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New Year 2019 – Reflections & Resolutions

January 18, 2019

Looking through my posts, I realized that I’d been making this post every year since 2013 and I certainly don’t want to miss out this year.

The Good:

What an year it had been!!! We had decided to move, took the kids out of school, wrapped up everything in India, came here without jobs, found them (although one in a different city 2hr flight away), brought the kids and bam…..back on track. Almost like where we left off 7 yrs ago, minus the house we owned which costs 3 times more than what we sold for. Oh well, can’t have everything I guess. Looking back, I wonder how we could have been so confident about finding jobs and took the risk. I guess positive thinking can help. I’ll have to try and apply this to everything I do – may not succeed every time, but there is a better chance that way.

Oh, I’d started watching movies on Netflix over the weekend, occasionally.

What did we lose?

  1. Time for myself, haven’t read a book in months
  2. No exercise in months except for the occasional 4km walk may be once a month (yep, still measure in km esp when the translated miles are smaller in number).
  3. Health – occasional shoulder pain became a constant nagging pain. Husband’s age is catching up and he is worse off than he ever was (high BP, thyroid issues, IBS etc..). Couple all of these with everyday stress, suffice to say that we need to focus on ourselves.
  4. No time for kids – quality or quantity. Bless them, they’ve become so independent now. They do their own homework, laundry, their one activity (a 10th of what other Indian kids do) and get good grades. We are so proud of them both.
  5. Fresh home made food everyday – While I make and send lunch for the kids everyday, dinners are a different story. I don’t have the time to cook in the evenings, and while I cook a lot during the weekends, we CANNOT eat food from fridge 3-4-5 days later (miss our cook back home very much) . Which means 1-2 dinners from outside every week. I made my peace with it.

Goals:

Given my crazy schedule and single parenting life for the most part, I feel like I can’t do much more than what I am already doing. But I am going to try using the quantifiable metrics that I use at work.

  1. Spend time talking to my kids at least 2-3 times a week which means I have to cut down on my night-time work hours. Get those 5 day night calls down to 2 or 3.
  2. Be pro-active with socializing. This was the only resolution last year, and we failed miserably. The goal this year is to invite friends for dinner at least once in 2 months. Husband and I could never agree on this. He wants to invite all of them at once and get it over with. Me being the ambitious one want to spend time and get to know the folks we invite. The end result – we never end up doing it.
  3. Nag husband until he pays the taxes – Haven’t paid them in a long time 😦
  4. Watch one movie or show with the entire family at least once a month. When we watch something, we all watch it on our own screens because we don’t bother trying to come up with one which all of us could agree on. It’s not that hard.
  5. Walk once a week, and yoga once a week.
  6. Go to a doctor for shoulder pain before it gets worse.
  7. Be positive with the kids. Not sure how to quantify this, but the goal is to not bring up negative stuff which in turn will start a huge fight with them (esp the girl).

I want to do a lot of things, like visit India, buy jewellery, give our apt for rent in Hyderabad etc. But those are all dependent on the husband’s schedule which I have no control over. So not putting them there. If they happen great, otherwise too bad.

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First World Problems

December 21, 2018

The past few days left me feeling unsettled, sad, irritable and overall not so good. A very good friend moved out of her home with her two kids into a hotel after tolerating her abusive husband for over a decade. All I can do is to lend my ear and be supportive. I don’t know what advice I could even give to her.

One more news of a friends father who passed away in sleep. They were planning a huge party/function for their kid that the wife has been dreaming about since the girl was little. They had to cancel it and rush back home.

Work has been annoying (some people at work are annoying). I feel like I am not savvy enough to deal with the issues that crop up with the right attitude and approach. I do my best, but there are days when I feel like a failure – today being one of those. It doesn’t help that I am not very forgiving of myself or my mistakes. I’d worked last night from 10-2PM and am getting ready to do more of that. I really do need my 7 hours of sleep or I get morose. Now when I think my issues in comparison with my friends’ problems it seems petty that I am even worried about my work of all things. But like the title says, first world problems.

Life these days

December 17, 2018

is busy to the point where it’s a luxury if I can get a few minutes for myself. My schedule is more or less fixed on week days – wake up at 6, make breakfast, lunch and pack lunch for the kids. Breakfast is either idlis or cereal, and lunch is one of pasta, sandwiches or rice with one vegetable.

Daughter and I leave at 8, she gets off at school and I reach work at 9AM. Work, work and more work until 5PM when I pack up and leave. Pick up daughter from the library and reach home around 6PM. At that point I usually veg out in the sofa and get up to put the dishes in the dishwasher and get dinner ready. Son usually makes rice and we eat around 8. Work calls start again at 9PM and end anywhere between 10-11PM. Most thursdays’ I pick up husband from airport around 9 while still taking the work calls (ended up missing the exit multiple times while on calls).

Weekend schedule can get crazier. Husband takes care of shuttling around daughter when he is around, and gets the groceries etc. If he is not around like this weekend, on saturday, dropped the girl in class, took son and went for a 5km walk. Came home, made dosas’, cooked lunch, ate, dropped girl off in another class and slept. Woke up at 4:30, picked her up, took care of mail, financial stuff, went shopping for some warm clothes for son, ate dinner, watched movie and slept. Today, woke up at 7, cleaned dishes, made pancakes for breakfast, took the girl for class, did grocery shopping, picked her up, came home at noon, made rice and appadams for lunch along with leftovers, ate, talked to friends on the phone and took a quick nap. Now I have to do cooking for the week.

Somedays I cannot believe I traded the luxury of life in India with this one. Surprisingly, as much as I complain, I like this life and don’t have regrets. Kids do their own laundry, and I leave mine for when the husband comes home. Kids help out a little, and I’d like to get them to do more, for both their and my benefit. They are much more responsible for themselves here compared to India, and I have a sense of satisfaction that comes with hard work.

Gems from my precious Gem

August 25, 2018

Dinnertime conversation:

Daughter asks Dad (amazed that he stayed away at a boarding school since 7th grade) if he had to cook food for himself.

Dad: No. They gave us food at the hostel.

Daughter: Were there a lot of different varieties for each meal.

Dad: Yes. They had a different menu each day of the week.

Daughter: [takes a dig at me] Well that’s a lot more than what we get these days.

Me: They get paid to cook, but I don’t.

Daughter: You get paid with LOVE

Me: Not really, I get paid with complaints

Interesting Flight mates

May 26, 2018

I sat next to an interesting black dude on my way to India. He is a vegetarian and used to be an aero-space engineer that got laid off, is into real-estate and other things to make money. He is on his way to Manila where he bought some real-estate and wants to spend time there. He doesn’t know when he’ll be back. When I said that it’s great that he had the luxury to do that, he said, “Oh it’s easy. I own a night-club in Denver and it doesn’t need me to be there”. He is full of ideas – buy land, do farming – raise chickens, or dairy farming and grow his own food (and barter for the rest). He strongly believes that’s the way humans should evolve into. All this is good, and I kept nodding my head saying I couldn’t agree more.

And then he looks at the maps on the TV in front of him and says that the maps are all wrong. The continent sizes are all wrong (North + South america is the largest continent) and I thought he may be right. And then he says US is not the west, but the east and I said it depends on how you look at it since earth is round. And he says “Earth is not round, but flat. All the creation theories are hoax. Humans, animals and plants are meant to be how they are today. There is no such thing called evolution”. I asked him how he knew that. He goes, oh I am in touch with the creator (He calls him an AWE) and I know. He wants to create a spiritual temple. He doesn’t believe in religion since it’s man-made. He doesn’t believe humans are allowed to intermix their “seed”. They are meant to stay in their respective countries and not immigrate. Humans are making a mess of things by confusing all of these.

At this point, I promptly put my head-phones and turned to watching the movies effectively ending our conversation.

Nuggets of wisdom

May 19, 2018
  • The wealthier people get, the more they talk and obsess about money.
  • Never downplay the luck factor; a significant number of folks attain success purely by chance.
  • Hindsight is 20/20. Cliched but so very true.
  • This too shall pass (or so I hope).
  • When you need help, people will surprise you. Some surprises are pleasant, while some are not. People who you’d never thought about much will reach out and go out of their way to help while others who you’d thought about relying on will disappoint.
  • When life goes smoothly without any challenges, the smallest of issues start to look big. It’s okay to have failures and challenges in life. They make you stronger.

Next phase of life

May 17, 2018

Landed a job last week after going through a roller coaster ride of emotions ranging from high stress, despair, worry, exhaustion to relief and happiness. Considering the options I had, I probably would have landed a better job. But in order to pursue the other options, I’d have to decline the offer I have in hand (they weren’t going to wait). I didn’t have the strength to do that considering the precarious situation we put ourselves in. Going back to Mother India tomorrow to bring the kids along. Major love and missing each other happening between the parents and kids separated by continents for 2.5 months. We’ll be back to normal – bickering, yelling, talking back etc. within no time.

Husband is still in the process of job-hunting, and I give him free advice about not to be stressed now that one of us has a job. Renting a house literally costs an arm and a leg here. No chance of buying a house in the near future considering we’d have to sacrifice a few organs and body parts to pay the mortgage, property taxes etc. Since we’ve been living in our own house(s) for the past 20 years, this will be a new experience.

A toast to our journey into the next phase of life.