking for help.

4. Quit stressing over the freakin' TV and cable. You know they aren't going to have when y'all move out. Just let them enjoy it while they can. Also? Let them work out their own problems. They need to learn conflict resolution anyway.

5. Email me and let it out. You know I don't mind. Do I need to fly to WI and kick your butt?

Rachael said...

This is so hard. I can't even imagine being cooped up like that with my kids, and I only have two. I will be praying that you find your new home really soon so you can get settled and really start your life up there. Also, your photos are gorgeous and inspiring. Don't stop!

Bridgett said...

Reading this I wonder about how my mom did it, in various similar moments. We were the only family in the corporate apartment hotel complex for a summer in Dallas and then later for a summer in Houston. They were grueling. Four kids, husband at work, nothing for kids to do, no plans, just the pool and the TV, no friends, no way to really make any. Booooored kids.

Jennifer's advice is really solid. Make a list so that you can strike things off. Ask those people at the prayer group. I would guess they'd love to give advise about dentists and pediatricians. And houses (if anyone asked me, I'd have one right across the street with the owner in a panic to sell).

But that day to day stuff would kill me. It kills me here and I have a house and only one TV and no cable and a dentist and a pediatrician. I cannot imagine doing this as an adult.

Oh, but as a kid? We made it. There were hard things about growing up but the times waiting for a house and to get on with real life? They were fleeting. Not things I need to go to a shrink for.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry for your struggles!! I'm hoping that life evens out for you all so very soon. The limbo and restriction of your current situation could break anyone!!

I know you're down on your photos...but I think your pictures this week are so wonderful! I love the water on grass, and the laundromat shot is fun...and the pumpkin patch. Just so many I really love! Cling to it as another bright spot in every day, somethign that challenges your mind to look beyond your situation for beauty - not something you suck at. Because you don't.

GunDiva said...

Sorry life sucks.

I can't imagine living in a hotel for more than a day or two.

Sending hugs your way.

leslie@gleaninggrace said...

First the pictures:
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the water on grass and twinkle lights pictures! They are so cool, and I have no clue where to even start taking a picture like that!
Second, I am so sorry you are feeling this way! I think any of us in your situation would feel the same. Someone else said it, and I agree: I can't imagine being trapped in a hotel room/ suite (regardless) with my kids and I only have 2!
It will work out; the waiting is the hardest part (not to quote Tom Petty or anything :-))
I will pray for some speedy opportunities and resolution to come your way.
Breathe deep! Go to that Bible Study and get some support from some other women and your Heavenly Father who hurts when you do :-)
You've got some great friends here, who have just offered you some great advice and I know it comes with lots of love!
Feel better :-) {Hugs}