Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

A couple posts ago, I mentioned how I'd rather have it cold versus rainy here in the Alaska Banana Belt. While I didn't lie about that, I also didn't mean to have it so freakin' cold RIGHT NOW!

For the past few days it's been below freezing. And not just hovering at the 32/0 degree mark. It was in the mid teens this morning, as it was yesterday morning. Brrrr! Even the more adventurous of our cats decided she'd rather stay in and annoy a dog by cuddling up to it. Can't blame you, kitty. A "three dog night" has real meaning here, but my dogs are not allowed on the bed. So we get a two kitty night. Not the same. Less heat, more clinging to the edge. (How is it that two cats of 8 and 11 pounds can take up more space than a full grown human adult?)

Also, my poor, hoary (as opposed to whor--nevermind) minivan is not happy about starting in such weather. Plug-in or no.

It will be a chilly Halloween here in the Frozen North--a term I used in a somewhat joking manner until now. I'll have to remind the kids to let the Laffy Taffy get to room temperature before digging in. Or that crack we'll hear as they bite down will be the sound of the dentist getting a new snow machine.

Oh, on a side note, this is my 100th post : ) Do I get a present or anything? No? Okay, just asking.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Love Means Having to Say You're Sorry

Despite Erich Segal's famous line, love does mean having to say you're sorry. Not just for the big things, but for the smaller ones. Without a doubt, a monumental screw up (ie: adultery, financial ruin, get the idea) requires an apology. But what about the little things? Those seemingly small incidents that can be blown off yet still hurt. I think a festering or a build up of small insults that don't get resolved are as damaging as a big issue. Perhaps more so. And we're more apt to apologize to a perfect stranger for bumping into them than to apologize to our loved ones for taking the last slice of pizza or not doing the dishes.

In books, it's the big things that make an exciting read--adultery, murder, theft. Sure, there are stories about little screw ups, but that's more "literary" fodder : ) Most of real life (or at least MY real life) is made up of little episodes, both good and bad. Fewer of us have to deal with the aftermath of major mistakes. But we must contend with all those little ones we inflict or receive.

Standing at the bus stop this rainy, chilled morning, I chided my youngest child for not having zipped her backpack. As I zipped it for her, I noticed her homework folder wasn't inside. She is notorious for just dropping the folder near her pack without actually putting it inside. So I got upset because unless I brought her homework in to her she'd get points off for it being late. Yeah, some of you may think I should have just let her take the hit to learn her lesson about being responsible, but that's for another post. Instead, I told her I'd bring her the folder today but never again. She was upset that I was upset and promised to be better prepared. The bus arrived and I said I'd be along at school soon.

I trudged back up the hill to the house and searched for the folder. And couldn't find it. Crap. The car was already warming up so I figured I'd run in and let her know I couldn't find the darn thing. She and her sister were in the cafeteria with a slew of other kids waiting for the bell to start the day. And there, beside her, was her folder.

"It was bent over in my backpack," she said.

I felt horrible for having gotten mad. "I should have double checked. I'm sorry."

Her little face lit up at my apology. She'd been more upset at my reaction than I'd realized. I told her and her sister I loved them, to have a good day, and I'd see them after school.

I have no problem letting my children know I make mistakes. I want them to realize that no one is perfect. That when you screw up, you apologize whether it's a big thing or a little thing, and try not to repeat the same mistake twice.

Will my getting upset at her scar her for life? I doubt it. But I hope my willingness to admit my mistake and apologize for it will make an impression. Will I screw up again? Probably, but hopefully it'll be over something different. And I'll apologize again.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Termination Dust

No, it's not a new, lethal drug. Here in the North, depending on which latitude you reside, seasons are measured by days (summer) or in six-eight month increments (guess which season that is), there is one thing we all agree upon: Termination dust.

We got ours two weeks ago. Though the day was reasonable (ie: not too rainy and in the mid 40's) I noticed the mountain tops around us dusted with snow. The mountains being colder, of course, meant the snow was here to stay until late spring. The temperature dropped over the next week or so at my house, mid to upper 30's in the evening and first thing in the morning. It would warm up as the day progressed, but there was the white specter of winter all around us. Each day, the snow line dropped. Lower. And lower.

As I drove to work yesterday, it started to rain. Thick rain. Rain that hit with a thud but quickly liquefied against the heater-warmed windshield. A teasing rain, reminding me that soon I would need to wear my warm boots and carry my indoor shoes to work. That the tires on the vehicles needed to be changed over to the studded versions. That I'll be knee-deep in the white stuff sooner than I desire.

But I don't mourn the loss of summer. You can't mourn what you never had. I can hope the winter holds off for a bit longer, but that means more rain. I'd rather have cold weather, even if it means snow.

Snow is fun. You can make things, throw it about, ski, sled, snowshoe. You can send your kids out in it and they'll stay outside enjoying themselves. Do that during a downpour and all you get is cold, wet, cranky kids. When they come inside after playing in the snow, they may be damp and chilled, but their little cheeks are rosy and they're happy. We like happy.

Perhaps we should see termination dust as a positive thing. An end to the unreliable summer and fall weather. With the arrival of snow, we know what we'll be getting for the next six to eight months. In these uncertain times, isn't it nice to know you can count on something?