And all the spaces…

When my son was little, we often said our good-byes through an exchange of “I love you more.”  “No, I love YOU more.”  These days my son is a handsome, talented but most importantly kind man who stands between high school and college in a challenging way. My son lives at home and attends a university two towns over.  I am sure it is less and less uncommon but I see the special set of challenges presented to him.  We are still navigating the freedom of choice parameters and I probably check on his homework progress more than he would like.

A soccer player all his life, he chose to attend this school in large part because of all the schools he considered attending, he really wanted to play for this coach.  The fact that it is a great school and he received a wonderful financial aid package made any objections useless.  However, in order to do this, the compromise was he would have to live at home.  This saved $13,000.00 off a $40,000+ bill and with our oldest in her third year of school and my needing to change work situations, it was critical.

But this decision has presented an unexpected challenge.  A day prior to classes starting, on the way to a pre-season meeting at the coach’s house, his car died.  So not only is he living at home away from his friends, but now his mother or father is driving him to school everyday.  With our work schedules, that sometimes means, he will be dropped off on campus at 7 even though his first class is not until 11.   Some days his classes are over at 12 but he has to stay on campus until 4 because that is the only time available for pick-up.  He won’t stay on campus at night because he doesn’t want to ask us to go out late and pick him up.

When he and I used to banter our “I love you mores” back and forth, they eventually evolved into  “all the spaces in between”, short for “I love you all the bits and pieces and the moon and stars and all the spaces in between.”   My son’s grace under pressure is one of the things I admire most about him on the soccer field and off.  As he navigates this really tough life transition with the additional obstacles  put in his way, I hope he knows that while we don’t say it anymore (seriously, I have to leave him some swagger!) that it is for me, at least, about all the spaces in between.

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Big Frowny Face Emoticon

NaBloWriMo’s theme this month is “between”.  Today I am feeling between a rock and a hard place.  I want to write a post every day for a month but in the past twenty-four hours I have lost no less that four posts to cyberspace.  I am having more tracking my posts than NASA did predicting where the satellite would land!

It seems simple enough.  Write a post hit preview to double check and then hit publish.  But that does not seem to be my lot in life.  If I continue to have this issue what are my options.  I could change my host.  I have used Blogger in the past.  However, I cannot move to blogger because someone has a private blog with the same name as mine.  I realized this as I was tried to move my blog mainly for the simplicity of using Google products all around.

So here goes…  A pathetic, explanatory post for today.  I am looking forward to sharing more important issues tomorrow.

Adventure Friday

This week I signed up for a mystery substitute teaching assignment.  Feeling desperate for the income and having really enjoyed another assignment in the same building, I logged onto the computerized substitute scheduling system and took a job that offered only a teacher name, no grade or subject.  By the end of the day, I dragged my sorry self home, having endured with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, the unending energy of a first grade classroom.   I lingered in the space between total exhaustion and the energy that comes from a job well done.

I cannot imagine how an adult musters the energy to keep up with fourteen six year olds and I have nothing but respect for those that do this job day in and day out.  I am not new to education, having worked as a high school guidance counselor for the past ten years and can attest that there were many days I can home whipped into a semi-coma.  I think the substantial difference is that at the high school level it is a mental exhaustion.  First grade is a mental AND physical exhaustion.

All that being said, I would do it again in a minute!!!!

 

Promises, Schmomises…

 

I promised my friend, Patti, that I would be a regular blogger if she would.  I’m not sure if she has had a chance to blog more regularly seeing that she has been super busy, but I haven’t.  Sorry.  I’ve been composing posts in my head all summer long but didn’t want to post because they might have seemed too heavy and deep for my “silly little blog”.  I’m putting you on notice dear blog reader that I am going to blog more frequently about all sorts of mother/friend/knitter/dancer/dieting/unemployment related things.  If I get too “deep”, send up a flare.  Okay?

So here’s the thing.  This past spring, I voluntarily left my job of eight years.  Crazy right?  You betcha.  There were some very compelling reasons to do so, my health and my husband would say my sanity being the top two.  I don’t regret leaving the job, but as the school buses roll and my second child begins college today, I really wish I had some income.

I have some resumes out in the world and have been hired by four school districts as a substitute teacher but that still leaves a lot of $$$$$ to try to make up and a lot of time on my hands.  I am a person who needs imposed discipline, someone or something to tell me what to do and when to do it.  I am simply too distracted by things I see, hear or read to stay very focused otherwise so all this free time has been brutal.  However, this week I realized that I am responsible for how my time is spent and if all the stars align correctly I could go back to work at any moment so I have begun to impose discipline on my seemingly endless days.

I do this in a couple of ways:

1. Technology for the undisciplined is not a friend.  The television, the computer even my cell phone are all distractions that keep me from moving forward in any meaningful way AND provide an electronic numbing effect.  So, once I finish writing this, the computer will go off and I will be on my way.

2. If I see clutter,my brain feels cluttered and I feel unfocused.  I admit it.  My house is often messy!  Not as bad as those on the television I no longer watch, but it has its catchall corners and moments of chaos.  I live in a modest size home with four other people, two long-haired dogs and two short-haired cats who seem to walk in their own fur aura .  In order to feel focused in such cramped quarters, I have grown to appreciate the joy of the purge.  For those of you who are gasping for air and clutching the chairs at the thought of my filling landfills with square footage of junk, worry not.  My community has a top notch recycling program and I donate anything I can.  What’s left over, I admit, may be saved in my office to eventually be re-purposed in to something that is more meaningful to my family but there are still many things here that just must go.

3. Finally, I realized that as someone sitting at home, I have an obligation to look upon my universe of busy people and use my time to try to be helpful.  I received some assistance in this effort when my son’s car died a smoky and leaky death a couple of days ago.  I am now, as I once was, the designated driver for my family until we have the chance to replace his car.

There have been many emotions and emotional moments over this summer of my unemployment.  I have struggled with feeling I should jump into some job, any job but overall I am glad that I didn’t.  I have learned many things about myself this summer that I think will eventually make me a top notch employee and in the interim have allowed me to connect with my family and friends.

It is a beautiful morning here in Maine on this first day of September.  I hope wherever you are, you are appreciating the gift of this new day.  I have to get off the computer now because I have to drive my son to school.  Have a good one!

Hiding From the Kids, Part 2

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My teen-age summer

I’ve been thinking about age this summer. Not mine, but that of my children. My three children all have birthdays between April and July. So now my children are 14, 17 and 19. All three children are working, ( two at the same location!) and the two elder children drive. At first glance, this sounds like a dream summer if as a mom you want to do nothing but some work to prepare for the next school year, some knitting and some reading while floating in the backyard pool but you would be mistaken.

The dilemma begins with the challenge of three drivers (myself included) and only two vehicles. My husband leaves every morning happily at the helm of the company van to escape this organizational nightmare. Once I have my sip of coffee I have to begin scheduling the drop-off/pick-up, who’s home for dinner, who’s sleeping at a friends, soccer game or practice, community college class, friends over for dinner etc. Now I don’t mind driving the kids around, it’s just that I thought things would be a little different this summer instead of more of the same.

In some ways, things have even been more challenging. With three teenagers, I have to balance the independence allowed my 14 year old and encourage the independence of my 19 year old while walking the independence tightrope with my 17 year old soon-to-be a senior. My 17 year old has a girlfriend and I’ve entered that surreal place where I’m welcoming another person into my home and my son’s heart at his discretion. Yikes!

Next year, I have two children to get off to college and anticipate a driver with her permit. I’m thinking it’s beginning to be a good time to get a job that DOESN’T give me a break during the summer just so I can get some rest!

No Impact Project � No Impact Week Registration

About two years ago, my friend, Nancy, moved from her in town house to a much smaller lakeside cottage down the road a ways. When she did, she and her husband left their television behind. I have always lived in a house with at least one television. I thought she was having some sort of mid-life crisis. But then, she told me that between Hulu.com and Netflix instant streaming she was able to watch a movie or t.v. show on her time on her computer.

I decided to see if I could be happy with those options and signed up for a free Netflix trial. Surfing for instant streaming options, I came across the documentary, “No Impact Man”. I watched this movie twice already and love it.

So Colin Beavan, his wife and their adorable toddler daughter, pledge to have no impact on the environment for a year. Over the course of that time, the experience changes they enjoy (i.e. buying food from the local farmer’s market) and changes they are eager to put behind them, (no electricity). The experiment seemed to me to be a real learning experience about what we need as individuals to be comfortable while looking at the impact (or lack thereof) our “wants” have on the society we exist within.

The movie left such an impression on me that I went looking for more and found this:

No Impact Project � No Impact Week Registration.

Check it out and let me know if you are going to try. I think this could be a lot of fun.