Monday, February 27, 2012

The Joys of Pet Ownership

As you know, or maybe you don't know, I am the proud owner of two hounds. Let me give you a recap of their story, and then I can enlighten you to my latest joys of pet ownership.

My family has always had a dog. Sure there were years along the way between pets, and some years with absolutely terrible dogs, but always there has been a 4-legged friend in my parent's home. In August of 2010 we had to put down our family Golden Retriever. It was I think the hardest decision that my mom has had to make. Brandy was the best dog. Seriously I know everyone thinks their dog is the best, but this dog really was top notch. She was smart, gentle, affectionate, and well behaved from the day my mom brought her home. And despite what I, my dad, or my brother may think, she was my mom's dog. But, she had gotten old, and her eyes, and hips had gone, and her last months were spent barely moving around and falling down the stairs on several occasions. Putting her down was the hard, but right thing to do.

I was heartbroken.

As we drove home from my parent's house that evening I told Ken. I need a grief puppy. I like to think he was in full support of this. I'm probably a bit delusional. :)

So I started the search for my grief puppy. Along the way Ken and I decided we should get two dogs, as we were both working full time and the dog(s) would be spending a lot of time home alone. Thus, having two dogs would mean each would have a friend. Next it came to choosing a breed. We made a list of the attributes we wanted (or didn't want) in a dog. Short hair was a must, a larger breed, an easily trainable dog, a working breed that has a majestic look. We also wanted a dog good with small children, that was somewhat territorial but not aggressive.

Our search led us to the Black Mouth Cur. Most people have never heard of this breed, and think our dogs are some kind of Boxer mix. That's a pretty good description.
 After some more searching I located a few breeders in the southern US. Mind you, we live in Missouri. After some feeler emails my hopes of getting a grief dog soon were plummeting. The earliest we could get on a waiting list from a breeder was for a litter they were planning on in July 2011. So we would have to wait 8 months to find out whether or not we might get the last pick of a possible litter. I was devastated.

Then I got a phone call. A breeder in Mississippi called to tell me that they had an unpublished litter that would be weaning soon. They hadn't sold any of the pups as they were breeding to keep some of the pups themselves and we could have first pick of the litter! A miracle. We picked our dogs from photos and I began the countdown. The only problem...the pups would be ready to pick up on October 15th...which would have been great except we were getting married on the 16th. That definitely wasn't going to work. So we asked the breeder to hold the dogs for another two weeks, and on October 30th we set off to get them.

We drove almost all night, stopped for about 6 hours rest in a hotel, got up early and finished our trip down on Saturday morning. We got to the breeder around noon, got our pups and turned right back around and headed home. With only a few stops we made the 10 1/2 hour drive and crashed into bed around midnight. It was a brutally long driving weekend. And after 20+ hours in the car it appeared the pups didn't even like us. But they were soooooo cute.
Now, Artemis and Apollo (names that we stewed over for a good 3 weeks...and by stewed I mean argued) are 18 months old. They are not the world's best dogs They bark and are loud and sleep on the sofa when they aren't supposed to. Artemis jumps the fence and Apollo never listens. But they are certainly still my favorite. And they still provide the joys of pet ownership.

As mentioned above Artemis has a nasty habit of clearing the fence in the backyard. Then she is free to run about the neighborhood barking her high-pitched bark and refusing to come back home. So as of late she has been on a strict leash regimen when outdoors. On Saturday I had her outside for an extended potty break. She had been cooped up for two days since it was cold here, so I thought I'd give her a little time to roam the yard. Apollo wanted to play, so I obliged them both. Artemis however pulled a little hard on the leash when I wasn't expecting it, and I lost my grip. She was free, so to speak. She didn't seem to notice and I thought she might stay put. I was wrong. It took all of 5 seconds for her to be out of the yard. Normally I would let her roam, but I was worried that the leash would get caught and she would hurt herself, so I went inside to get Ken. I put on my coat, shuttled Apollo back inside and headed out to the back. Artemis was tearing full speed through the common ground behind our fence and into the woods. As I reached the back gate and started after her she reemerged from the woods. She came slightly towards me at my call, and then stopped to turn back and pick something up off the ground. I assumed it was trash. People are always throwing trash in the common ground.

I walked slowly towards her, trying my best to coax her back to me. Then I realized: she didn't have trash. She had a bunny. Yes. A bunny. A cute little bunny. And she was trying her hardest to bring it to me. Well, I think she was trying to balance wanting to bring it to me and wanting to play with it. *shiver* I started yelling for Ken, who was still in the house getting his boots/coat on. As he headed out the back gate he looked to where I was standing, maybe 15 feet from Artemis, and said "Get her." I simply replied "She has a bunny." Enough said for Ken. He knows me well enough to know there's no way I'm going any closer if I don't have to.

So after maybe 2 minutes of Artemis picking it up and dropping it repeatedly while sort of running in our general direction with it, she dropped it close to my feet. I walked over to it, not looking down, and stood next to it. She came over and sat down in front of me, looking as proud as can be. Chest puffed out. Eyes squinting shut. I swear she was beaming and smiling. Oh Lord. I told her good dog and gave her praise, and Ken picked up the rabbit and told her he would cook it for her.

I think at this point we both assumed she had just found the thing lying in the grass. As I began to point out the nasty points of dressing a random rabbit she found in the woods Ken paused and we had the following conversation.

Ken : "I'm sure it's like a month old...wait...maybe not."
Me : "What do you mean 'maybe not'."
Ken : "It just peed." He touched it (yes with his bare hands) and continued "It's still warm. Hot even."

I just walked on towards the house. I was so grossed out! Before we went in the house Ken declared his determination to learn how to, and then dress the rabbit. And he stopped to take a picture, so people might actually believe us.

And Saturday evening as we sat inside I realized: Artemis is a hunting dog and so as far as that goes she did good. I just hope she doesn't do good anymore. :)
*Note - The dog is really bigger than the bunny. The camera angle was just off a bit.*

Friday, February 24, 2012

February 22, 2012

I realize that I'm actually writing this post on February 24th, HOWEVER, I meant to write it on the 22nd but I was really busy. :)

February 21, 2012: The day before my birthday.

Like any (I think) normal person, I enjoy getting to celebrate my birthday. I don't necessarily enjoy getting older every year (most years I do, but not every one) but I like to get the cards in the mail and the Facebook wall posts and the celebratory meals and attention. I'll admit. I like it a lot.

I have noticed however, that the older a person gets the less people think celebrating is important. Maybe once you're hitting 40 you do want to forget about your birthday altogether, but certainly 21 year olds disagree, and I highly doubt even 25 (or 26) year olds think that. If you couple this ebbing celebration level with the emergence of technology you get what I consider to be a travesty: birthdays now pass with no paper cards in the mail and no phone calls to sing an out of tune rendition of Happy Birthday. They fly by with Facebook posts and belated text messages.

Does 1/2 a thought still count? What happened to taking a moment, and a dollar, and sending someone a birthday card the good old fashioned way? What happened to recognizing that the people in your life who are over the age of 15 might still like to have a birthday party that they didn't have to plan for themselves? And while we're at it, a birthday 'gift' doesn't have to cost a fortune. But it can be well thought out. Is that too much to ask?

As Wednesday was approaching this week I was struggling with all of these...concerns. I already knew I wasn't getting a traditional party because I hadn't planned one for myself. And while I did have lunch plans with my mom I was facing down cooking my own birthday dinner. As Wednesday was approaching...

February 22, 2012: My 26th Birthday

By Tuesday morning I was in a complete depressed funk about how bad my birthday was going to be. Seriously. Nobody was going to remember it except my parents and there wasn't going to be a party or cake or presents or anything a birthday should have.

Boy was I wrong.

Tuesday as I was driving home from work my mother-in-law called to invite us over for dinner on Wednesday. And she was making lasagna, my favorite. Sweet, I don't have to cook my own birthday dinner.

Tuesday evening when I got home there were 3 cards in the mail. The first from my grandmother. She sent a sweet note and one of her favorite recipes for Pecan Rolls. I love to bake and eat sweets. It was such a sweet thought for her to send me one of her favorite recipes, and it just proves my point that a gift need not cost a fortune. The second card was from my aunt and cousins. As I opened it out fell $10. $10 isn't a lot, but it is almost exactly the cost of a box of cake mix and a jar of frosting. So there we have it, my birthday cake...some assembly required. :) The last card was from my Bestie. She had mentioned that it was coming, so it wasn't a complete surprise but what was inside was. She sent me a gift card. I know some people, Bestie included, prefer not to give/receive gift cards because they don't seem personal but I disagree. This was the most thoughtful gift card. It's store specific, and Bestie even knew how much the item I want costs. She sent exactly the right gift card amount. I don't see how that could ever possibly be misconstrued as 'not thoughtful'.

Wednesday morning: the day of truth. I got up relatively early. Then I gave myself a present: no chores on my birthday. In hind sight this wasn't the best decision as I had already neglected the chores Monday and worked on Tuesday so the house was looking a little gross. But still, it was my birthday and I was determined to have a day off. So, morning off: check! Then lunch with my mom. We went to this little tearoom in a tiny little town about 30 minutes from my house. We ate our soup, salad and sandwiches in front of a fire and topped them off with delicious desserts. It was 2 hours of relaxing atmosphere, good conversation, great company and good food. A perfect lunch. And the whole time my phone was buzzing non-stop with phone calls and text messages wishing me a healthy happy birthday. I honestly had no idea so many people would remember and care.

After lunch, and some fancy transportation finagling we took the dogs to the dog park. The weather was beautiful. And the best part, my college roommate made the trip to the park to see me. Just to give me a hug and wish me a happy birthday. And to pass along a bottle of her favorite spiked apple cider. :)

After an hour or so at the park and a bit more car rearranging we headed to my in-laws. I immediately observed a pile of stuff in the middle of the living room floor under some blankets. This is the traditional method for wrapping large gifts :) I assumed the box under the blanket was a new vacuum. It was something I had asked for a while back.

We chatted for a bit and I waited until the lasagna was in the oven baking to remove the blankets. And really, my mother-in-law couldn't wait anymore, so she grabbed one side and pulled them back. What was under the blankets? Well it wasn't a vacuum. It was four medium sized boxes from Crate & Barrel. It was new dishes. And these aren't just any dishes. These are beautiful, white, pristine, not-chipped, matching dishes that I have been petting at Crate & Barrel for a while now, saving up my spending money to buy for myself. I was like a little kid on Christmas. I opened each box and took out one piece. I made a place setting on the floor. I hugged the dishes and just basked in their fabulous-ness.

The next gift was from my husband. Now, here I already had a pretty good idea what I was getting. I don't, in general, care for surprises. I like to have a plan. So a week earlier Ken had spilled the beans that he had already gotten me a present. I spent the next hour or so badgering him with questions until I deduced that it was a cookbook. :) On Wednesday evening he gave it to me. But it's not a cookbook. It's a 1,000 page baking and pastry textbook from the baking/pastry classes at the Culinary Institute of America. It's step by step instructions, pictures, and recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, tarts, wedding cakes, spun sugar, chocolate and EVERYTHING else you can imagine associated with baking. In short, it's amazing.

As we sat down to dinner I was pretty much in heaven. Everything on my to-buy-for-myself list had been covered by the gifts I had received. Everything and then some.

After dinner, my brother-in-law obliged me to two sets at Euchre. As we were playing I was thumbing through my new baking to-do list and I mentioned that as soon as I could get the ice cream making attachment for my stand mixer I could make all kinds of ice creams with the recipes in this book. My mother-in-law simply suggested I take her ice cream maker - she never uses it anyway. Then she went down to the basement and came back with a like-new mixer and two boxes of rock salt to go with it! She said, you can 'borrow' it. :)

As we drove home I contemplated the differences in my expectations on Tuesday morning and what I actually got on Wednesday, and I scolded myself for having been so negative. I think I had worked up in my mind that my birthday should be something like "My Super Sweet 26" and then had decided if it couldn't be that it would be terrible. But I was so wrong. There was no 100 person party. There was no fancy birthday cake with my name piped in red (although I did bake myself a little something). But there were people I loved. And there were thoughtful gifts that I really wanted and none that I had to fake a smile and look for the receipt. There were calls and cards and messages from all across the country wishing me a happy day. It was so much more than I could have really ever hoped for. And today, Friday, I still feel so blessed and lucky.

What a great day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shame? -or- Pride!

In the past week I've really been struggling with my attitude towards my destiny: should it be pride or shame?

I realized that nobody should ever have to be embarrassed about who they are or what they do. This is my life, and really it is nobody else's business. But that isn't necessarily a realistic concept. Other people will always be looking in and telling me what I 'should' do or how I 'should' be. So really all I can control is how I feel when they do.

This weekend Ken and I were in the pet shop on Sunday, and there was the CUTEST little kitten for adoption. He wasn't even the size of a can of soup. As we were buying a massive bag of dog food for the mutts (who were with us in the store) I asked about the adoption process. The cashier informed me that I could fill out an application (of which several were already waiting for the kitty) and then if I was selected the costs would be $100 for the pet, spayed with shots etc etc. I declined the application as I was only mildly curious and because, I flatter myself, I'm mature enough to not get a new pet just because I'm feeling my biological clock ticking louder on my birthday week. At any rate, as we were driving home I observed something out loud. On paper, we probably wouldn't have the most suitable home for a new kitten because we have two large dogs. Not whether we would love the cat, or provide for it well, or make sure it has food/clean litter/water/toys, or keep it healthy. But based solely on the fact that we have dogs when someone else may not. This line of thinking juts kept spiraling until at one point Ken suggested that if I really wanted the kitten we could just omit that we have dogs on the application. That's when it hit me: For other people to not judge negatively we would have to, in essence, hide who we are.

Yesterday, Monday, I had a similar experience. The new Vice President of Alumnae Relations for my college sorority sent an email to all of the registered alumnae, of which I am one. The email was a feeler for interest in a mentoring program between graduates and current students in the sorority. I should break here to say that joining my sorority was one of the most serendipitous and best things of my college life, and whenever I am given the chance I like to give back, so that other girls might have the same experience I did. So needless to say I thought a mentoring program would be great! Where do I sign up?? I followed the link given to a sign up sheet. Across the sheet were column headings as follows: "Name" "Major in College" "Industry You Work in Now".

As I read down the list, and observed the names I realized that I don't work in an 'industry' now. I'm a housewife. Sure I work part-time as an accounting/finance/bookkeeping consultant, but I'm my own boss, and I still don't know what industry you would call that. As I sat staring at the screen a thought occurred to me: What if they don't want me to mentor because I don't have a job? What if 'they' determine that I don't have anything to offer because I 'just stay at home'? It may seem silly, but I really was embarrassed. I thought of ways to change what I do to make it sound better. I considered putting my title from my old job. I considered not participating at all. That's when it hit me: For other people to not judge negatively I would have to, in essence, hide who I am. 

While mulling these thoughts over in my head I came to a conclusion. Well, two conclusions technically. If having the dogs means I can't have a cat, would I then trade them for a kitten? Absolutely not! So then, there's no need for me to be embarrassed or ashamed that I have them. They are great. They are a part of my life and my family. If someone else determines they are a hurdle to adopting a new pet then that someone else would be missing out on a loving home. And if staying at home and working for myself means that I can't participate in a mentoring program does that then mean that I would rather be back in a job that I hated, or unhappy in another job just so I could be a mentor? No! That's a ridiculous thought. I realized that really I have nothing to be ashamed of. If other people can't recognize that who I am and what I have to offer hasn't changed because I left the workforce, then they wouldn't be open to learning anything from me anyway. And they would be missing out on a mentor that has real life experiences and knowledge to share.

While at the time each of these situations made me first feel ashamed, and then angry at the small-mindedness of the world I am thankful that they happened. And as much as I tire of getting beaten over the head with a concept, I'm thankful that they happened back-to-back. They have helped me to realize that I can be happy with who I am, and I can be happy with what I do. And really, that I can stand tall and proud despite what the world might think.

So today this is how I fill out that mentoring sheet:

"Valerie" "Business Administration - Finance" "Self Employed Business Consultant" :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

In the oh-so-wise words of Thumper "If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all."

So as far as this Valentine's Day is concerned all I have to say is  ...

The Midwest Doldrums

So I've been AWOL for almost two weeks. It wasn't intentional, it just happened.

This lovely blog tells me that my last post was on February 2nd, which my trusty calendar informs me was a Thursday. I honestly wish I could think of what has swept me up in the 288 hours since then, but I can't. I can only chalk it up to the Midwest Doldrums; or in other words: Life.

I'm sure a lot of super interesting things have happened in my life since February 2nd. Um...we finally put up the door for the basement bathroom thus making potty breaks no longer a team sport. Oh! We had some friends over for dinner and conversation, which was the highlight of the week. And we threw a little last minute shin-dig for Super Bowl since our normal Super Bowl soiree was cancelled as the host/hostess were on vacation. So by my calculation that covers roughly 9 of the last 288 hours. :)

The remaining 279 hours have been consumed by everyday nothing-ness. Work, cleaning, eating, sleeping, TV etc. Nothing fancy. Nothing exciting. The plain old ups and downs of life.

Lately my sleep schedule has been all kinds of messed up (hence this post at 2am). So I've been staying up until all hours of the night because I simply cannot fall asleep. And obviously my midnight endeavors must be relatively quiet as Ken still has to get up early, so I can't say they are all that productive. Then as a result of my late nights my days are half eaten by sleep. So I have routinely been finding myself in bed past 10am. That really puts a damper on productivity as well. So it's a very vicious and unproductive cycle. All in all I'd say at least 120 of those missing hours belong to my bed.

In addition to, or perhaps on account of my crazy interrupted sleep schedule I've found myself a bit lacking in motivation. Really this minor slump is no surprise to me. It happens every year at this time. Seasonal depression is the technical term though I prefer to call it the Winter Pits. It's those last dreadfully long weeks of winter. This year it hasn't been so bad, as the weather in good ole' Missouri has been uncommonly warm. But as if right on cue the weather has taken a turn to towards bitter cold forcing me to hibernate inside. And of course it wouldn't be February if every day wasn't overcast or just plain dark outside.

Blah. I hate this time of year.

I did finish part 1 of my Bestie's 2008 Christmas present. I have been keeping the house clean, although this week's snowfall has led to trails of little paw prints on the floors. I have gone to work on the days when going to work is required. Ken and I have enjoyed some time with friends. All in all a nice long stretch of life.

Hopefully in the coming weeks we can get some excitement in here to liven things up.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Two of Two

Needless to say I never got back to posting this yesterday. After my enlightening lunch events I spent the afternoon working on that extra long to-do list. Then we, Ken and I, took the dogs to the park, ate dinner, and watched a little TV. I had some little bit of work to do to prepare for a meeting today and then we hit the sack. Exciting, I know.

But never fear! Post two of two will finally get its fifteen minutes of fame.

About a week ago I was talking to my mom on the phone. She was giving me a recap of a seminar she had been to at church. As she was talking through the events, she came to a joke which went a little something like this:

A Diary Entry - The Same Day.
  "A Woman's Diary: My husband was acting so strange today. I was out shopping all day with friends, and I think he was mad that I got home late. I asked him if he was mad at me and he said no. But he was being so distant and quiet. I thought maybe a nice dinner would help smooth things over. He agreed and we went but he barely said 5 words all night long. I asked him what was wrong and he said 'nothing'. The drive home was the same: just silence. I think he must not love me anymore. We went to bed and he fell right to sleep. I don't know what I've done wrong. I cried myself to sleep. I don't know what to do."

"A Man's Diary: Boat motor won't start. Can't figure out why."

By the time my mom finished the joke she could barely speak for laughing. Only at 25, and being married only a year I didn't really find it that funny. No. Actually I found it quite hopeless. She tried to explain why it was funny; clearly it applies to so many men and women that it is amusing. Clearly it's an indication that silence and brooding doesn't mean a man doesn't love his wife. Clearly.

At any rate, as this situation applies so broadly it can be no surprise to hear that it rung true for me as well. But that's not the fairy tale marriage I was going to have! What?!?! Never! My husband is going to be sensitive and caring and affectionate and in touch with his emotions.  And he is going to be all of those things even if it kills me!

So fast forward to Tuesday night. As I said, I moped around ALL day, and so when 9:30 rolled around I decided I would straighten up the house a bit. As Ken must get up before the sun every morning, he announced he was going to bed. I was tidying up the dining room, and as I was putting some mail in the office I walked past the bedroom door and observed that Ken was not sleeping but playing games on his iPhone. So I climbed in the bed next to him to give him some grief about it being bedtime, and that saying "I'm going to bed" indicates sleep, not fun and games.

What I had intended to be a short teasing session turned into nearly 90 minutes of teasing, joking, innuendos, laughter, grammatical errors (which lead to more teasing and laughter), and just plain fun. At one point I was laughing so hard that I was literally crying, and even after several minutes and Ken repeatedly asking "Are you done?" I was still tickled by it.

Those 90 minutes restored my faith in my dream marriage. They indicated to me that the lines of communication don't have to be cut forever just because Ken is a man and I am a woman. Granted, he wasn't writing me lines of poetry or serenading me with love songs. It wasn't that kind of romance. But it was the kind of romance we had when we first met. And the kind that endured while we were dating. It was a 90 minute reminder of the things that I love about Ken and the things that made me fall in love with him in the first place. When life gets in the way of romance sometimes it is hard to remember those things. When silence becomes the majority of communication it can be hard to know if you're being heard, especially when you know that neither you nor your spouse is good at taking hints.

I try very hard not to give out relationship advice. First of all, I have no idea what I'm doing, so who am I to give advice. I'm just winging it one day at a time. Secondly, probably the wisest thing anyone ever said to me about relationships came from a barely 21 year-old newly married man. He said "You know, it doesn't matter what other people say about our relationship. We are the only ones in it, and we know that it's real." After pondering on that I realized that really, the best people to give relationship advice are the people inside the relationship. But today, I have to give in.

Take my advice. Cherish those moments when the world drops away, whenever they happen to sneak in. Think about them often, and instigate them whenever you can so at the end of the day both of your diaries can be about the same brief, smiling moments.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One of Two

Today I feel compelled to write two posts. Technically I could fit everything in one, but I feel the subjects just don't mesh. They each need their own fifteen minutes of fame. And so here we are, post one of two.

I would like to thank God for reminding me today that destiny waits for no man, or in my case, woman. Over the last week my mild case of the common cold has completely demolished my self-motivation. Wallowing in my own pity for five days has finally caught up with me, and yesterday I couldn't even make myself take a shower. I just moped all day. And I do mean ALL day. I did not accomplish a single household chore, and dinner, while delicious, was a freezer -> oven -> plate ordeal into which I put roughly -2 effort.

Today I woke up feeling almost entirely back to normal. And yet still not at all motivated to put my home back in order. And lets face it, keeping an orderly home at this juncture is a very large part of my destiny. So today I've been consulting my bag of procrastination tools, and putting off cleaning as long as I could.

I use a system of index cards to track the chores that are on my to-do list for the day. It's a sort of living to-do list that rotates daily. It is a wonderful system that works remarkably well for me. It keeps my home looking like something from a Better Homes and Gardens photo shoot about 90% of the time. However, when I break the routine the cards can pile up quickly. My first procrastination was to take out all of the cards I've neglected since last Wednesday and lay them on the dining room table. Let me tell you, there are a lot. Seeing them laid out and staring at me in all of their unfinished glory did not inspire me to be productive. Actually, it just made me feel even more determined not to do anything. I managed to appease my guilt by folding one load of laundry (which is no feat since there are still 3 that are already washed and dried, and another two worth of dirty laundry that I've let pile up). Then I convinced myself I was feeling run down, and not to push myself too hard lest my weakened immune system take a turn for the worse. So I took a short break, and then tackled my next big feat, the sink full of dishes. After five minutes of laboriously loading the dishwasher I deemed I was ready for another break, and lunch.

To satisfy my craving for something rich and sweet I brewed myself up a pot of delicious chocolate hazelnut coffee. It's my new daily indulgence. I like a little coffee with my cream and sugar, so I went to the fridge to retrieve the all-important CoffeeMate. As I lifted the bottle from the fridge door I gave it the routine two quick shakes just to froth it up a bit and wouldn't you know, the cap was open. Not completely open, no, that would have been too obvious. It just wasn't clicked completely closed. Of course little drops of non-fat French Vanilla went everywhere. Inside the fridge, on the floor, down the mustard and salad dressing bottles. Everywhere.

With a sigh, a very loud somewhat annoyed sigh, I started cleaning up the mess. As I was debating whether I should clean up the mess on the floor or just call the dogs into the kitchen it dawned on me: this was not another mess to make me feel overwhelmed. This was just God, with His ever-changing sense of humor reminding me that procrastinating isn't just going to leave me with a messy house at the end of the day; it's going to keep my destiny from advancing one more step. The realization almost made me smile. Almost. I was at a smirk, and on my way to smiling when I bent down to paper-towel up the mess from the kitchen floor. Yeah, the situation there is not anything to smile about. Yuck!

As I finished mopping up the majority of the mess at the fridge, and then the mess that had dripped down the bottle and onto the countertop I realized that being at home, like any other job, is still work. There are days that I am so thankful to be at home and days that I think back on the corporate world and I rejoice that my destiny doesn't lead me there. But, there are still days when I think my boss is a jerk (which leads to some very interesting introspection) and days when I wish the weekend would just hurry up and arrive so I could take a break.

It's refreshing in a way, to have a day where doing nothing is not really an option. It reminds me not to take this life for granted. Not to get too relaxed and forget that living this destiny is a blessing, but being a blessing doesn't mean that it is effortless. So now, after stopping by to record this little epiphany I'm off to finish up my chores. If I can manage them before the husband gets home I'll be back for part two of two.

And part two of two is great! Trust me :)