Low

I have been struggling.  Really struggling.  And I have no clue how to get out of it.

Let me clarify…not struggling with life in general.  We downsized our home with our recent move saving us money.  My daughter is not sleeping at night (which is really not helping my mental state) but she is getting so big and is going to school this fall.  I am close to family and friends that I get to see more often.  I have a loving husband who would do anything for me.  Not to mention my cat who now has her diabetes under control.  Basically life is good.  But for me personally it is horrible.

I figured out a while ago that being a SAHM was not my gig, but I did not want to work 50 hours a week either.  So for a while I did some cleaning jobs, worked for my in-laws for a while and truthfully, it kept my sanity.  But since the end of May when work ran out for me, I feel disheveled.  Lost.  Empty.  I have been doing projects at our new house that have taken up a lot of time but those things are starting to slow down and there is less for me that MUST get done.  Not to mention, with my kid waking me up 10-20 times a night, I don’t have much energy for anything.

I want to work, but no one ever calls.  I get tired of spending hours and hours and hours of filling out applications online for no one to ever call.  Last summer I applied for at least 30 positions and no one called.  I have a teaching licence collecting dust because no one calls.

I read, do housework, take care of day to day stuff, but I don’t feel fulfilled.  I feel a bit depressed actually.  Everything is the same.  Its like the movie Groundhogs Day, everything repeated.  I need to work to give me the sense of contributing to my household as well as society and right now I’m not.  I have applied for everything under the sun (within reason) and nothing happens.  I thought about going back to school but I am already thousands in debt from a degree I don’t use already.

I need something.  I need something to fulfill me.  I need something other than the monotony from every day life.  I need something for me.

I know great things come in their own time, but watching the hands of a clock move is as useless as waiting for water to boil.

Tick-tok.  Tick-tok.  Tick-tok.

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West Michigan Business Critique: Piggy

My hubby took me on an impromptu date last night.  We chowed down at The Paisley Pig in Grand Haven, MI.  We were looking for something new to try, and seeing as these folks opened this restaurant around Memorial Day, I thought it would be good to try out assuming all those opening week issues would be troubleshot.  We got there about 4:45 in the afternoon and by 5pm, it was a full house.

A husband wife team that once worked at the Hearthstone in Muskegon opened The Paisley Pig after new owners took over the Hearthstone.  The concept of “the pig” is rustic and casual, top notch service, regular food with a twist.  Ingredients for the restaurant are purchased locally.  Pork comes from Coopersville, bison from Manistee, cherry/maple products from Traverse City, fish from The Fish Monger’s Wife, cheese from The Cheese lady, and beer bread/batter with beer from Pigeon Hill.  I am sure I am missing some because the menu is vast.  Because many of the ingredients are local, cost stays down.  It is really affordable; cost increases for those fancier entrees.

The dining area was clean and organized.  It did not feel cramped or stuffy.  It was also a nice touch to be able to see the cooks through the glass in the kitchen preparing food.  Speaking of that…as we were chatting, waiting for our food, I noticed kitchen personnel walking from the kitchen, through the dining room to the walk in cooler to retrieve items.  I watched them walk through the dining room with tomatoes, onions, and raw chicken.  Eek!  Thought that was strange and not convenient.  I got up to go to the bathroom (which is super clean but not multi stall) and slipped on something that was on the floor.  As I watched this trail of drops, it appeared to stop at the kitchen entrance.  Was that raw chicken juice all over the floor?  Eeewwww.  Not pleased.

Our server was amazing.  He was extremely attentive.  Very polite.  The floor manager, not so much.  I have worked in the service industry for years and there is one thing I know.  As a boss, you DO NOT yell at your employees in front of customers.  The hostess did not seat parties according to who arrived first and this angered the floor manager.  So in the middle of the dining room, she glared at the hostess and scolded her for doing it wrong.  This poor girl didn’t know what to say.  The floor manager had an attitude as though she didn’t like being there and gave you that fake ass smile when checking on your table.  Yeah, no thanks lady, keep on walking.

The food was yummy.  I was trying to keep my expectations in check so I ordered a safe meal.  I got The Paisley Pig containing BBQ pork, slaw, all on a toasted beer bread bun.  The bun was not toasted by my idea of toasted, making the bun soggy; I couldn’t pick it up but rather ate it with a fork.  It was served with hot, crispy fries and homemade pickles.  I really enjoyed the sandwich and is very similar to the pork BBQs I make at home.

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My husband chose the crab mac made with crab, duck bacon, ghost pepper cheese, and peppers.  This was super cheesy but not greasy.  It had lots of crab in it, and although had a nice zing, the ghost pepper cheese did not make it too hot.  The portions of his entrée and mine where not huge but enough to make sure that you were pleasantly full on your way out the door.

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Although we were too incredibly full for dessert, they have a great dessert menu.  They had a s’mores dip that I was eyeing but knew that my stomach couldn’t handle any more.

I would gladly go back again to try other items on the menu.  I would say that my overall experience was a 4/5 but I think there could be some tweaks with the employees and transferring of food to the kitchen.

Oink ya’ll!

Northern Michigan Business Critique

20170415_154207 (1).jpgI am so incredibly late with my blogs…I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, running around screaming, “I’m late!”  Such is the way it goes though.

The hubby and I decided to head up for a weekend getaway to the gorgeous Suttons Bay area in Northern Michigan.  I have frequented Traverse City in the past, but was not acquainted with Suttons Bay, and boy oh boy, I was missing out on some beauty.

The choice of lodging was Black Star Farms.  It is roughly 20 minutes from downtown Traverse City.  It is a luxurious “resort” that has a tasting room, restaurant, small farm and rooms that only total 6.  Some of the amenities included a sauna and massage for those needing extra stress relief that the wine can’t provide.  My husband chose the fanciest room although I was not overly impressed.  It did have a fireplace which was a cozy feature, but it was also almost 80 degrees when we visited.  It did not have a bathtub, something that I enjoy when I am getting away for some R&R but the shower was accommodating enough.  The bed was not exceptionally comfortable, and the duvet on the bed was noisy; every time we turned it sounded like we were moving on crinkled paper.

The hospitality of the employees at the resort was phenomenal.  I have milk and egg allergies so when talking with the chef about breakfast, he was very understanding and accommodated my meals for me.  Every morning there was a full coffee station set up with hot coffee, sugar/cream, as well as hot chocolate and teas.  It was great to have that since my brain does not function unless I have caffeine.  The restaurant on the property has wonderful pizzas cooked with a wood oven and excellent wine choices! Make sure to go before summer prices hit.  The end of April is when the prices go up.

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Although staying on the resort for relaxation is wonderful, it was great to walk around Traverse City but also try some of the local restaurants in Suttons Bay.  We chose to eat at Martha’s Leelanau Table and holy cannolis, it was amazing!!!!  The owner purchased a home on the downtown strip in Suttons Bay and renovated the home into a restaurant.  There is a patio as well as 14 tables (or so) on the inside.  It is very elegant and sophisticated for being such as small establishment.  I chose to have crab cakes which came with mashed potatoes and a grilled vegetable.  I had to have roasted potatoes instead because once again, I can’t have milk.  My husband chose to have the special, which included steak and fish, mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. Our server stated that the fish was fresh out of the lake that morning; many foodies know that restaurants will try to pass frozen fish for fresh (which is not possible) but the quality of his fish was fully fresh. His steak was cooked to absolute perfection.  My crab cakes were crunchy on the outside and full of crab meat in the center, lightly salted and not overly seasoned.  They were perfect.  The prices were not outrageous, but don’t expect to walk away without a $100 tab.  In my books, it was worth every penny.

When I look back at the experience, I loved it.  I ate well and drank well.  Laughed and laughed and laughed.  The resort was gorgeous and I would love to go back again someday.  I must say though, the time spent reconnecting with my husband, being able to chew food instead of inhale it as well as have a conversation that was not interrupted 986 times was what meant the most to me.  I just wanted to spend time with him.  It just happened that he picked one of the most beautiful places to go to.  And I love him for that.

West Michigan Business Critique (Lake)

Well ladies and gents, we decided to go out for breakfast this morning at one of the most beloved food joints on the Michigan shore, Steak ‘N Egger.  We have a very rambunctious and energetic 3 year old so it is hard to get her to sit down at a restaurant to eat, but with the fact that we arrived at 7:30am, there were only a handful of people eating inside which calmed my nerves in case she got rowdy.

We were greeted as we walked in and told to sit wherever we liked.  We chose a booth by a window.  Now, A little background on this establishment before going on.  This restaurant has been open many many years and has always been a favorite by the locals.  In the last year to 18 months, Steak ‘N Egger was purchased by owners from the famous Toast ‘N Jams.  The owners now own both establishments and remodeled the inside the inside of Egger with soothing blue hues and a beachy theme.  Very relaxing.

We were not sure to who our waitress was because 3 different people waited on us for various things.  Our final server who took our order then resumed looking after our table.  They set us up with coffee and orange juice.  I like the fact that they offered plastic cups with lids and coloring activities while kiddos wait.  Our food took a while to be brought to our table.  Once it did, I was not impressed.  It made me sad and disappointed as this is a restaurant I have always enjoyed.  My hash browns were shriveled and cold and did not come with the onions I asked for.  My biscuits and gravy were ok although the gravy felt like I had glue in my mouth.  Lastly, my bacon was an adequate amount but also cold and not crispy.

I asked the hubs how he felt about his food.  He ordered a meat lovers omelette and he said that it was good, but he had had better omelettes from them in the past.

As we are wrapping up, stacking plates and grabbing trash on the table (old habits die hard from the life of a past server) I was waiting for the check.  My daughter started to get loud and restless, and my frustration was settling in.  I look over at the waitress station where my waitress stood and she had my bill in her hand but continues to just stand there.  Why?  Because she was talking on her cell phone.  Really?  On your phone and not paying attention to customers is not the best way to make tips, sunshine.  I reluctantly gave her a tip when I don’t feel she earned it, grabbed my stuff and walked out the door.

So, truth be told, I would rate the new, revamped version of this restaurant with a 3.5 out of 5.  The overall feeling of the establishment was clean and soothing as well as bright and cheerful.  The food was not all the way up to par and the servers need to stop gossiping with each other, stay off the phone, and serve the customers.  I am huge when it comes to service and these employees need a talking to.

I like the way it was before.  Even with the old tables and paint.

Here is a link if you want to check it out!

http://steakneggermuskegon.com/

 

P.S.  I will have a review for a resort in northern Michigan in the next couple weeks.  Make sure to stay tuned.

West Michigan Business Critique: Double Time

Well, it has been a busy summer with many activities always on the horizon.  For us, that means discovering a new restaurant or store that we truly enjoy.  This past week, I found a new favorite restaurant but a not so good activity.  And the journey begins…

Wednesday, we (meaning me, my mother in law, husband, and daughter) set off for a morning of fun at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury.  The goal was to have fun at the water park and tire the little out.  Scouring their website, the water park looked clean, kid friendly, and overall perfect for our outing.  Per their website, I was disappointed the cost was $25/adult although free for my 2 year old.  I also discovered that there was a $20 deposit fee on a locker (which was returned to you when you returned the key) but a $6 cost to rent it.  Oh well, sometimes you have to spend the money to have some fun, right?

We walked in about 10 minutes after the park opened and found out at the front desk that 2 of the park features were being repaired and not operational.  Not to mention all of the adult hot tubs were not working either. Um, ok.  They did knock $5 off each ticket, but my disappointment truly came when one of the closed features was one for kids.  I knew my daughter wouldn’t care and would have fun anyway, but I wanted her to experience all the fun she could.  Ugh…

We were able to get a life jacket for my daughter at the desk, and that was convenient.  Because it was early and the middle of a work week, there were only 10 people in the park, which was nice.  I was however shocked at the noise.  The pumps and motors that run some of the bigger slides sounded like music from a slasher movie in surround sound.  It was really hard to have a conversation over the noise.  I also saw that on one side there was a small store that sold food and drinks that were allowed to be consumed on a patio in the park.  I was joyful knowing I would not have to redress and climb the three flights of stairs to find something to consume.  Wrong.  It wasn’t even open and there were no “consumables” in it.

We stayed roughly 2 hours and by that time were were famished and in need of FOOD.  We all were not overly impressed, thus deciding to call it a day and find a McDonald’s.  I would say that the staff were friendly and professional, the park itself was clean and the water warm, but I wasn’t impressed knowing many of the features were out of service.  I would have to cap this at a 2.5/5 stars.  Save your money for something else.

Saturday arrived and the hubby and I planned a date day.  We decided to take a friend’s advice and check out Lucky Tea in Grand Haven where it is said that the sushi is AMAZING.

Oh, it was!

We arrived about 1pm and there were 10 people dining in and 6 came in for take out.  The menu is huge with so many options to choose from.  If going there with a group and someone in not a sushi fan, there are more traditional items such as wraps to choose from.

Our waitress was kind, very attentive, and checked on us regularly.  Our wait time on our meal was a bit long, but as you sit there, you are able to watch the sushi chefs make the rolls you order right in front of you. It was clean and cheerful, very simply decorated. I chose a lobster roll  and a crab roll; my husband chose squid and eel.  Oye.

It was a great meal, gorgeous presentation, and the wasabi was a bit spicier than I have had from other restaurants.  As for price, it was cheaper than if we would have gone to a chain restaurant like Logan’s.  They also have specials on certain rolls during lunch and dinner.  I would gladly give Lucky Tea 4.7/5 stars.  I say this because the only flaw I could find was I wish the glasses for our drinks were bigger.

Until the next adventure!

 

 

The Last Battle

I feel like I am going into the last battle.  I am preparing and becoming strategic.  I am aligning moves so I execute movements at the most precise time.  It couldn’t be anymore thought out…

Can it?

I bought my home when I was married to my ex-husband so that I would be closer to work and the time for commuting wouldn’t be so outrageous.  Well, I don’t have the husband or the job anymore.  Not to mention the water.  The water.

I bought my house in the “dry” season, little rain, hot sun.  I saw no water.  After we purchased the home, we decided to have a breezeway room removed and a new one reconstructed.  This is when the ex and I found out that we have an extremely high water table, solid clay ground and literally live at the bottom of a hill.  After trying to do what we could with the circumstances, we took proper precautions of water including making sure all of the FIVE sub pumps were working in top condition.

Nonetheless, the wooden breezeway structure that was built is rotting. I was never able to close the building permit from 6 years ago because the requirements that have to be met, can’t be because of the water. There is mold everywhere.  I do what I can with the bleach, but it is a health issue.  I had a contractor who only deals with foundations come check out my property and he said that the water is affecting the support beam.  He said that the only way to fix it is to invest $30,000 in raising the whole 2 story home 5 feet up.  Yeah, its not in my budget.

This weekend, we had massive storms roll through the area.  It rained heavily for 4 hours.  My pumps couldn’t keep up.  It went over the break wall.  The whole thing flooded.  Not to mention my barn flooded.  That had to be pumped out as well.  The concrete in the barn is cracking and crumbling from the water.

Not to mention the water coming in from the ceiling on the main level as well.

I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to keep up with a water issue that was never disclosed to me (and by all rights didn’t have to be) all for a contractor to tell me that no mater what I do, the water will win.

So what do I do?  Do I try to sell it?  Short sale it?  File bankruptcy on the home?  I just don’t know what to do.  I have so much anxiety and fear because the choice I make will impact us enormously.  We are not happy here.  We focus so much time and energy on constantly trying to troubleshoot issues, especially with the water.  What if the power had gone out and couldn’t run the pumps?  What if my husband wasn’t home?  What if it would have come in through the main floor?  I want to spend time enjoying life not being worried about this house, because it is driving me nuts.

So what’s next?  Maybe talk to a lawyer or two.  Pray.  All I know, is what is next will not have anything to do with water.

Seasonal Friendships

I have never been the one to have a ton of friends.  I would rather enjoy spending quality time with a few close people rather than a 100 people that I have no true connection with. But reflecting on my life, and the seasons that I have gone through really does show me that as the seasons change, friends often do as well. Since many times, their season does not align with mine.  Not to mention, it seems like the need for certain friends change as the seasons do.

When I look at a friendship from age 20-29 I see friends that were good for BBQs, tubing trips, camping, grilling, late night laughter and talking, girls weekends, bar hopping, dancing, shopping trips…the list could go on and on.  But now, settling into a less hectic time in life, having a family and routine, many of these things I don’t need any longer because they do not fulfill me.

What I need in a friend NOW is someone who will listen to me, not about what happened to my trip at the grocery store, but what is in my soul.  I need someone to pull me away from my routine once a month to have a glass a wine with me and giggle about the crazy stuff we deal with on a daily basis.  I need deep, intimate conversations that connect to my spirit and emotions. Someone who will place my importance in their life as high as I do theirs.  I need someone that says lets all get together for a cook out and let the kids be wild.  But this season of friendship for me is not matching with the few close friends I have.

The two friendships that I need are becoming so far removed, I don’t even know if saying the word friend is even appropriate.  And it really isn’t anyone’s fault, it just seems like we are in different seasons with different priorities.  One of them is busy with 3 kids and a controlling husband and only gives me super short, one word answers when talking to her.  I can’t say that is much of a friendship.  Another friend, although being able to speak to her more is always super busy with a random schedule.  Not to mention her kids are growing up and moving on with their own lives, so she can do what she wants when she wants and kind of expects me to, too.  And I can’t.

I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to branch out and contacted a friend from years ago, and it is a nice friendship that is evolving.  Someone who knows me, gets me, and can put a smile on my face if it has been a rough day.  Someone that is able to appreciate talking to me, even if it is just a quick message asking how I am doing.

Seasons change and so do people.  I never really understood the concept of friends changing with the seasons, but I do now.  And truthfully, I have learned the best lesson of all.

The best friend you can truly have is yourself.

Lonely and Longing

I have everything I need.  A family, home, car, food, clean water…I am good.  But I am tired of being alone.  Tired of being isolated.

I had a long chat with a friend a few weeks back,and it was one of those heart to heart talks.  She was really worried about me not participating in some things like cook outs and such.  How the HELL am I supposed to go to that when my kid goes to bed at 6:30 at night and wakes up no later than 5am? Every “party” starts no earlier than 4pm.  Oh just get a babysitter, right?  Wrong.  My family won’t watch the toddler and for some reason someone offers, they are not competent people that I would want to leave her with.  I cannot force the toddler to take a nap not to mention I am exhausted, and the last freaking thing I want to do is sit around a bunch of drunks until midnight when I could be getting my beauty sleep.

But I am lonely.

The same thing goes for certain family events.  We get invites to house warming parties or birthday gatherings, and its nice we are thought of, but I cant GO…duh! We had to give up seeing my husband’s family on their Christmas Eve gathering because they have dinner at 7pm!!!!  And there are no people with kids there, only us mingling with people consuming large quantities of alcohol while telling a toddler, stop licking people.  Yeah, no thanks. Or, messages always read, “I know that you probably wont come but we wanted to invite you for a BBQ at 6:30pm.”  Bhahahahaha, thats when my kid goes to bed, oddball.

And I am lonely.

My husband works so incredibly hard to support us.  I appreciate everything that he does to make sure we have what we need, but after working 60 hours a week, he is tired.  He doesn’t want to go anywhere or really do anything.  He wants to relax.  Chill.  Watch tv.  I get it, but then here I am still where I was, doing the same thing.

And lonely.

Or my friends who say that we will go out and do this or that.  Shop or eat.  Whatever, ya know…yeah, that doesn’t happen much either.  They say they don’t have money in the funds to do anything, or don’t have a sitter, or some other lame excuse.  Whatever happened to getting all the moms together, packing a picnic and heading to the park for a few hours?  Since when was that so time and money consuming?

Leaving me lonely.

I am ok with being alone.  I like being alone.  But not with a toddler who can’t pull up her own pants or cook herself chicken nuggets.  I need someone that I can connect to on an adult level and have meaningful conversations with.  I need someone that is willing to listen and make me laugh.  I need someone that is willing to take on an adventure with all kids in tow.  I need someone who doesn’t exclude me because they are night owls and I am up before roosters.  I need that in my life.  I need compromise.  I need flexibility.  I need someone to understand that this is a season of life and it won’t last forever.  I need someone to see me.  To hear me.  I need meaningful connection throughout the week, month, year.  I need that.  Lately, it is no where to be found and no real way to get it.

So, I guess I will just be.  Lonely.

Thank You

There are people that come in and out of your life, generally being ones who stick around for the long haul or teach you a lesson. Many of the people that have given me the most in my life were able to lift me up and give me back a piece of my soul that I lost.  Many of these people didn’t even know that they impacted my life in such an incredible way.  And for this I say thank you. 

Thank you for letting me have fun.  Thank you for letting me be silly, giggle, and be loud.  For late night talks, long walks, wine, and macaroni and cheese. Vodka tonics.  Left over lunches. Thank you for reminding me of all those girlie things I longed for.  Thank you. 

Thank you for bringing me back to life. Making me feel like a woman. For letting me feel special.  Calling me beautiful.  Laughing with me.  Late night texts.  Good mornings.  Valentine’s candy.  Looking in my eyes and saying how gorgeous they are.  Making every sexual fantasy real.  The smell of your calogne.  Hair grabbing, ass smacking, loud-as-hell, mind blowing, amazing sex.  Making me love again.  Thank you.

Thank you for giving me hope.  That the world is not bad.  There is so much to live for and aspire to.  That nothing is as bad as it seems.  Compliments.  Compassion.  Care.  Thruth.  Raw thoughts.  Reminding me that someone needs to climb walls with me and not let me do it alone.  Thank you for not passing judgement.  Safety.  Not being critical.  Respect.  Happiness.  Joy. Thank you.

Thank you for giving me safe harbor.  Listening to me cry.  Holding me for hours.  Listening to me repeat myself a thousand times.  Thank you for supporting me and fighting by my side.  The laughter.  River trips, late night snacks, and star gazing.  Singing to the radio.  Making me pretty.  Holding my hand.  Too much wine.  Swimming.  Dinner on the grill.  Pajamas and YouTube at 1am.  Thank you.

I would be lost without all of these things. I don’t know how I would have managed to keep on moving on and evolving.  Some took me from a standstill and made me move.  Others made me grow.  And some gave me new purpose.  I wish I could say thank you to all these people that made me who I am because I am forever greatful.

So, if you love someone say it.  If you need them, say it.  If you admire them, say it.  If they helped shape your life into something magical and beautiful…tell them. 

Thank you.

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Boys, Girls, Barn, Cat Shit, Cords,and Love You

I never knew that being a mother was going to cause me to teeter on the brink of insanity.  Some days, I start drinking before 5, consumed WAY too much chocolate, forgot to put deodorant on (wondering what the hell that smell is) all to make sure I keep myself alive while keeping a toddler alive.

The other morning, my dear husband let me sleep in a bit.  He made coffee and packed his own lunch for work.  He reuses those plastic bags from the supermarket to put his lunch in.  After me and the kid have coffee/juice time, I go to begin my 3 morning chores of cleaning up after the cats, the dishes and taking the trash out.  As I reach down to grab one of those supermarket bags, I notice a cat turd that is smeared and crusted all over the floor.  Super.  I ended up having to use a knife to scrape it off the floor.  I text my husband later asking why he didn’t clean it up.  Typical man answer:  I didn’t see it.  What. The. Fuck. Ever.

Later in the day, my kid daughter is trying to figure out boys and girls.  I guess in today’s society, that is hard for many people.  Even me and I am 31.  After trying to get her to understand that cat M is a boy and cat B is a girl, she declares that her grandma has a wiener and cat M has a hooha (vagina).  I give up.

After lunch the kid wants to play her farm game on her tablet which is upstairs.  Ok, cool.  I told her she could go get it.  She heads upstairs, only to come back halfway to peek through the little window and says she cannot get it.  Ha, that is silly, of course you can.  She trudges back up, only to come back down again to peek through the window.  Did you get it, I ask.  No, mama do it.  Why should I do it little one?  My hands too small, cord to big.  WTH?  A phone cord is too big?  SO of course, in the hopes that she would do one small task for herself, I get my ass up and go get it for her before she loses her shit.

After potty break, she tells me that her dad lives in the barn and she wants to go see daddy in daddy’s house.  Ummm, dad lives in the house.  No, daddy’s house!!!  No she is getting irate.  Ok, honey, maybe later.  Not to mention, her dad isn’t even home from work yet.

After dinner and getting cleaned up, a few snuggles and a tv show, she is ready for bed.  As she grabs her animals to head upstairs, I say I love you.

She keeps walking.

I love you mama.

I love you more mama.

I think that is the most sane thing I have heard all day.  Maybe I am not crazy after all.