Whenever my husband is out of town, Murphy’s Law snaps to attention and attempts to sabotage any sanity I retain while trying to manage four children and the day to day responsibilities. Without fail, something interesting always happens during his absence. It might be as simple as tackling all of the meet the teacher/curriculum nights alone, or as drastic as going into pre-mature labor at 30 weeks with my son while my husband was literally on the other side of the world. (That was beyond interesting….) Just recently, my husband was out of town again, and without fail, my interesting event was a leaking washing machine. From sheer frugality, I spent hours googling the issue, watching YouTube videos, and dismantling part of the machine in attempt to resolve the problem. (Have I mentioned that my washer and dryer are located in my garage? And did I mention that it is currently hot and a bit muggy this time of year in Arizona??) Although I had diagnosed the issue and could pinpoint its exact location, I could not determine how to best produce a resolution without potential damage to the machine. Alas, a repairman was called. Thinking I had an expert on my hands, I naively accepted his differing diagnosis, but could NOT bring myself to accept the cost of his labor and parts. Sensing my distress, he was confident I could replace the part myself. And, my friends, that is exactly what I did! (Which took TWO trips to the appliance parts store because the repairman did not give me all of the correct information for the part supposedly needed.) Before you cheer my good fortune and shout “bravo” for tackling such a project, be advised that the replacement part did not fix the leaking issue. The repairman was wrong. (Insert a not happy emoji face.) Once again, I googled, and youtubed (is that even a verb?), and tinkered with the machine. Yet, once again, I could not deduce how to remove a particular hose from the actual tub to release what I knew must be a clog. Repairman number two was called. (Insert big sigh) Thank heavens for repairman number two. He listened to what I had done and found the clog exactly where I had predicted. Being correct in my deduction was a consolation prize for the crazy it had taken to get it fixed! The moral of the story? First, find a reliable repairman! Second, just accept that Murphy will at some point knock on your doorstep, so simply embrace the adventure. Do not be afraid to try something crazy (like fixing your washing machine), but never be too proud to admit that you need help. And most importantly, always laugh …. and then go write a blog so others can giggle a bit at your wacky circumstances.
Picture in your minds eye with me …
A dad skipping through the aisle of back to school supplies as two kids trudge behind looking forlorn. In the background, the store is playing the Christmas song: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year …”
Thank you, Staples, for creating my all time favorite commercial. It perfectly depicts the relationship we parents have with that capricious season of Summer. Only months before, Summer was coveted for its freedom from the rigors of school and the confinement of schedules. We longed for days by the pool, no alarm clocks, and endless moments of family bonding. Yet, without warning, Summer turned her razor sharp claws into our minds as these “endless moments of family bonding” became a breeding ground for sibling contempt. The he said/she said battles began and tears were actually shed over who unjustly received the most chocolate syrup on their scoop of ice cream. Pure madness settles in as parents lose the mental battle Summer brings, until we glimpse a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel: School. In a twist of fate, what drove us to the brink is now lulling us back into submission. The schedule, the homework, those daily lunches of peanut butter and jelly beckon to us like a long, lost friend. In our stupor, we blindly follow her siren song through back to school shopping and meet the teacher events. Twelve glue sticks for one kid??? Done. Three meet the teacher events in one evening??? Let’s do this. Bring it on, School, for we simply cannot live through those dreaded words, “I’m bored,” one more time. You win.
Now, on a personal note, I might have exaggerated a teeny, little bit in the above paragraph. Yes, there is an element of readiness to get back into the schedule of life. (I’m a Type A personality, so schedules are my friend.) However, I do love summer. It’s not quite the beast I described … most of the time. My oldest daughter will be a sophomore in High School this yea, so it is not lost on me that time is slipping away, and these carefree summer days will not last forever. But truth be told, when the sibling issues get a little carried away, it absolutely feels as though my old friend, Summer, has turned on me! Not cool, Summer. Not cool.
Hoping everyones’ kids had or have a great start to the new school year!
Traditionally, the Fourth of July is a treasured day off from work where we barbecue with friends and family, spend time by the lake or pool, and shoot off fireworks … lots and lots of fireworks. Interestingly enough, fireworks have been used to celebrate our nation’s birthday since the first year it was commemorated, with John Adams declaring that the signing of the Declaration of Independence should be a “great anniversary festival solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, and Illuminations from one end of the Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” These festivities are joyous occasions, yet we should remember that our ability to celebrate is not without sacrifice. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to the area of Normandy, France, where our troops and others stormed the beaches on D-day so many years ago. Standing in the American Cemetery just off Omaha Beach, I gazed upon a vast number of grave markers indicating the names of our fallen. These men never looked upon their native soil again, many having no children or grandchildren to speak of their service and sacrifice. My paternal grandfather was in the fourth wave of soldiers that rushed upon the beaches that fateful day. Pushing forward with his engineering battalion, they lay bridges for the tanks and various equipment to press further into France and beyond. He went on to fight in the notorious Battle of the Bulge, laying thousands of mines that would stop the enemy tanks from pressing forward into Allied territory. Once in Germany, he came upon an enemy machine gunner by surprise and was shot up the entire left side of his body. His wounds kept him from moving on, and he was eventually sent home before the war ended. My grandfather’s constant limp was a reminder that many of those who returned home were different versions of themselves. Their sacrifices, and many others since then, have come in all shapes and sizes. Happy Birthday, America. Thank you to those who have loved us well through more than we can imagine.
And just as a side note for next year when you are taking John Adams advice and celebrating with your variety of fireworks, make sure your eight year old has on shoes so that she does not tinge her toe from stepping on a used sparker, and maybe caution your four year old a bit more that one does not grab a sparkler at the tip when it has just died out. You would not want your night ending with a few tears from tender appendages. Some free advice from me to you! 🙂
Hope you enjoyed your holiday!
Fireworks information was taken from:
US News and World Report
July 3, 2013 written by Tierney Sneed
Teenage drivers. How easily those two words evoke fear into the hearts of everyone on the road. Their presence is a reminder that driving is a learned skill, and the teaching process requires patience and an abundance of chocolate. Personally, I have yet to lose my cool with my own permit carrying daughter; although, there was a bit of tension recently when that ever familiar red and white octagon sign was closing in on us. Perceiving that my daughter was failing to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to the braking system as the sign loomed ahead, I will admit to uttering (in a panicked and shrill voice) the words: “Stop. Stop! STOP! STOP!!” I braced for the sound of crunching metal on the off chance she did not stop in time. Before this little episode, I might have questioned if teen drivers and their higher premiums were being a bit stereo-typed. My daughter is an intelligent, responsible, young lady, but let’s face the facts, my friends: the girl cannot yet drive. She simply does not have the same experience, thus there is a greater risk she will fail to stop at the stop sign if unsure of what direction to take. (Have mercy!) Driving experience is not the only factor to consider when premium prices are determined. As the economy is undergoing a bounce back, people are buying more new cars instead of older models. These newer cars are more expensive to repair or replace should they become “injured.” In addition, more people are driving these new cars (and their late model counterparts) as gas prices have stabilized. More people on the road means more opportunity to bump into one another … literally. Factoring in that many cars are now sporting all of the latest bells and whistles, the cost to repair even the smallest of issues has now increased. Currently, I have a check engine light continuously lit on my dash. The only problem with my car is the check engine light itself. Bringing that light back into submission from this little rebellion is going to cost $300, thus, we have decided to let the light live on in its defiance. Fancy sensors such as this are not the only expenses we embrace with our technological advances. Our Navigation systems, back up cameras, and Siri ordering our pizza on the way home have caused some of us to get distracted as we contemplated the greater decisions in life such as pepperoni or sausage. Distracted drivers simply cause more accidents, and should anyone be injured when our GPS sends us the wrong way down a one way street, the liability cost of medical care has risen as well. So, while you are re-living your glory days with Sirius as “80s on 8” blasts through your incredible car stereo system, remember to thank your insurance agents for finding you the best coverage possible to protect those sweet accessories. And, should you pass a car going very slowly with a teen driver at the wheel and a fear stricken parent navigating, please give us a wide berth when passing and an encouraging smile to persevere on.
Mom of three more to teach how to drive
Here at McAlister-Gray, we believe that life is more than the daily grind; it’s living and laughing and loving every day. To celebrate those moments in life with you, we created this blog. Come giggle with us (or even shed a tear) at the beauty and crazy of the moments we share.
A Tribute to Our Exhausted Teachers
You have fooled me no longer, for I can see right through your ingenious plan.
This end of the school year chaos is brilliant, and you deserve accolades for filling it to the brim with award ceremonies, end of the year parties, a ridiculous amount of projects due, exams, and late night scavenger hunts through the house to find that one misplaced library book. Every year we parents mentally prep for what May brings; yet, May never fails to be a thorn in our side. By the last day of school, we are begging to be released from the arduous schedule of getting our angels out the door. We are pining for the peace of summer and would do almost anything for it. But alas, you already knew this would happen. You needed us to crave the very break which brings sanity to YOUR life. As you astutely navigated these last few weeks, we were like putty in your hands. Hats off to you, my teacher friends, for your trickery. Summer looks like such bliss, and in our desperation, amnesia strikes. We forget the insanity of entertaining children who are home ALL day long. Let’s be honest, teacher appreciation week should be rescheduled to the third week of the summer, for that is when we truly appreciate all that you do! Your dedication to our little ones is a blessed treasure, and one that we could never truly repay. Your sacrifice of time and effort deserves a lifetime of our gratitude. But most importantly, may this summer bring the relaxation you have earned, for we are going to need you rested up come August!
Marketing Liaison for McAlister-Gray
Mother of Four
Know your LIMITS
Did you know that all Homeowners Insurance Policies have internal limits on many categories of personal property? They do, and claim-time is not when you want to be made aware of these limits. Categories such as Jewelry, Firearms, Tools and Computers are a few of the critical items. For example, most Homeowner Policies only provide a maximum of $1,500 for Jewelry. Yikes! With today’s gold and diamond prices being so high, even the smallest diamond piece could easily exceed that.
Please call the McAlister-Gray Agency at (480) 621-6400 today to review your individual Homeowners needs and make sure that you know your limits! We represent over 20+ insurance companies, so we can compare rates for your home AND auto.