Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Day of the Rest

I am taking today off from my two paying jobs.

"Yeah!" you say, "Kathy is going to spend the day reading our blogs and making witty and insightful comments, uploading photos to Facebook, upgrading her Facebook farmer to level 30, and writing in her innumerable blogs so we can know all of the trivial things that have been going on her life as well as her brilliantly thought out opinions on education, health care, and food."

I'm sorry, I may have to disappoint you.

I have taken the day off to: clean my house and do the accounting work for my third paying gig.

I decided that if I did not take A DAY and just freaking clean the house, I would go insane. And yes, I know I have Friday off. And Saturday. And part of Sunday. It just wasn't working for me.

Originally, I decided to take the day off because Mark's teacher was going to visit us this evening. And when she had to postpone until next week, Bob and I decided not to share this information with the rest of the inmates family. And so, as far as anyone is concerned, Miss S is coming to visit today, and we are doing a level 1 cleaning: making the living areas look good as long as you don't go peeping in the cabinets.

Once level 1 is achieved, we'll begin level 2: cleaning rooms that most people (other than my incredibly ballsy sister-in-law) don't visit. Level 3 is the long and arduous cleaning of cabinets, closets and the room that is piled high with things I'm (at the moment) psychologically unable to get rid of. I have high hopes for the weekend, at least as a beginning.

Having said that, I think I'll see if I can level up my FB farmer over another cup of coffee before I tackle the dishes...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings...

It's one of those days...

I have been trying to organize my health insurance, flexible benefits plan, and doctor's bills. I need an aspirin.

I wrote about my opinions on health care reform at The Matriarch's Corner, if anyone cares to read it.

I am trying to decide whether to call in sick, but I get paid by the hour, so no...

Katy made a really good sausage and bean soup for supper last night. I added shredded Parmesan and Greek yogurt because that is what I do. I don't think she was offended.

Bob starts choir practice tonight. That will be something different and fun for him to do. I had a dream that Mark sang in the choir, but when I told him that, he gave me a look.

Gabe just came up to me and said, "Baby fee. Baby fee." I said, "Do you want me to feed the baby?" (The baby is Brendon, who is almost one.) Then I decided to check. It appears that he said, "Baby free." Gabe had opened the gate to let Brendon out.

Mark's teacher is coming to visit next week. I have to clean the house. Maybe I'll make scones. Maybe not.

OK, off to work....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Spider's Tale

My son Mark came to work with me last week. As we walked in, he noticed a writing spider in the bushes. She sat in the middle of a large complex web without moving. When we left at the end of the day, she didn't appear to have moved. Mark wondered how she could do that without getting bored. I said, "She's a spider."

Mark said, "She sits there all day, writing stories into her web. Since she has a terrible short term memory, she can read it again and again and it's always new and surprising."

I'm not sure why, but Mark's story has really stuck with me. I see the spider every day and check to see if she has any new stories. They all seem to be the same, but since I also have a terrible short term memory, I'm also surprised.

This is my life.

My boss says that I am a manager, but doesn't let me manage anything, even the way I arrange office supplies. I have worked here for eight years & I am very good at what I do and he knows it. I like him, but every year I wonder if I will be able to fix the problems with communication, hierarchy, attitude, etc etc etc. ... and each year I have a nervous breakdown.

Gosh, didn't see that coming!

My children promise to clean the house, get the other house ready to sell, find jobs. I come home and find that they are not feeling well, or are fixing to get ready to do something and... oh look here comes the posse, well gotta go... my friends need me to help them...

Wow, that is new!

My father-in-law wants to help and gives a boatload of advice and promises to us and to the kids and to anyone who is watching... then does an end-run around what we have arranged and undermines our plans and our relationships with the kids.

My, that IS a twist!

The spider and I are getting tired of writing this story over and over again. As the rains pelt her web and she has to redo it, she gets more and more erratic. That's OK. Pretty soon she'll lay a bunch of eggs and die. I read Charlotte's Web.

I, on the other hand, have laid my eggs and don't plan to die any time soon. And so I'd better start the story again... lay my plans, write my goals, get a move on...

I sure didn't see THAT coming!

Monday, August 17, 2009

This day in history

On this day 24 years ago, my lovely husband and I went ahead and got married.

I was going to write a fairly humorous bit about the disaster surrounding the year of planning for the wedding, but it turned bitter too quickly. Let me just say that about two months before the wedding, Dad said, "I'll pay for you to elope. You can go anywhere."

I said, "But we have made so many plans already, we've paid for the stupid dress and reception and invitations... We can't waste all that. We can't back out now."

Dad looked at me and said, "Kathy, it is that kind of attitude that got us into trouble in Vietnam."

And so we declared victory and had the wedding and a decent reception (with only one arrest and maybe two or three bitter arguments) and short honeymoon.

I am not sure how we have stayed married for 24 years, except to say that I can't imagine not being with Bob. Sometimes we say that we stayed together out of inertia. Just yesterday Bob said, "Marriage is easy, divorce is hard."

But that somehow implies that we are in a nice quiet settled relationship and that is not true. Bob said that I am the one person he knows he can count on no matter what. I know that Bob will be there for me, not always saying what I want, but there nonetheless.

And this is not to say we haven't had some really really hard times. That's when the inertia kicks in. Or something. And at some point we realize that as hard as things are, it's just a little easier together.

What we have is trust and love and joy and humor (a lot of that) and faith and hope and charity and passion and kindness and caring and a whole lot of other things, most of them good. I thank god and all the angels that I have Bob and he has me.

And that is enough of that.

In other news... Happy anniversary to Bob's brother Clark and his wonderful wife Nancy. I can't remember how long they have been married, but it's been awhile. I guess they saw what a good day this was for us... or they were engulfed with the same type of planning issues we had.

And of course: Happy Birthday Gabe! Two years old today and still my angel, no matter what they say about the terrible twos hitting right on time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It is raining for the second day. This isn't a summer rain, even though it's summer.

Summer rains are fast and violent, usually coming at around 5:00 with thunder, lightning, and torrents of hard raindrops. Sometimes there is hail. Sometimes a storm will deluge one neighborhood and leave another less than a mile away dry. The storms pass through after leaving the commuters in a tangle and there is still another hour of bright sunlight before dark. The rain evaporates like a sauna and you still have to water your plants.

This is a winter rain (except for the cold part.) It's rained slowly and steadily for two days with only little breaks. It's raining over a large area. The plants look happier. The worms will be coming out and drowning themselves on the sidewalks.

This rain is like my life right now. A slow thorough healing rather than a quick burst of anger and frustration that won't solve anything. This is my hope at least. It's hard to go through the days of healing and cleansing, but there will be growth. And very very soon I will be singing, "I can see clearly now..."

But not yet. Oh well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Early is as early does

We had planned to get an early start this morning, but with a birthday dinner & visits with long distance family and (of course) working on the farm until midnight, I woke up at 9. I felt great, which is a little surprising for a Saturday morning. (Note to self: nine hours sleep).

We are going over to our old house, the one we couldn't sell after renovation, the one my son and his family moved into, the one in the 'hood. We are giving it another shot. Today, Bob, Robert, Joseph, and I will go over and evaluate, buy products, and clean. And of course, yard work, before Mike the housing inspector comes by with his weekly summons. By the end of the week, we want it cleaned, repaired, and painted. We may plant annuals, but it takes so many to make a difference I don't know if we can afford that.

We are not trying to make a killing on this house, just sell the damn thing. I hear that the market is improving, but I don't know if the lower-end housing market has heard that yet. Although the house has real brick and real hardwood floors, it was built in a time where one bathroom was plenty. At some point, someone added a half bath in the "master" bedroom, but took away a half a closet in the process. So it has a small closet and small bathroom, neither one of which is really adequate. The yard is big with beautiful trees --- oaks, maples, crepe myrtle and dogwood. There is a wisteria vine that may take over the house, but the flowers smell wonderful. It really is a nice house. Too bad the neighborhood sucks.

You can see why we are hiring a real estate agent. I'm a great sales person.

One step at a time... today is clean and clean. As soon as the rest of my posse gets their heinies out of bed.

Get up! I'm up, dammit! You can be up!

Wish me well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BFF: or FBF for the Facebook Farmer

Hi, my name is Kathy & I'm addicted to Facebook Farm Town. It's so bad that I got a second FB account so I can have another farm. If I hook up a wireless network at home, I can work on two computers at the same time and hire myself to harvest and plow. This is very sad, and yet, I have no intention of stopping. I've even quit drinking so I can concentrate on the farm. I don't drink during the week anyway, but I've cut down on the weekends so I can get some good plowing time in.

I have an excel spreadsheet showing the best return for various crops based on cash value, not percentage. (Not that anyone else cares much.) I am not alone, because I've seen other spreadsheets & discussions about price per day et cetera et cetera et cetera. While I'm washing dishes, I make Mark hire himself out at the Market to plow and harvest. (Mark to Market... lol! sorry: accountant joke sort of.) You can see how bad it is.

I dream about the farms. I woke up in the middle of the night to harvest a forgotten crop, but I found out the crops won't rot right now because the software developers are working on the clocks. (I don't know what that means, other than I don't have to get up at midnight right now.)

In defense of my obsession, there have been some benefits. One: reorganizing my farm is very relaxing. It's like a meditation of sorts. I used to play solitaire, now I plant virtual flowers. Two: I taught Mark how to make a spreadsheet. He is very well organized and advises me on the best values for our time. Three: it's inspired me to make a real garden hide-away in my very small yard. I was so happy with my little benches surrounded by trees and flowers that I've decided to find a couple of benches and build a little nook behind the shed under the grape vines. If I get the wireless network set up, I can farm from there.

Tonight I am going to the summer birthday party at my in-laws. They group birthdays, since it's hard to get people together for every birthday. This is fine with me. My birthday is included in this party, along with my MIL, Gabe, Joseph, & maybe my MIL's sister who will be in town. I think that's all the July & August birthdays on this side of the family. (Except my niece,who has her birthday with her sister and Mark sometime in May, June, or July.)
Bob and I are planning to have a good time, especially since his aunts will be in town. We plan to ignore his sister who searched our house for cat crates she thought we had, then took our crates. I don't know if you can forgive someone who not only hasn't apologized, but thinks she was perfectly right to search our bedrooms and then proclaim that we are slobs. I have considered not going at all, but there are too many other people to consider. On the other hand, I do have fields to plow...
I am making a crochet & bead belt. It is turning out well. I am using a much smaller thread and hook than I've ever successfully used, but I'm not having too much trouble. Well, I did have to get magnifying glasses. If I finish it, I'll take a picture.
Although it is only August, I am beginning serious plans for Tax Season. Some of those plans involve figuring out how to slip drugs to my boss, who made us all really miserable last year. I am also making long term plans related to me after he retires or drops dead (heart attack or murder, take your pick.) I have a feeling that one day with no warning, he will announce that he has sold the business & I, at 50-ish with more knowledge than education, will be SOL. And with that in mind, I am planning for what to do then. I don't plan to leave before he does (although if this tax season is like the last, you don't know), but I'm not working for anyone else even if they want me. Right now I'm thinking about a tax/bookkeeping/payroll service & coffee shop. But it's early days, of course. In the mean time, I am building my credentials by working to pass the enrolled agent exam (still!) and taking as many continuing education workshops and classes as I can.
And if worse comes to worse, I can do taxes in my garden between planting virtual fields and chatting with other FB Farmers.
Time to clean the kitchen... yes, it's that time of week again!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another cloudy Monday morning, but this one is in August

Let me start by saying that if you turn on Jerry Springer and think, "Oh my god, how much worse can it get?" you haven't met my daughter-in-love's family. That is all I'm saying about that this morning, because (1) oh my god & (2) it's not my story thank you Jesus.

What is my story is that because of the latest episode of Jerry Springer live from Hampton County SC and because I am an idiot a soft touch (soft in the head), my beautiful minivan (with six CD changer/sunroof/beepers-when-you-almost-hit-someone) is sitting in Varnville (or Nixville or Miley or Podunk) with a dead battery. Not, give me a charge, will you? dead, but dead dead dead... or so I hear. While I have no reason to distrust somebody's cousin's husband's brother who is a mechanic and says the battery should RIP, I have less reason to trust him. I am thinking of a "new" used transmission a few years ago. (Same town, different people). I'm wondering if there is an electronic damper or old Indian burial ground in the county which causes these problems. You would think one of us would learn.

So now, aside from the usual work in the country (corporate, partnership, and personal tax return extensions run out soon), a payroll (mine --- yeah!) and monthly reports at the church, getting my baby to MEGGS & AAP testing sites, completing my sister's July reports, cleaning my house because Mark's new teacher wants to make a home visit (can you just say no?), selling the house we used to live in and the kids aren't living in any more, getting rid of kittens...

Now, we have to figure out how to pay for a battery two hours from here when I can pretty much guarantee no one will loan Katy the money and let us mail them a check. So we are talking Western Union or even a freaking trip to that godforsaken county.

I am not feeling very holy, very loved, very nice. But quite frankly, even when I did do everything to make people happy, I still didn't feel holy, loved, or nice enough. It never is enough and being an enabler is no way to make a living.
And for some reason the song "No more Mr. Nice Guy" is playing in my head and that is so unlike me, I had to google the lyrics to figure out who sang it. And I found this picture, which looks a whole lot like me this morning: