Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Stars are Bright

I'm on the next leg of my trip. "Next leg?" you may be wondering. Yes, when I started out on this little road trip, I didn't have a set plan. The only thing I really knew for sure was that I was going to spend about a week with my sister in Weiser, Idaho. I had thought I might make a trip east to the Idaho Falls area to visit more family and friends. Well, plans solidified and I made the road trip to Swan Valley, a small little town about 45 minutes north east of Idaho Falls, to visit my friend, Chenoa and her family. It was about 9:00pm when I rolled into town, so I haven't seen much of it, but from what I understand, there isn't much to see. I'll get to see it in daylight tomorrow. But the drive in was great. Outside Idaho Falls the terrain changes. There are hills and mountains, valleys, rivers and creeks. It's actually quite beautiful. I am pleasantly surprised and now I can't wait to see it in the daylight.

But the most impressive thing so far is the night sky. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I don't get a complete view of the heavens. There are just too many city lights. But out here where the only lights are from the few scattered homes, it's pitch black and the stars are beautiful. I forget how many there really are and how bright they are. I love living near a large city like San Francisco, but there sure are some impressive advantages to living in the country.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Glimpse into Motherhood

This year my brother and my sister-in-law celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Congrats to Brian and Tammy!!! I thought this was an important milestone that they should be able to celebrate sans children. So I offered my babysitting services so that he could whisk his lovely wife off to a romantic getaway... whatever. It's my brother. That's about as far as I'm willing to go on the road of romantic thoughts.

At the time when I offered to take the kids for a few days, I assumed it would be a weekend and that my sister, Brenda, would come up and we'd do it together. That was the plan... initially. But my brother decided to take time off work and go in the middle of the week during the summer when the kids didn't have school. Fine for me. I was recently laid off and have all the time in the world. But my sister? She had already planned this awesome trip to Australia (camping in the outback and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef) and couldn't take any more time off especially only a few days before the scheduled trip. So I got to babysit all 4 kids by myself, ages 14 months to 8 years. No problem, right? I'm the oldest of 5 kids, babysat for years during Junior High and High School and already absolutely love spending time with my niece and nephews. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.

Don't get me wrong. I love them so much and had a great time. But my eyes were definitely opened to a minute portion of what it must be like to be a mom. Benjamin is an early riser. Therefore, I was an early riser. I had gotten quite used to sleeping in since I lost my job, so getting up early again was a little tiring. Then came breakfast... and the complaints. Inevitably there was one who didn't like what had been made. The first lunch I became a short order cook and made everyone a separate meal. Learned my lesson. No wonder my mom said when we were kids that if we didn't like what was served, then we went hungry.

After breakfast (and every meal for that matter) came washing the littlest ones, getting everyone dressed, diapers changed, etc. Then I had to clean up breakfast and do the dishes to keep the kitchen in some working order. By that time the morning was half over and I was still in my pajamas. I can't remember if I showered that morning. It is all kind of a blur. I think I definitely got dressed, though. But not every day. I think the 2nd day I stayed in my PJ's all day long. It was just easier.

Then there was the matter of entertainment. Their attention wouldn't last too long on one thing and they always seemed to need my help with one thing or another. I had to take advantage of the short moments when their attention was absorbed by an activity. Then lunch time would roll around and the whole meal cycle would begin again. Post meal was more play time and they couldn't do it without me apparently. Ahhh... but nap time was my sweet haven. It was quiet time for all of them, regardless if they slept or not. They just had to lay in bed for a while. They usually fell asleep, but occasionally one or more would remain awake. That was when I had to cut my quiet time short because they could only remain quiet in bed for so long. But heaven have mercy if the one of the younger ones didn't take a nap. By 6:30/7:00 the holy terror emerged and the rest of the night I was merely in survival mode until bed time.

It always seemed to take me a long time to get them ready for bed. Four kids and me and of course none of them "want" to go to bed. By the time I got them all dressed, diapers changed, stories read and ushered upstairs and finally into a bed, I was exhausted. But the house was a disaster zone, so instead of sitting and watching TV, which is what I usually do at night to unwind, I was picking up toys, doing dishes and getting the house in some order ready for disaster to strike the next day.

At the end of the first night I had this thought, "And I really want this (to be a mom)?" I'm 36, single and no kids and I have always wanted to be a mother. But this night I actually questioned that desire. I kept thinking that I got nothing done during the day. I had a list of things I needed to do, but there was no time or energy for that matter. I was exhausted by the end of the day. And I finally got it. Occasionally I will talk to siblings or friends that are married with children and listen to them as they share with me their frustrations of being a mom. I would sometime hear how they sometimes felt that they were not contributing anything to the world nor were they doing anything worth while in their lives. I would tell them about my dull, boring working life with the not-so-interesting business trips and hear them say how exciting my life was. I didn't think so. Meanwhile I thought their lives were full of meaning and purpose by simply being mothers, raising Heavenly Father's children. But after this short experience watching my niece and nephews for 3 days, I finally understood. So to all you mothers out there, I can not express the amount of respect I have for you and all that you do each day. And for my own mother, I love you and am so eternally grateful for you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Morning at the Mechanics

I had to take my car in for her 15,000 mile maintenance the other morning. I took a book to read while I waited, but sometimes people watching is much more interesting and that morning was no exception. There were quite a few proud Ford owners waiting in the dealership's customer lounge for their cars. As I sat there I noticed a few things. Maybe this is not that interesting for anyone else, but as it is my blog and you are choosing to read it, then you'll just have to endure today's entry.

The first thing I noticed is the different characteristics shown by the different generations of customers. Mr. 20-something had his Starbucks in hand while sitting at one of the computers provided for customer use, surfing the Internet. Mr. Mid-life-crisis looked like he was taking time off work, whether for vacation or just to bring his car in, I don't know. Either way, he seemed to be enjoying his time off, lounging on the leather sofa in his polo shirt, khaki shorts and tennis shoes, watching TV and glancing at a golf magazine he found among all the other Sports Illustrated and car magazines provided to entertain waiting customers. Then there was Grandpa who looked obviously used to sitting and staring off into no where, patiently waiting for his car, drinking stale coffee from a cheap Styrofoam cup provided by the dealership in the customer waiting area. Watching them it was interesting to see that if I had to describe to a blind person what each of these individuals was doing, they would be able to tell generally how old they are. These 3 weren't the only one's waiting, but all the others fit into one of these three categories.

As I was observing this I noticed something that I had never really thought about before. I was the only woman. There was another girl there, but she was only about 9 or 10 and came in with her dad. Now, I'm not about to spout off some women's lib gibberish or anything like that. I just thought it was interesting. I am a single woman and have always been. If there is something that needs to be done I do it. I have to. There isn't anyone else to do it with or do it for me. Quite often if not most of the time I wish there was. It gets lonely sometimes. Plus, sometimes it is just frustrating to have to make all the decisions on my own all the time. But I do have to admit that there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that I can do it all on my own.

But back to my observation. Is it common knowledge that when in a relationship, the men take care of the cars? Or is it something that each couple makes a conscious decision about who will take care of the cars? Are there women out there who do it themselves and whose husbands/boyfriends/significant others (whatever) don't mind or prefer it that way? Or are there couples out there who each have a car and take care of theirs themselves? Why am I asking this, you may ask? Just curious. Does it matter? No, not really. It was just something I noticed that morning and wondered about. I've heard about couples where this very thing is a problem... wives taking care of the cars and husbands feeling obsolete.

So if you haven't noticed, I sometimes have these odd things come to my mind that I wonder about. This time I just thought I'd blog about it.