The “Mom” Playlist

The day started out like any other lazy Sunday, until the power abruptly went out. It was a calm, sunny day today, so no obvious reason for it to go out. There were storms a couple of days ago that knocked out power in hundreds of thousands of homes, though, so I wasn’t hopeful of a quick fix. I could tell that the neighbors lost power too.

Meanwhile, my daughter was missing one of her middle school friends and asked if I’d drive her to the friend’s to spend the day and then come back and pick her up several hours later. I had no real plans, so I agreed. Her friend lives about a half hour away, it was an hour of my time to take her. She took her iPad with her to charge it, even though it was already 97% charged…she has to have it for school and  isn’t allowed to charge it there.

Back at home, I did something I haven’t indulged much in lately…I read a book. No electricity was required and the sun provided lots of natural light. I was happy that I’d done all of the laundry yesterday, so no worries about the work/school week…surely the power would be back on soon enough. Five hours into it, however, I thought I should call the electric company and find out when the power would be back on. I learned a thing or two. First of all, no one had called in the power outage in my neighborhood…no one. Second, the electric company knew about the outage and its likely cause (a fuse). When the power came on two hours later, I learned a third thing…they didn’t bother with the outage until someone complained.

I got through the book, then it was time to pick up my daughter. I drove out to get her and then stayed for a few minutes to admire the videos the girls had made on their phones. We were about five miles on the way toward home, when my daughter got a text from her friend…she’d left her iPad behind. At this point, my happy nature took a turn for the grumpy. As I found a turnaround and headed back to her friend’s, I complained about how I didn’t like spending all of my free time in the car so that she could enjoy a visit with her friend, and forgetting her iPad meant that I was spending well over two hours all together.

Just then, Neon Lights by Demi Levato came on the radio and I was instantly a bit happier. I smiled and started singing along. Then I got suspicious…I asked her if she had put the song on because she knew I liked it and she said yes. Then, I got annoyed and said I didn’t appreciate being manipulated. She explained to me that she played it because she knew I was upset, not at her, but at the situation, and she wanted me to feel better. That was when I learned that she has a playlist called “Mom”.

There are only three songs on “Mom”. Neon Lights is oneThe second one is Lego House by Ed Sheeren. These two songs I’ve heard many times because my daughter plays them a lot. They are not in any playlist of my own, but if I started a playlist of songs my daughter plays that I like, they’d be on it. The third song turned out to be Build a Bird House In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants. This is a song that I was trying to get her to remember recently. I told her I liked it and my radio station used to play it a lot, but not anymore. She couldn’t recall it, so she downloaded it. Then she remembered it and apparently, with no where else to place it, she put it in the “Mom” playlist.

So, there I am. I’m not sure if I want “mom” to expand and take on more of a true reflection of me, or if I’d rather see how it grows organically. I’m thinking the latter is more interesting.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the knowledge that the journey doesn’t always take you where you plan to go, but a good playlist can make any journey more enjoyable!

Going Back To High School–Parent Night

My younger daughter started high school two and a half weeks ago and it’s time for Parent Night, known in other schools as curriculum night. My other daughter graduated from the same school and I never once made it to Parent Night. I think that when she was a Freshman, I was just clueless and missed it. The next two years, her dad agreed to cover it, but he ended up bailing out due to traffic or some other excuse. Her Senior year I was all set to go when I thought, why? It seemed too late to get in on the plan. But with my youngest, I want to start off doing all the right stuff…so I went.

After a long day of work, I went home and made sure my kids had dinner before leaving for the half-hour trip to my daughter’s school. At Eight Mile (yeah, *that* eight mile), the skies opened up and the rain came crashing down. I continued on. The traffic grew worse, likely the other parents heading to the school through storm and road work. I arrived just in time and hurried to my daughter’s advisor group.

My daughter, in a burst of exuberance (her normal state) had not only printed out a map of her school with hand-written notes about where all her classes were, but had printed maps to get me from each class to the nimageext, expecting much (or little?) of me. In the end, the one, overall, map was all I needed. After all, I am an engineer…map-reading skills kind of come with the territory.

I worked my way through her schedule. She goes to an independent, all-girls, Catholic, college prep school. We had little time between classes and only ten minutes per class. My daughter knows several of her classmates, girls from several spheres of her life, and I *kind of* know their parents. So, as much as I tried to absorb her schedule and get to know her teachers, I was looking around for familiar faces just like a Freshman going to an all new high school.

I started in advisor group. There I learned that the girls have a check-in and check-out point. We waited a bit longer there as the thunderstorms had knocked out a major traffic light and delayed many parents. I looked around at the parents, one smiled and I smiled back. I didn’t know anyone there. When it was time to go to first hour, I checked my map and saw that I had to high-tail it all the way to the other end of the school to the gym. At the gym, I found one of my carpool families. We didn’t know the other woman in our carpool, but mnaged to find her and introduced ourselves. We thanked one another profusely…the carpool is saving our sanity.

For second hour I only had to cross the lobby and find the drama studio. I imagined that my daughter would enjoy her Acting 101 class as she’s done quite a lot of acting over the last several years.  The teacher was enthusiastic, an alumnae of the school, and talked about getting the girls to unzip themselves and step out into a new self. She wants to help them past that awkwardness. I didn’t think my daughter needed that, but later she told me that it is awkward…doing improv and acting exercises is not the same, she tells me, as getting a script and working on a play.

Third hour came fast and this time I had an even longer walk. All the way to the other end of the school and beyond…down a long hallway and down into the basement…way off the map. I was expecting a dreary room, but instead was delighted to find a wall of glass at the back of the room which looked out onto a peaceful wetlands scene. Too bad only the teacher gets to face it. I only had to backtrack halfway through the school to get to my fourth hour class, and was glad fifth hour was right next door. But just as fourth hour ended, an assembly was called and off I went to the auditorium for some pep speeches.

I made it through the rest of the “day” and even saw one of my own friends, one whom I rarely see…just to smile, clutch hands, and then be pulled apart by the parents streaming by. Wow, school is so stressful! Fortunately for me, my daughter is comfortable in this environment. She is thriving and  I couldn’t be happier…despite the  carpool/commute.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Sometimes the Joy is in helping a loved one find the perfect start to her own Journey!


No Time To Be Tired–Time To Train!

I have been struggling to keep myself on track with my training choices. I am signed-up for a half-marathon in mid-October, and although I’ve been running, I haven’t been training or even running on any consistent schedule. Instead, I’ve been focused on how tired I am trying to keep up with my youngest child who just started high school miles from home and work.

Last night, I came home from work, put on my running gear..and ran. Just the 5k circuit through my neighborhood, but enough. I didn’t feel like doing it. I didn’t particularly enjoy it while I was doing it…but, in the end, it was good. As I walked back home, Eye of the Tiger came up on my iPod. As adrenaline rushed through me, I thought of a different tiger, one on a cereal box…yes, I felt GREAT!

Today, I finally looked up the Hal Higdon half-marathon training plan. It’s what I used for my first half…which I extended to three half-marathons last fall. I also used it to train for a half-marathon this spring. But, this last one, I hadn’t bothered to follow any plan…I was too busy. I counted out the weeks until my race, which is on October 19th…five and a half weeks. I looked down at the training plan to see that I should already have built up to eight miles for my weekly long run. This past Saturday, I set out to run six miles, but due to the heat and a poor hydration strategy (strategy: I don’t need to bring water for a run under 8 miles), I ran out of steam after four miles. I did run six miles the prior two weekends, so I’m not completely behind, but I do have some catching up to do.

I also should be running three consecutive days during the week and should have built up to five miles on the second day. So, with a three-mile run under my belt from last night, I set out for a four-mile run tonight. I could feel the stress on my legs by the end, which I take as a good sign. I’m getting prepared for the long run on Saturday. I’ll have to modify the rest of the plan a little so that I can train to the best of my ability by the race. So, I won’t be running any smaller races, I’ll instead progress over the next five weeks to run eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve miles for my long runs. If that proves to be too difficult, I’ll train to a maximum of ten miles. Either way it’s a little daunting, but it serves me right for being lazy about my training.

I have time to catch up, I just need to do it. Now that I’m adjusting to my new schedule, it’s starting to get easier. My runs over the last two days have reminded me that I feel better when I run on a regular basis. So, even though tonight I had to squeeze in the run after work, before errands, and before a late dinner, it was worth it.  Now if I can just get back to the gym.

Find the Joy in the Journey…

Exhaustion–Labor Pains, Jet Lag…and Carpool?

Anytime that I have to make a big adjustment in my schedule, I end up exhausted during the change. This applies to starting a new school year, starting a new position at work, and other such big adjustments. This time, however, the change is due to my younger daughter starting high school. All of a sudden, my schedule is shifted. I need to get up an hour early so that I can take my daughter to school. Actually, if I consistently got up an hour earlier, I’d probably be ok by now, but instead, I joined a carpool. Carpool is a lifesaver…well, at least it is a job-saver. From a sleep perspective, I’m all over the map.

As a single, working mom, it’s probably insanity to send my youngest to a school thirty minutes away from home (and job…which is by home). Thing is, I can’t limit her options to something narrower than what I offered her older siblings. I just refuse. I know my circumstances are different, but that’s just who I am. It may take more sacrifice, but, hey, I’m her mom. When her sister went the same high school, I got lucky and found an upper-class woman to drive her to school the first two years. I didn’t have to do a carpool.

So, I’m supposed to be in the middle of my half-marathon training so that I can survive the Detroit International Free Press Half-Marathon in October…ok, I’ve done four other halfs in the last year, but seriously? I trained hard for the first and then ran two more while still at my “peak”…then my work buddies paid my registration for a Spring half to keep me motivated…that required training from scratch…as does this next race. Sigh.

So here I am. I’m dealing with some un-named (sorry!) stressors that should be over within a month and I’m starting this new, carpooling schedule. It’s all relative, it’s all soon to be over, adjusted-for, managed. But in the meanwhile, I…am…so…tired! Running is at the bottom of my list…writing has fallen even more by the wayside. I am distraught at falling behind in so many areas of my life. But, in the meantime, my main focus is getting my youngest to school as she starts high school.

There are other consequences to sending her to a school so far away…her friends are scattered across southest Michigan…and…she…can’t…drive. Sigh. She and a couple of friends want to cheer on a boy they know at his first soccer game…a worknight. His school is even farther away than hers. She wants me to drop everything to get her there. I am looking ahead and cannot see spending all of my evenings getting my child to social events beyond even her own school events.

So, my girl and I have many things to navigate. Partnering with other parents is my new mantra.  I currently have a boomarang child at home…so he is being called in to provide transportation too. I’ll manage. I must.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Overcoming the Odds…Loving Life!

So, I haven’t written much lately, even though my mind is as active as ever with blog ideas. I struggle to decipher what has changed in my life…I am under a lot of stress, the kind that isn’t easily dispersed or even explained. But then I look back to a year ago and, well, I had similar things going on in my life. A year ago, I was lamenting that my hair had been falling out, my nails thinning, my eyelashes non-existent…all signs of stress. Today, my hair is luminous, my nails strong as, well, nails! My eyelashes are back in full-force. So, despite suffering the same or worse stress today than a year ago, my body is telling me that things are going to be ok. So, why am I seemingly unable to manage my life as well as I did when I was under the kind of stress that caused my body to rebel?

A year ago I was publishing my blog every other day. I was heavy into the Hal Higdon Half-Marathon training. I was doing my thing, reading, writing, and running. I was on top of my children’s lives, sending my middle child off to her first year of college, letting go of my oldest to try a year of independence with no guarantees, and supporting my youngest in exploring her world before she started high school.

Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how to “do it” now…But I know that I want to. I want to engage with people who are important to me in my current life and to re-connect with those I’ve lost touch with. I’m willing to reach out with no guarantee of return…to put myself out there. I want to re-connect with lost opportunities. Sometimes I look back, and Facebook is a prime conduit, to people I didn’t know well back in the day. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I shared so many things with the people I grew up with. To me it is not important whether or not we were friends or enemies or just indifferent to one another. What matters now is that we went through the same experiences together.

If you were in my Kindergarten class and remember passing the jar of whole milk around the circle for a half hour until we learned, by experience, that we had made butter. If you were in my first grade class and watched our teacher open an egg every week to share the wonders of chicken growth (now I wonder at the barbarism, but I sure learned a lot). If you were in my fourth grade class where I took home the baby gerbils from the class gerbil couple only to have my cat eat them. If you were in my sixth grade class where I learned absolutely nothing and got straight A’s the quarter I spent at home being ill and then pretending to be ill beyond all reason.

If you were my classmate back then, then maybe you know more about me than I recognize in myself. Maybe I observed some things about you that you lost track of. I don’t know All I know is that I lived a life. I lived it with you. We fought, dirty and fair. We lived, despite our differences. We loved and lost. We did it apart, but together. Like family, you were there…for me or against. Does it matter anymore? Together we have a shared history and today I honor that.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the recognition of the value of friends, classmates…everyone who witnessed our growth.

I Love America–The Band

I do love America…but I’d never seen them in concert. I also love Bread, but I missed the boat on that band…two key members died of cancer shortly after they did their 25 year reunion tour in 1997. As you know, I’m 50…so I was just a child, between 6 and 7, when America hit the airwaves, three American boys with British moms in England…they named themselves America so no one would think a bunch of British kids were pretending to American musical roots. I call their music, and that of Bread and CS&N (or CSNY), American Folk Rock. I love it. I love the stories, the melodies, and the sweet, melodic rock. I love America.

Detroit puts on a series of riverfront rock concerts each summer. Last year, I learned about these concerts at the end of summer with the last of the concerts, America. I wanted to go, but had no one to go with. I thought of taking my kids, but was still intimidated with the endeavor…I have a night-vision problem and when you combine that with taking an unfamiliar path to an unfamiliar place…well, I chickened out. That night there was a huge thunderstorm, and the next day I learned that the concert had been canceled. At least, I thought, I didn’t miss anything.

This year, I looked over the summer concert schedule, but with my younger daughter’s travel basketball and travel softball schedule, I would certainly miss most of the concerts. Additionally, I hadn’t addressed my concerns with driving downtown in the dark by myself. I semi-resigned myself to not going. Then one day, I mentioned it to a friend of mine and she told me she was all in! Not only that, but she offered to drive.

Suddenly, going to the America concert was a reality. In the end, three of us went. Although the concert was free, a restaurant on the riverfront offered an inexpensive buffet with “VIP” seating. We were too late to get reservations, but we did get reservations at the same restaurant “on the patio”. This turned out to be temporary sidewalk seating. They were pleased to let us sit there for hours so that we could enjoy the show.

I learned a lot, to be utilized next summer. Eating on the patio was pleasant, but quite expensive. Next year, we’ll get the buffet tickets (although they are inside). We had access to the restaurant’s restroom…highly desirable compared to the port-a-john alternative. The VIP seats that went with the buffet appeared to be right next to the stage. Truly VIP seats! We also discovered the best parking…validated by the restaurant for a 40% discount and just two quick turns from the highway home.

The concert? It was ideal. America has been playing a hundred concerts a year for 44 years…talk about knowing your stuff! They’ve long passed Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to mastery. I taped Ventura Highway on my cell phone. The video portion was lackluster, but the audio is great. Two days later, when I woke up after my younger daughter had gone to the One Direction concert with her dad, we traded recordings. She played a selection which featured a lot of screaming girls with a song in the background. I played her my recording and she marveled that it sounded like I was playing the radio.

The best part of the concert was staying until the last encore was over…a luxury I’ve been denied for decades. So, let me leave you with that song, A Horse With No Name. It tossed me back to my youth…ROCK ON!

Find the Joy in the Journey…A journey that never ends!

The Great Flood

Under the best circumstances, I would have been home, high and dry, in no time at all. Instead, it took me over two hours. All day long, the local news app on my iPhone notified me of flood warnings. Everytime I looked outside, the sky was grey but there was no visible rain. Apparently it rained steadily all day long, just not big rain and big wind that would have made it obvious through the plate glass of my office building, just an unrelentingly soft, summer rain. I gave it not a second thought.

Close to the end of the day, a coworker commented that she’d learned her lesson the last time it had rained and she’d gotten stranded on the Southfield Freeway. The Southfield is an outdated freeway which runs below grade with service drives on either side at street level. Even a minor fender-bender creates terrible back-ups. I noted, perhaps a bit smugly, that I had multiple ways home without driving through low-lying areas, or getting onto the Southfield.

My older daughter (who has been rear-ended twice in the last few years) and I had an appointment with the chiropractor, so I texted my daughter to confirm. Turned out that she didn’t want to go. If she had, I’d have started off taking those side streets home to pick her up. Instead, I got on the Southfield…just for two exits to a main East/West road. I passed the first exit, the one I would take if I were driving home. Soon after, I saw the error of my ways. I sat on the highway for over an hour and a half. Somewhere along the way, I called my chiropractor and canceled my appointment.

At some point a police car cut down the shoulder ahead of all of us. Later, a few cars got on the shoulder and cut ahead. Twenty minutes later, a few cars came back on the shoulder, driving the wrong way back towards the on-ramp. A few more got on the shoulder going forward…later they all came back on the shoulder. I was baffled.

As time went on, more and more cars turned around and went back down the shoulder. Eventually I saw that this was directed by the police. This one policewoman came past several times, soaked to the skin. I did wonder why her car didn’t include a rain poncho for such emergencies, but apparently it didn’t and she was completely soaked. Later a man in a polo shirt with a flashlight started helping out. It turned out that he was also a police officer. They had to turn around three lanes of rush-hour traffic into one shoulder lane. I took this photo of the second police officer next to water gushing out of the freeway…apparently a water main break under the highway.image

So, finally released, I turned around and drove back up the shoulder the wrong way. When I got to the service drive, I did a u-turn and was on my way. I got home about 15 minutes later, passing very slowly through several areas of deep water over the road. In the meanwhile I’d called my older daughter and asked her to start dinner. It wasn’t until I arrived home that I learned that she’d gone out. She was at a friend’s house in a neighboring community. My city had dug up our roads several years ago and laid in new storm sewer lines…her friend’s city had not and the water rose over the curbs, across the lawns, and into the basements of the houses.

Eventually my daughter, who’d had the foresight to bring her Hunter boots, donned them and picked up her girlfriend on her back and waded through the flood to her friend’s van. They drove slowly through the flood to our house to spend the night.

It wasn’t until I was home that I learned of the magnitude of the flooding. This is the worst flooding in Detroit in recent history…there was a few hundredth of an inch more of rain in one day than in 1925, but the modern freeway system impedes the re-adsorption of the rain to a large enough extent to make this flooding far worse. I got a text from my boss that, just an hour after leaving the office, the first floor of our office flooded and I should work from home today. And so I did.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the blessings of a great work-family that steps up to unusual challenges.

Children and Neverland

By day four of basketball nationals, I was ready to go home. I’d managed only one, short, run and that after a lot of falderal. My daughter’s team had won the first game in the first two days and followed that with losses. The third day, they lost both games. They were set up to play in the actual playoffs in one of the first games at 9 a.m. this morning. I was happy about that as it meant that we could probably head home early. I didn’t mean to jinx things, I was just being realistic.

As it turned out, they played a really aggressive team and ended up tied. Overtime was a tight 2-minutes of very suspenseful playing and my daughter’s team lost by a single point in the last few seconds. I was sorry that the girls lost, but felt very good about how well they’d played. I couldn’t help but secretly relax given that my daughter was now done with summer softball and also, finally, done with basketball. I tried not to think of the fact that her high school sports career would be ramping up imminently.

With a small break and time to think while driving home, I dreamt of time that I could spend independently. I’m a mom. I’m a single mom…free time is an oxymoron. I have none. Still…what might this mean to me. What it ultimately meant to me was driving up to the state college with my son where he’s had an apartment for the last year. So, as I drove home, I knew that not only this Saturday was spoken for by my younger daughter, but that Sunday was spoken for by my son. Then, back to work on Monday.

Every stage of life is transitory. What does that mean for the relationships we have with our kids? I’m in a weird place with my son, where he is now a boomerang kid without the college degree. We’ve agreed that he’ll take a semester off and work, so that he can save up money for school and take care of some personal business at home before venturing off to a more independent life once again. This is not perfect and I get flack from some for not taking a harder line, but I know my kid. I know he needs a few months under my wing to heal, to get to a steady place in his life, and to plan for the future.

My older daughter, by dint of personality and circumstances has become very independent before she’s really ready to want that. She told me recently that she hadn’t wanted to turn 18. Well, she had almost a semester of college, living far from home, before hitting that milestone. I know she doesn’t want to shoulder the mantle of adulthood so soon, but on the other hand, she’s handling it with grit, determination, and a whole lot more grace than I did at that age.

My younger daughter has also taken on a more Peter Pan view of the world since her older siblings left for college. She used to want to do everything that they were doing even though they were five and seven years ahead of her in school. Now, she is happy to live in the moment, to finish middle school and head to high school. She wants those four years of high school to be her life, in the here and now…college and independent living are off on the horizon, so far away that it is a distraction to even think about it now.

So, I have a few more years…maybe eight or ten given the age of my youngest, to be a major presence in my children’s lives. I will relish that even as I try to spread my wings a bit wider and try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Find the Joy in the Journey…it is happening in the here and now.



Running the Trails–Or At Least Trying To!

After my daughter and I finally made it to the AYBT Basketball Nationals, we had to wait an additional 24 hours for the first game. Last night her team played and won at 7 p.m. and then lost their 9 p.m. game. With a whole day off until the second evening’s games, I planned to fit in a run, but I never got to it. I didn’t want to run on the treadmill, and it looked on the map like there were trails that came pretty close to the hotel. I asked at the front desk and learned that I’d have to drive to a nearby trailhead. Meanwhile, some of the girls and moms wanted to go shopping. I’m not much of a shopper, but I looked forward to the company.

Between meals, shopping, and quite a bit of reading, I never got in a run and suddenly it was time for the games; another win followed by a loss. So, this morning I took a different tact. As soon as I got up, I put on my running clothes. I went to the lobby for the breakfast buffet and felt a bit odd about the way I was dressed…but then at least I was wearing clothes…some people actually eat their breakfast in their pajamas…in public! Of course, when I ran into other parents, I would mention that I was going on a run on the nearby trails. This forced me to actually follow through.

I got into the car with a good idea of where I was going only to find that I was off in the wrong direction. I’m pretty good at reading maps and getting oriented, but I had misread the map. In my defense, it was a rather sketchy map, with only the main streets showing. Eventually, I plugged the name of the trailhead into my map app, but it couldn’t find it so I tried the closest major intersection. Finally, I found my way.

At the trail head, my plan was to lock my keys in my new car and memorize the external keypad to get back  in. I sat there memorizing and decided I needed a back-up plan, so I wrote the code on my hand. That didn’t seem good enough, maybe I’d sweat it off, so I opened up my iPod Touch Notes app and put it in there too. Now I was ready. I got out of the car and locked the door. I tried the keypad and sure enough it worked. Next I put my purse in the car and re-locked it and took a step away. Suddenly I wondered if I could still unlock the car simply by touching the driver door handle. Turns out that I could. So, this great feature, especially great for athletes who don’t want to run or swim with car keys, was no good on a car with push-button start.

I got my keys out of my purse and re-locked the car. Looking around, I couldn’t figure out which way to go, so I looked at the map posted at the trail head. This map, too, seemed to make little sense and seemed to indicate a direction that had me crossing a busy road with no marked intersection. In the end, I just explored and ran down the paved path. It only went about a hundred yards before it took me through a gate and made a hairpin turn on to a gravel track. I followed the gravel, and about a half-mile in, found myself at a maintenance barn and a gravel parking lot. The trail itself became dirt and grass. I kept going, but soon the track turned into a rutted mess and I was concerned about turning an ankle. I turned around and ran back to the car. I figure I ran about two miles. It didn’t seem worth it.

Sometimes, you just have to go through all the obstacles and still not achieve your immediate goal. Even so, I learned a few things and I did get some exercise.

Find the Joy in the Journey…even when it is circuitous and seems pointless!




Braces Off!

There’s little more exciting in a teen’s life than getting their braces removed, or as the orthodontist calls it, debanding. My younger daughter’s appointment was at 7:30 this morning and originally I planned to take her before work. Then I learned that we have to be in Indiana tonight by 6:30 so that her team can register for the AYBT Nationals. That meant leaving work around 3 p.m. Suddenly my workday had contracted to just five hours, so I decided to take another vacation day. Four days off for a basketball championship…the things we do for our kids!

It turned out to be a good thing that I took the day off because we were up early and busy until late at night. First things first, we headed for the orthodontist. Originally, the orthodontist’s office was only a few miles from home. Due to the multiple polar vortices this past winter, the office suffered structural damage that meant that every time it rained, the office flooded. Fortunately, the office was part of a network of orthodontists and an alternative location was secured. Unfortunately, this was 20 miles away and the highway between here and there  has been shut down for resurfacing.

The debanding, molding of her mouth, and creation of her retainers went smoothly. Soon I was gazing upon my lovely daughter and her newly dazzling smile.  After making a follow-up appointment, we headed for a car wash. I’d thrown the floor mats into the washer a few days prior, then let them air-dry. They came out like new. Now it was time to clean up the rest of the car to turn it in and pick up my new car. I’m having some buyers remorse, but it’s too late to change. I love my little, stick-shift car with manual locks and windows, but wanted a bigger car for the inevitable carpool for high school.

At the garage, I realized that just the night before I’d let my older daughter drive my car and she had not given me the key back. Dang. I had to go home for it. Upon return, I was told I shouldn’t have bothered…my key was only a $5 roadblock. I got my new car and it is replete with features, including push-button start. Now those key fobs are probably worth $100!

I contemplated going for a run, but I had too much to do before we left, including packing. We barely managed to get out on the road by 3:10. We got to Fort Wayne just in time. We checked into our hotel and then drove over to the Spiece Fieldhouse to check in. The truly frustrating thing was that the girls’ first game wasn’t until 7 p.m. the next night! Another vacation day wasted.

With the unusual prospect of free time stretching ahead of me, I reveled in having time to read. Time to read?  Priceless!  First on my list was The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. I tore through it and loved it. It is a dystopian novel, but unlike my recent dystopian reads, this was an adult novel versus a young adult novel. Next up, I started What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m enjoying it and looking forward to another non-fiction book, The Arsenal of Democracy by A. J. Baime about Detroit’s role in the outcome of WWII.

I find myself in a world where I can’t figure out a daily or even weekly balance…but maybe over all, it’s all copacetic! These days, I strive for a balanced life but settle for the big picture…Some weeks I run. Others, I read. Others, I write. At the end of the day, I just try to smile! Perhaps it is time to find a way, whether putting in new life braces or taking off old ones, of getting a better balance in my life day to day.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Time to come up with a better plan!