Spring Break Day Four: Grey Bay Day

Due to some heavy surf advisory we had to change our plans from “beach day” to “bay day”. We took a walk in the morning to go look at the beach and it was scary. Huge waves and lots of brown back wash. Not somewhere two little castle making kids want to go. But have no fear, there is always some other place near. We headed over to the peninsula and played in the bay water instead.

The whole concept of a “bay” or a harbor boggled Rapunzel. “Is this a lake?” she asked, looking puzzled at the water that barely lapped onto the sandy shore. “Where are the waves!!?”

“No,” I explained. “It’s part of the ocean. It’s just blocked by a big strip of land. It’s sort of like the ocean slipped into the land.” Then later I heard her repeat my exact words, down to the “slipped” part, to a local boy who probably plays in the bay water every day. Kids are so funny that way. You really have to think about what you tell them because they listen!

The bay was fun. There was a playground there and Rapunzel really liked playing with all the neighborhood kids. She’d been sort of giving me small guilt trips whenever we went on walks and she saw neighborhood kids riding by us on their bikes. She wanted to go play with kids her age but I wouldn’t let her just go out and make new friends all by herself. Even though we live in a super safe neighborhood, it’s still a little too much big city for a kid from the sticks to roam wherever they please.

Of course Baby Bug liked the bay too. What’s not to like? Other kids to watch, sand to eat and water to just walk right out into and give your mom a heart attack over. That kid has no fear. If I let her, I think she would just walk right out into the middle of the harbor and drown herself. I hate this because drowning is probably my greatest fear. It happens silently. You could look away for a moment and the next thing you know, your kid is floating face down in the water. I have nightmares about this all the time. I really wanted to let Baby Bug play freely with the other kids but I couldn’t. My heart was in my throat the whole time.

I just know Baby Bug is going to grow up and be one of those surf rats who goes tumbling around in the surf like it’s second nature and I’m going to be one of those mothers who bites her nails down to the quick and goes gray worrying about her. I will never get over my fear of the surf, even though I love the ocean and would never want to live anywhere else. The ocean is just too big and awesome, it could snuff out a life in an instant.

Enough doom and gloom! You probably want to hear about how I wrecked my car instead! That would be interesting, right? I didn’t really wreck it but it feels like it. I love my car. It’s new(ish) and red and shiny and fast and sporty and way too small and cool for an old haggard mom like me. I didn’t want it ever to get a nick or a ding or a scrape or a whack. It’s my special car.

Well…I was having a rough day. Rapunzel was rattling on a mile a minute like she always does and begging me to play the same old dumb song on my cd player over and over and over again until my head pounded and my eyes hurt and I just wanted to pull over and bang my head against the steering wheel until the world stopped and let me rest for a minute. Baby Bug was crying and carrying on. Snot has been running down her nose (she has a cold) and her rash is so red and inflamed it’s just making me sick over it. All she wants is her pacifier that I keep trying to take away from her because it’s just making all the redness worse. I need to go buy some new pacifiers with bigger breathing holes but I haven’t had a chance with all of our spring break activities. I could go on and on… excuses, excuses…just another day in the life of a mother, right?

With all this in my head, I’m driving down my alley to park in my regular parking spot. There is an old man in a black car coming down the other way towards me. As usual it’s a game of wills to see who will back up and let the other pass since the alley is narrow and there is not enough room to fit two. However, the old man has two choices. He could turn left and go down alley and come around the block to get where he wants to go or he could go the way I am blocking.

Of course the old man wants me to back up. Being the polite citizen I am, I back up. But that’s not good enough. He wants me to back up further and he starts shaking his fist at me. This flusters me and like an idiot I back up further without looking. Crunch! I back right into a cement pillar behind me. The man whizzes by me and the kids yammer and cry like nothing ever happened. I just want cry.

I want to say it was just one of those days. But that wouldn’t be right. It was a beautiful fun day at the bay and this is just one of those things that happens. When I got upstairs (and after I grounded Rapunzel to the couch because no, she could not have some more ice cream for the fifty-ninth time) I pulled out my calendar and counted the days. Yep. One, two, three…. twenty three, twenty-four and I’m right smack dab in the middle of P.M.S! I should have known. I don’t handle stress very well on these sorts of days. Poor Rapunzel, I was just about to have her pack up and ship her back home. Thankfully after counting the days and a brief cool down, I realized a lot of this tensions and stress was my own doing. I shouldn’t punish a precocious and very normal eight-year-old just because I can’t keep my cool. I took a moment to explain why “Auntie is so grumpy” and she said it was okay. I love that about her. She always forgives me.

* * *

In other news, we had the best day today (Spring Break Day 5). We went to the flower fields in Carlsbad. I’d post a post but I have too many pictures to show you. It would just kill my server’s bandwidth to put them all up along with today’s post. I know, nobody reads over the weekend but if you do go online, click over here. It’s going to be worth it. I promise!

The Pesky Post Part 1

The Pesky Post is refusing to organize itself into a cohesive blog unit. So I’m just going to slog through it bullet point by bullet point and hope by the end of a bunch of typing, I reach some sort resolution and point.

  • Financial Worry

    We did our taxes. (Late for 2005 and early for 2006. That kind of gives you a little insight into our bookkeeping skills right there.) There was good news and bad news. The good news is I sold a bunch of illustrations and made more money than Toby expected. Yay me! The bad news is I didn’t save any of that money to give to the government. Boo me! I thought I was okay because Toby said he’d cover me. But he said that before he knew I was going to make that much. Somehow we didn’t communicate. Double Boo. So Toby had to take all the money he saved all year to put into our house fund (that is three years out) and pay the government instead. This is very very sad and I feel awful about it.

    This called for a sit down between Toby and I and it didn’t go so well. There were tears. I had to admit to him that I’m not financially faithful. Meaning, I spend a lot of money on the side that I keep secret from him. I know! I’m terrible. Here’s how I justify it: Toby doesn’t understand the little things I need to buy. Guys just don’t. He doesn’t understand how a simple trip to Target to buy paper towels can turn into a $75 shopping trip. Notice I don’t say “spree” because a “spree” would be a whole other thing all together. A shopping trip would be: paper towels, zip lock bags, cat litter, a $7.99 seasonal t-shirt for Baby Bug that just jumped into my cart, a chocolate bar, a place mat for under my dish rack to catch all the dripping water and I don’t know… some stickers or something. Add all that up and it’s $75 somehow.

    Sometimes I even go to Old Navy and buy Baby Bug socks and pajamas and that ends up being $75 too. Then there are the online purchases, like cafepress shirts and mugs and gifts for friends and relatives. It seems like every week it’s somebody’s birthday. Before you know it I am easily spending $500-$1000 on things that Toby does not know about. What I’m not doing is putting it on my credit card. What I am doing is working at night and during Baby Bug’s naps so I can have a little bit of money in my business bank account that I lop over into our joint checking account to support my financial unfaithfulness and cover-up all the overdraft I am constantly going into.

    Unfortunately this has to stop. First off because I’m not saving for taxes and secondly because I lost one of my bread and butter clients. And thirdly, I want a house too!

  • Losing a good client

    This is a pesky post bullet point all in it self. I hate losing clients. Not because I miss the work but because it’s a personal rejection. I’m full of ego and it makes me sad when people don’t like me any more. Thankfully, this client is really nice and the break up was as kind as a break up can be. They even want me to still do small side projects for them that their new agency charges too much for. So it’s not a complete break up but it’s enough of one that I’m examining my behavior with them and second guessing my talent and business practices.

    Frankly, I’m just not as capable as I used to be pre-baby. I hate admitting that but it’s true. Four hours a week is just not enough time to support a client completely. However, I’m not ready to take any more time away from Baby Bug to be a better designer. It’s already hard enough leaving her for two hours twice a week. This is something I’m struggling with deeply.

    Toby wants me to give up working altogether but I’m not ready to give up all the side spending. I have a hard enough time making the grocery money he gives me cover all the groceries. I need to work. I need the money but I also need the sense of accomplishment and pride that doing a good job gives me. I love designing. I love making logos and graphics and having people exclaim happiness over my work. I’m just a glutton for praise. A lot of times I’ll do it for free just because I love the praise so much. I need to find a way to make my work pay better. Less work, more money or something like that. Which brings me to another bullet point.

  • This blog needs to work harder for me

    I’m selling ads, as you’ve noticed, but I’m not tracking them. I have no back-end software that tells me how many times they get clicked on. I need to set up something and keep my ad clients abreast of how well they are doing. I need to raise my rates. Thankfully my new favorite web friend, OMSH, is very savvy at web business and she’s sent me in some great directions to get this done. The part that is bugging me is that I feel overwhelmed with all the work I need to do and how little time I have to do it. I’d rather just make somebody a blog banner.

  • Free Blog Banners

    Since I love making graphics so much and I love making graphics for free (for people who really really appreciate them and hardly ever criticize), I want to start giving away a free web graphic a month. How fun will that be? I could have a little side bar linking the new free graphic and send that blog a bunch of traffic. Fun for me, fun for them. I think it’s a good idea. Of course this doesn’t get any “work” done or make me any money but it could be good for traffic and therefore good for advertising and in the long run good for me. I don’t know, it’s something I’m simmering on.

  • What else?

    I’m bugged about a bunch of parenting things. But I think I’ll save them for a Pesky Post Part 2. I don’t think I’ve come to any resolution or point but I feel better sharing some of my worries with you. Now those worries can sprout wings and leave my cluttered head. Out! Out! This brain needs more room to worry about other things.