Friday, January 8, 2010

The one where Abby locks the keys in the other car

The phone rang at 9 a.m. I expected the usual cheery "We're on our way," meaning Abby and the kids would be trooping in the back door within 10 minutes. Instead, I heard, "Uh, oh, n-o-o-o, ooh, maybe there's hope, I hope, I hope, please, please, uh, mmf, ungh." And then, "Dad's gonna kill me." Whew. That's when I knew they were okay, not being attacked by aliens or overcome by toxic fumes or....

"What's up?" I said, trying to sound more caring than I usually can manage before about noon. Eventually she choked out the fact that she couldn't find her house and car keys because she had locked them in the glove box of her hubby's car, which was long gone to his teaching job on the opposite end of the metro area. (While talking to me she was frantically digging through various places where she thought she might find a spare key, and having exhausted the possibilities, she faced defeat.)

Thing is, this problem is solved with relative ease: Pa drives 1.7 miles to her house (with his house key so they can lock up), brings them to our house, and she takes Pa's car to work. After school her hubby picks up the three of them and takes them home. It's not that complicated; seems to me we've done it before. But for some reason it really had her going!

This woman is so strong and level-headed and confident, and fierce (in a good way) and so good at multi-tasking, you would feel completely at ease having her take charge in any emergency. Except, apparently, when she loses her keys just before leaving for work. We all have our moments, don't we?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Living well in 2010

I've been drafting a bunch of new year's resolutions, but something about the process didn't feel right. Today when I read Abode One Three, a single sentence jumped out: "...a best-lived life is more than an adequate replacement for plans, for resolutions." That resonated with me, and I stopped trying to generate goals that are specific, measurable, and on a timetable.

For a very long time, my life was dominated by goals and objectives, assignments and deadlines, 50-hour weeks at the office and precious little personal life. My husband has spent much of our nearly 25 years together trying to get me to enjoy the moment, to celebrate an accomplishment, to indulge in any one of my favorite renewing activities before tackling another work assignment on a lovely Saturday.

In February 2007, our first grandbaby was born. When I held that baby, nothing else mattered. Now there are two, and it's still that way. Meanwhile, I cut back on both time and responsibilities at work, and some huge, toxic pressure dissipated. I began living in the moment, enjoying life as never before, and blogging as a way to savor and record the experience.

My resolutions, such as they are, are about trying to maximize the bliss, minimize the stress, work through the transition from the working world to retirement, and honor the important relationships in my life. I've identified a half-dozen areas where my attention needs to be directed in order to live life as well as I can.

* Be the best grandma I can be. Spending the energy, thinking up new Wild Rumpus Daycare activities, reading and counting and drawing and dancing and making music and rolling around on the floor and playing ball and taking's rewarding for them and us! This is an unexpected, unparalleled experience, and it will only last a few years. I don't want to waste a single minute!

* Get active. I need to build up my energy, strength, and stamina in order to do--and enjoy--the things that are important. It's hard to get out for walks when it's 10 below and icy. But a combination of aerobic dance moves, yoga, pilates, and lifting small weights--when I actually do it--gives me better energy to do more of everything else. If I want to dance with the grandbabies now AND at their weddings, I'd better get fit!

* Choose a retirement date. I'm working part-time, mostly for the health care benefits. I'm looking into possible ways to further reduce hours, work at home, or flat-out retire in the coming year. If we win the lottery, I'm outta there.

* Identify health care plans for after I retire. It sounds impossibly ancient: I will be eligible for Medicare. I have to research and choose among a dozen different plans. More difficult: my hubby, covered under my workplace policy, is younger and will not be eligible for Medicare for a few more years. He had a cancerous lymph node two years ago, so getting accepted will be tricky and expensive. We were so hoping for a public option!

* Do things that feed my spirit...gardening, blogging, sewing, photography, and maybe even playing the piano again. Being with friends and family...and also being alone. I always did enjoy solitary pastimes; as an adult I discovered I was an over-the-top introvert who needs tons of alone time for my own well-being.

* Pick up a bigger share of the housework. True Statement: My husband does just about everything: cooking, shopping, dishes, laundry, snow removal, grass-cutting, cat litter, recycling, composting, etc. I feed the cat and decorate the house for Christmas. Our son-in-law vacuums weekly so the floors are clean for the grandkids (a great trade-off, don't you think?), and on rare occasions I've been known to dust. The combination of 20 hours a week at the office and 20 sharing in daycare wears me out. But Peter devotes 30-40 hours to daycare, plus a fulltime job--which he does at home at all hours of the day--and still does the housework. It's time for me to pitch in (sob) and wash dishes once in a while, or mop the kitchen floor, or wash the shelves in the china cabinet. Yes, I do know how good I have it. When he proposed, he said he was already keeping house and he'd just keep doing it. So I let him. Damn, it's time for me to step up.

That last one is going to be the hardest. How about you...are you owning up to one really difficult behavior that you intend to change but wish you didn't have to? Will we all feel better once we behave better?


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