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...
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
April 8, 2015
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!