Archive for choose joy

Marital Mondays: Exhaustion

I’ve had time to process everything that has happened to us in the last two months, and I still don’t have a conclusion except that we are a very strong family. Mooch’s social drama at school came to a head in May just before the all school camping trip. This happened right after our former landlord abruptly decided to put the house on the market. I was forced back into home search mode, which disrupted Fuss’ home schooling, as I also had to pack everything. Then one night Hannibal’s heart couldn’t handle the stress of it all, and then this happened.

As a result of his new condition, he wasn’t able to help with moving at all. He couldn’t lift over 25 pounds, which meant even Fuss lost her place in his arms. Friends came to help clear the attic. Others brought food or picked up the girls for outings. I continued to drive Mooch to auditions and gigs, find productive activities for my very active toddler, prepare meals, pack, blog, design, convert books to electronic format, build websites, wash and comb three heads, and house hunt. It was exhausting.

Once we moved, everyone was so tired of living out of boxes, that I unpacked and set up the house in just under 48 hours. I didn’t ask friends for help, because they had already done enough — starting with my broken ankle in March. I grew tired of recounting the story and reassuring family members that everything was alright, because it wasn’t really alright.

My father’s constant cries for attention crept under my skin despite my ignoring him for the past month. He enjoys whining about being sick, but doesn’t want to stop sucking down chitterlings and MSG at M&M’s Soul Food Restaurant. I’m not really the type to pity such behavior, but he continues to call and whine. He’s happy to be a burden. We finally visited him this past Sunday.

I took the first week of summer to just hang with the girls, reconnect , and take my mind off of things. I still worked at night — and worried. I didn’t really plan on facing Hannibal’s mortality at this early stage of the game and so close to my mother’s death. Spending the night with him in the hospital was awful. I was the only one there on my mother’s final night, and the doctors were saying horrible things about Hannibal.

He has a cardiac MRI on July 9th, where we’ll hopefully find out what’s causing both the arrhythmia and the valve with decreased output. Once we have a handle on the condition, I’ll feel better, I think. Oh, I shaved off all my hair again last Thursday.


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Marital Mondays: My Husband’s Heart is Making Dr. Dre Beats

I don’t want to add any information that Hannibal isn’t comfortable with, so I’ll just say with this plus the move, I’m super overwhelmed.

Guest blog by: Hannibal Tabu (my husband)
Original Post can be found here

As of this writing, I am at a medical facility, torso covered with electricity-enabled adhesives. I am told that I have a “ventricular arrythmia,” an irregular heartbeat based in the rough neighborhoods of my cardiac city.

WHAT? Yeah, it freaks me out too. I was among the healthiest people I know. No booze, no cigarettes, no red meat. Fairly regular walks and what have you. Fairly low sodium intake. Weird.

On Sunday, I got out of bed to get my youngest some almond milk. I felt my heart beating like it did when the regional spelling bee was on the line, but I had no immediate reason to be nervous. Ignoring it, I went about my day — lugging things down from the attic, packing, parenting, et cetera. Even saw a great EcclestonDoctor Who episode (I’m late to the party). At 11 PM, lying down to sleep, my heart jumped and jagged like a car engine that’s threatening to stall. I asked my wife to put her hand on it, causing her to run for the girls’ stethoscope. “You need to go to the hospital.”

Getting rushed past the waiting crowd was weird, but in I went for chest x-rays, EKGs and more to discover something, somthing that may have been there for years, was awry in the core of me. Something new, past the regular misanthropy and madness.

An overnight stay on atavan gave scant slivers of sleep. An afternoon angiogram is on the agenda, while my non-stop job will have to churn on without me, maybe for a month, if one cardiologist is to be believed.

SERIOUSLY, WHAT????? The bottom line is I’ll be okay. It’s very early detection, it’s “wholly fixable” and everybody here is treating it like a simple instance. I’ll be home with my ladies this weekend.

What’s funniest is that 90 percent of the things they thought would be the cause — smoking, fried foods, drinking, et cetera — were not relevant. My cholesterol and blood pressure are fine. Ditto blood sugar, and there are no signs of infections or foreign biohazards. Only worry — which I absorb through waves of second hand stress from half the people I know — stood as a red flag. I will have to try more exercise to offset the toxic energies floating around me.

Mostly it’s just a random accident of chance, the spin of some cosmic roulette wheel. Funny old life.

JUST IN CASE: There is a mathematically insignificant chance that something untoward might happen to me. If that’s the case, I want all my intellectual property turned over to Chinedum Ofoegbu (my wife has the passwords), and for his work on my work to be overseen by Vince Moore, Geoffrey Thorne and Brandon Easton. Any and all gross profits are to be divided evenly between my daughters, returning 45 percent of said profits to Ofoegbu, Thorne and Easton.

Not that any of us expect this to happen ..

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Since 1 AM, a loud chime from a Phillips Intellivibe heart monitr has relentlessly sounded whenever my heart does something unusual, or I think about …

  • my numerous writing deadlines, as I am poised on the precipice of greatness but with little time to achieve it
  • my day job
  • moving
  • money
  • making sure my daughters will be okay
  • making sure my overworked wife will be okay
  • why the end of the modern Battlestar Galacticasucked SO MUCH!

… as it does now. A head-splitting reminder of my inability to relax. 20 percent charge on my iPad, heading for traffic and dye in my arteries, I’m just trying to breathe easily and become still waters, so I can flow to refresh my wife and daughters — and hopefully you — for many decades to come.

… BUT IF ONE WERE SO INCLINED … If you have a jones to do something to help me, you could use the Gumroad link and buy copies of my novels, The Crown: Ascension or Faraway, as most of that money goes right to me (well, right into feeding my kids anyway). If you own it, buy a copy for a friend. All good.

Now, to try to get Netflix going on my phone …

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Team Tabu Updates: Finding Joy in Movement

Fuss is testing Mooch at every turn. She’s also trying out some of the hitting she learned at the daycare while Mooch and I were overseas. I’ve been working on tools for Mooch to use to redirect her sister, get her to express her feelings another way, and divert her sisters attention. Sometimes it works. A lot of the time it doesn’t.

Pretending to be innocent

At the annual swap that Mooch’s school holds each year, she got something really awesome for her sister. The fact that she even thought of her sister when free stuff was involved is indicative of her character. Mooch is sweet. Well, after her sister hit her once every day for the past week, she decided to withhold the Melissa and Doug Pizza Party set that she got for her. When Fuss’ behavior towards her sister turns around, Mooch will give her the treat.

Since babysitting funds are in short supply, Hannibal and I have opted to go out separately a lot of the time. I took Mooch to see Fela while he put Fuss to bed. I went to Wives Club while he took the girls to ballet. Gosh, I went out a lot last weekend. I think it’s his turn this weekend. He has a lot of deadlines coming up, so he’d probably prefer to write.

Me and Mooch at Fela

I’ve confirmed that we are moving again, so that’s exciting, because I have no idea where we’re going. I started packing today. For some reason, when you’re having sex twice per day, none of the dumb shit bothers you. I’m joyful and hopeful and going with the flow.

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Marital Mondays: 31 Flavors – Committing to the Choice

“If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” –Dr. Haltzman, The Secrets of Happily Married Men

We have no fewer than six breakfast options in our household each morning. There are waffles, boxes of cereal, rolled oats, bagels, veggie sausages and pancakes for everyone to choose from. Sometimes when I pick one, I end up with breakfast remorse, because there are so many things to choose from. Whether my cereal is awesome or not, I think, “I should have made pancakes.” The reasons are endless. I’d probably be more full. They’re warm. They’d stick to my ribs until lunchtime. They’re sweet. I’ve found that my kids are overwhelmed by the choices all together, and find it hard to make a decision at all.

It is easy to fall into the same trap where dating and marriage are concerned. You remember the way Tony used to tuck occasional notes under your pillow or the way Kim did that thing with her tongue when you kissed, and suddenly you’re romanticizing some past loser you used to date, who didn’t get picked for marriage. He or she wasn’t your choice.

I won’t deny it. I’ve compared Hannibal to my exes in my head. I’ve even thought on rare occasions, “Maybe we’re not right for each other.”

What does that even mean, though? When we’re in that space, we tell ourselves that we’ve done and tried everything. We’re doing everything in our power, but our spouse just isn’t getting it. They’re falling short. What it really means is that I’m scrambling for a backdoor, because things are rough. How do I know this? Each time I get that far into that space — far enough to start thinking, “Eww, maybe I didn’t choose right,” I remember our “no walking out” policy*. I buckle down, and I do the work to make this relationship joyous and successful (meditate, converse, read a self-help book, whatever). Each of us grows each time, and the relationship develops more character.

Regretting the choice I made three years ago and thinking backward isn’t profitable, because former guys weren’t even worth the effort of more than two months to a year. They didn’t stick to my ribs. Does it mean they suck? No, but it also doesn’t mean any of them were “the one that got away.” I don’t believe in “Mr. Right.” I believe in Mr. Make-Shit-Right. He apologizes. He atones. He listens. He serves. He shares. We grow. Hell, he may have even been Mr. Wrong the day I met him, but I know that I’m making the right choice over and over again each morning when I choose to remain committed to our happiness.

We try (though we often fall short) to follow Dr. Haltzman’s tips to remain connected. They are:

▪ Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
▪ Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
▪ Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
▪ Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.

*Surely, if Hannibal gets sprung addicted to crack or starts beating the shit out of me, I’m outta this piece. I’m in no way advocating remaining in an unhealthy marriage for the sake of remaining married. Farting on laps and loud snoring do not constitute deal breakers. As always, your mileage may vary.

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Marital Mondays: Picking Fights

I started watching Scandal, starring Kerry Washington, this weekend. I haven’t watched any TV (other than an occasional Raising Hope or Community) since Alphas went off. Scandal is great. The only problem was watching it on Hulu, where they played a million ProFlowers Mother’s Day ads. I don’t think about my mother often. It’s normally when one of the kids asks me something about her. That doesn’t usually bother me, but these ads got to me for some reason.

I know I’m a mother, and that Mother’s Day is for me, too. Even though, the last couple of Mother’s Day celebrations have been awesome for me, I just don’t really think of me first. I think of my mom. Then I think of how I can barely even remember her voice anymore. I’m reminded that she’s not here to experience my kids, and even worse, that Fuss never met her. She never will. I didn’t push the feelings away. I just sat with them. I didn’t feel like writing, so I didn’t post a blog Monday (That’s why Marital Mondays is posting today). I didn’t want to act like a prospective “millionaire” and phone a friend either. Instead, I did something really stupid. I picked a completely unrelated fight with Hannibal.

The only thing is, he didn’t fight back. Arguing with myself is the most awkward (and not rewarding) thing, so I eventually just fell asleep. I don’t know if he was even sure what was happening. Hell, I wasn’t sure. I addressed him in a tone that was not our normal way of speaking to each other (Think PMS mixed with a little early labor). He just agreed with everything I said and steered clear of the fire.

In the morning, I felt even more awful. It was only Tuesday night that I realized this had all stemmed from leftover grief, because it got worse. I didn’t cry. I just seemed to bark at everything and everybody that got in my way yesterday. I was easily overwhelmed. My martyr complex took over, and it was just an ugly day. I was reminded of all of the horrible things that happened surrounding her death.  For example, Hannibal wasn’t very supportive after she died.  He didn’t know how to handle anything I was going through, and he pawned me off on three of my friends, Felicia, Evan and Brandi — hoping they could reset me to the girl he had met.  He continued with life as usual, while I was stuck in a bubble of pain, confusion, and heartache.

This morning I woke up and meditated in bed. I focused on joy afterward, and the cloud seems to be moving. I wouldn’t say it’s gone, but I can definitely see the sun peeking through.


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