Rythm, Ruts and Hot Air

Routines develop throughout life. We wake-up, drop the kids off at the prospective camps or schools and we go to work. Tuesday’s are spaghetti nights. Movie and pizza nights are Fridays. Routines are good. They’re comfortable, efficient, and allow us to build lives.

There are rythms to dinner, to our work life, to our relationships. And its funny what we can get used to. People get used to abusive bosses, abusive partners, and whiny kids. People also get used to fancy cars, new clothes and air conditioning.

My wife and I are pretty tolerant of the midwest heat and humidity. The humidity is what becomes intolerable. Over the summer, we went to turn on the air, and the air wasn’t circulating. Heat and humidity climed to 100.

We brought out the fans like it was the 80’s. The 1980’s. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that air conditioning wasn’t a standard appliance in homes. People did survive without airconditioning. The latest results from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that 87 percentof U.S. households are now equipped with AC, so chances are it’s over 90% now.

We filled the kiddy-pool. We stayed in the shade. We worked to keep our complaining to a minimum.

And what suprised me the most was that our kids did less complaining that we did. In fact, I didn’t hear them complain once. Over the course of the three days the air conditioner was out, they slowly developed the rythm for the hot summer air and became okay with it.

Daylight savings time has now past, weather is much cooler and the daylight is in short supply. And then an electric circuit failed on us, and it wasn’t as simple as flipping the circuit. Overnight, the power to the lights in our kitchen and outlets in the front room failed. Time to adjust again (and maybe run some extension chords.)

Granted, the repair guy is schedule to arrive today. We’re ready for our luxury of lights to return, but the awareness of what we are able to acclimate to is not lost. The key, in my opinion, is to be aware of what we are getting used to, what we want to tolerate and what we can change for the better.

There are certain things we tolerate in our children and certain things we want to change for the better. My three-year-old daughter likes to pretend she’s a baby. A full on goo-goo-ga-ga baby that can’t understand words. Then a crawling baby. We tolerate it, even playing a long and rock her like an infant. And then she starts to spit and drool. This is where the baby game toleration ends. If she spits and drools, then we stop playing baby.

As a family we make each other stronger by tolerating the loving, the funny, the positive. We also make each other stronger by communicating what we don’t tolerate, expecting respect, and forgiving.


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