Monday Musings – Jan. 13, 2014

As begins any new year (in my teen thru adult life), I tend to reevaluate the past year and what I have done with my life thus far. Then I decide that THIS is the year that I will become who I was meant to be. I’m not sure why I always think that who I am now is not who I’m meant to be, but I suspect it has to do with not being totally satisfied with myself and my accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong! I’m very happy and feel quite blessed with the life that I have. It’s just that I know there’s always room for improvement.

I always thought that my life should be full. Full of work of some sort, of hobbies and volunteering. And I still do…to a point.

I’ve been thinking a lot about exactly what I want to do with my time here on earth. I certainly don’t feel old and hope that I have many more years left, but there are no guarantees. I’ve always wanted to make a difference and I still do, but in a different way. In a more simple way. In my own way.

Maybe it has to do with losing a good friend at such a  young age nearly a year ago. Maybe it’s the passing of others who I’ve known that were gone before (what we thought was) their time. Maybe it’s seeing friends that have had to prioritize what they’re doing in their lives because of illnesses, causing them to have to give things up that have meant so much to them, having to devote their energy simply to living.

If I were to die tomorrow or become ill, what would I NOT want to leave undone?

Yep, sometimes I overthink things.

My life has changed in the past few months. I have added responsibilities that I really never thought I’d have. When I celebrated my birthday this past November, I started thinking about how I want to be remembered. And it isn’t exactly what I always thought it would be.

I did a lot of soul searching and made some decisions. I felt that it was time to reorganize my life. To that end, I’ve given up a couple of  (what I thought were) my dreams and have said good-bye to some projects that at one time were very dear to me. And I stepped down from a position that I truly loved.

In some ways, I’m sure it sounds selfish to say that I want to do my own things for a while, but that’s not really what it’s all about. I haven’t given everything up, so it isn’t going to be all about me. I am a wife and mother (no matter how old my kids are), sometimes (and hopefully one day – forever) a grandmother. Jim and I still have our business to run and the obligations that we are involved with that are related to our industry. I am committed to those obligations as long as Jim is to his. That goes hand in hand. As long as my daughter is a foster parent (and even after she adopts), I will be babysitting at least part time. Who knows, maybe other grandchildren will come along too. And I do want to have some time to do my own things! I want to read, write, and do some research projects. I want to cross stitch and work on some other crafting projects. And I hope that, through some of those things, I will be making a difference. Just in a different way.

Believe me, I am well aware that what I’ve done is a drop in the bucket compared to the service that many many others that I know have given of themselves. I used to think that I couldn’t just be an observer, that I had to be a participant. But I also feel that after more than 25 years of chairing, leading, serving and working both behind the scenes and at the forefront, I deserve to step back. For now.

And so I have.

As soon as WordPress fixes their glitch, I will add the photo that I’m trying to put right here.



Monday Musings – Jan. 6, 2014

Feels weird writing 2014…

So how many are snowed in? We got quite a bit of snow yesterday and through the night, but it had stopped by the time I woke up this morning. We live on a main road and the county road commission stayed on top of things so our road is clear even though you will be driving on ice and packed snow. Those plow and salt truck drivers worked (and are continuing to)  hard. Knowing that the temps would be dropping drastically after the snowstorm which makes salt ineffective, they tried to keep up with the things so our roads would be driveable. So kudos to the road commission!

Jim was out plowing here at our place for two hours. We don’t just have a driveway, we have a circle driveway and another driveway on our property next door. We have a huge yard for our business that needs to be cleared. He has to be able to get the work trucks out. And if he doesn’t clear it away now, it’ll freeze hard and the job will be that much more difficult. Might as well do the job right the first time. Plus, he plowed part of our neighbor’s (our rental) driveway. He came in for a nice hot bowl of oatmeal before he headed over to our son’s house to plow his driveway so at least Jon won’t have to worry about that when he gets home from work tonight. After all this, Jim will do any service calls that need doing. Business is slow, though, so that’s a good time to spend some time in the shop doing the many needed repairs.

I thought about going out and taking pictures before he started plowing, but honestly…it’s cold out there and I’m not that dedicated a photographer. If I have to go out later, maybe I’ll take some.

First day of school back from Christmas break was cancelled all over our area and beyond. Some of the schools are even cancelled tomorrow because of the back roads and cold that is predicted. Not my daughter’s district though. We’ll see. I was ready to get back into the swing of things. I’ve missed our little guy, but I’m sure he’s not complaining about the extra day home!

I’ve done a lot of thinking the past few days. This is what happens when I don’t have a three-year-old here to occupy me. I’ll save those thoughts for another day.

And…here ya go! I stood up and took a picture from my office window. It’s not very good (through the window and screen) and not very flattering. But that there is part of our backyard. And the little red house? That’s where my three chickens, who are feeling their age, are all cozy with their heat lamp and heated waterer, plenty of food and lots of bedding. They don’t like to venture out far, if at all, this winter.

photo (11)

Back to Work… Kind Of

Many of you know me personally and know that my husband and I run a business together. It’s a second generation business that his father started back in the 40s and his parents successfully ran it together for many many years. When Jim and I got married, I started helping out with little things and when we bought the house we’re in now and moved to where the business is located, my mother passed on all the bookwork to me.

At the time, I hadn’t held an outside job since my son was born two years earlier. I had been babysitting one or two extra kids for part of the day, but it had never been our intention for me to be a stay-at-home mom. But then, life just kept getting busier and busier. I always tried to take some kind of class to better myself (small business bookkeeping, accounting, even tax preparation) and I started to volunteer more and more in what my kids were involved in. And it turned out that I just didn’t have time to hold another job. As it was, I was sometimes getting up in the middle of the night to keep up with our business bookkeeping.

And I was organized. I managed to keep up with it all. I never got behind in my office work, I kept up with my housework, I volunteered at school, I chaired fundraisers, I was a scout leader, etc. etc., and I went to tons of meetings. I drew poor Jim into it all and we kept up the pace till Jon was in high school. We kind of backed off just to enjoy what was left of his school years. I volunteered for other things, but somehow never found my niche. Plus, the unimaginable happened when Jim’s father passed away. He was still very involved in the business which freed me up to do all of the things I did. I remember standing in the shop days after he died and wondering to myself how I was ever going to learn what I needed to learn to be able to step in and  help Jim. Well, nine years later and I’m still learning, but I’ve been there for Jim as best I can.

So, for the past several years I’ve volunteered less and helped Jim more and never ever took on an outside job. I started looking a couple of years ago when business was really slow (with no luck), but we’ve learned to live simply over the past 20 years and it has all worked out for us so far. But one thing that has suffered, and suffered greatly, is my organizational skills. It seems that when I’ve had less to do, I tend to procrastinate more. I don’t want to start one job till I finish another and I don’t finish the first so don’t start the second. Mind you, I keep up, but not the way I’d like to or need to.

Now I’m babysitting all day (and every day starting this week) and I’ve come to realize two things: 1) I am so much more organized because I know my free time and the time I have to do my office work is more limited and I spend it getting done what needs doing. 2) I feel incredible guilt for not being available for Jim at a moment’s notice. We’re in this business together and I feel I owe it to him to be available and now I’m not and he says it’s okay, but I still feel guilty.

It’ll all work out though.

Quickly Quickly

It seems that has been my pace most days for the past week or so. Quickly.

Babysitting 2 year old grandson (foster, in case you haven’t been able to keep up), helped my daughter a couple of mornings setting up her classroom for the schoolyear (it’s become a tradition that I enjoy), making sure our spare bedroom is now two-year-old-boy-friendly, keeping up with my work for the business and trying to keep up with housework. It sounds busier than it really is though.

Today the little guy starts coming to Nana’s house during the day as Mimi (my daughter) starts her new year off with some trainings and meetings. It’s been a long time since we had a little guy running around here. I’m both excited and nervous. And hope I can keep up!

And I hope I can keep up with everything else in my life.

Wish me luck!

Age (old, that is)

I often lose track of time. Time seems to move faster than I do. Is it part of the aging process? When my kids were growing up and business was super busy and I was running in all directions, I never forgot anything (okay, I did forget one time). My kids were where they needed to be when they needed to be there. I was where I needed to be and Jim was where he needed to be. I kept track of it all. I always knew what day it was and when the holidays were coming up. But now everything kind of creeps up on me and taps me on the shoulder.

This is how I found out that the 4th is next week already:

Jim was scheduled to do a job today. The customer called yesterday and said that her electrician couldn’t be there till next Wednesday and Thursday. Fine. Job is changed to next Wednesday. Today she called and said that Thursday is 4th of July so the electrician can’t be there on Wednesday and Thursday. Job is changed to next Tuesday. Oy!

Please tell me that this happens to you too!

X is for Xylem

According to my Oxford American Desk Dictionary & Thesaurus, X is for things like:

  • xenon
  • xenophobia
  • xerography
  • xylophone
  • xylem

I won a prize at our ground water convention by knowing the definition of xylem. I didn’t really know. I looked it up and memorized it. It didn’t matter. That’s the way anyone else who won did it. It was just a fun contest to get people to that particular vendor’s booth. What did I win? I don’t even know. Some kind of small pump that I’m sure Jim could find a use for it though.

Jim at the convention

Jim at the convention

For your information xylem means (according to my dictionary): woody tissue. It’s really more than that though it’s the woody supportive plant tissue that carries water and dissolved minerals from the roots through the stem and leaves. And that’s significant to the name of that particular company who was giving away the prizes.

Aren’t you glad I didn’t pick xanthophyll as my X-word again? 🙂