Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where's the Fast-Forward Button?

I've been struck lately with the reality that time is flying by me. I notice myself looking forward to the future, and saying things like "I can't wait until the beach this summer" or "Won't it be great when Spencer can walk and be a little more independent." I actually find myself looking in my planner (love, love, LOVE my Franklin planner! It keeps me sane...relatively, that is) forward through the next year to the exciting events we have planned. A few weddings, a reunion with our old church friends in Blacksburg, traveling to see family, certain physical-goals I've set for myself (I'm toying with the rather insane idea of getting in good enough shape to run a marathon possibly next year...will start with a 10k so I don't kill myself though), Christmas (I love the Christmas season and look forward to it starting around April or May of every year.) Yesterday, it struck me like a brick to the head that it's as if I'm hitting the fast-forward button on my life. That "let's skip this and get to the good stuff" mentality is so common in this world. LIVING has become mundane. And hello, as with any movie that we fast-forward our way through, there is an end. We are given a finite amount of days on this earth and while I personally know that there will be something (much better) awaiting me on the other side, I still have to laugh at myself for essentially counting down the days to my own death.

What ever happened to just enjoying LIFE?

At the end of the day, I put Spencer down to sleep in his crib and I stand there above him, watching this sweet angel look adoringly at me, blinking his eyes sleepily, I always find myself thanking God for the day he's given us. Lately, every day of my life has been the greatest day of my life. Even the tough ones where Spencer decides to boycott his naps or have a random meltdown in the middle of a Macy's, At 8pm, I still find myself right there, standing in my spot above his crib, with my husband's arm around me, looking at my family and feeling like life just doesn't get any sweeter than this.

Maybe some days are more rewarding than others, and some more exciting, but time will pass whether I make an impact on this world or not. I don't know specifically what great things God wants me to accomplish while I'm here (aside from raising a young man), but I think I need a new outlook on things. I need to tackle each day with an attitude of "what greatness can I accomplish today?" And whether that greatness involves helping a friend in need, sending a letter to my Congressman, boycotting products that do animal testing, or simply giving a friendly smile to the lonesome old lady in Whole Foods I am making each day count. Even teaching my infant to make a respectable sounding "raspberry" with his mouth is one more way to enrich his life and make mine count. How often do you hear someone count down to the weekend? "Only 3 more days until the weekend," or "TGIF!" Are we really content to only spend 2/7ths of our lives in a content state? We can do so much more LIVING on that other 3/4 of our lives! Let's start living people!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cleaning for the Cleaners

I'm up in Fairfax for a few days, visiting family and photographing the D.C. Cherry Blossoms. It's always fun hanging out with the fam. My mom ("Nana") is beside herself, spoiling Spencer rotten. She took him to Toys R Us yesterday and spent a small fortune on toys (have I mentioned that he's only 5.5 months old???), and she hasn't put him down since we arrived. All in all, a great time.

Today, however, I got to experience once again the insanity that is "cleaning day" at my parents house. Mom and Mark have cleaning people who come fortnightly (look it up, it's a cool word that's undoubtedly underused). They both work full-time and have a larger-than-average home, so I've always thought this to be a good idea. Until today.

The "cleaning day" ritual begins the night before, with Mark scrubbing the kitchen top to bottom. I'm more than slightly confused about this practice, as it seems to me that that may be one of the things they are paying their cleaning buddies to do, but apparently that's just the beginning of the insanity. In addition to the kitchen, he picks up every magazine and book from his bookcase in the living room and stacks them on top of his chair. Before bed, mom goes around the entire main floor and picks up every single thing weighing less than 100lbs off the floor and stacks them on various pieces of furniture. The following morning is a flurry of activity, as mom runs around making sure the bathroom vanities, dresser tops, nightstands, and all other pieces of wood furniture get cleaned off. She then does a cursory cleaning of the bathrooms, making sure to hide the toothbrushes in a drawer so they don't get cleaning spray misted upon them. She locks up her sewing room (she has resorted to locking the door, since the sign on the door saying "No Entrar, Por Favor" caused them to "entrar" anyway and suck up with the vacuum cleaner half of her materials that were perfectly laid out to make her latest quilt--they were hanging on a piece of felt on the wall, for crying-out-loud!!), and then she pulls out the crappy vacuum cleaner (don't worry, the "good vacuum" is hidden away somewhere so they can't find it and break it...the cleaning people have somehow broken two previous "good vacuums" so their pennance is to have to use a sub-par vacuum cleaner...THAT'LL SHOW 'EM!) Last, we have to call the company's owner and find out what time they'll be there so we don't interrupt their "creative process".

At 11am, three very tiny, very sweet El Salvadorian ladies enter the home and proceed to cause more damage to my parents house than any child, frat boy, or hurricaine could ever manage. They rub the vacuum cleaner against the walls and floorboards, they also beat the living hell out of any and all hardwood furnture (can't you just hear that vacuum banging against the legs of your nice dining room suite...SCHMACK...SCHMACK...SCHMACK!) It'll probably take a few days to survey all the damage (it usually does), but there's always multiple little "surprises" after cleaning day. Mom informed me last night that they seem to pleasure in pointing the shower heads toward the door, so when you turn on the shower to warm it up it shoots you in the face. And we can't forget the great peanut-shell incident of 2008 . My mom came home from work mid-day to grab something and accidentally surprised the cleaning ladies while they were working. That night, their sink was totally clogged and the disposal was jammed and full of peanut shells. Apparently one of the girls had been shopping in their pantry and eating their peanuts (which wouldn't have been a big deal, had they not tried to cover it up by cramming the shells down the sink in order to conceal the evidence and almost cost them a new sink.)

Mom and Mark have been talking about firing them for years. I think they've even gone so far as to inform the owner of the "company" that she would be letting them go due to all the destruction. However, my mother being a bleeding-heart, took one look at the sadness in his eyes when he shook her hand and thanked her for her business, that she called him the next day and invited them back for more damage. Why not just give them the house, mom? Seriously.