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10 reasons why I am likely to fail at the 10 days of "This is my senior" challenge

There's a meme going around Facebook called, "This is my senior." For ten days, I should post photos of my senior and tag another parent of a senior. I was tagged, and I finally posted a photo and tagged someone but I am loathe to commit to ten days of photos. Why?

1. There's a mouse in my mudroom/laundry room

It could be a new mouse, or the one I thought we'd eradicated a few months ago. That one (this one?) shredded the rubber bits of my washer, costing hundreds of dollars in damage and creating a major flood in that room. The cleanup was brutal.

The second and third cleanups were caused by my repairmen who inexplicably didn't believe or comprehend me when I said that THE WASHER LEAKED AND FLOODED WHEN YOU TURNED IT ON. So they went ahead and turned it on and flooded the room. "Oh," they said lamely, "It really does leak, badly." I 100% attributed that to the male/female filter in which men presume women know nothing of which they speak.

Once the flood was mitigated and the washer repaired, I commenced the bleach overhaul of the room and all cabinets. Then I set mousetraps. Then we found a dead mouse. Problem solved, I thought.

Until this week when I startled a mouse into racing across the laundry room to the narrow space between my utility sink and the washer. So. I checked under the cabinets. Mousetraps in place, empty, but plenty of mouse evidence.

Here we go again.

2. My husband got a puppy

If you've ever had a puppy, enough said. But you know me, I won't leave it there.

The alpha cat, Calley, hates the puppy. She hates animals in general, on principle. She adores people. And is a wonderfully loving cat. To people.  Cats, she can ignore because at least they understand their place, have feline manners, and avoid her. But dogs. Dogs have got no reason, according to her.

She has come to bear Le Petit Chien, because, after three years of lessons, this small dog shows the proper amount of terror in Calley's presence. Also, Calley is larger than this dog.

The puppy, on the other hand, has no comprehension. He lunges at the cat, excitedly. He gets in her space. He makes sudden movements, and is noisy.

Calley is horrified by the invasion of this animal and he's a mere fraction of his final size. It has made her extremely testy.

So, in addition to puppy wrangling, I have to regularly intervene to save the puppy's life from an enraged cat.

This is the cat who dug a hole under the fence to "free" Le Petit Chien for the entire first year we had her.

The other animals are endeavoring to figure out how to fit the new puppy into the hierarchy.

It's a lot of work. They're exhausted--but not enough to be calm.

So there I am in the middle of the storm, trying to get all my things done and mediate the animal chaos.

3. I have a job

4. I have two teenagers

One is the aforementioned senior, and man, is this ever an action-packed year. College application. Scholarship application. Photos. Activities. Quality time. And more. Then there is the angst. The angst of waiting to hear back from universities. Then the angst when lo and behold you get a slew of YES plus great financial packages. Now to choose, which is more angst.

The other teen is in driver's ed. Has a boyfriend. And a very active social calendar.

Also, both do sports, and both have spring seasons.

5. My cat, Le Chat Noir, has an injured eye

Since the arrival of the puppy, as I said, Calley has been a ball of unsuppressed rage. She is not a fan of "the new cat" Le Chat Noir, despite having ten years of time with her, and is at best in Ignore Mode, and at worst, in Attack Mode. Sometimes she swats Le Chat Noir for breathing wrong, and other times it is for an acknowledged cat offense.

Calley's thin tolerance of Le Chat Noir ended with the arrival of the puppy and we're back to full-on Zero Tolerance and regular Attack Mode. I suspect it's a handy target and an easy outlet for her aggression.

We have no proof of how or who, bu Le Chat Noir received a very nasty scratch across her eye. Yes, the actual eye.

I know who my most likely suspect is.

This has necessitated three vet visits (so far), hundreds of dollars (so far), and thrice daily application of medication--to her eye. It's a load of fun and good times.

6. My house is a mess

Four people and five animals, all of whom are Very Busy Indeed, means a lot of stuff stacked around and general disaster.

To complicate matters, we aren't getting any actual winter this year but we are getting the rainy season. That means my backyard is mud. Five animals + muddy backyard = icky floors.

Everyone else in the family means to try to help but they're so busy. You know how it is.

And that's not all.

Those of you who have kept up with me through over avenues know the Great Money Pit Neverending House Repair Saga. This is a blog post in and of itself. Suffice it to say, it hasn't ended. The "give a mouse a cookie" house version ("give a home a repair") deal where each action leads to five more jobs to do is holding true.

7. Swiss cheese brain

My mind is scattered in a hundred directions and let's be honest: I barely manage with lists in the best of times.

8. I'm job hunting

Apparently, I don't have enough plates in the air or transition in my life, so my career prospects are also shifting. This is an entire blog post in and of itself. But if you've ever been in a place where you are having to re-invent and re-sell yourself for jobs, you know how much effort it takes to search, research, and market YOU so you can get the work and income you need.

9. I can't even describe the level of done I feel

You ever just look at your life and think: ha ha some director would have a field day with this as a dramedy disaster movie. That's me.

10. The real reason

Okay so you've probably sussed out that the other 9 points, while valid, are actually excuses. So let's be real.

Having a senior is so bittersweet.

I am so proud of who my senior is. Since 2005, I have blogged about the many adventures and achievements of Patience.

You take on this parenting gig knowing you have one job: to raise an amazing person who has all she needs to achieve as much as she can.

That usually means that you invest everything you have and are into raising another human being who then LEAVES YOU.

Sure, they come back, they keep in touch, and one day, when they finish establishing themselves independently, they may become regular parts of your day again.

But this...this time, this dynamic, this is changing.

Eventually, this will no longer be home, not as it is now. Eventually, we will be the Family of Origin, not the Immediate Family.

Because she is a legal adult, I'm already having to get her permission for things like medical visits. In the eyes of society and the law, she can run her own life and make her own choices now. I trust her, though I know she still has growth to do and my job isn't finished yet, either.

But we're on the cusp of major change, and I am as verklempt about that as I am proud of her and confident in her.

I don't know if I can or want to spend ten days focusing on the fact that she is a senior. That's a higher-level concept than the day-to-day tasks that are to-dos on my list and not a deep acknowledgment that it is here. That day. The one I knew since her birth would come: the day she is ready to fly the nest.

I want you all to see who she is and how amazing she is. I want to show her face and her activities.

But can I?

We'll see.

Patience, pictured with Calley (on her shoulder) and her sister, Angel. Calley is Patience's cat, and I suspect she also knows her person is ready to move on.


Magpie said…
Oh man. I'm going to be right there next year. With fewer animals.
Chrissy Woj said…
I always commit to those photo challenges and quit when I realize they're stressing me out.
Mickey said…
I love that you're writing again. I've missed your voice.
Mindy said…
Oh man, I’m two days late now that I’ve been tagged. And you know what? I don’t want to have to scour photos of the last few years. When she gets to college she’ll be joining FOUR of her brothers. So done. I hear you.
Karen said…
A reader asks: so many cats, how are there mice?
Julie Pippert said…
Aimee Giese said…
Yup, yup, yup, yup, and 11. I hate those tag-thingees on FB.
jeanie said…
One of the things that I love about the challenge is that it got you writing!! Missed your words, lady.

My big one has not only flown the nest, she is in her FINAL YEAR at University. Only now is she talking about trying to do her last prac in our town so she can spend time with us.
It's so hard watching our kids grow up and get ready to LEAVE us!!!!
MARY G said…
Oh Julie, so glad to hear your voice again. And relive my Year of the Senior, with mice. My senior chose the university that gave her the most money. And had the best gym team. She is now a university professor, so go figure.
Grama has no animals at present, as they are in Pakistan with the younger daughter, so I won't mention porcupines. Major $.
Grama's youngest grandkid is about to enter her senior year. I may save this post to show her mother that things could be worse.
Sending both sympathy and the Best News, that being that you will get through this, life will become a mellow twosome and you will read someone's cri de coeur and remember with nostalgia.
About the mouse ... still working on that one.
Julie Pippert said…
It is so good to see all of you on my blog and hear your thoughts! I am glad to be back and glad you are here.

Jeanie, wow, so hard to believe how old our ids are!

Mary, I suspect that will be my daughter's criteria too. What adventures your people have. Yes, share this with your daughter later.

Susan, isn't it just!

Aimee, okay yes that too. I get all "rage against the machine" lol.
This is so sweet and yet so realistic. You are a great mom! I am dreading my daughter’s senior year and sort of hoping she decides to go to community college her freshman year... it’s free in Tennessee so a lot of kids do it now for their core classes to save money. It’s hard to let them go! As for the mouse problem - we had a few get in the house years ago and were told to continue putting out traps for two weeks after we saw the last one. It worked! And it turned out we had three or four and not the one we thought we had so it was good advice. After we were sure the mice were gone, I had an exterminator come seal up any place where they could get in. No mice since then!
melissa said…
Animals, growing children, jobs, job hunts...I feel you on all of this.

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