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!






































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