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Archive for July, 2008

I recently read an article about how to truly enjoy a vacation, and make it a real vacation, not working while you’re away from home.  This, to a lot of us, is a Totally New Concept.  We can’t seem to leave the cell phone/laptop/PDA behind.  But for a vacation to be a real vacation, you must disengage from your regular life. 

For the first time in a long time, my husband managed to disconnect from his job for a long weekend.  He left the Blackberry at home, he stowed his laptop.  He did keep the cell affixed to his hip, but that was at my request in case we needed to catch up with one another while we were engaged in separate activities.  It was the relaxation that we both needed — him to get away from his job for a while and me to have his undivided attention. 

And then of course we had to come home and reacquaint ourselves with reality.  Which bites. 

But things have a way of being serendipitous at times, even under the guise of inconvenience.  Yesterday afternoon, moments after I got home from work, an auto accident the next block up from my house resulted in traffic being rerouted through my neighborhood.  A semi came down our side street and caught the wires for the phone, cable, and Internet that are attached to our house, pulling them down.  Of course the semi never stopped.  But what he left in his wake was a house that was disconnected from communicating with the outside world. 

Besides the damage done to the cable/phone box and the downspout and guttering on the house, you’d think we’d be upset at being unable to call, fax, and email.  But strangely, no.  Had this happened any other time, rather than so soon following our time off, we’d probably have freaked out and gnashed our teeth and rended our garments.  For about five minutes we fretted, and then a strange calm came over us.  We weren’t on the hook to contact or reply to anyone last night.  It was like an extra day of vacation. 

I wish I could say we used the time wisely and got to bed early for once, but my husband and I sat up and talked and didn’t turn out the light until very late. 

 

— Mox

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I am a cat person.  I can not, will not, and do not apologize for that. 

There is something right and necessary about waiting until you’re 40 to make your Bucket List

Children need to be loved, not managed. 

I have developed a sense of humor about myself. 

If you’re looking for my family, we’re most likely in the bar.

I can no longer shotgun beer. 

As much as I like beer and bar food, I am no longer able to consume either within an hour of my bedtime. 

My bedtime comes a lot earlier than it used to. 

I am officially the tallest of my female relatives.  This fact is oddly satisfying to me. 

Black-and-white family photos are the best. 

My oldest cousin, M, looked a lot like Charlie Brown when he was a toddler. 

I have lost my nerve.  This fact does not bother me as much as I thought it would. 

Family secrets are the only secrets really worth knowing.  Or keeping. 

You have to allot a certain amount of room in the car for golf clubs.  And a cooler. 

Skunks are best viewed from a safe distance. 

Groundhogs and raccoons will eat anything. 

To the uninitiated, my family can be an overwhelming experience. 

A full size hotel room bed is not long enough for me. 

If a full buffet breakfast is available, I will actually eat breakfast. 

Long car trips are shorter if your kid is riding with the grandparents. 

I would do it all again. 

 

— Mox

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Greetings, Mox fans. 

I have returned from the wilds of Bumfuck, Ohio, sunburned, sore, and exhausted, after several pleasurable days reunioning with my family.  I suppose that if I had to see them day in/day out, they’d really irritate me, but as it stands I only see them every other year and I love each and every one of them, even the really painful ones. 

The cousin who has helmed the reunion process all these years decided that it was time to hang up her clipboard, which means that this was likely our last reunion.  Getting my family all together is a Herculean task, since 1) we’re spread out all over the country and 2) there is no shortage of opinions as to how it should be done.  When you come from a family that is Always Right, about everything, anything you go to do can seem like a thankless job.  The fact that my cousin has done the planning for the past 17-ish years despite the warring opinions of many is a testament to the fact that she is as stubborn as the rest of us. 

I had been feeling adrift in the weeks leading up to this reunion, and after four days with the people in my gene pool, I am feeling more like myself than before.  There is something about your family, if your family is worth its’ salt, that grounds you.  As diverse as we all are, my family is part and parcel of who I am, and I think I needed to get in touch with that fact again. 

The hard part will be trying to hold on to how I feel after my refresher course, once the reality of my daily existence settles back in. 

School starts in exactly one week. 

 

— Mox

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I have always harbored a desire to travel much more than I actually get to do.  The notion of throwing a few things into a bag and jetting off to parts exotic is part of the story I tell myself about who I am.  My dad is from the “no stone unturned” school of travel, and to that end my childhood travels were equal parts kitsch and education.  He was never satisfied to travel from Point A to Point B exclusively, making good time and calculating good gas mileage.  No, my dad would take a few days off from work, load up the car, and set off with a destination in mind, and we’d stop at all the roadside attractions along the way.  My dad and I are such similar creatures in that we like to find out about things, learn history, see how stuff is made, go behind the scenes.  My dad is the original How Stuff Works guy. 

In preparation for a road trip, I’d always put together a survival kit for the back seat of the car.  As an only child, I had no one to argue with and no one to play with during long trips, so my kit contained reading materials, a pillow, and my Walkman.  I loved tuning in to radio stations all along the length of our trips, to get a glimpse of what people’s lives were like in towns I’d never heard of before.  As long as I could listen to the radio, read, and take naps, I was perfectly content. 

It was on trips like this that I learned to read a map, figure distance, time, and gas mileage.  I loved to read the billboards along the road, and still do.  Dad and I were always game for some roadside diner, general store, or farm stand, though our stops were sometimes limited by my mother’s delicate sensibilities and higher standards.  But some of my most peaceful memories are of sitting in the front seat with Dad while Mom slept off a travel-induced headache in the back seat, the two of us in our own world, a bag of red pistachios between us. 

I cling to that image of myself as a relatively carefree traveler, even though time and age have made me into something less than that.

I am not one of those girly-girls who packs 15 outfits, plus shoes, for a three-day trip.  At least I’ve got the clothing part of my packing downpat; pack stuff that’s interchangeable.  It’s the nonwearables that are wearing me out. 

I like to think of myself as an easy person, but when I start loading up on my “necessities” I start to realize that I am not easy at all.  I like to travel under the Boy Scout motto of “be prepared” and to that end I tend to overpack.  Of course I need my glasses and my contacts and their assorted solutions, plus my makeup (because my face ain’t what it used to be), and things of a medicinal nature (sinus meds, reflux meds, Neosporin, Bandaids), hair stuff, skin care (sunscreen, lotion, after-sun soother), and various and assorted things that I might need (tweezers, nail clippers, the Encyclopedia Britannica).  The older I get the more real estate I find the need to care for.  It’s maddening. 

I hope at some point to become that carefree traveller that I picture myself to be.  I realize that this will only come about when I finally let go of the last vestages of my vanity, and frankly, I am just not there yet. 

I write all of this because starting tomorrow, the Mox family will be taking the show on the road, to rendezvous with my (very large) extended family.  To that end, you won’t be seeing me around these parts until sometime next week. 

In the meantime, however, I am packing furiously. 

 

— Mox

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Every year at Christmastime, I take my meager Christmas Club account money and attempt to fashion an entire holiday from it.  But now that Spawn is older the gifts are more expensive, and indeed all things are more expensive.  Because of that I end up spending over and above what my savings are.  And every year I make the promise to myself that I will contribute more money to my Christmas Club account so that I’ll have more money to spend on gifts. 

Every year I fail. 

I check my bank balance online quite a bit, since that’s often the best way to keep the wolf from the door.  On my chart of accounts I have watched my Christmas Club account grow ever so slowly.  The bank usually issues the account checks every October.  Meaning, I’ve got about 10 weeks to make good on my promise to add more to the account. 

I doubt I’ll do it.  It’s a nice idea, though. 

 

— Mox

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Gravitational pull

Okay, so yesterday’s post got some attention from those who are in favor of flying.  I do think that it’s something that either you have the hots for or not.  I’m camped out in the “not” category. 

I’m of the notion that a little dab’ll do ya when it comes to knowing about things like airplanes.  In the years that I have been up flying around with other pilots, I’ve been content to let them do their thing while I just sit there and enjoy the cornfields passing below me.  Always reminds me of corduroy.  But as far as the mechanics of flying are concerned, leave me out of it. 

I’ve been along for the ride, so to speak, on my husband’s quest for a pilot’s license.  I’ve read the magazines, I’ve looked through the manuals.  I’ve listened as he’s explained things to me.  I’ve even gone out to the airport with him to look at planes for sale.  (Left my checkbook in the car on that one.) 

I’m a fairly simple gal.  I’m not much one for cars, either, even though I have a hotrodder for a dad.  (He’ll wax nostalgic on a ’49 Merc every time you give him the chance.)  As a Point-A-to-Point-B conveyance, my main concern is does the radio work.  Though here lately I’ve become more concerned with MPGs than I ever thought I would. 

But yeah.  I get it.  I get that my husband’s passion, in addition to golf and the NFL, is flying.  I just don’t ever foresee it being a shared passion.  I don’t care too awful much about golf or the NFL, either. 

I guess it’s yet another example of how opposites attract. 

 

 

— Mox

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Wild. Blue. Yonder.

I married into a family of aviators.  My father-in-law, mother-in-law, and one brother-in-law are all career Air Force.  My mother-in-law still flies and belongs to the Ninety Nines.  My in-laws live within blocks of a sizeable general aviation airport.  My husband and his siblings each took a turn in belonging to the Civil Air Patrol.  When I say that their heads are in the clouds, I mean it. 

When my husband turned 40, his midlife crisis took the form of wanting to get his pilot’s license.  I suppose I am relieved that he didn’t take up fast cars and loose women, or buy a motorcycle and get a tattoo.  We all have that last wild oat to sow.  His is the completion of a lifelong dream that began as a young teen.  Aviation fuel runs in his blood.  So for the past three years, he has spent as many weekends as his schedule and wallet would allow, working toward his license. 

He’s very close. 

All of this is well and good and fine, and I am happy that he has a passion.  I am also making sure that his life insurance is paid up. 

There are a lot of interests that we share, and a few interests that we don’t.  Flying is one of those areas where we differ in opinion.  I am not a fan of flying.  I don’t mind that he spends his time hanging around our little podunk airport, and that he subscribes to flying magazines.  But it’s his thing.  My thing is more firmly rooted in gravity.  The only flying I enjoy is on horseback, during that couple of seconds where all four hooves are out of contract with the ground in a full gallop. 

This divergence of interests works pretty well when we don’t foist them off on one another.  I don’t make him get on a horse and he doesn’t ask me to get in a plane. 

But that’s about to change.  His father is buying an airplane. 

This is a subject that has been bantered about for the past three years during every family get-together, but knowing how notoriously tight my father-in-law can be, I never thought it would come to fruition.  But he’s now put his money where his mouth is.  In the waning years of his life, he has started spreading his money around.  For his wife and his youngest son, he is buying an airplane. 

My husband has already started talking about the trips we can take in the plane.  I try to smile bravely about it, but frankly, tootling around in a little four-seater is a bit more than I want to do.  I’ve read enough of his flying magazines to know that flying is not to be undertaken lightly. 

Oh, but it gets better.  Not only does he want to start flying about on trips, he wants me to learn how to land the plane.  Which I agree is a really good idea, because getting safely down is paramount to living.  But have you seen the cockpit of a Piper Cherokee? 

Lots of dials and buttons and spinny things and stuff.  This intimidates me.  A lot. 

With a horse, it’s pretty simple.  Left, right, stop, go.  Sure, you can get hurt.  But you’re not doing it at ten thousand feet.  A plane is miles and miles more complicated. what with altitude and air speed and cross winds and the like.  You don’t get it right, you die. 

I’m not too sure about this. 

 

 

— Mox

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