overeducated & understimulated

"if you're going through hell, keep going …" -winston churchill

Free to a good home October 6, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 11:09 pm

This week, I made almost $100 selling stuff on kijiji.  I just took photos of kids my stuff have outgrown, posted ads on the website and soon, I was in business!  I am getting rid of stuff, gaining empty, clutter-free space in my house, and making some money.

At first, I figured I’d give the stuff away.  In fact, I donated a lot of it to a pre-school.  But in the spring of 2010, I had my first and only garage sale, and made enough money for five of us to go whale watching on the Bay of Fundy for a day.  I realized, Hey, I have a lot of good stuff.

The stuff I have now fits into two categories: (1) Stuff that I think members of my family or circle of friends may want one day; and (2) Stuff that has been so carefully chosen and obsessively cared for that I just can’t bear to release it to the whimsies of the universe.  I mean, after keeping track of all those Little People farm characters for so long, and never losing a single one, keeping the cash register in working order, pristine, clean and shiny, with all its play money and basket of groceries intact … how could I now take the risk that in their next stages of existence, these precious belongings would be scattered to diverse locations, no longer a complete set?  Or the sandals purchased with love on a trip to Montreal, an agonizing choice between pink beads or blue sparkles — how to just let them go without ceremony or anyone to recognize the significance of these particular sandals?

No doubt, some people will think this is crazy — who cares, it’s just stuff, right?  Ahhhh.  I care.  I know I shouldn’t worry about material possessions and that the memories and people supported by these possessions are really what is important in life.  But.

Then kijiji.  Users are combing through the listings, hoping to find that perfect item that will be a great bargain and the envy of all their neighbours.  I love selling stuff on kijiji … I know my stuff is going to a good home.  People who will appreciate it and who are willing to drive, sometimes, across the province to get it!  I would give the stuff away free, but the number of takers would simply be too much for me (and my inbox) to handle!

 

Made-up stuff October 3, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life,Writing — Aerin Rainey @ 10:43 pm

I love our new art room.  All the arts & crafts supplies can be found there.  My kids can splatter paint and spread chalk dust around to their hearts’ content.  There is even a plasma car to ride around on when you feel the need for inspiration.  Finley, the betta, has taken up permanent residence on the table and the iPod is plugged into a speaker and set on a continuous loop of the Tangled soundtrack.

I would have loved a space like this when I was a kid.  Chock full of glue, paper, pom poms, glitter, paint, markers and possibility.

Don’t get me wrong — when I think about the basement at our house when I was a kid, it was all about imagination.  Made-up games, as my girls call them now.  And listening to them play pretend is bringing it all back to me.  In that unfinished space of my childhood, full of carpet remnants and mismatched furniture, my sister and I and our neighbourhood friends spent hours not just playing our made-up games, but setting the scene for our dramas.

First the cast of characters, complete down to their middle names.  An involved family tree and background story had to be conceived and fleshed out for each person and, if the game was a continuation from yesterday at supper time, we had to recap the entire pretend history. This was really the best part.

Next, we had to build the forts.  After all, even made-up people need somewhere to live.  The pool table, a cast off from my grandparents’ house was coveted for its cozy interior and rooftop garden.  Behind the bookcase was also a fab pad, as it came furnished with bean bag chairs.  Last and definitely least, the couch/coffee table combo.  My poor younger sister often got stuck with its sagging afghan roof and skull-and-coaster-jarring low ceiling.

And then we played.  “Say I’m …  in a car accident and you find me unconscious!” “Say I … get fired from my job, but on the way home I buy a lottery ticket and win!”  “Say … we all go to the beach and we get chased by sharks!” “Say … ”

“Say I’m a world-famous author … “

 

Cross-border geocaching adventure October 2, 2011

Filed under: Geocaching,Travel,Writing — Aerin Rainey @ 3:00 pm

“Good morning, sir,”  I say to the U.S. customs official, as I hand over passports for our carload of eager geocachers.

“Would you take off the sunglasses, please?” he answers.

“Oh, sorry, of course.” I am still smiling.

“Where do you live?”

“Quispamsis, New Brunswick,” I answer brightly.

“What is your purpose for visiting the U.S.?”

“Oh, just some hiking, I guess,” I hedge, not wanting to use the word geocaching in case he’s a Muggler.

“Will you be leaving anything in the U.S., ma’am?” he asks.

“Ummm … no,” I start, but honesty get the better of me.  “Well, I mean, yes, but it’s just a little trackable device, well, not a device, actually more of an …. item …,”  I trail off, wondering why I didn’t just say  No.

“What sort of trackable device?” his eyes narrow suspiciously.

“It’s nothing, really, just …,” I backpedal, somehow without stammering.

“Would you please step out of the vehicle, ma’am?”

No geocachers were strip-searched in the imagining of this scenario!

 

Welcome to The World October 1, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 12:25 pm

In three weeks, we’re leaving for Disney.  I am planning like crazy.  I have all the dining reservations booked, lists of attractions in the order we will visit them, and the kids have been working hard to earn “Disney Dollars” for months already.  Am I going overboard? Maybe.  Probably.  Okay, yes.  But I can’t just throw some bathing suits and sandals in a suitcase and wing it … I mean, that would be asking for disaster.

I didn’t know anything about Disney World when we decided to take the kids there.  But most people seem to have extensive knowledge and advice about Disney.  I wanted to learn, so I did what I always do when I want to learn about something:  I read a book about it.  The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.  854 pages.  Cover to cover.

Anxiety set in.  Questions were everywhere.  Should we spend two days at the Magic Kingdom, or one day each there and at Epcot?  If we do go to Epcot, whether to eat lunch at Coral Reef Restaurant or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall?  And should we pass on the overpriced Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or would it be the highlight of the trip?

Well, these are very nice problems to have.  But problems nonetheless, and I still felt like I didn’t know enough.  The biggest problem was how to move past all these questions and make some decisions.   I turned to the web.

There are so many websites dedicated to Disney.  It’s like the Bible: if you look hard enough you find evidence to support anything.  Soon I realized that recommendations are only as good as the person making them.  How do you know whether you even have anything in common with these recommenders?

Well, I figured it out.  It doesn’t matter what we do because it is all good — it has to be, after all, it is all Disney.

I am still taking my lists.