Friday, November 19, 2010

The `Family Plan' & Working At Home

Today I took our fourth child into the Verizon store to get a cell phone. Brenton has his own plan, Taylor and Ethan are on the plan with me already, so Claire is the third child to go on the "Family Plan." It's like 10 bucks for another line, unlimited texting and Claire babysits so much I think she's in my tax bracket -- minus the dependents -- so I think she can swing it. Generally in our household when the kids get of age and enjoy some income we try and have them pay their own way for things like phones, car insurance, Busch Gardens tickets ... basically things beyond the necessities in life. That's one reason why our kids generally start driving later than most other kids. We want them to save money they would spend on car insurance to salt away for college, or in Taylor's case the School of Ministry in Corvallis. Taylor didn't get his license until he was well past 18. I think Brenton was 19. Brenton paid for all his school himself. Praise God, eh? And here's another thing. There's nothing wrong in my mind with hauling kids around town, even though I might think it's a hassle plenty of times. I know that I'll miss the time spent with Ethan in the car driving him to or from a baseball game. I miss the times driving Taylor to or from work or wherever he's going. With our teens the alone moments in the car are precious, particularly with all the demands on us in this casa.

Speaking of demands, I hope my editors don't read this blog because sometimes work gets in the way of life. I fix about half the dinners around here and tonight I was on so I was rustling up some chili when an editor called wondering about this story I was supposed to file ... um, well, didn't I do that? Pause, and then came the answer: `No.' Really? So literally while I was spooning out beans into my pot of chili I learned that I needed to "clock back in" so to speak and write a little ditty about a dude who won a million bucks on a scratch lottery ticket. Piece of cake, right? Except that I figured I'd check out Facebook while I was "working" and noticed that Julie was online. Hmmmm. She had been doing school all day, I was "working" in between taking Claire cell phone shopping and cleaning out the grocery store (I still can't get over the Christmas tree that showed up in the store like the day after Halloween, but that's another story... and the kids are watching the Grinch on TV right now ... ) and here was a big chance to talk to her. "Hey babe," I typed. "You need something?" came the reply. Ahem, I thought, not exactly, "Hi my wonderful, doting husband! I was just thinking about you!" but it's a start. Then Taylor texted me from Oregon. Somehow between Facebooking my wife in the next room (Believe it or not our cyber conversation picked up and we decided to make it movie night! Yesssss!), Taylor texting me and Olivia sitting on my lap asking if her hair looked pretty ("So, so pretty Olivia. So pretty."), I managed to write something that somehow passed for written English with complete sentences, correct use of punctuation and lovely, stylistic presentations of present participles (Or something like that ... it sounded good when I just wrote that. I'll have to go back and read the story and see if there were indeed one or more lovely, stylistic presentations of present participles. But you get the idea. It will be a major upset if that little story doesn't win a Pulitzer.)

And now, as I'm blogging, comes music to my hears. I hear Julie telling the 20 little kids in our house to get ready for bed. OK, OK, it's only, uh (counting with my eyes closed using my fingers ... 6!) six little kids (Our 2 biggest kids are in Oregon and another 4 kids are at a Bible study.), but sometimes it feels like 20. You know what I mean? Soon, Lord willing, it will be quiet in our house, no one will be needing anything, no errands to run, no meals to fix, no diapers to change, my editors won't be calling wondering what happened to the story I was supposed to write ("Hey, I'm busy here, you know!" How do you think that would fly?), the house will be quiet and it will be oh so peaceful and pleasant and relaxing. Just me, my wife, a movie ...

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