Saturday, July 10, 2010

Making Lemons into Lemonade

It’s been a stressful couple of days.  As I posted earlier, Saturday night was our big end-of-season swim team banquet, and the highlight of the banquet was to be a 12 minute slideshow by yours truly.

In the beginning (8 or 9 years ago) I made the slideshows because every swim team parent needed to volunteer somehow, and I figured I’d rather take pictures and make a slideshow than do something “harder.”  (Hah.  I should have been a timer!)

For the last two years I haven’t been nearly so altruistic.  As the number of our children able to swim on the team has increased (5 in 2008) our ability to pay for all of them has decreased.  For the last two years I have bartered my picture-taking ability and slideshow-making in exchange for reduced team fees for some of my children.

Which just increases the pressure about getting it all done and doing a good job.

Making a slideshow is a time consuming process to begin with, but this is made more difficult because I can’t really make it until I have pictures from the last meet—which I didn’t get until Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  (Next year I’m going to have a different strategy, I think.)

Finishing the slideshow is always complicated by the fact that the day of the banquet is also the day of the summer swim league champs—an all day ordeal event at a venue an hour away from home, surrounded by cheering parents.  Not exactly the place to finish the slideshow.

I worked at the kitchen table all day Friday.  Russ worked from home to keep me focused on the job at hand.  He fed me, ran the kids to swim practice, and then took them to a playdate after lunch.  He was serious about me getting it done.  I worked through dinner and until 2:00AM, but still had several hours worth of work left.

Saturday morning I got up and left at 9:30, arriving at the pool facility about 10:45.

July 2010 391 I know every mom feels the same way, but aren’t these windblown kids beautiful?!?

As we walked in we saw one of the dads from our team, and my kids asked anxiously, “Have they started yet?”

“No,” he replied, “the big kids are still warming up but they haven’t started the meet yet.”

Warning bells went off in my mind.  “The big kids are swimming this morning?”  I asked.

He reaffirmed that it was the older swimmers in the morning, and that the younger swimmers would be after lunch.

Fantastic.  I had been so busily working on the slideshow that I hadn’t read the whole email with the details on it.  And now we were at the swim meet 4 hours (4 hours!) early.

(4 hours = 2 more hours of sleep + 2 more hours of slideshow!)

I was so annoyed.  With me.  With Russ.  Pretty much with the whole world.

I told the little kids that since we had so much extra time, I wanted to go to the farmers market, which was about 15 minutes away.  They protested at this idea, saying that they wanted to stay and cheer for the big kids.  The mom from our team in charge of watching the kids by the pool said that there weren’t very many kids there yet (of course not, their parents were smart enough to check the time so that they could stay home and sleep!!!) and that it was fine if I left the kids with her while I went to the farmers market.

And so I did.

When I got off the interstate at the right exit I remembered my last trip to the farmers market, about a year and a half ago.  Russ and I had been greatly entertained by a limo business near the exit.  At the time I’d been really sad because I didn’t have a camera to take pictures of the funny limos.  Now that is rarely a problem.

I pulled right off the road, knowing that people driving buy were probably thinking that I was crazy to be taking pictures of the limos.  I didn’t even care.

Because that yard full of limos is insane.
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Most of these are not regular limos.  They much longer, for one thing.  And they’re mostly SUV limos.  There’s a Hummer limo.  It is sooo long!

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Then there was a safari limo.  For when you and your 70 best friends go on safari in Raleigh.

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And lastly, an Expedition limo for really tall people.

July 2010 398 (yep, I walked right into the yard and took the picture.  So bold!)

I was starting to feel better about my day.

As soon as I got to the farmers market I started feeling even better about things.  After all, I was at the farmers market by myself.  That was a pretty sweet deal!  (The farmers market is over an hour from our house—we don’t go there often.)  All of the vendors were offering samples of sweet watermelon, cantelope, and peaches.  Yum. 

There were beautiful flowers all over the place, and I, of course, had the purse cam.

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These flowers were seriously the size of small dinner plates.

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And someone had gerbers.  Beautiful happy gerbers.  Gerbers that said “buy me, I’m beautiful.”  It’s a good thing that now I know just how false those beautiful flowers are.

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But the very best part was walking through one growers booth and seeing a sign that his 3 gallon gardenia plants were reduced to $10.  Do you know how great that price is?  Well, it’s really excellent.  I told him I would take two!  And then I noticed that he had a little yellow mandevilla…I have a fondness for yellow mandevillas, but haven’t seen them locally to buy in several years.  So I told him I’d take that too.  And he gave me another smaller one for free.  And then I found a small white mandevilla for only $6 later.

This is what I got for $36.  (Ok, just the front 5 plants.)

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You’d better believe all of those beautiful plants put me in a much happier mood.

The rest of the day had a lot of stress.  There were more slideshow problems, I was exhausted, and it took me every last minute available to finish.

But I got to watch my adorable children swim, and all three of them got personal bests.  (And several heat winners as well!)

And I got some new plants.

I guess it worked out ok after all…


  1. Hurray for it all working out! So glad that you were able to take pics of those limos. Still laughing at the safari comment. =D

  2. And, you're least for another year!

  3. And Cindy being anywhere early, let alone 4 hours early is just not something that should be done. :>. But once again, I'm sorry Cindy for getting the times all messed up. <hangs head in shame> I'll try to do better.