Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Seat Swings Both Ways

Sigh.  Life with boys.  Plunged the toilet in the Master Bath twelve times, yes, TWELVE times this morning.  This is not a typo.  Pee on the seat this evening.  Unfortunately for me, I discovered this latest after I sat down (sorry…I’m all about transparency).  This is not Dad doing this.  This would be Teen Boy 2.  Dad grew up in a house on a farm with four sisters plus his mom.  Most of the time he was outside doing what needed to be done.  He knew the score.  Aim well, put the seat and lid down when you’re done, and flush.
Being a house of all boys save myself and Rabbit, this lesson has been lost, apparently.  At least on the youngest.
Part of this is my fault.  I have not wanted a tv in the living room, so the “big” tv is in our room (a smaller, less cool, less functional one is downstairs).  Teen Boy 2 is very much into video games, and this is where he plays them.  The lower level of our home (split level) is still under construction 9 years after moving in, and eventually videogame central will be down there along with a third bathroom (hence the unused, less cool tv being down there).  Until then, I guess I live with boys using my bathroom.  Unless they make a mess of things.  Then I may have to get a lock for the toilet to ensure cleanliness.

On the Importance of Friends

Wow!  Two posts in one day!  How's that for "trying" to do better?  Here goes:

I have always had a lot of people I consider friends.  I was a “floater” in High School, meaning that I had lots of friends in different groups:  the popular kids, the skaters, the nerds, the jocks, the outcasts.  My core group of “close friends” was much smaller.
Flash forward 21 years, and not much has changed.  I have 255 Facebook friends, and yes, I know them all.  Many are people that I’ve known since literally infancy, much of my High School (we were mostly all together in Middle School as well) class is on my page, and of course those I’ve met as an adult.  I still have a very small core group of people I consider “close friends”.  These are people that I trust implicitly with my children, and know that if I needed any one of them, they would be there for me and/or my family without hesitation.
In the last year, I’ve started having coffee every other Friday with three neighborhood friends.  A couple of us have had kids in the same schools and activities; one is newer (okay, six years) to the neighborhood.  These women have quickly become close friends.  It began as a “Hey, wanna come over for coffee?” with my next door neighbor.  Four hours passed like they were nothing.  We set a date two weeks later (works with both our schedules) and she asked if I minded having her other next door neighbor join us.  “The more the merrier!” I replied.  After that hours-long coffee, she asked if she could invite her college friend who lived around the corner for the next time.  A tradition was born.  We take turns hostessing, and have had a wonderful time together.  We discuss our families (husbands, kids, parents, and siblings), Church lives, Spiritual lives, health, and have lots of laughs along the way.  We are expanding our fun at morning coffee to a “Girl’s Weekend” in one of our campers.  We are a bunch of gals sitting around laughing, having fun, and sharing some deeply personal feelings.  Just as we all have in the past with our childhood friends.  Not much has changed.
Last weekend, my boys (husband included) were all off camping with our Boy Scout Troop.  I had a Tastefully Simple party.  There was more great conversation along with the great food.  One of my friends at the party was also sleeping over.  Her boys were also camping with the Troop.  A young lady, who is my honorary daughter, stayed until 11:30 that night chatting with the two of us.  We, along with another friend, had been discussing having a “Wedding Day” where we would share our photo albums, dresses, and cake with this young lady.  She is fascinated by history, and loves to hear family stories.  Since we had ¾ of us there, I decided to haul out my dress.  She tried it on, and we spent the hours sharing family stories along with lots of laughter, and some tears.  It was wonderful.
As she left, my “daughter” said, “Thanks for showing me that friends are just as important when you are older as they were when we were younger.”  That comment gave me pause.  I’ve never not had friends.  My core group of friends has shifted slightly over the years as adult responsibilities and locations have changed, but I’ve always had a core group of friends to rely on.  Friends are so important to who we are as a person.  Too often, I think, we get caught up in being our titles.  Spouse, Parent, Child, Aunt, Co-Worker.  It is easy to lose sight of who WE are.  Our friends help us remember that person, help us nurture that person.  Our friends when we are young help us get through school, dealing with parents and siblings, first crushes and first heartbreaks.  We grow older, get busy, and soon we find ourselves once again dealing with our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our children, our jobs, our health.  Having friends, and a good core group of friends is just as, if not more important as we get older.
So, ala Virginia Hanlon’s question in 1897 as to whether there was a Santa Claus, I say to my young friend, “Yes, my daughter, we do have friends as we get older.  They are ever more important, and just as sweet as when we were younger.”
Thank you to my friends.

Catching WAY Up...Again??

A year.  Honestly?  A whole year has gone by since I last blogged.  It's not like nothing has happened.  I just spent 10 minutes updating the title of this article, and the family information.  So much for daily blogging!

I can vow to try and be better at this, but who would I be fooling?

Let's see.  Where to start.  I guess with me since it's my blog!

I enjoyed a year at home with my boys, writing for a local online news service, gardening, camping, doing fair stuff, scout stuff and friend stuff.  Then I applied for a casual, on-call position at a local urgent care.

I got the position, and when I went in to do the paperwork, was offered the Nurse Manager job.  Their current NM had accepted a job up north where her husband had retired to their lake home 18 months before; she had been commuting.  Did I want the job?  I asked for some time, and in complete shock, called my husband and said "We need to talk, can you do lunch?  I can pick you up now".  I have since learned that this is NOT a good phrase for most husbands, "We need to talk".  My bad, sorry honey.  After discussing the pros and cons over a long but productive lunch, we decided that the best thing would be to get the boys' input.  This would, afterall, largely affect them.

The boys were surprisingly all for it.  I am less than 5 minutes from home, and it was not full-time.  I currently work two 12 hour shifts and every other Friday morning for 4 hours.  No weekends.  No holidays unless they happen to fall on my day to work...and then hours are shortened.  And it's management...something I've always wanted to get more in to.  So I took the job last August.

It has been amazing, terrifying, and humbling.  It is a small, owner-operated clinic that focuses truly on the well-being of each patient instead of the bottom line.  I came in having had prior management experience, but not to the extent of this position.  There is no nurse above me...I'm it.  When I joined, we were just gearing up for Flu Shot Clinics, something I'd never done.  I learned, and quickly.  I love my job.

Taking this job meant taking a back seat to some of the other things I do, such as attending weekly Scout meetings, and being the Troop's Activity Chair.  I didn't mind handing over the Activity crown; it's a lot of work.  I do miss attending the meetings, however.  I feel so disconnected to everything that is happening.  I played such an integral role, attending meetings, almost every campout etc.  I never thought they couldn't go on without me, but I feel very left out.  In that vein, I'm very much looking forward to our week-long Scout Camp this August.

I've started helping at Church once again.  I used to teach Sunday School and help with the Children's Christmas Program.  I got burned out and stepped back for a couple of years.  I am enjoying helping cook/serve our Wednesday night meals, and am looking forward to starting a teen book club this summer, and running a series on the Chronicles of Narnia for our teens.  It feels great.

Dad is no longer traveling.  He accepted a promotion that keeps him here in town.  After 15 long years of him being gone most of the time, it's been fantastic to have him home.  He's been elected to the Youth and Education Board at Church, and has just filed papers with the City to seek election to the Council's At-Large seat.  This is his third run.  One election was a special election to fill a vacated seat and the other was a special nomination to fill a vacated seat.  In both previous attempts, he came in second mainly because no one outside our circles of Church, Scouts, 4-H and his work know who he is.  We're not natives to our town (which, in a smallish town is a big thing), and this makes things more difficult.  As soon as he is allowed, we will be out distributing fliers, hanging posters, and distributing yard signs.  He'll be in the local parade, and blogging on the local news website that I used to write for (the articles I wrote didn't garner enough traffic so they were shelved for now).  I'm very proud of him, but a little daunted by the work it will take for this run to be successful.  Third time's the charm, however, right?

Dad remains as active as ever with Scouts, and just was lauded at our District's year end banquet.  A couple of honor awards, including a surprise as Scouting Ambassador.  He was very humbled, and still isn't sure why he won.  He doesn't know how amazing he is always.

Teen Boy 1 has begun driving.  I thought I'd be really uptight with it, but it's fantastic!  The day he got his license, I handed over the keys and said "Have a good bowling practice."  I can put money on his debit card and text him a grocery list, have him ferry his brother around...and sometimes me!  He had a job last summer, but discovered this summer that it is best to seek out summer employment early.  He has called some of our friends looking for odd-jobs, and I am very proud of him for doing that.  He's debating applying to Target...and I'm super excited for that.  DISCOUNT!  I can text him my list, and put the money on his debit card.  Yay!

He has been doing very well in school; making the "B" Honor Roll every quarter but one.  Having to pay Mom and Dad the $50/month that we lost by losing the "Good Student" discount on our car insurance quickly brought him back up.  That, and we sat down and showed him what sort of grades he'll need to get in to the colleges that he's talked about.  That really opened his eyes.  Dad and I had a talk with him the other night after supper about how this was "the" summer.  He needed to start narrowing down colleges, and taking ACT prep courses.  He will be entering his Junior year this fall, and we don't want him waiting until next summer to figure it out.  We told him that we know this is stressful, but that we're here to help him.  If he tackles all of this this summer, then next summer all he has to do is fill out applications.  He will have done all the leg work, and have his ACT done when most kids are just starting to get things filled out.  I can't believe that we had that conversation with him.  Where did the time go?  I was just teaching him how to tie his shoes, read a book and write his name.  Grandma always said that the older you get the faster time flies.  She really was a very smart woman.

Teen Boy 2 is finishing up 7th grade.  He is in advanced math classes, and thoroughly enjoys the engineering classes he elected to take.  He made the Honor Roll twice this year.  The kid just doesn't turn in homework.  It drives us NUTS!  Both of our boys are smart, but I think it's fair to say Teen Boy 2 is gifted.  He is "bored" in class, highly disorganized (hence the missing homework half the time), and "doesn't see the point" in doing "stupid, easy, boring" homework.  He wants to be an engineer, and has pegged several top schools across the country as those he'd like to attend.  I don't know if this was brought about because of the colleges we've had with his brother, but we certainly weren't discussing college with him.  So, today, Dad and I sat down with him and told him that if he wants to get in to those colleges, he'll need very good grades in High School.  We told him that he is very capable of getting those grades if he just would turn in the work.  We also told him that if he wants to take "harder, more exciting classes that will challenge you" (AP Classes) in High School, he NEEDS to be on the "A" Honor Roll all four quarters next year.  For him, that means simply turning in the homework.  He himself admitted that several times throughout the year he didn't study once for tests and got an A on them.  We pointed out that if the homework is so "easy", then it won't take very long.  If he sucks it up and gets through 8th grade with good grades, he'll be rewarded in High School with the AP classes.  We *think* he's listening.  It's hard to balance giving him the information he needs to know without overwhelming him.  The last thing we want him to feel is pressure.  Who knew this parenting thing just got harder as they got older?  Oh, right.  Grandma.  "The bigger the child the bigger the boss" she used to say.  Did I mention that she was really smart?

Oh, lastly, I suppose I should mention that Dad and I have joined Weight Watchers online.  Dad got a deal through work.  It's working very well.  I've stagnated lately...but I haven't been logging my foods and work outs...and haven't been working out (which for me is a 3 mile walk and weights/core stuff at home) as much as I should.  I'm still at about 15 pounds lost, however, and am happy so far.  I have dropped a size, and can do new amazing things like cross my legs again, sit cross-legged on the floor, and have more energy than I used to.  I need to up everything to get motivated again. Dad's youngest sister is getting married in October, and I want to wear a certain size dress to that wedding.  If I can't fit into it, I don't get a new dress and have to wear a boring dress from those that I already have.  I REALLY want a new dress...but I REALLY need to get moving in order to do that.  It's a totally attainable goal...only one more size...but I need to get moving to do it.

I think that just about catches everyone up from the last year.  See you next year for another update?  Haha.  I will close, however saying that I'll try to do better on posting more.  No promises, but I will try.

Thanks for reading.