Monthly Archives: March 2009

In 5 days….

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just 5 days from today, the kids and I will leave on vacation.  We will be gone from our cozy little home for 3 weeks.  It seems unreal.  3 weeks, what kind of luxury is this?!?  3 weeks without work, without school, without a care in the world.  I am still stunned.  This is not my reality. 

I am not one of those people who believes that vacations are a right.  I did not grow up in a family that “vacationed”.   We would take trips, sure, with our pop-up camper, to places like the South Dakota Badlands, or Winnipeg, once to Washington DC, and one time(that I remember, vaguely) to California.   Most often time away was a 90 mile drive to a retreat center in Wisconsin, where we could park the pop-up, erect a couple of auxillery tents and stay for a couple days, in time to get back to work on Monday morning. 

But this was ok, more than ok really, it was fun.  I have great memories of our pop-up trailer.  The nights around the campfires, singing songs, telling stories, eating smores and camp pies (you know, those treats, 2 pieces of bread smothered in butter, filled with cherry pie filling, clamped together in a little iron do-hickey and set on the fire until crispy).  We would catch fireflies, swim by the moonlight in the lake, pick black berries and wild plums. 

But we did  not “vacation”. 

Vacations were something that other people went on.  Vacations were different, elusive, exotic. 

Now, here we are, getting ready to go on a full blown vacation.

and I feel a bit out of my league.

First, we are heading to Minnesota, where we will spend some time with my family.  I am so excited to meet my newest niece, to hold and kiss that little girl.  My kids are terribly excited to see their cousins, the 7 girl cousins and 1 boy who live right there!  We plan to celebrate everyones birthday with a big party at Showalter Central (this is what my brother-in-law Brad has  named my folks’ place).  To see April and her crew.  Lisa, Jeff, Abby, Tate and baby Broder.   There is the hope to connect with a friend I have not seen in many, many years.

After over a week in Minnesota, the boys and I will leave for Madison, WI,(don’t feel bad for Sunny, she is going to be with Grandma, whom she loves 995 times more than she loves mommy, this by her own calculation) where we will reconnect with more friends. So much of my heart is in Madison, I can hardly wait to get there.  Cathy and Jim, and their little girl Kajsa are there.  Jen and Roy, Nancy and Lawrence, Linda and Jim, Lili and Hans, Justine, Michael, Layne…. the list goes on and on!

And then, yes, VACATION….  from Madison, the boys and I will travel with my friend Justine, and her boys, and her mom, to Grand Cayman.  We anticipate a week of snorkeling and sunshine. 

I have never had a week of VACATION.  Where there is nothing expected, nothing planned. Where the only thing I have to do is apply sunscreen.  I am not sure how this is going to go.  Will I be anxious due to lack of task?  Will I feel guilt (umm, certainly, as guilt is something I live with everyday!).  Do I deserve this vacation?  Probably  not. 

But I can tell you this:

I am going to enjoy it.   Because for me, this very well may be once in a lifetime.

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One week later, waiting to go to the airport…

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Michelle and baby Alex leave today.  It has been a busy and fun fun fun week.   We managed to have a party on her first night here.  Stayed up way too late laughing and talking with friends.  On Wednesday afternoon we trekked out to the Valley to descend on friends I insisted she meet.  We left all the kids with my friends’ teenage daughter and went to a coffee shop where we laughed and laughed until our sides hurt.  Thursday found us shopping, Michelle is a power shopper, her ability to find the unusual at a bargain is truly admirable. 

Friday we drove to Soldotna so Michelle and a dear friend of mine could meet face to face.  My friend and Michelle have been reading each other’s blogs for sometime now, and recently started chatting via Facebook.  It was very fun to watch them interact.   I really love it when the people I treasure get to meet each other. 

We stayed up WAY WAY too late on Friday night, eating truffles, drinking coffee, playing cards and solving the world’s problems.  The 7 kids played well together and overall, it was a success!

Saturday was a lovely day, we took off from Soldotna and drove back to Anchorage with the sun shining the whole way.  Saw 7 bald eagles, 3 Dall sheep, and when we got back to Airport Heights, 1 moose.  The mountains were glorious, the conversation was fabulous….

Sunday we went to church, and then to Sunny’s ski lesson.  After visiting with a couple of people from school in the chalet, we buzzed over to a sledding hill and took little Alex sledding for the first time.  he was not entirely sure what to think of the experience.  He did enjoy watching my boys rocket down the hill, but I got the impression he would have been ok if he was watching that scene from somewhere a bit warmer.

Today has been a quiet day, doing laundry and packing bags, the baby is a bit worn out and Michelle is ready to get back to her other kids, and Lonnie.  My kids went back to school today, last week was Spring Break, everyone is falling back into the rythym of life. 

I don’t think there was a night this last week where I got to bed before midnight, and a few where it was much much later.  But it was worth every bit of sleep deprivation! 

Michelle and I grew up together, but as adults we have only seen each other a few times.  I have been here in Alaska most of the time and she has been in Mexico.  Occasionally our paths have crossed on visits to Minnesota.  But this kind of time, we have never spent together.  We have talked for years about doing something like this, and now, we have, and it has been great. 

Next stop, Egypt, to visit our cousin Kim.  It is the Showalter cousin worldwide tour.

the flight is late….

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I am sitting here waiting a bit before leaving for the airport to pick up my cousin, Michelle, who is on her way (along with her youngest child) here from sunny Mexico.

The flight is delayed a bit and it gave me a few unexpected minutes to sit here at my computer.

The kids are on spring break, so everything has been a bit topsy turvy for the last few days, we completely missed fencing tonight. Just forgot about it, until about 20 minutes ago. Oh well.

but here is what I really wanted to write about:

I have been reading a lot regarding the economy, now that the elections are over, I need something else to obsess about, and the economy seems like a worthwhile target. It has got to be better than following celebrity gossip, right?
So, there is one company that is doing remarkably well during this economic downturn, sales are up quite a bit over last year.
It is McDonalds.
Somehow, McD’s has managed to convince hundreds of millions of people in the US that not only are the fries really tasty (and I will agree with that), but the quarter pounder is a cost effective choice for dinner.

I am not going to get into the nutrition debate, we all know that McD’s does not offer nutritious food, just convenient and fast food that years of advertising and amazingly well placed restaurants have trained many to depend on. ( that isn’t worded quite right, but I don’t have THAT much time).

But cost effective? If we take our little family of 5 through the drive-through for a quick meal at McD’s, we spend a minimum of $20. That adds up. We make it through a drive through maybe once every couple of months, I would love to say we never go, but that is just not true. We do, however, try to limit it. For a lot of reasons, but a big one is cost.

This article went on to say that the stronger US dollar will actually hurt McDonalds profits, due to commodity costs, etc. I suppose I should care. But I don’t. I hope they decide to raise prices by a substantial amount, and people stop swinging though 4 times a week.

After all, you can pick up a roast chicken and a bag of salad and tray of breadsticks for about $10, sit down and have dinner together at home and you car stays cleaner.

Hmmm, is this a little bright spot peeking through the clouds of doom and gloom?