Monday, September 24, 2012

Taking the Bad With the Good

When I first started this blog, I aspired to be widely-read and have millions of hits every month. I imagined getting sponsors and book deals and I'd never have to worry about money. My problem was coming up with fresh ideas every day, to keep people hungry and coming back for more! I can barely come up with an idea for a post once a month these days and even then, they garner no interest. I've long accepted that I'm not fame-worthy, and that's alright.  In my little part of the world, my children view me as the World's Greatest, Most Beautiful and Bestest Mom Ever! And my husband tells me I am The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, I am sexy and hot and the way he tells it, I've stepped right out of the pages of Playboy! And the chickens, they flock to me all happy and bow down at my feet every single day, without fail. OK, so they're pecking at the bread I've tossed, but it's my world, so let me be!

My point is, I'm happy. I love my family, my home, my life, and I am not some crafting genius or a whiz at coming up with original ideas. I constantly glean inspiration from other people but rarely come up with an idea of my own.  I'm just not creative that way. So often I see something and smack my head and ask myself, "why didn't I think of that?!"  Andrew and I talk about needing to invent something people can't live without, and then we'd be set for the rest of our lives, like whoever came up with the toilet brush? It's found in nearly every bathroom! And how about the guy that came up with Beanie Babies? Holy cow, that guy must be lying on a beach somewhere, sipping margaritas, calling to the help, "How much did I make today?"

My life might be normal, same thing day in and day out, pretty mundane, really. Boring, even. But there is stuff that happens here that shakes our life up and makes it fun. Nothing wild and crazy, but just enough to jiggle things around and make us laugh, drive us crazy, cause sleepless nights. Leaky roofs can drive one crazy. Cause us sleepless nights wondering how much it will cost to fix and if we can afford it. But at least we have a roof, right? So what if we have buckets and bowls and trashcans to catch the rain all over the attic floor, it's a lot more than some people have, and for that, I am grateful and thankful and I still can laugh at the sight of all those containers, looking very much like a scene out of those old cartoons I used to watch as a kid.

To shake things up a little bit and add some excitement to our lives, we decided to go to the county fair with the kids.  Not our little one, but a bigger one with more rides and a circus and lots more animals and events than our small town has.  We haven't gone anywhere this summer, just once to the little beach on the lake not too far from us, and so we felt like the kids deserved some fun. They have been hearing about friends going to amusement parks and vacations at the beach and camping trips, and we felt kind of bad that we couldn't afford any of that, yet we aren't apologetic about it, because there are times in one's life where you just can't do any of those things.  But the county fair, we could swing that.

We gathered up the kids, told them we were going to buy tickets and let them go on the rides all night long!  How excited they were!  Cheers went up! Yay for Daddy and Mama!!  We were cool.  We were awesome! We were the BEST PARENTS EVER! And it was great!  Lots of fun!  I took pictures of them on the rides and we saw the animals and exhibits. They went crazy over the long, tall slide and climbed what must have been hundreds of steps all the way to the top, just to slide down what took only seconds to get to the bottom, yet bounce up, that wild giddy look in their eyes and say, "Let's do that again!" Then the circus started and we watched a small family do amazing tricks with dogs, trampoline jumping, juggling, clown acts and a crazy round and round dare-devil act. It was fun!

Then 5 o'clock came and all of a sudden, the four wristbands the kids wore, that let them have unlimited access to the rides, the ones we paid a hard-earned $60 for, were no good. Imagine a giant buzzer sounding. Imagine all the rides and lights and music slowly grinding to a halt and the laughter and smiles quickly turning to tears and frowns and disappointment. It's safe to say that I was just as disappointed. Stupid, cheating, no-good fair! Those wristbands were only good until 5, then one had to buy new ones for an extra $3 each for a grand total of $72 for four tickets, just to continue riding until closing time. Not even a sign to caution people buying tickets before 5 o'clock. Stupid, cheating, no-good fair!

I can't look at the fair pictures without feeling that same disappointment we felt when we were not allowed to go on any more rides. Andrew and I tried to cheer the kids up, tell them we could still see the animals and the other exhibits we hadn't seen yet, but it was no good.  The thrill was gone. Feet were heavy and it took such effort to get them to the barns and even the sight of baby pigs didn't elicit any "aws" from the kids. Kettle corn didn't taste as good. It got hot and dusty and sticky. The kids complained they were tired and wanted to go home. And so we did. It was a grumpy ride home. The kids fought, we yelled. It was not the tired-but-happy-falling-asleep trip home I thought it would be. Stupid fair.

Here's the only picture I took at the fair after 5 o'clock:

Don't let that smile deceive you, believe me, it was a struggle to get them to pose for me. Right next to it, you can just see part of it, is a fake cow-milking display, where you can see what it's sort of like to milk a cow! I was pretty excited about it, but no one wanted to do it. I got Gretchen to give it a squeeze, but it was poor attempt, mostly just to appease me. Shortly after this, we left.

I share this because I want to remember this day. Even though it ended poorly, it was such a good day. I need to remind myself that I shouldn't dwell on the disappointments, but look at the fun bits! It was fun!  We were having a ball! They got to go on about 15 different rides, and see a circus, and just have fun together.  And they were awesome together-- watching out for each other and making sure Peter was right there with them. They held hands and sat together on the rides and encouraged one another when one of them was a little too scared. Those are the moments I need to remember. There are good and bad parts to each day, the trick is to focus on the good parts.

So what did I learn from this? For one thing, the next time we go to any sort of place that has rides, we're definitely asking if there's a time limit on those tickets we're about to pay for. But mostly, that even when we're feeling sad or disappointed, we still have each other, we still love each other and tomorrow is a brand new day.


Rose said...

I just found your blog and loved reading about your family! Ya'll were great neighbors and we were just getting to know each other. I treasure those times we spent together.

Peg said...

Hi Jenny:

Thought it was about time to comment, and especially after this post. If you know only one thing, know this: you really are a good writer. I was right there at that fair with you every step of the way, and you broke my heart at the stroke of 5 o'clock (or should I say the fair did, but you get my point). I love reading your blog because you are a loving family who are devoted to one another. I am cheering so hard for 516 Antiques because it makes you happy and seems to be doing so well and I wish I lived closer to I could browse in person. Your stock is terrific. Last but not least, you are a great role model for me: someone who has her priorities straight, who knows the value of a dollar and makes the most of it -- you use it, it does not own you -- and a loving wife and mother. And the animals! And the crafting you do! And the cooking! I have only commented once before and that was to thank you for your relish recipe and instructions for freezing corn. :)

So... thanks, Jenny, for all of that. I hope your family has a beautiful autumn season and I look forward to your sharing it with us.

Cheyenne said...

Wow, I never heard of anything so stupid and silly. I've been to many fairs in my time and never have any done such a thing as that. That is low-down and cruel. I would boycott them.

But, yes, you must remember the good part of that day and in time so will the kids and they will look back on it and remember and laugh at how much fun they had.

jenny said...

Rose!! Welcome!! I think of you and your family often and yes, I treasure the short time we had together as well. Who knows what we would have cooked up together if we were still neighbors?!? :o)

jenny said...

Peg-- *sniff sniff* you're making me cry! Thank you for your sweet words, they mean a lot to me. For all my gripes and foot stompings about life and what ever else I complain about, deep down I know what is important-- family. I know that I'm just one person but I have a small group of people that depend on me and if I fall apart, who is going to take care of them? So I keep going, take the bad with the good, appreciate the good, welcome the good, and learn from the bad. What else can I do? If my children can learn anything from me, I hope it's resiliancy (did I spell that right?). I hope they don't let life hold them down and they keep going.

Thanks for leaving a lovely comment and I hope you continue to stick around-- I might not post as often as I used to, but I'm still here! :o)

jenny said...

Cheyenne-- Wasn't that just terrible what they did?? I looked them up online after the fair and right there, in black and white, they have a rides schedule that goes something like 2-5 $15; 5 to closing $18. But no sign at all at the ticket booth!! We got there maybe 3 ish, and if I had known about the time limit, I would have waited until 5 to buy tickets. Go look at animals and exhibits until 5. Oh well, live and learn.