Saturday, February 13, 2016

Day 982

February 13, 2016
Day 982


The kids didn't have school today.  I really wonder how I managed to homeschool as long as I did.  I've been ready to put them to bed since about 11 this morning.

Well, life has been busy lately.  And I don't foresee any real slowdown.  My class will be wrapping up in the next couple weeks.  That means I have four papers and a power point presentation left to do.  Not quite sure when I'm going to get them all done. 

But, I did get the grade back on my first paper and was completely stunned to learn I had been given 15 out of 15 possible points.  I seriously about fell over when I saw that.

But now I feel this pressure to do that well with all my other papers!  I'm afraid I'm going to be crushed if I don't score well on them, too!  I expressed that to Will and he nodded and said he totally understood that.  He said he observes other students slacking off and it's so tempting as he realizes what he could get away with.

He came home one afternoon this week and told me, "I need help!"  I never hear that from him!  So, of course, I was all ears.  Well, he had to write a paper for his English class and he was pretty lost.  The subject matter - applying critical analysis to a classic piece of literature - is exactly what my class has been all about!  We were able to get it all done by bedtime.  Will sat back on my bed and exclaimed, "It would have taken me days to get done what you were able to just whip out there!"  That made me feel good.  He's going to help me with my power point presentation that's due in two weeks.  I'm figuring out that our professor just assumes we all know how to make one of those.  I have no clue how to do one.  He said he'll help me when I do my math class, too.  I think I had better schedule that for when Will still lives at home...'s been almost two weeks since I last wrote.  What has happened in that time?

Let's see...

We had another racial incident on the bus again.  Grr...Actually, it was kind of funny.  Well, this part was: the kids got home from school one day and Sam came into the house sputtering.  He came up to me in the kitchen and said, "I'm not going to stand for anyone bullying my sister!"  Awww...just melted my heart!  Then, Lizzie tried to tell me what had happened and Sam is standing there literally elbowing her out of the way and hollering, "Let me tell her, Lizzie!" and it kind of cracked me up because he had just informed me that he wasn't going to let her be bullied, but he, apparently, has no problem with knocking her out of the way when the occasion arises!

It was two little mean girls on the bus this time.  So, once again, I complained to the principal via email and he got right on it.  He told me these girls are nothing but trouble, which lines up with what the kids have told me about them.  We got written apologies from the girls and I was impressed that the principal had the girls write to Sam, too, because he was also offended.  Lizzie said the principal had her meet with the girls and explained to them that chickens have all sorts of colors of eggs, but they all have yellow yolks - or something like that.  Anyway, she thought that was a pretty cool analogy for differing skin colors. 

Maybe this is just something that is going to rear its ugly head from time to time because it's an all-white school.  Or maybe, as people get to know the girls, it will cease to happen.  I don't know.  But I find it pretty disgusting, although I am thankful for the principal's willingness to deal with this.  He told me to never be hesitant to contact him with stuff like this.  At the same time, I don't want him groaning every time he sees my name in his in box.  I don't want to be a whiny parent complaining every time her child's feelings get trampled on.

He did tell me that, in his opinion, Sam and Lizzie have really "come far" this school year academically and socially (their social skills were just fine to begin with, thank you) and it's obvious that they have been trained to speak kindly and treat others well.  That made me feel good!  At least in public, my kids are behaving and being nice!

And then last Saturday night was Single Parent Provision night.  When I picked up the kids one of the workers asked me, "Can you bring them every time?  They are just the nicest children!"  Ahhh...

Still lots of work to do, of course.  Ellie is at the top of the list right now.  I don't know if it's her or if it's her age or what.  The lying is almost a daily thing now and the disobedience...oh, my goodness.  I just bought an oil diffuser for their room and Ellie had strict instructions to not touch it at all.  No sooner would I leave the room after spanking her for touching it and she'd be messing with it again.  I think we went through that three times today before I gave up and moved the diffuser somewhere else where she couldn't touch it - which negates any lesson I wanted her to learn.  Will had some coffee/chocolate Starbucks drink (I think Arien is slowly converting him) sitting on the counter from last night (the two of them went ice skating - while it romantic) and Ellie took it upon herself to microwave the drink and it exploded all over the microwave and the floor.  And I am wondering

How does she know how to operate the microwave?

Argh!  But I actually have an idea.  I just need the time to implement it.  I spent considerable time one morning this week praying about Ellie's lying.  I'm kind of at my wit's end.  I don't know what to do because I feel like I've tried everything to convince her that truth telling is infinitely  more preferable than filthy lying but she's not buying it.  So I was telling God this and praying for wisdom one morning.  Then I sat down at my computer to check my email and the very first email my eyes saw was a blog I follow sometimes.  It had the word, "character badges" in the message line so I clicked on it.  Well,  the lady who writes this blog was advertising something her husband has come up with and they sell some sort of badges for good character you use with your kids.  What caught my eye were some pictures of charts.  And suddenly I remembered when I was potty training Will and David.  I made up reward charts for them because they weren't too motivated to use the toilet unless there was something in it for them.  We called them their, "poop charts."  I think I still have them!  Anyway, they worked like a charm.

I knew there was something with those charts I could use but it didn't click until a couple of hours later.  I could make "good behavior" charts for Ellie!  Just like the poop charts, she'd get rewards for entire days with no bad behavior.  If she goes three days, then there will be a small reward and then we'll start over again and shoot for five or six days and then we'll go for a longer period of time, eventually leading up to a "big" prize.  As I recall with Will and David, their big reward was to go to Burger King with a play area and they got to order whatever food they wanted.  Of course, unlike the boys' charts, I'll still discipline when she doesn't have a day where she gets a sticker to put on the charts. 

Maybe this will work - I hope. There is a big part of me that resists the idea of bribing my child to obey.  That ought to happen out of willing heart and if the heart isn't willing, then it should at least be done out of fear of consequences.  But,   I don't have any other ideas.  I'm not ordering from this company, though.  This is something I can make on my own.  I just thought it was interesting that I had literally just prayed about the situation when I saw the email.  It seems like an answer to prayer, anyway.

I woke up at 5 with a migraine.  Ugh.  It was so bad I was awake again an hour later with the same headache.  I'm already on pill 3 and it's only 10:30 in the morning.  Typically, I'll see some relief by late afternoon.  That seems to be the pattern with these headaches that beset me while I'm sleeping.

Ben has a date for prom.  This is one of those things where I just sit back and marvel at God's goodness and the way He has things planned out long before I even begin to think about them.  I've known about this since last fall, but it all came together this week.

Ben had informed me at the beginning of the school year that he had every intention of going to prom this year.  I immediately began to think of everything that could go wrong with that idea.  But he was adamant, even when I suggested that he attend A Night to Shine (a local special needs prom held in the Des Moines area every year) as an alternative.  He wanted to go to his school's prom.

And then last fall, his teacher approached me with the news that not one, but two, "normal" students had asked her. separately,  if she thought Ben's mom would be willing to let him attend prom as her date.  One of the girls I knew, so I was comfortable having her accompany him.

And then, like I said, this week it all came together.  This sweet girl, Deidra, texted me last week with some ideas of dresses she was considering(I encouraged her to go modest - hope she does!).  And then her mom texted me.  We met Monday afternoon after school, Deidra, her mom, and stepdad, and hashed out how we'd do everything.  Then, Thursday was the big asking day.  Ben's teachers were in on it.

  Apparently, the "asking" of someone to prom is almost as big of an event as the night itself.  They're called, "promposals," even.  I'm slightly rolling my eyes.  As I recall, the way I got asked to my senior prom was my boyfriend saying, "You're going with me, right?"  Times have changed.  So, Deidra asked her mom and me to be there.  We snuck into the classroom.  Ben didn't seem to question it too much.  I told him I'd brought him his hat since he had forgotten it (he really did) and then I told him I had an appointment at the insurance office in town (I really did) and was killing time until I needed to go to that.  He accepted it without question and continued to work on his math with his teacher.

Then, Deidra (who had already told me how nervous she was) asked Ben to help her with some papers.  So, Ben followed her over to a table.  Jennifer (her mom) and I tried to unobtrusively follow, our phones in hand, ready to snap pictures of the moment.  Deidra began to lay out sheets of papers, each with a different letter on them, spelling out, "Will U Go to Prom with me?"  Only, Ben misread it and slowly said out loud, "Will you go to Rome with me?"  It was funny!

And of course he said yes and it was sweet.  Jennifer videod it all.  She's a very excitable and emotional person - which is fine.  I'm emotional but I keep it tamped down most of the time!  I probably come off as un-emotional, as a result, to others. I think I took three or four pictures.  But by that evening, she had posted the videos and pictures to my Facebook wall, all excited.  I had no intention of doing anything like that.  But it's ok.  I am very touched by Deidra and her family's enthusiasm for making this night special for Ben.  She could easily have chosen to go to prom with a "normal" classmate - one that won't need help with his zipper, or bounce down the runway during walk-in, one that could potentially turn into a boyfriend, or one that won't tire out and go home before After Prom.  But she chose Ben because she likes him and because she wanted to give him a night that he can remember the rest of his life.

I'll never forget that and I'll always be so grateful.

Man, has God been good to us!
I tried something new last weekend...and everyone who  knows me is aware that  this does not normally happen, particularly when it involves food.  I was just out to eat with a friend a couple of weeks ago, ordered my food (chicken parm at Olive Garden) and she laughed and said, "I knew before we got here what you were having!"  I don't like surprises and what if I order something new and I don't like it?

But, Des Moines just opened up their second Zombie Burger restaurant out at Jordan Creek mall around Christmastime.  I've heard good things about it and have been interested in trying it.  But the lines are always long and I have no idea what kind of food they have other than, presumably, burgers.  I hate trying new things and I especially dislike ordering at the counter when I don't already know what it is I want.  I feel pressured to make a snappy order. 

So, last Sat. evening I was out at the mall for Single Parent Provision.  I needed some dinner and I wandered around, but nothing else sounded good.  I really wanted to try Zombie Burger.  But on a Saturday night, when half of Des Moines is at the mall already?  When the line stretches clear around the corner?  I told myself I'd try it some other time during the week when it wasn't so hectic.  But I really kind of wanted to try it that night.  I finally told myself, "Look here - how many new things have you managed to try and succeed at the last 2 1/2 years?  How can ordering something from a new restaurant be any harder than what you've already done?"  True.  So I got in line.  Well, first I sat down and with my handy iphone, I perused their on-line menu.  So, I least had an idea of what I might want to try.  Then I got in line.

I got a friendly teenage girl to take my order and I explained to her that this was my first visit.  She walked me through the ordering process and I came away with a "Walking Ched" burger, fries, and drink.  Holy buckets...I think you're paying for the novelty of ordering from a place designed to look like the set of a horror  movie.  I paid $13 for all of that - and my Coke was a small, even!

But, oh my goodness...let me tell you about the Walking Ched burger...It's a patty covered in caramelized onions (most of which I picked off), cheese, and bacon.  This is sandwiched between not a bread bun, but a bun made out of fried cheese, stuffed with macaroni and cheese.  Messy, definitely...but so, so good...I sure was glad I stepped out of my Chik-fil-A, Taco John comfort zone and tried something new!

Afterwards, I had no shopping I needed to do, so I went over to Barnes and Noble into their coffee shop area, curled up in a chair, and spent my time reading, "Redeeming Love" which I am doing my final paper for my class on.  It was a very satisfactory way to spend my break time!
I changed my house and auto insurance company.  For some reason, this struck me as a very, "grown up" kind of decision.  Paul always took care of that kind of stuff.  I just co-signed the papers with him.  Even after he died and I had to switch everything over to my name I didn't change coverage (except to buy life insurance for me) or companies.  But I know I've written before  how unhappy I am with my health insurance.  The premiums and co-pays just keep going up and up and up.  And I hardly ever go to the doctor, anyway!  Not that that couldn't change in a hurry, if I got sick or hurt.  Which is why I have to have some sort of insurance.  Plus, I would get fined if I don't have it, thanks to Obamacare.

So, I started doing some looking around.  I actually prayed before hopping on Google.  And wouldn't you know it, the very first website I clicked on popped up with Dave Ramsey's picture on it!  It turns out that they are the only Dave Ramsey licensed ELP in the metro.  So, I called them and the agent actually advised me to stick with my current health plan, expensive as it is.  The agent I spoke with is a Christian, homeschooling dad and his secretary is a former homeschooling mom (her kids are all graduated).  In fact, years ago I talked with her when I needed to find a supervising teacher.  Small world!  He said that the next election will have a lot to do with what happens in the world of health insurance and all we can do right is sit tight and see what happens.  But, he offered to get me a quote for my house and vehicles and I  figured, why not?  He got me better coverage for $350 less a year.  Sold!  Of course, I felt really guilty when I contacted my other agent to let her know I was switching...Paul wouldn't have felt guilty.  He would have just done it.  But I'm a girl and I feel things and I overthink things.  But I'm also going to be a girl with $350 more in my pocket this year!
And to finish with a few funnies.  By the way, my headache has finally lifted (it's now 4pm - right on schedule).  Maybe I'll be able to get a start on that paper after all.  I'm going to write about the deconstructionalist theory of critical analysis.  Sounds complicated, which it sort of is.  It's basically the idea that things are not always what they seem in literature.  For example, if someone wrote about getting chocolates and flowers, the reader might assume they were from their boyfriend or husband as a way of showing love (this reminds me of something - I'll write it in a minute).  But, the deconstructionalist theory says, "Wait a minute..."  The candy and flowers could be a guilt offering because the guy has just cheated on the gal to whom he sent the flowers.  Basic idea, anyway. 

I think next week's paper will be written on the feminist viewpoint.  We talked about that this week in class and boy, did the "poor me" whiners come out in full force in my all-female class.  A couple of times I had to interject that you know, men don't have it all that easy, either.  My perspective seemed to intrigue the professor, as she asked me several questions about it.  I'm sure they don't want to know everything I was thinking!  The second half of our lecture was about the gay/lesbian/queer analysis and boy, did I just have to be quiet.  I was in a room full of pro-homosexuality sympathizers.

Alright, I think I promised some funnies:

First, last week for my class we had an assignment to watch and analyze a superbowl commercial using the semiotic form of critical analysis.  I wasn't about to sit through the game just to see commercials.  But the night before David showed me one on youtube.  It was the sonogram Doritos commercial where the dad is eating Doritos in the ultrasound room, much to his wife's disgust.  But the baby likes it and it's quickly obvious the baby is reaching for the Dorito.  Irritated, the mom grabs the chip and lets it fly past her feet.  Whereupon, the baby suddenly decides to  make a dash for the Dorito.  Sam watched it with me and asked what was happening.  I told him the baby decided to be born in order to get the chip.  Sam then asked, "Well, how did he get out?"  I explained in kid-friendly terms and Sam's mouth dropped open.  He exclaimed, "Well, that had to hurt!"  We were all dying!

I was at the bank this week, making the city's deposit.  All the tellers in there always make such a big deal out of Ellie.  I usually go after picking her up from preschool.  We were leaving, but not out the door yet, when Ellie asked me, "Why did she call me a 'cutie patootie'?"  I told her the teller was just saying she was cute and Ellie protested, "But she called me a tootie!"  "Toot" is our word for passing gas...

One day this week when I picked Ellie up from preschool her teacher came up to me and related what had happened.  She was still laughing.  She said it was snack time and she was passing out the treats and water and every other kid was demanding more snacks and another  cup of water.  She said Ellie finally exclaimed in exasperation, "Do you people think she has fourteen hands?!" (There are 14 kids in the class).  I know exactly where she learned that, too...

Oh, and back to the candy and flowers...Yesterday, Arien sent me a message, "Do you know what your son did?"  I hoped it was something good... She then sent a picture of the front seat of her car.  She had come out after work to find candy and flowers.  I told her it was apparent that Will had inherited or at least learned, his dad's romantic bent...I found the same thing in my vehicles many times when we were together.

Being loved makes for many good  memories.

Happy Valentine's Day!



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.

No comments:

Post a Comment