Thursday, June 2, 2011

a summery interlude ...

A few days of sunshine coupled with a mid-year holiday with my husband means we toodled down to the local beach for a picnic. Is there anything nicer than a sunny day, a full tummy, a beautiful (empty) beach and the ones you love?

I even managed to complete a stitching project while my lads splashed around and reread back copies of my favourite magazine Selvedge. And there is nothing nicer than a happy baby (ok ok toddler, but he's my last and still looks like a baby to me, albeit a big one) with goosebumps wrapped up in my woollen cardigan! He enjoyed his impromptu swim and we enjoyed a break from all that is going on for us too.

I managed to catch some snaps on my phone. I seem to be forever apologising for the low quality of photos because my Canon does an infinitely better job, but my phone is much more portable and to be honest, lugging around my beautiful but heavy camera is just a bit beyond me at the mo.

I'm recovering from some kind of virus. All my tests have come back with clear results which is great news but we still remain at a loss as to why I am so ill all the time. I am thankful for days like this.

My husband and I are wracking our brains to try and figure out how we can have a more balanced lifestyle, how I can help bring in income using my brains and laptop (because I'm confined a lot). I always wanted to share parenting because he is a great man and father. Having three sons, they need him around a lot more now that they are growing up. He leads a pretty full on life too, working long long hours.

This year has meant lots of away trips since the earthquake in Christchurch. The building his company used in Christchurch is now condemned so he had to set them up in temporary digs and now they have bought a new building, establish their networks for them there. Its meant every week he's been away. Some of his trips we get to travel with him but for the most part it means I'm a sick mama at home with three boys to tend to, albeit as best I can, while he works away. And we do manage. My lads are great, but they are kids and sometimes have no ears and generate lots more work. Everything is infinitely easier with two adults around. Housework. Childcare. Having fun.

The incredible thing about it all, he never ever complains. Not about his hours or workload, not about my illness and the extra workload that puts on him, not a negative word or attitude from him. He shuts off sometimes but that's self preservation. I understand that. And that's why my boys need to see him more. Because he's a great role model. Not an ounce of self pity in him. Not an ounce of greed or malice or even discontentedness.

When the boys were young and I was struggling with depression, he'd often come home to disarray. I remember clearly he said to me "I don't look at the house and how tidy it is. I look at your faces. If you're happy, I'm happy." He's that kind of person. And we are very blessed.

It has made for some interesting conversations between us lately like how I could possibly generate income. I'd craft but I don't even know if what I make appeals to others. Likewise I think I could teach but who would attend the workshops? I have tonnes of thrifted linens I could resell, but I look online and there's tonnes there. I'm a gun at thrifting and salvaging and sourcing goods.

My ideal job would be to get paid for any or all of the following: thrifting, talking, photography and writing, plus something with loads of people contact. I love helping people to reach their goals too. I don't want to return to counselling. Right now, all the energy that I have to help others grow, is focused on my family, and I don't want to be in that kind of role for others right now. Maybe later, but not now. The idea of a call centre job or something like it has about as much appeal as sticking a pencil in my eye (someone wise actually said that today, I'm borrowing, thanks Tash). And again, I can't guarantee that I'll show up for work, with illness peppering my life like it does now, 9-5 Monday-Friday.

I do love my city and this region. I love showing people how beautiful it is, and all the hidden gems tucked away that even people who live here don't know about. I once thought about boutique type tours of Wellington for tourists, artful ones that could include thrifting, beach walks for sea glass and round pebbles, visiting working and master artists in their homes, cafe stops for high teas, scenic and cultural site visits tailored for each group or family as to their liking. We have so many good things happening in our capital that are happening off the beaten track. Then people started telling me one needed to have a licence for carrying passengers and the start up costs would be huge. Its funny because I do this anyway, I just don't charge and we call them road trips with my friends!

I love to show people a crafty creative good time. Its a different kind of good time. I think of all those wives whose husbands come here to work or play golf. What do they do? Shop probably. I'd love to travel and meet people like me in Mexico or Japan or London. Who could unravel the mysteries of the city on a low key personal basis, give me a creative sample, show me the best exhibitions based on my interests and take me off the beaten track to visit artisans in situ.

And yet our lifestyle with three fast growing sons and the expenses incurred by our family, are once again almost beyond what we earn. We are a modest income family with modest outgoings. We have cut back a lot lately wherever we can. So it means we either find a creative solution, or my husband works more hours, or a second job; or we continue to struggle along as best we can.

Trust me, I'm praying for a solution that fits our family and trusting that God will bring healing and opportunities. I have other photos that were more personal that I decided not to show but they capture how content we are when we spend time like this together. We are stronger for it in body and in spirit.