Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Post That Is Way Too Long

Last night Bella asked me if she could take her baby rosary home from her Maw-Maw's house (it was a gift for her baptism). I said no, but told her she could take her purple rosary home (a gift for her 4th birthday, and bigger and far less delicate). She was so excited, and when we were in the car she said, "Mom, can I say the rosary in the car?". I told her if she waited until we got home we would say the rosary together, and she got even more excited. She then explained to me which prayer was said on each bead (awww), and went on to say that if you say the whole thing together you are praying to God in a beautiful way (awwwwwwwwwwwww). Then she added that she wanted to say the rosary for her great-grandma from the farm (who passed away years before she was even born) and that she said a prayer to great-grandma just the other night to tell her that she loves her and she hopes that she is OK.

So after we got home and got Bubba settled into his bed, we sat down on the loveseat and said the Rosary together. I must confess to being dubious that she would finish a whole rosary - I thought for sure that two decades in (at the most) she would get bored and would run off to do something else, but she did the whole thing. I was astonished - she's 6, she's in the first grade, and her attention falters at the best of times, but despite being tired and up past her bedtime, usually a recipe for disaster, she said an entire rosary with me. It was lovely, and made me love her even more. What a good girl! I'm telling you, those sisters of St. John Bosco know what they are doing.

And from heavenly matters to more earthly things: Bella asked about her brother's boy parts the other night, wanting some specific details. I'm honestly surprised that she hasn't asked before now. I was at the sink washing dishes when she started inquiring about the differences between boys and girls, and I spent the entire conversation holding firmly onto the counter top in an attempt to counteract my overwhelming urge to just slide down and hide behind the counter until she found something else to do. I know, I know, it's normal, bla-bla, and I was actually somewhat prepared for what I thought of as standard questions along those lines, but she was asking some whoppers, one of them particularly funny....but I am hesitant to share - someone, somewhere could be offended by it, even though I later laughed until I almost cried. We made it through unscathed, though. I handled it decently. Whew.

Scouting is not going well at all. Well, it's not going that badly, but it's no walk in the park (13 girls between the ages of 4 and 6 - enough said). I had some parents who were rather upset at the amount of time it took me to get meetings started up again, and engaged in some behind-my-back complaining - whatever. I let it go (but not before saying, multiple times, "If they think they can do it better then let them do it!"). And then the same parents who were so demanding of my time are the same parents who suddenly have a million excuses as to why they can't help. I got a lot of "I'll be there, but I can't really help in any official capacity....". Again, whatever. There are all these new training requirements that I am having trouble meeting. And then there was the real morale breaker - some field supervisor at a meeting the other night was apparently not in the best of moods, and said a few things that just absolutely killed me. She complained about how the area our cluster of troops operate in is economically depressed (what area isn't economically depressed right now?) and that there is no growth or future in it. So the organization should just give up on the area? I'm sorry, to me that seems completely contrary to what Girl Scouts is all about. Scouting doesn't necessarily cost a lot of money to participate in (depending on age and activities, of course), and in a time where money is tight and not everyone has the cash flow to shell out $80 bucks a month for dance lessons or tae-kwon-do, the $8 a month (give or take) for meeting dues is a very affordable option.

The woman is question is an actual paid employee of the scouts, as opposed to the rest of us who are volunteering our time out of the goodness of our hearts. I don't have anything against the woman being paid - good for her, but she really killed me when she complained about her quota, that she gets paid by the girl and our area doesn't have enough girls and we aren't recruiting and doing enough to make sure she gets paid. There are women in this group running troops of 30-40 girls. They aren't turning anyone away, they are taking on as many girls as they can and are at their wit's end because of it. Especially some of the troops in lower income areas - they are operating virtually without any kind of dues because some of their members can't afford to pay. It's a challenge for me to come up with activities and ideas with 13 dues paying members, but these women are heroes. They are coming up with creative activities and ideas that relate to and/or teach the values of girl scouting in a fun way with virtually no money. I know I have dipped into my own pocket for girl scouts several times over the course of the last year or so, and I can only imagine that they are doing the same.

Her comments and attitude really made me wonder again why I'm going through so much trouble and spending so much time doing this. I could easily quit and spend the time I spent working on scout projects (shopping, prep work, planning meetings, details, running meetings, cleaning up after meetings) with my children, but I really don't think anyone else would step up and do it. I wanted to do this to spend some time with Bella, and over the course of last year really came to know and love the other girls, and for that reason I won't give up and quit, but it is awfully tempting. It's disheartening to spend so much time and effort to have it all reduced to cash and quotas. Cash and quotas are an fact of life, I get it, but what about the girls? Whatever. I will keep on keepin' on. I will muddle through this, trying to stay below the radar and try and show these girls a good, sneakily-educational time.

On another less-than-cheery note: I didn't realize how scared I was that my hours at work are going to be reduced again until I found myself doing some early Christmas shopping for the kids. After some thought, I realized that I am getting the shopping done early to ensure that the kids will have a thing or two under the tree to open. And that is if my hours are reduced, that's not even thinking about being laid off. Which is a possibility we have to consider, in all honesty. Times are tough, and when the going gets tough the tough don't go and buy pianos. Which effects me in a kind of trickling, crap-rolling downhill kind of way.

I am going to try and be optimistic, though. I don't know how successful I will be at optimism, but I've got to try. The holidays are coming up, maybe business will pick up, I'm a lucky woman, and I know it. I just need to look at the bright spots more than I look at the bad spots.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend - I have some new pothead neighbors who look promising. I don't mind stoners - they are, for the most part, pretty calm people. Our other neighbors are all young, blustery military punks or young, drama-fraught college students - the weekends are soap operas around the building. There is a lot of drinking, a lot of shouting, a lot of fighting - I don't seek any of this crap out, either, and I'm not standing with my ear to the door listening - these people will stand in the outdoor breezeway and scream at each other, or in the parking lot right outside my patio and scream at each other. They never seem to be able to fight in their own apartments. Stoners are mellow (again, with some exceptions), and we need some mellow. They seem like nice guys, and they offered to bring me doughnuts back from a munchie run, which was thoughtful. I politely declined, but it was a nice thought.

Bella is spending the night at my MIL's house tonight, and tomorrow my FIL is taking them to eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then shopping at Kohl's. I get to spend the evening doing the chores that I haven't done over the past week or so. There's laundry piling up, the kitchen floor is crying out for help, in a dirty, sticky kind of way, and the carpet is so filthy I'm thinking we should just tear it out and start over. And now there's a strange drunk man in the store accosting us, so I'm gonna go. Happy weekend to all!

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