How Does One Make the Perfect Life Choices?

I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, wearing bright orange compression socks, thinking about the latest book I’m writing. It’s been harder to write.

The main character is divorced. She was pregnant when her husband left her for her friend and she had to quickly get a job. She goes back to school to get a secondary education degree because her bachelor’s was in English.  

She had planned on getting a Master’s and possibly a Doctorate in English but then she met John. They fell in love. He got a job and they got married and she didn’t get a Master’s. When she got pregnant with their first child, she kept working. Then the two of them together decided she would stay home with their son. After childcare costs, it made more sense. And he made enough. Plus, she believed her kids would be better off if one of them could stay home. He made more, so she stayed home. She often thought about getting her Master’s, but then a kid would get sick and she wondered how she would do it all. She kept putting it off.

Until the day her husband came home and said he wanted a divorce.

She doesn’t think much about her choices (Why bother? It won’t help) until she has to work with a graduate of hers who has just finished her bachelors and wants to go get her Master’s. But she met this guy….

So Grace looks over at all of her decisions.

And this is where I’m stumped.  

Of course women should get an education and support themselves. Of course they should accomplish all they want to accomplish. But what if the two spouses decide that one parent could stay home. They think it would be better for the kids. But then the spouse who stays home loses potential income. Loses years of experience. May pass up on education that would help because they put their trust in their spouse.

Is this possible anymore?

Do both parents need to always work because relationships seem to be so fluid these days?

I stay home. Yes, I’ve had different jobs and done different things, but when I thought of applying to be a substitute teacher and saw they wanted 3 professional references, I started to cry and didn’t finish the application. I couldn’t think of a professional reference. Sure, I had people who would give me a reference, but I hadn’t worked for anyone in years.  

At the same time, I think having one parent able to stay home is great for a family. I think I’m slowly going insane, but besides that, I think it’s a good idea. If possible.

I had a parent home until I was about 12 or 13 and then I would come home and be alone for about an hour. It wasn’t that big a deal. I would do my homework and watch Days of Our Lives. The worst thing I did was eat a whole box of Kudos and then throw up. I never ate another Kudos again and I’m not even sure they make them anymore. They probably heard my story and realized they didn’t have a future.

But I remember when I missed the bus and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. I was scared. I thought I’d have to stay at the school over night. My neighbor came and got me and it wasn’t a big deal except for the 30 minutes when it was.

I’m around if my kids forget their lunches or nice clothes for a presentation. I pick them up for appointments and make sure things generally run smoothly.

Except for those times when I mix appointments up and I show up at the right time a day late. Or when I give each kid a different kid’s lunch so when I see one on the counter and it says my youngest’s name but I know I gave him something, I just eat that lunch myself.

I’m not a very domestic stay at home mom but I’m a “I’m here if you need me” one.  

As I write from my character’s point of view, I wonder if this is still a good idea.

If I went back into the workforce and actually used my law degree, I would never make the money I would’ve made had I stayed working. I’m so far out of the game, I wonder if I could get a job.  

Some people volunteer and keep up their resume that way. I haven’t kept a file of what I’ve done. I think I was taught you don’t get credit for volunteer work. It’s a service. (And if it gets around that I’m a helpful person, people may actually ask me for help. No one wants that.)  

So what’s the answer?

Is staying home still a viable option?  

How does one make the perfect choices in life? And never regret them?

I would love to hear your views.

I have a new site!

Hello everyone!  I’ve been gone a while.  But while I’ve been gone, I’ve moved to a website!

www.mariannehansen.net

Come and visit and read why I spent so long away from the internet.  (And no it wasn’t a scientific experiment to see if I actually could.)

And don’t worry…

There will be shoes!

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Poldark

I discovered Poldark.  It’s a BBC One show.  Then it was a PBS Masterpiece Theater show.  Now it’s an Amazon Prime show.  When it played, I didn’t know about it.  It showed a year ago.  What can I say?  I’m a slow learner.

And it wasn’t huge in the U.S.  It was huge in the U.K., though.   HUGE.  GIANT.

I CANNOT wait for season 2.

So I googled when the next season would be broadcast. 

I found out Aidan Turner, who plays Poldark, is the sexiest man in the WORLD according Glamour mag.  There was a picture of him, shirtless, with a scythe that was all over newspapers and magazines and the Internet.  And he won the Impact Award which means the show had the biggest impact on British Television.

I found his acceptance speech.

I also found out that Aidan Turner starred in And Then There was None.  

I watched that.

I found out Aidan Turner is 32 and from Ireland.  Eleanor Tomlinson is 23 and the man who played the judge originally played Poldark in the 60’s.  

I found out they film the show in Cornwall and I found out it is based on a series of books by Winston Graham.  The books are very popular across the pond as well.  

I ordered the first one. 

I also watched an interview with the actors and found out that it’s very uncomfortable to ride with two people on the same horse.


I did all of that.

I still have no idea when season 2 will air.

#IamWriting

I’m having a writer problem. I don’t think it’s writers block because I can still make stuff up. But I’m unsure there’s much of a plot.   I need a third character who has serious issues and that isn’t happening. 

I have one character who hates another character and a different one who doesn’t like her ex-husband and there’s a nurse and a police officer and a bunch of Fed-Ex-like delivery guys.  And a girl named Grace.  A guy named John.  And some other people.  

So with that being the basis of the story, I’m sure you’re shocked I have a problem.

But, alas, I do.

So I’m doing what anyone in my situation would do. 

I’m watching true crime documentaries. 

I watched the OJ show when it was on and then I read and watched all I could on it.  (Okay.  This wasn’t a documentary.  Although there could be a documentary on John Travolta’s eyebrows.  But I watched a bunch of news shows about OJ as well.). (And I watched Oprah.) 

 Then I watched 30 for 30 Fantastic Lies about the Duke Lacrosse team in 2006. 

Now it’s The Staircase.  I just started this.  This is about a woman who fell down the stairs. According to her husband. But police don’t think that could’ve been the case. 

I keep thinking I’ll find a disturbing character in one of these shows. And I’m finding disturbing characters. They’re just too disturbing. 

Any suggestions are welcome. 

And Chocolate.  I need lots and lots of chocolate.

And more shoes. 

Pros and Cons to Slicing Your Thumb Open

I was cooking.  Okay.  I was actually slicing oranges using a mandoline.  To put in a fruity drink.

But it was for other people.  So I actually bled for other people.  (I made blood oranges.  HAHAHA.)

And I sliced a large portion of my thumb off.  Or almost off.  It still hung on by some skin.

I screamed and put it under water and screamed some more.  Blood was pooling in the sink.  I made my son cry.

I ran out to the car and opened the garage and tried to get a hold of my husband and let the dog out and then called a friend to take the youngest to soccer.  He couldn’t get the dog in the house so I drove to my husband’s office with the dog while keeping my thumb wrapped in tissues and above my heart because I remember something about keeping limbs bleeding above the heart.  Or was it below?

My husband numbed my thumb (I screamed for that.  It hurt.) and then he stitched it.  (I screamed for the stitch in the area that hadn’t been fully numbed.)

I went and got dinner after because I hadn’t really eaten that day and I was really nauseous.  REALLY nauseous.  And I needed to head to the church to help with the drinks I was in charge of for the evening.  (The dog had peed on the recipes.  I decided just to email them to people.)

The girl at the register asked what I’d done and I told her I sliced my finger and got 8 stitches.  She was shocked I had to get so many stitches.  I remarked, “Well, I did get it done by a dentist.”  She didn’t reply to that.

This is the second time my husband has fixed a cooking accident for me.  And neither time did I get nitrous.  I’m a warrior.

You may be wondering what could be the pro of all of this and I shall tell you.

When I showed up at the office with my bloodied thumb, the first thing my husband said was, “Maybe we should start ordering out more.”

I decided I'd earned this sequence, Darth Vader shirt for $5. It's gonna make the thumb on my scare invisible.

I decided I’d earned this $5 sequined, Darth Vader shirt. It’s gonna make the scar on my thumb invisible.

 

Road Trip Mishaps

You may be shocked to think there were any mishaps at all.  Usually family time is perfection time and it all goes so swimmingly.  Especially if a water slide is involved.

But I made one major mistake on this road trip.

I forgot it was 2016.

I made books with activities  for each child.  I gave each child a dry erase marker with the eraser on the lid so they could do the games in the book over and over.  (I’d carefully put each page in a page protector in the same order for each book so I could call out which page I was doing and we could do it all together.)  (Insert a picture of anything unrealistic here.)

I got material so everyone could tie their own blanket as we drove and then cuddle with it.

I brought extra paper and markers in case they got bored.

Essentially I brought everything I wish I had had when I’d gone on road trips with my family.

I’d forgotten that 30+ years had passed.

And there are iPods.  And iPads.  And books on CD.  And portable DVD players.

So yesterday I finished tying two blankets and tied mine completely.  (I didn’t bring mine due to the smallness of our vehicle.)  There is one more yet to be tied.

I brought home brand new notepads and markers and I was the only one to mark all of the licenses we saw.

Mount Rushmore is a jackpot, by the way.  We saw 24 different states in the parking lot.

We saw all states except for Hawaii, West Virginia, and two other states.  We even saw Alaska.  But I think Kevin and I were the most excited about the game.

I could’ve saved a lot of time and effort if I’d just downloaded the license plate game.

Then we could’ve opened the apps together.

This is where the bison licked the car.

This is where the bison licked the car.

Time not wasted was picking out these babies

Time not wasted was picking out these babies

Road Trip Recap

When we last saw our heroes, they were cramming themselves into a tiny SUV which should’ve been bigger.  We now join them somewhere on I-90.

I’d only reserved two hotels for the entire trip.  I had no idea how far we would travel each day and so I only booked for what I thought would be busier places: Rapid City and Nauvoo.  The little towns by Mount Rushmore are basically shut down off season, so I didn’t find anywhere closer for a family of five.

With a waterslide.

Mount Rushmore was pretty cool, I thought.  My husband had wanted to hike around it but all of the trails were closed because it had snowed the night before and there was ice.  And the Department of the Interior does not mess around with ice.

The kids became junior park rangers and I learned a lot about Mount Rushmore that I hadn’t known.  For instance, Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t originally planned for it.  And dynamite was used to create 90% of it.  And honeycombing isn’t just for bees.

Custer National Park was a highlight.  We saw prairie dogs, deer, elk, coyotes, wolves, wild ponies, and bison.  One bison started licking our car.  We found out from another visitor that they lick the salt off the cars.  I had just thought that was the bison way of being friendly.

This is the bison licking our car. If you would like a better picture, you can get out of your car and take it...

This is the bison licking our car. If you would like a better picture, you can get out of your car and take it…

Once you leave Rapid City, heading East on I-90, you start seeing billboards for Wall Drug.  And then you keep seeing them about every 50 feet.  There are big billboards and little billboards.  Billboards offering free water.  Billboards offering discounts to Vets.  Billboards with obscure drawings that have nothing to do with Walls or Drugs.

By the time you’ve driven 5 miles, you are very curious as to why Wall Drug advertises so much.  So we decided to stop.

(Which may be why they advertise so much.)

It was Easter Sunday and I wasn’t sure it would be open but THERE WERE SO MANY SIGNS we thought it was always open.

So we got off the freeway.  And followed the signs to a GIANT store.  It took up a whole block.  It was amazing.

It was closed.

So instead, we went to the bar across the street and had the best burgers and fries we had eaten in a while.  And fried pickle chips.  I would like a lifetime supply of fried pickle chips.

I think the highlight of the trip for the kids (and for me) was Nauvoo.  It’s a historical town where we learned how to make rope, bake bread in a brick oven (hypothetically), weave our own rugs and make a horseshoe.  The kids like living history towns; we sort of make them like them because we keep taking them to different ones.  It just makes it easier if they decide to enjoy themselves.

We learned a lot.  We even ran into Susan Easton Black and George Durrant who were there on  a very brief mission.  We followed her around town and the cemetery (with her permission).  We even stayed an extra day so we could hear her lecture.

And it’s a good thing we did because we then got to see the Carthage County Museum (or something like that) which was made from the collection of a biology teacher from the local college.  She used to collect things.  Nowadays we call that hoarding but I guess her stuff was interesting enough to keep her house as a museum.  And that’s where we saw the pickle jar with the pickled two-headed pig.  A true highlight.

It's in a PICKLE JAR!

It’s in a PICKLE JAR!

We finished our trip in Independence Missouri.  We spent the day driving to different LDS sites and then we went to the visitor’s center.  We knew it had been a long day and trip and that we were done with it all when the missionary asked us what we should do before we pray and my 8 yr old said:

Eat.

(The correct answer was some version of ponder…  meditate, think, pause…  Eat was an answer she hadn’t heard before.)

The whole trip was a good time.  There wasn’t too much fighting (Thank you Tyler Whitesides for writing The Janitors series and reading it onto CD’s).  By the end of the trip I think we were all sick of each other, but we all learned a lot.

I learned that my great, great grandfather Haight had a 16 day old child who passed away at Winter Quarters, Nebraska and that my great, great, great grandfather Higgenbotham had been a missionary from Nauvoo.  I got a CD with their information and their wives’ information and I can’t wait to read what I found.  Eliza and Louisa, their wives, did amazing things and wrote about it.  I can’t wait to read their journals.  It made Nauvoo a little more real, knowing my ancestors came through there.  (I even know where their land was.  I asked the owners if I could have it back and they said no.  I didn’t even get my own parking space in the lot that was over Gpa Higginbotham’s 1/4 acre.  Seems unfair.)

Can you see the resemblance?

Can you see the resemblance?

I think the kids learned a lot about U.S. and LDS history but they will probably remember the bison licking the car and the two headed pig the most.

But one day they will go back, wearing their prairie diamond rings, with the information we got this time, knowing their ancestors were there.

Prairie Diamond Rings

Prairie Diamond Rings