Thursday, November 24, 2011

I find Gratitude a very difficult emotion, as mysterious as the opposite sex.  Sometimes gratitude is as clear as the sky on a cloudless day and yet other times it seems elusive.

Take for example a Holiday like Thanksgiving.  It is so crystal clear when you sit down to an overflowing table of turkey and all the trimmings surrounded by your loved ones.  You feel the warmth of food, family, and friends.  Everything about the moment fills you with - well, gratitude.

On that same day, however take the moment four hours earlier when you have been in the kitchen for three days not just preparing for one meal, but preparing every meal in between.  You have washed the same pot four times today and you've been to the store 15 times along with everyone else in three counties.  You are tired, hungry, in desperate need of a vodka tonic and not some wimpy wine that suppose to make brussel sprouts divine. As, if!

That's the moment your sister-in-law decides to "pop-in" to see how it's going and mentions that she and her family are now vegan so they can't eat any of the food you've made so she's brought a Tofurkey to bake in your already full oven on 300 for 45 minutes.  "Thanks!"

Your own family has had 10 years to discuss Great Grandma's antique brooch but they take this moment to argue about who got it, what it is really worth, and more importantly - and of course the loudest is - who wants it.  All the while Grandpa and Uncle Jay sit on the couch turning up the volume on the football game screaming at the opponent and asking "whens dinner".

So you see my dilemma?  There are moments when gratitude is so clear, and there are moments when you wonder if there is enough wine in the world to get you through another Holiday. 

If you have received this blog in your email, know that I am very grateful for you and this Thanksgiving I am wishing and praying for the very best for you and your family during the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rags to Riches - Riches to Rags???

So I wonder, is it easier to go from rags to riches or riches to rags?  I wonder because my husband grew up very very poor.  I grew up and if we wanted it, we got.  His family owned a car once for maybe a month before his father got into financial trouble, again, and they took it away.  I have four brother and sisters and we all got a car when we turned 16.  He still prefers day old bread because they couldn't afford fresh, and thinks it's cozier with all the lights out because they went years (yes - years) without electricity in their apartment.

We have plenty.  I should not complain, although sometimes I do.  Because I wish it were as easy as it looked when I was growing up.  I spent someone elses money - and that's really easy.  Just ask our government.  He grew up with no money to spend, his, theirs, or otherwise.  His attitude, if you don't have it, you don't spend it.  In other words it took almost 10 years of marriage to finally get a credit card and to this day there isn't one in his wallet.

I know that we are adding another person to the household and the stress level around here, at least between he and I, is through thte roof.  He opened the credit card bill and had a fit.  How can you spend that much, we need a budget, stop spending money.  Sure honey! That is such a great idea, I didn't think of that.  Let me ask everyone to stop growing, eating, and living so that we can stop spending money.

He never likes my answers?  I also said, maybe it is time I think about going back to work.  He dosen't like that either.  My sister's theory is that he is to afraid that dinner will not be waiting on the table when he gets home.  She's probably close this is definitely one man whose heart is in his stomach.  Our first date was hanging out at my apartment watching a movie - after I cooked dinner for him.  He's been around ever since.

There are days when I feel frustrated.  I hear other people talk about taking their kids to Disney World, playing three sports, an instrument, tutoring, major sporting events, eating out, shopping at a mall, etc... And sometimes I wish it were just that easy.  To spend money without considering every nickel and dime for months and calculating, planning, and prioritzing.  But it is not.  This is how we are able to give our children, our family all the things we have and my goodness do we have!!

A beautiful 39 year old house with plenty of room and warmth, an amazing backyard full of trees and bugs and snakes, a fridge that is always full of something good to eat, fantastic neighbors who have done anything for us, great schools where the kids are safe and sound and growing, and a healthy, happy, Nut'sO crazy family.  What more could I ask for?

OK, maybe a litte less nuts!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

What would you do?

No - John Quinones is not going to jump out from behind this screen.  It's just that this question keeps popping up in my head, everytime someone says, "Your letting your Mother-in-law LIVE with you?"

What would you do?

My mother-in-law is 68 years-old.  She was raised on the island of Cyprus.  She was hit by a car at the age of 17, badly hurt, then badly treated lying in a hospital for over three years trying to recover.  She left with many scars both internal and external along with one leg shorter than the other.  Somehow she found love, or so she thought and married only to find that her husband was abusive.  This was long before woman's right in our country and we are talking about one that was still farther behind.  Then there wa a war.

She has been through more than I will ever be able to conceive.  Pain that came in every form: physical, mental, spiritual, emotionally.  This woman has perserverd and survived things that I can not imagine.  Things that wake you and I from a sound sleep in a cold sweat: poverty, death, famine, war, abuse.  And then she sent her only son to America.

He came to gain opportunities and a chance for a better life than he would have had in Greece and he found it.  But in the process has left his mom 5000 miles away.  He didn't move home and marry a good greek girl.  And she let him.  With all that she has been through, she didn't even get a daughter who can speak the same language, cook the same food, or give her a namesake.  And she's ok with that.

She has never complained.  She has never treated me with disrespect.  She has shown me only the love, kindness, and compassion she would have for her own daughter.  She shows me strength everyday struggling stand, walk, and tie her own shoes.  She shows her love by cooking the most fabulous of greek dishes that take hours to prepare and every pot in the kitchen.

So whenever someone asks me, "How can you live with your Mother-in-law for 6 months?" All I can think is, how can I not?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I need a new alarm clock....

As daylight savings time approaches I started to think, I need a new alarm clock.  The ones I have - well suck.  You see I don't actually have a working alarm clock per say.  I have a five-year-old that either explodes a diaper or decides he needs to snuggle somewhere between 2-4 a.m.   Which means that he is either climbing on top of me, or asking me to change his PJ's, then he climbs on top of me.

My husband sets two alarms.  One is the typical radio/alarm clock which blares out some more than hideous heavy metal song at 5 a.m. which is then promptly followed by a beeping alarm clock at 5:10 a.m.  As if this is not enough to wake me, I then have to pee by 6 a.m. if I didn't already go at 2-3-4 or 5 when one of the other alarms went off.  No - I persevere and generally get back in bed thinking...just 5 more minutes.

By seven o'clock one of the kids is usually awake and heading downstairs to turn the TV on which must be headed off or monitored, or else I sleep until I hear the bus, driving by the house.  At which point the alarm going off is the one in my head saying, "Oh Shittttake Mushrooms!!!"