Friday, August 19, 2011

None chucks

Earlier this month Little Guy turned four. I've been waiting for four, since, well, since zero. Four is supposed to be the beginning of reasonableness. Four is the end of baby and the beginning of kid. I am so much better at kid.

Four, so far, has failed to show up and do it's job. But! Everyone swears by five. So on we go.

On his birthday this year we gave him a few Lego sets. He's been playing with Legos at the neighbors houses and has been pretty enamored with them, even going so far as to attempt to five finger a few Lego guys on the way out. So despite the fact that most of the sets he loves are for five year olds, we bought them anyway.

The neighbor boys came over to build the sets and Little Guy achieved some street cred. At least with the seven and under set, he's in.

His favorite item is a little ninja Lego man which he carries with him everywhere. The ninja comes with an assortment of itty bitty weapons. As Little Guy opened the box, he actually shook as he said "Noooooooone chucks." How does he know what they are? So he carries around the tiny little ninja with the teeny tiny numchucks and all is good.

Which brings us to yesterday. I had a sitter coming because I was planning to get a few hours in at the office for my internship. (I love this job by the way. Please send all your happy thoughts and wish on rainbows and all that these people get the funding together to make me a position, because, seriously, I am a perfect fit for that place.) I was almost ready to leave when I noticed that Little Guy had one of the oversized Lego tires in his mouth.

Now this boy never ever puts things in his mouth. Girlie did it all the time, but Little Guy really never has been that kind of child. Hubs and I discussed it when we bought the Legos and decided that he'd be really good about it. Except yesterday. So I explained that he shouldn't, took the tire away for a bit, and he assured me that he wouldn't do it again.

So there I am interning at my dream job when I get the call. Little Guy might have swallowed a Lego tire. He said it did, then he said he didn't. The sitter wasn't sure. He wasn't choking or in any kind of pain. I talked to him, he assured me that he hadn't actually swallowed it and all was well.

Then a few minutes later the sitter texted me that he was "burpy." I packed up and headed home.

It turned out fine. I don't think he actually did swallow the tire. I did take him over to my pediatrician neighbor for a consultation. He is also the father of two boys.

And of course he told me not to worry. This too shall pass.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just another manic Monday

So we're heading to Georgia for ten days this Saturday.

Though I've been to visit, the kids haven't been back in a few years and in addition to the two enormous suitcases and the dog and the carseat and the stroller, I'll be dragging along all kinds of guilt, stashing it in the overhead with my backpack of busy snacks (if it fits).

Plus there is the nail-biting over where to stay and who to stay with and how to make the rounds to see everyone without short changing anyone or making ourselves crazy. There is the crazy early morning flight we booked on points (both ways), the long layovers (both ways), and the reality of traveling with the four year old boy who will either be an angel or something requiring an exorcist. And the logistics around visiting my Dad in the nursing home with the kids, and as of last week a potential surgery which I am hoping will be scheduled after our visit.

And Hubs is out of town this week. He gets back Friday. We leave on Saturday.

So how can I tell I might be losing it?

I packed on Sunday - all of the clothes for the entire family for a trip we're taking this upcoming weekend. I'm done packing, six days ahead. I'm cleaning, organizing, ordering groceries for when we get back, knocking out back to school stuff. It looks like productivity, but really it's crazytown.

Last night I had a dream that my Dad drove us to my parents' place (something he can't do) and he was able to stay at the house with us (something he can't do).

This morning I woke up thinking about my him. And then I thought - I really need to clean the kitchen ceiling fan. So I did.

And then I organized the freezer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The value of a value

Somehow, I found myself reading this opinion piece about the economy over the weekend. It must have been one of those rabbit hole situations, because I can't say I remember going over to CNN's website, but then there I was.

The essay sparked some horrendous comments from both sides of the political spectrum, enough so that I hesitated to link to it. I'm not at all interested in arguing about who is responsible for getting us here. I will say that though I fall way left of center, it seems to me that the situation has reached the point where we need to be willing cut precious social programs AND raise taxes on the highest income bracket. We may well be past the point of an either/or approach. And as for how we got here, why argue the philosophy behind the construction of the ship while the boat is sinking? Get as many people on the lifeboats as possible, we can figure that out later.

But on to the meaningful stuff. The part of the essay that struck me was the bit about the actual value of money.

Many years have passed since the dollar was backed by gold. Instead, the value we assign to our currency represents a measure of our faith, what we believe it to be worth. This has never been more true than now. Often the value only appears a number on a screen, up then down, in our hands and then out before we've even touched it. Almost a figment of our collective imagination, and yet we spend a large number of our waking hours working to get at it.

But I don't want to chase after something that doesn't exist. I want to pursue real things. Sure, you say, but we need money to get those things. Having money often clears the obstacles. Right. That is the paradox isn't?

Still, I am wondering if a little philosophy change might help, even if it just comes down to semantics. Like the travel experience I want to have is the focus instead of the trip itself, the end goal now twice removed from the money part. I want to live in my neighborhood because of the amazing people. What, besides buying a house here, can secure that? Maintaining these relationships if I have to move down the road a bit. Continuing to rent this house might do it too. So it could be about getting to the heart of whatever it is that I want and sticking to that. And the big part - being open to whatever else there is to get me there.

Moving to Boston on one income has been a stretch for us. On top of that we picked an expensive area. We chose it because of the schools and the 95 commute and the close access to the subway. We wanted those things because of our values - education, leisure time, and access to culture. Of course, all of that comes with a price. An actual dollar amount. So it isn't easy. It is something that stays on my mind. It has also caused me to think about money (and how to get a bigger chunk of it) more than I have in years.

But this money as a theory thing has me wanting to shift my focus. To stop zeroing in on the finances. To move on to thinking about things that have real value. Things that actually exist.