About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Kristen made a good point in her comment yesterday. We do always owe Uncle Sugar. And it’s just a matter of timing as to which of us earns the interest on the money. My finances have been so precarious, much of my adult life, that it has been more prudent for me to pay in too much and get something back the next spring rather than have a tax bite that equaled my food budget for three months. We used the windfall cash infusion to buy things we couldn’t have afforded otherwise; that’s how I got my first spinning wheel. It’s how a lot of poor people save money. It was the only way I could have saved money, back in the day, because we needed every penny to feed and clothe the kids, what with their father’s uncertain income.

I am still unlearning the habits I acquired when I was poor. And the mindset. Even though my 401K is now more like a 101K, at least there is something going into savings for my old age every payday. The other savings accounts get hit on a regular basis. Some months it’s two or three steps forward, one step back; some months it’s the other way around.

It’s likely to take awhile longer before I do not feel like a nitwit when I have to pay Uncle Sugar on April 15th. I certainly don’t think other people are nitwits if they have to pay; for me it’s like raising my hand in class, thinking that I know the answer, and finding out I am wrong. I really, really do not like being wrong, and in common with the rest of humanity, it is one of the things I do best.

Middlest asked me a great question the other night, after Knit Night. We sat and talked in my car for almost an hour, and she asked me when I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I could only give her half of an answer. A very long half of an answer, me being me, but half an answer nonetheless. I have only ever [mostly] wanted to be a mommy. Which I am, in spades. I think that parenthood is the best choice I ever made, after joining the church [and that joining the church is what made parenthood enjoyable in the best of times and bearable in the worst]. I was dragged kicking and screaming out into the work world when I was almost 20; all I wanted to do was “marry young, and then retire”. Listen closely to the first verse...

I wanted to sew dresses for a whole raft of little girls, who would sweetly and compliantly hang them up after removing them and would never make mud pies in them or raise their voices in anger at their sisters.

I have to say that life has turned out differently [and far better] than I thought it might when I was seventeen or at other points along the way. And I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. I am trying to focus on what it is that Heaven wants me to do, or more precisely, on the sort of person I am meant to be. Which brings me to an excellent article by Larry Barkdull which develops some of the thoughts I have been mulling over recently. Please, please read this article, even if you don’t think of yourself as a religious person. It’s that good, and universally applicable.

I left the house to catch the noon train and missed it by about a minute. The police officer greeted me with “May I help you?” as I walked through the concourse and then informed me that I could not leave my car in the parking lot and walk downtown, even if I were catching the train back later. So I smiled at her, turned around and opted for Plan B, which at first I thought might involve eating something, but I wound up in the parking lot at the Amon Carter Museum and spent a lovely two and a half hours inside. I love Remington. I love Russell. And it’s all I can do, not to weep with joy when I see the OKeeffe’s [there are several] or the landscapes and seascapes by the Hudson River School artists. The special exhibit through May 10 is photography by Barbara Crane. Girls, it’s all free. Make the time and go. Some of her work is very quilterly. Some of it is a little disturbing [dead animals she finds in the back yard]. None of it is boring.

Girls, remember when you brought me the dead frog?

And I got to hear a grandfatherly-looking docent use the word @$$, right there in the museum, but in the context it was both appropriate and hilarious.

I picked up a light lunch and ate it on the couch here at home while plowing through more magazines. And then I knitted a lot. And headed back to the train station to try again. Except that I just had a feeling I should turn on my cell phone, and there was a message from 1BDH. I called him back, right as I got to the turn for the parking lot at the station. Firstborn’s engine had malfunctioned, and she was in Las Colinas. Was there any way I could get her to her evening classes?

Maybe you have had the distinct pleasure of being able to help somebody who doesn’t generally need your help. It was the leading edge of rush hour when I got that call, so it took me awhile to get up there. And by that point he had met her and gone to a nearby auto parts store to see if one simple thing could fix it. We headed south again, this time on the tail end of rush hour. She had already had Lark email her professors to tell them she would be missing class, and why. So we stopped at the house to pick up the paperwork on her dead car, and I drove her to the dealership to get another one.

Naturally, I did not have my knitting with me, because I had not wanted to drag it around the arts festival. But she had a novel by one of our favorite LDS authors, and I hadn’t read it. I sat in the reception area at the dealership while she wheeled and dealed, and I finished the novel about ten minutes before they handed her her keys.

She has worked in the car business for years, one way or another. So she knows the ins and outs of financing, what a dealership can do and what it can’t. She got the car she wanted at a price she liked and an acceptable interest rate and a payment she can afford. The dealership had been officially closed for an hour by the time we finished, and it took us almost ten minutes to find a way out of the car lot. I watched her drive off in her new car, and then I came home to Fort Worth and had breakfast for dinner. Love the senior menu at Lenny’s Denny’s. I had planned to go to Ol’ South and get the German pancake, but it was 9:30 at that point and much too late for a big meal.

I woke up about 4:30 this morning and have been knitting steadily ever since. I am almost half done with the last repeat on BittyBit’s sweater. Sabrina is paused in the DVD player, because suddenly I was famished. When I bind off the shoulders, I will celebrate by dashing to La Madeleine for Strawberries Romanoff.

And then I think I will see if I can make it to the arts festival. Third time’s a charm?


Jenni said...

All I know is that I am very grateful that you have the patience and willingness to fight rush hour traffic, then sit and wait for quite some time.
I am so glad that you were willing to wait for me to finally grow up into some semblence of an adult and we can have such a terrific relationship.

Old Ladies Driving said...

Wishing you a very crafty birthday!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39A2J-yo2NcWith love & laughter,
--The Old Ladies

Kristen said...

Happy happy!
Mine's in July and I've got big plans!

nekokoi said...

i posted a happy-your-birthday spoiler-tastic blog post with exactly what you're getting, so you can go look any time now. <3 i looooooove you! xD

Bonnie said...

Happy birthday mom! I'm holding your Godiva chocolates hostage at my house. You always seem to be out and about so I'll turn it over in exchange for a visit to myself and the Bitties. :)

Tan said...

Happy birthday to you, too!