Thursday, August 03, 2006

withdrawn from life

I had a conversation the other night with someone I'm very close to -- related by blood. She informed me that I had withdrawn from life. She stated it in this context: You know what your problem is? Actually, it's our problem. You have withdrawn from life.


When I questioned her on this she snapped at me: "When is the last time you contacted 'Jane Doe'?" who was a high school friend. I told her that high school was 23 years ago and that I had no interest or desire to contact Jane Doe because our interests had changed, she chose a professional life (she's a physics professor) and has no children. We both grew and our common bond (high school) was no longer there.

"Yes, but." My relative said this. Yes, but. So I waited. She stated that I am a hermit. I hide in my house. I don't go out, I don't have friends and I don't do anything.

Excuse me???

She stated that I don't like people and I have admitted it. Well, that's partly true. I don't like some people and I did state that.

So according to the blood relative, the definition of a hermit who has withdrawn from life is:

A mom, who is an introvert, who likes to stay at home.
A very active volunteer in Cub Scouts.
A mom who homeschools her child.
A mom who hates carting her child around and taking him to classes, but does so anyway.
A mom who initiates play dates.
A mom who meets friends in the park for play.
A mom who goes to others' houses so kids can play and moms can gab.
A mom who takes her child to the beach, parades, community events, walks, zoos, swimming, etc.
A homeschooling mom who joins the local homeschool group and does one activity. (Okay, she may have a point on this one.)
A mom who keeps in contact with local people that I have no common interests with and don't share the same beliefs because said mom is open to having her child exposed to all different types of people.
A mom who endures four weeks of sitting on the benches watching swimming lessons.
A mom who is constantly on the go.

A woman who chooses her friends wisely. I'd rather have a few friends that are close than many acquaintances, although I do have many acquaintances.
A woman who has a best friend that is so special and vital to my life -- one that I have phone contact with (at least two hours at a shot) once a week, plus emails. (Said friend lives three hours from me.)
A woman who has made good internet friends. Friends that I have stayed in weekly contact with for six-seven years.
A woman who is fortunate enough to have the best online homeschool support group imaginable -- 10 fantastic women, 11 including myself) that I can share almost anything with. These women are so great that I have met five of them in my travels.
A woman who is in tune with herself and knows that she is an introvert and needs to recharge at home.
A woman not afraid to make choices to benefit her needs.
A woman who follows her interests. While I don't have the time to jump into things that I would if I didn't have a child, I still have my hobbies.

Oh, shoot, I could go on and on.

The conversation then took the turn of past friends. For some reason she thought I didn't stay in contact with anyone in the past. Not true. I keep in contact with good friends from the past. Not daily, not weekly, but a few times a year.

I was a little defensive with this person. I was also floored with the "withdrawn from life" statement. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's like homeschooling, you teach to your child's strengths and weaknesses, you figure out his learning style and go with it. Well, I've figured out my life style and I make no excuses for the way I live. I go with what works for me.

After about two minutes of reflection on this conversation after it ended, I came to the conclusion that said relative was projecting her own issues on to me. It's so much easier to find fault with others than to be open and honest regarding self. Although sometimes a fresh perspective from a friend is of value, I don't think that's the case here.

Sure, I have issues...I'm fat, I would rather stay at home than be in a large crowd. I would love to have a close friend who lived in my town. I get down every once in awhile. I get frustrated with my husband. But all of those things ARE life. If I would have withdrawn from life, none of those things would ever bother me. I'd be too busy being numb.

So rest assured sweetie, I have not withdrawn from life. And neither have you. If you had, you wouldn't be thinking.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Kittens for boys!

Today the "old man" called from work and announced he was taking the rest of the day off and we were heading off to civilization. (Nearest town with some actual stores.) It was the day to buy DS's hermit crabs. That's another post for another day.

We hit Office Max, then I dropped the old man off at Barnes and Noble while Thomas and I hit Hobby Lobby. Trust me, that's a good thing because when the old man isn't around at Hobby Lobby, I have more fun.

We spent an hour at HL and then went back to B&N. We were starving and waiting for old man to finish up and I walked around the bookstore. I came to a table where there were calendars, planners, assignment books, etc., for back to school. There was a mom with two boys, the older appeared to be about Thomas's age.

I watched him grab the perfect planner. "Mom, mom, this is the one I want!" He was so excited. The mom took one look at it and sighed. "Honey," she said, "This kitten is really cute, but I worry the kids at school will tease you over it. Then you won't use it. Then we'll have wasted money yet again. Pick out a different one."

This made me SO sad. Why can't a young man pick a planner out with a cute kitten on the cover? Are boys exempt from enjoying the little critters? Truth be told, I actually completely understood what the mom was saying. She was trying to prevent hurt feelings because she knew the little imps at public school would shred him to pieces over his "girlish" planner.

I was thinking I should go tell her about the joys of homeschooling. Nah, she didn't look the type. I also thought about going up and saying how sad the whole situation was, that he should get the kitten planner if he wanted. I didn't think she'd appreciate that.

Thomas saw the whole thing, too. When we walked out of listening distance he said, "I'm so glad we homeschool, mom, and that you let me buy the cute planner with the puppy and kitten on it."

Yes, boys can like kittens. They can have kitten planners. Thomas won't be teased for his choice. I love the freedom from "socialization" we have homeschooling.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday evening

It's been hot again lately. Currently, at 9:25 pm, it is 84 but with humidity, the heat index is 91. Ugh. I'm so happy to report that the latest air conditioner repairman actually fixed the air conditioner. I could just kiss him -- nah, never mind, but I am very thankful.

Thomas is still working hard at swimming lessons. He has grown and improved but he still needs work with his coordination and endurance. He's having a blast, and that's what counts. We'll be done Friday, and I'm very thankful. This second set of swimming lessons has been wonderful for me! I'm the only mom that stays to watch. There are only seven kids in lessons, so two classes. Thomas has 4 in his class. I've been reading, planning school, watching, and zoning during lessons.

I worked on the classroom a little today. It turned into the dump-all room this summer. I'm trying to dig out. Ugh. Of course it doesn't help that I bought a desk and a small table at an elementary school garage sale to add to the mess. Oh, and two hermit crab cages and three -- yes, three 10-gallon aquariums. I'm giving one away, but will keep two. I guess this will be the year for critters. How can I say no for something that costs $1?

I also made the sad realization that we have only one thing completed for our upcoming county fair. Thomas has 14 days to get creating. This is all my fault and I feel really bad about it. Darn it all, I'll blame it on the hot house, the air condtioner not working most the summer, and the fact I went into a weird zone because of it.

I also made the realization we have not done many fun summer things. Why? Because I've been stuck home waiting for air conditioner repairmen -- yeah, the ones that said they'd be there that day and then didn't show. On my kitchen table I have $260 worth of AC bills -- the latest go round, to three different companies. We still need a new evaporator installed and that's going to cost $325. And I've already paid $150 in June for repair. And this is all for a two-year-old air conditioner. UGH. May I count the $100 hotel bill? I think I should because I would have gone insane had I not had *one* night of cool. That's a lot of money to try to stay cool.

It's time for a mad dash to do some fun things. We'll try to enter three-five things for the county fair, I want to take Thomas swimming and to the beach a few times, plus make a voyage to civilization and buy his hermit crabs. Also on the agenda, if he finishes On the Banks of Plum Creek, is a trip to Walnut Grove, Minnesota. That's a lot to do in little time. Oh yeah, I have to finalize our school. Ugh.

Where did the summer go? I know technically it's still July, but it just seems I blink and a week, month or even a year is gone. least it's cool, 74 degrees in my house. Ah.