Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. I have such a love/hate relationship with cleaning in general, specifically my house. Growing up, my mom spent the better part of every Saturday cleaning. That left her very little time to do anything else on the weekend. Right then and there, I decided that I didn't want to have cleaning take such a big chunk out of my life. But, what is one to do, when one likes a clean house? There lies my dilemna (sp?).
Over the years I have tried different strategies. At times I have devoted some time before work every day to cleaning an area. . . bathroom, kitchen, floors etc. On very rare occasions, I have actually hired someone to help clean (when I began working full time). The plan I like best is to keep up the day to day stuff, and then once a month have someone come in and do deeper cleaning than I like to do. But once someone quits, I really drag my feet on replacing them. Partly because I think how many ways I could use that extra money, and partly because it just seems like such an effort. I have to admit that the house doesn't need a lot of attention with just the two of us at home. When the little ones come on weekends, it is a different story.
I have managed to slide by most of this winter with out too much worry, since it has been so gray and overcast most days that I can't see the dirt. Today the sun came out and boy, oh, boy! My floors need attention, the windows are dirty and there is dust everywhere.
And while we are on the subject of cleaning. . . I would just like to say that my standards aren't what they used to be. There was a time when I made sure that the furniture was dusted weekly, and the carpet vacumned weekly. No so much any more! Call me lazy, say my priorities have changed, pass judgement on me anyway you see fit. Just don't expect me to keep the house so clean. After all, there are now grandchildren to entertain (jigsaw puzzles, nature walks, cooking projects, legos to assemble), books to read, and blogs to write. (Hey, any excuse is a good excuse to not clean). I am back to thinking that I might need to hire someone monthly, at least to make me feel better.
And the elephant in the room is. . . oh, you mean my husband. Yes, he does still live here. It is just that cleaning is really not his thing at all. If prodded, pushed and cajoled, he will assist. In fact, he has gotten quite proficient at helping with dishes and taking out the trash. However, I just can't see him picking up a mop or a dustcloth.
Now that I have cleansed my soul of this emotional burden, I think I will curl up on the couch and read. Maybe I will dust in the morning. . . .

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Well, we just got back from a weekend at the lake. I know, I know. Most people like to go to the lake when it is warm, and the actual water can be enjoyed. But we rather enjoy going in the depths of January, when everything is bleak and wet! Actually, the ocassion was my family's Christmas (winter) get together. We are 27 strong, and have seriously outgrown everyone's house. It is a weekend of good food, good fellowship, games and lots of good people. My siblings and I think that our mother would be very glad that we still make the effort to meet like this at least 3 to 4 times a year.
Last year when we went, Jessica was a single person, stuggling to find her place in the family. This year she is married and has added her mate to our gathering. I certainly could not have imagined how a year would change the landscape of our family. Scott is a wonderful addition to the group, and has made Jessica's family role somewhat different. She now has a partner to participate with in the games and activities, and also a partner to consider in the decision making. It is a big change for her, one she seems to take seriously and with joy. Ah, to be young and in love again!
Her relationship has made me reflect more this year on marriage and the living, breathing being that it is. I am sure if I was a philosopher, I could pontificate on the stages of a marriage. I just know that you have the dating period, when there is passion and almost a puppy kind of love. Then there are the early years of marriage when you are really learning to live together and figure out how to make the whole thing work. Of course the child-rearing years can be a challenge, when the joys and rewards are as high as the responsibilities and work is burdensome. And then there is the empty nest years. A true test of a marriage. This is the time when you figure out if you really love your spouse, or if you have been too busy and overwhelmed to notice you don't know who you are married to anymore. Randy and I are in the stage following the empty nesters. I will call it the post-empty nest period. It is definitely the reward for surviving the other marital periods. For us, it is the pre-old age time when we are still working, but our responsibilities and tasks have dropped by the wayside leaving us both time and motivation to again get to know each other. We are blessed to enjoy love and friendship combined with a sense of accomplishment.
I am not sure if this is normal or not, but Randy and I have both noticed that we think about the loss of each other more than we used to. I think some of that is the dependence being together for 30 plus years has created between us. It is a wonderful thing to have a partner that you love and enjoy spending time with. On the other hand, the stakes are high in the possibility of losing that. It has gotten to the point where I cannot imagine my life without him, nor do I want to. A bittersweet realization at best. To have a great relationship void of the worries of younger marriage, but to possess a fear of losing that. Such is life!

Friday, January 15, 2010

What a difference a week makes in Missouri. For that matter of fact, sometimes a day can make a world of difference. Last time I blogged, it was pitiful weather. . . today it is still pitiful, only in a different way. The good news is that I have not been stuck all week, and the temperatures are better. The not so good news is it is dreary and mucky here. My car is filthy, my garage is filthy, the roads are a mess, and the color outside is mostly gray. What are you gonna do? There is a reason we don't live in Florida or Arizona, I just can't remember it right now.
Did you ever just have a bad case of the "don't want to's?" That is how I feel these days about exercising. I have made it a point over the last 3 or so years to be physically active, and go to the gym at least 3 times a week. For some reason I cannot get my bu!# in gear and get there. I think I will blame the weather, and I hope once it gets nicer out I will feel like moving more.
And speaking of procrastination (well, we sort of were. . .), I just got home from the store, and and am blogging by way of not unloading the groceries I purchased. What is wrong with me? I am usually a "get er done kind of girl".
I recently recorded "You've Got Mail" and rewatched it. I love that movie. I think I just figured out why. . . It is all about banter email style. I have not yet found my writing soul mate. I love face book, but I don't think most people get my posts. In person I am a rather serious sort. But when writing, a different side of me comes out. Most face book friends know me in person, and they interpret my posts in the same way they interpret me (in person that is). I think that is why I like blogging. I am not sure if anyone ever reads what I write here, so it lets me be uninhibited. Go ahead and laugh. . . I know that my posts are not exactly hair raising, but I do hang my feelings on the line (so to speak!).
That about wraps up what is in my head for now. It has been a busy week, and my brain and fingers have not been in the mood to write.
May the force be with you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Here was the plan: I would follow Randy's truck tracks to get my little sedan to work. So far so good. Then I was going to wait until Randy got off work (5:30), and follow him home, so I could again follow his tracks. Plan excellent, execution, not so much!
Okay, I will back up some and explain. On Wednesday night, Thursday morning we experienced 5 inches of snow, and lots of wind. We live in the country, down about a mile of gravel, and 1/4 mile long, winding driveway. Up until last year, we both had 4 wheel drive vehicles. When the price of gas went up to $4, we traded my SUV in for a more economical car.
This was really the first test of making it in the country in a "car". I normally get off work at 5, but on Thursday we decided it would be best to stay at work until 6, when Randy rolled into town, so I could follow his bread crumbs, so to speak. Believe me, after a long day at work, with subzero temperatures, snow and blowing wind, the staff where I work was gone, and I mean gone by 5. So, here I am, alone in an old clinic/hospital, which by the way is gigantic. I hear the wind howling, and the walls creaking. About 5:15, hubby called to say that he was working late. . . there goes the plan! We decided that I would go to my children's home and wait for him to arrive (Plan B). They graciously fed me supper, and I played with my favorite munchkins.
About 7:30 the need to be home began to gnaw at me. Here comes plan C. I offered to take Maddison home with me to spend the night, since her brother had an early morning appointment in Columbia to get his cast off. (see previous blog). We bundled up and off we went, with a promise to call when we got home. So far, so good. Just outside of Renick, we hit our gravel road. In a moments indecision, I landed in the middle of a snow drift. Just like that. . . it was fast and did not make allowances for second thoughts. I was stuck! Thank goodness for cell phones (first on my blessings list). I called Josh, who said that he would be there right away. I kept the car running and decided to get out and assess the situation. I slipped on my boots, my heavy coat, my extra gloves and got out (blessing # 2. . . I had my snow clothes with me). I kicked what snow I could away from my tires, and tried to back up. No luck. About that time a good samaritan came up behind me and offered to help (blessing # 3). A woman, about my age offered to push me out. She had no gloves, and it was zero, with a wind chill of -20. I tried to get her to wear my extra gloves, but she refused. We couldn't get the car to move, so she returned to her car, behind me, and told me that her and her husband would wait in their car until Josh came. (Her husband had a heart condition, or he would have been helping, she explained). About the time she left, my cell phone rang. It was Randy, saying that he was heading home, and where was I. . . . Well, you know that plan B. . . I hadn't exactly followed it. Blessing # 4: He didn't tell me what an idiot I was to attempt to travel on this road in these conditions. Of course he didn't have to, because I was already thinking that about myself! So, I had Josh coming, and Randy on his way, a good samaritan watching my back.
And I have to mention that I had my granddaughter, Maddison in the back seat. I could tolerate a lot of discomfort, but I surely didn't want her to suffer. She was such a trooper. She never complained about anything. She chattered the whole time, and kept my mind of the situation with questions like: "Where will you live if you can't get home?" and "Where are we going to sleep tonight?" (Blessing # 5).
Soon, Josh came blazing through the blowing snow in his shining white SUV (white knight, anyone?) (Blessing # 6.. . . that Josh was home, and had an SUV). He pulled up beside me and got out. The good samaritan appeared again and together they pushed the front of the car while I sat in the warmth and accelerated. The car moved some, but not enough. My tough, weather resistant son was frozen, and decided that he needed to get Maddison and I home. The road was clearly drifted for a long way, with drifts up to 4 foot high. Well, we didn't want to break the law, but I admit that we went off roading on some private farm land to get home. When we had covered the distance to our house (in fields), we arrived in front of our driveway. Our drive is just beyond a curve in the road, and the roadway there was clear. However, our driveway was not even recognizeable in the snow. Josh knew that even his SUV was no match for this drift. So, leaving Maddie and I, in our second vehicle, in the road, he walked, in frigid temps down our long drive to get our "danger ranger", which comes in at blessing # 7. This little vehicle will go almost anywhere. He drove it from our barn to the road to pick us up and deliver us home. And yes, we now had two cars blocking our road.
That is pretty much the end of my experience with this situation. What happened next is a little foggy, since I was at home thawing myself and Maddison out (gas fireplace and hot chocolate, blessing # 8). But I will share that it wasn't long before Josh was home, my car was in Renick by the post office, and my husband was eating a bowl of vegetable soup. There were a hundred ways that this situation could have been tragic. But the many blessings we were granted allowed me to share this story without adding any sad post scripts.
And now, on Friday, we are still snowbound. But we think we saw the road grader pass through, which means that the road is partially open and passable. I am sure that our driveway entrance is piled up, but once we pass that, we will no longer be snow bound.
There is nothing like a little weather and vehicle trouble to list, count and gather your blessings.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It is snowing! This forecast would make an Alaskan shudder. . . 5-7 inches of snow and wind chill minus 25 tonight! But baby it is beautiful out here in the country. When all you can see are trees and snow, you feel like you are in a different world. We closed up shop about thirty minutes early tonight, so I was home before dark. I will see what happens in the morning. I may have my hubby drop me off at work when he goes (to the dentist) at 8:30. The only bad thing is that I will have to stay at work until 6 if I go in with him. I will surely get alot done.
Do you even wish you could rub your attitude off on someone else? If my age has taught me nothing else, it is that I need to have a good attitude to be truely happy in life. Not everyone sees things the way I do (what??) I wish I could really share my wad of knowledge and experience. For some, their young age makes them thrash against the world, for some it is just their life circumstances that make them see the world in a negative light. I have certainly had my struggles. . . but coming through the struggles makes one wiser. I guess that wisdom has to be gotten the hard way for most (just like I gained mine). But for people you love and have to work with, it would be fun to wrap up the wisdom, experience and knowledge in a beautifully wrapped gift and share it. The question would be: will they open the gift, and if so, will they use it? Hmmm...
I miss snow days! Too bad when you grow up you can't count on your job to be called off when it snows. There is 2 to 6 inches of snow forecast for this afternoon and evening, plus frigid temperatures. . . and I just want to stay home! Somehow I can't convince myself to just take a day of leave and stay home, I want the whole place to shut down. But then I begin to think about all the people (including most of my family) who have jobs where they have to keep going (power plant, railroad), and work in the cold at all times of the day and night and then I really feel bad about not wanting to go to work.
There is something about this time of year that makes me want to hibernate like a bear. Pull the covers up, cook some soup and just stay in. Maybe the bears have the right idea!

Monday, January 4, 2010

It is so cold outside!!! I don't remember such a long streak of really cold weather in a long, long time. An old school mate of mine was reminiscing about how this cold spell reminded him of his days in elementary school, decades ago.
I had a flashback to the days when my sister and I were in lower elementary school. My parents were both teachers, and for whatever reason, my father was in charge of bundling us up in our winter gear for school. One year our private school had an old bus that picked up children for school. I can't remember for sure, but I imagine we had to wait outside for the bus, and it was probably not heated too well. At that time, girls had to wear dresses to school, so we would wear pants under our dressed. The pants were the type that had straps that went around the feet, so they wouldn't bunch up. It was quite a process to wear undershirts, dress, pants, two layers of socks, boots, sweater, coats, hats and gloves. I think we even wore scarves for good measure. We could barely move!
My father was in charge of our overall health when we were children. I think my mom was fairly laid back about raising children, and she did not fuss over us alot. My dad, on the other hand was the one who would help us dry our hair in front of the oven, hold our heads over the steam baths of Vicks Vapor when we were sick, and make sure we were dressed properly. I had chronic asthma flair ups as a child, and my Dad was my hero when I was sick. He (being a biology teacher) would explain the reason I gasped for air, and always made sure I had my medicine taken on schedule. He would even breathe with me, to help me calm down and not panic. However, I do remember my mother sitting up with me through the night, reading to me to help the panic over not being able to breathe ease. They were quite a team when it came to raising children.
My mother was the one who kept our lives "normal" and made sure we experienced play and fun like all children should. She was our confidant, friend and shared her affection generously. My father took the role of protector and provider. Their partnership seemed to strike a good balance with us. My sister and brother and I all turned out to be responsible, productive people with loving families. Funny how a comment on the weather could bring up all of those memories! Stay warm. . . I know I will.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 here we come! I cannot believe how quickly time goes by as you age. It seems like yesterday that we were welcoming in 2000. This past year has brought many blessings to our family. Overall we have all enjoyed good health, maintained our jobs and stayed close as a family. We added Scott to our group this year, which was indeed a blessing. We managed a fun family trip, which was a bit nostalgic of our childhood (Colorado), participated in a wedding, and enjoyed all the major holidays together (Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas).
My only regret is letting my exercise and healthier habits slide this year. After shopping and trying on clothes today, I would say that the "back to the gym" resolution is coming just in time.
Last night we had a blast. After the kids went to sleep, the "grown-ups" gathered around the table for some games. We started off with a very adult game (Can't remember the name), which none of us really liked, then moved on the "Last Word" which was fun. But the party really began when we decided to play charades. Scott's mom was among the rest of the immediate family participating. It was so much fun! I managed to stay up until 2, which is unheard of for me. It just goes to show you what is possible when you mind is occupied. Go figure, the game that costs nothing but some scraps of paper turned out to be the best. Actually, that is much like life in general. Isn't it the free things in life that make it most worthwhile. . . like sunsets, early morning fog, snow on the hillside, and spring rains?
I am looking forward to all of the opportunities, challenges and surprises that 2010 has to offer. I am again, thankful for this internet and blog site. . . it has brought a new joy into my life!