Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Freedom

What a great day for America! It's a great day every 4 years, but this one especially. We are one of the few countries in the world that can decide on a small group of potential candidates, freely elect one of them, have them exchange power in a formal ceremony, and nobody has to get killed in the process. It's not a dictatorship of the oppressed, rule till ya die or are removed violently... Today everyone came together to celebrate our freedoms. We were united, regardless of your political party, belief in the Electoral College, or any other government or racial issue. What a great country we live in.

Someone I know is struggling with her marriage. First, pray for them. Second, she can initiate a divorce without fear of repercussions because of her gender or religious beliefs. If she were in the Middle East, it wouldn't be an issue. His family would kill her, legally. What a great country we live in. She can worship freely and control her own life, and that of their children, however it ends up.

One of the themes of my mother's life post-divorce was that she was glad she chose a profession (nursing) that she could always take care of herself and her children. That was a lesson she felt was important to teach us. Never lose yourself in your husband or children so that you don't recognize the individual you brought to the marriage. He may die tomorrow, and those kids grow up eventually. I don't have any desire to work 40-60 hours a week to support my family - 12-16 is enough to pay the bills - but I could go back to work full-time tomorrow if I had to, and we'd be well above the poverty line. My pay scale is published within the job description, so I know that I am making the same amount as the man I took the position from. What a great country we live in. I am not judged or paid less because I am a female.

Time for the evening recap - I think I have OD'ed on Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams today. Tomorrow, it's back to the daily grind.

Perspectives from a 6 year old - Were Grandma and Papaw alive when Martin Luther King was? When Abraham Lincoln was? We've had some good discussions about blacks and whites pre-MLK and now. He wasn't impressed by today, but maybe it'll be a big deal when he's 30. Then again, maybe it'll be no big deal - blacks and whites really will be equal when he's old enough to care.

Friday, January 16, 2009


No, we aren't becoming landlords.

I was wondering last night if life was easier when I had one, though. Easier perhaps, but not better. The last time I had a landlord was 8 years ago. I was living in South County in a 1 bedroom, 800 ft sq apt with a million similar apartments within a mile. I was an anonymous face. I didn't know my neighbors, and didn't really care to know my neighbors. I worked 2 jobs, nights and evenings. I was *quite* proud of myself - to be on my own, out of the city I grew up in, too independent to be within 100 miles of my parents, paying my own bills.

Last night, the drain pipe was clogged, and the washer bubbling into the shower in the nicely carpeted basement. The plumber could come, but it would cost $350 after hours. Last week, the same plumber gave us a bid of $1200 to dig up the front yard and put a valve in so that when it rains, we don't get other folks toilet paper and assorted s#$t into that same shower. But the city is plumbed correctly, and the storm and sanitary sewers don't mix, says the city. The plans for our income tax $$? An egress window for the basement ~ $2000.

I gripe about our house. It's the house Tom lived in long before me, or plans of children. It was not a place I planned on staying for any length of time, but it's now ours. There is not an original piece of furniture from either of our single days, there is at least 2 new coats of paint on every wall, there are boys dirty handprints everywhere.

Eight years ago, I came home to a flooded apt, 2 terrified cats, and a fiance dealing with my landlord already. He had come by to tuck me in for the "night" at 8 am as I was in the middle of a stretch of night shifts, and found the carpet more than soggy. He blamed the cats. It was really a pipe in the bathroom, but it was wall-to-wall water, 2 inches deep near the bathroom and bedroom. We packed his car, my car, later his parents truck and his sister's Suburban, and I moved to the cornfield.

Last night, it was nice to call the in-laws and announce our imminent arrival for the night. They provide a nice bed and breakfast. The plumber came and snaked the drain, and it wasn't $350. I do like our moneypit, and one of these days, it'll be paid for - before the kids are in college! Maybe then we'll become landlords and buy ourselves a newer house.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Wow! I'm a little behind...

We started the Christmas vacation with Evan's class party. I've never gone to one of his parties, and I was drafted to be in charge of it. Hmm, how'd that happen? The kids made some crafts, played pin the nose on the snowman and ring around the Christmas tree, ice cream and hot chocolate and called it a day. It was fun - not as chaotic as I expected, with lots of help from 6 or so other parents.

The weekend brought the Church festivities and Santa there. Colby beat up his buddy who I watched last year, and he beat Colby back. Good thing it was only 2 short songs!

Mon-Wed found us at my mom & sister's so my mom could have foot surgery on Tues. Monday Colby and I got to hang out in their fine 16 bed hospital with 1 inpatient - not us! He had bilateral ear infections, and that tonsil looks ugly too. By the way, I don't see ear tubes. Surgery day, he came to the hospital and was a very mellow version of himself. Mom had 7 warts removed from the bottom of 1 foot, which had been bothering her for several months -probably from chronic prednisone. It was slick, nasty snow and ice getting her home that afternoon, not much fun trying to keep her off her foot. Wed was Christmas Eve - a decent drive back home, with Mom in tow.

We opened presents on Thursday, and spent the afternoon with Tom's parents and family.

There wasn't an intentional theme with the books, but I found it amusing when I looked around and everyone but me had a book in their hands! We have broken in the Wii in the background, too. Finally, video games that interest me. The kids ask me for help in Mario on the DS, and I don't have the patience for it.

We sent Mom home with my sis on Friday, and I worked all weekend. I took care of a guy from here who was in a car accident on C-mas Eve, and he's pretty stinkin' sick. If you're a praying person, say a prayer for Joe. It's gonna be a long recovery.

Monday was C-mas with my dad, stepmom and stepsis, sister and family came back and brought Mom. The neighbor girl was here too, just for good measure. Her dad's in Afghanistan, and her mom was at work - she may as well stay. There were girl things left over from the school party, so I fixed her up a gift to open too. It was also dreaded dentist day. Evan was threatened a few weeks ago by the dentist that if he didn't get his 2 front bottom teeth out, he would pull them. His permanent teeth have been in for a few months, and baby ones loose, but he wouldn't work on pulling them on his own, so Dr. T had to. Santa, the tax man, the dentist and the tooth fairy all in the same month - it's too much!! Evan was quite mad at me for most of the morning, and shed a few tears. I told him when he got them cleaned that I wasn't sure the tooth fairy came if the dentist had to pull the teeth, but Dr. T assured me he would work it out with the tooth fairy.

Tuesday was Gingerbread houses - I love doing those, even if they are a lot of work with little kids. Six kids, 2 adults, 3 houses. This is ours.

Wednesday was work again - finally, a day that we weren't horribly short-staffed. It was pleasant. There tends to be a lot of call-ins on the weekends lately, and it gets old and frustrating and bone-weary to always work short with high workloads and late or no lunch. It doesn't do much for morale or quality care either one.

Thursday - woohoo - Branson for a long weekend! A friend gave us a 3 nights at her timeshare place, so there were 16 of us - 3 families - for the weekend. It was much appreciated. There was swimming, Chinese Acrobats, the fisheries and dam, a water park, and more swimming. They made it back for a leadership meeting at church on Sunday afternoon, but I played hookey on that one. We came home, did laundry and cleaned up the Branson stuff.

That leads us to this week. Tom is going back to working eves for a while, so while I love it that he's home during the day, he & Evan miss each other in the evenings. Tom gets woken up in the mornings for a little bit so they see each other. It is time to organize the toy room a bit so this stuff gets put away, and get the tree down. I love all the stuff, but it's time to reclaim the living room and kitchen!

Here's to a calm 2009!