The title is a description of my old life...but these days I ramble on about widowhood, homeschooling, single parenting, adoption, special-needs parenting, & living a life I never planned for or expected - a life that God, thankfully, continues to strengthen & equip me for daily...
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 lastweek.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
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 tonormal 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 upthat 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,
"Quiet!Let ME tell her!"
And then simultaneously, "I/Lizzie lost
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,
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
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'stold 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 goodat 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 overour 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 andreminded of
him.His presence in our home is
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."
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
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 coupleswalking hand in hand, enjoying the beautiful
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
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
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. Ineed
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'vescheduled 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
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
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
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!
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,
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 gotsick.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
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
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 almostthink 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) butI 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
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!
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 doneat 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
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
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
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,
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!