Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 711

May 17, 2015

Day 711


Day 711...I remember when I was kid there were 711 gas stations, precursors to Caseys and QTs of today.  I also remember the Sinclair stations and the ones with the shell on them - Shell Oil, I think they were called? But when you needed to run to a gas station for something you'd say you were going to the 7-11 even if it wasn't an actual 7-11 store - it was just kind of a catch-all name for quick service stations.


Boy, am I  tired today.  I mean, really tired.  My allergies have been giving me fits for the last few days.  I don't know why. This is not the time of year I'm supposed to have trouble with them.  But tell that to my nose.   So, I'm having to take zyrtec and chlortrimeton, which usually work, but at the price of fatigue.  Yesterday was particularly rough.  I was able to sleep off some of the drugs and then Ben and I ran errands last night in the rain.


I came home and thought I'd get some decent sleep but then Will got home from work and wanted to have a real heart-to-heart, which was wonderful, but what we talked about revved up my mind and I was unable to fall asleep until after 1 in the morning and then I woke up at 6:15 for absolutely  no good reason at all. 


Although, I'm still thankful Will talked to me.  Even he commented that if Dad was alive, he'd be talking to him instead.  I suppose I should feel insulted, but I don't, really.  That's just the way it's always been with Will.  He was always more comfortable with Paul and preferred his company to mine.  But now I'm the favored parent by default. 


Which I'll take.



Mother's Day was a nice day.  It went exactly as I had planned - which is unusual!  Things don't typically work out that well.  But we had our lunch at Fuddruckers and then we swung by Penneys and I was able to pick up some athletic shorts for David.  And then we came home and the kids gave me cards and Will had picked up a Jim Beam (!) candle at Sportsmans and a just -released book on the Christian and suffering written by his professor at Faith.  I'm looking forward to reading it.  Actually, 2 summers ago when we were taken up to camp for a day a couple of weeks after Paul's death this same professor was speaking and I still remember his talk.  I'm suspicious that what he shared with us that day probably served as part of the outline of this book.


And then the sky got really dark and we got some rain and that was it - no tornado, not even any hail.  And then I called and talked to my mom and then we went to church again that evening and the kids and I went to DQ and as it turned out, I actually had $18 worth of gift cards in my purse so our entire order cost $1.01 which was very manageable.


It was a very good day.


Oh, and when I came out of church on Sunday morning I found a pretty basket sitting in my van filled with Bath and Body soaps and a card with an Amazon gift card inside from a couple of ladies at church who wanted to make sure I had a nice day.  What a blessing!


Tuesday I attended DMACC's orientation with Will.  What a yawn-fest...fortunately, I wasn't without my kindle, so I spent most of my time reading that.  It was a good story, too, about a Lutheran pastor who helped solve a murder and almost  got murdered himself in the process.  As it turned out, he was a widower, his wife having been murdered by the same guy years before.  Very entertaining.


Then, they had the students go off to register for classes and had a session for the parents.  It was basically all about letting your child grow up, geared to parents who have young college students just exiting high school, I guess.  This time I couldn't sit and read without being obvious.


I've been having trouble getting our financial information to the school so before we left we stopped by the Fin. aid office and asked for help - all they did was give us the phone number for tech support.  Not helpful.  We eventually got things figured out on our own at home.  I hope we did, anyway.


Afterwards, we went to Menards and Will and breathed deeply and said, "Ah- h - I love the smell of this place!"  He is his father's son.


David is going on a missions trip this summer to Detroit.  They gave the parents the details last Sun. night.  It sounds like it will be good for the teenagers.  They're going to do it in conjunction with another youth group at a church in Des Moines.  One day they plan to take the kids into the inner city.  I mentioned this to David and he squeaked, "Alone?"


"Yeah," Will joked, "It's called 'survival of the fittest'!"


No, not alone.  But it will be good for these middle-class, mostly homeschooled kids to see a different way of life.


Will gets his wisdom teeth out Monday.  Today a hilarious video popped up on my newsfeed of a young woman coming out of anesthesia after getting her wisdom teeth removed.  She's very upset that she's "still white and not Nicky Minaj!"  I showed it to Will and he was groaning.  He says he's hiding his phone so he doesn't do anything dumb with it when he's still coming to.


This week he  started making plans for  finishing off the basement.  I'm all for it if it doesn't cost too much.  It would definitely increase the resale value of the house and make things cleaner.  But I'm not sure how much time he would have in reality, to do it, and I sure don't want him getting started and then running out time to finish.  So we'll see.  First, I want him to build my L shaped bookshelves in the upstairs hallway. 


His big project this week was building a rabbit hutch with David.  It's pretty cool - and big.


Ellie had an open house Thurs. night at the preschool she'll be attending this fall.  She was pretty excited.  It's held in the basement of the Methodist church in Pville but it doesn't appear to have any religious base at all.  I was a little dismayed to see one of the values on the preschool sign as, "self-esteem."  Ugh - and no!  The last thing our kids need is to have their little self-esteems boosted.  Humans come into this world full of self-esteem.  Our job is to reduce their self-esteem, not increase it.

Trust me...Ellie already thinks she's pretty wonderful.


So I'm working on the paperwork for that.  Apparently, there are scholarships available to help with the cost.  That would be great if I could get some help. I had no idea that was out there.  I could have sent her to the school's preschool, which would more than likely, have been free for us.  But I deliberately made the choice to go with this preschool, even though it would cost me $85 a month, because it wasn't full-time.  So we'll see if that comes through.


The new superintendent of the school and his wife were there with their children.  I overheard him say that next year's freshman class will have 76 kids.  This is unreal.  Pville normally only graduates around 40 seniors every year.  It's a pretty small district.  But apparently there's growth coming from somewhere.


Actually, this is good for me, with my thoughts of working at the school as an associate in a few years.  The larger of a student body, the higher the chances are for increased students with special needs - and the higher the school's need for associates to work with them.  Job security.


The first day of school this year will be Aug. 31 - four days later than last year's start.  I like that.  I don't like it when schools are starting up the second week of August.  They don't need to get their grubby hands on my kids any sooner than necessary.  Although, by the end of summer, I may be wishing they would take my kids earlier!


It's late Saturday now.  The Littles are all in bed and David and Ben are watching Red Green on PBS.  Paul loved that show - it seemed to satisfy his inner redneck, which was often more out than in I guess.


Tonight was Single Parent Provision.  The kids had a blast, as usual.  I decided to do something different and went and saw the new release, "Where Love Grows."  I had it all planned.  The movie started at 7 and lasted an hour and 37 minutes which would give me just enough time to get back over to the community ctr to get the kids by 9.  I forgot to figure in the I missed the ending of the movie.  And it was SO good!  But this just means I'll have to get the dvd.  It is a Christian movie, although I recognized a number of secular actors in it.  It's about a washed up, alcoholic baseball player and a man with Downs Syndrome.  Their lives intersect and it's a neat story.  The previews, of course, are geared to the audience so I saw several ones that look interesting.  The Kendrick brothers have a new one coming out late this summer on the power of prayer which looks good.  Of course, anything they do is amazing.  There's a revolutionary war movie that's Christian.  And there's a Vietnam war era one coming out in July.  Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty is in that one!   I think they said that one is by the producers of "God's Not Dead."


All of a sudden, there seems to be a glut of Christian movies.  I wonder if, in time, the movies will begin to separate themselves into doctrinally loose ones vs. more sound movies.  Time will tell, I guess.


So, I've been working on my filing over the last few weeks.  I finally got the last loose paper filed this week and quickly realized that the folders have got to be thinned down.  So I've started going through them and getting rid of old statements and anything else we don't really need to hang onto.  I got to the folder that contains all the information on Paul's death, burial, funeral, etc.  And I found his autopsy report yesterday.  I have not looked at that thing since it arrived about 6 weeks after his death.  Against my better judgement I decided to read it again.  I don't know what I was hoping to find - maybe just reading it with a mind that's a little more clear would be beneficial.  I don't really know.  So I did.


A lot of it is medical speak, of course.  I was amazed at how thorough an autopsy is.  They examine and document absolutely everything about the deceased.  They measure their hair length, they take out organs and weigh them, they mention what's under the fingernails, which I suppose would be necessary in the case of a homicide.  They detail the type of cuts they make.  All along I've known Paul had an autopsy, but it never really occurred to me until reading that yesterday that they cut him open.  Well, duh.  That's what an autopsy is.  How else did they pull out his spleen, measure it, and include that information in the report?  But I just hadn't given any real thought to the idea that they took a scalpel, and in a large Y incision, sliced open my husband's body.


A few things made me smile.  They clocked his body weight at 203 pounds.  That would appalled Paul.  He was very determined to keep his weight under 200 and any time the scale began inching upwards, he would declare that he was now on a diet and no longer going to eat lunch.  And I would always tell him that is NOT the way to lose weight and he would say, "Sure it is - watch me!"  The writer of the  autopsy puzzled over a strange combination of letters and numbers written in ink on the palm of his left hand.  I knew what it was!  Paul had this bad habit of writing down part numbers on his body that he needed to find.  The night he died he had been working on an elderly lady's sink and I remember that he told me he had to go to the hardware store and get a part which is why he was later getting home than he had originally planned.  When he did that he wrote down the needed part number.  This made me think of people who die who are heavily tattooed.  Every single one of those tattoos has to be detailed.  Can you imagine how long their autopsy reports must be?


The report also mentioned the high levels of caffeine in Paul.  Again - I have the answer.  He chugged ice-tea like his life depended on it.  He had this gallon jug (actually, he had several - he would wear them out on a routine basis) and every single day, even in the winter, he carried around tea and drank it all day long.


So, I was smiling just as much as I was upset after reading the report again.  I was smiling because it brought back good memories.  And I was upset because the whole thing was just so clinical and not who Paul was.  It was his body, nothing more.  Not the man.  I have that report written on the pages of my heart.


And the other thing I felt while reading? 


Relief.  Over and over again in the report it said, "Accidental death."  It said, "Death caused by witnessed seizure."  Repeatedly.  I've always known, in my head, I wasn't responsible for Paul's death.  But when I've been blamed - and I have been - it has messed with me.  My heart has begun to doubt what my head knows.  Should I have done something differently?  Could I have saved him?  Am I to blame, even in the smallest of ways?


I'm not.  It was an accident.  He had a seizure disorder that caused him to lose consciousness.  He fell.  That was it.  I mean, as a Christian, I know that's not it, of course.  God allowed the circumstances to occur as they did.  But I could not have saved him because his day of  death was written before he even began to form as an embryo.  All of ours is. 


It was an accident.


And like all accidents, those left in pieces eventually find the strength to start moving again and I am.  Slowly.  But with more of a sense of purpose.  I'm tucking Sam into bed tonight and he comments that he wishes "I was a monkey."  He further explained that monkeys have prehensile tails (like everyone automatically knows what "prehensile" means.  Actually, I did, but I read a lot.  And I have Sam who has a deep interest in the entire animal kingdom and has been feeding us all tidbits of animal trivia for most of his life) and he thinks that would be cool to have a tail to help you out.  Of course it would.  I  need a prehensile tail, myself. 


These are my reasons for moving on.  Well, some of them, anyway.  But they're sitting in my bedroom at night when I desperately need to sleep telling me the dark and deep things that alternately bother and thrill their souls. They're dreaming about their futures.  They're coloring bits of cardstock and paper while leaving my stamping supplies scattered all over the floor and proudly giving them to me, explaining that the scribbles mean, "I love you, Mommy!"  They're asking to drive by their dad's grave again and they're talking about the coolness of prehensile tails.


And so, I keep moving on.


































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