They say there are five major stresses in a person’s life:

  1. Change in marital status
  2. Moving
  3. Changing jobs
  4. Birth/addition of a child
  5. Death of a loved one

In the spring of 1996 I had all but one of those stresses at the same time.  Within the span of six weeks I got married, moved across town, changed jobs and lost my grandmother.   I was a prime candidate for The Crazy House.  The only thing that kept me out of the loony bin was the fact that I was not pregnant at the time.  I’m sure we can all agree: that would have sealed the deal.

And yet 1996 had nothing on this summer that is now winding down.  Building, selling, making home repairs.  Call the builder; call the real estate office; call the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker… I forget who I am most days, and the sticky-notes and phone reminders that I set for myself are little help if I can’t even remember to look in the direction of said reminders.  I need reminders for my reminders for my reminders.  So it struck me as odd, as I stood in my kitchen one morning in July with my builder (yes, at the old house…long story that you can bore yourself with here) when I paused long enough to notice our family calendar on the refrigerator.  It was pretty bare during July, save the lone pen marks of my husband as he counted the days he has been smoke-free.

Dom quit smoking 219 days ago – right as we were gearing up to sell the house and dive head-first into building the new one.  Not the most desirable time to drop a vice cold-turkey, but then again I am of the mindset that NO TIME is a bad time to take control of your health for the better. I am soooooo proud of him!  I’ve wanted to shout it from the rooftops and sky-write congratulatory love notes, but he’s a pretty private person so I had to celebrate in silence.  And I was even tempted to leave the calendar alone and let it speak for itself. But…

Calendars are my diary.  Aside from my blogs, they are the only form of journaling or scrapbooking I do anymore.  I have kept wall calendars since my college days.  Even as I matriculated into electronic calendars (and yes, even as I chastise co-workers for using paper calendars) I always kept one hard copy calendar on the fridge at home.  This is where I mark the random stuff we do – the birthdays, the celebrations, the memories and the milestones.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  It’s all right there, and all I have to do is pull a calendar out of the box and flip through twelve simple pages to relive an entire year in my mind.

My favorite calendar now is Mom’s Family Calendar featuring the lovable critters of Sandra Boynton.  Each person has his or her own column in which to record activities.  Our family of four reserves the fifth column for the pups and any extended family birthdays.  It’s a 17-month calendar, starting in August for the new school year, which is really a great idea, even though I only remember to buy a new one in December when I’m Christmas shopping.  Plus, this calendar always comes with a ton of cute character stickers and a magnetized write-on/wipe-off board for important phone numbers, etc.  Oh, and an interior pocket “for loose $100 bills.”  I love that.  I keep looking in there hoping one or two bills have appeared.  No luck yet.

July and August wound up being perhaps the busiest months of our lives.  In the end, I decided if I didn’t mark it all down I would regret it later.  So I grabbed some Sharpies and a few stickers and “went to town” inscribing our activities for the summer and the milestones, stresses and successes 2012 has brought us so far.

I hope your summer was wonderful!