Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 515

Oct. 31, 2014
Day 515
Halloween and Lizzie's 6th birthday...I think I'm ready for bed!  Actually, this year, the city council decided they'd rather do Beggar's Night than Halloween, like they have in the past.  Beggar's Night is a central Iowa tradition that started in 1939 because of all the vandalism that was occurring on Halloween night.  Apparently, it worked, and trick or treating has happened on the 30th ever since.  So last night was our Halloween, which works out better with Lizzie's birthday being on the 31st, anyway.
We carved pumpkins a few nights ago.  Missing Paul kind of hit me hard then.  He really enjoyed Halloween and was always present when we did the pumpkins.  Maybe one of the reasons I was missing him was because I had to carve four pumpkins by myself (the Littles and Ben)!
David and I took the Littles out last night.  We walked all around Swan.  Then, the mayor convinced me to bring everyone down to Pleasantville for more trick or treating.  I left David at home with Ben who was handing out treats. 
We're so used to the lack of crowds up here, but there were packs of children going door to door down there!  I had to hold tight to Ellie's hand.  I've always been aware of one house (actually it's our old garbageman's) that goes all out for  the holidays.  He's got blow-up decorations of all ilk.  I rather imagine he needs a separate storage building for all he has.  What I didn't realize was that he's created an actual haunted house throughout his wrap-around porch and yard.  It was amazing!  He even had red water flowing through his backyard fountain.  The kids insisted on going through twice.  Ellie wasn't too crazy about it so Steve (mayor) carried her.  But wow...David was plenty irritated when we got home and found out what it was he had missed.  Next year!
Halloween has changed for me with Paul's death.  I get a little queasy now about skeletons, graveyards, and stuff like that.  Maybe in time I'll feel better about it.  It's still pretty new.  I still love Halloween, but not so much the focus on death.
My kids, however, have absolutely no problem with it.  As I was tucking Sam in last night he had some questions about mausoleums, of all things.  Then he commented that he could see how the ribs on a skeleton would be a really great place for a spider to build its web.  Then, he said, "Hey, Mom, do you suppose since Dad doesn't have any eyes anymore (they were donated) bugs crawl through those holes?"  Eww...That kid is lucky he has me for a mom.  I may be one of the few moms on the planet who could calmly answer, "Well, I suppose that's a possibility!"
So, October is over.  Mid-way through the month it dawned on me that I just was not hearing much this year about pink.  You know - breast cancer awareness month.  It seems like every year for awhile we've just been bombarded with pink, pink, pink.  I wonder if the interest is fading away.  I'm all for breast cancer research - I've  lost two friends, my age,  to the disease.  But the continued focus was a little wearying.  David commented the same thing to me this week that he noticed there seemed to less emphasis on that, so I don't think it was just me.
I am gearing up for Ben's birthday.  Will's is Sunday - all taken care of.  He's coming home tomorrow night after he gets off work.  He requested BBQ meatballs for his birthday dinner, so I can do that.  But Ben is turning 18 in two weeks.  It's kind of a significant birthday for most kids, but it's more so for Ben.  Legally, he is an adult on Nov. 17.  That changes a lot of things.  I sent in paperwork a few weeks ago to Social Security proving he is still in school so they will continue his survivor's benefits.  I believe that's all taken care of.  But since he's 18 he is eligible for Disability.  I do not know if that will kick in as soon as he is approved or if that will only happen once he graduates and is ineligible for Survivors.  Even the guy who did my phone interview from the administration a couple of weeks ago didn't know for sure.  It doesn't really matter, I guess.  We do lose the $300 monthly family support stipend we've received for Ben's care for the past 7 or 8 years, those.  That's going to hurt.
So I filled out the paperwork this week for that.  It was dumb.  I basically had to fill out two sets of identical paperwork - one from a third party perspective and one from Ben's.  But since Ben is incapable of filling it out himself I had to do it as him and then include a note stating why I had filled it out (um, because he's disabled, maybe?!).  It was also discouraging.  I had question after question of wanting to know what Ben can and cannot do.  I got midway through and had to vent on Facebook.  Ben isn't a check-off list!  He's funny, caring, helpful, quirky, and so, so loved.  None of this paperwork shows that.  And it doesn't have to.  But I wish it could.  Instead, I will have to trumpet Ben's praises to the world because on paper, he doesn't seem like much of any use at all.
I also talked with my attorney this week about filing for guardianship.  Once Nov. 17 rolls around I will not have any say over his medical care or education.  I've decided to have Will be a co-guardian in case I should ever, God-forbid, become incapacitated in some way.  If that happened Ben would be unprotected.   So at some point in the next few weeks we may have to traipse down to the courthouse.  Although, I'm pretty sure my attorney said we wouldn't have to have a hearing, so maybe it's just a matter of signing off on and filing paperwork.  I don't know.  I guess that's what I'm paying him to know.
And, of course, November begins the slippery countdown to Christmas. 
I really don't want another Christmas without Paul.  I've tried writing my annual Christmas letter - twice - and it's still not what I want. I can be fake and sound somewhat cheerful or I can be honest and depress everyone.  I just don't have any real enthusiasm for it yet.  Then, there's the stress of figuring out gifts and doing the shopping (thank you, Lord, for Amazon!) and then finding time to wrap them all.
Somewhere in there I've got to get back down to Ottumwa and get the girls' new social security cards before the end of the year and David has to have his permit in order to take Dr. Ed in six months.  I hope I'm wrong, but I won't be surprised if his takes a few tries to obtain.  I did call about that this week and was told I have to have a certified copy of his birth certificate - which I do not have.
I don't have one for any of the boys.  I don't know why we never ordered those.  I guess because we didn't need them at the time.  So I sent off to Nebraska for that yesterday.  I don't have one for Will, still, so apparently, this was not needed 6 years ago when he got his permit.
As much as I'd just like to skip over to January, I still want to make Christmas memorable for the kids.  I don't want them to eventually start dreading the holidays because mom is a frantic, stressed-out, depressed mess during them.  Last year I did jot down a few ideas of things I'd like for us to do during the next season, which would be this year.  So I need to get on the ball and get things ready so we can do some of those ideas.
But for tonight, it's still autumn.  My kids are full of fun-sized candy bars and birthday cake.  Lizzie finally has her first Barbie dolls, and jack-o-lanterns are  grinning on the front porch.
The world is as it should be.


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