"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In the picture

me and him, dinner on Friday at Swiss Chalet.

me and her, when I was working OT and cleaning the house.
Just a quick break on Saturday.

about 5 minutes ago, when I realized I hadn't taken a picture of the 2 of us.
As promised, this week, I got in the picture.  

Rosie. N. Grey
The N stands for "new attitude".

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Dreams May Come

Ok, I didn't like the movie, but it seemed an appropriate title.

I have spent the last 2 weeks in a state of internal upheaval (and no, I am not referencing my stunning bout with the stomach flu on Thanksgiving).

As you know, I am trying to follow the laws of attraction.  And the Universe very recently plopped something in my lap.

My good friend from work found me a home.  My home.  A perfect home.  It is absolutely everything that I would ever look for.  It is the answer, very literally, to my prayers.

It is 6 acres of property.  The farmland is pesticide free (a big plus for my little "canary in the coal mine", Sebastian).  It is on the water, and is bordered by a 31 acre marshland, which is protected by the conservancy of Canada (meaning it will never be developed).  The home is 4 bedrooms, almost 2000 sq ft, and 136 years old.  It has a long lane way that leads up to the house, bordered with mature trees.  There is a year round road accessing the home, which will be plowed in the winter. There are 2 established outbuildings on the property, and nature trails going on in all directions.

Best part?  It costs $125,000.

The worst part?  It's in Prince Edward Island.  Yeah.

Ever since I have seen it, I think about it all the time.  I picture my life there.  I think about the new reality of what my life could be.  I could sell my house, and make enough that my mortgage would be minimal. If I could stop working a 60/70 hour work week, and potentially drop to part time hours, could I then start thinking about homeschooling the kids?  I could work the land, bring in some livestock, like goats and chickens.  I could eliminate TVs from my household.  Could I go off grid?  Could I start to write to supplement my income?  I picture riding bikes down the long lane way, taking rambling walks with the kids.  I picture being protected and safe.  I picture snowy days, with nothing to do but read and knit.  I can smell the off ocean breezes, freshly turned red earth, animals, blossoms.  Freedom.

All of this has been swirling in my head.  And breaking my heart.

Because, the reality is, I'm not going.  I'm really not.  Geoff just started his store.  He can't leave right now. He won't leave anytime soon.  My house isn't ready to go on the market to be sold.  Sebastian just started his school.  The realities of my life are such that the dream of my life can't come true.

At least not now.

That's what I am telling myself.  Not now.  Maybe someday. Why would the universe bring this to me, if not to show me what was possible?  To give me hope.  I can't see this as a punishment, a "look what you can't have".  I have to try and see this as "this is what is out there, waiting for you.  When you are ready".

For now, I am building an inspiration board.  A place to put pictures of the things that I want to have and see and be.

And first on that board- my dream home.  Waiting for me.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not now."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Get in the Picture

I posted a link to an amazing blog post last week by a mother who decided to get her old, overweight, unkempt, hair undone, no make up on, poorly dressed, stained, tired butt into picture with her kids (I don't say these things to be mean!  The article is about how we view ourselves, and the excuses we give to not have our pictures taken.  And mainly, how our kids don't care, and love us anyway).  Check it out for yourself, I shared it with friends, and dared them not to shed a tear.

My sister in law, over at Aggravation Station posted about it today, which also inspired me to get off my own sagging, old, etc etc etc butt, and get in the picture.

So, I am going to challenge myself (and anyone else that wants to come along for the ride.)  Once a week, on any day, really, I am going to take a picture with my kids.  Can be either individual or together.  No matter what I look like, that picture is going to be taken.

What??  Want to up the ante??

Not only am I going to do this with my kids, but I am going to take a picture with Geoff too.  We are working on "us" right now, and I think this would be a good thing.  Once a week, me and him.

And me and her.

And me and him.

Should be fun.  :)  At my funeral, they won't be hunting for pictures of me.  They will have to categorize them and develop a filing system!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "no more excuses".

Grown Up Lady

I took this picture of Sawyer on Monday, Thanksgiving day.  She was dressed in an outfit her Auntie Holly bought her for her birthday.  I made her put on the hat, even though she didn't want to.

She was snugged right in at the end of my bed, beside the 3 baskets of laundry.  She was watching Max and Ruby, or something similar.  I hunkered down beside her and put the hat on her head.

I told her how pretty she was.  I meant it.  She was gorgeous.  She said "Why don't you take my picture?"

So I did.

I look at this picture and I am shocked by her.

Yes, she is my daughter and I think she is beautiful.  Every mom thinks that about their babies.

But here, she well and truly is gorgeous.

The blue eyes.
The red hair.
The curls, just under the cap.
The subtle smile.
The tilt of her head.
The look in her eyes.  Oh that look.  The look that knows so much, for such a little girl.

She is my heart and soul.

Just wanted to share my grown up lady, hiding in a 4 year old's body.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new, every time I look at her".

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Artful Dodge

I have joined a dodgeball league.  I know, I know.  What the hell was I thinking?
I had visions of my days in Grade 5, on a rainy day in gym class, happily throwing the ball back and forth with my friends.  Sure, sometimes it got a little rough.  Someone would take a head shot and call "No Fair" and soon, all would be well again.  You just played and played until your class was over and everyone went home friends.

Yeah, tonight was not like that.

It is a team through work.  At my work, the vast majority of the employees are women.  We are, most of us, unsatisfied in our working environment.  We harbour lots of aggression and anger in our little girly hearts. So the idea of throwing balls at other people as hard as we can, really seemed to appeal to the women I work with.  The result of that, we have a dodgeball team with 14 people.  Twelve of those people are women.  LOL...yeah, we are that team.

Tonight was our first game.  Most of us have no idea how to play, other than to throw the ball and not get hit.  The nuances and strategies of the game are lost on us.  We came to smash skulls.  Pure and simple.

The other team we played was made up of university students.  Young.  They had 2 girls.  The rest were guys.  Guys that liked to throw fast and hard.  Guys that had played before. Guys that really wanted to win.

The ref gave us a quick run down of the rules.  I played the first game.  My hands were shaking, I was pretty jacked on adrenalin   I was nervous and afraid of getting hit.  I didn't know what to do or how to do it.  I forgot about my positive reinforcements, and thinking good thoughts, and just worried about not embarrassing myself.
lined up and ready to go

the race for the balls
 To start the game, you put your hand on the back wall.  All the balls are lined up down the middle of the court.  The ref yells out "3, 2, 1...DODGEBALL!"  Then each team takes off like a bat out of hell, towards the line.  Each team has balls in their colour (the other team was team blue ball.  An urban myth, I'm sure.  We were team rainbow balls.  I know, we all giggled about it).

Once you grab your balls (OK, seriously.  I am going to say that word a lot, so it is time to get the giggles out of your system, and be an adult. :) you have to move them back past the scrimmage line, in order for the ball to be active.  You can't throw it until you get it past that line.  Once you are back, then you can throw away.
Lynn, our gunslinger.  She was the last man standing,
pretty much every game she played.
She rocked it.
We learned alot in the first couple of games. To try and catch the ball as much as possible.  That lets you knock an opposing player out, and bring one of your players back in. Throw the ball low, aim for the lower legs and feet.  Those kinds of balls are harder to catch.  You need to gang up on the good players, throw at them from multiple sides all at once, preferably while they are winding up to throw.  You need to move your feet.  It really is all about the dodge.
having someone retrieve the balls and feed them to you is immensely helpful
So, when all is said and done, the team that still has players on the floor, when the other team doesn't is the winner.  You get a point for every person that you have left.

Yep, we scored no points.  The final score was 60-0.  Kind of sad.

backpedalling from the scrimmage line
But honestly, we had fun.  The whole team laughed through the entire hour.  The ref thought we were hilarious and laughed along with us.  Even the other team cut us some breaks.  They were good sports.  By the end of the night, we were all a little beat up, sore fingers and shoulders and wrists and arms.  We were more sweaty than we expected.  But we had a blast.  I cheered and clapped and joked whenever I sat out, and I played hard whenever it was my turn.  I could say the same thing about everyone.

It was a good night.  A good time.  So glad I joined.
more action at the end of the night game- a free for all!
Here's hoping we score a point this season.  Just one.  Not so much to ask.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new heights of athleticism".

Friday, October 5, 2012


It has taken me a while to write this post.  I know why, but needless to say, it is long overdue.

Last weekend, we had a garage sale.  I have had garage sales before, many, actually, and most of them have been successful.  Even if I make little to no money, I consider it a success, because I usually have cleared out a significant amount of junk from my house, decluttering, at least a little, and buying myself some precious peace of mind.

However, this garage sale was different.  We were doing it specifically to raise money.  As you may (or may not!) know, we are fundraising to help send our son to a private school.  He has autism and this school, with it's 5 children and 5 EA's and 2 teachers and 1 program director is specifically geared towards kids with his challenges.  It is the perfect fit for him.  He has been there almost a month and he loves it.  There is no fight to get him to go to school.  We get positive feedback every single day that he is there (which to me, is a huge indicator of the school's primary focus.  It is not that Sebastian necessarily always has great days.  It's that they always find something great to talk about and reinforce with him.  That is a huge change from where we were last year.)

Because it is a private school, none of it is covered by government grants or anything like that.  It is not covered by my benefits.  It is 100% out of pocket.  My pocket.  Unfortunately, my pocket is very often shallow and empty, so hence, the fundraising.

I have been selling crayon wreaths, with some success.  I am now ready to move onto some new crafts, after I finish my last couple of orders.  I have had friends donate their time and energy and their crafts to the cause.  I have had people flat out offer me money (I politely decline.  I am not a charity.  I will sell you something for your money, but I don't need it so badly that I will take it, and give nothing in return.  Although the offer is always greatly appreciated!).  And the one idea that was put forward was the garage sale.

At the beginning of September, I put the call out to everyone I could think of.  Friends, family, acquaintances.  Come one, come all!  Clean out your basements, garages, closets and toy rooms!  Bring me your stuff!  I will take it all!

And take it I did.  I think in the end, we had about 12 different families donate to our little sale.  My garage quickly filled up and the Thursday before the sale, we started to overflow into the back yard.  There was so much stuff, I had no idea what we were going to do with it all.

I made a flyer and put it in all of my neighbour's mailboxes, explaining that we were having the garage sale and that we would take care of the advertising.  If they wanted to sell, they should set up and do so.  The more the merrier (also, I know the more sales we had on the street, the more customers we would attract.)  On the actual day, I think we had 5 separate houses with sales going on, and I met a couple more of the neighbours on the street.  They didn't actually have sales, but were grateful to have gotten the note and wanted to stop by and support us.  So nice!!  :)

The night before the sale, a friend of mine, my MIL, my mom and I started trying to organize this huge pile of stuff that I had accumulated.  Some of the donations ( by no means all!) were:
- kitchen table with 4 chairs
- Futon
- 5 TVS, everything from a small 10' screen, right up to a projection TV
- an air hockey table
- a massage table
- a beautiful wooden hutch
- literally hundreds of books
- handmade scarves and sock monkeys
- Christmas stuff, everything from a tree, a full set of dishes, to ornaments, lights and everything in between
- mini bar fridge
- countertop dishwasher
- water cooler
- HUGE tent.  Really, thing is huge.
- Rock Band set..all of it.
- Bikes! adult, kid, trikes, you name it
- bed frame
- an xbox
- set of left handed golf clubs
- a truck bed liner for a 2011 Colorado
- 3 VCRs
- 2 DVD players
- digital camera, still in the package

I could go on and on.  That doesn't cover a fraction of what we had.  Anyway, we spent the night, until it got to dark to work, emptying the garage, trying to price and sort as much as we could. We called it a night, and agreed to start early the next day.  I spent more time that night, making signs, getting breakfast stuff out and ready, making my floats and basically wishing for everything to go as well as humanely possible.

My Saturday started at 5am.  I was up and working and moving stuff before it was even light enough to see. My helpers started rolling in about 6 am, and we got down to work.  We tried to separate everything by category- so the Christmas stuff together, board games together, pictures together, TV section, craft section, kid section and so on and so on.  We would joke as we would call out to each other "Would someone in electronics please give us a price check?"  Seriously, we had an electronics section.

The customers started coming at about 10 to 7 in the morning.  We were pretty much ready for them.  We had alot of stuff priced, but couldn't do everything.  By then, my kids were up and ready to start the day.  Sawyer couldn't wait to join the fun outside and Sebastian was glad everyone was out of the house so he could keep watching TV uninterrupted.  The fact that all of this, every bit of it, was being done for him didn't phase him in the slightest.  I asked him to make an appearance, but it was way too much for his system to take.  He hummed and flapped a bit, and headed right back to the TV, Timbit in each hand.

I won't give you the blow by blow details, but we worked this sale like professionals.  We actually garnered a lot of compliments, both on the set up and organization of it, and on the number of people we had helping out.  No one had to search for a sales person, there were a million of them.  My volunteers, my friend and my family, my heart and soul- I could not have done any of it without them.  I tried to say thank you as many times as I could through the day, but it was never enough.  When I would watch Barb, with her apron on, working the sale, making it happen, chatting them up, and doing what she does so well- I was amazed.  I would watch Dawn and Lynn and Nyree, lugging around boxes of books and pile after pile of games, working their asses off, laughing and joking and above all, selling- I couldn't believe that they were here and helping, just for me.  My mother and mother in law, not garage sale people in the least, stepped out of their comfort zone and put their personal thoughts and feelings aside (for the most part anyway!!  :) to make the sales, to talk the talk.  Michelle, Teresa and Dawn (my SIL) all came out too, pushing people (some of them weird and crazy, but with money in their pockets) to buy the big speakers, to buy the receiver, to buy the video games, the DVDs, the shot glasses- whatever else it was that needed selling.  My dad stayed on the porch, overseeing everything.  He also went and got the pizza when we needed nourishment.

I had other friends swing by and show their support.  My high school friend, Jen, had donated a ton to help us get going.  Her lovely dad and sister came by to chat and shop and support us.  One of my favourite people ever, Tony, came by with his daughter.  She was shy and beautiful and seemed interested in my crazy redhead.  He was wonderful and supportive as always.  Friends and neighbours and complete strangers started coming and kept coming.

While the sale started slowly, it gradually picked up and at one point, got really crazy.  There were people everywhere, and things were just flying out.  At one point, I had someone make me an offer on my car in the driveway. It was our old beater.  I had pulled it off the road last August, when Geoff quit, to try and save us some money.  I kept hoping I would be able to put it back on the road eventually, when more money started coming in.  Here it was, almost 14 months later, and the car wasn't even close to being used.  So, I took the $200 he offered and off the car went.  Hey, $200 is an eighth of a monthly tuition payment.  Who am I to say no?

Eventually the day started to wind down.  My volunteers, many of them having been here for hours and hours, started heading home, for naps, for nourishment, for peace and quiet and aspirin and hot baths.  My dad took 2 loads of smaller stuff to Value Village.  I called a man I met through the sale, and he came to pick up all the left over books and games, to be sold at Women in Crisis Book Sales over the next year.  I posted some of the bigger stuff on Kijiji, put the TVs we didn't sell on the curb for free and moved as much as possible into the garage, to protect it against the coming rain (the day of the sale was beautiful, with blue skies and crisp breezes...I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day).

After all of that, I sat down on my porch with a real Coke, a slice of pizza and 5 baggies full of money.  I started counting.

And kept counting.

At the end of it all, we raised almost $1,600.00.  I was shocked.  I counted it again.  And again.

And then I put my head in my hands and I cried.  With pure, unadulterated joy.  With relief.

The week before, the month before, I had sat in the same chair, on that same porch and wondered how I was going to do this.  How do I make this work?  What do I do?  I would feel the anxiety in the pit of my stomach, and feel the creepy worry up the muscles on either side of my spine.  I would plan and think and worry, worry, worry.

And here, in my lap, was a full month of tuition.  More than I had ever hoped and dreamed for.  Honestly, I hardly dared hope for $500.  That was what I really wanted, I really needed $350.  I got way, way more.

Just then, I knew I would be alright.  I looked at my trampled down lawn, with the neon price tag stickers buried in my grass.  I looked at the empty spot in my driveway, where my car once stood.  I looked at the drag marks, from everything I had moved in and out of my garage, the things I was still selling.  Those were all good things.

Maybe it sounds silly.  It was after all, a garage sale.  By their very nature, they are silly.  But it was so much more.

The fact that it was successful and by itself bought my son a whole month of education- astounding.
The fact that I had so many people show up to help, to donate, to organize, to buy, to hug me, to put money in my hands and my pockets...it was humbling.  It was heart wrenching and heart warming at the exact same time.

I imagine it is much like being able to attend your own funeral.  To see what people are willing to do for you. To see who cares enough to show up, to put in the hours, to back up the promise of being there by ACTUALLY being there...that's why I cried.

It's why I still cry, every time I think of my little garage sale.

Thank you my friends.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new heights of love".

Right Now

- I am feeling a little like writing.  So I am forcing myself.  Hoping it will get easier.
- my bedroom floor needs to be vacuumed.  Badly.  But, the floor is clear enough that I can see that it does need to be vacuumed, so that is a bonus.
- I smell wet dog.  I see wet dog.  I don't mind wet dog.
- it's raining out.  Hence the wet dog.
- I have a Bob Seger song in my head.  I love this song.  I like it, right where it is.  It can stay there a while.
- I am wishing there were more episodes of Freaks and Geeks to watch.  I caught the fever.
- I am hungry.  Starving.  Famished.  I am also back on my program, so I am going to stay that way.  I will probably drink some water soon, and will the hunger away.
- The window is open, and the air feels like fall.
- Geoff is home.  For now.
- The kids are sleeping.  Finally.  I love them, but they exhaust me.
- The house is a mess.  I intended to clean it today, but I got sucked into an hour long bath, and some rare (for me) TV watching.  I actually enjoyed a day off.  Not just from work, but from everything.  Well, not everything.  I was still a mom, but a lazy one today.
- there are crayon wreaths on the table, begging to be finished.  I explained they will be done tomorrow.  They aren't happy with that, but what choice do they have?  They are made of crayons.
- I can see a basket full of toys in the hallway that I want to donate.  I lied to Sawyer and said I was moving them downstairs.  She cried enough over that, i don't know what she would do if I told her the truth.
- I am already thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.  I can't wait.  Seriously.
- Still singing Bob Seger.
- My feet are cold.  The tips of my fingers and my nose are cold.  I don't mind.  The window is staying open.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new post, finally."