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Archive for July, 2011

I can remember when my best friend’s youngest son was between the ages of 10 and 11, that she would complain that he would rather sleep with her than in his own bed.  As a newbie parent, I found it a little disconcerting, but chalked it up to the fact that his father was out of town frequently and his older brother was embarking upon the teenage years and therefore was slightly scary.  Insecure children seek the comfort of their parent(s), I reasoned.  Eventually he grew out of it, and is now a high school senior who stays up half the night and catches catnaps throughout the day.  Ah, to be a teenager again.

At the time my friend’s son was going through this, my husband and I were going through a little cosleeping adventure of our own, namely a game of musical beds known as Having An Infant.  Now, I come from a long line of sleepyheads — my father can sleep anywhere, anytime, and sleep so deeply that a bomb could go off and not disturb him.  His father was the same way, and so am I.  In fact, most of my Dad’s family are champion sleepers.  So when I had a baby, I was a little concerned that either a) I would sleep through everything and not hear the baby or b) not sleep nearly enough and die.

Neither happened, of course, but the sleep deprivation DID make me quite cranky.  It did not help that my own husband was out of town quite frequently and left me with no one with whom to take turns getting up with the baby.  We (I) went through the usual stuff of every four hour feedings, in-the-dark diaper changes, random crying, and the like, and as Spawn grew, the sleep issues changed.  We did a stint with nightmares, and another with sleepwalking, and finally we graduated to potty training and wetting the bed.  Once we got past all that, the main issue was getting the kid to go to sleep once bedtime came, and tippytoeing around in the mornings to keep the kid asleep as long as possible.  Alas, Spawn did not inherit my sleep gene.

And then we hit a spate of years where sleep came.  This happened right about the time that Spawn was old enough to participate in activities such as swimming, trips to the water park, day camps, and so on.  All the extra activities flat wore the kid out, and sleep would hit like a ton of bricks.

And I finally got caught up on my own sleep.  Huzzah!

But now — now! — we’re in that 10-to-11 age and suddenly, we are back with the sleep issues.  Spawn either wants one of us in the room or will come to our room and crawl into our bed at random hours.  And even though we have a king size bed, it’s not big enough for the three of us.  Mostly because Spawn wants to sleep perpendicular in the bed, feet in my stomach.  Cold feet, at that.  We’re back to musical beds at night, though mostly it’s my husband who gets up and moves to Spawn’s bed, just to have a little mattress space.

This morning, at 4:30, I was pokepokepoke’d awake:  “Mom, I can’t sleep.”

Did you know that 4:30 in the morning is a prime time for my brain to snap to attention and start racing?  It is!  And did you know that 9am is when it finally quits buzzing and wants to go back to sleep?  Yay sleep deprivation!

I can hardly wait for the teenage years.

 

— Mox

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The sphere of activities that my husband and I both enjoy is admittedly small.  Our commonality rests in parenting Spawn, drinking beer on summer afternoons, and yard work.

In the sixteen years we have lived in our home, we have taken our yard from a barren grassland filled with rotting tree stumps and spindly evergreen bushes to a landscape filled with flowers and hardscaping.  His responsibility is the lawn and the heavy lifting, mine is the pretty stuff.  We enjoy spending our afternoons and weekends working on the yard.

Our neighbor is an aging bachelor who inherited his house from his parents, with whom he lived until they passed away.  He’s a nice enough guy, though a bit socially awkward, and not exactly energetic.  While his parents were alive, their yard stayed neat and clean, and his father worked tirelessly on the place.  His son, however, has no real interest in yard work beyond keeping the grass cut so the city doesn’t fine him for weeds.

Because our yards abut each other, there is a bit of maintenance that should go up to the fenceline.  It should, but it does not.  While my husband and I try to stay atop of the encroaching jungle from next door, the fact of the matter is that we are fighting a losing battle.  All manner of insidious weeds have crept over the property line — poison ivy, virginia creeper, poke, bindweed, wild grapes, and more than a few trees have spilled over and under and through the fence between our two properties.  And quite frankly, the temptation is there to just spray the whole shooting match with kerosene and light it up.  If I wouldn’t lose a very nice wooden privacy fence I’d give in to the temptation.

My neighbor would most likely just watch from his living room window. And wave.

Of course right now it’s mid-July and it’s about 70 million degrees outside, which precludes serious slashing and burning at the moment.  Tackling the fenceline between the two houses will require long sleeves, long pants, socks, closed toe shoes, and gloves.  And quite possibly a flamethrower.

I am not wishing the summer away but this project is at the top of our cool weather chore list.

—  Mox

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Flightless bird

A source of continual frustration for me these days is the dearth of actual, money-paying work.  Oh, I’ve got promises of work out the wazoo, and people are (I am sure) really being honest with me about wanting me to do stuff for them, but actually getting them off dead center has proved to be an impossibility.

I am trying to see this as some sort of life lesson, but I would also like to shore up my savings account.

The new gig, which is still plenty new, continues to dole out a breadcrumb once in a while, but nowhere near the number of hours I was promised.  I am really unsure about this, and the old adage “last one hired, first one fired” is flitting about in my brain.  I’m sure the reasons for this lack of work are myriad, but I have so far narrowed it down thusly:  1) the guy who hired me is so busy he can’t find the time to give me stuff to do, which would help him be less busy; 2) the guy who hired me is unaccustomed to having someone to help him and as I am out of sight I am also out of mind and therefore he doesn’t think to give me stuff; 3) the guy who hired me is waiting for the school year to start and is cutting me a break as a working mom with a summer full of kid-stuff to attend to; 4) the guy who hired me actually doesn’t have as much work to give me as he thought he did and will end up letting me go.

So, yeah.  A little bit of angst and uncertainty there.

The old gig is grinding down to a fine, powdery dust.  While I hate that this is happening, I also realize that it is inevitable.  My boss is spending more time dealing with his health issues than with finding business, and has given himself an end date of the end of the year for shuttering the business.  Ideally he would like to sell it but at this point I am not seeing who would want it.  He has spoken to a couple of other people about purchasing the business, and his youngest son has expressed an interest in taking it over, but nothing concrete has materialized.  Call me crazy, but I would think that with five months left in the year, you’d want to at least try to solidify some things if you want to hang it up on December 31st.

One new thing that has come along that I’m really excited about is some freelance work from a childhood friend.  Said friend has started her own publishing company and has talked to me about doing some editing for her.  Woohoo, right?  Twenty years ago I would have packed up my bags and headed for her city because this is what I wanted to do with my life.  And in a way, it still is.  However, responsibilities being what they are, I have to stay put and freelance, and that is actually really fine with her, since she’s still a start-up and has zero money.  And truly, I’m okay with that.  I’m just really excited that someone would consider me for editing work at a real publishing company.  She and I have talked a few times and have emailed back and forth a few times, and have tried mightily to get together face to face… but something always comes up.  She is traveling between her city and here rather frequently because both of her parents are in ill health and she and her siblings are taking turns coming to help out, which means all of her projects are getting further and further behind.  Her priorities are well-placed and as they should be, but it is a trifle frustrating to sit and wait for the work to come.

My side business is languishing right now, too.  My most regular client just got back from a trip to Italy (who me, jealous?) and says she has projects for me, which is great if I can just figure out some time to get to her.  I feel like it’s a nickel holding up a dollar, but trying to work the new stuff up into something profitable (see above) has caused me to put the established business on the back burner and I really want to keep myself available for the new stuff as much as possible.

If I could just get something — anything! — off the ground I would feel a whole lot better about this whole thing.

— Mox

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I suppose the good news is, I’m not dead or in jail.

Call it the summer doldrums, but it seems that at this time of the year, I don’t have a lot to say.  I honestly don’t know how I operated before Spawn was in school, but I can tell you this, now that we’re in the rhythm of a school year/summer break, I find that my summer schedule is pretty much all over the place.

Let’s see, what’s been going in Mox’s world:

  • Finally bit the bullet and had someone come out to examine my dishwasher.  Verdict:  new dishwasher.
  • In an effort to reduce the amount of money we are spending on homeowners insurance (seriously, y’all, it’s a lot) I hit the streets to see what kind of deals I could get from our neighborhood insurance agents.  Verdict:  they can’t write a new policy until we get a new roof.  Which brings us to…
  • Wrote a rather large check as a downpayment on a new roof, of which the materials for should be delivered sometime this week.  Verdict:  thank God for home equity lines of credit.  And then…
  • At some point we will need to get estimates for plaster and drywall work inside the house from the three spots we discovered leaking during the rainy months of April and May.  Verdict:  do you know how hard it is to find someone who can do both plaster and drywall?
  • Entered the 21st Century and got myself a smartphone.  Verdict:  it’s smarter than I am.  However, I am quite enjoying playing Words With Friends.
  • Summer camp.  Lots and lots of summer camp.  Verdict:  it’s hot, and I do not enjoy packing lunch every morning.
  • Not getting a lot of work out of the new gig right now.  Verdict:  have come to the conclusion that I need to be more aggressive in soliciting work.
  • Have made the decision to get out of community event planning.  Verdict:  this is my last summer with the local bluegrass festival.  With everything else I have going on in my life, this is one stressor I don’t need.

 

The long and the short of it is this — I have not been to the pool nearly as much as I would like, and I have not even begun to make a much-needed and much-wanted dent in the two boxes of books that I intended to read over the summer.  And as of today, Spawn has one month until school starts again.

Where does the time go?

 

— Mox

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