Still Here in the New Year

I’ve been thinking that it’s a shame to just let four and a half year’s worth of the careful recording of my life come to an end just because I got a job. I mean, it’s not like my life is over. Nope. It’s very alive and kicking.

So here I am. I don’t know if you’re still here, but I’m still here.

Some things that have happened since I started working full time:

• An overflowing toilet flooded our house when it ran all night long while we slept. It damaged every room in the house. Three months and 20 thousand dollars later, the construction to repair it all is finished. We finally have floors and painted walls with no holes in them. Now if we could just get the insurance company to cough up the last 10K…

• Callie got her driver’s permit. That license is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to that! I’m dreading that! That’s all I have to say about that!

• I worked out once. Remember that one time? My company reimburses us $100 a month if we work out in a vigorous manner at least five hours a week on at least four different days of the week. I’m determined to work my way up to that. $100 is a lot of moola. But so far I’ve only done it once in five months. I’m on my way, guys. I’ll take you all out to dinner when I do it.

• I’ve been discovering that I’m not a very patient person. More on that later.

• My computer went kaput and I deleted my photography business. Which is a good thing, considering I now have had no way to edit pictures.

• I’ve also decided to start deleting people who try to suck my joy away. I call them Joy-Suckers. You know the type. They can’t let you enjoy anything without saying something negative. Like when you are happy that it’s snowing and the Joy-Suckers proceed to make fun of Texans and what they think snow is and how they behave in the snow and how no snow is as good as the snobbity Joy-Sucking snow in other places. The thing is, I am a really nice person. I really am. And I like most everybody in this world. But I have decided that I have no more patience for Joy-Suckers. From now on, when they try to suck my joy, I’m going to point my finger in their face and say, “YOU are a Joy-Sucker.” Then I’m going to fan all five fingers out while making a circular motion in the air while saying, “Therefore, I delete you.” And that shall be that.

• I realized that beef stroganoff and refrigerated orange biscuits make kids just as happy as the snobbity meals I used to make. Maybe happier. Because a ten year old can help open cans of refrigerated orange biscuits. And ten year olds want nothing more than to help. And when you’re someone who’s lacking in the patience fruit, you don’t really foster an environment of letting ten year olds help when you’re making snobbity meals. And when your heart breaks sometimes because you worry that going back to work may make your ten year old baby feel abandoned by you, it’s these little moments of pure joy that make you realize everything will be okay. Working side by side in the kitchen after work, opening cans and stirring the beef stroganoff. No patience required. And it will mean the world to her. And I can still make the snobbity meals on Saturdays. I think I’ll even welcome the help more than I used to. I have come to understand the value of teaching in a new way. It sure has made me thankful for my very patient husband who has undertaken the girls’ education in a way that puts me to shame. I admire him greatly and am thankful once again for the unforeseen goodness that yet another difficult change brought.

I guess that’s enough for my comeback post.

No, wait. I’ll end with my two cents of parenting advice for parents of teenagers:

When you get home from some place and you say the thing you’ve always said to the carload of children (teenage and otherwise) the second that you take the keys out of the ignition: EVERYBODY GO TO BED; your teenage daughter might not take it as the joke that it was intended to be. She might glare at you and roll her eyes. And when you ask her why she’s rolling her eyes at you, she might say, “Because you never ask anything nicely. You could at least say please.” That’s when you should tell her that you never say please when you’re joking. That will probably not go over well and your husband might start singing 80’s praise songs to you like “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord,” and your daughter might start going down the list of all the times you didn’t say please. In this situation, here’s what I advise: Spend the rest of the evening chasing her around and hugging her while saying “I love you please.” Throw in a couple high kicks that connect with her rear end while saying, “Can I kick your butt, please?” And back her into corners while kissing her cheeks and saying, “You’re the best daughter in the world, please. I’m so glad you’re mine, please.” She’ll end up whimpering with both arms over her face, “Dad! She’s scaring me!”

It will make for great fun to be had by all.

That’s it. That’s all I got. If I can come up with at least one more post in 2011, I promise I’ll update my “About” page.