So let the sunshine in, face it with a grin

The past few days have been grueling.  The twins are finishing their freshman year of high school through a virtual academy and all their assignments had to be turned in by Friday at midnight.  (Hello, overdue Research Report and math unit featuring polynomials, whom I haven’t really seen since high school.)  But, oh wait, I work, too!  On Thursday, I worked eleven hours and on Friday, I worked nine, ending my shift at 9 p.m.  We did math before I worked and after, ending the day with a long session of rewriting research reports.
The good news is that we are only three finals away from freedom.  And next year, we are going to be independent homeschoolers, no longer affiliated with the virtual academy we’ve used for the past four years.

My ten year old is done with school.

My five year old can’t wait until school starts.  Kindergarten beckons.

This morning, we slept in, as much as is possible with a five year old who is eager to greet each day.  She didn’t start bugging us until 8:00 a.m., however, and we managed to stay semi-conscious until 9:30 a.m.  I promised to take her garage sale-ing today and my husband joined us–the 5-year old, 10-year old and me.  (One teenager was still sleeping and the other had spent the night at a friend’s house and was not home yet.)

We only hit two garage sales due to our late start.  At the first, my son found a 23 year old Nintendo system, complete with four games.  The woman guaranteed him that it would work and gave him a price break:  only $5.  The woman and man had lovely lilting accents–I thought Scottish, maybe, but when the man gave me change, he commented that the money was so different here, all the same size and color–and I said, “Oh, have you recently moved?” and he said, “No, I’m here on holiday visiting my daughter.  She’s moving to California.”  Meanwhile, he is counting out dollars and I’m studying him and notice tuffs of hair in his ears and cat hair woven into his navy blue cardigan sweater.

At the next garage sale, my daughter looked through several dozen stuffed animals.  The woman at that sale pointed out a puppy in the “free” box with a broken leg, but she explained that it would flip over if you turned on the switch.  And then she pulled out an identical puppy, only without broken legs, a well-worn puppy with matted fur and a bald spot near its tail.  She extolled its virtues, told us that this puppy would walk and flip over.  She demonstrated this, but with the switch turned on, the puppy merely clicked and shimmied.

“Oh, weak batteries,” she said.  “But you can buy batteries at the Dollar Store.”

My daughter was sold.  I was skeptical.  This puppy was $2.00, which is a fortune in garage sale terms.  I said, “Would you take a dollar?”  And she said, “Well . . . it’s not overpriced.  It’s a really nice toy.  But, well . . . ”  And I said, “How about a dollar fifty?”

Which was about a dollar forty-five more than it was worth.  However, my daughter wanted it.  And I am a push-over.

At home, I put in new batteries and the puppy did nothing more than it did on that woman’s driveway.  It clicked and swayed, but did not walk nor flip.  I checked the bottom of that puppy and noted its date:  1985.

So, today, we bought toys from 1985:  Nintendo and a worn-out battery-operated puppy.  The Nintendo actually worked, however.  My son couldn’t wait to play the original Zelda game.

Later in the day, my husband took our son to a baseball end-of-the-year pizza party and I took our daughter to the pool where I finished reading The Same Sweet Girls.   I loved that book!  I have already passed it along to a friend who showed up at the pool.  My daughter swam for three hours, pausing long enough to eat a bag of M&Ms.

Tomorrow’s Father’s Day.  I have failed to prepare anything spectacular for Father’s Day.  I exhausted my efforts and creativity at Valentine’s Day (I bought him an iPhone) and managed only to purchase a box of Hot Tamales candies for him.  We’re going to spend the afternoon at the pool.  The sun is forecasted to shine and so we here in the Pacific Northwest canNOT believe our good fortune after several weeks of cold rain.

Of course, it will only be seventy degrees, so I’ll still be wearing a sweater at the pool, but it will be love nonetheless.

(Oh, and I filled the van with gas:  17 gallons, $73.  This is insanity.)

10 thoughts on “So let the sunshine in, face it with a grin

  1. I deal with the gas prices by not looking. I have a budget, and I never go over it. I also have been stuck at home with my kids getting sick one after the other. Anyway, I usually go to the pool for the day, and that’s it. I dread the day when I have to adjust the budget to accommodate the gas prices.


  2. Hi, have never commented before – I love your blog and admire your good-humour and endless patience with something close to hero-worship – but in the UK we’d pay over $170 for 17 gallons of car petrol – we’ve been on the £5 gallon for a month or more now, and it’s still going up! Read and weep for us!


  3. Your friend thanks you for the book, and is looking forward to being awake enough to read it! Your daughter graced us with her presence at the pool today, and she has become my right-hand-woman with the baby. She told another child in the pool, “I’m five and a half, and I know ALL about babies.” She’s a great little girl, Mel.


  4. Ah, garage sales. My boys used to come home with mega junk when someone in the ‘hood was having one. It was amazing because they have expensive taste like their mother.

    OK hold on to your socks because I know gas will be $7 by the time I start nursing school 9/22. Thank goodness half the class comes from the same area as I do. It was warmer than 70 yesterday.


  5. Garage sales are a rite of Summer. Your post is so true: some things are bargains, some are junk. I enjoy sales in my ‘hood because we can often find old furniture that works in our old house. Such fun!


  6. Ah, the price of fuel. We just paid $110 to fill up our family vehicle, and $135 to fill up my husband’s work vehicle. And the price is down $.10/ltr in the past week or so.


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