Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm a Travelin' (wo)Man....

I suppose I'll be pulling out the suitcases again soon.  It's good news though.  I hereby formally announce...

TA TA Ta DA (a trumpet fanfare)


I may have made mention in the last post the rent house behind ours was becoming available again.  Mom, as sick of us as we are of her, trotted over and talked to the landlord and decided to rent it.  Hubby and I guided her that she should ask for just a six month lease in case the disability drags out to forever or some other malady strikes.  The last week or so has been a brainstorm session of what is the most feasible and economical way to get down to Arkansas and back with her stuff.  After much internet searching and the like Mom and I will fly down, rent a U-Haul, load it with some help from Uncle's farm labor and drive it back to Wisconsin.  Hubby will stay here and either leave work early or work from home the three days or so it will take us to make the trip.

I think the landlady cut Mom a deal on the rent because last year when we inquired about it the rent seemed about $100 higher.  Mom told her there was no need to re-paint as there was just some minor dents in the paint.  So with that cost removed and knowing the yard work would fall upon our shoulders (and likely any minor repairs) and not having to look for a tenant etc. might have worked in Mom's favor.  Luckily the yard is TINY, like honestly it will take a whole extra 10 minutes to mow in the summer. 

I'm so excited, would it be wrong to start dragging her clothes over there and blow up and air mattress for her?  he he

The good part of her being close is she'll still be handy to keep an eye on the kids now and then and we can keep an eye on her as well.  I can call her over for supper a couple of times a week to make sure she's not living completely off of ham sandwiches and Lean Cuisines but if I feed the kids chicken nuggets and canned corn for supper I won't hear any complaints.  Mom is also excited she won't have to pay for internet and will be able just to hack into our Wi-Fi.  Hopefully it will work out well.  Funny when I think about it this is the third generation of our family to live next door to grandparents.  Mom lived next door to grandmother when she was a child, I lived next door to my grandmother from third grade on, and now my kids will live next door to their grandmother at least for a time.

At least three more trips are on the books for me as well, two to go up north and deal with FIL's household.  SIL asked that we come up in the next few weeks and work at trying to clean up FIL's house so we could try to market it somehow. I also promised SIL I would come up for a week or so after school is out, and we could start sorting through all of FIL's stuff and have a giant yard sale.

Hubby also got the green light and the kids are going to stay with MIL and SIL for a week while we fly out to Oregon to visit some with an uncle of his and just mill around the Pacific North West.  I've never been to that part of the country and Hubby hasn't been since he was a young child.  Definitely on our to do list is see giant redwoods in northern CA but other than that we don't know.  I have already requested if it's not entirely too much extra money that we rent a convertible or a jeep for driving around in but we'll have to see.  I hope we can swing reasonable airfare as that will be the biggest bill of the trip.  We haven't made reservations yet, but it's in the near future.

Over all things are looking up and after Mom gets moved we will hopefully fall into a more normal rhythm of middle class, middle American life.  I'm almost scared to type that because you know that just has something sneaky hiding behind it waiting to throw a wrench into the inner workings.

So keep your fingers crossed and don't swear too much at the Uhaul with two women in the cab if you happen to be somewhere between Arkansas and Wisconsin!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm from a Third World Country (sort of)

Yesterday on Facebook an acquaintance from high school posted a link to a music video excited that several people were in it including her.  I watched the video out of curiosity of course.  It seems that the video was a very nicely (an probably expensively) produced music video promoting Heifer Project International.  I'm out of the loop, so it's really possible the guy singing it is some giant pop star, but I doubt it.

The video flips between images that are very distinctly South American and scenes from the town I grew up in, with some shots in front of Heifer Project's headquarters.  The scenes from my Arkansas Delta hometown were frankly more depressing than the mountain landscapes with rural people in the south American mountains.

A quick gander at Heifer Project's website shows that they only have two programs running in the U.S.  One in Oregon, and one in the Delta.  The rest of their projects are in either 3rd world countries or "second" world countries such as Ukraine. 

I'm torn though.  I'm glad that some well organized group is getting in there and trying to get people to help themselves; on the flip side I feel it destined to failure.  There is so little employment there, the school district has collapsed in mess of lawsuits and apathy, and the area is riddled with gangs and drug dealing and abuse.   People in general there have so little pride in their surroundings that when a building falls into disrepair it simply falls down and the pile stays there.  If there is a fire the burned shell of the building stays.  There are no public playgrounds or parks nor is there a tax base or a willing group of volunteers to work at things like this.  When the city does manage to scrape together a little money such as putting out concrete picnic tables the thugs come along break the tables apart.  Metal is stolen at an amazing clip - my uncle who farms there replaces culverts and parts on his irrigation systems frequently.  Depressing.

So to say that I'm from a third world "county" is not too far fetched, even major international charities think so.

This in no way colors my opinion of Heifer Project.  Honestly I feel it one of the better aid programs out there and urge you to donate money to the charity.  If you are not familiar with the philosophy of Heifer Project please read up on it as it was based on "pay forward" long before the term became popular.

In a weird footnote to the whole thing I might have been the one to put Hometown on Heifer Project's radar.  I don't know this for sure of course. A few years ago when the mayor that hired Mom was soon to be up for re-election and we knew he would likely be booted out, I spent hours on the computer trying to get agencies into the town and looking for grants.  I distinctly remember writing an e-mail to Heifer Project as they were starting new programs in the U.S. at that time.  Do I KNOW that I sent Heifer to Hometown, nope I don't, but I can't help but wonder.