Sunday, January 13, 2008

On Productivity

I like to feel like I'm making headway in some real areas, or I begin feeling restless. It seems like the recap of 2007 was a series of major adjustments. And boy, did it ever fly by! It also involved major events in the lives of those close to me, namely my daughter. I love being invested in her life, and that has come into play in a much more concentrated way now that she nears the completion of her LPN program. How very much hope, expectancy, scheduling, and finances have gone into our team effort of her arrival at this point.

I'm trying very much to back off and allow her to make her own decisions, mistakes, and express her personality without my input so much, or at least my censure. Since she lives at home, and since we are pretty comfortable with the structure of our relationships and how our household runs, R's becoming a woman comes with its testing of our personal comfort zones...some of which are the better for a shake-up and others that are the product of wisdom she, as yet, finds confining. She's itching for independence while still needing to be here at home for economic reasons. We are seeing this as a transition stage for her...and for us.

We weathered the "age 18" phase, where suddenly she felt she was given a magic pass to have no expectations placed on her altogether while still living here. I'm chuckling as I remember HOW many times that phrase was used "but I'm 18 now! you can't tell me what to do any more." Well, the "ones what pays the car insurance and hold the car title, pays the mortgage and bills and all the food" continue to have the highest voting share ;-) After a couple of Expectation Shakedowns, a general peace ensued. But the three of us are expectant of a change happening in the next two months, and we're all pretty excited about the transition.

For those following events from early last year when I first started this blog, I may have mentioned the grueling schedule we all teamed up to help with for the past three years. During R's last two years of high school, she was bused (bussed?) an hour away every school day to her nursing program classes, and then midday, bused back to her high school where she took her regular classes, many of the honors classes. Because she and I moved here only three years ago, upon my marriage to J, the relocation itself had been quite a life change. That was right after the series of hurricanes had devastated this area. MUCH happened during that time.

For R, she had to make a new start in a completely new environment, late in high school, and find new friends here locally. And because of a glitch in her credit transfers, she had to take a second semester of Latin 2 which was not offered at THIS she took it online. And it was QUITE difficult and intensive.

So, that said, at one given point, when she was not yet old enough to drive, one of US would get her to the bus stop by (ugh) 5:15 AM, wait with her till it arrived, and go back home to catch a few minutes more sleep before the alarm went off. But R got herself up and her own breakfast, was ready on time, traveled on the bus for an hour to nursing classes, listened to lectures and such, at her lunch on the bus back to school, took her afternoon classes there, caught the bus that stopped near the house, and then did homework. And took dance classes. And talked on the phone. And managed to have her first official boyfriend. All at the same time.

We felt this was a heinous amount of work for a daughter to be put under, but frankly, she seemed to thrive more with more challenges than with too much time on her hands...she is easily bored. She really began to thrive in her nursing classes. And during those two years, we two parents flew her regularly to her Dad's (my ex) out-of-state for visits, paid for all her fees, went to orientations, filled out scholarship and school paperwork, ran the Parent Taxi, and logged 50 hours of passenger seat time as she fufilled her driving practice hours necessary to get her drivers license. The first time out, we were all together, and she was still very nervous about braking. She braked in slow motion, trying not to jerk the car. We all had a very memorable moment (NOW we laugh, THEN we didnt!) when we were all in the car together and she was practice driving through the narrow streets of the neighborhood we lived in at that time...there is enough room for a full-sized car on the streets, so if anyone oncoming passes you in their vehicle, both vehicles have to hug the sides of the street. Which is ok...if no one else is on the side of the street. Long story short, R nearly creamed an older Russian lady who was getting her mail out of her mailbox. The noise inside our vehicle as she approached, and another car approached was "R, stop the car....R...Stop the Car.......R, oh my gosh just STOP THE CARRRR.....(then at yelling pitch) PUT ON THE BRAKE NOWWWWW!!!!!" It was like one of those slo mo dreams where you just can't seem to speed things up fast enough.!

We survived the driving lessons, and the boyfriend, and the phases. And for three years it's all been building to this point...the completion of her LPN program. Yes, she'll go on to more schooling now in college...her courses are college level now. But she'll have done this major thing, and I'm so PROUD of her! She's so proud she did this, too...that's what makes it enjoyable for me. She loves caring for people, and she is good, and is learning a lot.

Why have I posted this here among the homesteading stuff? Well, it's the chronicle of our lives, and our lives have had this as a major focus daily for these years. As we've wanted to relocate and find our land and build and put in our gardens and transition away from where we are, we've had to balance the timing of everything with the committment of helping R complete this goal...or she may never have had the chance to again. It has required a sizeable financial committment, too, weekly. Daily she has used my vehicle for her commute, now that she's not in school and can't have accesss to the bus. We're nowhere near a regular public bus route, and our city is a considerable drive to anywhere else. Gasoline has skyrocketed, meals are bought on location while she is doing her clinicals at the area hospitals, etc. And her bio dad (my ex) contributes nothing as far as financial support. So essentially, my job right now pays for R.

I have no complaints! I'm grateful! Here's what's about to change...

As of a few weeks from now, R will get a job and begin taking over most or all of her budget needs. She will sit for the state exam...and we're certainly praying she will pass on the first try! She will shoulder the responsibility of applying for her grants and such, unless she asks for and needs our help, and will sign up for her own classes in college needed as prereqs to the R.N. program she wants to take there.

Those may not seem like major changes to others, but in our world, it gives momentum and some more breathing room to our move elsewhere...namely to land. Where we were not free to immediately relocate before, now we're free. And though she might choose to live with us as long as she needs (we're always available), her scholarship will transfer to any state or private school in our state. We're not tied to this location any more! :) :) Also, we can now make faster progress in our continuing attempt to pay off our debts. We can see the progress so far, but what has seemed like a crawl will feel like a leap, soon!

I'm not looking forward to the eventual empty nest...fear creeps into my heart whenever I think about it. But I love seeing R becoming the woman she is, and I know in the right time, that will be my comfort seeing her off into her life. I'm a little beset with fears lately, namely because with the hours I'm working at night, I'm seeing less of R and less of my husband. Two days out of the week, he and I don't see each other at all, though we talk on the phone. I hadn't thought of myself as so attached, but I guess I'm getting old and set in my ways :) I really value the time I have with each of them so much right now. I long to be productive in the things we peruse and dream of regarding gardening and such...the seed catalogues tease me, and the McMurray Hatchery catalog has my favorite chicken breeds well-dogeared. We have made another stab of progress at the red tape process necessary in pursuing the particular acreage we're hoping will be ours, and we await news on a second under negotiation. So many have fallen through at this point, but the work we're doing right now has the possibility of ensuring permanence if we can push through to the end. Negotiating, I suppose, is not just an art, but it's work. I can't give details yet, but as soon as I can announce anything, you'll hear it here first!

Anyway, much is changing, yet I'm not feeling productive. I'm feeling jet lagged from working nights part of the week and trying to be up days the other days of the week to keep meals and housework and such on an even keel for everyone. But mostly I'm dragging around, which makes me feel somewhat blah and out of sorts, and wonder if I'm losing steam in general. But my conclusion, for now, is that this, too, shall pass and change is a constant, and 2008 has many new things ahead.

I hope to have some better perspective soon. I'm loathe to start new projects when my tail end's dragging...I simply am craving time with my family.

Hopefully, J and I will get a really big perk soon....a vacation!! We've never had a honeymoon, and during everyone else's holidays this past fall and winter of 2007, we worked straight through, especially since so many other employees quit at the last minute. I think we'll try in a month or two to have a couple days together, just us two, somewhere a few hours away. My brain needs it. I need some juice for all the wonderful things ahead :)

Here are some things I'm hoping to be teaching myself in the "Meantime" part of this waiting process, since we arent putting in a garden till we have land:

1. Soapmaking, including experimentation with soapberries/soapnuts
2. Making homemade bath salts from a recipe I saw in one of the recent homesteading magazines
3. Making and using my own household cleaning products, for ease, eliminating chemicals, eliminating dependency on buying them from the store, and to experiment and find what works best for us
4. Making a clothesline and line drying most of our clothing
5. Making our own homemade wine vinegars
6. Making our own homemade yogurt
7. Making handmade paper with original designs
8. Getting back to artwork
9. Compiling list of edible landscaping plants, unusual and edible fruits, and plants that thrive in our Zone that have multiple uses
10. Compiling list of the vegetables we're most attracted to growing for our Zone, and their companion plants and flowers, and a general idea of proximities, such as which DONT do well near each other, so we can plot these things easier when we get our acreage
11. Canning on a very small scale, such as pickles, with a hot water bath canner
12. Shredding all our junk mail and used paper and storing in bags till we can use it for bedding or in compost, or for incorporating into handmade papers
13. Cleaning and organizing all areas of our house and storage
14. Eliminating ALL unnecessary possessions we have stored...the stuff that just collects and could be sold or donated
15. Incorporating new recipes into my regular cooking...I'm in a rut.
16. Trying a few simple Indian and Mediterranean recipes
17. Making our own alfalfa and other edible sprouts to eat regularly
18. Walking every day and cutting out most of our white flours and sugars, substituting the healthier ones
19. This should be first on the list, but reading the Bible daily and learning Hebrew.
20. Getting enough rest and enough time with family. Laughing more and being irritable less! :)

I will say the one thing I have been doing more of is catching up with long-distance friends I haven't spoken with in a long time. I'm receiving calls on a regular basis as some life events happen to those I love, and I'm trying to be a good friend-across-the-miles when sometimes the only way I can do that is just to listen. Hey, THAT I can do :)

Ah well, enough ramble for tonight...better get to bed so tomorrow I can ;-)


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I guess I should be studying hebrew to, seeing that I don't understand a word of it ( well, except for the prayers) :P

Pudgeduck said...

I often read your interesting blog and thought I should check in! I am going thru # 13,14 &19 -minus learning Hebrew! Already been thru the Kids and working- can appreciate the pressure you are under! Keep the faith

Robbyn said...'ve got your hands full with the kids and the move...congrats on your new place!!! as far as understanding Hebrew, neither do I, and I've tried learning the aleph bet, oh at least twice a year for the past few years..ha! I know some of the prayers by memory, but not enough HEbrew to actually read any of them. Still needing to learn more about all of it :)

Hi pudgeduck and welcome :) Glad you enjoy stopping in! Just peeked at your blog and I'll enjoy seeing what transpires with you in the next months in your garden and the view from the swing :)