Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mown

Today we had our first mow of the season. I'm not sure it was necessary yet, but there was something comforting about hearing the mowers race around the yard. Because summer is fast-approaching.

We don't have a very big yard, but we've always mown it ourselves. (I use the Royal "we" here because I have never actually touched a mower. But as a household, we've always done our own maintenance.) I can't remember how many lawn mowers we've gone through but in 40 plus years there have been quite a few. In the last few years that my husband was mowing he made it into a two part job, doing the front one day and the rear the next. He always used a push mower because without a garage we don't have room for a ride-on mower. Then three years ago our daughter announced she was getting someone to do the lawn for us and we've been enjoying that luxury ever since.

So today, with two ride-on mowers racing around the front and back yards at the same time, it took less than ten minutes before it was done. And once again the truth has been realized: it's all about the tools. In so many ways...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wishes

My daughter took my grandson in to NYC today for a dance class and a show. Listening to their plans being made and carried out has made me reflect on some of the things I wish I could have done in my life. As with everyone else in the world, various things restrict what we can experience, accomplish, or make happen. Finances were always a consideration for us, as well as things like geographical restrictions and other things. Many were life choices and no one's fault, but regardless, not all the things we want to do or see, can be.

Here are some of the things I think about:
I wish I could have gone in and out of NYC and given my children (and myself) more experiences there.
I wish I could have immersed myself in art-with a studio and supplies, etc
I wish I could have given my children more life-experiences.
I wish I could have traveled more extensively.
I wish I could have done more for the charities I care deeply about.
I wish I could have been a more forceful person and accomplished more for the good of my community
I wish I had completed college.
I wish I could have been a better role model for my children.
I wish I could have been the kind of wife that engenders the devotion of a husband for
ever.
I wish I could have been a better Christian.
I wish I could have been more frugal and saved for our later years.

That's a partial list. There are always wishes that come to mind. But here's the thing. I don't really have regrets. I don't dwell on the things I didn't have or couldn't do. Because I've had a wonderful life. I have four amazing children, married to four great people, giving me ten fabulous grandchildren. And how could I do better than that? So there are things I wish I could have experienced, but in the grand scheme of things, life is just fine the way it is.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Expectations

I was struck by how our expectations color our opinions about things that happen to us every day.

Today I was following a crazy schedule and was going from one place to another on an hourly basis. From Southampton to East Hampton, I moved between venues getting things done. At one point I realized I would have about twenty minutes to grab something to eat and then get to my next place so I immediately came up with a plan. I would grab a sandwich and a cookie at my favorite take-out spot, drive to the beach to eat, and then go straight to my next stop.

As I left the place before my short break, I headed to the shop. As I turned into Newtown Lane I recognized immediately that my plan was not going to pan out. The pavers were at work along the entire length of the street. I wound around the cones, carefully following the directions motioned by the workers in charge of traffic control. As I approached the place I wanted to grab my sandwich I could see there was no place to park and the paving trucks would completely block me from parking anyplace nearby.

I sadly headed home to try to find a quick lunch but my mind was so set on that particular sandwich, I could already taste it. Nothing else was going to suffice. Sure enough, I saw nothing in the fridge or cupboards that appealed to me-nothing was going to fill the place I had already planned for that meal at the beach.

I shoved something in my mouth to stave off the hunger and left to head off to the next appointment. I thought about the sandwich that elusive sandwich the rest of the afternoon.

Sometimes it's best not to think ahead too much, lest we set ourselves up for disappointment. If I hadn't, a tuna sandwich would have been just fine.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kids

It was a typical Monday here-babysitting day-with one exception. Instead of the usual three kids (a 2-year-old and 3-year-old twins), there were 4, because it's a school holiday week and our 6-year-old granddaughter also needed a place to go. Interestingly enough, having one more here actually made for an easier day.

The dynamics of a family, or multiple children/people together, have always fascinated me. Each new child added to a group means multiple new relationships, as each seperate child forms a new relationship with the new addition, whether we're talking about a new sibling or a new member of a class or other group. So the dynamics can become complicated rather quickly. In this case however, it truly did simplify matters. Because the new addition, being quite a bit older than the others, became a leader, an authority figure if you will, that the younger ones were more than happy to follow. She organized them into various types of play, becoming "teacher and students", or "mother and babies" or even "kittens and owner".  The young ones were more than happy to play their roles. Not once did the younger ones ask me to do the usual Monday things, like doing puzzles with them, giving them crayons and coloring books, or playing a game with them. They were incredibly content to play among themselves, happy to have someone who would come up with things for them to do and more than glad to simply follow the leader.

I enjoyed the break from the usually demanding Monday activities. And I was fascinated by the change in the dynamic relationships all around. We humans are truly interesting creatures, aren't we?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Firsts

Today was our first Sunday afternoon out on the back deck.

It's been a great week. It's been sunny and warm, but there was still a nip in the air every day. But today the sun was bright and warm and we were able to sit out on the deck for lunch. It was really a perfect day for me. It was chilly enough to need my flannel shirt on, but warm enough to enjoy the bright sunshine and watch the kids play out in the yard. A quick inspection of the play set revealed a few rotting boards so the rope climb and ladder were removed and the swings were put to good use. Adults sat and socialized while kids made use of the yard, all green and fresh in the afternoon light.

It was a taste of the best of summer. It was a glimpse of good times to come. And to me, it was a reminder that at any time, life can change. And we need to savor every moment of it. Especially picture perfect ones like this very special day.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chores


It was a rainy morning when we got out of bed and there were blessedly no meetings or events on our calendar so we got ourselves together at a leisurely pace and set about doing some projects. For me it was wrapping some Christmas gifts. I've done some shopping over the past few months and the boxes were beginning to accumulate so I needed to get things organized. I wrapped ten gifts, write them down in the file so is remember what I had, and then get them up in the attic, not to see the light again until December 24th. I still have plenty of shopping to do-thus it is with a large family-but today I took a little chunk out of that duty.

My husband, on the other hand, chose the kitchen for his work room. He had recently ordered four wooden benches for the back yard to go with the yard sale table we found for extra seating when the whole family is here. They came knocked down and had to be assembled, so one at a time he opened the flat boxes and put them together. They're nice looking and were reasonably priced, and we were both pleased with the finished product.

By late morning the rain had subsided and we were able to get the benches outside and hit the road for some errands. We're going out locally with friends for dinner so this afternoon I baked a cake for tomorrow's lunch with family and stretched out on the couch for a bit of  relaxation. It's been a nice day, really. Saturday's are often hectic and full for us so this was a pleasant change from the norm. Sometimes it's nice to just have a day to play catch-up, and this was one of those.

Chores need to be done. But relaxation is also good for the soul.

Friday, April 22, 2016

And more

As I sit here I feel like a virtual prisoner in my house while the driveway continues to be worked on. The machines are busy delivering and moving around stone and dirt, and the voices of those working full the air despite the closed Windows which are (hopefully) keeping out the dust. My car is over in the neighbor's parking area and going anywhere means working my way around the work area, across  their yard, and over to the other drive. Not a huge walk but dodging tree limbs and traipsing through dirt and gravel make it a bit of an ordeal. My shoes dragged lots of stuff in with them when I made the effort to go and come earlier today. In short, it's a mess.

Our driveway is not all that big. It's only the length of the house and the house is not far off the street, so I find myself wondering what it must be like when folks redo their very long driveways leading to their grand homes in other areas of the village. This project is taking at least two days, perhaps three, so I imagine other people being under construction with their driveways for over a week.

We've never built a house and I'm not sure I'd want to. As exciting it might be to have all new building materials and fresh appliances, not to mention being able to design the space of my dreams, the trade off of dealing with construction is not worth it.

I'm crossing my fingers that they're done today. But we shall see.