Monday, December 28, 2009

Might as well JUMP

Although sometimes I might feel like taking a leap from a tall building, today is not the today. I'm actually feeling pretty good today. My son's SUV wouldn't start, so he and his friend did the responsible thing, and they retrieved his friend's jumper cables and started the Ford. Then they took off to the gas station (in my son's Ford) and, yep, the car died again and wouldn't start. There they sat at the gas station.

So they saw another friend drive by, called him, he stopped, and he also had jumper cables ... but he couldn't get the SUV to start. He left them at the gas station. My son called me wondering what to do next, whether to call a tow truck or what ...

I was on my way home and just told them to wait it out. I would be there shortly. When I got there, I took at look at my son's battery (and decided it looked pretty rough and we just needed to get it started so we could make it to Firestone and have it replaced). I cleaned it off, we hooked it up, and we jumped his SUV. The boys followed me to Firestone where we left the vehicle.

So why am I in a good mood when my son's Ford is now in the shop and it's going to cost me some money?

1. My son needed me. I helped him.
2. He and his friend thought it was funny that I was the one to help them.
3. I know how to jump a car.
4. My son knows how to jump a car.
5. I actually have jumped two cars in the past month.
6. I learned a lesson. Time to buy my son his own set of jumper cables.
7. Better car trouble now than when he leaves for college next week.
8. I feel empowered when I do things on my own.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fixing Stuff

I now know where my screwdriver is, and I actually used it this morning. I own my home and there's no one here but me to fix things. My kids don't know how to do it, and although my stepfather can fix anything, he doesn't live close by and he's recovering from surgery still, so I've found the hammer, the screwdrivers (there's two types if you didn't know ... one is called a Phillips and it has a kind of "star" top and the other is a flathead screwdriver with, well, a flathead). Now, there may be others, but if you are a single mom with your own home, you probably just need these two. This morning I had to use the Phillips screwdriver to tighten up loose doorknobs. How sad is it that I am so proud of myself that I am blogging about it, but everytime I can do anything on my own, for myself, by myself ... it's all good.

What are other things that are helpful for single mom homeowners to have and/or know about?
1. Air filters for your heat/air system. These should be changed about 4 times per year.
2. Someone to do your yard/rake your leaves. It's worth it.
3. Extension cords.
4. Hammer & nails.
5. Deadbolt locks on all your doors.
6. Extra batteries and a flashlight.
7. Lightbulbs.
8. Jumper cables.
9. "No Soliciting" signs at your front door.
10. A friend who knows how to fix things. That would really help.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Things I Don’t Like To Hear From My Children

1. You don’t know my life.
2. I’m thinking about getting a tattoo.
3. Change the channel.
4. What’s for dinner?
5. I hate you.
6. Leave me alone.
7. Do I have to go?
8. I’m busy.
9. Something’s wrong with my phone.
10. I’m spending the night at dad’s.

Top 10 Things I Like to Hear From My Children

1. Let’s go to the Sonic.
2. Listen to this, mom.
3. I love you.
4. Where are you?
5. Read this for me.
6. I need your help.
7. Let’s watch a movie.
8. Name your Top 10 favorite (Fill in the blank … it’s a game we play)
9. I can’t wait for Christmas.
10. Why do you keep calling? Don’t worry. I’m fine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Letting Go

I’ve talked in this blog about how much my daughter reminds me of myself and some of things we have in common, but I’ve yet to share some of those same things about my son. I haven’t written about him that much not because we are not close because we are, not because I am not extremely proud of him because I am and not because we don’t share funny moments because we do … I actually haven’t written that much about him, yet, because I understand that he doesn’t really want me to “talk” about him.

So when I blog about him, it may be rarely … But it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I will respect his wishes to a point. At the same time, he’s part of my life and I’m blogging about my life as a single mom so there you have it.

I probably understand him better than he thinks I do. I understand his feelings of frustration when I remind him one too many times to “get the oil changed in his car” and many, many, many other things. I love to remind him to do stuff. I can’t help myself for some reason to keep reminding him of the things that I think he needs to do. He also can’t help but take an attitude with me when I keep doing it. My mom still reminds me of things over and over again. What is it with us? When someone asks me too many questions, I start feeling like I can’t breathe … and I just want to run for cover. So, I know his frustration with me.

I also understand his need to move away from home again. He’s been living at home for several months, and he’s ready to move on and live with friends in his own place. He thinks I would rather have him home, a little more under my control, and maybe he’s right. It’s hard to let go. However, kids need to grow up … learn to get fend for themselves, do their own laundry and find their own way. I understand that, I do, in a real sense, and I want that for him because he wants it. But I’m his mom and I worry so much. Unless you are parent, you can never understand the burden of worry that takes over your life when you have children.

When he was away at school last year, he took care of himself and he was just fine. He can survive without me. What happens to me when I’m around my mom, and to him when he’s around me, is that we resort to letting our moms take care of us because we know that’s the place where they are most comfortable.

He’s moving away soon, and I’ve noticed he’s been in a really good mood, and I’ve just been feeling more and more anxious and upset. He’s having no trouble letting go, and I’m holding on obsessively.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I am a Snooze Button

Every night, without fail, my daughter texts me and reminds to wake her up in the morning, just in case I might forget after 16 years of waking her up every single morning.

She wants to get up when I get up so she can take a shower, finish some homework, get to school early or whatever (now she wants to get up but actually getting up is a different story ... The reality is that she can actually sleep a little later because I have to be at work almost an hour earlier than she needs to be at school but nonetheless … )

So, each morning, at 6:30 a.m. sharp … I either call her on her cell phone or go downstairs and wake her up personally. Usually, I have to hit the stairs because somehow, for some reason, the child doesn’t ever hear her phone when it happens to be me calling. And then, without fail, she ways, “Wake me up in 15 minutes …”

So I obey her and dutifully watch the clock while putting on my makeup, and then I trudge downstairs again at the appropriate time and tell her “it’s been 15 minutes.” What do you think she says then? You got it. “Wake me up at 7.” And, because I’ve become a mindless, compliant robotic idiot at this point … I do what I am told.

At 7, when I am finally awake and starting to get annoyed but, of course, still obedient and still making the trip as a human alarm clock, she says, “Wake me up when you leave.”

And finally, for the thousandth time, the final alarm goes off … “I’m leaving!” and I walk out the door.

Why do I do this? I can’t explain it. I guess it’s because I love her, and if I’m meeting one little need in her life ... Even though it’s completely unfair to me and I’m not sure if it’s even appreciated ... I will just continue to do it. There will come a day, not very far from now, where she won’t live in my home and won’t need me as much and maybe, just a little bit, I will miss the fact that she did need me every morning these past few years.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Money Woes and Nos

My children have grown up as "haves" rather than "have nots." I'm not saying I'm proud of that or not proud of that. It's just a fact. However, to keep it real, they have always attended public schools, spent some time volunteering and they know that not everyone in their family is vacationing at Disney World each year. Most of their friends come from well-to-do families and they are just used to wearing nice clothes, driving decent vehicles, going on vacations, and eating out when they feel like it. My daughter took dance and gymnastics, and my son played all the sports he wanted. Money was not an issue; they did what they wanted. I never said "no" to them very much. Let me say this, however, that they are good kids. They don't get in much trouble, they make good grades, and they are polite and friendly.

Now, the point of this blog is that after the divorce, I had to rethink "money." I've looked for ways to save ... eat out less often, buy generic brands (usually you can save $2 per item on things like dishwater detergent ... I never knew that before), bought fewer new clothes, and just actually think about money more often. It's sad that at my age, 46, I'm just now starting to rethink my spending habits. I was spoiled because I had a good job (as did my ex) and we just didn't worry about money. Let me tell you ... that's not a good thing. It should always be in the back of your mind.

Although my kids are now older, they have finally had to hear the word "no" from me when it comes to spending. They both had to get part-time jobs to help with their spending habits, but that is a good thing. I hope they learn before I did how to save before you spend, don't buy what you don't need, and to wear that sweater one more season.

Now, time to think about paying for college for two!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Bingo

My family has a tradition. Instead of exchanging gifts, we all buy lots of small gifts (usually stuff like movies, candles, frames, CDs, whatever, you get it) and then we play Bingo and as you get a "Bingo" you get to go pick a gift from the "bed of gifts" ... my bed covered with gifts. The original idea behind this was to save money and add an new tradition to Christmas Eve.

Now, the first part didn't work. I spend way more money on Bingo gifts than I did when we just drew names. My mom probably spends hundreds of dollars because she makes sure everyone has gifts in Bingo particular to their likes and needs. She always has a movie she knows I want or stuff from Bath & Body Works (I love that stuff!) and CDs for my kids and whatever for my brothers.

However, the second part worked like a charm. Christmas Bingo is a tradition in my family like no other. We have to do it; everyone loves it; and I know of others who have heard about our tradition and have taken it on as their own. My kids probably actually like Bingo better than opening gifts on Christmas morning. It's just more fun ... it's like shopping for free. And, there's so much stuff you don't want or need. It's an extravagance, but sometimes you just need that.

My stepdad is so funny. He always brings a big sack to carry all his loot home. He's like Santa in reverse. My mom is the Bingo caller. Sometimes we take turns. Also, sometimes my mom asks trivia questions to break up the "Bingo." However, I personally hate that. She doesn't ask simple trivia questions like "Who is the current American Idol champ?" or "Angelina Jolie is in a long-term partnership with what famous actor?" I like pop culture trivia. No, she caters to the boys. And her trivia is stuff like "Who was named the MVP in Super Bowl V?" Who knows that stuff? I will tell you who ... my brothers! It's irritating. I always lose in her trivia contests. So mom, if you ever read this, give me a break and give me some pop culture triva so I can win!

If you are ever looking for a fun, new tradition to begin with your family ... try Christmas Bingo. It's great for all ages. And not hard to learn. lol

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Life of Mediocrity

My usually sweet, always passionate and highly sensitive daughter told me last night that she didn't want to live a "life of medocrity," well, like her mother. She implied that while I may be content worrying about bills and money and my job and the simple things in life in general ... she wants more than that. She wants the big city, the bright lights, the fame, the fortune, the beautiful and intelligent people, something more than our town has to offer. Something more than I, or possibly anyone she currently knows, can give her. She has a need that we just can't fulfill. She wants something intangible, and it's hard for her to know just what it is ... or where to find it.

Her desires make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. She reminds me so much of myself at her age. I would write in my diary that I didn't want to live the life of my stay-at-home mother, that I wouldn't be satisfied with just being, just taking care of kids and a husband, spending my days reading cookbooks, ordering from an Avon catalog and gossiping with those who would listen. I wanted to move away, and back in the day, I wanted to be a flight attendant, and then later, a journalist. My daughter wants to be a rock and roll journalist (and really, she's an awesome writer, and I believe, her dream is more than just a dream, it is attainable for someone like her ... someone with real talent and drive).

Now, I'm a realist and it's hard to explain to my beautiful daughter, the dreamer, that sometimes life just happens and you make the best of things and you learn to live and love the life you have, not the life you once desired. Things don't always turn out the way we planned, but that doesn't mean it's not good. We can't judge other people's choices, and we all make choices that are the best for us. My mom actually followed her heart's desire as she wanted to be a mom and a wife ... I just didn't know that. And, she was ... and is ... a good mom. What I wanted changed, and it is still changing.

My desire for my daughter is a life fulfilled and, of course, not a life of mediocrity.