Friday, October 30, 2009

Two Months in TO

After 7 months of being on the road, I was ready to come home. Home to my bed and my own routine. Not to sit home and do nothing, but to settle into my home routine as stay-at-home mom/wife. A role I've never played before.

It's been rather fun. I wake up early with Adrian and spent time with him every morning getting him ready for school. He mostly grunts this early in the day, but still it's precious time. I'm back to making lunch for him every day. He likes this easy way again, and especially likes the little treats I pack in for him.

Once he's gone, I dive into my prostrations (I like to describe them as Buddhist burpees for cleansing the body and mind). I'm up to 600 per day, which takes close to 2 hours. I'm in the best shape I've been in decades, even better than when I was training for Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do last year.

Then my day is free. I thought I would fill it with going to the coffee shop and reading the newspaper every day, but really by 10 am I just want to get started with something. I've tackled lots of projects already in these last 2 months. The first one was playing travel agent for my 3 sisters as we planned our trip to Africa. I booked the hotels, planes, busses, and hotels. I wrestled a hotel payment to a South Africa hotel that wouldn't take credit card payment, and insisted on a wired bank payment ($30) instead. Now all there is to do is board the plane out of Toronto later today.

My next project involved a major writing project. I took on the documentation of "The Garden Cooperative Childcare Model", the little childcare centre we helped set up for Adrian when he was 2 years old. My friend Tonya found a little funding, and a place to put it on a website for all to see when it's finished. I've written 35 pages and it's at the editing stage now, to be followed up with consultation with other parents before it goes live. Stay tuned.

I also agreed to put my writing and organizing skills to use trying to get grants for Clear Sky. While working with an international group of persons who had been writing grants for the last few years, I managed to create a spreadsheet to organize all our efforts and also write some best practices for actually getting grants approved. It's begining to feel a little bit like work, but after all this time off I'm ready for a little work. It's a whole new area to explore, this social venture field, so it's exciting. I also submitted 2 grant proposals, and already found out that one was successful. Yippee! They're paying my way to go to a Social Enterprise conference in Toronto the week I return from Africa. I plan to schmooze up a storm, just for old time sake.

In between all this writing and computer stuff, whenever it wasn't raining, I worked on my backyard renovation project. This started with my digging up of the remaining grass growing in the back yard, and involved a major moving of soil to relevel the backyard. We were having drainage problems, as the old paths slowly sunk down lower and the garden soil slowly grew with annual compost deliveries. Now there's a lovely winding path of paving stones between the cedar deck and the garage at a raised level, and the everexpanding garden soil is back down where it belongs. I'm experimenting with 4 season garden harvests, and have peas, lettuce, and spinach growing beneath row covers and tomato hoop/plastic mini-greenhouses. I have straw spread around on all the soil as mulch, and Adrian commented that it smells like a farm!

I've enjoyed the family time this fall and have been taking Adrian to most of his (many!!!) hockey practices. He's been playing PeeWee AAA hockey with a new team, the Jr. Canadians, so now he's on the ice 6 times a week, often for several hours at a time, plus his dryland training. But he's doing really well and continues to love it, and still thinks he wants to look for a hockey scholarship for university some time in his future. We started renting to Josh (my 21 yo step-son) and 3 of his friends this summer, and he has become a regular at our house, particularly around meal times. I enjoy his company and am glad to have him around to share my love of travel stories. (He's been to Egypt, Israel, and California recently and planning for a big trip to South America next July.) The latest news says Jeremy (my 18 yo step-son) will be moving into the same house on the weekend, so we may finally have our whole family together for a while. It's perfect - they have their own space, but just a 5 minute bike ride away. And I think Richard really likes having a stay-at-home wife, as it means I cook more and better, and he has a bit more time to relax. It makes our overall stress level way down to have this time, and makes us wonder how we ever got along with me working! I have heard rumblings that he has some more house projects for me to work on when I get back from Africa, but I'll be ready for that.