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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vacuuming Karma

When I was a kid we had chores. We actually had a lot of chores - which were solidified into permanence with the chore charts my mother hung on the wall. There were inside chores and outside chores, and as far as the inside chores went, we each had certain things that were "our" chore. I suppose you could say Mom had us specialize. For instance, Laura (age ten) mopped the kitchen floor and cleaned the upstairs bathroom, and I (age eight) vacuumed the living room and dusted. (I don't have any recollection of what Annie did, but I'm assuming she must have had to do something).

Anyhow, when it came to vacuuming I definitely specialized. As in, I vacuumed in a very special way. And might I just add that it had nothing to do with how well or quickly I did the job. My specialty was in style.

Every Thursday (i.e., vacuuming day) I would come home from school (Mom was usually still at work) and get ready to vacuum. Eagerly, I would hurry into the living room, sort through the records and make my selection - "Million Dollar Sellers Vol. (1,2, or 3, I can't remember)" side Two. Straight out of the 1950's, these were some rockin' songs. Songs like "The Wheel of Fortune" "Mule Train" and "Three Coins in the Fountain". As noted, we had three volumes - which translates into six sides - and I always vacuumed to the same record, side two.

It usually took me at least three renditions of "Wheel of Fortune" (using the vacuum as a microphone, of course), and a couple rousing trips through "Wild Goose" (or whatever the official title of that one is), and at least a few repeats of "The People of Paris".

These were all performance numbers, by the way. I had routines. I danced, lip synced, and/or sang my way through the entire record - sometimes twice - before I considered the job done. It took me a really, really, really long time to vacuum the living room.

And I relished every second of it.

And I have no doubt that had my mother been home to witness this recital, she would have gone mad watching me and wondered (and possibly yelled about) how long it took me to finish vacuuming.

Today I told N (my eight year old) to vacuum. I want you to know that every single time I came in the room and found him standing in front of the mirror vacuuming up his lower lip whilst making strange noises (which got even stranger as they echoed out of the vacuum), I tried to have patience. I pictured myself waltzing around the living room with the vacuum extension (which wasn't even hooked to the hose half the time), and I took a few deep breaths.

And then - in my most patient mother-voice - I would say, "Um, do you think you could do a little vacuuming?"

I love that kid.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What If I Posted Something on My Blog??

So, I'm up here at my mother's house looking at my very neglected blog, and I'm wondering. What would happen if after almost an entire month I were to post something?

For instance, what if I decided to inform Blogland that my husband finally got a job? Or that it ended yesterday, but he has another one coming up in a week? Would anyone even care that he'll spend the entire summer driving at least five hours a day in a car with no air conditioning?

Maybe people would assume that thanks to our state of employment I am now saving for a computer.

Unfortunately, this would not be a correct assumption. Often times when large, critical pieces of information are missing we make these incorrect assumptions, so I forgive any of you who may be guilty of this. How could you possibly know about the vacation I locked my family into back in February? This would be the one where Annie called me and practically forced me to take a seven day opening at a two bedroom condo half a mile from Disneyland for $250 for this coming October.

Of course in February we had a job. And a computer - which is why none of you know about this vacation. At the time, my husband was known to occasionally glance at my blog, so I didn't dare mention the vacation I locked us into without telling him. Now, however, since we're computerless and there's no chance he'll ever see my blog, I can tell you.

That's right, he still doesn' know. At the time, seeing how he hates Disneyland, hates crowds, hates flying, and loves taking a week off every Fall to go elk hunting (which he will be foregoing in favor of our California adventure), I decided back in February that it would be better if I didn't tell him until I purchased our plane tickets and there was no way out.

Then came the layoff. And now, although we may be currently employed, due to the hit our finances have taken I'm not sure now is the time to lay it all on him. Especially since I just purchased five non-refundable plane tickets, and five four day hopper passes to Disneyland.

Possibly it would have been much wiser to take the loss on the $250 for the condo, but somehow I just couldn't stop myself. As a family, we have never taken any real vacations. We have no debt but our house, and sink most of the spendable portion of our tax return into fixing the house. And now my oldest is ten, and I'm feeling a bit desperate. I want this vacation. I'm determined to do it, and one way or another I will make it work.

But when do I have to tell him? I thought waiting until it was fully paid for would be a good idea, so meanwhile I'm prepping him with conversations like:

Me: Wouldn't it be fun to take the kids to Disneyland?

Him: No.

Me: Why not?

Him: Disneyland is dumb. Besides, it would cost a fortune.

Me (carefully sidestepping the issue of cost): Seriously honey, you would have fun! We really should just take a week and go to Disneyland.

Him: A week?!? What would we do there for a week? I mean we only need one day to go to Disneyland.

So do you see the kind of progress I'm making? It might not seem like much to the pessimists out there, but to me we're making some significant gains here. Did he not just say he'd go there for a day? This is progress. Pure, unadulterated forward progression.

Maybe I just won't tell him till we board the plane - you know, "Surprise! We're taking a complimentary airplane ride! I wonder where they're taking us?" or something like that. It could work...

Right?