I went blonde. Blonde. Like, really blonde and slightly reddish on the ends, as is the fashion, don't you know. Blonde, as in the first time since I was three years old that I was lighter than a muddled burgundy. I despise that it makes my skin light up-- I look so much younger, they say, and even with my behind still fat and my hair chopped short (to accommodate the perfectly expected damage from such a gigantic chemical step), I get a lot more attention. Go figure. It makes me look good. It does suit my coloring. The color worked very well and looks nice. I hate it. Ugh! I can't determine whether I despise the cut, or whether I am just so resistant to change that the stranger in the mirror makes me uncomfortable. I will leave it for now.
Twilight. Nearly everyone around me has caught the bug. I rented the movie and read her online tome, (what there is), Midnight Sun. I have to admit that it is engaging, but not one to suffer from spoilers, I read ahead and I can't buy into the whole dead-guy-still-makes-active-sperm thing. I do like her take on the Vampire as an animalian subspecies, not a soulless, dead-but-not entity. I have one friend in particular who should lay some bricks when she gets to book 3. I can't wait.
Our garden is growing. P-daddy and I have been working together nicely to shore up the homestead. He built fine, square foot gardening boxes in the front yard. We mixed fill soil from our own compost, store-bought vermiculite, sphagnum moss, and Tagro a friend of ours scooped and delivered to us for free. All told, our garden beds cost us around $72.00. I know we would have done this years ago had we known! We tied them off in grids together, and have recently put in all our starts and our things we are willing to start from seed. Typically, once there is the slightest outside activity, I abandon the computer, so this is what partially explains our absence. The other is that my camera is all funky, so even on days when I would normally have great, wordless blog entries to share, ah, shucks.
Just today, the kids started their own children's gardens. When he built our primary garden beds, P-daddy used our leftover Trex board from building the treehouse and gave each of the kids a 2 X 2 box of their own to fill as they see fit. G-girl and D-meister chose to put them in the front yard with ours, but N-man placed his in the back, close his original garden and adjacent to Presley's grave. He says this is how he will grow flowers for Presleydog. They will still have access to the side gardens, but we have to get P-daddy's yard waste* out of there.
The neighbors moved for real this time. It has really saddened me on a number of levels; we will miss the little girl terribly, we enjoyed having neighbors so close to us in age and family composition; and we would like it if they had left on a completely voluntary basis. Most of all, though, it causes me some discomfiture to benefit so greatly from their departure. They moved offshore, so they left an amazing amount of things behind, including big ticket items like a chest freezer, a 10 X 10 garden shed and a yakima roof box. They gave their swing set to a friend of ours, and they gave us all their lawn furniture, which is great for us because the winter decimated ours. The kids in particular are thrilled with the influx or yard and sports toys. P-daddy has spent the past three weekends helping them sort their last things and then rebuilding the shed over here*. It's been abject chaos, and I am working so hard to be mor egrateful than I feel guilty. My guilt makes little sense, even to me, because when we moved across country, we did the same thing. We gave away or sold things I miss to this day (like our freezer!), so it's nice for some of it to come back to our family.
Interrupting all of this was a month-long illness on my part; I finally caught the flu / pneumonia / bronchitis beast that took out half of Puget Sound. Thankfully, all our family was better when it took me down. I have never needed an inhaler in my life, and needing one, plus antibiotics, plus weeks of absolute stillness to heal this, was truly startling. The illness prevented me from doing a lot of my planned work for the garden (never got my grow lights hung or my cold frame built) and it made dealing with the suddeen windfall from next door very inconvenient, despite how welcome it was. I simply haven't been fit for anything, much less extra putting-away.
I am having issues with challenging kids, my own and my friends'. My children have been celebrating spring by being mouthy and willful, scrapping with their siblings, disputing my authority and ideas on a daily, if not hourly basis. That's hard enough to deal with from just the three of them, but the thought of adding friends has become so very untenable. With a few exceptions, most of the children I know right now are half-deaf and completely bonkers. Combine that with the extreme physicality I have noticed lately in all of them, and people are getting hurt. Being bullied by my schoolmates and abused my some family, I am very sensitive to getting "beaten up." I am not very tolerant of verbal sparring either, but I really have a very hard time drawing the line between acceptable rough-housing and its resulting misunderstandings and out-and-out bullying. I think because of my awareness of my own sensitivities, I err on the side of letting it go too far. I am fully sick of stick-fighting, whoop-screaming, rock-throwing**"fun". They're all getting hurt, actual bleeding, bruising, why-won't-you-stop-I-said-enough! hurt. I don't know how to handle it; I am not willing to do some of what I've read I should do (remove the offenders from your life-- how does one do that when ones' own child is a full participant?), and furthermore a lot of that advice doesn't apply to our lifestyle as homeschoolers. While it's not natural to get cooped up all day with 35 others of your same age and real estate, its also not natural to just be able to shove people to the curb when you feel like its just too hard, either. Community means being stuck with the same folks sometimes. The goal here is to work forward towards some form of maturity and you know, having FUN when we get together or need to babysit. I'm working on it. The other Moms are good, smart people and do see what I see, so it's all good. I am hoping it's just a rough Spring on the heels of a brutal winter.
**D-meister broke the window out of my van during one of these festivities of "fun." He had a compatriot in the rock-throwing glee, but lucky for everyone it was actually my kid who broke my window. Lucky him I actually DO think spanking is a bad idea. Witholding dessert? That is something I am perfectly comfortable dishing out, especially for 200.00. (get it? Hardy har.)
The economy, in a very direct way. My husband works for a state contractor doing pretty integrated work with the department of corrections. I can't elaborate more on that here, but I can say that both the contract (every 7 years) and the state budget were up in the air this year. Anyone who lives here knows that Washington state has a 9 billion dollar shortfall in it's budget for the forthcoming year. That's a LOT of cuts, a lot. Even if his company does win the contract (fairly likely) which was decided in secret last week, the state budget will have to be appropriate to fund the work. It's been a potentially disastrous, completely perfect storm of happenstance-- the real estate crash, the stock market decline, the state budget crisis, the unemployment rate, the contract renewal date-- that has all these factors working together to a climax to come this month. It's been wearing on us for six months now but I haven't wanted to write any of it out here. All our life savings is in this house, which of course has lost all of its equity from the last four years. If he loses his job, that's it. We start over, middle-aged with three kids and three degrees between us. No home of our own, no job.
So I do what I can, I focus on gratitude and on ways to mitigate the changes for the children, if the worst should come to pass. We have very basic goals-- keep the family together, try to stay in Washington (even better, in this house!) if we can. We will see. Again, that Dalai Llama quote: "If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry."