Tuesday, December 4, 2007

5 Things Making Me Happy (despite my grumpiness)

Ft_wrapping01_m_3Aidan was late for school today (major pet peeve), refused to wear the new jeans I got him (slims from Old Navy that, miraculously, don't fall down on him!), and Sean's potty training--or not. Enough said. Oh, and the financial realities of gift-giving. I'm a little bit grumpy today.

I love presents (and have been known to peek a bit). I love giving them, receiving them, even wrapping them. But I also love living within my means. Everyone has essentials for his or her peace of mind. Figuring out your own is one of the big jobs of life. Our two years in the Peace Corps taught me I can live without almost everything (except chocolate, q-tips, and Brian).

But for peace of mind I require even more.

My top three are probably

  1. silent time by myself

  2. the ability to connect with my far-away loved ones (letters, email, or a phone)

  3. a zero-balance Visa bill at the end of every month.

Brian and I are blessed with a large extended family---16 nieces and nephews (and growing!). And in all honesty, there are no gift expectations within our family. You can do what works for you. Some give to each child, or just to their godchildren, or just one gift to the whole family. So the pressure I feel is self-induced, but it is hard to switch once you start a tradition. We used to give to each child, now we are trying to do the one gift per family thing.

I do enough whining in *real* life so I came here to lift myself up and think of the little things making me smile these days.

5 Random Joys:1649p_2

  1. Dreyers Peppermint Ice Cream. Last year our grocery store had a huge poster and display for it, but it never arrived. Yesterday I saw it sitting on a shelf without any fanfare, just waiting for me:-)

  2. Remember how cool it felt being the first kid to have Atari? Or the first person in your high school with a pair of Jordache jeans? Or the only one at work with an iphone? Yeah, neither do I. But Mary Alice has given me my 15 minutes of coolness by lending me the DVD of "Into the Wild" (which isn't even out on DVD yet).

  3. "Life" on ABC Wednesdays. I rarely watch TV, but I've missed having a weekly show to lookLife_240_2  forward to, since "West Wing" ended. This isn't WW, no fast dialogue or keen political observations. But it does have Damian Lewis, (Band of Brothers" and BBC's"The Forsyte Saga"), which might be enough. It's basically a quirky detective show, but I'm likin' it.

  4. Little connections. That Erin has "See the World" as her cell ringer. That Lori from Camp Creek emailed and she not only knows "Young at Heart" but loves it. That my parents were already fans of Damian Lewis and told me about The Forsyte Saga (which I plan to netflix). That I was able to tell Angie the good news that Amazon ships to China for only $5. That after 2+weeks of phone tag, Kris caught me at home today (and shared the possible secret to potty training---"ditch the pull-ups").

  5. Saturday we received a hospital bill for surgery I had over a year ago, totaling $18,000. Of course it came on a Saturday when you can't get anyone on the phone, of course right after we had just seen "Sicko" highlighting how even people with insurance go into bankruptcy over medical bills. See above about my inability to handle debt. Even knowing it was a mistake and that it would all get worked out on Monday, I felt on edge all weekend. Shockingly, this letter is not one of my 5 random joys.

But it is one of those things I want to remember when Brian enters my Danger Zone by rearranging my laundry room or attempting to talk to me while I'm chopping vegetables. You know, really mean things like that. I want to remind myself of this: he completely handles all medical bills. That line makes me tear up all by itself. Next to our three children and his companionship for life, it is the best gift he has ever given me. When TN strikes, I'm unable to talk on the phone, and Brian naturally has to take over talking to doctors and insurance companies, etc.

The_three_keating_men But even when I'm my non-stop talking self again, he makes the phone calls, writes the letters, gets the documentation. You see, even if it is their mistake, it becomes your job to prove it to them. And in the past 10+ years of this, there is always a mistake. And six different people you have to talk to before you get the person who can clear it all up. He remains calm, he patiently repeats all the info for the 100th time, he somehow keeps his sense of humor. I watched him do all that last night on the phone and I'm just in awe. Seriously---it's right up there with watching him hold our son for the first time;-) 

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