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How’s This For Square One?

19 Jan

I’ve got two feet firmly planted at Square One, effective today, all because of one quick call from an employer who spoke the words that went something like this: “I’ve got some bad news. Your position has been eliminated.”

Such a crappy feeling to have given my very best and to have it all terminated by phone in a quick minute. Employer wrote in a follow-up email, “I will miss your energy, cheer, willingness to take on tasks, and attention to detail.”

I know these traits don’t matter in the whole unraveling of my job — the position just went away, nothing personal. I understand. Still, it stings.

It also presents an opportunity for bigger and better. Maybe this means a different and more exciting job, or, perhaps, I’ll give 100% to the position of unemployed mom + master of family-budget balancing (because the loss of income is no small matter), and I could ramp up my itty-bitty freelance editing career, too. I’ll soul search for a few days, weeks, months before diving into anything new. For now, I will focus on little-boy perspectives, which always enlighten and remind me life can be simple and sweet:

Danny (he’s 8): “Mom, why don’t you just get a job that comes with a lot of money? Or can you get a job at Schlotzsky’s so we can get free pizza?”

Joey (he’s 11): “You could always work at Sports Authority. Or how about McDonalds?” (says the boy who could spend money all day long on sports and fishing gear — and burgers, too.)

Also, I’ve got my eye on the timing of it all, which just sorta works out, because our new credit card billing cycle begins today, and what better chance is there to start tracking our spending than right now? My freelance calendar shows two projects coming my way this month and next, and the work should be stress-free without a job forcing me to push my edits to late-night hours. It’s middle-school open house and application season, too, and, now, I can give Joey my focused attention as I assist him in his sixth-grade pursuits. Oh, and tomorrow my kids don’t have school, which means we can all sleep late and do whatever we want all day long!

Square One is scary.

It’s also liberating. It was two years ago when I quit a job, and it will be again.

I just know it.


Half Marathon Obstacle 1

1 Dec

The kid blew off half marathon training run 2 yesterday. Something about a deeply bruised thumb, throbbing pain even when he walks, a splint, bags of ice, blah, blah, blah. So, I ran our scheduled 2 miles alone, on the treadmill, with Rhianna in my ears, and an itch to finish the short run asap. It just wasn’t the same without him.

Training run 1 was great — all 3.2 miles of it. There were times I was convinced I could just keep going. Other times: not so much. It was the boy who kept me going throughout, though — his long body finding a smooth stride, the way his head bobbed to his music, his knack for never really looking fatigued or even breathing in my usual labored manner. I even sprinted (kind of) to the finish because he did. I can’t wait for re-do of that run.

Friday is training run 3, and, maybe he’ll make it. I mean, he thinks he can fish on Saturday, so, surely, he can conquer a few miles just before he launches a boat in the water and pulls in his usual red fish. No pressure, of course — he can heal for as long as it takes. I’ll keep running in the meantime as I eagerly await his return.

(NOTE: the injury is a result of basketball, not running.)

Headed for a Half Marathon

21 Nov

I ran a half marathon.


I have no desire to run one again.

No major complaints or anything, I just didn’t love it enough for a repeat performance.

That doesn’t mean I won’t pound the pavement again for 13.1 miles, though, because, just yesterday, my 10-year-old kid told me he’d run a half if I do it with him. That’s all it took — a little force motivation from Joey, and I’m on board. So on board, actually, we’ve already invested in new running shoes, peeked at a training schedule, and logged our first 2 miles together (well, not together, actually, more like me way behind him).

Joey and I shook on our deal to run for hours this winter in what will probably be freezing cold temperatures. We decided we’ll conquer through thick and thin. We’re in it for the long haul, and on February 19, 2012, we will cross the finish line, collect our medals, and I’ll probably declare for the second time that I won’t ever run another half marathon.

Unless, of course, some spunky kid challenges me again.

Passing Notes This Summer

16 Jun

My kids have no idea that what they’re doing is educational, that it’s helping them advance their writing skills, that we, the parents, are peeking into the corners of their minds. They just think it’s cool we’re passing around a black and white composition book, each taking turns jotting something down, then determining who gets it next.

It all started with my plan to keep Joey and Danny writing over the summer but not pushing an activity that seemed anything remotely like school. Then, I was hanging out in Danny’s classroom one morning just before second grade ended for the year, and Danny delivered me a note. He was all smiles as he handed me the folded paper, which read, “When are you leaving?” I posted this little snippet on Facebook later that day, and my lovely friend Kim commented that it reminded her of passing notes in high school. Aha! We’ll pass notes at home, I thought, but we’ll use a journal to keep things organized.

On June 6, I wrote on the very first page of our book:

Welcome to the Donaldson summer family journal. When it’s given to you, all you need to do is open it, read it, write something, then pass it on to someone else in the family. Be as clever as you wish with what you write. It can be a story, a note, a thought, a question, a poem — you decide.

Next, I wrote the first entry for John, a lover of music:

Name the artist and song that match these lyrics: I used to be a lunatic from the gracious days / I used to feel woebegone and so restless nights.

He jotted down his answer:

“No More I Love You’s” by Annie Lennox

Then he wrote something for Danny:

What is one goal you hope to accomplish this summer? It must be a physical or mental challenge.

Danny responded:

Do 15 pull-ups and push-ups.

Then the book moved on to Joey, then back to me, then Joey, then Danny, then John — you get the drift, right?

Almost two weeks later, and we’ve got 20+ pages of good stuff in our journal. John has listed 10 things that make him happy, Danny has completed math problems and sketched some rockin’ animals, Joey has written an adventure story and drawn his dream house (complete with snack room and solar panels), and I’ve revealed my favorite food (fresh fruit) and described something funny that happened to me (I once threw a bowling ball backwards, and while it was not funny when it happened, I can chuckle now).

What I like best about the project we have going is my boys’ willingness to participate. No arm twisting necessary, they’re just game, and I love that. Now, if I could just trick them into happily reading, I’d be set.