Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great Life Lesson

As some of you may already know, I've had a couple of changes in my life recently. They aren't huge changes, but they have taught me a lot about myself and life in general. I love when I figure out something big without even trying to, so this has been great for me.

 First, I began babysitting my friends darling baby girl three days a week.  She was three months old when I began watching her. Now let me remind you in case you don't know or you've forgotten, babies are a lot of work. It's not back breaking work, but a three month old needs you for EVERYTHING....all the time. On top of that, they require you to schedule your life around them. If you're one of those people who thinks that life goes on as normal with a newborn, I've got news for you. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG! The point is that it's a big commitment.

I love babies and I pride myself on being somewhat of a "baby whisperer", so I totally volunteered myself for the job. I knew I would adore cuddling a baby at first, but I wondered like all people do, if taking this on would get old fast. Well, the verdict is in and I am loving it. I get an intense baby fix, and yet my weekends are free and I get to sleep all night without worrying about those pesky 2 a.m. feedings. It's like I'm a grandma at age 34, minus all the horrid circumstances that would cause someone to become a grandma at age 34. Plus the baby is adorable, did I mention that?

The second change is much more recent. We got a dog, a Chihuahua to be specific. Now I would never have seen a tiny lap dog in my future, but this particular dog just called to me. I saw her picture and one minute of video footage of her on a dog rescue website and I just knew that this dog was meant to be with me. I made the critical idiot mother error by showing the video and picture of the dog to my seven year old daughter before even discussing it with my husband. My husband and I  weren't even thinking about getting a dog the day I found my dog online. I can't even figure out why I was looking at that website. It was meant to be is all I can say.

My poor kids have lots of weird allergies so I called the dogs foster mom and asked her if we could come see the Chihuahua and possibly take her home for a trial period. I would not have even considered adopting the dog without that option. The foster mom thought it was a great idea and we drove down to her house to meet the dog. My husband is very much a cat guy (he grew up with cats), but he agreed to meet the dog. When we first saw her, it was love at first sight. She is so delicate and darling and very calm. We let the kids play with her for about twenty minutes and everything was going really well. Dave took a quick work related phone call, and when he was done, he shocked me by saying to the foster mom, "So I guess we'll be taking her home for a trial period. Is that still okay with you?" I was stunned!!! I could not believe he wasn't putting the brakes on this whole deal. With that, I grabbed my check, filled it out to the rescue organization and we all hopped in the truck and left.

By the time we got home the dog was named Minnie and we'd already stopped at the store to buy her a kennel and supplies. The kids love her and I do too. She came to us house trained and so far so good. We've had a few problems with her outsmarting the kennel and her complete resistance to being leashed on our walks, but other than that she does so well with our family. She's even become my purse dog. She loves  it! Dave honestly wishes she were a cat for convenience reasons. Cat's don't have to be let out to pee and they don't seem sad when you leave. Dogs can be a pain in the butt for sure, but we're getting used to it.

Both the dog and the baby have taught me something very basic and very important. The point of life isn't to make things as easy as possible for yourself. A life without any bother is a dull life. I actually like the bother of it all, it's very fulfilling. I like waking the dog around the block two minutes after I wake up in the morning. I love soothing and snuggling a crying, tired baby. I'm good at it and I have a confidence in myself that I wish I had when I first became a mother. This new experience has shown me how far I've come. With my first baby, I was a paranoid, nervous wreck. I didn't realize it at the time, but in hind sight I see that I was so tightly wound. You can't calm and soothe a baby when you're giving of that anxious energy. Fast forward seven years and I know with absolute certainty that I really am an excellent care giver. I thrive on it. I am so glad that I opened myself up to these opportunities. Yesterday morning my daughters and I took the dog on a walk and I carried the baby in the baby Bjorn carrier. Cheesy as it sounds, my heart was overflowing with joy. It's not a burden at all. There was no place else I would have rather been. Now that is a huge life lesson.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'll Tell You Why I Mow the Lawn

I mow the grass for a few reasons. Reason number one is pretty simple...it needs to be done and I'm home way more than my husband is so I might as well just get it done. I learned a long time ago that if you want something done right now (as I always do), you better know how to do it yourself. Plus, it's a great workout. I can't walk on a treadmill in good conscious knowing that I could be walking behind my mower getting the yard done. Two birds, one stone.

I was roughly twelve years old when I first got acquainted with a lawn mower. I used to do a lot of babysitting for my aunt and she quickly learned that I loved responsibility and I was pretty reliable. One day, she was home and I was helping out at her house. Her small lawn needed mowing, so she started the mower, gave me a couple of pointers and left me to it. I figured out a pattern and the next thing you know, it was done and I felt a nice sense of accomplishment. She also taught me how to bake bread, pick fruit, and milk a goat among many other useful skills. She needed help and I don't think she cared if I did things perfectly, she just needed them done. I enjoyed being the big cheese that she could count on. Win-win.

When Dave and I were dating, Dave decided to start mowing lawns and doing a little snow removal to earn extra money while he was in school and only working a part time job. Who do you think his best and only employee was? You guessed it, me! So I can not only mow lawns like a champ, but I can also clear a snow covered driveway in no time at all (with or without a snow blower).

I mowed tons of lawns during the early years of our relationship, both on a riding mower and walking behind the push mower. Dave did all the weed eating, only because I struggle when it comes to managing that stupid pull starter on the trimmer. I still shy away from it to this very day. I've heard good things about the Ryobi electric start trimmer and I'd love to own one (A girl can dream, right?). It must also be said, that I was not paid for any of this work. Dave used the money to buy new equipment and an engagement ring for yours truly. I wasn't "given" a diamond ring, so much as I "earned" it, free and clear.

That last paragraph makes me sound like an idiot and Dave sound like a dick. Both are probably a tiny bit true, but honestly it was fun working together like we did. We were partners and I liked it. Mowing lawns in the heat (on my days off from the salon) sucked, but I was good at it and I was efficient. I thrive on being efficient. The fun times were the winter nights when we'd clear snow. We'd go out at night after a storm and work in the silent moonlight. The roads would be sketchy and we'd slide around, but it was fun because almost no cars were on the roads. Plus, we were still in that awesome super in LOVE phase where you just love being together no matter where you  are or what you're doing.

I also mow the lawn now because I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction from it. There's nothing like a fresh cut lawn to really amp up your curb appeal. The hair stylist in me loves to cut things into nice clean shapes. Our yard is like an enormous clipper cut. I love to make it look nice, trimmed and perfect. Every time I cut our grass, I find a new, more efficient pattern to mow. Our yard is not square and there are a million ways to cut it. I want to find the perfect pattern and I'm not quite there yet. I know it's weird, but it feels wonderful to make each blade of grass level and clean looking. I feel warm and giddy just writing about it. Cutting things is certainly my calling. I would get the same feeling from cutting off a mullet. Mangy to groomed is my specialty. Perhaps this is why I also shave my legs every single day. It brings me peace.

The last reason is the worst of all because it's pride based. I want to be useful. I want to be a jack of all trades. If Dave ever divorced me, and let's face it, I have a mouth on me and the possibility is there. I would want Dave to marry a useless woman who expects Dave to do everything for her. Then I would live the rest of my life knowing that Dave would cry himself to sleep every single night knowing that I was the most awesome wife of all. I would be appreciated and my true worth as a useful, efficient woman would finally be recognized. I told Dave this last night and he patted me on the arm and said, "Good job." I guess that's all the thanks I'm getting.