runlikejoy

Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Gabe the Builder

I said I was going to post the rest of what we did during the holiday and then I never did.  I got too busy.  I remember thinking when the girls were babies that I could not possibly be any busier but it turns out that I am like a whirlwind.  As I write this, it is snowing outside but it is a wet drippy kind of snow so I don't think it will stick and that makes the girls sad.  They each got a sled for Christmas and are dying to use them.

We are in the finishing stages of the upstairs of our house.  When we bought our house it had this huge upstairs attic and we knew we would finish it but the cost seemed so unreal to us and so did the work that it would require.  We got a bid or two but they wanted so much money and we didn't have that.  So 2 years later and we are in the finishing lap.  What we wanted was one bedroom, one sitting room, one bathroom and one big closet and one smaller closet.  In the sitting room there will be a built in desk, some built in bookshelves and an entire electrical/media set up for a big screen tv.

I like to say "We" because I have made lunches and listened to stories of what Gabe will do to this and what he will do to that but in all honesty I haven't really done much other than "ooo" and "awww" over his work.  He (and his Dad) have done the following:

Framed - that means to put up the beams and make the open space into rooms
Electrical - put all the wires in that will be recessed lights, bathroom lights, light switches, etc
HVAC - put in the heating and air conditioning unit since it is either blazing hot here or really cold
Insulation - All the fiberglass puffy stuff that goes into the walls and ceiling to keep you warm and cool
Roughing in the plumbing - we farmed that out
Hanging sheet rock - that covers the insulation and makes the room look like a room
Taping and Mudding - covering up all the sheet rock with goo
Sanding and Painting - that is where he is now
Putting in fixtures and tile
Carpet
Furnish

I include some pictures so you can see where he is in the process and so you can "ooo" and "awww" over the process too.  It is impressive.  And so you know it is a legit operation, we have passed every inspection and we have permitted everything properly so that someday when we go to sell this monstrosity of a house, we can increase our sale price.

I am so proud of my Gabe (and his Dad).  They do not cease to amaze me.




Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year

That's right, we made it through another holiday season and school starts tomorrow.  We had a lot going on and a lot of small accomplishments but most of all we managed to have a great time and still came out at the end of things loving each other and caring about something other than ourselves

With all the shit out there in the world, yes, I used the word shit, it gets harder and harder to focus on buying stuff and wrapping it up and covering it in tape and ribbons and giving it away.  Bombs going off, guns being used in anger, road rage, terrorism, and the list goes on.  Do I need another spaghetti server?  Does my mom really need a gift card to Subway?  And who gave me a bottle of Bourbon?  I know of a lady who took her whole family to the Dominican Republic and posted pictures of bikinis, beaches and sunburns and it looked so much better than the gift giving frenzy.  I wonder if her kids were laying in the sun sipping smoothies and saying, "I wish I could go home and play with my DS!"

To begin with the weather was crazy, it was humid and 75 degrees for what felt like 2 whole weeks.  So the sleds that I carefully selected on Amazon were put in the garage for another day.  And one kid got a kitten which caused the other kid to burst into tears.  So Santa screwed that all up.  Nothing is worse than having a child burst into tears on Christmas day unless its a child bursting into tears on her sister's birthday.  Clearly you can see a pattern.  I'm not saying my kids are spoiled rotten but if I had done that when I was 8 I might have gotten smacked.  I'm certainly not spoiled but I can tell you that when I want something, I get it.  I had to wait 47 years but I get what I want.

I have to interject here that the worst commercial this holiday season was one of the hundreds showing kids all on electronic devices and their parents too and everyone is sitting around with their electronic devices and not talking to each other.  No one in my family got an electronic device unless you include the lava lamp.  But we did go to a party where some videos were made and someone said they were going to post the videos on Snapchat and Instagram so I had to contact all the parties included to request that none of the videos ever appear on Snapchat or Instagram.  And I wonder, is this what I have to do now?  Wear facemasks and Halloween gear so that if we are posted on someone's Snapchat or Instagram we are not recognizable?  Or do I have to ask before arriving, "will there be any 8 to 17 year olds making videos of my kids and posting them on social media?"  And then I have to filter through declining and accepting which parties will be Social Media free?  And so in true Kim fashion, I thumbed my nose at the electronics industry and branched out and bought books for my kids.  Yup, pages, words, stories, imagination.

Since a lot happened this holiday season, I'll have to continue this later.  Tomorrow I'll write about Gabe the Builder.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December

It is December 1st and today kicks off what I like to refer to as "the worst 24 days of your kids lives where they drive you crazy and you overuse that Santa Might Be Watching You threat way too many times."  People pull out that elf on the shelf which in my opinion was the smartest marketing ploy EVER and overuse it like crazy so their kids think that someone is watching them.  And churches double down on both Santa and Jesus.  The best part is that they don't act any better, if anything they are worse.

About a month ago my 8 year old lost one of her pre-molars at school and proudly carried it home in a little bag.  As we were sitting in the car waiting for her sister to get out of school she asked me earnestly if the Tooth Fairy really was something or if it was Mom and Dad?  She is 8 years old.  Thanks to having a sister 2 years older than me I didn't have to guess when it came to Santa, The Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, she was more than happy to help debunk those myths early on.  But my 11 year old has helped keep the dream alive even though she knows where all money, gifts and other stuff comes from.  I was in the hot seat.

I made an executive decision and I nodded in agreement and said, "yes, the Tooth Fairy is Mommy and Daddy" and immediately her face crumpled and she looked ready to weep.  Good choice Mommy, you just ruined her life.  And then she said, "What about Santa?".  I couldn't throw Santa under the bus too, I had to hang onto Santa because it was November and I still needed Santa to get me through December.  So I wimped out and I said something lame about Santa being real to those who believe him and changed the subject really fast.

Happy December everyone.  And don't install Windows 10 no matter how many ads you get.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Year 3

This December marks 3 years since we moved to North Carolina.  How did the time fly so fast?  As I sit here typing I am so thankful for this warm house because it is 33 degrees cold (Fahrenheit) outside and that is very cold.

We went to Asheville for the weekend and stayed in a little log cabin and enjoyed the quiet and the downtime and the ability to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of busy life for a few short hours.  We were treated to a nice soup and salad dinner make for us by our kiddos and celebrated family and laughter.

Last night Gabe and I headed over to Parent Teacher Conferences and enjoyed getting to know a new group of teachers.  I was overwhelmed and humbled by the things they said about our kid.  I also was validated in our choice of a charter school and a tiny one at that.  It made me realize that the things we are doing in life and in our family are the right choices for us, we are doing ok.

It is difficult in this day and age to stand by choices that are not popular.  The decision to stay home was tough - financial suicide to many and everyone had an opinion.  But it built a foundation and last night was a step in our success ladder.  Our decision to limit our children's access to technology, which everyone really has an opinion on but at the end of the day, our decision, Mom and Dad, and I believe we made the right one.  Our choices to move across the country and simplify our lives in a more rural setting - super difficult adjustments were made but in the long run the right adjustments for all.

I can't say I'd do them again if I had to because I only get one time around this board game but for me and my family I believe we put family and education before anything else and those are the benefits we reap in our lives at this point.  Who knows what the future holds?


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Happy Fall Ya'll

I haven't written for a long while, long for me being long winded and always having something to say about everything.  I have been busy and I have been tackling a long list of things I need to get done but I have kept my fingers quiet through some transitions.  Needless to say, when Joy is quiet too long that means there is plenty coming down the pipeline.  So stay tuned.

I am going to be 47 this month.  That is just a number.  But there are so many things that have happened between 46 and 47 that I can celebrate and be happy for.  And there are sad things too.  Suffice it to say that I will enjoy writing about those things in the months coming up.  Expect real.  Expect authentic.  Expect no bullshit.

I got a chance to see some family recently and that filled my cup.  I saw my Mom although I wish I had seen her for a few more days, an hour was better than nothing.  I saw my twin and that was such a delight.  I saw my cousin who I also consider a surrogate sister and that is always the best of times.  I saw my younger brother and that was so special that when I think of it I smile.  I saw all these ladies that mean the world to me, Tara, Elisa, Francoise, Maggie, Germaine, Eunie, Whitney, Joanne, if I am leaving you out I didn't mean to.  I got to see my sister-in-law and family and that was awesome, the list goes on and on.  I got to drive across the Golden Gate like 4 times.  I got to go hiking in Marin.  I got to have breakfast made by my MIL.  I got to wear fancy shoes.

And then I came home and squeezed my top level people and that didn't suck.  I am glad I got to sneak away, that always makes coming back a little sweeter.  Even when they bicker and even when it rains for what feels like months on end.

Happy Fall Ya'll, hope your changing leaves are as beautiful as mine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hiatus

I haven't blogged in a long time, a month or so, which for me is a long time.  I usually have something I think is important to say about everything, all the time, but lately I haven't felt inspired or inclined to share anything personal or impersonal and so I kept quiet.  I must be maturing.

I have one child in a charter school this year and it is about a half hour drive from my home.  I have another child in our neighborhood school.  I find that I am spending more time in my car each week than an Uber driver.  Or at least comparable.  And I'm not getting paid.  And that doesn't include volunteering at either school, that starts next week.

I have been able to shop, prep and cook dinner each day for each night with the exception of weekends.  This means that we either eat leftovers or hotdogs all weekend.  The girls and I eat a peculiar veggie dog that comes in the can called BigFranks and I'll be blogging about BigFranks later on.  And for the first time since 2001 when I met my husband, we have leftovers which means he is eating less and we actually have something to eat on weekends that doesn't require anything other than a microwave.  It is exciting!

I have been balancing the feeling of failure at having only lasted 9 months at a job that I really wanted and enjoyed for at least 3 months.  Several days ago I was driving back from the charter school and I was listening to XM Radio and a woman comedienne was adding up how much it cost her and her spouse to pay someone for all the things she did and it came to nearly a half a million dollars.  And then I thought about my kids and my relationship with my kids and I realized that I was doing the right thing at the right time.  And that I didn't have to justify to anyone why I quit a job after just 9 months regardless as to whether it was the worlds best job or or the worlds worst.

So I'm back on the pen and I have lots of things to write about like politics, dinner, soccer, dancing, trips to California, weddings, walking dogs, friends, books, holidays, knitting, volunteering, BigFranks and so much more.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Unemployed and Sore

I am unemployed.  Again.  I guess it was too much to hope for that the first job I got outside of the home after choosing to quit a career to raise my children, would be the job of a lifetime where I could grow and learn and build on my expertise and apply my education, experience, wit and personality and soar.  Instead it turned into the same thing every 3 days and sometimes I almost fell sleep because nothing was going to change at all.  Here is the downside to working only 3 days a week, you are considered a part timer and no one is going to give you more responsibility or training.  You are stuck doing grunt work forever, or at least for 9 months.

I took the girls ice skating on Thursday afternoon which was wonderful and exhilarating.  Wonderful to escape the humidity and heat and have to wear a hoodie for a couple of hours.  Exhilarating because at the age of 46 I not only can skate better than my kids, I didn't fall once.  But then I got out of bed on Friday and my back aches.  And this morning I can squat down but my knees won't allow me to stand back up.  It means that either I need to quit ice skating or I need to do it more regularly.

The pool closes in 3 weeks and honestly we are sick of swimming.  Never ever saw that one coming.

And Heidi leaves on Friday and we will miss her so much.  It was like Christmas in summer having her with us for so long but I know she needs to go to college and I would like to have my closet back, so she is coming out of the closet, getting in her new little grey car, and zipping off to Washington where she will study hard and maybe we will get her back again next summer.  She is under strict instructions to not zip too fast - or else she will get a speeding ticket.

And finally autumn is coming.  As I stepped outside to walk the dogs this morning I realized that there was zero humidity (or at least zero humidity to me) and a light breeze and I could feel fall in the air.  It was lovely.