Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off with our heads

"Where's Mommy's head? Oh, I found it."

My son enjoys playing with the magnet a friend made for us 10 years ago after we appeared as Homer and Marge Simpson at her Halloween Party. But a few months ago, he put the craft-store magnet to the test and found that it was not difficult to rip his parents' heads off.

As if we needed any help with that.

E's dad and I do not exactly exemplify the kind of mindful, intentional life we value. LJ is great about getting good gas mileage, so I know he's paying very close attention to the way he drives - spending time in neutral (we have an automatic), not accelerating when he's going to have to stop. I admire this and try to follow his example, but it's easy to get out of the habit, just like it's easy to forget to sit up straight with my abs supporting my back. I can get on a roll but then get lost in NPR or Music Together and realize I'm racing to a red light with slumped shoulders.

Lately we are just about at each other's throats over the house and our finances. After seven years in our home, we're trying to purge as though we were moving. This is necessary and cathartic but also time-consuming, and challenging to do with a 2.5-year-old. We have also found ourselves at odds over money. We do not go on lavish vacations or buy expensive jewelry or technology, but we do spend a lot on good quality food and alternative health care. And kid clothes, and some toys, and classes, and childcare. And sippy cups.

So somehow we've started spending a lot more than we did 2.5 years ago -- even 1.5 years ago when the kid was only eating from his mama (who was so tired she needed lots of acpuncture and other support to keep her thyroid and depression in check). And by "somehow" I mean we both have analyzed our spending individually but haven't worked on a budget and protocol that makes sense for both of us for right now and for our future. In this economy, our failure to watch our lead foots is, as my husband says, "stupid." I'm offended to be insulted, but he's right.

I don't know how long it's going to take, but we have to get this stuff out of our basement or happily into storage spaces. I've been Freecycling and Craigslisting like crazy. The soft vinyl bags LJ barked at me for buying months ago are indeed yucky, not only for the off-gassing they did but also because the soft flexibility I bought them for (to ostensibly fit better in a small space) is frustrating. They don't stack or smoosh - they are just kind of messy. It's just like our lack of clear-cut boundaries and guidelines for ourselves.

My last post was almost a month ago, "Gardening at Night," in which I wrote about what a difference it made to spend 15 minutes as a family weeding in our front yard. Once all the grass was gone, the liriope started to flower. It was like the plant could finally breathe, finally had the nutrients it needed. We'll have to get back in there and weed again soon, I know. It doesn't end.
I'm hoping we can work toward moving our physical and financial lives into the land of purple flowers.

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