Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Unplugged

Victimized by an ironic and untimely lack of communication between two major phone companies (who shall remain nameless, revamped logos notwithstanding), my family and I are going on 36 hours with no internet connection. It's a situation that will have us doubling over in laughter years from now I'm sure, but today I'm completely out of my element. 

As a kid, I loved reading stories of frontier families like Laura Ingalls or Caddie Woodlawn. I used to try wrapping my head around the idea of laying in the tall grass, staring at the clouds for hours of carefree entertainment. I was envious of the upper body workout the women of the day must've gotten from dusk until dawn, milking cows, needing dough and churning butter. A shame, I thought, that sleeveless dresses weren't in fashion.  And how quaint and romantic it must've been to read by candle light and sit knitting in front of a roaring fire.

I thought that, as an adult, I could adapt a little better to this internet-less world. After all, I'm still fond of speaking to people on the phone and receiving cards and letters via 'snail mail'. But after camping at my sister's place all day so I could plug into my virtual office and watching my high schoolers reel over their inability to "talk" to their friends, I caved in and piled everybody in the car so we could connect at our generously-wired local library.

As for our internet connection snafu, after not receiving the promised call from the phone company letting me know when our service would be restored, I placed a call to them. They regretted to inform me that the service order was somehow never submitted yesterday. They assured me that they'll call me tomorrow - at 9:30am sharp - to place the order and let me know how many more days we'll have to rough it.

Sounds to me like it's time to pull out the stationary and knitting needles...

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Year's Resolution Update #1

Per usual, my weekend was jam-packed. I knew if I wasn't careful, I risked seeing my New Year's resolution - to be more "in the moment" - dissolve right before my very eyes.

Somewhere in between making a grocery list, sorting laundry and planning how to get kids A and B to their destination while arriving back home in time to get child C to their appointment, hoping of course that it didn't go over the time I had allotted for it so I could retrieve kids A and B, and squeeze a quick shower in somewhere in between, I stopped dead in my tracks and decided to made some chocolate chip cookies with my two youngest - D and E, if you will.

Reminding myself to be in the moment is tough. There's always so much to do, so much to plan. My hope is that as the year wears on, it will come more easily. I find additional motivation in the countdown to my oldest's departure to college.

By the end of the day, we had polished off the last of the cookies. I clicked on the light in my youngest boys' room, and said  "goodnight" under the glow of the white plastic stars affixed to their ceiling years before with absolutely no particular plans for the next day.

The laundry would just have to wait...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thank God It's Tuesday

While Monday started on a less efficient note than I would've preferred, all was not lost. 

We re-started the furnace and crossed our fingers that the pilot light would stay lit. It did for the short-term, yet we find ourselves at the same crossroads we did last summer with our '97 LeSabre - do we keep pouring money into it to keep it running or should we just get a new model? Time will tell.

Next, having yanked a whole chicken from the freezer yesterday morning, I managed to throw together a tasty chicken enchilada casserole that was promptly polished off.

And finally, my IT-savvy 16-year old installed a brand-new super router for our home network that (knock on wood) works like a charm. I made no attempt to hide my appreciation. Not smart, I know, giving him something to bank on if ever a curfew is forgotten, but when I'm grateful I gush. There's just no getting around it.

With yesterday's maelstrom behind me, Tuesday has dawned with fresh promise. Still off from school ("Institute Day"), the boys are sound asleep, toasty in their beds and the crockpot is fired up, simmering beef stew for dinner.

All is well.

Monday, January 18, 2010

You Know It's Monday When...

I don't have to check the calendar to know that it's Monday. The evidence is indisputable.

I woke up to the sound of plates crashing around my bed when my alarm didn't go off. Dashing down to the kitchen, I realized that I had forgotten to take the meat I was going to use for dinner tonight out of the freezer to thaw.  Once at work, my DSL connection decided to go AWOL and, on its return, I received an email claiming that I am overdue for statistics training (about as relevant to my job as CPR training is for a pastry chef). Worst of all, my coffee keeps getting too cold to drink before I can even get one sip in and the thermostat reads 60 degrees although it's set to 70.

To top it off, the boys are home from school, prowling restlessly around the house.

Can this day be salvaged?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mom's Diner

Before I begin this post, let me first state the obvious - I brought this on myself.

It started off innocently enough. When I began working from my home office, since I was up anyway, I offered to fix my older boys breakfast before they headed off to school. Better, I thought to myself, than just pouring some dry cereal in a bowl or, worse, having nothing at all.

But, before I knew it, I had morphed my kitchen into a diner in which I was slinging out scrambled eggs, sausages and a variety of other items ranging from toasted bagels to homemade muffins.

Like a short-order cook, I filled their orders - three shifts worth to meet each of their three departure times.

I can't complain. The tips aren't so hot, but I do get the weekends off...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Days

With a major snow storm headed our way today, winter storm warnings were posted and my boys excitedly crossed their fingers that school would be cancelled.

I have mixed feelings about snow days. On one hand, a day off for the boys means that I don't have to worry about making lunches and getting them to and fro. I could focus on my real job that I am blessed to be able to do from my home office. On the other hand, there would be the inevitable interruptions to help with boots and snow pants, dole out hot chocolate, and ensure that they spend at least some of their new-found freedom on studying at least a little bit and practicing their instruments.

My personal opinions aside, every single weather authority agreed that we were in for a winter wonderland version of Armageddon.

So confident was I in their forecasts that I didn't even set the alarm. I just knew that my wake-up call would come from the district superintendent himself informing me of the cancellation.

No such luck.

My oldest, who had the foresight to set his alarm, just in case, broke the news to me. While I blew on my coffee and scrambled their eggs, the rest of the boys trudged into the kitchen, bleary-eyed, and I set our usual routine in motion with the added fun of getting to scrape off the car while my husband shoveled.

Well, there's always tomorrow - the forecast is calling for blowing snow and frigid temperatures...

What's your take on snow days?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ringing in the New Year with Compromise and Car Keys

My family, including our five sons ranging in age from 17 to 7, approached the New Year mulling over 3 different party invitations. The first was from dear friends, living down the street, to their annual neighborhood bash. The second was from another set of old friends whose daughter, the same age as our oldest, was hosting a soiree in the next town over. The third was from a friend of our 16 year old, also in the next town over, with whom we were not acquainted.

While my husband and I, along with our three youngest had every intention of trekking down the block to our neighbor's party, our older two bristled at the idea. They are too old to be hanging with the other "little kids" from the 'hood and too young to be mingling with the adults.

Allowing our oldest to attend his party was a relatively easy decision. Knowing most of his friends and their families since they were in kindergarten, we didn't hesitate to grant our permission. It was our 16 year old that was giving us pause.

What to do?

The clock was ticking.

My husband began the negotiations with "You can only go if your older brother goes with you."

In unison, both boys responded, "No way!"

Nearly an hour later, they agreed to our terms, including an 11pm curfew and stopping by the neighbor's party on their return. With that, they headed out the door and I held my breath.

I didn't have to hold it long.

As the clock struck 10 in my neighbor's hors d'oeuvre-filled kitchen, they strode through the door, declaring each of their party's a bust and happily accepted an invitation to join the others playing video games in the basement.

It's going to be a good year...