My apologies for the colloquialism, but with our three older boys away at camp for the week, I am reveling in the temporary headcount reduction. Going from a household of seven to four is a whole new world - one that I haven't visited since 1995.
Some changes are obvious. The car keys are all dangling from their hooks by the door. No one is sneaking in to use my laptop every time I turn around. I haven’t had to wrestle the remote away from a teenager who thinks he is learning all things corporate by watching "The Office" and I don’t have to take out a second mortgage just to go to the movies with my family. At night.
Some changes aren't as noticeable, but are no less worthy of recognition. Our dishwasher, for instance, is getting a much-needed rest as is our washing machine and dryer.
Without the seemingly constant hum of appliances, banter, ringing cell phones and clicking keyboards, the house is definitely quieter.
I could get used to this...
If I wasn't so wrapped up in making sure our older three had everything they needed to survive in the great outdoors, maybe I would've had the foresight to take advantage of another perk shared by more diminutive families - going on vacation and staying at a hotel in which I would only need to reserve one room. It’s always been a fantasy of mine. The last time we were a family of four, the two youngest were still sporting diapers and needing all that goes with it - strollers, pacifiers, bottles and more wardrobe changes than you would see at the Ice Capades.
Yet, only two days into this new way of living and I’m already beginning to sense a downside. There was nobody around to take my youngest to his pal's house this morning while my husband was at the dentist with our other son and I was working on a report that was due by noon. And who can take the guys out for bike rides, fishing expeditions and backyard soccer scrimmages while my husband mows the lawn and clears the gutters from last week’s storms?
Even dinner time is missing something. Sure, the first night was nice. I only had to make a single batch of Swedish meatballs, but by the second night, I found myself longing for a conversation that didn’t revolve around the most recently mastered knock-knock joke.
Oh well. Not to worry. They’ll be home in a few days. It’s a good thing, too. I just got a call from the grocery store asking why I don’t come around so much anymore.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Back in February, I decided to wage war against the slow southerly migration of body mass that I noticed taking place on my middle-aged frame. I set my sites on a 5k scheduled for the first weekend in June and began training in earnest.
During the first few weeks of my regime, I surprised even myself with my determination, walking at first, then crossing over to the more ambitious run/walk maneuver. My sons were encouraging. On days when I was less than motivated, they'd lay on the guilt. On days when I was really dragging, they pulled out the heavy guns - they offered to join me. Knowing that they'd run circles around me, I'd smile and decline their offer as I headed out the door.
Somewhere along the way, though, my right knee decided it was not on board with my plan.
The orthopedic specialist I saw promptly ordered an x-ray. After reviewing it, she informed me of the diagnosis, uttering the "A" word with a chirpy enthusiasm that is usually reserved for cookie-selling Girl Scouts.
"But I'm not even 50. Not by a long shot!" I implored. "How can that be?"
After assuring me that a touch of (pause to take a deep breath) arthritis shouldn't slow me down one bit, I felt compelled to rush to the drug store and purchase a cane. The next day, the forecast called for what seemed like the 35th snow storm of the season.
I shelved my training plan and made a double batch of chocolate chip banana bread (recipe available upon request).
Since then, the snow has cleared. I've resumed my walking routine and, so far, my knee is cooperating. Meanwhile, my sons have registered for the race and I'll be there to cheer them on, banana bread breath and all.