Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Facts

The fact is, Robert got three hours of sleep last night. Actually, that's just a guess because I didn't exactly remember the time he came to bed, but I turned in around 11pm and it was later than that. When the dull green glow of his blackberry illuminated our bedroom, it was around 2am. He got up, got dressed, and went back downstairs to work.

Most nights Robert gets about four hours of sleep and every once in a while, six. You might think that six hours is a perfectly grand amount of sleep, and it would be. If you weren't already so behind on your sleep to begin with.

The fact is, if Robert gets six hours of sleep, that means he worked eighteen. If he's not sleeping, he's working. Oh, he takes five to ten minute breaks for meals, but sometimes, when he's home, I'll bring a plate of food in to him because he doesn't have enough time to stop working and come out and eat with us.

This is the schedule that he keeps seven days a week. Every day. And he's been doing it since at least May. And, as he lamented last night, there is no end in sight.

That isn't precisely true--things will hopefully end in another three to six weeks--but I have no doubt it feels like there is no end in sight. He said, "there are three ways I see this ending. One, the project ends. Two, I die from working so hard. Three, I quit. But I don't really see a reason to quit."

"Um," I interjected. "I think your imminent death is reason enough to quit."

"Well, sure." He replied. "I'd quit if I was going to die."

So this is his life.

Since May, I can count on one hand the number of days he hasn't worked.

He got half a day off when Jonah had surgery, which was nice. He slept over half the time, including during Jonah's recovery time. He climbed onto the hospital bed and snuggled up to Jonah and went to sleep.

Before that he got a Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. We went to a nearby lake and played and had a picnic.

In one week we have tickets to travel to Minnesota for a wedding. Robert checked with work and they said they thought he should be able to take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. However, there was no guarantee. Now, it looks like he won't be able to travel with us.

Finally, the fact is, since he's salaried, there is no overtime to this hellish schedule. He's working 130 or more hours a week. Every week. Since May.

Is there any other business in the developed world that makes its employees work like this?

Maybe the better question is: is there any other business in the developed world that wants to hire an engineer who would be happy to work 60 hours a week?

Monday, August 27, 2012

To Muster, or Not to Muster

I most definitely, one hundred percent, do not want to have a garage sale. The very thought of the work it would take to go through closets and bedrooms and kitchens and that storage area under the house that is only accessible by going through the two and a half foot-tall door on my hands and knees gives me heart palpitations.

So there's that. But also there's pricing, organizing and advertising. After all that, the chances that I would actually have things that someone wanted are slim to non-existent.

If, by some chance, I was able to bring myself to sort and sift and organize and advertise, half of my merchandise will probably be reintroduced back into the house by the boys, who, regardless of the fact that they've not thought once about Candyland (with half game pieces missing) for the last five years, will suddenly become very sentimental about Candyland and insist that we put it back into that little space under the eaves and not think about it for another five years.

What I really want to do is purge. I want to get rid of stuff and reclaim my space. I love space. It calms me. It makes me happy. And I don't mind purging. It's a solitary job and doesn't require that I post ten color coordinating signs at intersections with in a two-mile radius of my house. Purging is good.

This time, however, the amount of stuff, as well as the type of stuff that is going to be purged warrants a garage sale. It can't be denied. And that garage sale is breathing down my neck and whispering things in my ear like, "it's time," and "you know you want to," and "you can't put this off much longer."

But I CAN put it off longer. We just won't be able to park in the garage for a year.

That shouldn't be a problem, should it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

4 T Hike

Stop the river right here--this moment in time, when the boys are not too big or too little to go on a fun hike with their mother. This spot in the fast-moving river of time is--knock on wood--perfect. Today, hiking the 4 T Hike with my three boys, was like one of those mother moments that normally exist only in the ethereal cloud of wishes that seems to always be just out of reach of every parent. If there was complaining, I'm choosing to ignore it. I will remember only the friendly banter between the boys, the laughing, the running, the counting of banana slugs, and more than anything, the "thank you mom's." 

Our morning started at 8:30 am at the zoo. We hiked across Hwy 26 to the Markham trail and headed up to Council Crest. It was still a little hazy when we got up there but most importantly, it was cool and lovely, which is so much better than hot and miserable. 

A few of us ate our Cliff energy bars, even though we weren't even half way through with the first T of the 4T hike: the 4 mile "trail." I would have taken more picture of the boys on the trail, but they hiked at a pretty fast pace and I didn't want to make them stop. (And I'm choosing to not remember the moss covered bench photo that never happened because one child refused to cooperate unless he could sit in the middle.) 

The second T is "tram." We climbed the hill to OHSU and made our way to the tram (free on the downhill ride). The kids were blown away by the height and the view. 

Their chattering on the ride down mostly covered the topic of best places to land should the tram suddenly break free of its cable and come crashing to the ground. Pile of dirt was overruled by a nice, cushy house. So they collectively hoped we'd fall on a house. I, instead, dwelled on some new and unwelcome thoughts I'd never even considered before.

Regardless of their falling best-case-scenario discussion, the boys rode right up in front and watched our entire descent. 

We got off the tram and onto the third T, the "trolley." In real life, this people mover is actually called a "street car," but that doesn't fit with the theme, so we called it the trolley. Can I tell you how great it felt to sit down after that 4 mile hike? It was delightful. Isaac was the only kid would would admit to feeling tired and thankful to be off his feet.

These signs kept us on track for our entire hike, except for once, when we took a wrong turn and had to backtrack. After getting back to the point where we took the wrong turn, we noticed that the trail marker had fallen over and was laying in the ferns and ivy.

The fourth and final T was "train." Here, you can see the MAX train coming up the street for our ride back to the zoo. Yay! The tickets we purchased on the trolley ($1.50 for kids and $2 for adults) were good for two hours, so we were ready to jump on the train as soon as it came. 

This wasn't the best picture of the boys, but the look on Isaac's face reminded me of the McKayla Maroney is not Impressed meme. (Isaac is not impressed with the lack of pierced, tattooed, stinky he-shes on the MAX train.)

We finished our 4 T hike with a fifth T, "treat." This is where I gathered up the sixth T, "thank you's." It was mostly thanks for buying lunch at Dairy Queen, but I like to think there was thanks for the fun Portland adventure we shared too. 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Notes on Gardening and Napping

Today I harvested all the veggies from the north garden bed. I want to plant a fall crop of root veggies and lettuce and maybe some cilantro. Oh, and I want to try and get beans going really quick. And peas.

I've never planted a fall garden before.

Also, I canned three-bean Salad today. I've never canned three-bean salad before either. The beans look all wrinkly in the jars and I bet no one in my family will actually eat it except me. Isaac kept asking if it really had three beans it in. I said, "Yes. It has wax beans, green beans and kidney beans."

"But does it really have only three beans?"

"Yes," I repeated, and covered the varieties of beans the salad would contain. I knew what he was really asking was whether or not the salad would have a total of three actual beans in it. But I thought my answer cleared that up since I stated the three varieties. Anyway, we went back and forth like this for a while until I showed Isaac the actual salad and he understood.

Also, I'm kind of tired of summer and want to just take a nap. All the time. Which is pathetic because currently Robert is working 18+ hour days at Intel, 7 days a week and if anyone deserves a nap, it's him. Not me.

Still . . .

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Camp Ireland!*

When Ethan was eight years old, he attended Camp Ireland, a Cub Scout Day Camp, with his pack. For five days, boys flung things, painted things, hammered things, sang things and got things very dirty. In short, he was in boy heaven. Ethan returned for two more years as a Cub Scout and never forgot Camp Ireland and his desire to be one of the beloved staffers. 

This year, his dream came true and he became, Nom Nom, Staff in Training.

After a week of prepping the camp for little Cub campers, Camp Ireland opened with a medieval theme. Nom Nom taught kids Rounders (a medieval type of baseball), Wizardry, and Pan Pipes. The last week in July was Isaac and Jonah's pack's week to attend. They loved seeing their big brother in a leadership role and told any other staffer who would listen that they were Nom Nom's brothers.

As I watched Ethan perform in skits, flag ceremony and at the Pan Pipe station, it was obvious he was completely in his element. Little kids followed him like he was the Pied Piper. He was large and in charge.

Here is Ethan performing as "trusty squire" (notice the coconuts) in the "Medicrine" skit. Spoiler alert: A loon full of sugar helps the medicrine go down.

This is Ethan singing "If I Weren't a Staffer." I don't know where he learned these songs (other than the four weeks at camp). He told me numerous times that the entertainment portion of camp was pretty unorganized with the staffers planning skits seconds before they actually happened. This looked pretty practiced though.

This is a skit that I remember doing when I went to girl's camp. "Oh it's the raisins that make, the Raisin Bran taste great." Ethan's departing lines are "No! I'm the main character. You can't take me! I'm the most important person! Nooooooooo. Ugh. Ow."

Last night when I brought Isaac and Jonah home from their last day of camp, Isaac was--big surprise--getting a little emotional. Next summer can't come soon enough as far as he is concerned. This rag-tag group of teenagers somehow created magic out of duct tape and sling shots and bars of hotel soap. Oh yes, and BB guns and bows and arrows. Can't forget the weaponry. 

Both Jonah and Isaac are now eagerly awaiting the time they too can get a job at Camp Ireland and be the cool staff member, just like their big brother Because being the one all the little kids worship is a good job, if you can get it.

And I have no doubt they will.

*My 800th post!