Thursday, January 31, 2008


Yesterday, my son was missing was 15 minutes. For Mr. T. who had called to ask me if I had him, it had been a little longer. For my mother-in-law who had been at home waiting for Son to arrive, it was even longer. For my 7-year-old who had gotten off at the wrong bus stop, it was probably an eternity.

I had a doctor's appointment and afterward went home to wait for a meeting I had to go to at Daughter's school. As I drove down the street headed to our street, Mr. T's ring sounded in my pocket.

"You got Son?"

"What? No. Why would I have him?" I looked at the clock. It was 4 and he should have been at my ML's about 3:20.

"My mother said he didn't get off the school bus."

"What? I'm near the house, maybe he forgot he was going to her house and he's there."

I turned down our street as I said this, hoping to see him standing outside our door.

"My mother just left our house. She drove over here when he didn't show."

All I could do was listen to him as I pushed all desires to panic aside.

"Did you try your sister's house? Maybe he went there."

As I pulled up to her house, which is around the corner from us, I saw Mr. T driving up behind me. I rang her bell.

"B. Have you seen Son?"

"No, I was over at mommy's house waiting with her. He didn't get off the bus."

Mr. T sat in his car. I could see him thinking.

"OK. Where would he be," I asked out loud. I called his school hoping someone was still there. "He's not the wandering kind. At least not outside of our presence." The phone kept ringing at the school.

"No answer," I said to no one in particular. Then I remembered the little girl who lives across the street from MIL and takes the same bus as Son. She's a 6th-grader now, always protective of Son when he's on the bus and she would have made sure he was with her.

"Did you talk to S," I asked Mr. T. He perked up at the idea.

"No, I'll go see if she's home."

"OK, and I'll go to the school."

He drove off and before I could get to the end of the block he called.

"My mother has him. The police brought him home."

"The police? How did they get him?"

"He got off at the wrong stop and there was a woman who saw him and called the police."

Oh thank God, I thought, hanging up the phone and heading toward my MIL's house.

I've read this crap enough times. Kids smaller than mine have been let off at the wrong stop. It's always a miracle a person gets their child back safely. I mean, when they don't go where they are supposed to, then how in the world do you begin to look for a needle in a haystack? We don't know every stop that bus makes so there was no way to trace the route ourselves. We would have had to call the police but thankfully someone else beat us to it.

I got to the house and saw the police car still out front. Running in the back door, there he was eating a cookie, his signature silly grin nowhere on his tearstreaked face. He looked composed but clearly wasn't just a short while before then.

"What happened? Are you alright?"

"He was brave," the officer told me. "Knew his address and was able to tell me where to go."

There had been confusion about why he got off where he did and as we explained to the officer that Son was getting off this stop all this month, I clutched my son and stroked his face, my hands constantly reassuring me that he was really there. I'm looking down at him and thinking how big he feels to me now yet his face betrays his age and while he's tall, he's always been slight. His jacket may be bulky but clearly he's still a baby. So how did this bus driver let him get off at the wrong stop?

"You know, I want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt but Son has been getting off here all month. The school knows about it and they are supposed to tell the bus drivers too. It makes no sense. Was he a new driver, Son?"


Everyone just shook their heads.

"I am going to make a report and give it to the school and the bus company."

"Good," I replied. "I will be fussing them out tomorrow."

All this went down in the space of one hour. I had Son take us back to the house of the woman who called about him so I could thank her in person as well as see the street where he got off so I could figure out how this mixup happened. I saw the street. It still makes no sense.

"We could have been childless," Mr. T said later that night.

"Not childless. We still have Daughter. But there's no need to think that way now."

But how do you not? If we had needed them, we have his latest pictures and we have his fingerprints. We would have called the cops the moment Mr. T found out that S had not seen him either. Actually she hadn't been on the bus that day and that was part of the issue for Son. If she's not there, the bus driver doesn't stop at the street he needs to get off on so he thought he'd get off down the street instead. But he misjudged and found himself someplace he didn't recognize. A dead end street. Two other kids got off there too - they were all the last kids off the bus, he said. When Son realized he was lost, he started to cry and the kids took him to the house of woman they knew who used to babysit them. She had been calling our house while we were out looking. When we didn't answer, she asked her husband what they should do and that is when they looked out and saw a cop outside dealing with another situation. That cop called another whose job is dealing with children and that is the officer who brought him home.

As I thought about that I realized that there was no point in imagining the worse because it was clear that when Son got off at the wrong stop, he got off in the hands of God who steered him not only to a woman with a 7-year-old of her own but he sent a cop down her dead end street as well. It was under control all along. That may have been why panic never got a chance to settle in.

Son knows home numbers but he hasn't memorized our cell phone numbers yet. He will now. Mr. T and I went to bed thinking that things could have been very different. I have chosen to not dwell on it nor to imagine how lost my son may have felt because that stuff only breaks your heart. He's safe. That's what matters and the bus driver's company has lots of explaining to do to me. Today I'm just thanking God for helping me to remember that He sees in low places and in high; He is the ultimate protector of children even though things don't always turn out as we pray they will. We can't explain all the evil that happens to children and we'd just pull our hair out trying to understand the seeming inequity of it all. I can't go there. I can only focus on the 2 He's given me and thank Him that I still have 2 to continue caring for.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Office Space

I had to take a day off from work. I told you last time that my energy level is currently below normal and yet it may be more that I simply want to focus on just one thing at a time right now. Well, maybe just a few things.

I needed to find out why my computer was so darned slow. (Now I know plus I'm informed I have a CD burner that I didn't even now I had!) I needed to do some stuff for my business. And I needed to do one more important thing.

As you already know, my office has been a constant source of aggravation because I want it neat. So yesterday I completed the 2nd round of purging and now I have only what I need - want - love in there, in a pile on the floor or in a box, waiting for me to get it a permanent home. Yesterday I also had to go to the store with my partner and get the puzzles swapped out for Valentine's Day so when I finished sorting the stuff in my office, I had an hour to spare before she showed up at the store. Off I went to the nearby HomeGoods and Target to see what kind of storage solutions were out there that might fit the bill.

Has to be colorful.
Has to be fun for me to handle.
Has to be roomy.
Has to NOT be too expensive so I can get more than one of something.
Has to have at least 2 of one thing available so I can have a set.

HomeGoods has a lot of great, unique stuff but either it's too basket-y or the wrong color or too floral or simply costs more than I want to pay right now. I saw one potential that zipped. But I'm not sure yet about the actual depth of the cubbies in the bookcase so I have to get that first and measure the space. Those boxes may be too big. Plus it has major blue stripes in it (though it also has the other colors I want) so I'm not sure it will work. But that zipper is very enticing. Still, it has to be love at first sight AND fit the bill. This one is love but may not fit the bill so off to Target I went.

They must have been doing inventory because there were clerks in nearly every aisle beeping and booping and, frankly, getting in my way! I still had time before I had to go to MY store so I walked up and down thinking and looking and seeing potential but not quite it. You know, there are baskets all over the place really but you have to go everywhere to see them because they are not all in one place. I have watched enough HGTV to have it ingrained in me that you don't have to use something the way it was created to be used. I checked out the storage things in the kitchen section. I headed to the kids' section and the home section, the bathroom section and the fancier home section that sits all by itself at the back of the store enticing you with its luxurious display of worldly items. Zip. Annoyed, I started to wander back to pay for the one little drawer organizer I picked up when I looked down an aisle and saw more interesting green. (Why can't this stuff just all live together?)

Indeed there was more good-looking stuff and when hope was just about gone, I spotted this:

And it had a friend! But no price. I found a nearby scanner that blissfully informed me that this sweet canvas box in the pretty green color with the equally solid top was only $10. There were two more around in a light blue - there goes that blue again - but I opted for just the two for now because I knew what could live in them and I knew they would fit on those shelves no matter what size it was.

It's amazing how such a find can make a person happy but it does. I have to remind myself every now and again that, as my grandmother would have said, I get my love of this stuff honest. After all, I did plan to be an interior designer once upon a time. I could sit in a furniture store going through decorating mags with HGTV on in the background and NEVER grow tired. My idea of heaven on earth, for sure.

I took my weighty boxes, happily forfeited the twenty bucks and went off to meet my friend at the store. I won't go into details on that right now but we left there pretty invigorated too so yesterday was a very fruitful and satisfying day overall.

Those zippy boxes are still in my head though. There IS another HomeGoods one town over from where I work. They WERE very sturdy boxes. And pretty. And zippy. It wouldn't hurt to get just one, right?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Internal Conversations

Where have you been, Monica?!

Oh, around.

Doing what? You haven't been blogging. Bad blogger!

Yes, yes. I know. I know. But you know what? I'm in a downcycle at the moment. You'll have to forgive me.

A downcycle?

Yes, I tend to have long spurts of energy and creativity (this last one has actually been going since I was pregnant with Daughter fours years ago) and then one day - poof! - I'm done. There's only enough energy to do what I need to do. See, I think I told you once I could be a little bit compulsive, a little bit of a perfectionist...

I've heard tales.

Silence! As I was saying, my body and I work really well together. No matter how much I may want to do something, when it's time to chill, my body just shuts down and refuses to let me do more the minimum.

What's the minimum?

Well, work, of course, because we do have 2 kids and a mortgage and a need to eat and drink. Mind you, work has been HECTIC. Beyond hectic and curiously enough, I'm not on a downcycle there. But there isn't much energy for much else. I go to work, I come home and do what I need to do. That's it.

What about your business?

This is one of those times when it has to sort of fend for itself, unfortunately. We have the puzzles in the store so they don't need me there, though there is a marketing idea I need to implement there. We have our new marketing person who is doing the thinking at the moment. Just have to wait to see what he comes up with. And we have our old marketing person who SHOULD be working on something for the 20008 holidays so she doesn't need me to bug her just yet. (I'll do it when I have a spurt of energy. Got to make sure she's on track. I am a perfectionist after all.)

Well, what about your business partner?

She is literally doing the work of 3 people at her job. She's sort of out of commission herself unless I tell her I need her to do something. Then she does it. But being proactive is out of the question for her at the moment, I'm afraid.

And home?

Home is great. I do have the energy to take care of it because I think I told you I wanted to do a little more nesting this year. So Saturday I ran around getting a few more things for the kids' bathroom so I could finally get the stupid shower curtains up and a curtain at the window. Boy is my bathroom floor happy (and drier) now! And after church on Sunday, I cleaned more stuff out of my office, purging the 2006/2007 papers and sending them to live in the garage until maybe 2010 or 2011. I should be able to toss those by then, yes? I also relegated the two bins full of baby stuff to the garage as well until - until - just until. Now doing all this meant I had to also do a little straightening in the garage so I did that too because I REFUSE to have my garage look like a forgotten storage unit. So after shifting things around in there and tossing some stuff out, I went back to my office to finish things up and now I finally have the space created for the 2 bookcases I will be getting. Honest! There are empty spaces on 2 of my walls where bookcases will soon live. I did more online shopping and nothing is topping those Ikea bookcases in terms of not only price but size. They seem to offer more room than others I found. My feet were killing me by the end of the night but there is nothing left to do in that office now except give everything a home. I'm working on that.

Sounds like you're rolling along then!

I am indeed.

So you aren't REALLY doing nothing.

No, never not doing nothing. That would be just boring for me. Just doing less right now. Some things are simmering on the back burner, some are cooking with gas. I get my hair done. That's something, yes? I take Son to his cub scout stuff. That's something else. It's all good.

So when will you be blogging again?

What? I just did, silly!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The End of an Era

It's finally happened. One year, one month and one day - approximately - since Mr. T came home injured from his job, he is back on the job as of now. Mind you, he is in the middle of jury duty right now so it's just a one-night thing so he can get back on track then he's off for three more weeks of jury duty. But who cares?! He is at work again and things are going back to normal.

Tonight I sleep alone! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Behind the 2008-Ball

Here we are 15 days into the new year and this is the first chance I have had to write. It's simply shameful, I know. But honestly now, how much of this is too much?

Over the past few days - years even - I've been really hit with all the social and business networking groups there are online and enough is getting to be enough. Keeping up with a blog, writing newsletters for my business, networking on LinkedIn and now Xanga and Facebook, hanging out with my online crit group and one other writing group (I put 3 others on no-mail so long ago I don't even miss them now) in addition to reading blogs (great stuff but numerous and very time consuming), volleying back the IMs in the eternal tennis match I play with IM friends/co-workers all day long, and simply trying to keep up with the businesses and business friends I deal with regularly via the 2 groups I belong to (soon to be 3) - this is ALL my online life, my dear friends. Oh! And did you know I can even send and receive emails on my Wii?! Mr. T set that up last night. But please don't try to contact me there. When I'm in the middle of tennis, I don't want to know you! I am sure I am forgetting some other facet of this hectic online life but I don't want to think that hard.

Now let's factor in phone calls, mostly cell phone, and the in-person contact with my job, business, family and friends and you have one very scattered sista before you.

I hate feeling scattered but I have been feeling that way at work as various projects I am at the helm of go on simultaneously along with intermittent requests from other departments to work editorial magic pronto and then there is just the day-to-day I do all by my lonesome (but as part of a wonderful team, of course!).

Got to then go home and do some homework checking, refereeing, constant cleaning, seeking and finding, phone call screening, maybe cooking, washing of children, email checking (if I have the energy) and whatever it is hubby needs from me too. (Most recently, hooking up his new laptop wirelessly which took about 3 days and countless hours due to still uncertain problems. But on the other hand getting my own laptop is no longer as pressing plus now I'm starting to think with 2 PCs in the house, maybe it is time to think Mac.)

In between all this I eat and read because I am determined to stick to my avid reading and I have library books so I have to return them eventually. Oh yeah, forgot to add in library trips with the kids in the list above. I do a little planning as I think about what I want to do next for the house. I figure out my money (Mr. T. handles "our" stuff, thankfully.) and try to do SOMETHING for the business. It's such a vicious circle. I'm sure I post this same lament at least twice a year if not more regularly but until I solve the great mystery of juggling it all, I'll just keep on sounding on my board because that's what it's there for.

In church on Sunday, I thought hard about what I want to add into my life this year. Right now this tid bit is just between God and me so excuse me if I don't launch into details right now. But I can say it involves preparation. I already have to prepare myself for all the changes we're making in our business this year, and now that my business partner is doing the work of 4 people at her job, it's going to be that much harder to get things done, but all these changes work with the other prep work I need to do so it should flow nicely into my current life plans. And in the end, if I opt out, I'll still be very much where I want to be so it's a win-win proposition. But the awesomeness of it all has me once again thinking about all I am involved in. January is a great time to make these kinds of assessments and it's about that time. Time to join together what can be joined together to ease my life. Time to toss out whatever is causing me too much angst and stress. Time to freshen up stale things. Time to reassess my priorities and make sure my life is still full of what is meaningful to me and what is God ordained. Usually when I tackle it all, I find that I'm pretty much where I want to be and life is not all bad after all. But I haven't reached that place yet.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I Love Sarah!


I'll maybe do something new year-y later. I just wanted to post my new favorite artist - so I can find her later and so I can spread her cheer. I ordered her calendar last week, got it today and loved it even more in person. I googled her and found her website - Sarah-Jane Szikora - and now I REALLY love her!

So now I aspire to own something of hers but she don't come cheap and I can't plaster my house in her anyway since I do share the space with three other people so I'll have to narrow it down to one. Maybe this one:

I could stare at it all day. Enjoy!