March 20, 2016

Working Together

I went home last week. My myself. To do taxes. And meet up with my siblings to help my parents get a few things accomplished. The week passed quickly. I don't think I slept more than 5 hours each night...because there's no time for the frivolousness of sleep when each day is packed so full.

My brother picked me up from the airport and we went to my office to find a box that would fit my Vitamix...which was really the most important of my plans that needed to be set in motion as soon as I arrived. The UPS guy told me it'd take three days to get to Nevada...which meant there was no way Vitamix would get the package in time to check out my blender and send me a new container.

My siblings and I haven't been alone with our parents in decades. Yes, we've all been together, but always with other people around, including our own families. It was like a step back in time for me. When I was a daughter instead of a mother. I think the best part about being together was the way in which we worked together.

Nowadays, when my children have chores, I'm faced with near constant contention.  Everyone's into everybody else's business and keeping track of who's worked the most and who's not doing their jobs. I ask for peace, but often add fuel (think raging blow torch) to the flames and make a bonfire.

So here's the down low. Our parents have collected more than 40 years worth of who-knows-what in their home. It's a lot. I'm pretty sure an episode of Hoarders could be made there. We joke about bringing in a dumpster and my dad gets panicked that we're going to throw out all of his stuff. And we tell him that we'd like to work with him so that we can find out what family history items are there.

My brothers had a plan when they came over Friday afternoon. I had arrived Wednesday and when we pulled into the driveway that night there was a 2-3 inch deep puddle the size of a car where they usually park their car. So I called the gravel company and had them dump 15 yards (17.000 Kg) in the driveway. My parents had been out that afternoon worried, I'm sure, about what we were doing. We worked all afternoon and evening to get that gravel spread and to fill in the holes that caused big puddles. We also cleaned up the junk storage along the perimeter. They were so surprised. And pleased.

So, my brothers have some muscle and were able to move the wheel barrows around to dump gravel where it needed to go. I can shovel gravel from a pile into the wheel barrows, but often if I try to move them, I'll tip them over five feet shy of where they should have gone. My sister has some wrist issues and doesn't lift very much at all. So instead of doing what we did as kids by wanting everything equal and fighting to make it so, we accepted where we each were at and focused on what we could each do. While I was filling wheel barrows, my brothers were cleaning junk and my sister was raking gravel. Then my brothers would move loads for me. We worked so well together. I loved it. It's the first time we've ever been all together at the same time doing a project like that. Of course we all work together in the driving school, but this was different. It was truly a labor of love.

It gives me hope for my kids. Someday, I hope sooner than later, they will figure it out. Just like my siblings and I did. We can do amazing things together when we play to each other's strengths.

I was disappointed to be leaving without my Vitamix and was making arrangements for our eventual reunion when my brother called me the afternoon before I left and told me UPS had just delivered it. YES! The only problem was that my suitcase was full of stuff from my shopping my basement. We left a lot of stuff behind. Stuff that I like. But stuff that we didn't have room for. So I repacked a few items. Dropped extra stuff back to my basement. And found myself in possession of two suitcases packed to the limit and a 45 pound carry on.

As luck would have it, my first flight was totally booked and they asked for at least 15 passengers to check in their carry on luggage. I had been nervous about lifting the bag...I mean I had to make it look easy, right? Ha ha. But it turns out there is no weight limit for carry ons (on United anyway) and so I volunteered. So glad I didn't have to lug that around.

And we're back into smoothies! Vitamix is awesome, both the products and company. And no, I don't get paid to say that. Though I wish I did. Today we had a guava lime smoothie. So good. I'm going to have to try that combo again soon.

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