Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Chesapeake Summer Storm Story

So, our story begins today with me deciding to take my very good friend Emily up on her offer to watch her kids for her. I desperately need a job, and she desperately needed someone she can trust to take care of her 4 year old, Jack, and 7 week old, baby Thomas. It seemed very fortunate for me that she would offer this as I just could really use some pocket money right about now.

She and her husband dropped off their children to my house at about 3:15. Her older son, Jack is right around my son's age, so I figured that they would play together nicely. My 6 year old loves babies, so I figured she could help me take care of baby Thomas.

Well, if only wishing made it so. Turns out that my daughter is playing with the older son, and my 3 year old is trying to take care of the baby with me. The first situation is working out very nicely. The two kids are keeping each other occupied and having a great time. The second situation is less than ideal. My 3 year old was bouncing on the sofa while I was trying to feed Thomas his bottle, and it was just not a pretty situation.

My solution to the problem was to take Thomas up to the master bedroom to feed him and relegate the rest of the kids to the basement to play.

I wish my story could end there, but I would be leaving out the massive biblical thunderstorm that hit next. Not a metaphorical thunderstorm (sh*tstorm?) but an actual thunderstorm with incredibly fast winds, continuous cloud to ground lightning, and torrential rains. I could hear it coming before it hit, but I never believed that it could have been as bad as it was.

The clouds were pitch black, and a second or two later the rains started. These were no gentle summer rains, but a waterfall of rain that dumped about an inch of water on the ground in roughly 10 minutes. As the rain started, I next heard the siren from the firehouse go off. A quick look out the window showed gale force winds whipping my outdoor toys and patio furniture around like the unfortunate cow in the movie "Twister". Oh shoot! My first time watching my friend's infant son, and we get hit by a tornado!!! Convinced that an actual twister was descending down upon us, I picked us baby Thomas and hightailed it down two flights of steps to join the rest of the children in the basement.

Some important information you need to know at this point is this: I am deathly afraid of thunderstorms. I am terrified of high winds, having had my parent's house hit by a large oak tree while on spring break from college. I am absolutely petrified of lightning. My biggest fear is not that it will kill me, but that it will hit me and NOT kill me. So, my biggest challenge at this point was to take care of the baby, my friend's 4 year old,and my own two children without letting on how much I was freaking out. I put the baby in the pack-n-play in the office, since it was the only room without windows, and sat down on the basement couch to watch Scooby-Doo with the rest of the kids. It was really hard, some of the flashes of lightning were REALLY close, but I think I held it together okay.

Long story short: we were fine. There was no twister, at least not that I can see. The rain stopped about 20 minutes later and eventually the sun came out. The children were fine, and their mother came back to pick them up around dinner time. There was a little flooding in the basement, but I was able to clean it up with a bath towel. I went out back and collected my things that had blown around the yard, enjoying the now cooler temperatures and lower humidity.

How do you deal with storms? Do your children deal with storms well, or are they afraid? Don't forget to stop by my online community (located just to the right of here) and weigh in on this issue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Clicking with cliques. Hard, isn't it?

It is amazing how your life can change in only 24 hours. One moment you can be chilling in Mexico on winter vacation, and the next moment your husband can be detained at Immigration for an outstanding traffic warrant. And your whole life changes. One day you can have electricity, and the next day two checks can beat a deposit to the bank, and then "not so much". And your whole life changes. And one day you can have a certain attitude about life and friends, and then the next day have a whole different perspective on the process of making friends. Maybe your whole life doesn't change, but there is definitely a subtle shift in your attitude that can affect certain parts.

Yesterday I had every intention of writing a blog about the difficulties of making friends when you move to a brand new place at the advanced age of 35. I went over the various challenges that make it very hard to break into established cliques. There are the people who just don't like new people, the people with too many friends already who don't have time for new people, and the people for whom you just don't personally click with. I was going to show how there are strategies and techniques for overcoming these obstacles and developing a new social circle of you own. I had the blog already written and ready for editing and publishing. All I needed to do was click on the button that read "Publish Post" and I was all done.

But something stopped me.

I paused on the button and decided to save it until tomorrow. Tomorrow felt like a better day to post it. I felt like after a good night's sleep it would be a better time to post it. Thank God I stopped when I did. I went to sleep last night, and something strange happened when I awoke this morning: I no longer gave a crap.

Let me back up a little. Alli has been going to Art Camp all week at the Kent Island Federation of Arts. She is learning each morning this week how to draw realistic faces and portraits. There are about 8 or 10 kids in her camp. If she had done this a year ago, I would have used this opportunity to introduce myself to all the parents of all the kids enrolled. I would have started conversations with them about the weather, Route 50 traffic, area pools, and anything else I could think of. I would have complimented their clothes, cars, and generally made a pest of myself in an effort to establish my social circle.

But something weird happened over the past year. I made friends. True friends. Not many, but what they lack in numbers, they more then make up for in enthusiasm and humor. I now have a small number of people I can go to for entertainment and companionship. In the process, I think I have become one of those people listed in the top of this post: Someone who just doesn't have the time or energy for new people. Today, anyway.

There was a whole group of parents talking outside KIFA today waiting for their kids. I guess I could have joined the group and introduced myself, but frankly I was tired and hungry and just wanted to get my kid and get home. I had turned down two invitations for playdates already and I needed my daughter to clean her room today. I had absolutely no desire to meet anyone and talk about anything.

I now understand why when I first moved here it was so hard to meet people. Everyone else WASN'T new to the area, and they had their own lives they were leading already. And now I am at that same point. Which isn't to say that if I meet someone tomorrow who has just moved here I won't try to befriend them. It just ain't happening today. I've got too much to do.

So, if you have uprooted your entire life recently and are having a hard time making new friends, don't take it personally. I have a new understanding of people today, and sometimes we just aren't in the mood. But hang in there, because 24 hours can change a person's perspective on almost anything.

By the way, I will soon be posting pictures of the beautiful creations my daughter has created this week, so keep checking back. See ya!