Am I one big whiner? I was shocked that so many comments left on my last post were offering consolation for our rough trip to Chicago, when I swear that in my mind the whole thing had gone off swimmingly. Has complaint become a habit for me? How unpleasant.
Take, for instance, the issue of a digital camcorder. I've been hinting around for one for several months now, having enjoyed taking little mini-movies with my digital camera, but always so disappointed with the dismal lighting in most indoor situations. Joerg does not want us to become the parents that view every event through a tiny LCD screen, rather than watching, and participating in, the event itself
. Having convinced him that I'm more of one for videoing short segments to capture the mood of a particular age and phase rather than actually trying to record Life
, there was still the issue of the money. Like most people, we can't just decide to buy something and then go buy it. If we decide to buy something, we then need to decide what will therefore not get bought, like, for instance, a printer that actually prints without blurry blue lines appearing haphazardly throughout the page. Having convinced him that the items given up on my wish list will not magically reappear 2 weeks after the camcorder purchase, we then needed to settle on a budget.
We went through a similar process 16 months ago, when we decided to finally buy a digital camera for my Christmas/Birthday present. I have been very happy with the camera we bought. Not my dream camera, by far, but the dream camera
was clearly leagues out of our budget. But who can complain when it gives me shots like this:
Evidently, I can. Joerg pointed out that he was hesitant for us to settle simply on a camcorder that we could afford because I complain all the time
about how slow the digital camera is, or how it blurred this shot, or missed that shot. Imagine my surprise. Of course, I denied it. I didn't actually deny that I complain about the camera, but I reasoned that I give equal air-time to positive comments, too. Like how handy it is, and how much money we've saved on film and film developing costs. And how I've gotten pictures that I never would have gotten if I'd had to pull out the big, bad, wonderful film camera.
But then I got to thinking, and it wasn't pretty.
For a few days last week, I thought I was going to have to get a new bike. Well, not have to
, but my bike wasn't working and I couldn't see spending money on fixing up my cheap Huffy rather than simply garage selling it to some teen girl with a mechanically-minded dad; a girl who would park it in front of her best friend's house when she visited, right there in front so everyone could see it, and love that bike all summer long. So I started telling Joerg how it would be so great to finally get a better bike, a bike that I could take to the local bike shop without blushing.
And then my own mechanically-minded dad visited and had the bike fixed in approximately 5 minutes. Approximately 30 seconds after he pronounced the bike "fixed," Annika was clamoring to take a ride in the bike trailer. Ah, the bike trailer. Yes, I had had my heart set on a Burley bike trailer
, but ended up with a used InStep
that I got for $15 at a garage sale. But the girls buckled in gleefully, shrieked when I rolled down the driveway, and yelled, "Hi, doggie" at every passing canine, or any vaguely canine-like animal, for that matter. It was joy in motion.
"What in the world is wrong with me?" I thought. I am going to turn my girls into mad little competitive consumers if I keep this up. But then our neighbor Sabrina showed up, and asked if she could ride with us for a while. She was sitting proudly on the brand new shiny bike she had just gotten for her seventh birthday, and couldn't wait to show us how much faster she could go now that her wheel size had increased from 14 inches to 18. When we got back home, Sabrina asked Annika if she would like her old bike. Anni, too stunned for words, just nodded her head. But when Sabrina ran off to get it, Anni turned to me and began to wiggle a little as she breathlessly repeated for me, who had stood there through the entire conversation, that Sabrina was going to give her her old bike. If you remember, this bad-ass bike
was the one Anni had fallen in love with at the store. But when Sabrina brought over her old beat-up bike, with stubs where the streamers should be and strange orange marks on the seat, Anni saw stars. Of course, the bike worked perfectly and Anni could not wait to hit the pavement on her new wheels, not really new but blessed by the incomparable coolness of Sabrina, The Older Girl Next Door.
Clearly, I have not screwed my kids up just yet. I am a lucky lucky
woman. From our perch of a comfortable life here in the flatlands it should be easier to remember the old truism that it's not what you have, but what you do with it that counts.