Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Blessings

I remember what Christmas used to mean when my kids were little.

It meant staying up late to wrap gifts and hide them under the tree while Santa ate all the cookies.  It felt like we barely hit our pillows before the kids were awake and ready to demolish our hard work.  My husband so couldn't hang with me.  See, my picture was next to the word "insomnia" on wiki.  I was used to waking up with our son every hour or so for the first 6 years of his life that I could be up and ready to take on a 10hr day at the snap of a finger...or at the gentle tug of my blanket ;-)

Now that the kids are 14 and 15, it's a little different.  First and foremost, the kid that used to wake up constantly?  Now sleeps like a rock.  Second, our daughter is kinda over the baking-cookies-Christmas-Eve thing, which my husband is sad about.  Third?  We went through a complete financial collapse a handful of years ago.  It's really only been the past 6-8 months or so that we've gotten to our feet.  Christmas has been provided by my family, our church family, friends, and neighbors.  Not just Christmas, but the occasional groceries, gift cards for gas in our cars so we could get back and forth to work, random gifts of things like movie passes, tickets to hockey games, and invitations to stay at friends' vacation homes for free so that we could take our kids away overnight...all blessings that others have provided out of their love for us and the incredible goodness of their hearts.

Merry Christmas.

So this morning, as my daughter and I got up to share some breakfast, we couldn't help but feel that familiar chill in the air of our house.  The difference this year?  Is that I turned up the thermostat and the heater came on.  And the oil tank is full of oil that we were able to purchase.

Merry Christmas.

The opening of gifts?  No, not this year.  Because when I asked my kids if there was anything they wanted, they looked around with that searching sort of expression, then shook their heads.  My son, the talker of the two, asked, "is it weird that I feel very...I don't know...content?"  He just wanted others to have gifts in lieu of whatever we would have gotten for him.  My daughter is equally content.  She decided to bake cookies for her friends and knit random pieces out of yarn that she found in her room.  She's calling them 'scarves', but they're probably only long enough to fit guinea pigs.  No matter.  As she knits, she smiles.  She doesn't even realize it...

Merry Christmas.

To us, Christmas is an every day kind of experience.  But we couldn't have felt it in the way we do today without the times of trial.  Kind of like how ms has made me value and appreciate my abilities in a way I never did before.  I think it's safe to say that most people get up and drink their coffee without understanding what a blessing it is to...taste it.  For me, I never know if I'll actually taste it until I try it.  If I can't, which has been my story much of this month, it's just warm liquid.  But today?  I can.  And my goodness is it delicious :-)

Merry Christmas.

If anyone needs scarves for their guinea pigs, let me know.  They're really quite beautiful.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

(grocery) Shop 'til You (almost) Drop!

Grocery shopping...

You know, I'm not sure if it's the reaching + the placing + the lifting + the bending + the up/down of the head, which is connected to the neck, which has an abundance of holes in it...but grocery shopping is NOT kind to me.  Never has been.  And some trips to the store are more difficult than others.  

Tonight was that night.

It was one of those times in which we found ourselves out of everything.  And I mean everything, not those awkward moments when the husband says, "there's NOTHING to eat in this house!" because we're out of, like, peanut butter.  

Anyway, this was not a trip for my little cart.  No no.  This had "large cart" written all over it, as well as a list my family had written on an envelope...front and back.  

By the midpoint of the store, this was pretty close to what I was seeing:

And my thought process?  Similar.  Picture this...in my brain:

Thankfully, I knew exactly which aisles I needed to visit, as well as the approximate locations along the rows and columns and blurs of grocery items.

1 hour and 45 minutes later, I was dragging my cart to the check out line.  Wobbling.  Slightly swaying.  Highly confused. 

...really need that  'not drunk - ms'  t-shirt if someone could get. on. that. 

I unloaded my cart by pretty much stacking things atop one another, carefully avoiding eye contact with my cashier.  It's almost like when your car isn't running properly?  And you're approaching the stop light, feeling it wanting to stall?  So you just kinda...keep going?  Yeah, that's what I was doing.  But with groceries.

I then loaded my $312.56 worth of cheaply, plastically bagged-ly groceries back into my cart, slowwwwwly pirouetted (is that even a word, or is that like 'plastically bagged-ly'?) to my handle bar, and set out upon the lengthy walk to my car.  

Each step was a gift.  Even the one where I tripped on those stupid concrete inserts with the bumps that like to eject items from your cart.  My large cart began to feel even larger.  Ginourmous, even.  Like this:

You should also know that I do this thing where I get really close to my car and let go of the cart so it rests against the back and I can easily load the hatch.  Well, tonight I kinda misjudged the process and let my giant cart go a little too early.  No.  Way too early.  The cart-which-runneth-over picked up a bit of speed and...  


...right into the back corner of my car.  The force even shook my car a little, as well as drew the stares of a woman walking by.  Know what?  Don't judge, lady.  Because you didn't have to push THAT around the store for almost 2 hours. 

But it doesn't stop there.

I unloaded the cart much like I did inside the store...by throwing the bags on top of one another until the cart was empty.  By that point, I was doing that "I must think everything through 3x before carrying it out" thing that I do in those rare occasions when my brain goes tornadic.

Started the car.  Is this thing on?  Yeah, it's running, right?  Turned the lights on.  Wait.  Why's it look dark inside the car?  Did I turn the lights on?  :::look at dial on stick::: Or is this on?  No.  That's off.  Okay, okay...that's on.  It's dark outside, so it's supposed to be dark inside the car.  Okay, foot on the brake.  Put the car in reverse.  Foot on brake - check.  Look down to make sure we're really in reverse.  Yep, totally in reverse.  Wait.  Is this thing on?  Yes.  Okay.  We got this.  Wait, who is 'we'?  We.  Me and you, ms.  

Every process is like this.  Until this lifts, that is.  

Respect the grocery-induced ms brain fog, people...'cause the struggle is real!

A high schooler taught me that phrase so that I'd be cool ;-)  Now you can be cool, too!