Hey there. I’ve been writing down things to tell you on a post-it. Nothing exciting, but I’ve noticed that the posts where I ramble on about little, day-to-day life things are always the ones that get read the most. So here goes…
Sleep. I don’t get any. I can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, and to make matters worse, my husband is now sleeping on the sofa. No, we’re not experiencing marital discord….it’s just that he gets up at 5:30 every morning. He has to teach at 7:30, and he has a half-hour commute, plus he likes to get there early to get his classroom ready. And I’m a very light sleeper. Always have been. Everything wakes me up – train whistles a couple miles away, trucks on the highway, kids sniffling, the click of our door latch every time the furnace kicks on. So you can imagine how the loud, shrill beeping of his alarm clock affects me. I sit bolt upright in bed, shaking, heart pounding, and then forget about going back to sleep. Once I’m up, I am up.
As I think I’ve mentioned before, I do not enjoy getting up early. I’m simply not wired for it. I remember that when I was in high school, if I ever had to get up really early for some school event, such as state speech, I would actually be physically ill all day. Headachy, slightly nauseous, even a little depressed. I’m a night owl by design (though I don’t stay up nearly as late as I used to), and I tend to have the most energy from 2-9 PM. It’s just how God made me. So, being jolted awake before dawn each morning was simply not working for me, especially since I have a hard time napping in the afternoon (or ever. I have…problems). To fix this problem, my husband started sleeping on the sofa, but this doesn’t work either because we miss each other. So I took to the internets, like you do, to find a solution, and I think I did. It’s the Shake-n-Wake!
Originally designed for the deaf, this is a personal alarm clock that you wear on your wrist, and it vibrates you awake without disturbing your partner. It arrived today, so my husband is going to try it tonight (with his regular alarm as a back-up), and see how effective it is. If it works, he can return to our room, and hopefully I’ll be able to sleep a little better. It’s weird without him…the bed is too big or something. Strange.
Our new car. We got by for a year and a half with only one vehicle, and it really wasn’t difficult at all. In fact, if my husband hadn’t gotten this teaching gig, we would not have purchased a second car. Except it occurred to us that with him gone until nearly 11:00 every morning, if there was an emergency – either here or with one of the kids at school – it would be easier and more convenient to have a second vehicle. Our goal was to find something older and inexpensive (to keep insurance, taxes, and license fees low) and fuel-efficient. Thanks to the wonder that is Craiglist, we found exactly what we were looking for – a 2001 Honda Civic 5-speed with only 110,000 miles!
This car is amazingly clean and rust-free. It needs some minor work, but fortunately I know a good mechanic (*wink, wink*) so we can fix it for only about $500 parts cost. It gets 40+ MPG…that’s crazy! And guess what we paid?
$3000. Is that a bargain, or what?
New dance studio. Both girls have taken dance since age 3, but they were frustrated after last year. Hayley didn’t like that she was the oldest girl in her hip-hop class. She wanted to be with girls closer to her own age. Rachel was upset because her Irish teacher, Liam, would not be teaching again. So, she decided to try hip-hop as well, and we enrolled them at a studio in the city. We tried to get them in classes at the same time, on the same night, to save gas/time, but there wasn’t enough interest in Rachel’s age group, so her class was cancelled. They allowed her to enroll in Hayley’s class, but last night was the first class and I’m not so sure this will work out. This class seems too advanced for Rach, who has never taken hip-hop before, and she was discouraged. The only other option for Rachie is a class earlier in the day, which will mean spending about 4 hours in the city on Monday nights. I mean, I guess I could run my errands while we wait, but it’s still not an ideal situation. Rach is a quick study, so maybe it will all be fine. I’m trying to think positively.
Speaking of Rachel. She’s also in a 4th grade volleyball league. She was not so happy after her first practice because she was under the impression that she should be serving the ball “Olympic-style,” which doesn’t work when you’re a 9-year-old girl who has never played volleyball before. She couldn’t even get the ball over the net, not even once, and she was very discouraged after practice. My husband took her outside and showed her how to serve, using our backyard fence as a net. She feels better now.
Homecoming. As I predicted, Hayley likes high school much better than middle school. However, homecoming is this month, and she’s not terribly enthusiastic about it. We did buy a dress and shoes, but I’m somewhat concerned because I think the dance might be while we’re gone to Canada. This is sad for me. Not only will I not be here to take a zillion photos, but I will miss seeing my daughter go to her first formal dance. *sniffle*
My summer house. If someone comes to my door when the kids are home for the summer, I always say, “Excuse my summer house, please.” Meaning, do not judge me by the sand on the floors, the fingerprints on the walls, the smudges on the windows, the splatters on the cabinets, the dishes left on the table, the 50 drinking glasses (each used one time) left on the counter…because this is just what my house looks like in the summer.
Accomplishing stuff. Around the second week of school or so, I finally get enough motivation to tackle the mess. Yesterday was the day. I always start by opening all the windows, because I love fresh air. I turn on some upbeat music because I find that it helps with my attitude (as in, I’m less likely to get discouraged and give up). Then I get my trusty laundry basket and pick up all the misplaced junk, in every room. I straighten cushions, fluff pillows, fold blankets, generally tidy everything. It’s easier to clean when you declutter first. And I mean, I CLEAN. Yesterday I wiped down walls and cabinets, scrubbed floors, cleaned bathrooms, changed sheets, cleaned the coffeemaker and the oven (even the gross, greasy range hood), wiped down appliances, swept the basement steps, hosed down the front porch (insects like to build nests/webs there over the summer), found things we were missing….it was a good day. The house was so clean and fresh-smelling when the kids got home, they all commented on it. And my husband said, “It’s so nice, after a long day, to come home to this. The house is so clean…and you’re so beautiful.”
We had grilled salmon for dinner, and then my husband and I went out to mow. He ran the tractor, and I trimmed. The grass was long….so long that it kept clogging the mower, and then the mower would die. And then I would have to flag my husband down so he could start it for me again, because I’m not strong enough. We were still mowing when it was dark, and because our yard is so huge we only got half done. GAH! It was not fun.
Downsizing. We’re starting to think that this property is simply too much for us to manage anymore. There is a strong possibility that my husband will be hired full-time at the community college next fall, and if he does we’re considering moving to a duplex condo near his work (assuming that we’re not moving to Canada, of course. But that remains to be seen). Except I had another dream this week in which we did move, and I was terribly distraught. I have dreams like this often. Apparently I’m quite attached to this house, more than I even realize on a conscious level.
These crazy zinnias. In Spring, 2015 we planted a zinnia that Daniel started from seed in a Dixie cup at preschool. One zinnia. It went crazy and propogated itself everywhere, and we had the most fun with that zinnia. I’d never planted them before, but they’re wonderful flowers – hardy, easy to plant, drought resistant, and pretty. Best of all, bumblebees and butterflies love them, so they’re a constant source of entertainment. This year, I planted 6 zinnia seeds, and they’ve gone wild, completely filling this entire section of the flower bed. I love them! This morning there were even little hummingbirds out there! (I’m so easy to entertain).
No more eBay. Last week, I wrapped up my huge consignment job from last fall, and I. AM. DONE. I will no longer sell things for other people on eBay. No. Nope. I will only sell things that I own outright. It’s just much simpler, and far less hassle. My client picked up their unsaleable/unsold items (many of which I tried to sell many, multiple times with no success), and it was so nice to reclaim our garage space. We took the opportunity to completely clean out the garage. We hauled recycling to the transfer station, and dropped of stuff at Goodwill and the consignment store. We also straightened up the kid mess, which is especially nice now that we need space for our second car.
Pictures on this blog. Have you read this article in Time magazine? If not, you should. It will make you rethink how you handle your online life. I read it at my chiropractor’s office, and I was nodding my head yes the whole time. I even printed it for my husband to read. See, I’ve had this niggling, uncomfortable feeling about my blog, all year long. I’m less comfortable all the time with having pictures of my children online. I don’t like it. It makes me feel icky. I have always taken steps to protect my kids here: I don’t use our last name (for a long time, I didn’t even use their first names), or share our location. I’m notoriously vague about places we visit, so as to give nothing away. I have my site blocked so it can’t be crawled by the Google image bot (so my pictures won’t turn up in Google). I also have the right click function disabled, to make it less convenient for people to steal my photos. My YouTube channel is not public. I don’t even have Twitter or Instagram, and neither do my kids. But in this day and age, none of this seems like enough anymore.
I took the Time article as confirmation that I should listen to my instincts. You may have noticed that this week I password-protected several posts which were previously public, and over the coming weeks, I will be protecting or privatizing all posts containing pictures of my family (there are about 1300 posts here, spanning 8 1/2 years, so yeah…this will take awhile). Furthermore, I will no longer post many pictures here, or at the blog’s Facebook page. If I do they’ll be protected, and I’m not accepting new requests for access to protected content. I regret having to do this because blogging used to be fun. It really was. When I started writing here, the internet was a different place. I made so many wonderful friends, and I used to really enjoy it. It’s so sad that this is what it’s become. I will likely lose readers because of this decision, but the safety and well-being of my kids is my first priority.
I know that some people think that posting pictures of kids online is innocent and harmless, but I would strongly suggest that they, and anyone with children, read these articles: