Monday, March 2, 2015

Day 636

March 2, 2015

Day 636


March favorite month of the year -  mainly because it's my birthday month!  This one has come in with snow on the ground.  Wonder what it will be like when it leaves - the whole "in like a lion, out like a lamb" thing?  Hopefully.  I'm kind of tired of winter.


Ben has one of his yearly big meetings this afternoon.  This one is with his outgoing case manager, the new manager, a representative from Genesis, and Deb, his SCL provider.  We have to work up a new set of SCL goals for the next year and figure out when he's going to be doing Discovery at Genesis.


As soon as they leave I think I'm going to run to town, which is not really something I want to do.  I hate all that after school and work traffic.  But, I have to get my grocery shopping done this week and I have so much other stuff that has to happen, too.


This week:


* Will and I are getting our taxes done.  If Ben had earned $20 more he would have had to file, too.  I'm thankful for small things.  That's tomorrow afternoon.


* I have to get ready for the city council meeting Thursday night.  This is our biggest meeting of the year because we have to approve the budget.  Speaking of which - it is still not in my mailbox.  I may need to call our CPA and find out where it is.


*Do the water billing.  I actually did this this morning in record time.  It all went smoothly.  The guy who cursed me out last Nov - where I hung up on him - after I refused to turn his water back on until he paid up is delinquent again and I had to send a shut-off notice.  So, I will probably have another unpleasant encounter in about two weeks.  Or maybe he learned his lesson and he'll pay as soon as he gets the letter I mailed today.  Maybe.   Not holding my breath...


* Prepare a lesson for my Patch kids Wed. night.  So far, I've had the easy job of just reading the story to the kiddos.  My partner in there has asked to switch things up, starting this week.  It's not a huge deal.  Several years ago when I taught this age group I did everything on my own.


* Take Sam and Lizzie to tour the elementary school Friday and sit in on some class time and meet the principal.


* Pick up Will at his dorm and meet with an academic advisor at DMACC Friday afternoon


* Take David (and Ben?)  to and from church Friday evening for a youth group activity.


* Do some baking for Will in anticipation of his trip next week



Next week looks easier. 



I may be meeting up with the adoptive mother of the girls' oldest brothers - potentially in a week.  We've been FB friends for nearly a year now and she seems like a lovely person.  I'm just a little nervous as to where the conversation may go.  For a variety of reasons I'm not comfortable with the idea of contact between our kids, which makes me feel horrible on one hand, like I'm trying to hurt her boys and ultimately, my girls.  But I can't shake the sure knowledge that now is not the time for the kids to re-establish (or in Ellie's case, establish) a relationship.  A lot of bonding with adoptive families needs to occur first.  I hope I don't come off as a "bad guy" in this.  On the other hand, it may just be a really nice time of getting to know eachother.  I sure wish I was more of an adoption expert.


I had a traumatic experience Friday.


I went swimsuit shopping.


Three things I HATE shopping for - bras, jeans, and swimsuits.  I did make it a little easier on myself this time.  I went to a shop in the middle of Des Moines (42nd St - not sure what that area is referred to as) called "Cabana Swim."  I've heard their ads and I remembered a friend was gushing about an experience she had there a year or so ago.  I paid a little more than I would have getting something off the rack at Penneys or wherever, but  it wasn't a tremendous difference and the service was so worth it.


I walked in and was immediately greeted by an older woman.  She wanted to know what I was looking for and then asked my jean and bra size.  Before long she had a handful of suits and had me model each one for her.  I figured I was going to end up with a swimsuit with a skirt.  Paul never cared for those so I haven't worn one since I don't know when.  But he's dead now so I figure I can wear what I want and what I want to do is cover my up my white, cellulite-y thighs.  But the clerk was very enthusiastic about those same thighs and called them, "cute."  Argh - not really.  Not to mention, one of them was sporting a bright green bruise on Friday where I caught it in on my tv cabinet door a few days earlier!


But I ultimately did end up with a nice suit - halter style, brown and white...and no skirt.  I had already determined I needed a new swim cover-up, too, because the last two times I have been with the children at water parks I have absolutely frozen in the short-sleeved netting thing I have.  Cabana had one but I balked at shelling out $56 for an over-sized gauze shirt.  I ended up finding the perfect one at Kohls later that day for $17.   I liked that a lot better!


I also got some decent sandals for Florida on Friday.  Ben brought home an itinerary for our trip and we are going to be walking for miles down there - Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Universal Studios, the Magic Kingdom, etc.  Fortunately, Younkers had their Clarkes brand on sale and I had a $20 off coupon so I did pretty well on the ones I ended up getting.  But I think I will still pack plenty of band-aids and moleskin in my backpack.  Although, I wonder if the parks will let me bring in a tiny scissors (to cut the moleskin)?  Maybe I'd better cut it all up before hand.


Oh, and speaking of shopping...


I joined Stitch Fix last week and my first box should come this weekend.  I've heard of this outfit (no pun intended) before.  I saw something on the Today show about this new shopping trend, idea, fad, whatever.  A number of different companies selling different products have it. 


The way it works is that you fill out a questionnaire and join the company - no fees involved.  They wanted to know my size, clothing type preference, preferred colors, my lifestyle - things like that.  They also ask you to make a Pinterest board and pin clothing you like to the board so they can get an idea of your preferences.  At first I balked at that because I thought it was a little embarrassing that everyone who is following me on Pinterest will have a birds eye view of how I like to dress myself.  I'd rather just show up and wow everyone rather than giving them an idea of the energy it takes to dress myself!  I think too much.  But I finally started one because I know it will give the stylist a better idea of what to send.


Then, you decide when you want a shipment.  You can do it every couple weeks or once every three years - whatever you want.  They will select and mail you a box of 5 items - a combination of clothing and accessories that aren't necessarily meant to go together.  You try them on at home and keep what you want.  At the time they ship the box your credit card is charged $20 but that $20 comes off whatever you decide to keep.  If you keep everything, you get a 25% discount.  They mail you a return bag and you put everything you don't want in the mail within 3 days.  And then your card is charged for whatever you end up keeping.


The nice thing is that you can send notes to your stylist.  For example, this time I told mine that  I need some spring/summer  tops, but I don't care for sleeveless items.  If I like this and continue next fall I'll be asking them to look for another winter church dress for me.

Of course, it's brilliant marketing because anyone knows that if you can get a customer to take an item into his home his chances of choosing to keep that item go way up.  And the customer is going to be "tricked" into thinking she's saving $20 since it comes off whatever she keeps when, in reality, she already spent it.  But, because she already spent it she's probably going to choose to buy at least one item in order to not lose the $20.


So, we'll see how this goes.  I did quite a bit of research on this company before signing up (meaning I googled a few review sites).  It appears that the clothes are little more high end than what you might buy at Target or someplace like that.  But the prices don't sound outrageous to me, either.  And if I'm saving gas and time in stores, I'm willing to spend a little more. Plus, typically, higher prices mean better quality.  And, lately, I'm having more trouble finding what I like in stores.  I don't know if I'm getting pickier or fashion is getting uglier.  I'll report on how it goes.


I'm a bit scared at the moment.  My friend, G (because I didn't ask her if I could write about her) contacted me last week and told me a hilarious  story of how her doctor insisted she have a colonoscopy a week or so ago.  This is my friend.  She can make anything funny. She and I have laughed and laughed over the dumbest things over the past 8 yrs we've been friends. Anyone observing the two of us together would have the hardest time believing that we're both actually quite conservative, homeschooling, Baptist mothers - given how we carry on with one another!  At Paul's funeral his dad made a wildly inappropriate and embarrassing scene during the service.  So, a little bit later we're all at the cemetery getting ready for the graveside portion of the day.  She sidles up to me and says softly, a la Godfather style,  "You want me to take him out (Paul's dad)?  Just say the word and it's done!"  My friend is from a long line of Italians, which made it doubly funny.  So there I am, about to commit Paul's body to the earth forever and I'm laughing!  I will never forget that moment. 


So, anyway, they've found something - a growth.  It could be benign but it could be malignant.  On top of that, an MRI says she suffered a mild (I presume) stroke sometime last summer.  She had no idea. 


She's sharing this in Messenger on FB and like what is typically us, pretty soon we're cracking jokes - this time about serving bacon at her funeral dinner and at the same time she's sending me a picture of her latest boyfriend and of course, I have to give her my unvarnished opinion on that.   But all the while my fingers are flying over the keys and I'm trying not to snort out all water I just drank,  my heart is beginning to weep.  Please, God, no...let the growth be nothing.  I don't want to give up someone else to Eternity's side.  Not yet.  Not her.


I decided last week that it was time for a new Facebook profile picture so I put David to work snapping ones of Sam and me together.  The problem I am encountering is that gravity continues to wage its evil war against my body (did you know that back skin gets loose with age?  The thought had never once occurred to me until I was trying on swimsuits Friday and the ones with straps across the center of the back gathered my skin into little folds and my skin didn't even care.  It just rumpled up and laid there under the strap.  A few years ago the skin would have indignantly snapped right back into place...sigh) and as my face falls downward I'm looking more and more like I have a double chin.  David took a bunch of photos and I looked through them and complained, "I look fat in these!"  Ellie leaned toward me and put her hands on either side of my offensive face and said earnestly, "No, Mommy, no!  You not fat.  You just fine!"  I may need to keep her.


She also commented to me the other day, "I'm growing up and I know stuff!"



I had a major Mom Fail last week.  I can't remember exactly what Lizzie was talking about but it was along the lines of being overweight herself (she is not, but she is definitely a bigger boned girl).  I am going to really need to watch my comments about my own weight around her.  She was also talking about not liking her skin color or hair texture.  So I told her that there are plenty of black actresses in Hollywood - not that having her score a career in film is exactly my primary desire for her eventual adult life.  But I wanted to point out to her that you don't have to be thin and white with straight hair to be considered beautiful.  She immediately wanted examples and all I could come up with, as far as famous, larger, and black role models were Oprah and Queen Latifah.  I googled images of them and Lizzie sat down at my computer and began to scroll through them.  Pretty soon I heard her exclaim, "Oh, look, Mom - here's a picture of Queen Latifah kissing her girlfriend!"  What?  I didn't know she was homosexual!  Oh, man...I screwed up.  How does a parent protect their kids from such wordliness and sin other than moving to a cabin on the mountains?  I was trying to help her but now she has this image in her brain, thanks to me.


I got brave  last week and contacted a publisher who printed something I wrote a few years back.  I asked if they might be interested in any articles about adoption or early widowhood.  Today I received an enthusiastic, "yes!" from them which made me feel so good and hopeful about the future.  Maybe writing about my  life experiences and touching/inspiring others is going to be another one of those serendipitous "good things" I keep looking for.  So now I have to find some time to sit down and put a proposal together for this publisher because I don't know what angle she is most interested in.  We shall see where this goes...


 I'm reading a fiction, non-Christian kindle book right now (one of my Amazon freebies) about a young widow.  Just yesterday, I read this quote in the story.  It's being said by a different character in the story, an older widow:


But mostly, we've come to an arrangement: The pain gets to stay - and I try not to resist it.  It's curious, but the hurt itself has become my companion in a way.  A reminder of what I had and how lucky I was to have it.


Oh, yes - I completely understand!


Just this morning I was sitting up at City Hall, working on water statements, and mopping my eyes.  Last week was harder for some reason for me.  Maybe it's because I was coming off the heels of surviving Febrary with it's emphasis on romance and my wedding anniversary.  I don't know.  Maybe it's because I dreamed about Paul again last night and woke up today missing him even more.  Maybe it was because I wasn't at home and I knew I was free to cry without worrying the kids. Maybe it's because last night a friend and I were talking about the day in the future when I will know I'm ready to start dating again.  Whatever it was it didn't last long and I'm fine now.  But the pain does stay and like the writer of this story says, I've learned not to resist it.  It comes and goes at will and I think it's probably best that way.


On one of the walls beside my bed I have our wedding picture hung and below it the two anniversary pictures we had taken, along with a long poem Paul wrote me for our 19th anniversary.  I don't know that I spend any excess time gazing at the pictures these days but one day last week as my gaze happened to glance on them, the very clear thought came to me,


One day you will want to take these pictures down


That surprised me because it was a new thought.  I've always found it comforting to have Paul looking down from the wall at me.  I enjoy seeing pictures of us  when we were together and so happy.  But maybe it's like a couple of weeks ago when I realized I didn't want to wear his wedding ring anymore.  My need for reminders of him is lessening.  Pain or no pain, I'm moving forward.


Last week on one of my widow boards one woman asked the members of the group if she was the only one or did anyone else feel like their husband's death had "ruined" their lives.  I thought about it and I ultimately responded to her in what I hope was a gentle manner.  But my answer is definitely


No.  My life has not been ruined.


Changed...stretched...upended...shattered (temporarily)


But  not ruined.  Now, if I had been asked this that first summer, I probably would have answered differently.  My life was definitely ruined then.  I couldn't see anything in my future except continued misery as I kept on doing what I had to while I waited to do what I wanted to, which was to die myself and join Paul.


My life has been diverted.  Two parallel paths ran beside eachother.  I was on one and then suddenly, the paths converged and I found myself on the other, headed a completely different direction.  I didn't ask for the change, but it happened anyway.


But both paths had a divine Designer.  Not one path was better than the other but I had learned all I was supposed to on the one and it was time for a change.


The word, "ruin" implies utter  destruction.  Cities are in ruin after war.  Towns are ruined after a tornado rips through.  A meth addict ruins their teeth.  An alcoholic ruins his liver.


Jesus was ruined one day at Calvary...his body nearly ripped to pieces, crushed, His heart broken...


Ruined so I never would be.





























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