Month: September 2017

Nobody talks about upsizing

I know they are cute, and tiny, and probably take no time at all to clean but my life goals go in the opposite direction of the tiny house movement.

When I dream of houses I don’t dream about the five of us tripping over each other and worrying about each and every item that comes into our home.

I dream about us each having our own room, with adjoining office/library and a large fireplace.

There is a lot to be said for personal space.

A couple years ago we upsized and it has been wonderful. We moved out of our small one bathroom home into a larger one. We have a kitchen that more than one person can stand in now. We have a finished basement where we can stash all the kids toys (of course, that doesn’t prevent them from being spread all over the house).

The Mister thinks the house is too big and having a bigger house makes us accumulate too much stuff. And this is probably true.

But when in my room and the girls are in the basement I can’t even hear them and that is worth the price of admission.

Plus we are slowly getting rid of the things we really don’t need but I don’t see him getting rid of all his CDs or Magic Cards and so my books are staying and so are Moira’s 41 Shopkins and Oonagh’s army of dinosaurs.

So sure, the houses I dream of are ridiculous by today’s standards. They are probably drafty, impossible to maintain and, hopefully, haunted.

Call me crazy but I would much rather have this:

Photo credit: For the Love of Old Houses Facebook page. c.1888. Randolph Avenue, Peoria, Illinois was listed at $289,900 a couple years ago.

 

Than this: (no matter how cute it is.)

Taken from this article in Country Living Magazine. This house is 296 sq feet of usable space.

That would be cute if I didn’t have to share it with anyone except maybe a dog.

I guess I take the saying Go Big or Go Home a little too literally. Because while many aspects of minimalism appeal to me that doesn’t apply to my living space.

So here is the thing about getting older. You start realizing how many things you are never going to be able to do (maybe this is just me and my terminal issues, but I doubt it). I used to think… someday. But at no point am I ever going to get to move to a small town in Illinois just so I can live in a Victorian mansion for under $300,000 dollars US. Nor am I ever going to own my own bookmobile or bookstore. I guess this is why I am so interested in fiction writing these days whereas I never was until I started having children. It answers the question of What If.

What If I wrote about someone who threw caution into the wind and bought one of those huge houses.

What If I wrote about someone who gave it all up to travel around in a bookmobile. (Two stories I have started but put on hold.) Writing gives me the opportunity to live lives I would otherwise never have the opportunity to live. Imaginary lives in giant homes where everyone leaves me alone and stops wiping their dirty faces on me.

Because I am an enabler here is a link to all the photos of that Victorian mansion. And there goes the rest of your day scrolling through the For the Love of Old Houses Facebook page. You’re welcome.

My children come home for lunch

And I love it.

And I hate it.

This muffin is going to get me through the afternoon.

And I hate it.

And I love it.

Sometimes those feeling oscillate within the very same moment. Most of the morning I fret about what I am going to feed them and so hardly get anything done until I start cooking. And it isn’t enough to just give them a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jam sandwich because I am the worst sort of food snob: the vegan-ish food snob. Sometimes they come home and are extremely grateful for whatever I have put on the table. Today it was homemade nut yogurt with fruit and pumpkin millet muffins. Except one of them was then annoyed that there were kiwis in her yogurt, didn’t like the muffins and washed it all down with leftover pizza.

I made myself kale soup and washed that down with leftover pizza.

The girls come home for lunch for various reasons: 1) We live across the street from the school and it makes sense. 2) No one likes making a packed lunch in the morning. 3) Money. Not the biggest reason but at $300 a kid to stay for lunch supervision and with me being at home, it is the wisest choice. 4) My cancer. It’s one of those “I want to spend more time with my kids” things that I feel I should do – even when they come home and do nothing but fight with one another and I wonder why I bother.

I remember when Moira was little and would spend the day at her grandmothers so I could have a break. I would be so happy for her to get away from me for a while – but even when your children are gone they are still right there. As the hour approached for her return my anxiety returned. Did I use my child-free time wisely? Will she have missed me? Will her return instigate a full-blown tantrum. (Answers were usually: no, yes, and every time.)

It’s been 9+ years and I still don’t have the whole balance of being a mother and a writer down. Hell, I don’t have the balance of someone who is a mother and has actual other hobbies that I don’t immediately give up because my children take up my every waking thought. I have given almost every single moment of the last decade to being a mother and wife and it has sucked almost every ounce of creativity out of me. And yet I love my daughters so much that sometimes I wish we had more of them because (I’m crazy) they are all so brilliant and gorgeous and I am in awe daily that half my genetic make-up could create such beings.

I did it all willingly and I’m pretty sure I would do it all again given the same circumstances.

Plus I think they make me a more interesting person and a better writer when I actually manage to put some words on the page.

Anyway, I keep saying “I’m living the dream now” which is sort of tongue-in-cheek but not really because the dream has always been to live long enough to have all three children in school at once. So that is finally where we are. All my worries that Oonagh was too young for school and would be exhausted by days end have been squashed by a little girl whose answer to “How was school today?” is: “fantastically awesome!”

Things are finally getting easier but to borrow Meg Wolitzer’s term, how do you wake up from your 10-year nap? I feel like I have option paralysis now and I need someone to come in and organize both my office and my brain.

Meanwhile, the girls will continue to come home for lunch, and I will continue to both enjoy it and dread it. They will be happy with my food choices some days and hate them other days. They will continue to fight and make me crazy. The earth will continue to rotate around the sun. I will, hopefully, start putting more words on the page.