Monday, March 22, 2010

Where is the Off Switch?

"I wish I could not think once in a while"

~ MaryAnne Williams

Ahhhhh, wouldn't that be nice?  I've longed for an off switch for my brain since I was in college.  I was the responsible one; planning, saving, thinking, organizing, careful about my choices.   I had friends that used school loan money to go on vacation - Aruba and Hawaii to name a few.  They "deserved" it after all.  Me, well I did go to Ft. Lauderdale my junior year in college, drove down and split the room with two friends to save cash.  As I recall I brought a giant bag of grapefruit with me thinking I'd eat that for breakfast and save on eating out.

Another friend wanted to know if she was fertile so she decided after she was married to find out.  It didn't matter that neither she or her husband had good jobs; in fact her husband was still in college when she became pregnant.  They lived in her parents basement until her baby was about three years old because that's all they could afford.  She once told me "I can always continue my education at a later stage in my life;  I'm only fertile for so long".  I knew it was an indirect dig at my choice to wait to have kids.  Thankfully, even though I was in my late 30s before having my first baby I now have had two healthy children and a good, dependable job to help support them.  I have no regrets waiting and establishing myself in a career before hand.

I've saved for retirement since my first job.  Sure, I was only 23 years old but I listened when the old-timers at the office told me it was the best thing to do; that before I knew it time would be flying by and if I waited it could be too late.  So I did.  I also increased my contributions to absorb raises I received; I didn't miss the money since I hadn't see it anyways.  Another friend, she'd laugh and say "how do you know you aren't going to die tomorrow?"  Well... that's true.  But how do I know I won't live until I'm 85?  No surprise, I'd rather make the safer choice and save.  Funny, she started medical school married to one husband and finished it married to another.  Apparently in the second divorce she cleared a chunk of money (his since they were married hardly one year) and was able to pay off those school loans.  Funny how that works.

Which brings me to current day - raising two young kids with my husband.  I have less chance to stop thinking now that I'm thinking for both of us it seems.  Thinking about saving for college (again!), budgeting, making sure the property tax bill is paid.  Wondering are my kids developing normally?  Do they have good manners?  Should I sign them up for soccer?  Are they eating well-balanced meals?  Did they wash their hands before dinner?  None of these things would get done if I didn't think of them first and do something about them.  It's exhausting, as I'm sure many women would agree.  It also makes me all the more in awe of women who can do it alone; while my husband may switch his brain off when he gets home he does play with the kids, take them to the park, cook a good part of the meals and loves to read them stories before bedtime.  I'm grateful for that.

But I'd still, once in my life, I would like to know what it feels like to be able to turn my brain off.  Just for a day or two.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Critter Mystery

I came home from work today and as usual went to the back door to let the dog out.  I stand there and usually look around to see if any of the squirrels we feed are out and about.  I glanced up to the knot hole in our maple tree; we suspect they have a nest in there so it's fun to see if one is peeking out at us.

This is what I saw:

It's a squirrel alright, but I'm preeeety sure he is dead.  I stood there for about 30 seconds and he was motionless (and 2 hours later he still is).  Now I have questions running through my mind.

How did he die?  Was it old age?  Something we fed him?  Was he sick?  And how did he end up in that weird position?  Did he have a rodent heart attack which caused him to fling himself backwards out of the knot hole resulting in him hanging out of the knot hole in a supine position and upside down?  Or did he get stuck and hung there until he died?  I hope that isn't what happened - poor guy.

Now what do we do? The tree is in the middle of our dinky yard so the dog and the kids will likely come across bits and pieces as he starts to decay.  We also have visiting skunks, possums, raccoons and a great horned owl that visits occasionally; would one of them try to eat the carcass?  Or not since it's already dead?

Do I send Hubby up there to extract him?  But he’s pretty far up - at least 16’.   He seems to think he can knock the squirrel loose with his branch cutter but I have my doubts.  Or what if the squirrel falls apart as he is trying to knock the body out?  Gross.

We'll see what happens this weekend.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Interview with a 3-year-old

Not to be outdone my 3-year-old is debuting with his very first interview:

What is something mommy always says to you? "No"

What makes mommy happy? Happy

What makes mommy sad? (shows a dramatic "sad" face)

How does mommy make you laugh? Ha ha ha ha

What was your mommy like as a child? (no answer)

How old is mommy? 4

How tall is mommy? (both hands up as high as he can stretch)

What is mommy’s favorite thing to watch on TV? Snow White

What does mommy do when you’re not around? I don't know

What is mommy really good at? Snow White

What is mommy not very good at? Mad

What does mommy do for her job? Work on train

What is mommy’s favorite food? Chicken (what we were currently eating)

What makes you proud of mommy? Happy

If mommy were a cartoon, who would she be? Snow White

What do you and mommy do together? Play cars

How are you and mommy the same? I don't know

How are you and mommy different? (no answer)

How do you know mommy loves you? Give me hugs

What does mommy like most about daddy? Sucker (for the record I do not think my husband is a sucker!)

Where is mommy’s favorite place to go? Bannockburn (neighboring town aka work)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interview with a 5-year-old

This is my annual interview with my daughter (and this year my son participated too). March 2009 was when we did this the first time. She is now 5. Some of her answers were identical to last year (what makes mommy sad, how does mommy make you laugh and what does mommy like most about daddy?),

What is something mommy always says to you? "I love you"

What makes mommy happy? Being helpful

What makes her sad? Not being helpful

How does mommy make you laugh? Tickle me

What was your mommy like as a child? Medium-sized and happy

How old is mommy? 42

How tall is mommy? 42

What is mommy's favorite thing to watch on TV? The Olympics

What does mommy do when you're not around? Make stuff special for us

What is mommy really good at? Working

What is mommy not very good at? At burning your hand

What does mommy do for her job? Work at your work

What is mommy's favorite food? Vegetables (I wish! Last year it was "carrots and grapefruit" I'm very grateful she has this perceived healthy eating on my part)

What makes you proud of mommy? When you give me right things

If mommy were a cartoon, who would she be? The Simpsons

What do you and mommy do together? We go out to dinner

How are you and mommy the same? We have matching greyhound shirts (last year it was "we both match dresses")

How are you and mommy different? You're taller and I'm medium sized

How do you know mommy loves you? When I'm helpful

What does mommy like most about daddy? Marry him

Where is mommy's favorite place to go? Potbellys