Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 693


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 693


It's a beautiful 73 degree day here in central Iowa...so welcome after the cold, rainy weekend we had.  In fact, the weather was so rotten we had to postpone the work the garage that the guys from church were going to do.  That's ok.  It's (the garage) not going anywhere.  Every hour I make myself go outside and rake.  I've been working on the area in front of the propane tank for the past couple of weeks.  I got the wood pile that's been there since right after Paul's death moved to the other end of the yard for our future fire pit.  Now I'm raking up all the wood chips.


Ellie's surgery went well last  week.  It wasn't as invasive as the dentist had originally feared.  She didn't need to have any extractions or root canals and only one of her top front teeth had to be capped.  All her molars and a couple canines now have crowns.  She has a shiny smile now!  Pastor and Marcia came and sat with me during the procedure and Marcia helped me send Ellie off to surgery and get her dressed afterwards.  I appreciated that so much.  Waiting rooms are lonely places.


When we drove up to the hospital on Thursday morning Ellie exclaimed, "Hey - this is a hospital!"  She doesn't miss a thing.  She then continued in a disgusted tone, "I thought you said we were going to the dentist!"


When I had to change her into her surgery clothes she expressed her dissatisfaction with the pjs she was given informing me that they were "BOY pajamas!"  They were orange and green, so I can see her objection.  She was real clingy for a couple of days, but was back to  normal by the weekend.


Yesterday, I took Will to see the oral surgeon about his wisdom teeth.  They are coming out May 18.  His bottom ones are growing in at a straight angle towards the rest of his teeth.  I sure don't want to mess up  that naturally straight smile he was blessed with.  After insurance it's going to cost close to a thousand dollars, though.  Ouch. I may be hurting more than he will that day!   Why couldn't he have been like Paul and waited until his thirties to start getting his teeth out?  Paul actually was needing to get the last two removed but we were putting it off.  I'm kind of glad we did now. 


Oh, and speaking of even more teeth...a week ago Sam wanted an apple and asked me to peel it for him.  One thing I don't do is peel apples for my kids.  They can either learn to eat them with the peel on or not eat them.  I told him as much.  He complained that the peel hurt his loose tooth.  I told him that maybe that would help the tooth come out.  About a half hour later he ran screeching into my room, "My tooth fell out, my tooth fell out!"  Guess I was right!  But I still kind of felt bad.  I think a good mom would have peeled the apple for her child.  Later he asked, "Can you just give me the dollar now 'cuz' I know you're really the tooth fairy!"  I didn't.


And then Friday night I went scrapbooking and because of the rain I got to sleep in on Sat. since no men were coming to work on the garage.  A couple of times I noticed Lizzie popping her head into my room and then wandering back out.  I ignored her, hoping she'd still think I was asleep.  I eventually got up and both Sam and Lizzie appeared in the hallway,


"Mom, Mom!"


"Quiet!  Let ME tell her!"


And then simultaneously, "I/Lizzie lost my/her tooth!"


It had happened the same way the night before, this time while Lizzie was eating an apple.


I heard back from RBP finally (it only took them 3 days, but it felt like 3 months to this insecure author).  They love my piece!  It will be out this fall, which is a really, really long time away.  And they want one of adoption next, for publication in about a year.


I checked my credit score this week.  It's the highest it's ever been.  Ironically, I am in a position now of not needing my credit score for anything!  Maybe someday.  Hopefully not, though.


Ben's been fretting lately about his future.  I think it's partially due to the fact that he's a junior and typical juniors in high school are hearing a lot of "planning your future" talks.  And it's equally due to his autism, too.  Ben has always been someone who has to know exactly what's coming.  When he was a preschooler and we were running errands he'd have to know exactly where we going and in what order we were going to these places.  If I deviated from what I originally told him a major back-seat meltdown would occur.  It's the same thing now, only without the histrionics.


I got emails from both his teachers last week, concerned for Ben, saying he was "distracted" and his normally cheery personality seemed subdued.  They'd concluded it had to do with his worries for the future.  Could be.  I know he's told me that he is dreading his graduation because he thinks it means I'll die, too, like Paul did within days of Will's.  I can't fix that kind of thinking.


So, to help Ben his teachers have arranged for all 4 of us to go visit the Christian Opportunity Center in Pella on Friday morning.  I'm guessing the set up is a lot like Genesis in Indianola.  If they're pretty much the same I'd prefer Ben end up at Genesis because having him live in Indianola would be preferable for a lot of reasons.  But we'll check them both out.  Ben's very excited about Friday and about the idea of moving to Pella someday.


Pella is a community founded by settlers from Holland.  Every year they have a big tulip festival and all the major buildings there are designed in a dutch style.  I've been there a few times but never have had a reason to go there consistently.  Ben got home today and exclaimed, "If I move to Pella, then I'll be Dutch!"  Ha, ha. ha!


Sunday night was our church's annual Awana awards night.  Since my kids aren't in Awana, we always don't attend that one service of the year.  Will had the idea to invite a couple other non-participant families over so we did.  We ended up with 24 people here at the house, including our family.  It was so much fun!  I think we may have to make this a tradition.  I'm really thankful I have a house now that is big enough to host a group this size.


Today I was scrolling down Facebook and an article popped up on my feed entitled, "Ways You may be Crushing Your Cat's Spirit."  I thought for sure it had to be satire.  So I clicked on the link and went to the article.  It wasn't!  It was an honest piece written to cat owners about how they may, unknowingly, be "crushing" their kitty's spirit.  As Paul would have said,


Give me a stinking break!!!


I love my cat, I seriously do.  But crushing her spirit is the least of my concerns.  I'm doing good to not crush my children's spirits - not going to worry about an animal.  I feed her and let her sleep on my bed.  She's got a good life.


Even with her crushed spirit.


Kind of a commentary on our society, isn't it?


David made the first major purchase of his life today.  He bought a really nice camera.  For well over a year he's had an interest in photography.  He's been saving his money.   He's actually had enough for quite awhile but made no move to purchase the camera.  I think he was kind of paralyzed by fear and indecision - which is typical of his personality.  I suggested to him a few weeks ago that when we got his birthday pictures done we ought to go see what Best Buy has in the way of cameras while we waited for the portraits to be developed.  In the meantime, I talked to our pastor, who is photographer, to get his input on what to purchase.  David seemed very receptive to that so that's what we did today.


I figured we would just look but Best Buy was having a sale on Nikons and for once, they had a really attentive employee helping us.  I did have David look up the same camera on Amazon, but it was quite a bit more expensive there.  So he jumped and bought the camera which came in a kit with an extra lens and bag.  He's already taken some really neat pictures today.


David needs to be good  at something and have an interest in something other than Marvel superheroes and legos.  I'm hoping photography will be it.  If not...there's always Craig's List for his camera, I guess.


It was funny.  When we first walked into Best Buy an employee asked if he could help us.  It must have been a slow morning.  Normally, I have to scour the break rooms to find anyone to help us in that store.  I said, "Yes - where are your cameras?"  He looked at me for the longest time and said, "Cameras - for what?"


I was dumbfounded.  What else are cameras for?  I looked at him strangely and replied slowly, "For taking pictures..."  He stood there a minute longer and then recovered, laughing, and said, "Oh, yes, of course - my mind just went blank for a minute there!"  Wow...somebody needed some coffee!  And for once, it wasn't me!


Will and David cleaned out the garage last weekend.  Next week the city is having a clean-up day where extra garbage trucks will be sent around to collect curbside refuse so this was in preparation for that.  The upside is that I have a very tidy garage now.  The downside is that I have to look at a mess in the yard of piled up garbage until clean-up day a week from today.


I was actually very encouraged by how much Will was willing to get rid of.  Two years ago when we tackled the garage shortly after Paul's death I could not get that kid to let go of much.  I know it was his way of trying to hold onto his dad.  I commented to someone recently that it seems like Paul's presence is getting smaller and smaller, more and more boxed up all the time.  At first, he was still all over  our house.  Even though he was dead, his clothes were still in the laundry, his shirt was hanging on a hook in the bathroom, and his things were all over the home.   Bit by bit, his presence was condensed as I gathered up his stuff and made decisions about them.  It seems like the more time goes on the more I am willing to either get rid of things or consign them to my hope chest.  I don't require them to be out anymore to be constantly comforted and  reminded of him.  His presence in our home is shrinking.


I know this is natural and probably a sign of healing.  But it's kind of sad, too, how a person can be such a huge part of your life but once they're dead...they're gone.  Bit by bit, their memory fades away and eventually we'll all be gone, too, and there will be nobody left to remember and mourn the one that was lost.


I am reminded of that verse that reminds us life is "but a vapor." 








































Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 686

April 21, 2015

Day 686


My plans got turned a bit inside out today, but I'm not complaining.  I had planned to spend the morning getting David's 16th birthday pictures taken and running a few errands in W. Des Moines while we waited for them to be developed.  But he woke up with the same stuffy nose and sore throat the rest of us have been battling for the past week.  So, pictures are delayed a week.  I'm not complaining.  I've got a lot on my to-do list this week and now I just gained a few extra hours!


One thing I did was to submit my article to RBP.  I had a friend edit it last week.  And then I ended up deciding to go to my writer's group last night.  I was torn because my mom's group was meeting and I really hate missing getting together with those ladies.  But I haven't been to Word Weavers in 6 months.  That's not good.  I know if I'm going to do anything with my writing I need to put in appearances more often that that.  But I hate it when the two groups meet the same night!  So, anyway, the leader of the group sent out an email yesterday afternoon asking for attendees to bring articles/chapters to critique.  I had a light bulb moment and emailed her back saying I'd bring my article.  Why wouldn't I want something I'm about to submit to be edited by a room full of actual published authors?


They were so awesome for my ego.  I can't believe how fragile that thing is when it comes to my writing!  And they had lots of good suggestions.  I came home and the kids were in bed so I immediately sat down and did all the edits they suggested, which included some minor re-writing.  And then I couldn't fall asleep until midnight because my mind was still buzzing!


I got it submitted to RBP today and now I find that I keep wanting to check my email to find out if she A) thinks this is best manuscript she's read in the history of all writing or B) is sorry, but my skill set appears to be way below what they are looking for and have I perhaps, considered a career in the service industry, instead?


Actually, I was surprised at how difficult that thing was to write.  I did not expect that because, after all, I've bled all over my keyboard since a week after Paul's funeral.  But it was emotionally draining.  I'm glad I did it, though.  I don't think God intends for us to keep the things we learn through our trials for our own benefit.


I had a busy weekend.  Friday night was the second time I attended Single Parent Provision, where they give single parents a break by watching and feeding the kids in a fun environment.  This time I happened to notice on the website they had a woman pastor scheduled to come in and speak to the kids on the subject of "guarding your heart."  I think that's great.  But my kids have all had questions about lady pastors and I could just see one of them commenting to this woman, "My mom says...!" so I had to give them a heads up on this one!


The kids had a blast.  Chick-fil-A provided chicken nuggets again and they got to color on their own t-shirts ("with permanent markers, Mom!").  They also gave me a full report on "Pastor Lori's" message, which sounds good.  Except...she told the story of David and Bathsheba.  Sam and Lizzie were shocked.  They had never heard that story before - with good reason. 


"But I thought David was the good king, Mom!" Sam exclaimed on the way home.  Lizzie was mainly appalled that Bathsheba decided to take a bath on her roof.  Who would do that?  Just that morning we'd been having our millioneth conversation about God and death and how God never kills anyone.  When death occurs it's because He allows it, not because he wants that person dead.  This didn't fit in with the story of the death of David and Bathsheba's baby and the kids had a hard time wrapping their minds around that.


I'm not upset in any way.  It just made for more conversation and explanation from me.  And it gave the kids an opportunity to think, which is always good.  But still, I can't help but wonder - there weren't any other Bible stories that might have illustrated the importance of guarding one's heart against sin?


While the kids were having their fun, I ran a few errands.  I needed to go up to Merle Hay Mall, which is never my favorite place to be anyway.  It's not a good area of town anymore, I don't think.  I did what I needed to do and walked out, trying to ignore the immigrants and  probable gang members.  I realized that I felt vulnerable and I imagined how it might have been if Paul were still beside me.  I wouldn't have worried a bit because I knew he would protect me - not that I was bothered the other night in any way by the people I saw.  That made me sad, to be reminded that I am without his protection now.


And then I went down to Jordan Creek which makes me feel infinitely safer.  But it was a Friday night and the place was coming alive with couples  walking hand in hand, enjoying the beautiful spring weather. 

I felt so sad. 


It really wasn't until yesterday I was able to shake that off more.  I was so "down" all weekend.


Saturday night didn't help, either.  I went to our Sunday School class' monthly get-together.  For the first time in 6 months schedule, babysitter, and health all lined up enabling me to go.  I'm glad I went.  It was fun.


But it was incredibly hard.


We had a progressive dinner.  There were about 8 or 9 couples ...and me.  Everyone was super-nice to me, as usual.  Nobody sat around discussing their happy marriages in front of me.  But...I was alone.  I felt awkward when trying to figure out where to sit in the vehicle to ride around and where to sit at the dinner table.  I am so worried about getting in the way of the married people and my singleness being more of an impediment than it already is.


I think someday I will look back on these days and be incredibly grateful to my SS class, and church as a whole, for the way they have embraced me and done their best to help me adjust to this new reality.  I suspect that is probably a rarity for a lot of widows.  I have to give my friends kudos.  This is a new situation for them as much as it is for me.  Old widows we "get."  Young ones - not so much.  There's no set protocol on how to interact with them and how to try to ease the transition.


But, it's still hard and it still hurts to spend an entire evening with married people, knowing what I used to have.  Every time I happen to see a couple holding hands or a husband with his arm around the shoulders of his wife - or happen to glimpse a look between the two of them meant just for each other - it hurts.  It's not like anyone's making out in front of me.  It's just missing what I never thought I'd lose.


It's probably why I cried most of the way home Saturday night.


Ok, onto something more cheerful - namely, Stitch Fix!  My box arrived yesterday, a whole day early.  I am having so much fun with this.  I started looking forward to the box's arrival about a week ago.  Also, last week I discovered a number of blogs on Pinterest that include SF updates from customers.  What they do is model everything that comes in their box, post a picture of each on their personal blogs, and write what they like or dislike about each and give their verdict on whether they kept or returned the item.    I don't really have any desire to do that myself, but I do enjoy reading others'.  It's been a relief to find that I am really not so unique.  A lot of ladies are having a blast with this service and stepping out and trying clothes they normally would pass over in stores.  It seems like a lot of women are recognizing the value of not having to do their own shopping, too, but just as many seem to be budget-conscious, as well.


I ended up keeping two items, like last time.  I would have kept three, but one blouse I loved was just too tight across the shoulders to consider.  They sent a gorgeous gold necklace that I'll have good use for.  I kept this delicate cream, summer-weight cardigan, too.  I  need to find some loose tanks to wear underneath it (I'm beginning to be slightly less enamored of all the cami tops I own which could go underneath the sweater since they seem to cling to my tummy rolls now that I have developed them!).  I'm pleased.  They sent a gorgeous, royal blue tank top.  It was textured and had a lot of pretty detail.  I wasn't sure because the armholes seemed to gape a bit and I really don't like showing off a lot of skin around my fat upper arms.  So I went back and forth.  Then, I happened to glance at the price sheet and discovered this particular top was priced at $68!  That made my decision to return it a whole lot easier!  I didn't even consider the skinny black, polka dotted pants...


I've  scheduled my next fix for June 11, which will be the 2 year anniversary of Paul's funeral.  I could still use a few more tops for summer and it gives me something to look forward to on that date.


It's now evening.  No, it's night.  Late at night.  Will came back at 2.  He was so tickled that he got Paul's old truck running.  It has sat all these months, unmoving, and as it turned out, all it needed was a new battery.  And the old one was still under warranty.  I hope that's all it needed.  He just drove out of the driveway in that thing headed for Ankeny.  I sure hope I don't get a call about a 27 year old broken down truck on the by-pass...


There is not a thing wrong with Will's car.  But he wants the truck up in Ankeny.  I don't begin to fathom the male mind.  What is it about a rusted-out, loud hunk of metal that makes one want to drive it around?  But I remember how partial Paul always to his trucks.  And maybe driving this makes Will feel like Paul is closer in his memory.  I don't understand, but I care - enough that I drove us down to Knoxville today to pick up a duplicate registration and sticker since I managed to misplace the one they mailed to me in December.  And I called and got the insurance put back on the thing for him.


And then I spent most of the afternoon and evening helping Will write an 8 page paper on choosing joy in the midst of trials.  Will said he wanted to put his own story in there so we wove it in.  I think that's progress in Will's grief journey since he's mostly had an attitude of, "I can't fix it, so why worry about it" in regards to Paul's death.


He and I both stumbled across an interesting truth in Heb. 11 and 12 that I'll have to share sometime related to the Christian and suffering.  My mind is too fuzzy right now to think it all out, but we just kind of sat and stared at eachother as the newness of this concept washed over us both.  It's amazing when you suddenly realize something from Scripture you never knew was there before!


I have something new and exciting.  Now I just need to find time to open it up.  Last year Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography was put together and published.  She had written this back in the 30s or it was discovered then and deemed not acceptable for readers used to the Little House books.  It was finally published last year.  It's a huge, hard-back book.  I had requested it for my birthday and my sister-in-law had it on backorder.  She finally gave up and sent me a Barnes and Noble gift card last week.  I checked on-line and the book was going for $57 on Amazon and $100 on half. com!  Not worth that,  I don't think.  I figured I'd have to wait until it lost some of its popularity.  But then Friday night I was out while the kids were at the Single Parents deal and I found it at Barnes and Noble - $40.  I haven't had time to read it yet, but I like to pick it up and just hold it right now.  I can't wait!


The other day I heard Ellie shrieking at Lizzie, "You're not my sister!"  And so, it begins...


I was checking out at a store, also on Friday night, when I happened to glance at the clerk's - a gal in her early twenties, probably - arms.  It took me a minute to realize what I was looking at but her left arm was completely scarred with razor blade slices.  She's a cutter.  Or she was.  The marks didn't appear to be fresh wounds anymore.  I've read about that, but never seen it first-hand.  Sad.


The other day I was attempting to kill a wasp in the dining room.  Sam was decidedly nervous and eventually commented, "You know, if Adam and Eve had not sinned, then I wouldn't be so scared right now!"


Ellie has her dental surgery this Thursday somewhere between 8 and 8:30.  We have to be there at 7.  Lizzie and Sam are both so excited about the surgery because they know I purchased the new movie, "Annie" for Ellie's recovery.  It's a surprise for Ellie, though.  But the poor kid probably thinks she has really sadistic siblings.  Sam keeps excitedly asking, "How many more days until Ellie has her surgery?"  Ellie does have a bit of a runny nose and I had made the comment over the weekend that I didn't know if she would be cleared for the surgery at her pre-op visit on Monday because of that (she was).  So Lizzie said to Ellie, "Please don't be sick or my heart will be broken!"  No wonder Ellie doesn't want to be her sister anymore!


I read a disturbing story today about a Cedar Falls toddler who died recently after getting his tonsils removed.  Makes me a little more nervous about these "minor" surgeries the girls have had to do.


Well, I have got to get to bed.  David is relaxing in the tub now in an attempt to feel better with his cold.  He needs to get out.  I've gotten very little sleep for about 4 nights in a row now.  I'm going to collapse if I don't get some tonight!

































Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 681


April 16, 2015

Day 681


It's one of those nice, sunny and warm April days that makes you think winter is now a distant memory -  until you look at next week's forecast, which is cold and rainy.  But I'll enjoy today, anyway.


This whole week has been really nice.  I've been slowly whittling down my wood pile with the good weather.  That means I'm moving it by wheelbarrow load from its home in front of the propane tank to the other end of the property by the fruit trees.  It's a big job.  I go out once an hour and move one load.  I was afraid maybe it would be termite infested by now, but I haven't found one yet - just some slugs and worms.



I got my article written and a friend edited for me.  She's so good at what she does.  Every time I write something I think, "I don't need an editor!" and every time I find mistakes later (like after publication - how embarrassing).  Now I just need to think of a snazzy title before submitting it.


We went to Waterloo over the weekend - where Ellie got  sick.  She had diarrhea on Sat. night which meant we put her on a bath towel while Dad and I ran to Kmart to buy more underwear for her.  And then she threw up Sunday morning.  She's fine now, but I hear my parents weren't so fortunate.  I feel like the worst daughter in the world, bringing the plague into their house.  We, however, are all fine here.  Ben did have a nasty cold earlier this week but is on the mend.  He went to school today.


Yesterday was Ben's dental appointment in Iowa City.  He did fine.  They took xrays and said his wisdom teeth won't be ready to come out for another 4-5 years, which is great news.  The dr there commented that girls' jaws develop more quickly than boys' do.  I did not know that.


In a week and a half Will and I meet with the oral surgeon about his wisdom teeth.  I don't know if he's going to be able to get them out in between the end of classes in May and before he heads up to camp or if he'll have to wait until Christmas break.


Ellie's dental surgery is a week from today.  Too much teeth stuff!


While I was driving in Iowa City yesterday I drove by an apartment building that billed itself as "Dark Place."  I thought that was kind of odd and a potential impediment to securing renters.  I immediately began thinking of the fun one could have with that, though: "Yes, well, I'm in a rather dark place right now."  Ha, ha, ha...Then I realized that I had, once again, read something too fast.   The apartments were Park Place...not nearly so much fun!


Ellie was "helping" me cook this week.  I gave her a bag of cheese and told her to sprinkle it on the bread.  As she did so, I heard her saying, "Sprink, sprink, sprink!"


My contractor came out for a few hours on Tuesday and got about half the back of the kitchen done.  I'm really trying not to be impatient.  If Paul was alive the siding would be years away yet and I'd still be living in a construction mess inside the house.  So, really, even if it takes this guy all summer long to get my house done, I'm still way-y-y ahead of what it would have been.  Hopefully he'll come out tonight and get some more up.


I have found that this week has been a little harder, grief-wise.  I wondered if it is because the work on the house is getting done.  And, of course, that was supposed to be Paul's job.  But maybe that has nothing to do with it.  Maybe it's just one of those grief swells (notice - not a "wave," but a "swell").

I read something really, really good last night, written by the author of the blog, "One Fit Widow."  She talked about how her son was just a baby when his dad died.  But yet there are still times this boy, now several years older, really, really struggles with the fact that his father died, despite never having known him.  She wrote about her helplessness and inability to fix this in her son's life.  Boy, can I relate!  I almost  think my teenagers have done better with losing Paul than Sam has.  But the author went on to point out the things that she has been able to give her son:


* resiliency: our kids learn that life can go on, despite enduring the worst possible loss


* love: our kids learn that you can love someone well who has died


* life: learning that it matters


* joy: this is choice we can make in our homes, despite what has happened


Anyway, I saved this particular post.  I'll probably want to read it again.  Or a hundred times.


I am getting such a kick out of Sam these days.  Ok, I've been doing that since he was born.  He's just such a unique little guy.  Even today I was watching him do his math problems and I wondered if his teacher next year will appreciate the cute little way he holds his pencil in his left hand - something that just seems so foreign to me in this family of right-handed people.  I hope she does.  Sam has had a lot of deep, spiritual questions lately.  Some have to do with Paul's death, but a lot pertain to salvation.  He's having a hard time understanding how some people get to hear the gospel over and over in their lives and how others may only hear it one time but they're equally responsible for their decision.


The other night he was on my bed and I had PBS on.  They had a program about one of the concentration camps.  I kept it on because that kind of stuff is important but also because the guy narrating does some of the Dateline whodunit shows and he has such a compelling voice - I could listen to it all night long!  Some of the images were pretty gruesome.  Sam knew nothing about the holocaust and had all kinds of questions.  He was baffled that an entire continent could listen to "such a bad guy" (Hitler).  I needed to go take a bath and gave Sam the option of turning the tv off but he wanted to keep watching it.  I wondered, briefly, if this was too heavy for a 7 year old.  But this is stuff people need to know.  It happened.  Seven year olds died in those camps.  He didn't have a lot to say later but I know him well enough to know that he's thinking about it.  One of these days, he'll have some questions for me.


When we were in Waterloo last weekend I had the kids at a nearby park.  There was a really nice lady there with her kids.  I could sense that Lizzie was intensly interested in these people.  She's pretty sociable, anyway, but this interest went beyond what she is normally.  She's just kept hanging around the little boy and mom, in a way that was different from how she typically acts.  Well, they were black.  I think she was identifying with them.  She comments fairly often how she wishes she had more black people to associate with.  There's not a whole lot I can do about that.


It was cute.  At one point, I was chatting with the mom and Lizzie plopped down beside me.  She asked the lady, "Do you know that I'm adopted?"  It was all I could do to not laugh out loud! 


Will came home yesterday afternoon and got the new trampoline set up.  We all ended up having to help.  What a job!  We had one before that Paul assembled.  It lasted maybe 5 years or so.  Actually, we saved the top when it fell apart and that's what our pool now sets on.  It's the perfect size.  I don't recall Paul having any difficulty putting it together.  But this new one was a beast.  Of course, all trampolines now are sold with protective, netted sides.  So that makes for more work.  But Will commented how he wants us to take this down every fall and store it during the winter time.  That makes sense, for preserving it, but I cringe at the idea of the work that's going to take!


The kids are sure enjoying it.


Tomorrow night is a Moms Night Out event.  I am looking forward to my hours of freedom!  I have a few errands to run and then a date with supper and my kindle.


Saturday will be busier.  I was invited to a neighbor's "vintage jewelery" sale (whatever that is) but  I don't think I'm going to have time.  David has softball practice in the afternoon, which means I have to take all of us, as well get everything else done in the morning.  Then, I think I am actually going to make it to my Sunday School get-together, which hasn't happened since last fall.  They are talking rain this weekend so perhaps David's practice might get rained out...I would not complain one bit if that happened!


Well, I don't think supper is going to make itself, although it would be nice if it did.  Growing up, I watched the show, "Bewitched."  Being an adult now, I totally believe Samantha's nose-twitching powers were poorly used.  If she had half a brain, she would have gotten out of cooking every night simply by wiggling that nose!





























Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 673

April 8, 2015

Day 673




I'm going to start this tonight, but I'm just killing time until I can put the girls to bed.  I am so exhausted!


Today were the spring Special Olympic games.  This was Ben's 5th year to participate.  I can only remember pleasant weather for one year.  I do not understand why these games cannot be done  at some covered arena.  I would drive out of town for them if it meant I was not risking pneumonia or ear infections like I do every other year.  It's early April in Iowa.  It is not a nice time of year!  But every single year they have these games outdoors.


Today was just awful. The wind was terrible.  It was so, so cold.  It was foggy.  Rain was intermittingly spitting out.  All the bleachers were wet because while we slept it did more than just spit.  I had planned to take everyone but when I looked out my window this morning I had second thoughts.  I'm glad I didn't take them.  Ben and I made a bee-line back to the van after the opening ceremonies and sat there for an hour with the heat cranked up.  And then we went out for his 100m dash and turbo jab throw (something new he tried this year - he did well and got second place).  And then we were right back in that van!  Even with those warming breaks my joints are so achy today and I think it's from the cold.


And then, we're in the (warm, thankfully) gymnasium waiting for the kids' ribbons when one of Ben's teammates begins vomiting right there in the bleachers.  The other adults associated with our team immediately begin rounding up a garbage can, rags, the school custodian and rubbing the sick girl's back.  I'm paralyzed and don't move a muscle, other than to begin quietly gagging myself into the collar of my coat.  My only thought is, "Don't touch her!  She's got the plague!"  I don't do vomit.  But my goodness, what a wretched human I am...


As soon as I get the girls to bed I am going to take a hot, hot bath...


You know, something occurred to me while I was in Florida.  Walking 12 or so miles a day provides lot of thinking time.  I found I was not overly fond of Florida weather.  It was either hot and humid or cool.  I didn't mind the coolness, actually.  I could not imagine going to one of those parks in the heat of summer, though.  August in Iowa gets pretty miserable - what must it be like in Florida?


It occurred to me that comfort is pretty big desire of mine.  In fact, a lot - not all - of my life is spent ensuring my personal comfort.  It is a huge motivating factor in my life.  My first thought was well, maybe this is just a human trait in general.  We crave comfort and do what we can to provide it for ourselves.   That may be true to a certain extent, but I think we are differently motivated by different things.  Some people crave power and/or fame and spend most their lives pursuing them.  I could not care less about those things.  Some people want riches.  I'm not there, either, other than desiring to have enough in order to make my life comfortable.  I don't know if there are any other large motivating factors in people's lives - revenge for a select few, maybe?  I don't know.


But comfort is mine.  I'm not happy unless my environment is about a perfect 72 degrees.  The idea of losing power to the furnace or air conditioner is enough to cause my heart to race.  I avoid activities that require me to spend any amount of time in uncomfortable temperatures, which is why I began this post complaining loudly about having to attend Ben's games today.  As mentioned, money is important to me in the sense that it provides everything I need to be comfortable.  If I'm not cool/warm enough, fed enough, have a soft-enough bed, then I'm not happy.  Paul was never like this.  He always operated on a priority level, which, I imagine, is a healthier way to live.  He could easily work in unpleasant conditions and wouldn't think of stopping to eat until I threw a fit about it if he had a greater goal in mind for the present time.


While on the trip and complaining loudly to myself (mentally) about the cramped quarters, inability to stretch often, and necessity of sleeping two nights in the seats, I found myself thinking of the European Jews during WWII.  I've always been fascinated by that war and have read a lot detailing the Holocaust.  It makes for sickening reading at times, but I feel almost obligated to make myself to do it.  Anyway, I reminded myself as I complained about how the Jews were loaded into cattle cars so tightly they couldn't even sit.  I imagine the temperatures were brutal, both hot and cold, there were no bathrooms and no food.  And they were headed for either death, torture, work, and starvation.  And I'm whining about my trip to amusement parks?


Then today while standing on the sidelines waiting for Ben's events to begin, I found myself thinking about the Jews again.  It was so cold and my hands were going numb as I tried to hold the camera in preparation for the perfect shot of Ben. The wind whipped my hair and went right through the two coats, long underwear top, and tshirt I had on.  I was miserable.   I thought of the prisoners in the concentration camps lined up every morning and evening for roll call - underdressed for the European winters, overworked, grieving, fearful, and starving.  And I'm going to complain?


My weakness and focus on self bothers me more and more.


Sunday was Easter.  I felt like it snuck up on me this year, which it did, with the trip.  This is the first trip where I really could not find much in the way of souveniers for myself, which was great.  It meant that I came in way under-budget.  The only things I bought for myself were a small surfboard magnet for the fridge and some really cute owl key covers for my keyring - which had nothing to do with Florida. But I found them at the Ron Jon Surf shop and liked them.   But I did find things for all the kids.  And, smart mom that I am, I saved them for their Easter baskets!  So, they kind of got gypped, but I don't think they've figured that out yet.


I did pull together our traditional Easter meal, though.  I cooked a real ham, not a ham loaf like I normally do.  That got a thumbs up from most of the kids.  Ellie refused to eat hers when Will mentioned that hams come from pig rear ends.  "I don't want to eat a pig's butt!" she wailed at the dinner table.  David reported that the potatoes were "watery" but I think he should just be grateful that they were real potatoes and not something instant.


I had David digging out the Easter baskets at 10:00 Saturday night.  Fortunately, I had bought the candy (way too much, as usual) before Florida.  Saturday ended up being a super-busy day but I still managed to slip in egg-dying with the kids.


Sunday was nice.  For the second year in a row I got to skip the Easter breakfast (one of the "goods" to come from Paul's death - I'm kind of terrible, I think!).  We had a cantata at church that morning.  And that evening we had something special.  In the last year, the area churches in our association have formed a joint choir.  That night, we went up to Faith and listened to them sing and, best of all, watched this amazing play.


It was called, "The Centurion" so I figured I knew what it was about.  I assumed it would be about the centurion at the cross who believes.  I was really surprised when the play continued on past the cross.  I quickly realized that the centurion in this play was A centurion, not THE centurion.  I was absolutely riveted for rest of the play.  It dealt with the next 30 years after Christ's death and culminated with the martyrdom of the main characters at the hands of Nero.  I sat there thinking how much I would love to write something like this.  It was so well-written and so well-acted.  On the way home, David had all kinds of questions.  He had never heard of Nero, I don't think.  This was definitely the highlight of Easter for me.  I'm so glad we went!


Saturday I was able to take the girls to the Des Moines ballet.  A friend of mine had been given free tickets again.  Now, my entertainment tastes are rather low brow.  At least, they're not as high brow as those in the ballet world, anyway.  If I'm going to watch live entertainment I prefer a vocal concert or a musical or play.  The ballet is none of that.  But, two years ago I got to do this with Lizzie, who was absolutely entranced.  So, I wanted to take Ellie this time.  I was able to take both girls, as it turned out.  I think Ellie may have been a little too young.  She spent the entire first half squirming on my lap and threatening to wet her pants if I didn't take her to the bathroom RIGHT NOW!  But we were in the middle of the row and I wasn't about to shuffle out in the dark with two little kids.  And, besides, I did my part.  We visited the bathroom before the thing started.  So I made her wait - and prayed that she would not wet herself or worse until intermission!


And then that night we had company.  This was kind of a last-minute thing.  The night before Will had mentioned that Nathanael was coming to pick up our old loveseat for his new house.  Then, he got the idea that he should invite Janey, too, and I should feed them supper.  It was no problem.  I was already planning on doing pulled pork sandwiches for dinner.  We had a really nice time.  It's a little surreal to have a guy who used to be a scrawny teenager sprawled out on my couch playing video games with Will (although he was always anxious to help me, I recall, unlike some of Will's other friends) showing up for dinner with his wife.


Time stops for nobody.



I suddenly realized late last night that yesterday was April 7th.  Twenty-five years ago Paul and I were on our first date.  It didn't make me feel sad - just nostalgic.  I remember 10 years ago he took me back up to Ankeny on the same date and we went to Godfather's again (the site of our first date).  Only it had already moved across town by then so it was a different restaurant.  I wonder if it is still up there?  I know Godfathers have been closing right and left in recent years.  I remember telling Paul a few years ago that we'd have to do something really special to mark April 7, 2015.  I wonder what we would have done?


The siding work on my house has officially begun.  Less than half of one side is now completed.  And my contractor informed me that starting next week he'll only be available nights and weekends.  I guess he's going to work for someone else.  So this project may stretch out for awhile.  It's not like I'm not used to that!


I was kind of excited last Friday when the semi-load of siding was delivered.  I had no idea what I had picked for color.  I ordered off a little 2"X6" rectangle.  I knew I wanted gray and there were only 3 choices.  One was the pale color that's on the house now, one looked beige-y to me, and there was this color that I went with (called "deluxe" which probably means a jump in my final price).  I like it.  It's a "rich" gray color.  I'm almost wondering if it will look blue in certain light.  Oh well - it's mine now.  I'm going to clean and re-paint the shutters for the front of the house.  I need to get my house numbers painted, too, so those can be hung.  This is the last item on my agenda for completing the house.  After this, it's all maintenance.


I remembered a couple other things from Florida that I wanted to write about.  When we were in Epcot Sunday evening we just happened to be walking by a stage where a group was performing.  They were being introduced and it was the 80's group, "Starship."  That was so cool to me because Paul's and my "song" had always kind of been, "We Can Build this Dream Together" - which we did, year by year, decision by decision, and experience by experience.  So Ben and I got to stand there and hear the entire thing.  It made me miss Paul more than I already was, but it wasn't a sad thing, either.


We were at Animal Kingdom earlier that same day when all of a sudden, I felt my left ring finger and momentarily panicked because I couldn't feel my wedding ring.  This is not the first time this has happened.  Why do I do this?  I have not worn my wedding rings since 4 months after Paul's death.  I have my other rings on the third finger of that hand now.  But somewhere in the recesses of my psyche I am convinced that I still need to have those rings on. 


Or else I'm just going crazy.


This is all I have on my list to write about.  This afternoon I'll be doing some writing of a different kind.  My article for RBP is due two weeks from today.  This thing has been hanging over my head since I agreed to write it about two weeks ago.  I feel guilty for doing anything (even writing on my blog) else in the meantime so I have got to get it written today!  I still don't know exactly what I'm going to say.  I never do, though, until I sit down and then the words just kind of pour out of my fingertips. 


Better keep moving.  The girls are in rare (normal) form today - sounds like David needs my help in the kitchen!