Thursday, May 27, 2010

Birthday IS the theme

Since when do little kids' birthday parties have to cost as much as a wedding? Or a new car? Or a second mortgage? Not in this household. Not as long as I’m the Mommy.

I was asked by a couple of people this week what the theme for Liam’s birthday party was. Theme? I thought birthday was a theme. He’s three, can’t that be the theme?

We are having friends over for brats on the grill, multiple salads, cake, ice cream and presents. How’s this for a theme: good food, good friends.

I am not made of money. If, for his three-year party, I rent a bouncy house, water slide and Bozo the clown, all of which he is scared of by the way, when does it end? When he turns 18 will I be renting a limousine and Bimbo the girl from the corner of 2nd & main?

I just don’t think this is something I want to get into. I do not feel the need to keep up with the Joneses. I am too old and too smart for this sort of nonsense. If there comes a time when Liam feels truly slighted by his Mother’s inability to play these games, he and I will sit down and have a discussion about economics 101.

I briefly considered calling the local humane society to find out if they would be willing to underwrite the party if I promised to send every kid home with a puppy. Wouldn’t that be a great theme? It would solve a lot of problems in one fell swoop. I could throw the most elaborate pet-themed party imaginable at no cost to us. Any number of sad little homeless puppies would find new homes. It is a win-win solution.

A friend suggested perhaps a garden theme wherein all the guests could apply themselves to my weedy flowerbeds. Not bad. Bring your own gloves.

In short, I think birthdays as an enterprise is the height of ridiculousness. When Liam starts to feel slighted, if he can’t understand the concepts of economics 101, he is perfectly welcome to break his own piggy bank to finance the theme, however, tapping into the college fund will not be tolerated.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) I placed an order with J.C. Penney a couple of days ago. I looked all over the house for my catalog cause I knew it offered free shipping. Couldn’t find it. Today . . . it shows. So I called Penney’s on the off-chance they would credit me the shipping ($19.25). I figured it would be worth the call. Right? The first person I talked to said no way, but she offered to transfer me to someone on up the line. Terry at is my hero. I gave him the code off the catalog and he verified it and credited my account. Yippee!

9) Normally Chris picks up Liam from daycare on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but he has an awards ceremony at the school tonight so I have to go get Liam. I am whining a little because I am in the middle of about 500 things. Routine: I am your slave.

8) Our evening PIGS/Bible Study group has started both a study of Ephesians and a Prayer Shawl ministry. We figure we can do both at the same time. We started the study last week so it is too early to tell how that is going. However, I found several really neat shawl patterns on the internet, and one of our group purchased a pattern book. Here we go!

7) Is it just me or do the Toyota Sienna commercials make others want to vomit as well? NOTHING is cool about owning a minivan. A friend of mine has one and when I am truly desperate for space she lets me borrow it. I do so hoping no one will recognize me. I don’t see anything wrong with my son having the mom with the coolest car.

6) We got an invitation in the mail to the golden wedding anniversary party for some dear friends of my family’s. I am very happy for them, and wouldn’t miss it for the world, but it does remind me that Mom & Dad’s 50th would have been the summer of 2009. Dad died in September 2008, so they missed it by a few months. Just another bitter regret about Dad’s passing.

5) Having a water feature in the yard is nice. Sitting on the porch listening to the water is very soothing. We have five fair-sized fish in our pond we have raised from little tiny feeders. However, I have to tell you it is plenty of work in the spring and fall. We have a cover for it to attempt to keep the leaves out in the fall. It sort of works. Spring is worse because the blossoms from the trees and shrubs are little enough to get through and under the cover and they clog the filter. We have pulled and rinsed the filter about once a week for the past eight weeks. I’ll be glad when the current siege is over.

4) After 11 years we have finally found a trustworthy dog sitter! There are no kennels where we live. Several of the vets around town do kenneling, but the dogs and cats there get fed and that’s it; no walking, no petting, no love. Last weekend while we were at Chris’ leadership training for horse camp, we asked a friend to watch Mufasa. He is a very small, very needy dog. He got rave reviews! Most places we go we just take him with, but sometimes we really can’t. Thank you Sue! You may be seeing more of him, although we promise not to take advantage of your willingness to serve.

3) That’s it. I’ve had it! I am washing my car today. I don’t care how many bad weather gremlins are watching. My car is an absolutely beautiful machine when it is clean, and looks twice as dreadful as any old clunker when it is dirty. Some bird did its business down the passenger door a few weeks ago and our weather has been too lousy to do anything about it. But no more. We have wind today and I am liable to get completely drenched doing it, but here goes.

2) Last week I took care of a task I have been procrastinating for well over a year now. It wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought, certainly not worth all the concern and downright dread I have been feeling. I called a lawyer. No, I’m not leaving Chris. When Liam was born we knew flying by the seat of pants was no longer going to be a realistic option. We have been talking about wills, guardianship and a testamentary trust ever since. Naturally my biggest concern was cost and if we got a do-it-yourself kit, did it come with a rope for the inevitable hanging that would take place. Finally I found my courage and called a lawyer. Pleasantly, the task will not cost anywhere near what I feared and so the appointment is made. Three years too late, but better late than never. Now . . . which one of you wants him?

1) If you had to fight a duel tomorrow at dawn, who would your second be?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They love me here

In the past few months I have been offered two different full-time jobs. Unsolicited.

The first was from a gentleman who was a client of mine at the bank where I used to work. He is a well-established business owner here in town and I was very flattered when he told me he wanted to offer the job to me before he posted it to the public.

The second was just a couple of days ago from the manager of one of the credit unions here in town. He got my name from one of his customers who knows me.

Because I am currently doing work for eight clients and truly enjoy working from home, I had to turn them both down. If there were the slightest possibility I could work either into my current schedule, I would have done it, but both were full-time or nothing.

I have to say both offers were a real stroke to my ego.

I left the bank six years ago August. The day I walked away I had one client, and I was scared to death. My reputation has grown by word of mouth until now, almost six years later, I have eight steady clients and a couple of fly-byers. I work just about as much as I want to. I could work more, but I like my 16-20 hour weeks.

Working from home gives me plenty of time to spend with Liam. He goes to daycare a day and a half each week which gives me time to meet with clients and trade files and whatnot. Much of the time I really feel like I have the best of both worlds. I work Tuesday and Wednesday each week and half of either Monday or Friday . . . or not. My Wednesday people are the only ones who are somewhat inflexible. The rest I can move around pretty easily if something interesting comes up.

My husband hates this town, but we have lived here 17 years. We have been able to stay gainfully employed for most of that time. Obviously I have worked hard to have a good reputation here. At this stage of my life and career if we moved away, I would likely have go back to full-time jobs for an extended length of time in an attempt to establish myself. So, while I would agree this isn’t the prettiest place in the world to live, I have no real desire to go anywhere else.

I like living where my talents are needed and appreciated.