Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why is there PAIN in PAINT?

We are ALMOST finished with this remodel. I know what you're thinking, "That's what you said in the middle of July." It's true, but this time I really mean it.
It has been a huge stress on our family, and i don't know that our marriage would have survived if we hadn't started therapy right before we started remodeling. Of course it would have survived, but it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. Just a couple of illustrations: Wade almost failed his first term in English. This is my kid that loves to read! He even takes extra classes on reading!! Will's letter to Santa ended like this: P.S. The reason i'm having trouble controlling my anger lately is because we started too many projects at once. It's true. We added two rooms on to the house and it has affected every room in the house. We had to patch up the windows that were covered by the new rooms, so that means tile and paint in those rooms. We added a doorway and a closet to our bedroom, so that means paint and while we are carpeting the closet, the bedroom carpet is thrashed, so let's replace that and we really wanted to change the tile and the vanity and the tub and the tub surround (well, we didn't really want to replace the tub surround, but have you ever tried to pull a tub out and keep the marble surrounding it in one piece?) and the towel rack and the light bar, oh, and let's just throw in a toilet to make it a clean sweep. And because we got a new family room, that meant that we had an extra room that we could turn into a bedroom for Will and why don't we just replace the carpet in the whole basement? Round and Round we go and where we stop, nobody knows.

At some point during the finishing stages, which we told our contractor we would do to save money, we got a little overwhelmed and i called our friend, Paul who does finish work and handyman/carpenter stuff. He has been a gift from God. So we didn't save quite as much money as we'd hoped. instead, we saved a good portion of what was left of our sanity.

Anyway, right before Paul was finishing up the other day, he mentioned that the whole bed/bath/closet/foyer/stairs would be perfect if he added a kind of random, earthy texture to it. the thing that made me mad was that he was so right. i decided not to have him texture the stairs, since it was completely painted and finished and i'm going to hang pictures all up and down anyway, but it did mean that i had to re-prime the closet and the bathroom and i had to prime the bedroom, the hall and the foyer, which i wouldn't have had to prime otherwise. So as he drifted off to sleep at midnight-thirty, Michael says to me, "No wonder there is PAIN in Paint." "I'll show you pain, buddy," i thought. But then i decided to turn my anger into a productive use of energy. I started doing plies instead of bending. I thought that would strengthen my core and eliminate my back strain. That lasted about 10 minutes... really it lasted on and off until i finished with the priming, and i think it made it take quite a bit longer. But my core is strong. HooHaa!

Painting the white primer, playing over and over in my head was the word sanitorium. that is where they send crazy people, right (i know, random, repetitive, uncontrollable thoughts are a sign of mental illness)? not that i'm not crazy, but i was just so glad that we have color. Color makes me so happy. It warms me up, but that has got to be emotional because i don't think Mexican Sand or Chateau Brown register any higher on the thermometer than alabaster or arcade white. I guess if i get overwhelmed, I can always call Paul, but i am excited to do the actual painting. It's very rewarding and i want to do an antiquey rub or a glaze to give it even more texture. If i paint every day for 6 days, i figure i can wrap it up. Heh. not like i have anything else to do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Christmas!!

I had locked the front door so that i could take a bath and Karlee was worried that the kids wouldn't be able to get in after school, so she had me come open it and when i did, she burst out, "It's Christmas!" Indeed, the snow was coming down in big, fast bundles of flakes. It doesn't exactly make it Christmas, except... why not? That static you see in the background is SNOW!

End of an Era

How can it be a happy moment for a Mom to see her son cry? Will's team played in their final little league play-off game together. Afterward, even the coaches got teary-eyed. And it wasn't because they didn't win their game. It was because they knew that this was the end of an era. The end of what they have spent the last 4 years building. The great thing is, i'm sure many of the friendships built on this team will last a lifetime. When you work and play that hard and long together, it doesn't just go away because play-offs are over.

These coaches have given their guts to the kids on this team. They're just kids themselves, most of them. They don't have kids on the team. Most of them don't even have kids. They didn't have to do this. It is a part-time job during the football season ~ except, wait. They don't get paid.

I'm having a hard time expressing the appreciation i have for what these coaches have done for our boys. They have made them run drills and do ladders and up-downs and laps and push-ups and sit-ups plus a list of other conditioning exercises that i've never even heard of until the boys are begging for mercy and/or hating their coaches. They've taught the cerebral part of the game as well as the physical. One of the coaches is a professional sports massage therapist, so he took care of the boys when they got muscle injuries. They have given all the kids who show up to practice and work hard equal opportunity to play in the game. It isn't that they don't have favorites, i'm sure they do, but their favorites didn't get more play time. And they have earned the respect of the boys. Those kids would do anything for Coach Tim and the rest of 'em. Including not drink soda because it might slow them down. I'm not sure why that impresses me so much.
Will has only played on the team for 2 seasons, but these 2 football seasons have given him a taste of what it is like to really work with passion for something and how good it feels to earn a measure of success ~ even if that success doesn't mean you win every game. As a parent, you can talk 'til you're blue in the face about how the things we have to work hard for are the only things worth having but until they get a taste of that, it is meaningless for a kid. So I want to say Thank you to the coaches of the Grey Juniors. Thank you for doing what i couldn't do for my son.

It's all ok... right?

I started to wonder last night whether or not my dad's belief about living in this great country was adopted to calm his children. We turned on the news around 8 PM and watched John McCain's speech and my boys started to get a little upset. They began to repeat things they had heard people say about how now terrorists were going to be allowed to take over the country and one of them demanded, "How can we elect a person who doesn't even have a birth certificate?" So then i gave them the, "Aren't we blessed to live in a land where the outcome of an election doesn't start a war?" that my dad gave me.

At first, i attributed their worry to having ridden to the football game last Saturday with a couple of right-wing coaches who have no children of their own (so they don't worry how their conversation affects young children), but then i remembered that they have heard even members of our extended family rant about some pretty radical stuff.

And perhaps (shudder) i have something to do with it. I mean, his friend was in the car with him and he was also at our house last night and he wasn't upset at all. Of course, you have to account for William being a more serious kid than most 15 year olds. Okay, though. Have i entertained the idea that perhaps Barack Obama is not exactly who he says he is? Yes. Have i expressed that to my children? Probably in not so many words. Maybe my calm, rational explanations are more harmful than Grandma's ranting about terrorism and conspiracy.

Do our children have the right to (or should we afford them the luxury of) growing up with a feeling of relative security? Should we tell them that all is well? Do they really need to be worried about how the country is being run? Don't they need to focus on their schoolwork? Shouldn't we let them be kids? Or at least be a little carefree? Will there come a day when all is not well and they will need to know it? To be emotionally prepared?

Children are concrete thinkers. When we say things like, "The economy is going to pot! My retirement fund is not going to be worth anything!" or "I'm going to have to take out a loan to fill my gas tank." They think, "We aren't going to have enough money for food this week." Okay, maybe not all kids think that. When i was a kid, i heard my parents talking about some of their financial struggles and when life went on as usual, i figured that those kinds of problems weren't really all that important. My impression of my big brother was that he just took my parents' issues way too seriously (or took too much responsibility for them). But maybe i had my head in the sand thinking that their issues wouldn't have any effect on me. Or maybe i understood on some level that they also had made many good financial moves and those were not so readily "discussed."

Anyway, i think i'm going to adopt my niece's philosophy on the subject of the presidency. Can i quote you, Claire? "I will try my best to show him the respect that I think was lacking for President Bush over the past 8 years because he is now going to be our President. Not necessarily by agreeing with him on probably anything, but by not calling him stupid for one." We still both agree that we might have to call socialism socialism when we see it. I blame that less on Obama, though and more on ourselves. Socialism is what we want and socialism is what we are going to get. Maybe just sooner than later.

Oops. Can this entry duck under the cover of not being so controversial in the future? :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Favorite Things

The smell of a newborn's head
kissing a chubby baby cheek
watching a good movie with popcorn at home in bed
reading a good book in a blankie with hot cocoa
losing weight
eating chocolate (shoot!)
finishing a project
packages from Tallulahs
pictures of my family
hearing good music
singing good music
eating lunch with a friend
listening to my kids practice piano