Not So Fast, Lady

February 24th, 2013 - filed under: The Farm » Family

Apparently things get worse before they get better. And so we begin the “screwball comedy” portion of my 2012.

At the very start of November, Damian arrived in Santa Barbara. There was good:


And there was ugly:

Oh, the joys of moving.

And, there was bad.

Right before Damian got into town, I got sick. Like, reeeeeally sick. Like, I spent the whole night laying on the floor while Waits just watched iPad Netflix and systematically unwrapped every single bandaid in a jumbo box. Good times.

The worst part was that after almost a month of single-mothering all on my own, Damian wasn’t even able to take Waits when he got to town. I was so sick (of the achy and nauseous variety) and man, trying to parent when you feel like crap is pretty much the worst thing ever. And then just as I was starting to feel better, Waits got sick. We arrived home after dinner at my godparents, I got out of the car to open the gate and when I got back in, BOOM, vomit bomb had gone off all over my poor baby (and poor car).

Ugh. I got him out of the car, trying to comfort him, got him undressed and got us into the shower. All cleaned up, I parked him in front of the iPad (again) and went outside in the dark to clean out the car. Came back in, got Waits into bed and of course . . . VOM. Oh boy! And I’m such an amateur, first time mom here ya know? It took me a round [or two] of this before I figured to stash the barf bowl next to the bed. We got pretty good at catching it (go team!), but not before we had to take another shower, and not without having to work through every single piece in my [extensive] vintage sheet collection. Good times.

And then, after all that, Damian was supposed to take Waits for a night so I could finally get some down time. But of course, Damian got sick. To quote my journal:


Gotta keep your humor up, right? I’m really not trying to complain here, it’s just that all of this happened in the first week of November, and it pretty much summarizes the entirety of my experience with that particular month.

A bright spot amidst all that bummer stuff: because I needed to work more, Waits started preschool. The most amazing preschool I’ve ever seen (if you’re into alternative schooling), where he spends his days galavanting around an enormous valley in the foothills. The school is almost entirely outdoors, with a fruit orchard and tree houses covered with passionfruit vines. The children have their storytime under the canopy there, and you can just reach up and pluck the passion fruits right from the bush. I’s a magical place. It’s just the kind of environment that Waits needs, and he’s thriving there.

Alas, in keeping with November’s general nasty vibe, Harley developed a case of hives all over his body (you can kind of see his face is all puffed up in these pictures) and we had to make a late-night trip to the emergency vet. Seriously, FML!

Thanksgiving was hard as well. We went down to visit family in Orange County, to be with my Grandma like every year. It wasn’t the same. I was sad and stressed out and I didn’t feel much like feasting. Waits has a hard time in the very not-toddler-friendly houses, and I was not in the most patient place. It was a rough trip.

Cocktails and board games with old friends

Nearing the end of the month things were starting to stabilize. Damian and I had worked out a bit of a schedule and for the first time, I had some free time and was able to actually see my friends. That was amazing. I also spent a lot of time just being quietly by my lonesome, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself in the past five years, it’s that in order to be happy I need a lot of alone time. Introvert power!

With our home secured, my overactive worry had moved on, towards “What am I going to do with my life?” [and secondarily, "Aren't I too old to be asking that damn question?!"] As in, career. As in, how am I going to make a substantial income to support this little family of three (Waits, Harley, and I). And I considered it all. I had an open mind because I was seriously so ambivalent. I thought about returning to science and going to grad school like my boss was urging. Or, I thought, maybe I could go to beauty school, because I enjoy doing hair and it’s somewhat creative, and it’s a linear path with a stable job at the end. (But I don’t think I could ever do hair, I simply would not be able to talk to people all day long – way too draining. Introvert power!) And in the same vein as “linear and secure”, I considered going to nursing school. My bio background gives me an edge and our city college has an amazing program. It guarantees a good job . . .

I was feeling really desperate and I was open to imagining anything. Anything to make money.

The only jobs that I actually applied for were animal rights/vegan-related and I was sorely under-qualified. And the truth is that every time I sent in a resume it felt like defeat, because there’s only one thing I really want to do. And that thing is so completely impractical, so totally financially unstable, that it basically seemed like it just wasn’t an option.

“I Adore Myself And Everyone Else” – bathroom at Cafe Gratitude, Hollywood.

An absolutely fantastic Sunday spent at the theatre in LA, with my father.

On November 29th I posted to Facebook:

I’m having one of those days where I keep having to pull over to the side of the road because I’m so inspired; jotting down phrases and emailing myself ideas. Typing out opening paragraphs on my little phone, and this evening even some poetry! (what?!) These days I’m desperately figuring out how to make money, scheming a new life plan and trying to be practical. Every job I apply for breaks my heart a little more, because really all I want to do is write. Truly and with all my heart, I just want to write!

December, coming soon . . .

  • Steph P

    WHHHAAAAT! I just had the same revelation, just last week, and I’m so excited to be planning my education around writing, I can’t even explain. I get to take writing classes! And practice writing! And I’m going to write for a living! It’s the most exciting decision I’ve made in years, and I am elated. I’m looking forward to seeing your plans unfold, Sayward, your story is giving me all the feels and I missed you while you were gone. All the hearts to you and your family. <3<3<3

  • bohemianmatka

    Waits is just adorable, I love the pics you post of him…. he seems so happy and full energy (as all toddlers are) :) It seems like when one person in the family gets sick, everyone get sick, and never at the same time! And of course it falls on mommy to take care of everyone, as you, yourself, are a walking zombie.

    Figuring out what you want to do with your life is soo freakin’ hard. Not too long ago, I was working as a vet assistant (I job I absolutely loved!) and working on my degree in dance performance…. and then I moved back to Texas…. where my pay was cut in half and the opportunity for company jobs were almost non-existant. I had to make a change, and chose to go into nursing (I constantly asked myself the question “You hate people, why are you doing this?). It changed me, definately made me a better person, but its not for everyone.
    Your a wonderful writer; even if you decide to pursue a different line of work, always make room in your life for what you love :)

  • The Cookie Fairy

    Ah, what a cliff-hanger!!! It’s so true, it always needs to get worse before it can get better…

  • Bianca-Vegan Crunk

    I’m betting, by now, you’ve probably figured out something. But if not and you still want to write, don’t give up! Writing was always my dream too, and I write/edit for a newspaper now. It’s fun and it keeps me writing. But freelance magazine writing gigs are always an option! And even if they don’t pay enough to be a full-time gig, it still fulfills that creative desire. I hope you found something though! I’ll stay tuned.

  • rebelgrrlkitchen

    This has been such a compelling journey…thank you for inviting us on the retrospective ride. You’ve got the chops to be a writer, that’s for certain, but certainly it’s not the world’s most stable profession.

    My heart has been feeling so many feelings along with your words. Thank you, thank you.

  • Alexandra

    Writing and pursuing your interests are very clearly the things you’re meant to do in this life, that have the most meaningful impact on the world around you. Believe in yourself and the power and inherent value of your dreams and the universe will give you what you need. Do what’s most meaningful, for yourself and the vision of the world you wish to see and everything will be the way its meant to be. Introvert power forever <3

  • skeptk_vegan

    Absolutely love the beach pictures, so beautiful! I’ve only recently learned that following your dreams doesn’t have to elude you as unattainable or even unrealistic as a lifestyle. When there’s a will, there’s a way – to be as cliche as ever! But it is so true! So eager to hear the rest of the story. Also, introvert power!

  • Deirdre

    I hear you sister…though it was January for me…and the writing…oh my heart.

  • Annie

    My mum I were talking about her single parenthood the other day, and she says that us being sick was the worst thing. She only occasionally felt lonely, she sometimes felt stressed, sometimes worried about money, but us being sick was the worst. She worked permanent part-time (not quite full-time, but a permanent roster, that had a bit of give to pick us up from school etc).
    Just the general stress, the worry, the ‘oh shit can I take time off work?’ was a nightmare. Plus her inability to deal with puke (which my sister and I inherited) was not helpful.

    “Waits has a hard time in the very not-toddler-friendly houses”
    Oh man, I hated that as a kid. The house holder is just seething, every time you touch something and it’s so boring because there aren’t any toys.
    My great-auntie had the most child-unfriendly house in the world. The sofa was itchy, it smelled of lavender, there wasn’t any toys – nary a puzzle! – and there were crosses EVERYWHERE, which I always found a little scary. And she talked like a nun, ‘don’t touchg the bannister, pet, you’ll get it sticky with your hands there.’ (assuming that all children have sticky hands)

    Photos of Waits and Harley are so damn cute!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Oh congrats! I would love to go back to school to write, that must feel so absolutely amazing!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you bohemianmatka, and I will always, always make room for writing. =) That’s so interesting that you went with nursing. I know a lot of people who have done it and although it’s hard, it seems to be very rewarding work. I haven’t heard anyone say they regret it!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    This was definitely the bottom, haha.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Bianca I didn’t realize you wrote for a newspaper, that’s so awesome. I might shoot you an email one of these days, I’d love to hear more about that!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you for saying I’ve got the chops, and thank you for coming along on this ride with me. =)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Alexandra. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks skeptk_vegan, and I have an email coming to you soon!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I hope it got better for you Deirdre. Some months are just . . . oof!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Your great Aunt’s house sounds remarkably like my great Aunt’s house, complete with banister and itchy couch! =D

    Poor Waits, he just wants to touch all the shiny baubles and tacky tchotchkes. Like torture for an exploratory little lad!

  • Annie

    Poor little Waits! It’s so awful, they even get worried you’ll break things playing in the yard! My Nanna used to say “Oh, for god’s sake, Bette, they’re children! They’re not going to break the grass!”
    My mum told Nanna that we used to call her “mean aunty betty” and Nanna replied, ‘that’s because she’s a bitch, dear.” HA!
    Thankfully, my Nanna is much more the Sophia-from-the-Golden-Girls meets-Mary-Poppins variety, so she’s much more fun and sweet. It’s her 80th birthday next week, we’re throwing her a big surprise party :)

  • Kate

    Oh my goodness I just poured through all of your posts since you’ve been ‘back’. I’m so glad to see it/hear it!

    I empathize as best I can with your illness – my best friend is sick and I struggle with how to support her.

    Great to have you back love.

  • Rachel Jacobs

    Oh my I cannot wait to read December to see how things turned out and to see what decisions you have made.

    So sorry that everyone got sick. Doesn’t appear that it was too much fun at all.

    I hope everyone has maintained their health and that Waits is continuing to thrive in his school.

    My kids go to a Montessori school which as a large emphasis on being with nature and I have to say they learn so much more by having that connection.

    OH and completely unrelated to this post I saw you are a speaker at Vida Vegan Con. I so want to go but the expense is pretty high for a weekend (airfare is a killer). I hope you do a fantastic job in May…I am sure you will be posting about when the time comes.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Rachel you should go to VVC! It’s SUCH an amazing experience. Do it! Make it happen! =D

  • Bianca

    Totally! My email is bphillips[at]memphisflyer[dot]com.