Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 192


December 14, 2013


Day 192


Long day…and I’m starting to feel it.  Yesterday I spent doing my bi-monthly grocery/Walmarting (by the way, I went to the new Aldi’s at Jordan Creek for the first time – very nice!  The south side has been forever ruined for me.  I think that maybe even the air is fresher out in Jordan Creek…)  I got home and had to make peanut brittle for Will to take hunting, as well as biscuits for supper, and then I had to feed said supper to the people who live here.  Nathanael spent the night and he and Will were out the door before sunrise this morning.  They did get one deer, so far, I’ve heard.


As the boys were preparing their rifles last night in anticipation for today I had a sudden flashback to all the times Paul sat at the table the night before hunting doing the same thing.  It’s just not right that he’s not here doing that this year.  Except, it is, of course, in light of God’s perfect will, but it still doesn’t feel right to me.


I had to run David, Sam, and Lizzie to program practice first thing this morning.  David had to stay longer, so I then had the fun of dragging all 3 Littles and Ben to the bank and Hobby Lobby.  I needed to go to Bass Pro, too, but after the ordeal of taking them through Hobby Lobby I figured Bass Pro could wait.  I’m not that crazy!


And I’ve been working non-stop since I got home.  I’m tired!


This week I finally got to all of Paul’s John Deere and Tonka stuff.  He has tons of John Deere tractors and memorabilia.  A lot of it used to be upstairs.  In fact, one of my friends once referred to my “John Deere” living room, which appalled me.  That is definitely not the look I was going for!  Thankfully, this spring Paul had moved all his cabinets down to the basement.  He housed his John Deere collection in those.  He has many, many, many little metal Tonka trucks, dump trucks, and fire engines, too.  He’d pick those up every single time we went antiquing together.  With all the construction we’ve been doing, those things have been in boxes.  He also had a huge John Deere Rubbermaid tub, too – with a John Deere emblem on it, even – full of stuff.  He’s been storing things in there for decades because we never had room for it all.


So, anyway, I started unpacking it this week.  I would have been ok with just saving a few things and selling/giving away the rest, but the boys are adamant that it all stays.   They don’t know it, but someday, it will all be at their houses!  I mixed it all up, interspersing the tractors with the trucks.  Paul would have had a heart attack, if he wasn’t already dead.  He also had a number of unopened small tractors still in original packaging.  I know collectors everywhere are cringing, but I opened most of those up, too.  I have never understood the point of owning things and not opening them up.  Yes, it increases their sellable value, but why?  Isn’t it better to enjoy things?  I don’t enjoy things if they’re still in packaging.  Paul would have skinned me alive, but I did it anyway.  I guess widowhood has some privileges!  He had way more than we had shelf space for, but then genius struck.  There’s a huge metal beam running the length of the basement.  It has a 3” ledge on both sides and all those little toys fit on there just perfectly.  So far, nobody has been beaned on the head walking underneath, so I guess they’re not going to roll off, either.  Sam has been in 7th heaven this week, playing with a couple of huge (huge!) semi trucks and trailers I found in the John Deere tub.  Toys are meant to be played with, not looked at.


Now, I have officially gone through all of Paul’s things.  I’m still sorting through all the cards we gave eachother, but there’s no real surprises there.  There’s a part of me that wishes I’d stumble across one last letter or gift – saved back for a special occasion - from him, but I know it’s not going to happen.  Well, I know the gift thing wouldn’t happen, since he was generally a last minute shopper.  When he’d disappear for a few hours, right before Christmas or my birthday on some imaginary, immediate errand, I knew what was going on, but I’d play along anyway!  I miss him.


I changed the water filter in the fridge by myself last night.  I was waiting until Will had time to do it, but I told myself, “No, he’s going to leave – you need to be learning how to do these things yourself!”  So I opened it, read the directions, and successfully installed it myself.  I was patting myself on the back for awhile until the first person went to use the water dispenser on the fridge and the water kept trickling out even when they weren’t pushing it.  Will looked at me and said, “You didn’t read the last step in the directions, did you?”  Umm, last step?  Yeah, the one where you have to flush 1 ½ gallons of water through the dispenser to get out the air bubbles or something – that last step!


I woke up this morning thinking once again about starting my autobiography.  I know I mentioned this last spring.  It is just something I’ve been thinking about for a year or so.  I remember Will joking that I could write it and then he’d sell copies at my funeral for $29.95!  I wouldn’t write the autobiography because I have a burning desire to share my life with the world (I do that enough on this blog!) but so that I could reach future generations in my family.  I remember last spring wrestling with the idea that before I started I would need to have a “theme” my story.  It isn’t enough to simply record history.  What key do I want to impart to these future descendants that I may never meet this side of Heaven?  I think I know now.  I want to show them hope – hope through Jesus, alone.  It would just be something I poke at here and then.  I don’t even think I’d write down every single thing I remember.  I don’t think that would be all that interesting, even to people who know and care about me.  Up until Ben’s birth,  I lived a pretty unremarkable life.  Since then, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride!  Now, I just need to get a flash drive, learn how to use it, find some free time and quiet space…yeah, it might be awhile before I start this thing!


I bought some jelly bellies yesterday.  It was a complete impulse decision guided by pure emotion (the perfect consumer for a marketing director).  But I’m not regretting it yet.  I was in the big candy store out at Valley West hunting for “square” gum for Ben.  He said that’s what he wants in his Christmas stocking.  I had no idea if he was talking about Chiclets or Hubba Bubba or Bubbalicious, so I bought them all!  Ben so rarely asks for anything and it’s hard to find things to buy for him at gift-buying time so when he does mention something, I hurry to go grant his wish!  Just recently, I had been thinking about my Grandma Daniels.  She died a week after the girls arrived.  I always meant to write a blog post about her, but never got to it.  She was a huge part of my growing up years.  Well, really, all my grandparents were.  She moved away to Texas permanently the summer after I graduated and I only saw her once more after that.  But we wrote letters to each other all the time.  After I found out I was pregnant with Will, she was the first person I called after I told my parents.  I remember she asked, “Does Paul know?”  What kind of a question was that?!   A number of years later she was the one who emailed me after our miscarriage  and advised me to be a comfort to Paul.  She was the only person who suggested that to me.  But she had walked through the loss of a baby and understood that daddies hurt, too.  After my grandpa died in ’01, a big part of her died, too, and she was never the same.  Of course, now I understand how that happens.  I didn’t before.


But standing in the candy store, I spied the Jelly Belly rack.  I was instantly reminded of my teenage years when Grandma kept me supplied with books and Jelly Bellies.  I remember spending hours and hours on my bed reading the Sweet Valley High books that transported me to sunny California and the charmed life of identical twin sisters (what were their names?).  All the while I was popping jelly bean after jelly bean into my mouth.  That might explain why my teeth all started to fall apart when I turned 30…And I smiled.  And before I knew it, I started filling up a little bag with jelly bellies.  And then some more.  And more.  Before I knew it, I had filled two bags with a little bit of every flavor (except coconut and black licorice – yuck!).  Really, my tastes these days are more inclined to things chocolate.  But I was buying memories.  And I don’t regret it.  When I get some free time I’m going to lay on my bed, grab a book, and pop bean after delicious bean into my mouth!


Yesterday I had a scheduling conflict with Will and David that meant I had to run down to Genesis and pick Ben up rather than having him return to the school.  So I did that and then drove back to West Des Moines to wrap up my shopping.  He loves Christmas music, but is very particular about when we can start listening to it prior to the start of the season and what songs we listen to.  So I was just letting him control the radio buttons while we drove.  “Jingle Bell Rock” came on the radio and before I knew it both of us were singing at the top of our lungs.  When I first started singing Ben gave me an annoyed look, which I get (my singing voice is a cross between a cow in labor and a crocodile that’s had its tail severed) but he soon got into it.  In fact he was so into it, that he was rocking back and forth in the front seat there.  When he’s really over-stimulated/excited, his body gets real stiff and then he does this quick rocking motion over and over again.  I’ve always put a stop to it because it’s weird and he needs to develop at least some normal social behaviors.  However, it wasn’t until I went to my first Special Olympics event a few years ago that I realized rocking isn’t a behavior exclusive to Ben.  About 1/3 of all the participants were rocking in between their competitions – I felt right at home!  As we pulled to a stop at a light I happened to notice this guy in the SUV next to us.  He was grinning and rocking back and forth, too.  That did strike me as a little strange/inappropriate but I decided to assume that he was simply getting a kick out of Ben’s joyful behavior and decided to join in, as well.


And that’s what it was.  It was a little sliver of Christmas joy – the two of us with wounded hearts, minds, and bodies, finding for the briefest of moments a bit of happiness that bubbled up and out.


Paul would have been singing, too.
















































  1. Oh, dear Sarah! Everytime my husband changes the water filter in the fridge, he runs the gallon and a half of water through. And, I always think he's such a dummy for it. How ridiculous. I just read your paragraph to him, and stated that I guess he's not so dumb after all. He laughed.
    I got him a HUMONGOUS tub of gourmet jelly beans (not Jelly Belly brand) for his birthday, and he picks out all of the coconut ones and gives them to me. YUM!!! (We both like the black licorice, so I don't get any of those.)
    I've been told I sing like a cross between a cow in labor and a crocodile that just had it's tail severed (Well, maybe not literally that same comparison, but I get the picture.), but I tend to think I sound more like Martina McBride.

    1. I forgot - my name doesn't show up here. ~Mari