Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dirty Laundry

This week, I've been attending a conference for work. I've really enjoyed it, and it is always fun to get together with several people who have similar careers, passions, and goals.

We've spent a lot of time addressing the issue of poverty, and how a community should respond. It has really opened my eyes to why so many of my students make the decisions they do.

I've always wondered why a child may go without several meals throughout the week because of lack of money, yet have a super nice cell phone or iPod, nice clothes and cable television.

Growing up, I always knew we were "poor," but it never really felt like it. We may not have had the nicest clothes, but we never went without a meal, and my parents did an excellent job of making the annual carnival seem really dangerous and sleezy (making me not want to go), rather than worrying us because the bills weren't getting paid.

But, that's not what this is about.

I know there are people that are seriously struggling under our current economic situation. And I know there are people that are living paycheck to paycheck.  But until recently, we weren't those people. And then, it all kinda seemed to hit the fan.

The Hubs lost all opportunities for overtime, because the department got their leash shortened.

Our AC went out, in July, and we HAD decided to splurge and get it fixed.

And we became regular tithers at church.  We used to tithe when we remembered the checkbook (about once every 6 weeks). Then we just started keeping a checkbook in the car.

I'm not putting all this out there to air our dirty laundry or anything, but just to share my recent revelation.  No one is immune.

The best laid plan can still crumble.  Savings accounts can hold only $.04.  And, hopefully, a family of 3 can make it 4 more days on, um, $141.

The great news is that this is really teaching me the difference between necessity and oh-my-goodness-this shirt-is-to-die-for-and-it's-on-sale-and-these-shoes-would-look-so-awesome-with-it-and-let's-celebrate-the-awesome-find-with-a-chicken-salad-sammy-from-Arby's!

Also, I'm learning that even though my checking account is dangerously low, all our bills have been paid for this month. The mortgage is up to date. I know that I've got enough food in the kitchen to last weeks. Well, except for milk. But that's primarily because I drink it like it's going out of style. We have soaps, shampoos, plenty of clothes, cars, insurance. Jobs.  Even when we struggle, we still have it so much better than so many.

There are about 12,000 homeless people in my state.  Whether it's because they have chosen the lifestyle or have fallen on hard times, the point is that each night, it's a guess as to where they will lay their heads.

And even though I'm stressing about making the nearly empty gallon of milk and half a loaf of bread last until Tuesday, Ansley had a warm bath, a nice snack, is sleeping in a comfy bed, and my tummy is full.

And the AC is cooling nicely.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Like Sand Through the Hourglass...

So are the Days of Our Lives.

Before you start thinking I'm going to write about how it is an insult to humankind to cancel soap operas, or, as my grandma so lovingly calls them, "stories," let me say that is NOT what this is about.

Honestly, I can say that I haven't watched a soap in, um...15 years? But, it is true. I was totally a fan.  Of Days of Our Lives and Passions, to be specific.

I'm pretty sure my siblings hated me during the summers. Because being home from school for 3 months meant that from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., I took charge of the television.  I have no idea why my parents let me watch them. And I can honestly say that they didn't really make sense to me. I knew early on that someone couldn't die, but then it be a faked death, but then a witch casts a spell on them and they lose their memory and then they really do die but they come back because the witch actually loved them.  On TV? 3 days. IRL? 3 years for that storyline to play out.

I used to think the best job in the world would be acting on a soap. So many different stories and so many different cute guys to kiss. I am not even kidding.

So, yeah, this isn't about that. It's about how I can't seem to get a grasp on time.  Each day feels like just a few hours, and before I know it, a whole week has gone by. Months ago, I put a down payment on a beach house for vacation. MONTHS. 6, actually.  And now, that trip is just 2 weeks away.

Don't get me wrong. I'm totally excited. I've been wishing time would go quickly so this trip would get here. It's our first family vacation. I don't mean me, Paul and the kiddo. I mean my family. My parents, my siblings, my sibs-in-law. Our first. EVER.

I've spent so much time wishing it to get here, that I've missed the simple beauty of every day.

I've spent a year and a half wishing for bedtime, only to end up with a kiddo that will be 2 in as many months.

I can remember being younger and feeling like time passed so slowly. It would never be Christmas. It would never be summer vacation. It would never be time for me to drive. It would never be time for me to graduate. College would never end. Marriage was so far away...

I celebrated 5 years of marriage. My 5 year college reunion is this fall. My 10 year high school reunion is next year. I took down the Christmas tree in Ansley's room about 2 months ago. And Christmas is in 5 months.

Where does it go? The time? When did I grow up? Because I feel like I'm missing so much. I go to sleep to wake up to a new day. Another X on the calendar. Another day of anticipating vacation, and counting until bedtime.