Friday, March 30, 2012

Part 2: How did I get here?

So we are up to 1990-ish.  So there I was, sitting in the English chairperson's office.  I really was just doing this to appease my dad.  I mean, I was accepted and everything at University of Utah.  But one of the reasons that I was even going back to school was that I had recently met someone who was working for WordPerfect (Anybody else remember when WordPerfect was king?).  She said she was working as a technical writer.  I asked her what she did, and I thought it sounded like something that I would like. I asked her what she got her degree in and she said English.  I already had taken a couple classes towards a degree in English, so I might as well start back at that, so that's what I planned to major in at University of Utah.

The chair comes in and we exchange pleasantries and then he offers to give me a tour of some of the classrooms.  And then he said "I hear that you are interested in technical writing.  We have two professors here that specialize in technical writing and we allow undergrads to take most of the technical writing classes." And then we went and talked to one of the technical writing professors.  And then we walked around campus.  And I didn't get that nagging feeling.  It felt right. 

So I went back and undid my acceptance at University of Utah and wound up things at my job.  And you know, I must have drove my car from Utah to Illinois, but I have absolutely no recollection of that.  I do know that I didn't have much when I got here.  It was amazing.  I was a 25 year old adult that had been on her own for years and yet, I could get everything I owned in a 4 door hatchback. 

And so I came to Illinois State University and I spent the next two years, from 1991 to 1993, mostly happy.  I met some wonderful young adults at church and we would hang out at Denny's most Fridays nights.   In fact, before my sister moved here a year later, this included hanging out often with my now-brother in law.  :) (We even went on a date once.  Well, we went to a movie.  And even then, before he even met my sister, it was like dating my brother.)

Oh, and another sort of funny about this time.  I often went to the university library computer lab to type my papers.  There were two guys that were on staff there that were often there when I was.  One of them, years later, was my boss when I was a trainer, and the other one was Mr. Simple.  I remembered my boss was one of the workers, but I have no real recollection of Mr. Simple from those days beyond the fact that I do remember that there were two guys there. 

And so I graduated in 1993 and got a job as a technical writer in downtown Chicago.  I lived out in the suburbs and I took the train in.  I felt like I'd arrived.  Well, sort of.  Because I was originally hired as an summer intern, and then I was hired as a consultant.  My hourly rate was uh, not that great.  But I really liked my job and I hoped that I would get hired as a regular employee.  But a year went by and they still hadn't hired me on.  I didn't feel brave enough yet to try and get another technical writing job in Chicago, so I decided to go back to graduate school in technical writing. 

I applied to and got accepted at University of Southern California, Rennselaer University, and Illinois State University.  ISU was definitely my third choice - just because I'd been there/done that and wanted to experience something new.  But this time, I followed the money.  ISU was the only one to offer me a scholarship and an assistantship with a stipend.  So I went.  And I decided to live in the graduate dorms.  I wanted to have a room of my own, but I wanted to be close to campus. 

So August 19th, 1994, I was moving in to the dorms and this cute boy holds the door open for me.  It was Mr. Simple. 

He lived in the dorms too, and he was an English grad student too.  All of the English grad students started hanging out both at the dorms and outside of the dorms.  And here's where things started to fall apart again.  I was unhappy with the program.  And to be honest, I was a little overwhelmed.  I'd always been a great student, but I'd never had to think critically.  And now I did. So I turned to my old stand-by: alcohol.  I drank almost every night. At least this time, it was with friends.  We just walked to and from the bars and so there was that too.  But this time, it was worse in some ways too.  I was drinking to the point of blacking out - two or three times a week.  And by November, I was dating Mr. Simple.  I stopped drinking for good, thankfully, by February of 1995, and I also, after 14 years, stopped my eating disorder.  And I also got engaged to Mr. Simple.  At this point, I knew that I wouldn't finish my masters in English, at least not at Illinois State University.  On August 19th, 1995, a year to the day after I met him, I married Mr. Simple.  We married at a church here in this city, and had our reception at the ballroom in the student center at ISU. 

We moved into an apartment across town.  Mr. Simple was finishing up his last year of his masters.  We were in that bad car accident.  I was working as a receptionist.  We were poor.  And then, in April of 1996, I got an e-mail from my boss from my job in Chicago and he wanted to offer me a full-time position.  And we went. 

We lived in the suburbs and I took the train in, again.  It was great, mostly.  Except that Mr. Simple was working as a technical writer for a totally different company and didn't like it.  We missed our friends and family that lived here.  We didn't see each other that much because I had an hour train ride from downtown to our apartment. 

So we started looking for jobs back in central Illinois.  I got a job first - as a technical writer for a company in Springfield and started working there in late 1997.  After a month or so, Mr. Simple got a job as a news reporter for a radio station in Decatur (He got his bachelors in broadcast communications.)  And after a few months, he was promoted to news director and we had to move to Decatur.  My job was fine, but I was not.  I'd had my first miscarriage shortly after we moved to Springfield and had spent all of 1998 depressed and just wanting to get pregnant again.  I was obsessed, to put it mildly.

Oh, and that boss of mine? The one that worked with Mr. Simple at the Library? When I started dating Mr. Simple, I realized that they were good friends.  He now worked at ISU and he ran the computer training program.  It was now February of 1999.  I was newly pregnant with Flower.  And my husband's friend had decided he needed someone who could write training curriculum and maybe teach a class or two.  He called me and asked if I might be interested in applying.  I was, and I did.  And I got it.  Mr. Simple got a job as a news reporter at a radio station in Bloomington.  (He wouldn't do this long.  By the time Flower was two months old, Mr. Simple would have a job as the public safety officer at the fire department - a job he held for over 10 years.)

We moved to a two bedroom condo in this city in 1999. And moved to our home in this city in 2002.  Flower was born in 1999.  Jelly Bean was born in 2001. Super was born in 2004.  And Christopher was born and died in 2008.  He is buried at a cemetery here.  My children were all born at the same hospital.  My (living) children have all gone to the same elementary school.  I have friends that I've known since I've moved here in 1991, and many friends that I met when we moved back here in 1999.  I went back to school, at ISU of course, and finished my masters degree in 2005.  Not in English, but in Training and Development. I opened my preschool here. We've seen many, many houses built here since 1999.  We've seen buildings torn down and buildings built on campus.  At some point or another, every member of my family: my parents, my older brother, my sister, and my younger brother, have lived in this city.  I worked as a trainer here for almost 5 years.  I opened my preschool here.  I started living a simpler life here.  I started doing Simply Living In The City here.  I have lived, and not just resided but really experienced life, for almost half of my life in this city.  There were many times that I thought that I might want to move.  Far away.  Have a new adventure in Montana.  Or Texas. Or Vermont.  But Mr. Simple wanted to stay here.  And so we stayed.  And as the years have gone by, I've learned that, if I was going to pick a place to live for 20+ years, Bloomington/Normal, Illinois is a very good place to be.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Christopher!

It was Christopher's 4th birthday yesterday.  We went to the cemetery and we left him flowers, a wooden train caboose, a number 4 candle, and we released 4 balloons.  This year, I didn't cry when we were there.  I still remember him and I still wish things had been different, but I'm getting to a place where I'm almost accepting it. 

Happy 4th Birthday Christopher! We love you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How did I get here?

Not in the figurative sense.  In the literal sense.  Like how in the world did I end up living in central Illinois for most of the last 20 years? Well, here goes.

I was born in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan.  My dad was working for Ford Motor Company at the time (mid 1960s.) My parents had married in 1964 - February 14th to be exact, and I think right after they got married, they moved to Detroit.  My dad was in management, having recently finished his masters in business at University of Illinois.  (Oh, just as an aside, I love the show Mad Men, and I always envision that things were sort of like that at Ford when my dad was working there.)  And despite my mother being told by her doctor that she would never have any children, my older brother was born in January of 1965, and I was born in the summer of 1966.  We stayed in Detroit until 1968 and then we moved to Champaign, Illinois so that my dad could do his PhD (in Organizational Behavior.) I remember my mom typing on my father's dissertation for HOURS.  I went to nursery school there (we didn't call it preschool yet) and kindergarten and first grade. (Oh, my sister was born in Champaign in 1970.) My dad told us that summer after first grade that we were moving to Lincoln, Nebraska because he had got a job as a professor in organizational behavior.  (When I was a kid, I could never remember/pronounce organizational behavior.  I just said that he taught at the university.)

We moved during the summer of 1972.  We moved into a split-level with green shag carpet on the top level and blue shag carpet on the bottom level.  I shared a room with my sister for the first year or so, but finally, my dad couldn't stand the fighting between us, and he built me a room at the end of our enormous family room.  (It was HUGE - because my room was about 12 x 14 with a very large walk-in closet.  I have no idea how big the room was before he put the room in, but it was HUGE. Did I mention that?)  I went to school at this fantastic, totally 70s, elementary school.  Everything was very, very individualized.  I thrived with that type of curriculum.  They also strongly encouraged anything creative - music, art, writing, etc. I loved that school.  I attended that school from second grade until the November of my 6th grade year.  This was before 6th grade moved to "middle school" and so it was still in elementary.  My parents had decided that they wanted to have a bigger yard and they wanted us to attended the "new" junior high and high school and that was on the other side of town, so we moved.  (Oh, my youngest brother was born in January of 1977 and this was November of 1977. Oh, and after a year or two of teaching, my dad became an independent management consultant.  He travelled extensively and worked for very large organizations teaching them about organizational behavior and organizational change.)

Our house was bigger and the yard was HUGE.  I hated my school.  It was a lovely school, I'm sure, but very traditional.  They didn't know what to do with me.  I was at least two grades ahead in all subjects.  So they just put me in regular classes and made me turn in work that I was way past.  I was bored and angry that we had moved away from all my friends.  But I had a friend from church, and we started hanging out, and I started to become friends with her friends, and I wasn't so lonely. I still hated my classes though. 

I went to the junior high and high school and graduated in 1984.  (Yes, that is almost 30 years ago.  I'm SO old.) I was a very good student and I had excelled in science in high school, and I scored a perfect score on my ACTs in science (with a high score on the others.) I applied to 3 colleges - University of Nebraska, Boston College, and Brigham Young University.  I got a full scholarship offer to University of Nebraska, a 4 year tuition scholarship offer to Boston College, and no scholarship offer to BYU.  So, of course, I picked BYU.  (I have told my children that if they get a scholarship, TAKE IT!) I was very excited to go far away to school.  I signed up to live in the dorms as soon as I could. And then, in July, my dad told us that he had decided to take a job as a Vice President at a university.  Which university? Brigham Young University. 

So even though my parents ended up living just miles from campus, I still kept my plans and moved into the dorms.  I did a year at Brigham Young University.  The Boy died 3 weeks into my freshman year and I just never quite recovered that whole year.  (This is when I was a microbiology major.) And it just didn't seem like a good fit for me. 

So for my sophomore year, I decided to go to Dixie College and study Creative Writing.  The school was a good fit for me at the time, but after a year, it seemed too small, and despite my excellent grades, I was self-destructing at a scary pace, and I knew I needed to move on.  Or in my case, back to Provo. 

And so began the "lost years" - I spent the next few years - signing up for and dropping classes at BYU.  And taking a few classes at the local community college.  I changed my major several times - English, Spanish, Communications.  I had an eating disorder that had started when I was 15 and I was hospitalized when I was 16.  But things really didn't get a lot better, I just got better at hiding it.  For awhile.  And then, I didn't.  I was hospitalized again when I was 20.  I remember I spent Christmas in the hospital that year.  And then I got out and was working odd jobs and wandering and wondering if this was all there was to life. 

And to be honest, I spent time drinking.  Heavily.  But I would never drive drunk.  No, I would wait until my roommates left for the evening and drink for an hour or two, take my empties out to the dumpster, and then go to bed.  No one had any idea.  This wasn't the first time that I had turned to alcohol.  From the time I was 15, I would drink off and on (always until I was terribly drunk) and during my senior year of high school, I had drank most weekends for the first few months of the year. Oh,and during my entire year down at Dixie College.

But at some point, it was getting difficult to afford things, and alcohol, and I'd decided that I just wasn't the college type.  So I decided to get a job.  I hadn't finished college, and so my options were limited, but I could type well.  I saw a job listed in the paper for a Records Clerk at the police department.  And so applied.  And got it. 

I was still drinking every night for the first few months that I worked there, but I had become friends with one of the officers and one day, he showed up after my roommates had left.  He said that he had a feeling that he would find me like that.  He said that it wasn't worth it.  He said that I had my life ahead of me and that whatever was hurting me so much wasn't going to be helped by drinking.  (I didn't agree with him at the time.  I had been depressed for most of the 3 or 4 years before this and couldn't see that my life would ever get any better.) But there was something about the way he said it (well, and the fact that he kept tabs on me for the next couple months) were enough to break the cycle.  Well, at least for a few years, but more on that later. 

And I worked there for the next few years.  I slowly got a little happier.  Not a lot, but a little. My dad told me that they (my parents and my youngest brother) were moving to Bloomington, Illinois.  My dad had accepted a position as the chair of the Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University.  It never really crossed my mind to move with them.  I visited once or twice a year for the next couple years. 

But by now, I was starting to wonder if working at a police department was all I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  And I decided I wanted to finish my degree.  But I didn't want to finish at BYU.  I wanted to start somewhere fresh. I decided to meet with someone from the English department at University of Utah.  I applied and I was accepted.  I went to meet with my advisor and I took a tour of the campus.  I loved it.  But something was nagging at me.  I figured that it was just the fact that I was back on a campus again.  I was going to start the next semester.  Meanwhile, I had a visit scheduled to see my parents.  So I went back, and while I was there, my dad said something about me going to the University of Utah (which, by the way, is where he got HIS bachelors degree) and he said "I think you would like it there, but I think you should check out the English department here.  I think you might like it.  Oh, and I've arranged a meeting with the chair.  Tomorrow morning."

Well, this is long enough for one post.  I'll do part 2 in a few days. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

To Mr. Simple:

You may have noticed that I rarely mention Mr. Simple on the blog.  There have been a variety of reasons for that over the years.

First of all, Mr. Simple isn't, well, all that simple.  I mean, he is to a certain point, but if he was living in this house all by himself, this probably isn't the way that he would live.  But he mostly goes along with it and doesn't roll his eyes.  Much.

Second, he isn't really a big "public" sort of guy.  Well, that's not entirely true since he has done local sport broadcasting, both on TV and radio, for the last 10 years.  He also was the public safety officer for the city's fire department for 10 years.  Everywhere we go, he runs into someone that he knows. But knowing someone's name and being able to chit-chat with them is one thing.  Having me blog about him is another. (Of course, you may have noticed that I am, uh, blogging about him.)

Third, and I'm keeping it real here, things haven't always beeen super-duper fantabulous between Mr. Simple and I.  We have been married for almost 17 years, but there have been a couple of rather large bumps.  I always just posted here about me, or about the kids, or simple living, because it was easier and less messy and embarrassing than talking about my marriage. 

I love Mr. Simple and I always will.  But we met and married in a huge whirlwind and we came from very different backgrounds.  Fairly early on, we both felt that we weren't all that compatible. Add to that all the stress over the years - stress of infertility, job loss, miscarriage, family, different backgrounds and other things, well, let's just say that we struggled.  And I didn't think we would make it.

And then, quietly, slowly, we found each other again.  And we also discovered that over the years, we had become compatible.  And we discovered not only that we were compatible, but we were friends.  We were truly "best friends."  We had come to the point that we loved each other for so many things - the things that only the two of us had shared: the funny, the embarrassing, the tragic.  We loved because we knew how to make each other laugh.  We were each the person that we always thought of first to tell about something.  We loved each other because we didn't want to lose each other.  We loved each other because we made this family together and we wanted to keep it together.

And so this is for you Mr. Simple.  I love you.  (He is cringing right now.  We are so not the gushing PDA type.) Thank you for being my husband.  I am a better person because I have been your wife. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What I could have been

if only, sometimes, in my mind. I have always been sort of imaginative.  I spent a large portion of my early childhood imagining/creating something or another. 

From the time that I was in 2nd grade until I was in 6th grade, I came home for lunch from school on most days, and so I'd run the whole 4 blocks from school to home.  (In retrospect, I don't know that I'd let my child leave school and be unattended for even 4 blocks, but it was the 70s.) Anyway, most of the time, I'd imagine that I was an Olympic track star running a race, and I'd always come in first.  (I did run track in high school, and long distances when I was in my early 20s, but I never approached Olympic levels.)

My other favorite thing was to pretend that I was actually a witch.  You have to remember that I was a child of 70s, and so Bewitched (and I Dream of Jeannie) were in reruns after school, so when I imagined being a witch, I imagined being a kid version of Samantha.  I'd look at a leaf and whisper for it to move, and most of the time, just like magic, the wind would carry the leaf off somewhere.  I could make birds fly from trees too pretty often.  :)

I was also very into creating musical numbers.  I was forever putting my parents LPs on the stereo and making up my own choreography.  I was brilliant, I tell you.  :) I was even able to come up with an amazing routine for the Disney Winnie The Pooh record we had.  I was also in tap and ballet at the time, and would sometimes make up MUCH more interesting choreography (in my head) than my dance teacher made for our routines.  My teacher didn't quite appreciate it when I wasn't paying attention because I was too busy thinking of my own routines.  Or worse, when I would start dancing my routines instead.

And then, of course, there was my writing.  I spent HOURS and HOURS of my child writing.  I'd write poems and stories mostly.  Sometimes I'd write lyrics for a song and since I was in piano, well, OF COURSE, I wrote the music too.  My writing did get noticed by the adults in my world.  I am sure it was just simple, sweet kid stuff, but some teachers did think that I was pretty talented way back then.  I won several awards in school for my writing when I was a child.  My parents told their friends about what a good writer I was, and so now, I still get them asking "Are you still writing? You were so good (when you were 6!)" Of course, none of these same adults, and slightly less so with my parents, really considered my technical writing actually "writing."  They just thought that I was a computer expert (which I wasn't.  Well, maybe a just little bit more than the average person, but that was because I started doing computer documentation back in the early 90s.)

And then there was science.  I loved to write and I loved to read, but what really got me going was SCIENCE.  I loved everything about it.  I loved learning about it.  I loved talking about it.  I loved doing it.  And then when I went to junior high and high school, I took every course that I could that related to science.  As soon as I knew what a microbiologist was, I decided that that is what I wanted to do when I grew up.  (I did, actually, start college with my degree as microbiology. But Organic Chemistry 2 did me in.  I just couldn't seem to quite understand it and since I'd rather change my major than fail, switch I did.  Of course, not to English right off.  That would have been too easy. :) )

But teaching? Being a Mom? Training? Creating a business? Yea, I don't remember EVER imagining those things.  Not even the mom thing.  I was not exactly a girly-girl.  My older brother was 18 months older than me, and my younger sister didn't come along for 4 years after I was born, so my and my brother hung out all the time when we were kids.  I was way more into STP cars than I was into dolls.  And by the time I was in my early 20s, I figured that I was going to just have a career; not get married, and not have kids.  I did briefly entertain becoming a high school English teacher when I was in college, and I went to my student teaching orientation meeting, where we sat in on an English class, and that was enough for me to decide that I didn't want to teach.  And my dad was the one who created a business.  That wouldn't be what I would do.

I am glad (and it is probably for the best too!) that I didn't end up any of the things that I imagined as a child.  What I have been in the past 20 years really feels what is RIGHT for me.  It feels like it fits.  Teaching, training, technical writing, being a mom.  All those things make me smile.  Well, most of the time.  Although, it is too bad that you couldn't have seen my moves back in the day. Or not.  :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Do I complain a lot?

I'm never quite sure how I come off here anyway - I don't know if I come off as whiny, pathetic, or or as a know-it-all, or like I have perfect kids, or that I'm totally Mrs. Simple extraordinaire, or what (for the record, I hope I don't come off like any of that.)

But I'm talking a little bit more like in real life, and I am wondering if I complain a lot.  And some of my readers know me, and maybe could answer that because I do tend to be fairly "real" around my friends, but perhaps maybe I don't complain as much around them as I do as say, around The Simple Family.

Because one of the members of The Simple Family, who shall remain nameless, did say something that perhaps I complained a little more than necessary.

And so I've been thinking about it.

Do I?

And how much is too much?

And what is o.k. to complain about?

Is it o.k. to complain about money when we are getting food on the table, mortgage and utilities paid, clothes on our backs, and we go out to dinner every now and again?

Is it o.k. to complain about my childrens' school situation when they are getting core classes covered, and they have good teachers and they are getting good grades?

Is it o.k. to complain about my house when we aren't underwater at all, when we have equity, when we have 4 bedrooms, and 2100 square feet of livable space?

Is it o.k. to complain about my health when all my limbs work, I can see, I can hear, and I can think, and I don't have any condition that prevents me from carrying on a "normal" life?

Is it o.k. to complain about feeling lonely when I have friends?

Is it o.k. to complain about feeling like I'm starting my career all over when I was the one who chose to go to part time (which led to my layoff)? And I'm the one who continued to chose to do preschool/daycare so that I could be home much of the time with my kids? So that I could homeschool?

I don't know.  So I'm going to try and think before I complain.  I'm going to try and decide how much I really complain.  And I'm going to try and see what I'm complaining about that most.  And perhaps, by looking at what I complain the most about, then maybe I can look to see if there is anything that I can do to change it.

There are things that I know I can't really change.  Except maybe my attitude.  And I'll work on that too.  Although that may be the hardest at all.  I'd much rather complain about things that I can't change than accept that I can't change it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I mean, I really do like reorganizing stuff, but

It is about to get to a RIDICULOUS amount here at the Simply House.  And the worst part, for someone like me, is that it is also going to involve having to have some rooms be a little bit undone while we get some money together from jobs/tax return/selling stuff, etc. But it IS almost spring, and so I guess I'll reorganize instead of clean this year.
But anyway, here is what is going to be happening in the Simple House, room by room:

Living Room - a major reorg.  I'm selling almost everything that is currently in that room since it was the former home of Montgomery Academy preschool/daycare.  I'm keeping the rocker (although it may/may not stay in the room) and the electric fireplace.  We might use some existing furniture in here, but more likely, it will mostly be new, but I don't know what we have in there yet.  But some seating for sure.  And new cubbies for sure. 

Dining Room - a major reorg.  The art cabinet is going downstairs to the family room.  The curio cabinet will probably go to the living room.  The table will go downstairs to the family room for the new art/game table.  Hopefully sometime soon, I will get an island like this one and put that in the corner of the dining room so that I can do my mixing in my larger dining room instead trying to do it on the counter in my very small kitchen.  Room needs to be painted and I need new curtains for this room. 

Kitchen - well, not a reorg exactly, but we are getting new appliances soon.  I've decided against the refrigerator for right now.  So new range, dishwasher, and microwave. 

Upstairs Bathroom - minor reorg.  I need new towels and I'd like to put some drawer pulls and cabinet knobs on the vanity.  It would be GREAT to get a new toilet, but that probably won't happen.  Room desperately needs to be painted. 

Master Bedroom - very minor reorg.  lower down on the priority list, but it would be nice to replace the mattress in that bedroom.  Definitely need a new roller shade.  Would be nice to get new bedding. 

Laundry "Room" (it is actually in a large closet in the upstairs hallway) - undecided, and lower down on the priority list, but I'd like to unstack the washer and dryer and put them side by side and put a counter over them for folding, etc. and getting a shelf or a cabinet for laundry/cleaning supplies. 

Super's Bedroom - major reorg.  Maybe.  Or if I get too tired, there may be no reorganizing in his room at all.  But if I do, moving both of his beds downstairs - one to the girls' room and one to my studio and moving the girls' bunkbed from downstairs to his room.  And since his main bed is a captain's bed, I would also have to buy/find, etc. a dresser for him.  He needs some new kind of window treatment.  Right now, he has aluminum blinds that have seen way better days.

Stairwell - I desperately need to hang some pictures or something in the stairwell.  I've planned to forever and haven't got to it, and I figure that now is as good of a time as any.

Family Room - I already did a reorg here, but this room will get some furniture moved here.  The art cabinet from the dining room is coming down here, as well as the eating table from the dining room (which will become the game/art table.)  The card table is going to the trash, and I'm selling/throwing out a couple extra end tables that are currently in the family room. I also would love to get a new recliner for down here, but it isn't in the budget right now.  The rocker from the living room may end up down here.  This room needs to be painted. 

Two big storage closets in the Family Room - major reorg.  Both need a major overhaul and I need to get rid of a bunch of stuff that is in each of them. 

Downstairs Bathroom - minor reorg.  This room needs to have the towel bar replaced and maybe the light fixture and it also needs pulls and knobs.  And probably a new shower curtain.  One of the girls got hot pink nail polish on the WHITE shower curtain.  It also has froggy rugs and other frog accessories, and I'm feeling like that moment has passed, so I need to replace those when I get new towels for this bathroom. The room should be painted too, but it isn't terrible. 

Girls' Room - Well, if I decide to move Super's beds downstairs, their bunkbed (twin over full) will come up to his room, and they will get one of his beds (twin with trundle) and then the bed from the studio (twin) will go in their room.  The girls also have our former dining/eating table in their room, and that will be coming back upstairs to the dining room.  Mr. Simple is going to refinish the top.  The girls would like to have their room painted.  From periwinkle to BRIGHT GREEN.  We are still talking about it. The girls currently are using plastic drawers for dressers and it is working o.k., but I'd like to get them a dresser too.

Studio - Ugh. Slightly major reorg.  Right now, it is sort of the holding area for preschool/homeschool supplies that I'm going to be selling online.  So there are piles, and boxes, etc.  But I really need to get those listed and sold and reclaim my studio again.  Also, if I decide to move beds around, the bed from the studio(twin) would go in the girls room, and the studio would get Super's (twin) captain bed. Paint and window coverings are fine. 

Oh, and Outside? Minor reorg but we need to get/replace several things.  The front porch needs a good wood chair.  And a good sweeping.  I'll be planting more things in the front beds this spring too.  The back - I need outdoor furniture.  At least 6 outdoor chairs.  We are getting a new grill.  A new outdoor table would be great.  And loads of gardening stuff, but that is a post for a different day.  The garage needs a good sweep.  Jelly Bean needs a new bike.  My freezer will be stored out in the garage. 

Phew. I, of course, will take pictures when I get done.  Of course, it may be 2013 by that time, so don't hold your breath or anything.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And so the next chapter begins!

So I stopped doing preschool/daycare last Friday (there will be pictures soon from the surprise alumni Open House that Mr. Simple threw for me on Friday night! I told him not to do anything, but he didn't listen.  It was wonderful to see some parents and children I hadn't seen in awhile!)

I decided that I would stop at the beginning of March because I might have a training gig that started in March. But then I heard that it might not happen until mid-March or so.  I thought maybe I'd have a week or so to just sleep in and have some lunch dates and go to some dr. appts and that sort of thing.

Then on Thursday, Flower's junior high was closed for the rest of the year due to minute amount of asbestos discovered and she would be off for 3 days and she was going to be relocated to a new school along with the other 6th graders from her junior high.  It will be a transition, for certain, but I've been pleasantly surprised with the organization the school district has had during this relocation process and although things won't be perfect (she likely won't have drama or a school play or her special choir group anymore) they really have done as well as possible given the short amount of time that they had to prepare and the fact that the students will be spread out to 3 different schools.

Monday, I had an early morning meeting with someone about Simply Living In The City and then an evening full of taking each child to a total different place on different ends of town in the course of 3 hours. 

Tuesday (yesterday), I was feeling sick (I have allergies/bad cold/sinus infection; I'm not sure.) and I was going to go to PromptCare, but I decided instead to go help Mr. Simple paint.  He is currently on a 2 and half week job painting the whole interior of a large house.  Then I came home in enough time to start the taxi again and drive each child to a different place for a couple hours.  And then I had to do some work on a part-time time writing project, so it was 10 pm before I finished that. 

Then I'm also doing a short-term part-time on-site writing job and I had to be there by 7:30 this morning.  I normally wouldn't have had to be there so early, but I still have to plan for the training gig to start up next week, and that will be here at home, but I'll be doing that M-F from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.  And so I worked from 7:30 to 11:30 am today and then I was off for another Simply Living In The City meeting at noon. 

And now I'm home - blogging, of course, but I have about 25 other things that I probably should be doing instead. 

And ugh, back to that money tree thing, the one thing that is going to be hard to get used to with freelance work/developing a business is that money doesn't come in at regular times.  I won't see money from the morning gig for at least 3 weeks from now, and I won't get paid the first installment on the training gig until a month after we start, and the part-time writing gig, well, not until the project is done.  And I probably won't get any money from anything from Simply Living In The City until the fall.  Of course, when it comes, it should be a pretty good amount. 

Oh, and Mr. Simple gets paid at the end of his jobs, when he has jobs.  Which, thankfully, he has had jobs steadily since he started painting.  But still. 

But I'm used to budgeting on a set monthly amount - that is how we've done our budget since we got married.  Now 17 years later, I've got to figure out a new way to budget.  Or at least I'll have to learn how to deal with the feast/famine money flow. 

It might sound like I'm complaining.  I'm not.  It is just different.  It will be o.k. eventually as we all get used to this new way of life. 

I must say, things are rarely dull anyway, here at the Simple House.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What a crazy winter this one has been!

My children's snow boots that they got for Christmas this year

It has been in the 60s this winter more times than I can remember and here we are 5 days into March, and I woke up and there was snow on the ground!

I checked my kids' winter clothing back in early November, and decided that they were o.k. with everything but snow boots (my kids just can't seem to stop their feet from growing from year to year!) So all three kids got snow boots for Christmas. I was going to get some new snow boots for myself, but I decided to repurpose my old hunting boots instead for this year and maybe get some new snow boots next year if the hunting boots didn't work out well.

Well, I have worn my hunting boots for snow boots exactly ONCE this year. My kids have worn their snow boots slightly more. As in maybe THREE times. The only bright spot in all of this is that I bought their snow boots a size bigger than they wear except for Flower (I got her a Women's size 8.5. I am really hoping that her feet don't get any bigger than that! She is 12 1/2 years old, and she is only 4 foot, 10 inches tall, so hopefully, her feet are full-sized now.)

I also was going to get myself an every day winter coat and never got around to that either. When it was really cold, I just wore my dress winter coat (a grey cashmere pea coat I got last year). But often times, a sweater was sufficient. And I have certainly got enough sweaters! (I think the last count was 11. Ahem. At least most of them were thrifted.)

I keep wondering what this mild winter will mean for the garden this year. Everyone says that there will be more bugs. Great. I haven't seen any of my bulbs poking up yet, but I've got a pretty thick layer of mulch over them - guess it is probably time to start pulling some of that off.

It is hard to believe that it is almost Spring. Winter felt like it went by so quickly this year. It is funny too, that I'm ending my preschool and devoting more time to my business endeavors just as Spring is arriving.  Sort of feeds into that whole "things die off in the winter and things begin to bloom in the spring" theme.