Friday, February 18, 2011

To Infiniti and beyond!

Today did not start out so great. Finn has been feverish off and on since Wednesday night. He woke up at 4:30 this morning, screaming and pretty hot to the touch. I put him in bed with me, but neither of us really ever fell back asleep until I finally put him back in his own bed around 5:30, when he and Claire both decided to cry for an undetermined amount of time. I know that Duncan was awake at this point and it all starts to get foggy. Somehow, I got Duncan to school on time and he was in relatively good spirits. He got to wear his new Good Citizen tee shirt, so maybe that had something to do with it. And it was his day to bring snacks.

I knew Finn was not feeling well, and Claire had not slept well but we had things to do. Like sell our old Infiniti at Car Max. I must also add that this was a MOPS day. I rarely miss MOPS. But today, with Finn's fever I knew I could not bring him so we had to miss which put me in a grouchy mood to begin with. I will try to make the Car Max saga brief, but cannot leave out many details or the whole story loses something.

Our Infiniti is '98. It has 135K miles on it. We bought it right after Ziggy died, almost ten years ago and it's been a good car. I drove it for years, then at some point it became Iain's car. It needed some work and some cash put into it at this point. We were talking about putting money into it when my sister decided to sell her '00 Acura. Bam. We decided to buy my sister's car for Iain for not much more than we were going to put into the Infiniti, and the Acura is a MUCH better car and only has 85K miles on it! Win win!

My sister came to our house Tuesday night to see Duncan get his award at school (Good Citzen! Yay!) and brought the Acura. She and Iain headed to Car Max afterward to sell the Infiniti and she would leave the Acura with us. First roadblock. I am also on the title and since I was not present, they could not sell it. Plan B. Iain will keep the Acura and drive it to the airport Wednesday. Becky took the Infiniti home and will meet me at Car Max on Thursday and we will get the deal done. Iain signs a Power of Attorney at Car Max, notarized, so he will not also have to be present and I can sign for him. **foreshadowing**

Thursday after school, I drove to Car Max to meet my sister. Did I mention I could not find my driver's license? Because I could not. So I grabbed my birth certificate and said a prayer and went to a car dealership with all three of my children in the afternoon. Claire in her pink shiny nightgown, because she refused to take it off. In a genius move, Car Max put play areas in their show rooms. My sister stayed with the kids in what is not unlike a McDonald's play place while I went back to the business office to seal the deal! Oh, I am sorry Mrs. Michie, you must have a government issued photo ID.

Okay, Plan C. There is a DPS not five minutes from Car Max! It's only 3:30 so I can easily hurry over there, get a new license (I even have my birth certificate!) and be back in time to sell the Infiniti so I can pay my sister so she can go pay for her new car that she has already sealed the deal on. I drive speedily but safely to the DPS and see "SORRY! WE HAD A BUSTED WATER PIPE AND FLOODED! YOU WILL HAVE TO DRIVE ACROSS HELL'S HALF ACRE TO GET A NEW LICENSE". I laugh. I cry. I call my sister. We forge Plan D. I go back to Car Max, leave the Infiniti and we all pile in the minivan and drive to the complete other side of Dallas where they drop me off at DPS and my sister takes my now three hungry, cranky children to a drive thru while I fill out my form and get my picture taken. Oh, and they don't let you wear your baseball cap in your driver's license photo even if you haven't washed your hair in three days. Becky and the kids come get me just as Iain calls. He is nervous about me leaving the Infiniti in the lot but OH MY GAWD I can't go back there again with all these children tonight. Really, truly, I cannot. We go to my mom's and shake off the afternoon with pizza, animal crackers, and Bailey's on the rocks.

Fast forward to today. Armed with my brand new driver's license I marched my snotty-nosed, feverish, cranky twins into Car Max (or Car's Max as Finn calls's fun! It has cars! And a play area!) ready to sell this dad gum car. After about a 45 minute wait, one bag of Skittles, 1 bag of Lay's and 1 bag of cookies (for them, not me) they called me over with this "don't be pissed at us!" look. Turns out that back in September when the emissions test was done some genius tech entered the mileage as 165K instead of 135K so now there is a 30K mile discrepancy between "the records" and the odometer. I do not know who holds "the records" only that Car's Max depends on them. The look on my face, and the howls from my now over-the-top impatient two and a half year old twins was enough for them to call for someone from another department to come over, look at everything and give me his stamp of approval for a sale. Blah, blah, blah...type, type, type...wait, wait, wait...okay, Mrs. Schmitchy, all we need is your husband's driver's license! SCREEEEEECH. What? At this point, I considered my options of jumping over the counter and typing the check myself, calling Iain in California, or falling to the floor like Finn and Claire were about to do. Instead I turned into Agressive Mommy of Toddlers and in my best sarcastic voice asked why they had my husband execute the power of attorney without getting his driver's license, knowing he would not be there to complete the sale with me? Or something like that. I also think the tears forming in my eyeballs helped, and they agreed to let Iain fax them a copy.

And that's all it takes to sell a car at Car's Max!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Running vs. Parenting

Okay, so I'm brand new at this running thing. But, I am also kind of proud of myself for not quitting yet. I started the day after my 45th birthday, September 28th, with the couch to 5K program and am now doing the bridge to 10K. That being said, I have not moved beyond a 5K but can run it fairly comfortably. And, as hard as it is to get started, once I get going I really like the way it makes me feel. It can be grueling at times, and seems like there is no way I can get through it but somehow something kicks in and I stick with it and in the end feel pretty good about myself.

Not unlike parenting. Well, parenting preschoolers as far as I know. I suppose they both fall under the "anything worth doing is worth doing well" category and the "no one said life is easy" category. Both feel like real accomplishments. Both are good for me. Both have intrinsic value.

I have never been a good exerciser. Much less running. I would see people running and think to myself, "I just don't get it. It looks awful and boring and I don't see how anyone could find that enjoyable." What I did not know was what happens when you run. It's not just putting one foot in front of the other and pounding the pavement. For me, the first ten minutes are pretty bad. I think there is no way I can finish (I know, it's a helpful way to think!) but after those first ten minutes very interesting things start to happen. I start to have interesting streams of thought, I feel burst of energy (periodically) where I find myself pushing myself much harder than I did last time I ran. People use the term "runner's high" and while I don't quite feel high, I do feel changes in my mood, outlook, energy and a certain clarity of mind where there previously was fog. It's great. And I am really loving it.

It's also hard, and an uphill battle and something that I am working daily on mastering...much like parenting. Knowing I will not ever truly master either endeavor, both of them help me with the other. Running seems to make me a better parent and I'm hoping that in some way parenting will help make me a better runner.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Generating Generosity

My sister just gave us the bedroom furniture that she was using in her guest room (she has right of first refusal if we ever decide to get something else) . I think it is beautiful and am so happy to have matching bedroom furniture for the first time since we've been married (13 years!). I feel very grown up and kind of rich. My sister bought the furniture when I was in high school in the early 80's. It's solid wood, and very high quality but hardly new. I love it.
My friend Marjorie gave me, a few years ago, her old patio furniture that she just didn't feel like fit her patio any more. We had been using some old folding chairs and the set she gave me, a settee, two chairs, and a table, with cushions, is really nice. We have used it and enjoyed it tremendously for years! I am sure when she bought it, she paid for for it than I would have been able to and it has allowed me to be proud to have friends over and sit outside. I love it.
My cousin Linda, earlier this fall, gave us a playset that her twin girls have outgrown. I remember very clearly the first time Duncan went to their house and played on it and how he loved it. We had been using an old metal swingset that we bought on Craigslist a few years ago, which was fine, but he was outgrowing it quickly. This set is something they can all three play on for many years and again, it makes me proud to have friends over to play and is so wonderful to sit outside with our children while they enjoy it. I love it.
So today, as I sat outside and realized how many people have given us so many things...a beautiful toy horse for Claire, clothes for our kids, just so much...and how good it makes me feel. And I realized that it really does feel good to give. I have also tried to up my giving to others. I have beautiful, useful, perfectly fine things that I can pass along as well and hopefull create those feelings in someone else. It's a much better feeling than to try to sell it on Ebay or on Craiglist for a fraction. It feels good to create wealth, so to speak. To hopefully make other people feel good. Just like the feelings I have when getting new bedroom furniture, or a playset or patio furniture. Having others be generous with me has shown me how to in turn be generous with others and I love it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Unexpected gifts

Ahhhh. All of the children are sleeping soundly. It is very very cold. Iain is out of town. And tomorrow is Day 3 of no school because of ice. To say I am wiped is an understatement. I have not left the house since I picked up Duncan from school on Monday at 3:00. So, we are going on 72 hours of togetherness. A common theme I have noticed, among my mom friends, on Facebook and blogs is chatting about being home with our kids and having no where to go. But, not really in a bad way. It is hard to be at home with young children. They can be very draining. You do not have any time to turn it off. You are always on as mom. If I want to go to the bathroom, by myself, I either have to go quickly before one of them can catch me and follow me in or risk one, two or three of them following me in there. Once in there, they all start to wreak havoc in different ways. Going for the toothbrushes, wanting the toilet paper, getting in the shower, etc..and that's just the tip of the iceberg. So, three solid days alone with them with no backup (hubs is on the roads...home-bound) is a little scary. Fortunately, it's come one day at a time instead of someone saying, "hey, the roads are going to be really icy and you are going to be home with your kids for three days!"

However comma, I have been struck by what a gift these days have been. I know that there will come a time when Duncan, and Claire and Finn, are old enough that they don't want to hang out with me and have dance parties, or lie on the couch under a blanket and watch movies, or have pretend birthday parties. They will not hang on my every word, and my every movement. This, the way things are right now, will pass. I do not want to look back and wish I'd slowed down and done things differently.

So being home with no where to go has forced us to slow our pace. We aren't a terribly fast-paced family to begin with. We don't (currently) do any outside activities besides sports, no lessons. If it's a weekend, we are usually at home if we aren't spending it with family. But during the week, we do go to the Y and perhaps friends homes or the park if the weather is good. But this week? Nuthin. And it's been good. It's been a gift.

Even when it's not your birthday, it's fun to pretend that it is and eat a cup of frosting...especially when you've been snowed in for two days going on three.
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