Early and Late, with Time to Spare (and a Birthday Party!)

My mother stayed at our house for 10 days this month. Like most 88-year-olds, she has her favorite stories, one of them about how one of the nuns at her school used to say Mom would be late for her own funeral. Though Mom admits her life-long character flaw of being consistently late for everything, she thinks that being late getting to one’s funeral would be a good thing. She’s right about that!

Mom’s stay put me a little behind on my 60th Birthday Bucket List, but then with less than a month to go before my birthday, many items on the list won’t get done anyway. No matter. We were at an event last evening at which Coach Crean and a panel of other successful coaches stressed that not having experienced failure only means that you haven’t tried. Many items on my list were too ambitious for there to have been any chance of completion, such as finishing my three novels-in-progress. Those items will be on my 70th Birthday Bucket List—and there you go, I have just completed the 60th BBL item “start writing a bucket list for my 70th”!

Running late as exerciseSolid plans for some items, such as “visit Angel Mounds,” were derailed by activities that came up unexpectedly, but failure to finish items when everyday life got in the way doesn’t bother me. We have busy lives, and we don’t sit around much. In fact, my attempt at list item “run a 5K in 30 minutes” could be a metaphor for my life in general. My 5K pace is around 35 minutes on a very good day, so cutting more than a full minute from my mile pace would be a big leap. But I can dream, and try, just as I can try to cram more and more into the fast pace of my everyday life.

Failure 1 straightenedMy 23-day coughing spell in July and four days of party preparation and 10 days of having a house guest in August slowed me down greatly on completing list items. I might have gotten in an Olympic distance triathlon (had to settle for watching the American woman win the triathlon at the Rio Olympics!) and I probably would have coerced some of my biking buddies to ride with me up the giant Boltinghouse hill. I came very close to an opportunity to replace my own cable on my bike; I had been waiting for one to break all summer, but when something did break a few weeks ago (another slowdown to BBL progress), it was the shifter itself rather than the shift cable. And so on, but there’s no sense dwelling on water over the bridge.

Birthday cupcakeWhich brings me to the party, which is the “early” part of this blog title and which ended up having a watery theme. I have four sisters, each living in different states and with busy lives of their own, so it is hard to find time for us all to get together. We do try, however, to get together every couple of years, and this year they all made it here in mid-August for an early celebration of my birthday organized by my sweet hubby and daughters. I didn’t have to do the work for list item “plan and do a sisters’ weekend,” but it gets checked off anyway! Neighbors and other friends also came to the big party, and we all had a good time despite the rain that fell all day and forced the event inside. Bob grilled and made salads and appetizers; sisters and my aunt helped prepare a veggie tray; daughters shopped and did setup, along with help from a few good friends. The birthday cake was cupcakes, and I’m still hearing comments about how good they were. A big success and very fun!

water balloonsOne daughter and I researched color bombs and water balloons so that list item “have a family water or color bomb fight” could be undertaken during the weekend when my sisters were in town. We decided on water balloon games, rather than a fight, so that the smaller grandkids wouldn’t be targets of errantly (or purposely) thrown balloons. All family were instructed to bring an extra set of clothing for the weekend so that they could get wet without having to worry about ruining party clothes. Well, the rain meant everybody got wet in a different way, and though we prepared some 200 balloons (see photo), the games had to be cancelled.

However, when the party was nearly over and most non-family guests were gone, the rain stopped and we took the grandkids outside to burn off some of the sugar from the cupcakes. The tub of water-filled balloons was too much to resist, and they took to throwing them onto the driveway to see them burst. When some of them didn’t burst, the kids then took to sitting on them until they did break. This led to the kids getting soaking wet, and the wading pool that we had filled up (and that the rain had filled to the very top) then became too much to resist, and they all jumped in, clothes and all. It was a fun end to a very fun party day, and I’m satisfied that the “water fight” item is satisfied.

Life and second chancesTime is running out on completing my 60th BBL, but three items have been finished since I last blogged, and I still have 13 days before the September 8th deadline. I’m late, but besides those 13 days, I have time to spare, since I won’t stop working on the list once the official time runs out. Life will busily go on, and I’m looking forward to a great next year and decade.