Divide And Conquer

11-10 Sedona

Divide and conquer… originally, used to describe a military technique that maintains control by dividing the masses. If they don’t band together, they are easier to manage. They don’t get together and rally against the ruler.

In my life, divide and conquer has come to mean dividing our resources so our to-do list doesn’t control us. Most recently, this thought came to mind when I over-booked our calendar. On the same day, we now have a Boy Scout camp out and putting up Christmas decorations at church. We also had a conflict with my older son’s band activities and our younger son’s doctor’s appointment. Divide and conquer.

I got to thinking – while our ‘to-do’ list is whimpering from our efforts, dividing our resources to manage it could have the opposite effect by bringing us to our knees.  The more things we don’t do as a family, the more memories we miss making as a family. Years from now, it means fewer things we can talk about that we all remember- because we experienced them together. Divide and conquer needs to be our last resort, not our go-to strategy.

This time of year feels like life has been put on “fast forward.” I guess my thoughts needed to go down this path as a reminder that less is more. Even as I write this, I feel a little guilty because I’ve declined to be a leader in Cub Scouts this year. Not because I don’t think it’s valuable, but because I have so little time- and I feel like I’ve over-spent it.

Unlike money, I can’t make more time.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

I appreciate you reading my random thoughts on life. I hope you have a peaceful Monday!

Bits of “Wisdom” I’ve Gained In Last 7 Days

Doing laundry *can* help settle the mind – but I still don’t recommend it

I wanted to write a post on Sunday to publish on Monday, but my thoughts bounced around like caffeinated squirrels.  (Judging by the activity level of ‘normal’ squirrels, I can only imagine ones on caffeine would be hard to follow.)

Writing didn’t happen because of many things:  anxiety over Monday’s dental appointment, not feeling good (after two weeks of tonsillitis), remembering things I have to do since school has started, and deadlines at work that put me on the computer for a couple hours Sunday night.  As I folded laundry, though, the idea came to me to write a post as scattered as what I feel – with the common thread of “wisdom” I encountered this past week.

Thank goodness I didn’t have to iron clothes to find peace!  (I don’t iron.  Ever.)

There has to be better therapy... like chocolate!
There has to be better therapy… like chocolate!

Sometimes it’s best not to try to understand

Conversation on the first day of school:

Me:  “Why don’t you just wear your sweat shorts and t-shirt to school since you have P.E. first hour?”

Older son:  “I’m not going to school looking like a slob.” (said with his ‘are-you-an-idiot?’ tone)

Me:  “You’d only have to change once, and you’d just have to wear gym clothes on the bus ride.”

Older son:  “And recess, too.”

I didn’t say anything else, but did laugh when he came out of his room wearing a different t-shirt and sweat shorts, which he planned to wear all day.  I do not claim to know what made these clothes not “slobby”.

Risk is Relative

Or is that, ‘relatives are risky’?  Oh, never mind.  Conversation with my dad after he spent many hours cursing at working on my computer:

Dad:  “I think your network card is bad.  A new one is $179, or they have a refurbished one for $22.”

Me:  “I’m not spending $179 on a 4-year-old computer.  But refurbished?  I don’t know… seems risky.”

Dad:  “You take a risk buying a new one, but the refurbished is only a $22 risk.”

Perhaps these principles of risk apply to other areas of life; something this risk-avoidant person needs to keep in mind.

My kids can be empathetic (if you’re covered in fur)

My older son put his cat on my lap while I worked at my desk.  Sammy didn’t want to be there so she headed toward the desk top.  She slipped and dug her claws into my thigh as she slid toward the floor.  I shrieked in pain and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck to pull her back onto my lap.

My son ran back into the room.  “What happened?”

“She slid down my thigh,” I said between clenched teeth.

“Oh, Sammy!  Are you okay?” He asked as he bent down to kiss the kitty.

Don’t worry about me.  The blood dries quickly and maybe scars aren’t forever.

Maybe they'd care if I "meowed"?
Maybe I’d get empathy (or sympathy) if I “meowed”?

What about you – what unexpected things have your discovered recently?

Oh, if you came here looking for some fiction, I’ve got a couple of ideas for a story to post later in the week.  I know, ideas aren’t the same as written stories, but I’ll work on that the next couple days :)

Covert Operations

My older son and I are going through a thing right now:  I don’t like to be lied to, and he likes to lie to see what he can get away with.  Lately, it’s been a game for him.  A tiring, ridiculous game that I began to think I might not “win.”

An anonymous tip (okay, my mother-in-law) may have turned the tide.

Last night, my husband got a cryptic text from his mom ssuggesting he raid my son’s room.  We don’t allow food upstairs, for one good reason.  Here… a picture’s worth a thousand words:

Room

Can you imagine food thrown into that mess? Or the pests that such slobbery would attract? {shivers}

I digress.

While my son was outside playing basketball with a neighbor, my husband bagged up the hidden treasures; enough sugar to rot the teeth of eight children.

Stash

What to do next…

1)      We could ask him about the candy and give him an opportunity to lie to our faces

2)      We could hide the candy without saying anything (yet) and wait.

Of course, he won’t come right out and ask where his candy is – that would be admitting guilt.  But one day, it will come up in conversation.  It will be subtle (maybe a photo of the confiscated sugar left on his pillow?) but he will have no question that we know.

However we proceed, it will be clear that we trust until trust is broken.  And trust has been broken. He will know that his room isn’t off limits from the rules of our house.

This may seem a bit overboard for a bag of sugar, but there’s more at stake here.  Next month, he will be twelve and I know there are things much worse than sugar that he could choose to hide.

He needs to know that we look because we care.

I’m not kidding myself; I know he won’t appreciate us caring.  He will be furious that we assert our right to search and seizure.  He will likely resent our infringement upon his “rights.”  I’m aware he likely won’t gain understanding until years later.

Possibly when he’s checking the room of his own child.

At least we’ll know we didn’t trust blindly.

So, what do you think we should do with the “evidence”?  We might was well have some fun with this!

Freedom (Haiku and Life)

Mirrored emotions:

Letting go, pulling away;

We’re both bound to grow.

06-02 Bird

This will be the first week in a long time that I won’t be linking up to any writing prompt sites. Normally, I like the challenge of channeling my emotions into a prompted response. I decided to go “free” because this week is different. Tomorrow, my baby will be leaving on an 8-day trip to Lake Powell with his Boy Scout troop. Well, he’s not my youngest (he’s my first baby) but still, he hasn’t been away from me for that long before. And I’m a mom: I worry. That is the one thing as a parent I’m certain I do well.

Right now, our emotions are polar opposites. My nervousness at letting him go is equally matched by his excitement to experience freedom outside the constraints of our family. The more I tell him I love him and will miss him, the more he says he can’t wait to go. (I think he will miss me, maybe a little. Then again, my view of reality might be skewed!)

If I didn’t trust the scoutmaster, I couldn’t take this tentative step. He is patient with the children and with this mom who struggles with reigning in her protectiveness. Yes, I will make sure he doesn’t drown in the lake. No, he won’t skip dinner and pig out on snacks.  Yes, I will make sure he brushes his teeth.  No, you can’t call him because there is little, if any, cell service.

Originally, my husband planned to go and take our younger son. When he lost his job in March, that plan fell through. He has found another job, but hasn’t been there long enough to ask for so much time off. It would cost too much to pay for two more people to go and lose a week’s pay as well. Yep, my older son got lucky :)

As I’m writing this, my sons are fighting… shouting, really, as they fold laundry. Perhaps this week-long trip won’t be so bad…

Passionate Kissses (100-Word Song)

On the eve of my fortieth birthday, through a wine buzz, I see the myth. If it seems too good to be true, it is. Everyone knows that.

My sweaty hands cradle the phone. My fingers want to dial your number, but my heart won’t let me; she might answer. I throw the phone. The “thud” doesn’t appease my discontent. Even when my heart wins, it loses.

I thought I’d have it all: marriage, career, a someday-family. Instead, I’m broken and alone. I want “us” back; I need your passionate kisses.

Is it too much (or too late) to ask?

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This is my response to Lance’s 100-word song challenge, which is to write a 100-word story inspired by Lucinda Williams’ song, Passionate Kisses.  I don’t regularly participate in the challenge, but I appreciate him allowing me to join in when the mood strikes.  If you feel inspired, write your own story and click the robot image above to get to Lance’s site where you can link it up.

For those who regularly read, or might care, I wanted to reiterate that this is fiction – there isn’t anything here taken from my life (already passed 40, don’t drink alcohol, I’ve got kids and a job, and my husband doesn’t have a girlfriend that I’m aware of…)   Since this was on the depressing side, and it will likely be my last post for the week, I wanted to leave you with a smile.  Or at least not completely bummed out :)

We like to go on hikes with the kids because it uses up some of their seemingly endless stores of energy.  When they want to go home and take a nap, it’s a good hike. When they lay down on the trail, it’s a great hike!

When they want to go home and take a nap, it's a good hike.  When they lay down on the trail, it's a great hike!
This is Mom’s and Dad’s favorite hike…