Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday High Action Hoopla

The stress wind is stirring.  We flopped our distended bellies off the couch of Thanksgiving smack into December.  The e-mails about Christmas wish lists and holiday gatherings are piling up unanswered in my in box.   Before I can take a deep breath, I am in a debate about green Christmas cards and writing check for everyone under the sun.

All I know is that I've given up on sleeping full nights from now until January.  I awaken from holiday nightmares around 3 or 4 and then I toss and turn myself into a panic attack until daylight.  

Weary and raccoon-eyed, I slog through the day and fall further behind the holiday stampede.  I didn't even get any shopping done this weekend--a no show for Black Friday?!?

All around me the holidays approach others with grace.  They sip festive martinis and look sleek in their finery due to a full six week cleanse.  They watch movies, attend the Nutcracker and carol with joy.  I am like the last runner in the race--huffing and puffing just trying to stay on the track--feeling like I alone am pulling Santa's sleigh.

My house is a wreck.  I am exhausted.  I feel more like Ebeneezer Scrooge than a holly, jolly elf. Quick, I need an infusion of the Christmas Spirit and Molly Maids.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Corner Hardware Store

Today I was reminded about why the corner store is so valuable in America.  

Weeks ago, I took Ruth's bike in for a tune up.  Weeks earlier I had done the same for John and had a carrier rack installed and bought matching saddle bags. When the man totaled my order--I was punched in the stomach with a $400.00 total.

Thinking that I'm smarter than the average bear, this time, I took my daughter's bike to REI. They rigged a carrier and threw in a free tune up because we had bought the bike there.  The snaffu was that her carrier couldn't accommodate the saddle bags, because she didn't have an adult sized bike. 

Well, blah, blah, blah, later I had the brilliant idea of bolting a basket to her new carrier frame. I bought the basket, and just needed to find some bolts and screws.  It only took me a month to make it to the hardware store.

Our local hardware store is like going to your dad's house.  They greet you when you walk in the door, and if you need it, they will walk you through the entire process of whatever project you might imagine.

The gentleman that helped me today was like my dad.  He went with me out to my car, looked at the bike in the back,  and helped me think through the project.  Then we went inside to look all around to find the right parts.

He put every screw with its bolts and double washers together for me, so that I would know how to do it at home.  Then we both walked back out to my car and he showed me how to put one on and he made sure that it all fit and worked well.

I never go to the Home Depot anymore.  I value the personal service and patience that the little stores offer.  

Needless to say my daughter sped off with her new cargo rig on her bike.  She flipped the whole thing and herself over two thirds of the way home.  She was fine, but I will be back to visit that hardware store for a bungee cord!  I will tie her and her bag to that bike for safety.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Life with Birk: The Beginning

Every kid is different.  This is one of the rules of life that lured me into teaching.  I loved that you could never predict what a kid was going to do or say.  There was never a magic formula that worked for all had to feel your way along.  It was almost like being in the dark, and your hands had to trace a path to the light.  

I loved teaching, but when I had a little baby of my own, I had the gift of being able to choose to be a stay at home mom.  I honestly have to say I have never looked back.  I love being a mom and three kids later--the same reasons I loved teaching are some of the same reasons that I still find this job challenging, interesting and amazing.

Sure, sometimes my kids drive me crazy.  Truthfully, sometimes I drive them crazy, too.  I don't really know if I am still sane, but I'm working on it every day.