Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Jumble Of Thoughts


You know those days when you have so much going on that you can't seem to get it together? Thoughts and actions swirl together like a tornado and you end up flipped around six ways to Sunday. On days like these, it's all I can do not to back my car into a stationary object or lock myself out of the house.

This entire week has been like that.

From dealing with the rehab and having to make snap design decisions to organizing writing tasks so that not only am I making money but I am also making art to negotiating how much parental involvement in teen technology is too much, here's what's been happening that has prevented me from actually writing at all this week:

Mercury in Retrograde

Blame it on the planets, for sure, but technology and communication has been giving the Kolbeck household fits. My computer continues to occasionally shut off whenever it feels like it, and it has been running slower than molasses in January. Additionally, The Child dropped her phone in a PUBLIC TOILET on our no-technology outing last Sunday #irony), so she has been coming to terms with the fact that she must pay the $150 deductible AGAIN for a new one.

This is all challenging enough without adding the conversation of how much parental monitoring of technology is too much. The Child believes that it is an invasion of her privacy. I have pointed out that while I reserve the right to pick up her phone and leaf through her inbox, Instagram, whatever, I rarely do. I also pointed out that I am home alone all day and could easily rifle through her personal belongings, but I absolutely don't. I believe she is entitled to private thoughts and time away from her mother in that way, but for the next three years and four months, I am the boss of her and am responsible for her well-being. That includes attempting to head off dangerous mistakes if I see them happening (e.g., assholes online).

It should be noted that The Child has done nothing to raise any suspicion, but I don't want to be one of Those Parents, you know, the ones who insist that their precious angel couldn't possibly do anything untoward. Teenagers are dumb; their decision-making muscles are flabby. In many ways, it's not their fault. They require guidance and limits and boundaries; we are trying to figure out what is reasonable and fair. I have to balance wanting to keep The Child safe with allowing her to unfold her wings a bit.

If you have kids, I would love to know how you deal with this issue. Please comment below. Suggestions are always appreciated!!

House Rehab

So we aren't doing it ourselves, but it turns out that there are lots of decisions to be made when rehabbing a house, some of which can be very expensive, and some of which stack onto each other in a Jenga-like tower where if you pull out the wrong faucet shape or floor covering the whole house looks awful and doesn't work.

If you are not an interior designer, one room is a struggle, much less the whole house. And if you have trouble making a decision (I am a bit of a waffler) it can take ages to decide between polished chrome and oil-rubbed brass hardware for the tub because that influences the ENTIRE BATHROOM. And that decision, turns out, is SUPER EXPENSIVE.

$500+ on a tub faucet and drain assembly and one shower head/shower turner on-er thing. That's a lot of cheddar.

Add to the fact that you may or may not have decided to fabricate your bathroom vanity yourself out of reclaimed 114-year-old wood from the house, and you may or may not have also committed to building an Edison chandelier for the dining room, and the week can get a little stressful.

Pro tip: don't ask your 14-year-old for input on every decision. Because then they will expect to be consulted and if their taste is nothing like yours you are stuck. Let them decorate their own room and what will be their bathroom, knowing that when they move out you can always paint over it.

Writing for Dummies

Being a freelance writer is incredible. My time is my own, and I can do whatever I want whenever I want, like work whenever and wherever I want to.

It's also a bit problematic because I can do whatever I want whenever I want, and sometimes I want to do anything but write. So there's that. If you are a bit of a procrastinator, this can be an issue if, say, you are having computer issues due to planetary alignment or you come down with an illness that lays you out.

Full disclosure: I have never missed a deadline, and everyone I write for has wonderful things to say about me. So there's that.


I have two books in the works that I am not really allowed to talk about until they are farther along. I set myself this rule hoping that it would push me to write more on them. Thus far, limited success.

I feel like I am still balancing my work with relocation, parenting, child rearing, and yes, almost two years in, pain-in-the-ass grief and loneliness (mama needs a man friend, but that's another post).

Two of my goals this year are to procrastinate less and to be nicer to myself in my head (I can be an asshole in there sometimes). They are definitely related. When I sit down to write my books, the voice pipes in: "Why are you writing this? Aren't there eleventy million other books just like it? Who's going to read your stupid book? And you can't even get past the first chapter! You call yourself a cook? Whose recipe is that? You can't do it!"

It's the anti-cheerleader. And she's kind of a bitch.

So I would like to shut her up a little this year, and the only way I know to do that is to just write.

Do you have that cheerleader? And how do you make her shut it?

Anyway. That's a thousand words about why I haven't written here (but I've missed you!). Did your week shape up nicely, or were your thoughts a jumble like mine?

(Image: mine. It's a trash can that the City of Baltimore handed out to residents when the city slogan was "Believe." This particular trashcan is lying on the floor of the basement in the rehab.)


  1. The nasty voices in my head have been by far the hardest to silence. It is a little ridiculous when you are able to see the good in even the worst people but still can't see it in yourself.

    Always a work in progress!!

  2. Hi. Catching up with you again and had a shock when I saw 'rehab' at the top of the entry. Took a few seconds to realise it was the house and not you! :-D Take care, Martyn

    ( Hope this works as I've stopped Facebook doing logins for me. )

  3. Every time I type "rehab" it makes me giggle. Maybe I should change it to "renovation"!!!

  4. Don't you dare! If it makes you giggle, good.