Tuesday, April 28, 2015

SAHM-I-Am

SAHM = Stay-At-Home-Mom. 

From 1981, when I was twenty years old and knew everything, and therefore did not need to finish college - to 1990, when our first child was born, I held a string of jobs.  I was a clerk for the Department of Sociology at Kansas State, a bank teller, a clerk for an Experiment Farm run by Kansas State, a secretary for an insurance/real estate business,and a bookkeeper at a John Deere dealership.  At one point, I scheduled local commercials at an NBC affiliate.  

When Mitch was born, Dave and I decided that I would quit my job and stay home to raise this child and any future children.  Actually, it wasn't really a decision, it was a foregone conclusion.  We both expected me to be a SAHM.  

I loved those years and would do them again in an instant - provided I get to be 30 again and have more energy.  I took pride in caring for my children, running an efficient household, being the "class mom" who got volunteered for every school activity, and discovering creative ways to entertain and educate our children.  I'm proud of the job I did.  

I returned to work part time when they were in grade school - working only during school hours at a medical clinic across the street from their school.  As far as they were concerned, life continued as always.  When they were nearing jr. high, I got the chance to be a librarian - a life long dream - so I returned to full-time employment.  When we moved to Green Acres, both kids were in college, and a second income was helpful - so I found my current job in the office of a manufacturing plant.  

This Friday - May 1, 2015 - will be my last day there.  I am "retiring" . . . at least from the public workplace.  I will be helping Dave run the construction business we purchased at the first of the year.  Along with some bookkeeping duties, my main responsibility will be to feed the crew.  Stopping work to drive into the nearest town (grain bins aren't usually built inside city limits) and finding a cafe or fast food can take a large chunk from the middle of a work day.  And often the nearest town is too small to have a restaurant.  So, on the days that they are working within "reasonable driving distance" of home, I will take a hot meal to them.  On days when the drive is too far I will either pack a cold lunch to go with them or, if available, let them eat out.  W e are also hosting a monthly employee get-together to promote teamwork and a "family" feeling. 

None of this is set in stone.  If I decide to visit one of the kids or my parents, Dave and the crew will fend for themselves as they have in the past.  My parents are now 78 and 80, and they live about three hours away.  I'm excited to have the freedom to visit them more often and be there when needed.  Without a 9 to 5 job, I can also take advantage of deals on plane tickets to visit the daughters in Albuquerque, without worrying about scheduling time off work (cause the deals are never on a weekend!).  

As I was trying to explain to a co-worker why I am leaving, and why I want to take on these new jobs, it dawned on me that I'm returning to being a SAHM.  The family dynamic has changed.  Someday my parents will need more care than my children.  Our six employees and their families have become our extended family.  But the job is the same -- caring for my original and extended family, running an efficient household and business, being the dependable "gofer" and "girl Friday", and discovering creative ways to entertain and educate the "family".

Yes, I'm excited for time to have a clean house and a well-maintained yard; time to garden; time to attend a Bible study; or time to read, sew and paint.  I'm excited to wake up each day and no longer think about what I have to do today, but what I want to do, what I get to do.  

There will be no tears over leaving a career; no feelings of inferiority because I don't have a title; no regrets about what I could have or should have accomplished.  Only joy at returning to what I was created to be - a stay-at-home-mom to all those whom I call family.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Read-a-thon Wrap-up

Unfortunately, there's not much to wrap up.  My read-a-thon did not go as planned - not even close.  I had a little health issue that required me to take a break from reading to pick up medicine - about a 30 minute round trip.  Along the way, I stopped at an estate auction that Dave was attending (sans cell phone) to tell him what I was doing.  The sale was poorly attended because of the rainy weather and things were selling for a song.  I got sidetracked and spent way too much time there.  Eventually, I finished my run to the pharmacy and returned home.  

For the next few hours I tried to read but was just too uncomfortable to concentrate. . . fast forward through several phone conversations . . . finally was told to go back to town for a different med.  By that time it was late evening and I was still uncomfortable so I pretty much gave up and went to bed.

I checked back in for the last hour this morning and found the Share A Song Mini-Challenge hosted by Reno at Falling Letters - Share a song featured in or inspired by one of the books you read today.  Since I got very little reading done, I decided to share a couple songs that fit my entire read-a-thon experience.

First up - - Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show - "I Got Stoned and I Missed It."  No, I wasn't actually stoned, but it was drugs, in some form, that caused me to miss most of the day.



Thankfully, this wonderful day comes around every six months.  So I'll mark my calendar for October and join Carly Simon in Anticipation.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mini-Challenge: Bookish Brew

Amanda at Fig and Thistle wants to know what we've got brewing - - as in tea or coffee.  The challenge is to post a picture of what we're reading and what we're drinking. 

That calls for two confessions:  I'm still working on my first book, The Girl On the Train,  and I'm drinking plain old water from a Charlie Brown Christmas cup.  Yes, I'm just a kid at heart.

#bookishbrews
#readathon

Mini-Challenge: In 100 Years . . .

This hour's challenge poses the question, "What books will be "classics" a hundred years from now?"  Selections can be made from any book published since 1990 and published in English.  

Here are my three choices:

11/22/63 by Stephen King - It ties the world of 1963 to 2011 (when it was published). I'm sure in another 100 years, the history will be even more thrilling and fun to read.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - In spite of all the hoopla surrounding the movies, the books in this series will hold up as extraordinary writing and a phenomenal story.

For my third choice, I would like to select "everything ever written by Sarah Addison Allen", but since that's probably bending the rules, I will narrow it down to "The Sugar Queen".  Obviously, I love all of Ms. Allen's writing, but the Sugar Queen is her most surprising story.  If it's not a classic already, it should be!



Mini-Challenge: Treasure Hunt

We're going on a readathon treasure hunt.  Remember Indiana Jones' number one rule of treasure hunts - "X" never, ever marks the spot! 

In this case, we're not looking for an X. Our hostess gave us a three items to find on book covers - a tree, snow and a weapon.  This proved to be pretty easy on our bookshelves.  I am nuts for anything Christmas, and especially for A Charlie Brown Christmas.  The covers of any of my various copies contained both snow and a tree.  But to keep things fair, I only counted it as "tree", and added Phillip Gulley's Christmas in Harmony as my "snow" entry.  For weapons, I simply grabbed a paperback off of Dave's shelves containing the complete set of Louis L'Amour westerns.  Nearly every book has a gun of some sort on the cover.  

I found the treasure! and the prize is - - more hours of reading.  


Mini Challenge: Classic Words of Wisdom

Allie at A Literary Odyssey is kicking off the hourly mini-challenges by asking us to share our favorite words of wisdom from a classic novel.  I have to admit that I've only read a handful of classics, and most of them weren't my favorites.  However, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favorites since childhood, when I listened to Lionel Barrymore read it on a 33-rpm record album.  I re-read it each year in December.   Mr. Scrooge leaves us with these words that should be a goal for all of us.

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon

 It's Readathon Day!  One of my favorite days of the year.  If you aren't familiar with this event, visit the official site.  There's still time to sign up.  

I created my own graphic to use for this readathon because I'm going to be reading on a rainy day - no sunny afternoon on the swing this time around. 

I have my TBR pile ready to go - but it's always subject to change.  I'll be starting my day be reading from THE good book, then move on to these other good books.  I can't wait to get into "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins.  It was recommended by a lady I met in a bookstore while on vacation.  She was ready to be done sightseeing and return to her motel room to read the last chapter.  "The Day the World Came to Town" by Jim  DeFede was also discovered on our recent trip to Florida.  It was recommended by a man from Newfoundland who was understandably proud of the people in his homeland.  "A Claim of Her Own" is by a favorite author (who also lives in Nebraska), Stephanie Grace Whitson. 

Snacks are always a popular subject during Readathon - one that often takes as much planning as the book list.  I'm trying to keep it light and healthy (relatively) today, so I'm going with fruit, hummus and crackers, and Trader Joe's Blueberry Vanilla Chevre.

It's 7:00 a.m. - opening bell for twenty-four hours of fun.  Let's get reading.