Saturday, May 28, 2011

Computer Woes

I have had a frustrating week - mainly because I have not been able to use my desktop for internet purposes since Tues. I woke up Wed morning and my air card refused to connect. I spent an hour on the phone with tech support and then I made a trip out to US Cellular. Paul ended up buying a new air card that evening - and still no success. My neighbor, a computer whiz, who has the same broadband connection system we do, is working on the system. He thinks it's because I have Vista on the desktop. But even he hasn't gotten it figured out yet. So, the only internet I currently have is on my laptop, which is frustrating, to say the least. I sure hope he figures out something soon!

I now have my red office. I painted all day last Friday and it looked pretty good, I thought, when I got done. Painting was a bit of an ordeal because of all the furniture moving around I had to do - it's a small space. Then, I went away Sat. to go camping, got back Sun. night and realized I would need yet another coat. Grrr.... So, Monday morning I ran to Menards and bought more paint and then had to move furniture all over again! As I put it on, I began to feel very dubious about getting any good results. But once it dried, I have been pleasantly surprised. I'm not so sure I'll ever paint anything red again, but I like this! I had Will hang up my office decorations, which was fun, since I've been collecting things and dreaming about this room for months!

We did go camping last weekend. It was kind of cool and windy and Sat. night it rained. So, Sunday aft. we went ahead and packed up. We were north of Ames and ended up finding an antique mall in Story City. Oh, wow - it was amazing! I came this close to buying a Hoosier cabinet. But the owner didn't want to come down in price and it would have needed a little bit of work. Plus, with the big table still in the kitchen, I really don't have a place for it yet, until we get it moved, which won't happen until we get the woodburner down into the basement - which won't happen until we dig out more of the basement! But I am going to continue to keep my eyes open for one and I'll save my birthday and Christmas monies and maybe someday I'll be able to afford an even nicer one than the one I spied at the store. Paul did find me a metal milk box to put on the front porch. These hearken back to the days when milk was delivered in glass bottles to homes. I think that is a thing of the past, although I have a friend in England who still gets her milk that way. The box is in really good condition and even says, "Anderson-Erikson" on it. I have had an old rusty milk can on the porch for a couple of years. I think I am going to try to spraypaint that this summer.

Well, here's another khaki skirt update: I got a card in the mail last week from Chadwicks and they discontinued the skirt that was on backorder for me! Grrr.... So, I immediately went on-line and found something similar at LL Bean. I called them and they only had one size that might fit me. Most of the reviews I read stated that the skirt runs larger than the size would indicate. Of course, at the rate my middle is expanding, that might not be such a bad thing! And, wouldn't you know it, that skirt is on backorder too! I have fuzzy feeling I'm not going to have a khaki skirt for awhile...

Yesterday was David's birthday. I started a Facebook page for him, per my promise to him about 2 yrs ago. Of course, when I made that promise, I didn't realize that you have to be 13 to have a FB page. I didn't find that out until recently and David has been so, so excited about having his own page. I just didn't have the heart to make him wait another year. But it really bothered me to have to list a different year of birth for him than what is true. I won't do that again. Last night, Paul's 30 yr old nephew called to let me know that David had requested him as a friend on FB and he was going to turn him down, but he wanted to explain why, so David didn't get his feelings hurt. His reasoning was that sometimes he posts inappropriate things and he thought David was too young to see those things. I was appreciative of that - I hadn't even thought that far ahead. Of course,though, I can't help but think that it would be much better to live one's life so that you never have to fear WHO might see what you write. Facebook is a very public forum and you never know who might be reading your posts. I suppose I'm just a fuddy duddy, though...

David had to go to the wart dr. on his birthday, of all days! He has a couple of plantar warts on the bottom of his foot. He was not impressed! Then I had to run a couple of errands and we stopped by Mercy Hospital to visit our friend James. He is the husband of Charlotte, whom I wrote about last month, asking for prayer. He has all kinds of lung issues and they got the best of him and he's been hospitalized for the last week. I didn't know until Thurs. when Charlotte called me, though. I told her not to do that again! I want to know when they are having difficulties. Mercy has a McDonalds in it, so since it was after lunchtime I took David down there for lunch. I even ate mcnuggets, which I swore some time ago I would never do again, because they are so bad for you. But they were on sale. And they're really, really good! David has been craving one of their new strawberry lemonades, so I got that for him, too. He had a nice birthday lunch, anyway.

When we got home, David disappeared for a minute and then came back into the house with a dozen roses for me. Paul had picked them up and hidden them in the garage fridge, telling David to give them to me sometime on Friday - so sweet!

Our plan had been to go to Chick Fil-A last evening, because David loves their food. But Paul didn't get home until 9:30! He was working on a job that another local HVAC place totally screwed up and it took him awhile. So, he stopped by Pizza Hut and brought home some pizzas instead. We told David we'll do the chicken some other time.

Well, I had better wrap this up. We need to leave in an hour or so for a wedding. It's kind of a gloomy day for a wedding, but hopefully, it will clear off. It will be a big one, though, no matter what the weather. I'm serving the food at this one.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Busy Season

It's another tremendously busy week here. I am starting to think that the problem isn't my schedule, but it's me. I'm getting this way every week - feeling panicky and short of breath because I have SO much to do. But maybe it's just because it's May and things typically speed up then. I don't know. If I didn't have to sleep, then things would be so much better. Think of all that extra time I would have to get things done!

We had Ben's IEP mtg last Friday. It went well. The principal and teachers told me repeatedly what a delight Ben is. The principal said that his day just is not complete unless he's had a chance to see Ben. They also told me how bright and intelligent he is - music to my ears. A year ago at this time I didn't even care how much or if Ben got educated. I just needed him to be somewhere else. But to find out that he's learning and he's learning well - very sweet to hear. We made the right decision with him.

We decided to let Ben start riding the bus. This week he has been riding on the way to school and we'll probably have him start riding home next week. Boy, was that one tough for me! I would prefer to totally protect him and get private transportation for him. But I had a chat with the bus driver before Ben started and that definitely helped put my mind at ease. He's actually a pastor somewhere and just drives buses to supplement his income. They've put some protective measures in place for Ben and he's been excited all week long to ride! So -- it might be ok! This loosening of my grip on Ben continues to be a rather painful process...

Oh, speaking of brother-in-law (married to Paul's sister) was grinding a battery or something like that on Sun. and the grinding wheel malfunctioned, sending the wheel into his eye. He was wearing safety goggles and it just either broke through them, or pushed them up. Anyway, the wheel went into his eye and he had to have emergency surgery. They don't know yet if they'll be able to save the eye. The big concern right now is that he avoid infection because it's an open portal to the brain. To that end, they had him leave the hospital on Monday, saying he'd be less likely to get an infection at home than in the hospital. Ooh - nasty! Just makes me shiver!

Will did the sound for a wedding at church last Friday night. It ended up being quite chilly and rainy that evening. Will said that the bride and groom rode away from the church, from Indianola to Des Moines, on a motorcycle! Can you imagine doing that in the cold?!

There is another wedding at church next weekend. I've been asked to help serve at the reception in Norwalk. That kind of tickled me. The best part is that I won't have to try to feed my kids at the reception. It's always stressful whenever we do any kind of buffet, trying to get food for both Sam and Ben. Now, it will all be on Paul. I'll probably owe him, big time...

This week Sam told me that there is a snake "guarding the garage." I thought that was kind of a funny way to express that. It wasn't until later that I remembered David saying something about a garter snake out by the garage. That's what Sam was talking about, only he misunderstood and thought that the snake was a "guard" snake - ha, ha, ha!

Yesterday David had to get his picture taken for his upcoming birthday. And I had a bunch of errands to run, too. So we ended up being in town together all day long. He's really delightful company. But one of my errands was that I needed to buy some new undies for me. Well, David thought he was just going to die, having to spend time in the underwear section at Target. He cried, "I don't know where to look, Mom!" It didn't take that long to find what I needed, but by the sounds of distress David was making you would have thought I spent hours in there. Later, I told David just how much I had enjoyed spending the day with him. He replied that he had enjoyed it, too, "except for the underwear part, Mom!" Poor kid!

Last weekend our news was reporting a story that school officials in Marshalltown, which is north of here, have become discouraged by the number of tardies the students in the district are racking up. So you know what they are doing? They're sending wake-up calls to all the kids! I could NOT believe it! Is this the ultimate welfare state or what? How utterly, utterly stupid. It just goes to show you the total lack of responsibility out there - in the kids and their parents, and the lack of expectation of responsibility expected by the school officials. Give me a stinkin' break, as my husband would say.

I finally gave in and went to the chiropractor this week for my poor neck that I was complaining about in my last post. I found out that when I had sneezed, I knocked a rib out of place which put pressure on my neck. How is that even possible? It took 2 visits, but I'm finally feeling better - which is good because I was in a LOT of pain. The bad thing is that I found out that this chiropractor no longer takes our insurance of Jan. 1. Bummer! But he's so good, which is why I went to him instead my regular chiro. in Pville who does my monthly "maintenance" work.

Ok, I think I have covered it all. Maybe next week will be easier? Not counting on it. I have another city newsletter to crank out, David's birthday to shop for, VBS to plan (I am teaching the pre-primaries), Special Olympics in Ames, and an interview to conduct for my newsletter. Plus, I need to figure out our homeschooling needs for the next year since the conference is in a couple of weeks. This weekend I am hoping to get our office re-painted. Then, if it doesn't rain - and it might - we are going camping on Sat. night as a family. Paul and the older boys are headed up to Clear Lake tomorrow to attend the Father/Son retreat and then I'm supposed to meet them somewhere on Sat. Just a little bit of busyness...

It's a season -- a very long and tiring season, but temporary. I hope.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Breathing, Writing, and Mothering

You know, I had really thought this week was going to be less busy than last week, but halfway through it, things are not looking too good for that. I need some time to slow down and breathe! I find it so hard to believe that someday I will be gray-haired (well, that part I can believe), stooped, living alone, and wishing for company and trying to find things to while away the time. How nice it would be if I could just spread some of this busyness over the next few decades. I'd never have to worry about how to fill my days, that's for sure!

I did well with last week's FaithWriters. So well, in fact, that they're going to publish it! Here's the link: I wrote about feeling inadequate in light of the Proverbs 31 woman. I told Paul about this story and he commented, "You totally stole that from your own life!" Yeah, pretty much! I have to come up with another one for tonight. It's ok. I know what I'm going to write about. I'm just hoping we keep our electricity so I can it. I guess I can always use my laptop, though. There's tornadoes and bad storms right now to the west of us.

And my FW interview went up this week. Here it is: My mom said it is "Erma Bombeckian" in style. That's good, since Erma is my number 1 writing inspiration! I was just thinking this week that I want to get a copy of every book that woman ever wrote. I've read them all multiple times, but I don't own any.

Mother's Day was very nice this week. The day before I got pampered at Valley Church. We had a speaker that I liked, but had me scratching my head at some of the things she had to say, too. But that was ok. We all got 15 min professional massages. We got spa treatments where our hands and feet got babied while we rested with warm packs around our necks and cooling pads over our eyes. We got hand massages. We made bracelets. They had drawings and I won a basket full of home spa stuff - all Beauticontrol things. I won some gerbera daisies potted in a cute yellow pail. They're still blooming, too. I've just never had anyone pay that much attention to me and desire to minister to me in that way. I came away feeling incredibly blessed!

For Mother's Day I got my lunch out, cards, and a gift (a pizza stone and cookie sheet - suppose there's a message there?). Then Paul gave me a very special gift. I'm going to write about it soon. It's not that I can't now, but I'm still battling some internal things about this. I know - makes me sound all mysterious, doesn't it? I've got a secret and I'm not telling... It's not that. Paul and I are on the verge of stepping out in total faith to do something that probably sounds crazy. I'd like my readers to consider me to be somewhat sane until I start talking about this publicly. So, give me a few more weeks of that! In the meantime, I've got a whole lot more empathy for the Biblical Noah.

I got Kristi's and my hotel room booked this week. Three months from today and we'll be in Michigan!

Something disturbing...I was in a Christian book store this week. Well, it was Family Christian out at Jordan Creek - no need to protect their privacy, I guess. Up near the front of their register they had a DVD. I don't remember the title, but the actress on the front was dressed completely inappropriately for a Christian movie. It wasn't that her dress was just cut a little too low. But her chest was pushed outward and upward, leaving nothing to the imagination. You'd like to think that you're not going to have to encounter something like that at a Christian book store, but apparently you do. I grabbed the DVD and asked the clerk about it. She looked at me blankly. So I pointed out to her my objection. She just shrugged. I should have hunted down the manager, but I just left. It's irritating and it's sad at the same time.

I had a city council mtg last night. Wow - this one got a little heated. People sure are different when they get a little power. I find the whole process very frustrating and it makes me want to just go find an acreage where I would have NO neighbors and no responsibility. Yeah, well, I think people can find you, no matter where you go, unfortunately.

We've had a heat wave this week, but the temps are slowly falling now - thankfully. I say, "thankfully" because Paul doesn't have our AC hooked up yet. That's rather ironic, considering that he has spent the last 3 days, rushing around putting in and fixing other people's air conditioners! Yesterday was pretty awful, but we got by with fans. I had the boys sleep downstairs in the living room, too. Today started out hot, but some storms rolled through, which really helped. By this weekend we could be back into long sleeves again! What's that I heard about Iowa having bi-polar weather?!

David and Sam set up our little slide and pool yesterday and spent all afternoon cooling off in that. I feel bad, though, because both boys ended up sunburned. I never even thought about getting out the sunblock. I think this is definitely a check mark in the "bad mom" column!

Ben's IEP meeting is this Friday morning. Prayers would be appreciated about that. We need to hammer out next year. The only sticky point I see right now is figuring out his transportation next year, since I am not too wild about the idea of him riding the school bus. We're also going to have him attend that last hour that he's been coming home during this year.

Found out today that a girlfriend is expecting twin babies on Christmas Day. And she's older than I am. These will be babies 5 & 6 for her, should the pregnancy survive. My friend has had a lot of trouble carrying babies, though, in recent years.

I thought I would be thrifty today and instead of buying hashbrowns for a recipe, I grated my own potatoes. That took a lot of work. And now I see that my hash brown casserole is gray. I guess people buy the bagged ones for a reason! Live and learn...

Off to eat, help Ben study for a science test, drop some stuff off at my neighbor's, and write a winning story for FaithWriters. Just another night in Paradise...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Zoo, FaithWriters, and Felons

I have been running around like a madwoman since last weekend and I'm not seeing a reprieve in sight! I had hoped that Thurs. and Fri. would be "free" days for me, but they're not anymore. Apparently, Ben some "olympics" thing tomorrow at Simpson college. I was JUST called about it this morning. I'm not sure what it is - it's not affiliated with Special Olympics, but area sp. needs kids get together and do sporting events. At any rate, I have to go. And I just arranged to visit an older friend on Fri. so David can do his service project for Camp Coins. It has just been non-stop this week! But Sat. morning is my "Spa Day" over at Valley Church so that may be a chance for me to slow down for a bit!

This is us last weekend at the Omaha zoo. It was a nice day, weather-wise. I really enjoyed myself. It sure was a lot of walking, though! My knees were starting to protest by the day's end. Then that night Paul's parents had company - a family from their church. But the odd thing is that this family is younger than us and we were friends with them long before Paul's folks. So it worked out well to see them. Then Sunday we visited our old church and went out to eat with Paul's folks. Then we spent that afternoon visiting Paul's grandma and then we had to pick up a radio for Will's car at Paul's brother's -in-law house. It was just a lot. We got home in time that night to hear the news that Bin Ladan had been killed.

I guess I could pontificate on that more. But I'll just limit myself to saying - justice was done. And there's nothing wrong with smiling when that has been accomplished.

My mom had eye surgery on Mon. morning. Other than getting lost on my way there (stupid Mapquest) everything went well. The surgery was quick and the surgeon is confidant that she'll now be seeing better. In fact, in the recovery area we could already tell that things were working better. So, I was glad I could go sit with them and be involved.

I have some really good news - I'm going to the FaithWriter's conference!!! And the even better news is that my friend Kristi in CA is going too! I think I wrote last week about how I didn't know if it would work out. Well, my brother had told me he'd check on flights for me just so I'd have an idea of what it would cost to go. He called me Sun. night as I was hurtling down I-80 and told me that he had some airline miles he had earned and he didn't think he was going to be able to use them before they expired. Could I use them? Could I?!! So, anyway, he managed to book me a flight from Des Moines to Michigan for only $10! I have a 2 hr layover in Chicago, which is fine. I'm so thrilled! I'm excited to go, but I'm excited about the plane rides, too. I will have 6 hours each way of nobody talking to me, nobody needing anything, no whining - it's going to be Heaven on, in the sky.

So, I had emailed Kristi to let her know that I definitely was going now so knowing that spurred her to decide herself to go, too. So we're going to finally meet face to face and be roomies for 3 nights at the conference!!! August cannot come quickly enough! We were on the phone for almost an hour last night, chatting this whole thing up. It's going to be so fun!

So that's been my happy news all week long. And speaking of FaithWriters, I have to write another story tonight. But I know what I'm going to write, so it shouldn't be that difficult. I've gotten a couple of nice comments on last week's story. I went for more of a humor angle this time and I think it turned out well.

Now something not so fun..Friday night as we were heading to Council Bluffs we stopped in Mingo to get some supper. We had planned to stop in Anita and eat at this steakhouse I read about in "Our Iowa." But the highway was closed both directions when we got off the interstate for construction - totally bummed me out! So, we ate an A&W instead. As we were leaving, I glanced at the front page of the CB newspaper they had by the door and on it they had a photograph of a scuzzy looking guy in an orange jumpsuit, with his hands shackled, sitting in the witness box for a trial. I saw that his name was "Woolsoncroft" and he was on trial for murder. The name stirred something in my murky memory bank and I asked Paul, "Hey, don't you have some relatives with that last name?" He shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know. You have to remember that Paul has a huge extended family. His dad is one of 17 kids, his mom is the oldest of 11. His grandma is also one of 11 and the majority of all these people still live in SW Iowa. Paul is just lucky he didn't accidentally marry some relative! Well, the next day Paul tells me, "You remember the paper you were looking at?..." He asked his mom and it turned out that the guy on trial is Paul's 2nd cousin! I won't get into all the details but this is the son of Paul's gr. aunt and uncle that won all that money in the IA Lottery last year. I suppose that's being eaten up my legal fees now? The whole case has to do with a meth addiction. Paul's cousin did not directly murder a young woman who died, but he was involved. Ugh - just makes me shiver!

Ok, there's got to be something better to write about! Ben has started talking about being baptized. He seems to be giving the right answers when we question him, so maybe he is ready. At our church, people who desire baptism have to go through a little workbook first. So I emailed our pastor and asked him for one. I figure we can go through the book with Ben and when we get done then we can determine better if he truly understands the importance and reason for baptism. He's been asking a lot of questions lately about eternal security and keeps asking me to remind him of the verse that promises that nobody can snatch us out of the Father's hand once we are saved. He is also beginning to sense the need for personal Bible reading and prayer. He told me that once he graduates from high school he plans to spend a lot of time "studying God's Word." I told him he didn't have to wait until then! And he did tell me last night when I went upstairs to tuck him in that he had just prayed by himself. So he's getting it! He has a good example in his brothers. Both Will and David are so good about Bible reading. I've never forced them to do it, or even suggested it, I don't think. But it's something they have both picked up on their own. Praise the Lord!

I had an unexpected compliment yesterday afternoon - just have to share because it kind of tickled me, being old and slightly overweight now. I was at Walmart, buying some more allergy meds for the boys. The stuff I get for them has to bought behind the counter because of the scourge of meth addictions in the midwest, like I mentioned earlier with Paul's relative. Pseudophedrine is an ingredient used in the drug, so now you can't buy it unless they run your driver's license first. So I did that and I got rejected. My first thought was that it was because I've bought too much of the stuff and now I'm on the "alert" list! But it was just something with the computer. So, the clerk asked for my license back and said she was going to hang onto it for a couple of minutes in case the computer rejected it again. Then she joked, "But I'm not going to steal it and pretend to be you!" I laughed and said that was possible. She replied, "Oh, no, I'd have to be a lot taller and prettier to pass as you!" It's probably pitiful the way small compliments can totally lift my spirits like that!

Well, my house is a mess and the boys are all outside playing ball. I suppose I could force them back in here to work. But, it's such a nice day out and they're only boys once, so...guess I'll go do some cleaning!