Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not so crabby pants

Well I put my crabby pants into the laundry and haven't seen them since.  I'm so glad of that and so is my sweet family.

Speaking of laundry.  I just finished the laundry of one of the MYP and there were count them 31 pair of underwear in the basket.  If my math serves me right I haven't seen her laundry basket for nearly a month.

I'm a "homemaker".  Some people think we usher off our family to their places of work or school and then sit around eating bon-bons and reading romance novels.  Usually I do things that are noticed.  I buy groceries for the cupboards and cook nutritious meals and pack lunches for the masses here.  Laundry.  Vacuuming.  Lots of yard work.  You name it.  My family is very appreciative - especially the Chairman.  But today I did things that are not noticed.  I cleaned out the produce drawer.  I emptied the central vacuum tub and got the filter clean as well.  And the biggest deal was the dryer lint hose that leads to the outside.  It was nearly completely blocked.  So I "youtubed" it and figured out how to get it clean (with a yard blower no less!) and voila!  No more fire hazards at the Chairman and co.

And!  The happy news is that we get some special guests this week and that leads me to clean corners.  The sweet ladies that are coming don't care one iota if I cleaned the corners.  I'm sure of it and you could even ask them.  But I want them cleaned for my own peace of mind.  I think I vacuumed up no less than nine spiders so that's worth something, right?

My toe.  Oh my toe.  My poor little toe that went wee wee all the way home.  It was all better and it was ready to get back into normal shoes and act like a right-proper pinky toe.  Until I partially jammed it tonight.  I didn't say or even think any naughty words.  However I yelled 'oh good grief!'.  And so we will be hopping back into the Birkenstocks again tomorrow.  (heavy sigh)

We were at a simply gorgeous wedding reception this past weekend.  The groom and bride are adorable.  Their personalities are lovely.  Their priorities straight.  And the wedding reception was wow-worthy.  We sat outside under these pretty little lights and enjoyed a yummy meal in great company.  And then the wind hit and the rain and it made a simply gorgeous wedding reception quite entertaining watching people race this way and that gathering up the gifts and hauling the piano out and grabbing anything that might blow away.  The silver lining in the storm cloud was we all retreated into the safety of the house and got to watch videos of the actual wedding, their honeymoon, and the video shown at the actual wedding.  It was a super-fun evening.

The Chairman is having a birthday Sunday so if you see him, be sure to say very loudly, 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!'.  He likes lots and lots of attention.  (heh)

I'm too lazy to post pictures so these words will have to do...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Musings

Did you know that after I showered this morning -  I walked into my closet and put on my crabby pants?  Yes, I saw them sitting there and decided today would be a good day.  And I've worn them all day.  I hope to take them off soon and not see them again for a very long time.  I think the other people that live under this roof would agree.  I just love Lucy.  Not that Lucy.  This one.
A man came to tune up our riding lawnmower today and now it works just horrible.  He's reputable and has good reviews and knows his stuff and suddenly it looks like a super-bad haircut.  So I called and he's returning bright and early in the morning.  I think this has a little something to do with me feeling crabby.

Since you didn't ask I'll let you know that my toe now is a big believer in the buddy system!  My little broken little piggy that went 'wee wee wee all the way home' now is good friends with the little piggy that 'had none'.  I'm thoughtful like that.  I think not being able to walk for days has a little something to do with me feeling crabby.

We currently have four teenagers living here.  The addition has been a wonderful addition in every way.  He's somewhat quiet, funny, relaxed, helpful, orderly, and polite in every way.  I'm so glad he's spending the summer with us.  He has nothing to do with me feeling crabby.

However, with four teenagers (and actually five now starting tonight for a couple days I reckon), the groceries are flying out of the cupboards and freezers at record pace.  Maybe because I'm feeling like I'm always cooking or shopping has a little to do with me feeling crabby.

And now I'm going to start blowing bubbles up here on my soapbox.  Yesterday, we were hearing about a person that had passed away and the comment was mentioned, 'he was the adopted son of so and so'.  That made me privately crabby.  If he was adopted, he was their son.  Period.  End of sentence.  That one almost gets me as much as 'real mom'.  Yes I'm the real mom.  Yes, the Chairman is the real dad.  If you're trying to think of another term it would be 'birth mom or dad'.  That doesn't make me crabby.  Just a little uncomfortable.

See that little fella on the left?  It's his 17th birthday tomorrow.  I just marvel at how this little 8 pound gift we were given is now this humongous almost-adult.  I would love to gush about him a bit but if he read it he would probably pick me up in one quick swoop and toss me onto the sofa like he's done before more than a few times.  I think of it as his form of a hug.  Heh.
Here he sits by his grandpa because they share birthdays just days apart.
So this is enough Musing.  Hopefully next time I'm not so crabby.  

Saw this quote lately and loved it.

If God is making you wait, then be prepared to receive more than what you asked for

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday Talk

Greetings from the Chairman and co.  We are back to ordinary days after some very extraordinary days.  I was existing on a hybrid mix of adrenaline and exhaustion.  After several ordinary days now,  I'm back to existing on a mix of work, contentment, and thankfulness.

Someone that just also lost someone very dear to them used the word 'indebted'.  That is the word that kept coming back to me after our experiences of late.  It is a miraculous work - the ability of others to know how to just fill a gap that is needed.  That happened day after day after day.  It could be a pan of delicious food.  It could be a text message at just the very moment I needed encouragement.  It could be a card in the mail.  It could be someone saying not once or twice but three times that she was driving over to walk Lisi so I didn't have to think about it.  Yes it's miraculous and I am indebted.

The oldest of the MYP graduated on June 3.  There was a field-wide graduation party on June 10.  I think we were near 200 together give or take about 20.  Who really counts friends?  The more the merrier.  As we were planning the time together with two other families it was my hope that it would be not only a lovely celebration of three amazing teenagers launching forth, but also a wonderful time of fellowship with those we love.  It was and I'm thankful.

The shared party was with two other families that have intertwined with ours since our babies came to be.  I held one of the other graduates when he was about 20 minutes old and his parents were trying to decide a name for him.  He's one of our son's best friends and his truck appears in our driveway at regular intervals.  I feel just as close to the other graduate.  When he was born I went over to visit with his young mother and instead of talking about her new little baby, she kept wanting to know about our long wait to go to China.  She knew we still had about ten months ahead of us and wanted me to stay encouraged and to know that the one we would receive would be 'chosen' for us.  I love how our three young people all have had each others backs for nearly 18 years and have the confidence it will continue.  Don't ever let anyone tell you that teenagers are tough to raise.

Life is so interesting and ever-evolving.  When your children are little, you rock them carefully and quietly to get them to go to sleep.  You may even get down on your hands and knees to sneak out of the room before they peer over their crib.  Last night our teenage son said to me, 'well I'm tired so see you tomorrow after work'.  It was 8:45 pm.  Heh.  

So did you want to hear about my toe?  No?  Well too bad.  Several weeks ago I jammed my pinky toe on a door frame.  Now several weeks later it still hurts like the dickens and swells if I use it too much or it gets too hot.  I reckon I have a teeny-small fracture on my pinky toe.  Sounds like a little problem, no?  Well did you know how much your pinky toe does?  I didn't either until it suddenly hurts.  

My extremely talented sister-in-law made this beautiful quilt for her graduation.  So so pretty!
When going through pictures for the graduation board I came across this one.  I love it and I loved him.  
Have a great week ahead!  Maybe we'll be chatting again soon.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It's a first after many lasts...

As most of you know, my dear dad has passed away.  On April 8 he was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor in his abdomen.  The tumor progressed and grew and he left this earth on May 31 just eight weeks later.

It's hard to describe my dad really with words.  He loved to tell a good joke.  He saw only good in others.  He was a lover of life.  He loved people almost more than anyone I know.  He loved to travel - but more so he loved to meet people in his travels because he was a lover of souls.  Some day when I grow up, I hope to be more like him than I already am.

How are we doing?  I'm not sure.  Sometimes I feel numb.  Sometimes I smile when I think of something he did.  Sometimes I forget he's gone.  Sometimes I feel a twinge of remorse.  Sometimes I'm ready to pick up my phone and text him a question.  Sometimes waves of sadness roll and I let the tears fall.  Time will heal.  We know it does.  But for now it is fresh and new and we will navigate through a huge world of adjusting - most of all for my dear mother who has lost her friend, partner, soul-mate and husband of 57-years.

My mom will not be pleased that I am sharing this, but I cannot not say it.  She was simply remarkable through the journey she and my dad went on.  She was an attentive care-giver.  She put away any selfish thought for the eight weeks he was ill and spent her time, energy and emotion all for his care.  She loved him 'til death did them part.  I overheard her say she does not regret every moment she spent in caring for him.

The times I spent sitting on the sofa with my ailing dad by my side visiting with me will never-ever be forgotten.  There were rich times with my siblings and other family members.  They were priceless.  The final words he said to me three days before he died were 'It's complicated'.  I'm not sure exactly what he was talking about, but it kind of sums up life in a way.

I spent a fair amount of time with my parents through the past eight weeks.  I was in awe really at how a disease can rob you of physical and eventually mental ability.  It seemed that week by week there were 'lasts' that happened.  There was the last time he was able to mow his lawn.  There was the last time he made mom breakfast. There was the last time he got to meeting.  There was the last time he went outside.  There was the last time he went to the basement.  There was the last time he could walk without assistance.  There was the last time that he sat in the living room.  There was the last time that he slept in their bed.  And there was the last time that he took a breath.

So what is the first after many lasts?  It simply the fact that on June 1st it was the first time I woke up without a dad.  It was the first time in my 52-years that I didn't have him.  Yes, we have been blessed for having him this long.  But it is an adjustment and with time it will be better understood.

p.s.  stay tuned.  I may be sitting more often in the blogging chair in the future.  I miss you all!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

That's what friends are for

See these ladies?  I had lunch with them today to celebrate a few of us having May birthdays.  I posted the picture on Facebook because I love my friends.

We live in an area that has a lot of people that we share common purpose with.  We're kind of all in the same boat trying to get to the opposite shore without the winds and snares of life keeping us from getting there.  When I moved here 22 1/2 years ago, I knew almost no one.  Now many, many years later I consider some of my friends to be as close to me as cousins I never had.

Through the years I have heard or read about people having a best friend.  A best friend they would talk to nearly every day.  A best friend they could share anything with.  A best friend that knew everything about them.  Sometimes I would envy that.  Growing up I had friends.  Through my school and college years I had friends.  In the working world I had friends.  And now as a middle-aged stay-at-home-mom I have friends.  For that I am so grateful.  But I cannot really say for sure if I have a 'best friend'.  Well I take that back.  Yes, I do have a 'best friend'.  I married him 22 1/2 years ago and the statements of a best friend I just mentioned applies to him.

So back to my friends.  There were seven of us together today.  And there were again that many more that could not join us for one reason or another.  Today when I was thinking about all these ladies I realized I really value each of their friendships for different reasons.

There's the friend that is quiet.  She doesn't share all that much.  But when I think of her, I think of sensible dependability.  She's just so steady in every aspect of her life.

There's the friend that can tell stories better than almost anyone I know.  When she tells the story, I'm right there picturing it all.  And she does it with a tremendous sense of humor.

There's the friend that I don't see so often, but we share life through phone calls, text messages and some visits.  She is concerned about people and family dynamics and I find it so easy to share things with her that I might not with others.

There's the friend that has a way to make me feel special.  She often leaves little gifts and the sweetest notes as a token of appreciation.  She rarely wants to take credit for the trail of sunshine she leaves behind.  But it's true and I love how she makes me and others feel.

There's the friend that is no nonsense.  She seems to have life organized and mostly all figured out.  And if I hint that I am wavering about something she is quick to give me her opinion.  Does that bother me?  Not at all because I know her advice is usually spot-on.

There's the friend that knew just when to step in when I was at a very low point in life.  She's often been quick to pick up the phone to chat.  She's given some warning signals about situations that I needed signals for.  And she really cares.

There's the friend that despite having about 27 irons in the fire, will drop all 27 to come help at a moment's notice.  She shared her children and encouraged them to call me "Auntie" because she knew my arms were empty at the time.

There's the friend that is positive.  She looks at things with a smirk on her face and excitement in her eyes.  She also has a current and relevant story to tell and I find every aspect of her life just interesting.

There's the friend that is moved by the needs of others.  She's the first one to text if she hears about something.  She's the first one to cook up a delicious meal and drive it over even though she's busy herself.  She's so efficient that you almost don't realize there's a need and it's met before you feel it.

There's the friend that is sensitive and sweet.  She often calls and we can visit for an hour and a half on the phone (getting all my dusting and ironing done) and it seems just like minutes.  We've raised our babies - now soon fledging children together.  I don't know what I would have done without her by my side.

There's the friend that I can have a three-hour lunch with and we haven't even covered the ground we intended to cover.  We talk about people and situations and experiences of life and I feel like I can totally 'shoot from the hip' because she just gets me.

There's the friend that is a quiet-gentle soul.  She mentioned in her card that we are like soul-mates and I feel like that is a perfect description.  I feel that way because when I get rattled about something with life she's quick to encourage me to look up and see what's on my side.

So I listed a little something about the dozen local friends that are all within about ten years of my age.  Because of the diversity of personalities, I realize how thankful I am to not have a best friend.  My life is better for it as all of these ladies have such a sweet influence on me that they hardly know.

My goal is to be who I am - yet try to be the best friend possible to them.  That's the only way I could pay them back for all they've done to strengthen, cheer, and nurture me through this wonderful journey called life.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

An attitude of gratitude

I fully intended to be done blogging once again but today I feel very grateful for so many things.

I woke up today on my 52nd birthday.  That's reason enough to be thankful.  Life!  Then I checked my phone and saw several text messages.  These were from teens that are friends with our MYP.  They took time out of their day to text me a happy birthday and said some sweet things I won't share. Love them. 

Then a call came.  My dear 86-year old friend wanted to drop something off.  I came back from my walk and there were cupcakes and a card.  The sweetness of friendship bridging age groups is not lost with me.  

We had a lovely vacation to the Caribbean several weeks back.  High points were the serenity of the sea, good food, and sweet fellowship.  A low point was frantically racing one night looking for a doctor to stitch up our daughter's face.  Thankfully she's healed nicely and we haven't seen a bill.  

The graduation announcements have been sent.  I still am wanting to curl up on the fetal position and not believe we are here already.  However, experienced mothers tell me that the feelings of love does not change, just the needs do.  And to think we do it all over again next year.  Whose idea was it to space these MYP so close together?  Not ours but that's okay.  

Finally I want to extend the most gratitude to my dear parents.  Some of  you may be aware that they are in a valley experience.  However, my parents are the sort of people that see the grander view even in a valley.  They say and see only the good in others even with imperfections.  They see a silver lining despite dark clouds.  I love that example I've had through the years.  We have had some precious times the past weeks and will continue as long as life lets us.  

So this is enough today.  I have missed our chats and will maybe stop in occasionally for a visit when inspiration strikes.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Talk on a Tuesday

The Chairman is burning some late-night oil at the workplace and I don't feel like going to bed yet, so will do a late-night chat fest with you!

Have you seen those memes that say that someone is just done with 'adulting'.  That's kind of how I felt this past week.  Last week I noticed our water softener didn't seem to be working.  I went and kicked the tank a few times to see if that would help.  Then Googled it and it seemed like we had a salt dome issue.  So the Chairman and I dug through the salt and brine in the tank and discovered what Google said would be the issue.  But as I turned around I asked the Chairman, 'why is there a big puddle under the water heater?'.  Oh no.  A call to our plumber and some pictures and texts were exchanged and two days and nearly $2000 later we have hot water again.

Then the HVAC guy had to come to figure out why we were having condensation problems in certain rooms.  That was fixed and thankfully it was a little less than $2000.

So I've relished in the new stove/oven.  I've been literally cooking on all four burners.  I've been keeping the oven humming along.  Today's fare included three loaves of pumpkin bread, hamburger buns for at least two meals and also some dinner rolls.  I feel like I just gained a pound by typing that sentence.

A friend of mine just made this cute sign for me.  I really am happy with it.  And the saying is mostly true.
I have this spatula that I absolutely love that came with my Bosch mixer.  I tried to find a replacement for it to no avail.  In desperation I contacted Bosch via email my predicament and within ten minutes a lady responded saying she knew exactly what I was talking about and they just happened to have one sitting in her office so she sent it to me FOR FREE!!!  It is already safely nestled in my kitchen drawer just three days later.  Talk about service!

So I've been cleaning out kitchen cupboards and that led me to the basement and I started to go through boxes and tubs and looked in scary-dark corners of the "dirty room" and ended up with four huge bags of trash, a mid-sized SUV filled with treasures for Goodwill and then some other things we may use later or to sell.
 I was so glad to run across this again.  When our little premature baby died back in 1996, someone gave this to us just a few days after she had passed away.  For some reason, having her name etched on this little china box made her seem more real.  It was way more comforting to me than some flowers that were fading.  I'll always be thankful for their thoughtfulness.

Tonight I posted a picture of our old living room area rug.  Immediately there were people clamoring for it.  One lady that seemed the most interested and willing to pay full price said she'd meet me this week.  So I looked up her FB profile and I see it was a nice family.  Then I see some more details and I realize she has a little girl fighting a horrible cancer battle with her eyes!  She's blind in one eye now and may lose the sign in the other despite being cared for at Sloan-Kettering.  After we had agreed upon the price, I contacted her sheepishly and said I had been doing some FB stalking and saw what they were up against and to please leave the wallet at home.  She was incredibly gracious and we continued our 'chat' online.  I can't wait to meet her.  And I hope she brings little Julia along so I can tell her how brave I think she is.

Life is truly not for the faint of heart.  I think being aware of other's struggles is such a positive thing really.  It makes us feel less alone when we are going through them or makes us thankful that at present, we are healthy, happy, and hopeful.

So this is enough.  This week promises to be full of special privileges and visits.  I don't want to be looking sleepy so I better go catch a few winks.  Thanks for listening and for your cyber friendship!