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Monday
Jan122009

Reminiscing

Pittsburgh is supposed to (finally) get what the Yinzers like to call some "weather." Lows are forecasted to hit zero later this week, and there's even a chance that there might finally be a little bit of snow in my yard. I'm all for the snow. If it's going to be cold, it might as well be snowing so that it's purdy, and if I want it to be hot all year round, I'll move to Mexico. GIVE ME SNOW AND COLD. I'll happily take ten feet of the fluffy stuff. (Snow loses it's magic slipper and becomes that nasty chick nobody wants on March 1st, just so we're clear. January? Snow is good. March? Snow is an ugly step-sister and needs to be banished to the cellar.)

Every time I say that I'll happily get ten feet of snow, somebody has to go and make the implication that I don't know how much of a pain ten feet of snow can be. Um, I grew up in North Dakota, yo. I know what snow looks like. Lots and lots of snow. The kind of snow that stays in twenty foot piles in a parking lot for months and months and months, until it's no longer purdy and white, but rather a dirty shade of black.

All this talk of potential snow got me thinking to the good ol' days (heh) . . . the days when school was never canceled, and as kids we used to PRAY that the school bus could plow through the drifts.

Seriously.

I went to a pretty rural school up until my sophomore year of high school, and we all rode the bus. Any time it would snow more than a couple of feet over night (anything less than that wasn't even worth acknowledging), all the kids in our neighborhood would suddenly unite into The Bus Team. We lived out in the sticks in a weird development smack dab in the middle of a wheat field, and our gravel road was shaped like a giant "P." The girl that lived at the bottom of the "P" was responsible for watching for the bus as it tried to make it from the highway to our 'hood, and then we would do the chain call thing to see just how far the bus would make it.

If it couldn't make it to the first girl's house, we were all PISSED. That meant we all had to walk, through the snow, all the way to the highway. We're talking a mile for me, and more for others. The bus driver would sit there and wait until everybody who called to say they were coming got there. (Now that I have a kid of my own, I TOTALLY understand why the parents were all "YOU ARE GOING TO SCHOOL" and didn't care that we had to walk through below zero wind chills to get there.)

If the bus made it to her house, but no further, we saved a good quarter mile of walking. It was good news.

If the bus made it to anything past her house, it was a win. With each twenty feet further along the "P" that bus managed to go, we all got a little happier. No matter how much we didn't like a kid who lived further up the road, we always hoped he or she would manage to avoid having to do the walk of horror through several feet of snow. It was weird how in the summer some of the boys would literally create a roadblock with their bikes and charge money to let us girls go down the road, but in the winter they would literally get out of the bus and push it so that it could get a little further up the same road.

So when Alexis one day whines that she can't go to school because there is an inch or so of white stuff on the ground, I won't be lying when I say I once pushed the school bus through four feet of fluff. It was uphill both ways, too.

Sunday
Jan112009

How We Spent Our Sunday (Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!)












Saturday
Jan102009

Stop. Listen. Live.

A few days ago, LadyD brought up a story that I had read when it first came out, nearly two years ago. My favorite pizza delivery person, Uncle Crappy, later linked to the original Washington Post article. If you've never read the full story of when one of the world's greatest musicians, Joshua Bell, went incognito and played a $3.5 million violin during rush hour in the middle of a busy metro station, you should. It's an amazing story that will leave you thinking and make you ask yourself, "Would I have stopped to listen?"

I reread the whole thing, with the new perspective of a parent of a toddler, rather than the parent of a newborn, and was struck by a particular line:

"Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away."

I don't want to be that parent.

Sure, being a grown-up means having grown-up responsibilities. Being on time is important, and life is full of things that need to be done. Kids, on the other hand, are all about dawdling and are magical at finding ways of procrastinating on the way to anywhere. I mean, it can take Alexis twenty minutes just to walk down the stairs because she will stop to look in the mirror, check out all the photos, pick at a spot on the carpet, adjust her headband, try to reach the ceiling, call the dogs, and verify that she still has two feet at least 30 times. Mad Delay Skillz, she has them.

But stopping to listen to music? To catch a snowflake on her tongue? To watch the ducks eat? To smell the flowers? She does all that, too.

And she's right to do it.

I wanna be right.

Teach me, Alexis. I don't want to forget to stop and enjoy life right along with you.