Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Paper Monster

It's amazing what a huge impact paper has on my home.  It's everywhere.

I am a big recycler.  If it can be recycled, it is.  Yet, I think what doesn't get recycled reproduces.  There's no other explanation for the amount of paper that is in every room of this house.  Oh, yeah, there is.  I suck at filing and the school district feels the need to inundate every home with as much paper as possible.  When a family has more than one kid, that's a hell of a lot of paper.

So, what's a girl to do about this?  Fill the recycling bins, of course.  The things that seemed sentimental at the beginning of the school year are much less so now.  Even my kids can look at something and say trash it.  That's new.

In my next life, the schools won't use so much paper.  The mail service will stop bringing me junk I don't want.  And I'd be just as happy if they stopped bringing me bills.  Really, I'd be happy if the mail carrier would just skip my house.

What's that sound I hear?  Is it the sound of more paper hitting the recycling bin?  No, I believe that's the low moan of paper reproducing.  Damn, I'm never going to get a handle on this.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday 5 - if I had nothing to do....

There is never a day when I have nothing to do.  There's always laundry, cleaning, billing, payroll - something to do!  This morning I laid in bed thinking about what I'd do if I had nothing to do.  Since that never happens, it was hard to come up with 5 things.  But here's what I came up with:

1.  Read.  I'd read my mindless magazines.  I'd read my trashy books.  I'd read all the stuff I don't normally have time to read.  Maybe even the newspaper - including the crossword!

2.  I'd catch up on the few tv shows I like.  I do this sometimes while I'm cleaning or working but this time I'd actually get to watch the tv, not just listen to it.

3.  I'd catch up on emails.  All 27 gazillion that I owe people.

4.  I would sleep.  I might wake up for a while but then I'd sleep again.  And then again.

5.  If I ventured out of the house, I would go to Brookside Gardens or the National Botanical Gardens at the Capitol.  There is nothing better than getting a pollen covered nose.

One day I'll have nothing to do.....

Clever Compass' Friday 5

Saturday, July 21, 2012


My mom used to tell me that when people died, sometimes you could still feel their presence in certain places like their houses or offices.  I didn't really understand that.  Until now.

I'm sitting at the table at The Cottage.  The Cottage was built by my mother in law's father way back when.  It's a small structure - really, a cottage.  It sits on Lake Ontario which is a BIG lake - more like a pretty calm ocean (until a storm hits).

I came up here regularly early in my marriage.  It didn't hold many good memories for me.  My MIL and I didn't enjoy each other's company here much.  My FIL and I did, though.  He understood me better than anyone.  But when he was gone (mentally, he had Alzheimer's), there was no one left.  Or so I thought.

The first time I came here, Uncle John would eat off my plate if he thought I wasn't going to finish something.  The man was in perfect condition - I didn't get it.  He could eat everything, clean his plates and everyone else's too, and be so thin.  He was an engineer at Kodak - super smart man.  He was always polite to me; I just didn't think he understood me.  He was a Bishop after all.  And they all thought I was nuts.  Or just different.  I was.  I am.

Then I started to stand my ground: no, I don't want to go to the Cottage this year for my only vacation.  I want a vacation with just my family, not all the others, too.  No one understood it.  I was the pariah for a long time.  Then one year, the husband and kids came up for several days without me.  They picked me up from the Buffalo airport and we went to Niagara Falls before heading back here.  By the time we got back here, my MIL was gone.  It was just John.  Everyone was mad at me.  Except John.  One evening he stayed up to watch the stars with me.  Stand your ground, he said.  Don't give in.  You have a right to be happy, too.  He understood me.  Finally.  It changed our relationship.

Divorces happen.  People drift apart.  I still saw John when he visited his sister but not often.  His death, shortly before my MIL's, was unexpected and extremely painful for all.  It still is.  Now here I sit, in his house at his table (now really his daughter's), thinking about him.  I can almost hear his voice.  "Judi, how are you doing?" he'd ask genuinely.  I can feel him hug me, giving me a firm pat on the back, his hand open and warm.  His voice was a little raspy, deep and had a Rochester accent.  I miss him and Ruth here.  But I feel him here.

This place used to give me anxiety.  Now it brings me calm.  A function of age?  Perhaps.  The fact that I no longer have to be the dutiful wife and daughter-in-law?  Probably.  Mostly it's the sound of the water, the smell of the air and knowing this house is always full of love.  I just couldn't see it before.  Such wasted time!  I wish I could turn back the clock a bit.  I would have enjoyed my weeks here more.  So, for now, I take solace in knowing my kids are experiencing this the way their Grandma and Uncle would have wanted.  That's good enough.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday 5 - Why the last 24 hours have been stupendous

I write this while sitting in the dark at my ex's family's cottage in Sodus Point, NY.  I can hear the waves lap the shoreline on Lake Ontario.  I've been thinking all day about how incredibly lucky and grateful I am.  So many thoughts....only 5 things to list.

1.  I won't put down seeing my kids after a month.  That's a given.  I'll say seeing them sail by themselves in small little sail boats was pretty cool.

2.  Walking along the beach, just the three of us, looking for sea glass and fossils.  I hope they never forget this.  I won't.  This activity alone made my heart sing and made this day rank up there in my top 10 of all time.

3.  Watching the sun rise at 5:30 this morning (okay, it was sort of already up but that's as close as I'm going to get) and set again this evening.  Beautiful.

4.  Being in this odd little town.  I used to dread coming here.  Now I think of all the time I wasted in NOT coming when I had the opportunity.  We can walk everywhere.  My kids rode their bikes to camp ALONE.  People said "Good Morning!" to me when I walked by.  It's like a different time.

5.  Stars and Satellites.  They're everywhere here!  And I get to sit outside with my girls and count them.  So amazing.....

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday 5 - 5 good things that happened this week

Coming back from vacation can be a let down.  Yeah, I felt that but some good things happened this week, too.  It all balanced out.

1.  I have seen people.  I went to lunch with one friend, out for dinner, beer and girl talk with another.  Oh, no, I did that twice!  Time with friends is good.

2.  All my clients this week (and granted, there weren't many) greeted me with "Welcome back!  Tell me about your trip!"  Such a nice way to be greeted before I dive into crazy science stuff.

3.  I only lost power once this week.  Given the events of the weeks I was gone, this is good.

4.  I am smiling a lot more.  People react well to smiles.

5.  There will be fireworks tonight.  They were postponed on the 4th.  Clearly the organizers realized I would miss them if they happened as scheduled.  I am beyond happy about this.

Life is good.  It's good to make a list to remind me of that sometimes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Such a quiet house

I'm in my house alone.  Again.

I came home from vacation to a quiet, if not messy, house.  No "Mommy!"  No arguing.  No bickering.  Nothing.

Six days later, it's still quiet.  I haven't seen my children in nearly three weeks.  One more week to go.  It's been a long time.

I miss them as much as I expected.  It feels longer than I thought it would.

I'm grateful for technology.  While in Geneva, I stayed up past 2am so I could video chat with them.  Now I can only talk on the phone to them, but that's okay.  It's better than nothing.  M has gone from being annoyed that I left to missing me - I can hear it in her voice.  A missed me all along.  I miss them.

They will come back more independent, having been able to bike to camp alone (which would never happen here) and having been away from both parents for two weeks (they're with other family members).  They will be tanned and have stories to tell me.  While I'm sure they're feeling older and freer, I'm betting I have at least one kid in my bed for a while.

Some parts are nice.  I was too tired to make dinner last night so I didn't.  No one argued with me. I can do what I want when I want.  I went out for a beer with a friend the other night - I can't really do that when they're here.  But still, I miss my kids.

Soon!  I will drive to upstate NY and get them in a week!  And within a few days, I will be missing the quiet.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday 5 - 5 lessons learned on my trip

There was so much I noticed while I was on vacation.  I had such a great time but there are things I would like to continue in my real life.  I doubt it will happen but a girl can hope.

1.  I wasn't lactose intolerant in Switzerland.  I don't know why but I could eat cheese - and did so a lot!  No problems at all!

2.  I was relaxed.  I wasn't responsible for two kids, a mom, a house, a business (okay, I did work a bit while I was there but it wasn't bad) and me.  I laughed a lot.  I drank wine.  And pina coladas. I let go and it was all okay.

3.  I trusted someone else.  I don't trust many people in this world.  Andrew and I would discuss the plan of the day and most days, I said "I'm following you".  That's an unusual feeling for me.  I let him lead and enjoyed following him.  He took me to fabulous places and I always felt safe.  I like that feeling.

4.  I trusted myself.  I speak french like a two year old.  But I tried.  I spent time in the city for a while by myself and was able to get home without calling for help.  True, it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to get out of a department store but I did eventually get out.  And the experience made me laugh.

5.  I felt good.  I had one headache.  I took advil once on the trip.  Normally I go through a bottle a month.  I had no chest pains.  They are a regular occurrence for me at home.  My stomach didn't hurt much (it rebelled one night after eating more meat and drinking more wine than I've had in a year).  I felt good.

I was nervous to travel. I felt bad leaving my kids and my mom. But everyone lived. Now I can't wait to go somewhere again!