Monday, February 9, 2009

A bit of perspective

I've been away from home for a few days, enjoying an annual "ladies weekend" with my mom, grandma, aunts and cousins. We always look forward to this adventure, knowing we'll be in for a lot of snacking, window shopping, board game playin' and chatting. We have a great time and literally laugh until our sides hurt. I maintain this is good for the soul, and probably the cheapest therapy you can get.

Its good to have time away from "life" every so often. I especially enjoy it, as a homeschooling mom, because being detached from the little lovlies that I'm generally with 24 hours a day most the year, gives me a nice break. You wouldn't believe how cute Iggy and Ooky are when you haven't seen or dealt with them for 80 hours. In fact, I'm pretty sure they might have grown an inch or two since I last saw them.

The most important part about getting away from life, however, is the simple fact that one can get perspective. Now I know people joke tease me about living in "the cave"...but seriously. Sometimes I think I have no grasp on reality. For me, on this particular ladies weekend of being out and about, perspective meant opening my eyes to the fact that there are a LOT of people in the world who don't live like my family does. (Shhh. In the back of my mind I knew that. But its one thing to know it, and an entirely different thing to experience it.)

I guess its all relative. The world you create and live in will in turn dictate what "normal" is for you. And you tend to assume the way you live is pretty close to what everyone else's "normal" is. I mean, obviously there will be differences, but on the whole...aren't we pretty close?

After this weekend of perspective, I would have to answer with a hearty no.

I remember when we were in the hospital after just having our Iggster. Hubster told me some time after that, that someone had come in and gave him information on WIC and foodstamps and things like that. I screwed up my face and said "How in the world could we even get that?" Then I realized that we totally qualified for it. In my little cave-ish mind, I figured everyone lived in a house where money was tight, (which we did) and that WIC and foodstamps were reserved for people who really needed it. I didn't know we were one of those families who could have technically taken it.

This weekend was a bit like that smack-in-the-face realization, but in a reverse way. We window shopped in stores that held customers whom I'm pretty sure aren't aware we're in "a recession". Or, probably more accurately, customers whose idea of "cutting back" is still living a life that I will never afford as long as I live. It was really strange to be out of the cave and seeing how people are living outside my circle of reality. But then it explains a lot, like how people can be inspired by articles that tell you to save money by getting your haircut every 8 weeks instead of every 6 or learning to change the oil yourself. Things people on my end of the spectrum have been doing all along. And not that those of us on this end of the spectrum should get all high and mighty. There is nothing worse than learning to do something (save money) and then being excited to have figured it out (cut corners where you didn't think you could) and have someone else (like me) steal your fire by saying something like "Yeah, so? I've been doing that since I was 10."

However, I do think its interesting (and possibly necessary) to keep things in perspective. Saving money and cutting back mean different things to different people. The perimeters of simplicity and frugality will vary within each group. I mean, when you get out in the world and realize how simple or complicated or different or whackjobby you really might shed some light on how you view the world.

Ah. Perspective is great.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A field the doctor?

Today was a big step out of The Comfortable Cave and into Everyone Else's World as we took Iggy to his doctor's appointment. It was kind of comical, actually. Iggy thought it was a wicked cool field trip, totally stoked that he got to go alone without his brother. "Mom, I LOVE the doctor's office." Um...ok.

I should explain that we found out today that Iggy has not been to the doctor since July of 2006. No wonder he thinks the doctor is cool.

It was relatively painless, for me and the Iggster. There was the obligatory jab about not vaccinating (from a nurse, not the doctor) and the innocent comments where Iggy got a bit of the deer in the headlights look, such as "Wow! You must be the tallest boy in your class!" to which the darling replied " and my brother are homeschooled" to which the gracious doctor replied..."Well, see? You ARE the tallest boy in your class." All in all we survived. The doctor decided Iggy has bronchitis and assumes it must be bacterial since we are on day 12 of fighting it. She also said his lungs were pretty "wheezy", which I hadn't heard, but I guess I'm not wicked talented with a stethescope, so she put him on a low dose steroid. I will bypass the part here where I rant about mainstream medicine, mostly because somewhere in the back of my mind I realize I should probably shutup since I have a child who has not had a doctor's appointment prior to today for 2 1/2 years. That's pretty lucky. So if we can get by on our crazy whackjob lifestyle of alternative this and that, its probably no crime in the bylaws of the family if an occasional antibiotic finds its way in.

Blogging: Its not just for homeschooling anymore...

This blog has routinely been where I post my ramblings about our homeschooling journey. I have another blog where I rant about everything else. Chickens, the economy, roofing, coffee, and just about everything in between.

It occurs to me that very often I can't complete homeschooling without coffee, the occasional roof job helps to pay for homeschooling, the economy interrupts my thoughts about homeschooling, and chickens...well, when they arrive, they'll just fit right into homeschooling.

My point is that in real life, Life and Homeschooling aren't seperated. In fact, they are very much one in the same. I have thought all too often about something to write in one blog and then said "Wait. That really should be in the other blog...but wait..." Which means that I overthink things way too much and pretend I have way more time on my hands than I really do. Therefore, for the sake of the sanity of everyone involved, I'm hacking my computer life down to one blog. Wakeupstartlearning, dear friends, is the one I chose to keep. Keep in mind that not all posts will directly relate to homeschooling...but they will all relate to Life...which is the greatest way to learn. So all in all, we're good. Right?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Doctor, doctor, I feel sick!

We've been dealing with a wicked round of I-don't-know-what-the-heck-you-have with the Iggster. Something like a cold that won't die. Day ten of wicked coughing jags -sometimes until you gag, 100-101 temp that just won't let go, meals consist of "I'll have a glass of something to drink, maybe" - and then only drinking half...we're kind of at "do we take him in to the doctor?" A look on the bright side says that we have health insurance (a big deal these days!), so a co-pay to find out if he's nearing the deathbed isn't too terribly destructive. But I just can't get past the running-to-the-doctor-for-every-little-thing mentality that so many people have and I don't want to be a part of. Then again, I know that since we have taken up residence in the Basement By The Creek (code: renting a portion of parents house) the kids have not made any treks to the doctor. And 17 months without a doctor call is pretty slick, I guess. I just fear that diagnosis of "um...well its probably viral. Thanks for the $25." Boo. Hiss. Grrr.

What amuses me is that all of this comes on the heels of our human body unit. Its lovely to know that in between coughs, Iggy can tell me the Clone Troopers (white blood cells) are working hard to defend his body against the Evil Sith/Dark Side. In any event, I guess if you have to be sick, a great time to do it is just after you learned about why it happens! Perfect example of learning through real life.

Alas, tomorrow we have a doctor's appt. (Grr.) I'll try to look chipper and soccer mommish when the nice doctor asks Iggy how school is going ("Um, I'm homeschooled. It rocks!") and if he's current on vaccinations ("My mom says if someone else wants to get shots, that's cool, but its just not for us.") After all, if Iggy does all the talking during the appointment, it will be far more entertaining. For everyone.