Monday, January 5, 2009

Looking Forward to 2009

Just like a lot of people, I'm happy to see 2008 go and anticipate 2009 to be a much better year. For me, school papers and demands just sucked up all my free time. Or if I pretended to have free time to do fun stuff, my mind was still occupied by the stuff I had to do or deadline coming up. Spoils the level of fun, you know? And then there's all the money I used to have that somehow vaporized into thin air. I better not think on it or I'll find my hair leaving my head in large tufts. On to more happy thoughts...
Even though I am loving this sense of freedom without school demands, my mind keeps coming up with crazy things to do that will bring my overall stress levels to just below my nose. Why is it that I always do that to myself? I was thinking of house hunting for a bigger house in a lovely neighborhood, near a creek (so T could explore at will). But it would be a huge chunk of money, a new loan and 30 more years of payments. Silly. Especially since the home I have now is big enough for T and I and we still have an extra bedroom for any guest that might pop by. Plus, with more money going to mortgage and taxes, I'll probably have to work full time and worry if I'll make the payments for a while. As difficult as this is...I need to reign myself in. After much thinking, I've decided to NOT move and rather work on the little home I have. I'll try to make it the model home I dream of--chose paint colors and accessories that make me happy. And fix all those little things I've overlooked the last 10 years. Then, once it's finished I'll be quite proud to show it off to anyone who visits AND if that perfect bigger house lands in my lap....I'll be ready to sell!
So that's the plan on the home front. I haven't called my old contractor yet. BIG projects can wait. Although I got sucked in to having a free home evaluation on energy conservation and this new kind of insulation. It was quite persuasive in the infomercial! They'll come in 2 weeks and if it looks good, I'm having it installed. This house was never insulated until I got here. So now the attic is pink and fluffy but the walls and crawl space have nothing. And I'm considering solar power installation too. My gas and electric bills are giving ME gas...and indigestion. Tooooo high!
One thing high on my list is to update and beautify my fireplace. I like the original mantle, but the tile around it and in front of it is plain and sort of cheap looking. It's original from 1948,when the house was built, but I think it could be improved upon. This will take a bit of research but I'm sure I'll find the right materials. Then I need to repair some hardwood flooring that was damaged by the hot water heater in the hallway. I have since had the heater moved to the garage and now that closet space houses my vacuum, but the damaged floor remains. And it bugs me.
And I gotta paint. But I hate painting. Well, I don't hate the painting. I just don't like the preparation before and the cleaning up after. The actual painting I quite like.
And new shutters for the front of my house. The old ones look, well, old. And they're only 5 years old. But the sun is hard on them and they are weathered and need of attention. The shutters are very labor intensive with the sanding of each louver--so I'm going to look for something easier to keep up. But still keep them a lovely, shiny dark green color. To match the front door.
And I think I'll put more effort into dating. Ewww. It just give me goose bumps to think about it. Having never been married and being, well, old--er. I have done more dating than anyone ought to. But I can count on one hand the dates I've had since I had T. I've not really "put myself out there" so maybe I'll be more adventurous and see what turns up.
This year, I will be taking the third of my four nieces/nephews out on their trip of choice. I made a promise to each of them, that when they turn 13 years old, they could choose anywhere in the world they wanted to go and I would take them there for a 7-10 day trip. The first nephew chose Orlando, Florida (to see Universal Studios) and then I added a 4 day trip to Paradise Island in the Bahamas. I had to add it to get SOME sense of adventure and perhaps a little culture. It was a great trip, even though it felt like I was dragging a bag of rocks around with me. He had no sense of adventure, and just wanted to hang around in the hotel room and watch Nickelodeon TV. What a waste. It could have so much more. But, for him, it was a great trip.
The second one (my niece) couldn't chose between NY city and Paris, France. So I suggested we spend 3 days in NYC on our way to Paris! She went for it. We did lots of bicycle tours in NYC and Paris. Plus all the tourist spots and fancy hotels and great food and museums. She was an excellent travel companion. This next one seems to be leaving it up to me. All she has said it that she would like to go where the ocean is warm. None of these kids had ever been on a plane, let alone ever outside of their home state, so getting on a jet is as new and exciting as the destination. I'm thinking about Costa Rica, but haven't totally made up my mind. Half of the choosing part is having them do research on our Earth's globe and figure out where they are and where they want to explore. And then anticipating the trip. I'll nudge her a little more to consider different places and we'll see what she comes up with. T has stayed home with my parents for the last 2 trips. He was young enough that the trip would have turned to focus onT rather than my nephew/niece, so he could not come. Depending on the destination, I may opt to take him along this time. If he doesn't go, I vow to take him on annual trips to adventurous destinations that we chose together. I love to travel and don't need much of an excuse to pack up and go.
After this year's trip, the last one to turn 13 won't be until 2013, so I'll have some time to make up my own destinations between now and then. I know I'll be going to Holland in 2010, but I think I'll add another country while I'm there. I've never seen any of Scandinavia, England, Ireland or Scotland--and all are pretty close to Holland. But then I'll have less time to spend in Holland with my family and friends there. We'll see how that one works itself out.
This Thursday, T and I are going to Disneyland! I've only been twice and the last time was 1993 so it will be exciting. We are meeting 2 other families that used the same donor I did to create their families. So T will be spending time with some of his extended family that he has yet to know. He's understanding more of what family is and how they are different or similar. It will be interesting to see what he thinks after meeting more siblings--another 5 year old boy and a 4 year old girl. They are actually half siblings of T's, but I don't like that description. I'd rather call them siblings. He knows E and J, twin girls who are 5 months younger than T and live just 45 minutes drive from us. They call each other brother and sister and we see them about every 3-4 months for the past (almost) 4 years. He had met 7 of his siblings in 2006 but he was too young to process any of this stuff. He knows he has a donor but sometimes seems frustrated that he can't meet him. I don't really have the perfect thing to say to that so I stay vague and tell him that if his donor knew where we were and how wonderful you are, he would come for a visit and say hello. He says, that would be great and then it's on to playing a game of Uno or drawing pictures together. He'd not overly interested. Maybe that's the way it will be. I'll just take it as it comes, and be honest with him. Anyway, I can't wait to post about the adventures waiting for us in Anaheim!

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