On New Babies and Government Shutdowns

Six months ago this week, the deal closed and, suddenly, we owned Siesta Key 611.

Appropriately, it was April Fool’s Day.

We were thrilled, excited and figured we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into.    After all, it was a life long dream come true.  (I wonder if certain American political ‘leaders’  are feeling like that today, having shutdown the federal government?)  Now, in hindsight, I realize we were like expectant first-time parents.

A quarter century ago, I recall standing in the elevator on morning, going up to my office, six months pregnant with my first and very earnestly telling a middle-aged man I worked with just how seriously busy my life was.  My coworker, who had four kiddies at home, kindly refrained from calling me deluded and gently broke the news, ”honey, you don’t know what busy is yet!”

Sure enough, the little one arrived. For a brief moment, we just goggled in wonder at what life had just handed us.  Then panic set it.  it was like being given some fantastically wrapped box on Christmas morning but then, when you rip open the ribbons and paper, you realize that this noisy and relentlessly demanding little gift did not come with any instruction manual, not even one of those really pathetic ones written by someone in China who can’t draw and you can’t find the bloody OFF button anywhere so that you can stop, just stop, just for a couple of minutes. Three minutes in the shower becomes your ‘me’ time for the day.  Five minutes to put on makeup seems plain stupid.  You are consumed with envy for anyone enjoying what they don’t even realize is an incredibly easy day at the office.

You think of the man in the elevator and you feel very humble.

Inevitably, everything turns out fine.  The full out sprint slows to a mere marathon.  The reality turns out to be different than the picture you had in your head going into this whole parenthood adventure, which is not a bad thing, just life, but yes, different than you thought it would be.

Well, it’s been a bit like that with our newest baby, Siesta Key 611, though admittedly a little less intense than with the boys.  It’s been fun, so far, which we expected, but there have certainly been a few WTF moments, too, which theoretically we expected but, of course, did not really.  Altogether, it’s been way more time and work than we realized on April 1st.

Keeping in mind Elmore Leonard’s rule of writing #10, ”try to leave out the parts readers skip,” I’m figuring I should skip the fun parts.  You want the dirt and you want the drama, don’t you?  Too bad.  You’re going to get the fun parts anyway.

Learning to build a website has been more fun than playing video games.  It should go live in another week or so, at which time I’ll invite you to check it out.

Everyone in our immediate family has worked together, from lifting furniture and carting boxes to Goodwill, to building websites, to arranging banking.  The whole project has brought us closer together and that’s been fun.  Nothing could be finer.

Seeing the condo after the reno was Fun with a capital F.

BEFORE:                                                                                                AFTER:

before 550pK4rsz_611_kitchen_from_seating_area550p

Writing this blog has been unexpectedly fun.  “Content!” demands my bossy oldest son, who is also our resident SEO expert.  “Give me content!”  So I write content, blathering on about anything that catches my fancy that has the remotest relationship to a Florida vacation.  It sets me two little deadlines a week. So I write, which I haven’t done  in years and, by gosh and by golly,  it’s FUN.  (Okay, I lie.  I have written lots over the past few years, mostly  things like “Limited time offer; some conditions apply.” That’s my living.  Maybe we can agree, with all due respect to my esteemed client whom I adore and live for, that we shouldn’t really classify disclaimers as either writing or fun.  It’s work.)  As much fun as it is, writing the blog does add a couple of hours worth of busy to the weekly TO DO list.

Now, to the dirt and the drama part.

Hate to break it to you, but there hasn’t really been much.  Having to replace the air conditioner unexpectedly was a WTF moment, but now that’s been done, we don’t have to worry about it again for years to come.

A special assessment (i.e, $$$) to replace the driveway with interlocking brick pavers was another.  Personally, I figure a driveway is a driveway is a driveway and why would any sane person spend money on a driveway of all things, especially one you have to weed?  Does anyone care?  Apparently some do. A majority of the other condo owners voted to do so and so a brick driveway is happening.  Construction has started.  WTF?  Well, I still don’t get it but I’m recovering.

The biggest, dirtiest, most dramatic WTF moment came this week with the shutdown of the US  government.  Suddenly, getting across the border or using an airport in the United States just became more complicated.  We have guests arriving this Saturday; I hope they make it okay.  We have a Canadian couple arriving later this month.   I hope they make it okay, too.

I’m figuring the the folks who forced the shutdown did not set out to screw me personally.  I’m Canadian and, since I believe they are oblivious to the world outside American borders, it follows that they are also oblivious to my existence.  Nonetheless, they are screwing me if our guests cannot make it to our Florida condo.  On a larger scale, they are holding hostage the economies of countries outside their own and probably do not even realize it.

Of course, it is the every day American who will be most affected by this, everyone from American vacationers, pensioners and government workers to the air traffic controllers who have to work without pay, according to an article I read in the paper.  With all due respect, I wonder if the politicians behind this have consciously considered rebranding their ‘beloved’ country, dropping the “United” from the name because sure seems they are more intent on dividing than uniting.   What happened to ”united we stand, divided we fall”?   WTF?

Personally, I can only hope that the people who have perpetrated this shut down find out, as every new parent does, that  the child they just brought into the world is going to change their lives in ways they could never, ever foresee.  I hope their baby is a colicky little brat, who teaches them some humility, teaches them that the universe does not revolve around their own particular set of wants, that it takes a community to raise a child and you have to work at getting along with the others in the community.  I hope this baby forces some politicians to grow up and put their country first.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

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7 responses to “On New Babies and Government Shutdowns

    • You may very well have a point, there, Lila! I suspect they are oblivious to everything except themselves and their own points of view. Let’s hope common sense prevails soon and people come together for the greater good.

  1. Hi there….just thought I’d drop a note here. We too bought a condo recently on Longboat Key (almost bought on Siesta) and it’s been fun/interesting/little stressful getting things rolling! Just started this blog but haven’t written anything too interesting yet – sorry! We’re heading down next week for a couple of weeks so we’ll have stories to tell! Take care…..Melanie

  2. The shutdown is a tactic so we do not look at the ineptness of those we picked to lead us. We do not go by IQ’s, in fact most of those in Congress are lawyers. What do lawyers do? They have no product to speak of but argue endlessly on topics that maybe real or not real. Instead of really doing something they fall into the mindset of greed. Greed for those who are the haves and forget those are the have nots. The problem with many of them is the representation of people who are still in the dark ages. We still do not get the concept of freedom. It is that all are equal for the same rights. Therefore why are they so privilege that the people pay all their freight. Why are we paying for their health insurance which is better than ours? Why do we pay for their vacations which are hidden under the guise of research trips? Why do they say they represent the people who only approve of them by less than twenty percent? Eventually they will pay the piper come election time. Then we will vote in another dunderhead who will perpetuate the same nonsense.

    • One can only hope this is a wakeup call to the citizens that more voters need to put down People magazine, learn about the issues and know the various politicians’ positions on those issues; then demand better from those who are supposed to be ‘public servants.’

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