Sunday, December 08, 2013

My top ten list - 2013

I read a blog post about the frequent top n lists out and about and how they are there to help promote different things - books, movies, songs, etc. And how that leads to temptation to buy more things.

I've been spending a lot of time while restructuring my finances and getting back on my feet enjoying simpler things that don't involve spending a lot of money.  When I look back at my year, I can come up with a top ten list (probably longer if I thought about it harder)... but there wouldn't be a single movie, tv show, song or book on the list.

In no particular order, my top ten favorite moments from this year.

1. My last parent teachers conference where I learned that my 10 yr old son has gone from being two years behind his classmates in reading to within months of being on track over the past year and a half. I am so proud of all the hard work he's put forth to catch up.

2. An overheard conversation of my future daughter-in-law's son discussing how important it is to have a dad in your life. His own birth father is barely involved in his life... but my son is working hard at being a good father and wants to adopt him after they get married. "You need your dad in your life... he's the guy to make sure you get set on the right path and learn right from wrong. A dad can help you learn how to be a better man." It still brings tears to my eyes, that my eldest son was able to inspire knowledge like this into a six year old little boy.

3. Another sign my adult son is truly an adult. "Mom, you just don't get to take enough time to yourself... it's my new mission to make sure you get out more and enjoy yourself."

4. Family game nights... we haven't had them for a while and are over due... but playing board and/or card games with two twenty-somethings, a six year old and a ten year old does have it's challenges - with little boys who want to learn how to trash talk, but haven't figured out where the appropriate line to draw is, and learning how to lose graciously... but I cherish a few hours in everyone's company... my son will whip up dinner, and is willing to try new recipes that we can all enjoy.

5. Listening in the night at the quiet in the house - the dog is asleep pressing into the side of my legs... the cat is asleep near the corner of the bed - close enough to know if I get up... but not too close - no one would accuse her of being a smothering cat... my son asleep in the room beside mine... his hamster beating out a rat-a-tat-tat with his wheel... he's running so fast in the wheel you can't see his legs and the base of his wheel is rattling around in the aquarium. We are all where we should be, we are all safe, sound and comfortable.

6. Listening to the hustle and bustle that is my house during the day. I've got a tv on and watching something... little one is usually watching tv AND watching youtube videos at the same time... the dog might be barking at the cat... the dishwasher and/or clothes washer running in the background. Someone or something is darting around my feet. It's noisy and hectic and I wouldn't have it any other way.

7. Utter joy from finishing a knitting project, something that fits just right, or looks just right, or is well-loved. There have been many projects this year... some of my favorites were my Green/Tan tank I made for me with cotton/linen blend yarn. .. dozens upon dozens of charity hats... Pikachu, Azumarill, and the Mandrake Root Plant. There were others... so much knitting, so much fun... but I think those were some of my favorites.

8. Getting my son's bedroom sorted out. He had a huge mess (almost always does) in his room and the dog had taken to stashing goodies under the toys... and the dog had accidents in the bedroom whenever I was sleeping and she thought she could get away with it. My son ended up sleeping on the couch for about three months while I tore everything out of his room (including a smelly mattress)... repeatedly cleaning the carpet and trying new methods to deoderize (the final fix was sparying vinegar water over the carpet - but that was after multiple shampoos and using pet odor removers... and a final shampoo after the vinegar water treatment)... shuffling the furniture to make it more useful and replacing his old bed frame with bunk beds. He's now got not just a useable bedroom - but he's finding it easier to keep it clean now (woot! woot!)

9. Playing an online role-playing game - HPKCHC (Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup)... it's bizarre and nerdy and combines Harry Potter with real-life knitting/crochet challenges and I love it. I just realized I have now played for four years (OMG! Time does fly). And this year, like many of them, has been AMAZING. I have made a lot of good friends in the cup, and even got to spend part of a weekend at a knitting retreat with one of them. With the cup, there's anticipation and excitement and challenges that I don't find in real life.

10. My transfer at work - makes all the difference in the world. It's still work - but I feel like I'm a true contributor... I'm finding challenges at work, but it's not overwhelming. I'm deliberately moving in slowly so as to keep my stress levels down and all my coworkers are fine with that. I can get my work done without stressing, I can help them and fill a void that kept the team from being efficient. It's rewarding to be able to do a job well and get compensated appropriately for it. With the transfer came a raise - and it should be enough that not only will I be completely debt free, but I should be able to consider not just retiring, but perhaps also being able to buy a home again some day. Maybe not in the next couple of years... but hopefully really soon. I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on the financial side of my house AND I'm working for a good team that makes work days go just a little faster.

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