Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer 2009

This summer has been an absolute whirlwind. Most of it has been spent in Three Oaks Montessori, working on summer camps (outer space, circus and art fun!), prepping for yet another remodel, adding students and getting the new staff in place and comfortable. We added a Kindergarten program, lots of space and have rearranged everything countless times to find the right flow. It's pretty exciting to see all the progress made, but my goodness, I'm exhausted.

I'm still working full time with association management as well. My two clients are both in interesting places, which takes up more time than ever. That makes a cranky Kim. I try to relive the stress with frequent trips to the pool with the girls. I look forward to the school year starting so that I can focus entirely on the associations and be past the licensing, new employee, remodel stages of the school for the year.

We managed to get a way for a few days with some friends to Outer Banks. Even though I worked about 10 hours while on my two and a half-day vacation (yes, I realize it's a disease) we managed to have some fun. It was great to stand in the surf, though, and completely revitalized me. We enjoyed visiting with our friends, and the kids were too cute as they frolicked in the sand. On the way out we stopped at the Currituck lighthouse in Corolla to take in the view. I love the Outer Banks. In all my travels, it's still one of my favorite spots to be.

This week Sadie turns three. She's been on a huge growth spurt the last week or two, so I'm hoping we can pack away her 24 mos and 2Ts by the time she's 3. She's still tiny as can be, but I think it may just be her makeup. Speaking of makeup - she's obsessed. On her face, arms, legs, with any bit of it she can find around the house. Trouble!

Katie turns 7 in two weeks, and start first grade on the 8th. We find out who her teacher is on Thursday, and I can't wait to see who of her friends are in her class. There are only four first grade classes, so chances are good we'll know a handful of kids in there.

My parents bought a new home, which is exciting news in our family. They're about 15 minutes from our place, which is great. It's a cute Cape with loads of potential, an awesome screened in back porch and a fenced in yard. I'm already planning on sending the kids over the minute they're ready for them... they'll love it!

Loads of other things have happened, but I'll spare the boredom of recounting them. I'm looking forward to reclaiming a 50 hour or less work week starting the week of the 15th and will stick to it. No new businesses, charity stuff or anything else in the brew (yet, anyway - who knows what I'll find to fill those 30 other hours I hope to abandon from the work week).

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Stress Factor

I realize how self-indulgent this blog has become. Ah well, that's what online journaling is all about. Sharing your insane ramblings with a bunch of strangers (and a few friends).

So, more indulgence... I realized late last night that I'm in the 'dead calm zone.' Not good.

See, I have several stages of stress.

Stage I: 'Bitchy zone.' When I have too much to do, the kids have gotten on my last nerve, work is overwhelming, etc. Ye old normal stress response.

Stage II: 'Manic zone' - usually brought on by righteous indignation, financial stress or a big annual meeting. Working a trillion hours to ensure ends are met, results are delivered and causes are underway.

Stage III: 'Dead calm zone' - uh oh, she's about to blow. This happens when stress is so overwhelming that my brain drops to neutral and refuses to budget out of there. The first time I witnessed a terrible accident (stop sign through a person), I discovered this response. I get busy with survival and focus on only that. Later, once the trauma has passed, I come down to a blubbering pile of nerves. This has happened more frequently through the years. Accidents, Sadie's survival struggle, and now, even finances are putting me there.

And sometimes after Stage III, if it's for an extended period, there's post traumatic stress-type crash. Bad news, gonna be tears kind of crash. Dread to get out of bed kind of crash. I've only been there a few times, and it's ugly. I'm terrified of going back, and do everything in my power to avoid getting there.

This week alone I've had major changes. Our lead teacher from Three Oaks last year is moving on - this was to be her last week. I had tons to do to ensure an easy transition to our new instructor who starts on the 15th. Old teacher got sick, and I've been having to run space camp (without curriculum as she forgot to leave it behind), lead the classroom and try to take care of the administrative stuff, as well as my "normal" job of association management. My clients are both struggling like never before. The only other Montessori school in Hanover closed, so parents are calling left and right to find out about our program. I have a board meeting today. I had class from 9-1. Next week I'm teaching on my own again. We have new students coming in. Jason lost his job again. Sadie is going through this God awful stage that makes me want to scream every other minute. My favorite-ever employee moved away last week, meaning one fewer person in the office.

Yesterday my brain was everywhere and I worked about an 18 hour day. Today it's not going anywhere I've put in 6 hours, and have at least 1o more I need to get in. I'm at wits end, thus the mid-day blog, when I should be preparing for a board meeting. I can't find time to get out with friends because of all the work obligations - and that, or the water and running, seem to be the only remedies for this level of stress.

I know, I know, this will pass. But enough already. I'm sick of the constant change. I know that's what life is all about and I can handle a little change, but there has been one major catastrophe or another for three years straight. Two bouts of unemployment, Jason's near death experience, Sadie's near death experience, biopsy for Katie, drug withdrawals with Sadie, family drama with extended members to include blindness, loss of mental function, heart attacks and death, addition of a new business a month prior to an economic collapse... it just keeps raining. I know others have it worse, and I know I should suck it up and not complain. There have been good things too. But really, how much can a girl take. Really!??!

I know more than anything I need a break. I haven't had any work-free weeks since Sadie was born, and I'm long overdue. My last vacation without work was in December 2005. Two days after I had Sadie I was standing outside the PICU on a conference call. Last year we went to Japan for my business, and I spent a huge chunk of the time in meetings or fighting with the contractor back home. I think two days were work free (thank you, Mt. Koya, for your beautiful retreat). Overdue, but there's no end in sight, so I've got to keep plugging until I can get to a point where I can replenish.

(deep breath)

OK, better. Therapeutic writing and a mid-day glass of wine helps a ton.

Who's up for some Xanax?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


That's me.


What to do now?