Saturday, November 21, 2015

Day 905

Nov. 20, 2015

Day 905


Well, today didn't start out as planned.  Lizzie bought herself a kindle this week and since it came we've had all kinds of trouble with the content from Sam's kindle getting onto hers and stuff like that.  I really hate electronics... so, I called Kindle today and was on the phone with them for TWO hours while my kids went crazy and started bleeding and yelling at each other.  Argh...


But I do think the problem is resolved.  And the people at Amazon/Kindle are super nice on the phone, even if they have hard-to-understand Indian accents.


We have snow!  Lots of snow!  Not as much as some parts of the state, but I think we have a good 5-6" outdoors.  The kids are beyond excited.  It started snowing in earnest around 5 last night and when we got home Sam and Lizzie were outside playing in it and then requesting hot chocolate at 8:30 pm (which ended up being buggy, a fact they didn't discover until they had drank most of it - I may have just scarred them, as well as given them some intestinal parasites).


Actually, I wasn't too thrilled about the snow last night.  For months, David has been planning on attending the Back on Track conference which is something they started doing for the teens in the area this time every year.  I think it's designed to kind of renew the camp fever that they come home with every July and August.  This year's theme has to do with God in the midst of suffering.  So, David was especially interested in attending.  By the time I got halfway to church the snow was really coming down.  I got him there and turned around and went home and it was the most harrowing drive I've had in a long time.  I had a great deal of difficulty seeing because the snow was coming right at me.   The roads were slick and I had a couple of instances were I began to spin - one time on the hill leading into Swan, which has steep ditches on either side of it.  Fortunately, God kept us on the road and I did make it home.


But I knew I couldn't go back out at 10 and retrieve him.  It's a two day conference.  They were coming back last night and going back this morning.  So I did some quick texting and found a place for him to spend the night with one of the other youth group guys that went.  I'll have to get him this afternoon but the roads have been plowed now and it's sunny out. Of course, last night I couldn't help but lament the fact that if Paul was still alive he could go retrieve David late at night in the snow.  He never minded driving in it.  Sigh...


And next week we're supposed to have some days in the 50s, so I think we'll probably lose most of the snow.  I'm not complaining.  The older I get, the less I like the snow - because of things like last night.


But it sure is pretty.


The last of my fall birthdays was Tuesday, with Ben's 19th.  I'm always relieved once his arrives.  It is work  to get through 4 birthdays and Halloween, all within 3 1/2 weeks!


He had his very last IEP meeting on his birthday, too.  So I brought cupcakes.  We didn't have a ton of stuff to discuss, mostly because it's his senior year.  He's not doing a whole lot of academics because he's doing so much work experience.  But, they did tell me is reading at an 11th grade level now, which blows my mind.  When he started 9th grade, he was barely at a 5th grade level.  His teachers and principal all made the comment that what you see on the surface with Ben is not all there is.  They said he knows so much more than he lets on or that anyone would dream, just meeting him.  I know that - my mom's been telling me that since he was two years old!


We left the meeting and there were a group of girls, maybe a dozen or so, sitting in the hallway for some reason (school was out - they must have been part of an after-school group) and when they saw Ben they burst into, "Happy birthday to You!" and serenaded him.  Sweet.  The white board in his classroom was covered in birthday messages and the lunch room ladies made him a sign and taped all kinds of candy to it.  He is well loved.


I had an interview Wed. at Buena Vista.  I'm going to try to condense this.  Short story: finishing my bachelors is going to take more than I had originally  hoped.  Shorter story: I'm still going to do it.


The rep I spoke with a couple weeks ago told me that I could totally do an English degree on-line.  She was only partially right.  I am going to have to travel to Newton (40 min away) for a few classes - unless by the time I need them they are offered on-line, which is a possibility.  And when I was thinking on-line, I was thinking, do-on-my-time type of classes.  Well, some of the classes are like that.  But most are what they call "blackboard collaboratives" which means I have to be in front of my computer at certain times participating in class and listening to the instructor. 


Also, it's going to take 4 years doing this part-time.  And they're going to be 4 intense years, even with only one class per 8 week term.


When I left that day, my head was whirling and I felt sick at heart.  I don't know how this is all going to work out.  I hate the thought of taking away more time from the kids.  I don't know HOW I will add attending class 5 hours a week, plus doing schoolwork on top of everything else I don't have time to do.  I don't know how that last year of school will work out when I really need to get to work in 3 years.


I don't know.


But, then I had to go to Walmart.  And the employees I dealt with were all middle aged and older women.  And they were grumpy.  And I knew with an absolute certainty that I do not want that for my future.  I have to provide for my kids.  There's no way around that fact.  I will be losing Social Security for Ben and David in the next few years which doesn't leave me a lot of income.  I've got my investments and some in savings - but not enough to live off of very long.  I have to find a way to generate a decent income!  I don't want to do it by working an $8 an hour a job, working twice as many hours to make up for the low pay and having to find a sitter for my  kids during the evenings and summers.


I was talking to Will later and he said, "Do you really have any other choice? (about attending school)"  No, I suppose not.


But how will I do this?  The class I am signed up for in January (Intro to Literary Theory) meets every Mon. and Thurs. nights.  My moms group and my writing group meet on Mondays.  I hate the thought of giving up those relationships for 4 years (other than the occasional term when I don't have to be in class on a Monday).


I want to write!  How does going to school fit in with writing?  It would be one thing, I guess, if I could parlay my writing abilities into a $60,000 annual income.  But I'm not quite sure that's a reasonable goal, esp. with the way the publishing world has changed. 


And will the kids be ok?  I am going to have to give up Wed. night church and teaching Patch Club.  Will they become spiritually bankrupt with the combination of attending public school, having a stressed, too busy mom, and only being in church one day a week?  Although, as sweet Arien reminded me this week, our spiritual lives are not dependent on how often we are in church...


And if I do this, I'll be almost 49 when I finish.  That's old!  But I guess I'll turn 49 regardless of whether or not I go back to school.


So, there's that.  But then I remember how I have diligently prayed for career direction for about 15 months now. 


And then there's the possibility of remarriage.  I mean, there's not.  Nobody's asked me out, I'm not looking, and if someone did, I'd probably tell them I am not ready.  But, this week I went to lunch with a friend who had a not-so-good second marriage after being widowed after 50 yrs of marriage.  So, granted, she's going to be more cautious than the average remarried  person.  But she asked me what I'm thinking regarding marrying again.  And then she strongly cautioned me to wait until the kids are older.  And those are kind of my thoughts, anyway, as much as I miss being married.  Ever since the girls arrived our household has been in a constant state of change.  They need some stable years before introducing new people into the mix.


If I am financially independent then I will be less likely to fall into a bad marriage because I need to be taken care of.


So...the short of it (after a very long explanation).  I do not know how this is going to work.  But I'm going to do my best to make it happen.


After going to Walmart Wed. I got in the van, turned on my mp3 player (which is permanently on "shuffle")  and told God, "Ok, I need you to send me a song here to tell me what to do!"  And Steven Curtis Chapman's "Take Another Step" began to play.


Last weekend Will started experiencing jaw pain and bad headaches.  He tried everything - oils, drugs.  He was convinced it was a sinus infection, but I was dubious because he hadn't been sick.  I suggested maybe he had a bad tooth.  No, no, no - it was definitely a sinus infection.  He got sicker and sicker as the week went on and asked me to call the dr.  I did but couldn't get an appointment.   Wed. morning he texted me and told me he was lightheaded.  I told him to go to Urgent Care.  They tested him for the flu and told him he didn't have it.  He came home, his body shaking and went straight to bed.  Thursday morning he actually felt a little better but still had terrible jaw pain.  He asked me to call the dentist.  Didn't I suggest it could be a tooth problem?...


He went and I was right.  Unfortunately, being right comes with a price tag for me.  The dentist cleaned out the tooth which he said is "dead."  Will said when he took the filling out a stench just poured out of his mouth. Yuck.  It's packed right now but he's scheduled for a root canal and crown around Christmas.


The other night Sam was taking a shower and I realized he'd been in there for quite some time.  I went into the bathroom and didn't hear a thing in the tub, other than the water running.  I pulled back the curtain and he was laying in the tub, the spray pummeling his body - sound asleep!


And here's another one for the "ugh" file.  I recently arranged with the city's CPA to start reconciling our books every month.  I'm doing it because 1) I can't balance those things but also because 2) I want a second set of eyes on the city's checkbook.  It seems like every month I hear of some small town Iowa clerk who has been arrested for embezzlement.  I know I've written about this before.  I don't ever want accusations like that leveled my direction.


This week the news hit the wires of the clerk in Casey who is accused of using the city's credit card (I have one of those, too) for personal expenses to the tune of $300,000.  The night before the state auditors were to come in and go through the city's financial records, she burned down City Hall!  Now she's headed for federal court and prison.


Well, that's all I know this week.  I have to be up a little early tomorrow morning.  The water guy called me and needs to stop by my house at seven AM (!) to re-test our water.  He did it Friday and the results were a little funky so now he has to get a new sample in.  And since his work shift starts I don't know - sometime- he has to be here at 7.  I suppose I really should be dressed before I let a man into my house.  I need to get my sink cleaned out too.


I'm going to do my two week shopping on Monday and then Tuesday will be super busy.  I have to get a filling done that day, too.  And then it's time for Thanksgiving.  And after that the Christmas rush begins.  I'm not sure when I'll get to breathe again, actually.


Maybe in 4 years.

























What I have learned in two years of widowhood:

• God is good - so, so good
• I am loved far more than I ever knew
• I have amazing, resilient children (I am reaping what Paul sowed into their lives)
• Darkness eventually gives way to light
• Strength and wisdom are mine for the asking
• I don't have to have all the answers
• God delights in carefully and tenderly mending torn-apart hearts

Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.







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