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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Power of Indecision

What should we eat?
Where should we go?
What should we watch?

Simple questions. Yet. We approach them as if considering the next brilliant chess move. Our family does anyway.

Let me begin with some history, so you get some sense of our household dynamics.

I learned early on that flexibility would be a non-negotiable on the farm. (It should've have occurred to me when the first call for a date didn't come for three weeks after meeting Doug. The story is he had some beans to plant...) As our relationship became more serious, I noticed activities took a backseat to harvest, planting, spraying, etc. I discovered that planning any particular activity was often a lesson in futility. Doug's trademark response, "We'll have to see once" was a euphemism for "don't plan anything."

And it's fine–especially for a reader! But the easiest activities to plan at the last minute are eating and watching movies. Those habits tend to define our family.

Anyway, back to how we make come to any decision. "Compromise"probably doesn't quite cover it. I have realized Doug's "indecisiveness" tends to work for him quite brilliantly. Doug will tell you he never makes the call when it comes to choosing a place to eat or when it comes to choosing a movie to watch. That's because our conversations go something like this:

Me    What should we watch tonight?
He     I don't care. What do you want to watch?
Me    Really? You really want me to choose?

A pause.

He    Sure. Just choose something good.
Me    Midnight in Paris.
He    I said something good.
Me    So what do you want to watch?
He    I don't care.
Me   You do care! How about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? You've Got Mail?

A pause.

Me    Or Trouble with Curve?
He    Ok. We can watch Trouble with the Curve.

Baseball movies are never rejected.

So the next movie night comes around. Doug will comment how it's his turn to choose since I selected Trouble with the Curve.  (Ha!) Someone like Jason Bourne will adorn the screen.

As for the next movie night? See the conversation above, slightly different movie options. I bought Slumdog Millionaire a few years ago, but haven't seen it yet because my husband pinches his face every time I suggest it. He mentions I can watch it during planting or harvest. But I'm in the camp of "movies are no fun to watch by yourself!" Maybe I'll attempt Doug's "indecisive" strategy on him. Somehow I think it'll fail miserably.

Certainly, there are always those nights when there is absolutely no agreeing on a DVD. That's when we turn to the worst place in the universe for the indecisive: Netflix. Why, you ask, would we do that to ourselves? Flick through the abyss of movie and TV show options?

Two reasons. There's always that glimmer of hope we'll find something to agree upon. And, of course,  Quentin Tarantino. There's always Quentin Tarantino.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Virtues of Vacationing at Home

I'm on the last bit of a week's vacation, which was mostly spent in the luxury of a messy ranch-style home one mile south of Earling, Iowa. While I hate to boast, it was pretty sublime.

Highlights included:

  • Recreational activities in the form of hoops as Mama got made fun of for her alley oop assists on the 9 foot rim, only after proceeding to get her tail whipped at PIG...TOO MANY TIMES.
  • Checkers, after hoops, giving Mama a crown at something.
  • The awesome triumph of the USA Women's Soccer Team, celebrated with gusto and Sam Adams in the Kramer living room. (Beer only imbibed by the adults.)
  • Family bonding with a movie night as we enjoyed the heartwarming saga of Ted 2.
  • The perfecting of a Cuban Sandwich with the slow cooking of a pork shoulder roast as our food truck dream really begins to percolate. (Doug's not quite on board with this yet.)
  • College orientation in Iowa City. Alex registered for classes as Doug and I planned our game day visits and plotted the new bars at the ped mall.
  • Read like it was my day job. And began writing a new novel like it's my dream job. Oh yeah. It is.
  • Slept for nine hours every day. I didn't even know I could do that.
My vacation time did NOT include:

  • Organizing my pictures, as I had planned. That has to be the worst job. Reminds me of the stress of planning a graduation party. Ugh. Damn digital age. But suppose, better get cracking for Cole's 2020 party.
  • Weeding all of my flower beds, as I had planned. I did plant more flowers though! It's my strategy to distract from the weeds.
  • Wash my kids' sheets. I still might do that.
Quinn gets it.
In all honesty, I spent quite a bit of walking, reflecting, praying, and really listening to my family. Admittedly, the busy-ness of my life often overwhelms me. That might comes as a shock for those of you who read this happy-go-lucky blog. (But when entries don't come in for weeks at a time...that is the reason!) I know, deep down, I only have myself to blame. 

This vacation of having no agenda has allowed me to really unwind. And actually laugh with my family as our pets acted like drunken sailors on the deck. It allowed me to stop and watch a goldfinch bob from fence post to fence post and experience the wonder of its brilliance. It allowed me to watch a lizard and a spider dual in my daughter's egress window. (Really!) But here's the thing. I didn't have to be on vacation to enjoy any of those things. It does seems, however, it took actual downtime–stillness–to remember that I could enjoy those things. I've always thought I was kind of smart. But it's taken me a while to realize how simple it is be happy.