Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sometimes You Just Gotta Say Okay

Decisions can be made in an instant. Faced with a challenging decision, one usually analyzes and then acts. I am compulsive; I almost always act before thinking. This has been a habit most of my life--talking before thinking, acting on impulse, instead of directed, reasoned thought. But if you ask me to go on a roller coaster, that's another story altogether.

Last week, I went to an amusement park with DG, T1, T2 and my 18-year-old niece. She's a roller coaster junkie--the scarier the better. She wanted to conquer them all. I was the opposite of compulsive on this point. I wanted to go on the rides with her because she really wanted to go, but the twins were too little for most of them, so DG went off to the mellow rides with them. So here I was, scared, not wanting to show it, and really, a little worried about seeming a wuss in front of this sweet girl who I have adored since she was born. How could I disappoint her?

I knew logically that nothing could truly happen to me on these roller coasters. I'd scream, feel the terror, and then it would be over in an instant.

I stood in line for this one 3 times. I chickened out twice. The third time, I went using that same over-in-an-instant rationale. This ride is called the Xcelerator. It takes off at 82 MPH, goes straight up, over a hairpin turn, and straight down. I remember looking at my niece right before it took off saying, "no turning back now." I barely remember what happened after that and the next thing I knew, we were over that turn, through all the other loops and drops and the brakes were put on. "I did it, I did it!" I cheered. The whole car cheered for me too.

I think it's weird but I feel the enormous sens of accomplishment at going through these fears. Somehow, it gives me hope that I can go through lots of scary stuff and I'll be okay.

T1 and T2 were impressed with my roller coaster rider abilities too. "Will you go with me on that when I'm older," T1 asked me. "I think I can," I answered him in all honesty.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Door-to-door salesman

Times are tough, right? People are trying to make money any way they can. I remember when I was a kid and the Fuller Brush Man would come to the door selling cleaning supplies. Moms have always been saying no to salesmen. Just now, a man came to the door with a "stimulus package" deal on new windows. Windows, door-to-door. Really. Times really are tough. I politely said no; we have new windows, thank you very much. The twins are watching TV. T1 says, "Who was that?"

"A guy selling windows," I say. "I said no; we have windows."

He says, "Awwww. I love rainbows."

Too bad they don't sell rainbows door-to-door.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

'Twas the Night Before the Big "Go Back"

I have been on sabbatical from my job for 12 months. That's a crazy long time to be on "vacation." Although I have been working on a project for the college, I've mostly been a stay-at-home mom. This transition back feels a little scary for me. But, like a good friend once told me, I've been working much more than not in my lifetime, so working is the norm, not staying home.

Still, it feels tentative. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up and everything will be back exactly the way it was before I went on sabbatical, and I'll be comfortable in the routine. No such luck, however. I have to go through the transition--like most teachers at the end of summer vacation, or after winter break. We get through it. I bet my students feel nervous tonight too. Maybe some of them have kids they have to ship off to summer camp too. We'll all get through it.

In the meantime, it requires some organization. Here's me, getting organized to go:

Purse, check.

Work bag, check.

Sunglasses, check.

Keys, check.

Kids backpacks, check.

and what's in here? Don't forget the lunches....

The mommy creature is always stirring on the night before "going back" whether it's going back to work from a sabbatical, summer vacation, or just a weekend. You guys understand, no?

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Yesterday's Schedule

3:30 am -- Awake -- worry about all the stuff I have to do. Gratefully, I fall back to sleep.

5:30 am -- Wake up, read emails, answer students' questions, grade online papers, write 1/3 of new syllabus

6:30 am -- Walk dog

7:30 am -- wake kids, eat breakfast, drive to summer school

9:15 am -- Sculpt and Tone class at the Y, read 3 pages of a journal article waiting for class to start

11:30 am -- pick up kids from summer school, drive home, fix lunch

1:45 pm -- drive to library, realize we forgot library books, drive back home, drive back to library, drive back home.

3:00 pm -- Work on syllabus

3:05 pm -- Stop working to diffuse meltdown because one twin took something from another

3:15 pm -- Work on syllabus again

3:45 pm -- drive to swim lessons

4:00 pm -- stamp PTA address on envelopes as part of volunteer obligation

5:00 pm -- drive home, make dinner

and on and on and on

I'm smiling because I love this. Did my syllabus get done yesterday? No. Did it get done today? No, but it is getting done, a little at a time. This means that things get done M U C H S L O W E R, but I get to be involved in so many things. It's all worth it.

I've been learning to do my job in between the myriad of activities that my kids need schlepping to. Working in snippets, I call it.

It's interesting how the "Mom Taxi" has such a bad rap. Yeah. It's a lot of miles and running around, but can you make it more interesting? How nice is it to sit and read a magazine, or get a little bit of work done while waiting for your kid to finish soccer practice? I find it an opportunity to work on projects one little bit at a time. Yesterday is a prime example. I watched my kids playing in the back yeard while I set up an online course interface platform. My friend brought over her kids to swim, and we took turns watching the kids and completing our "snippet" work.

I'm a classic procrastinator. When I was in college, I had to get a full time job so that I ONLY had certain times to do my homework. Now I HAVE to grade papers, answer emails, write, plan lessons in between taking my kids from here to there.

And I couldn't be happier about it.