Thursday, December 30, 2010

The light at the end of the tunnel

The year is almost over. Most people will be reflecting on New Year's Resolutions. I'd rather not. First, because I never kept the ones I made in the past. Second, because I don't need any additional guilt on top of the baggage I'm taking with me from last year. Third, because I have no idea what the next year will hold so I have no way of even knowing what might be possible.

Sure, I could go with the typical list of "lose a few pounds, go back to school, get my closets organized, save a few bucks." Making a decision to do that this year is no different from any other year, or any other day that I've ever spent. I always want to do those things and for me, trying to make a big deal out of it just never seems to work. For instance, I have been looking at the stack of storage bins in my bedroom for four months now. Ever since we moved in to this little house, I have been planning on going through the bins, pulling out the clothes I want and then storing them neatly into the closet that they were so neatly stacked right next to. I've put this task on my list a dozen times. I've asked DH to help me move them. I've made a decision to "focus" on my bedroom for one day in the hopes of getting those darned things out of sight. Four months later, they were still there. Last night, however, I was gathering laundry from my room, I wanted a different place to put the hamper, so ... I took a quick look in the bins, realized everything in them is four sizes too small, and shoved them neatly into the closet that they were so neatly stacked against. Easy. No list, no resolution. Just one small space that needed cleaning out.

My problem is that I have a love-hate relationship with lists. They make everything look so neat and organized on paper. Then, I look at how long they get and I become overwhelmed. I never have the energy to actually finish everything on the list. I think I might be afraid of finishing them. What if I am all done with everything I have to do? Will I work myself onto an obsolete state? When the house is clean, what is there to do?

My hobbies never seem to align with my current state of energy and pain level, so I wander around the house, feeling bored, looking glum, and getting on my own nerves. Maybe I should just skip the lists for now and just do whatever is in front of me. I already have everything I need to do written down somewhere. I'll just pick a spot, clean it, move on to the next spot, and rest when I get tired. That sounds awfully smart and sane. Is this how other people run their lives? Do smart people and Born Organized people just KNOW what to do when to do it without anyone or anything telling them what to do and when to do it?

Help me out people... am I crazy for venturing out in my messy world without a list?
I feel scared....


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How about a regular schedule?

I don't know...what do you think? Should I try and stick to a post every day? I love to write so maybe I should use my writing time as a bit of a reward for a day well done. I can always use new motivators. Since I've been at home and not working or going to school for the last few weeks, I've had more time to myself to both write and read. Reading other blogs has become a real hobby for me. I guess it has inspired me to write more, but it has also helped me to look a little harder at what I have written and what I would like to write in the future.

Would I run out of things to say? Hardly. A lack of words has never been a problem for me. But, would you all get tired of listening? Well, would you? Do you like to read long blogs, short blogs, look at goofy pictures, follow interesting links...Let me know. I would like to hear what you all think and what you prefer.

Mom's Many Hearts is about my family and all the things I love. It has been a way to share the things that make me smile as well as a little bit of Universal Talk Therapy for the baggage I've got. For some reason I feel it is important to share the joy that has been given to me in my life as well as the laughter that is filtered through the tears. There are hundreds more things in my life that make me smile and, if you don't mind too much, I think I would like to spend the next year sharing even more of them.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Resting Day

The day after Christmas for me is always a day of resting. I need a day to recover from the craziness and hype and roller coaster of THE most anticipated day of the year. This year was no different, of course. After waking up several times throughout the night with nightmares about alien invasions, ghosts, interplanetary relocation, and failed wedding ceremonies (I have no clue where any of it comes from) I got up this morning just long enough to eat some breakfast, take some cold medicine and go back to bed. When it was time to get ready for church, I did make an attempt at getting ready (really! I tried!) but in the end, I decided to stay home and meditate on the blessings of  NOT sharing (you know, things like bad moods and your cold.)

I hate missing out on church. I have already mentioned how much I love The Pastor and His Wife as well as all the other people in town. However, I have learned not to beat myself up over the things I am not able to control. Over the last year, especially, I have taken a much different view on things like "rest" and "pain relief" and "obligations." I used to feel guilty about everything I couldn't do and all the things I didn't do well enough. Some people have begun to believe that FM might be a condition born out of that type of self abuse. There isn't any scientific evidence either way, but letting yourself off the hook for things you can't control can't be a bad thing, can it? All I know is when I worry about exhaustion and pain, I become sidetracked and ineffective. When I allow myself the time to rest when I am tired and pain relief when I hurt, I don't need either of those things nearly as often.

The rest of the world might not feel the same way. I'm sure more than a handful of people might judge me harshly for skipping out on things like church and school performances. One the outside looking in, I can see how another mother might be disgusted if I were to give details about what pain medicines I take daily and how often. I've had doctors who frankly thought I was making all this up (they didn't actually say it, but they wouldn't really help me either). Oh well. If they must feel that way, they must. We will just have to agree to disagree. As much as I want to be a Star Citizen and a Kool-Aid Mom, my health has other plans. The "best I can be" tends to change from day to day, and even hour to hour. The world will just have to be satisfied with the best I can be at THAT moment.

That sounds like a "who gives a crap?" attitude, and I'm sorry for that. But only a little. Right now I feel good and happy.

For the last week, I have absolutely adored having DH home all day. I have been able to rest without guilt and as a result, I feel better than I have in months (if not years.)  He and I have been busy with separate and coordinated projects most of the time and the girls have been pretty much been left to care for themselves. It was nice, though, to be able to play "tag team" when someone needed something or when it was time to work through chores. Because there was more than one adult here, I've managed to do something I needed to do for a long time. I was able to wean myself off of two of the three medicines I've been on for more than three years. (public service announcement: I didn't quit cold turkey or without a doctors advice. Don't ever stop taking prescription meds without the advice of a doctor. Just sayin') Adjusting meds sucks and even though it is needed, it can be extremely difficult without an extra person around to take care of business. It is more than just having an extra set of hands to help, though. Having a CHEERFUL extra set of hands is what makes the difference.

Reconnecting with the love of my life has been a special treat, too. A line from one of our favorite songs is, "I get the joy of rediscovering you." Truly, it is a joy. I miss him like crazy when he's gone, or even when he's home but not "here." As much as I hate the loneliness, though, the reunions almost make up for it. In the same way that you need rain AND sunshine to see a rainbow, I guess you need separation AND togetherness to truly appreciate your loved ones.

Just because I know this, doesn't mean I like it, though.

For the last few days, I have been daydreaming about different ways our life could change so that DH could be around more, or so that we will at least be able to SEE each other when we are both awake. Might he find a job that would be closer, and have better hours? Could he pursue getting his degree so that he could become a teacher? Should I focus on making more out of what we have instead of trying to pursue a degree of my own (so I could make the most of whatever time he does have at home?) I guess the daydreams have been reminding me that I am happier (and so is everyone else) when we are all together.

That brings my thoughts right back to my school again and I start to feel a lot less confident in the whole "releasing the guilt" thing. I have one more week of vacation before I head back to school. I will be attempting a morning class schedule instead of the night classes I was taking before. I should be in school the same time the girls are so I will be able to make better use of the daytime hours (when I seem to have more energy.) However, I am increasingly afraid of having to be up and behind the wheel regularly before 8:00am. I have failed miserably at that in the past, but I will have to work on it if I want anything better than what I have now. I have let my fears shape my life and my plans and I have given them way too much power over me. If I keep allowing the fear of failure to limit my success, I will never go nearly as far as I am able.

Still, I wonder if I am fearful or if I am merely being intelligent? Am I smart to acknowledge my limitations or am I selling myself short by refusing to push myself as hard as I am able?

I have one more week of rest to figure it out, I guess. After that, I hope I can take it one day at a time.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

I am pretty darn proud of my self right now.

Now, I'm not totally 100% done with shopping, wrapping, cooking, or even cards. (I let myself off the hook about that YEARS ago. If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.) No, what I am proud of is that I am not freaking out right now. Earlier today, I had a pretty low moment. Life started piling up and I wasn't in the Christmas mood, WHATSOEVER. Considering I had shopping to do and very little time left to do it, I needed to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get moving. So, I did. And I had fun in spite of all the little niggling things that are STILL trying to gnaw their way through my brain.

I could go on and on about all the awful things that I have to deal with. I don't want to anymore, though. I feel thankful, now, instead. I went back and read my post from a few days ago and mentally gave myself a shake (well, it was more like a personal smack down.) How could I sit here grumping and whining when I clearly had much more to be happy, proud, excited, and thankful for? Somehow, I can even face down the negatives and turn them around. Maybe I'm playing Pollyanna in my head. Maybe I am just having a manic phase. Who knows, and who cares? I am experiencing a small drop of peace, and I am proud of myself for letting it take root. Tomorrow is a big day and I need all the peace I can get.

Christmas, for us, really starts Christmas Eve. The morning is spent making a big breakfast and tidying up and decorating for Santa. We bake cookies together in the afternoon. (Not that we haven't been doing that for weeks, but these are special. They are for Santa.) Usually, we visit with family but this year will, instead, make phone calls to people who aren't nearby. Unwrapping presents is most often reserved for Christmas morning, so we all take some time out to make sure everything is wrapped and ready and looking "just right."

This year will be a special honor for us. We have been asked by The Pastor and his Wife to light the Christ candle during the Christmas Eve service. There are four candles in the Advent wreath that are lit during the four weeks before Christmas and one in the center that is lit during the Christmas Eve service to symbolize Christ's birth. In this small town, this is a pretty big honor. I am pretty nervous actually. Nervous, and honored.

Shopping often gets thrown in the mix, too (usually when we are getting church clothes together and we suddenly find out someone has outgrown their shoes or tights overnight) and tomorrow will be no different. Actually we are going to do what we call "treasure hunting." This is what we call the trips to the thrift store. Treasure Hunting is possibly the best time I can have shopping. My kids have embraced the ideas of saving money by using your imagination more than I could have ever hoped. They love looking through racks filled with odds and ends and finding clothes that fit their personality. I love being able to say "yes" because I can afford to let them take it home. We all love finding things that are unique and different. Tomorrow's challenge? To find a "new" church dress for everyone, and maybe shoes, too. Sounds like crazy last-minute shopping doesn't it? Yeah, it is. But I don't have to tell THEM, do I?

I have bills to pay. I always have and I always will. I don't have to go it alone anymore, and for that I am thankful. I am thankful for DH who has a job that pays at least some of the bills and is here to share the weight of the responsibility with me. I am proud of myself for relinquishing the burden and sharing it with him. I am thankful for the little town I live in because I DON'T have the malls and stores and billboards yelling at me to do more, more, MORE! The people here are amazing and caring and wonderful. They have all given me a piece of the orange this year. I miss my old friends and family, but we CAN stay in touch which is more than I have been able to do some years, even when I WAS in town and hardly a mile away from them. My messy home is a sign that people and children live here. My family LIVES here. I have three amazing daughters who play and run and make noise and leave a mess. The day I have no mess to clean is the day I will cry because it means I have no one here to MAKE the mess. I am thankful for being healthy enough to make a stab at taking my health into my own hands. I will be a little rocky for awhile, but I am self aware an in control enough that I know I can make it through this.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A slice of the orange

This isn't mine. I borrowed it from a Pastor who spoke at our church this weekend. I don't exactly know where he got it from, but I found a copy online with an author attached, so I am putting this out for all of you. Contents are the property of the original author.

Typically, I hate sappy Christmas stories. They are all so formula and the image is always so IN YOUR Face. I don't even like listening to sad Christmas songs on the radio. Crappy stuff happens all the time, but people only bother to notice around this time of year. Gratuitous tear jerking just isn't my thing. Those Chicken Soup for the Soul books were really just a marketing scheme between the publishers and the manufacturers of  Kleenex. If you made it through any of those books without crying, you might feel like an emotionally dead zombie.

This story is a little different, though. If you've already read it, that's fine. But if you haven't, just read through it once. Not to show what a good person you are, or to encourage you to run out and buy a puppy for a stranger, or anything like that. Read it because the story is something that might have happened to you, and it is wonderful to revisit this type of wonderful good-feeling-ness.

Christmas story

'A Slice of Life'
Jean heaved another world-weary sigh. Tucking a strand of shiny black hair behind her ear, she frowned at the teetering tower of Christmas cards waiting to be signed. What was the point? How could she sign only one name? A "couple" required two people, and she was just one.
The legal separation from Don had left her feeling vacant and incomplete. Maybe she would skip the cards this year. And the holiday decorating. Truthfully, even a tree felt like more than she could manage. She had canceled out of the caroling party and the church nativity pageant. Christmas was to be shared, and she had no one to share it with.
The doorbell's insistent ring startled her. Padding to the door in her thick socks, Jean cracked it open against the frigid December night. She peered into the empty darkness of the porch. Instead of a friendly face -- something she could use about now -- she found only a jaunty green gift bag perched on the railing. From whom? she wondered. And why?

Under the bright kitchen light, she pulled out handfuls of shredded gold tinsel, feeling for a gift. Instead, her fingers plucked an envelope from the bottom. Tucked inside was a typed letter. It was a...story?
The little boy was new to the Denmark orphanage, and Christmas was drawing near, Jean read. Already caught up in the tale, she settled into a kitchen chair.
From the other children, he heard tales of a wondrous tree that would appear in the hall on Christmas Eve and of the scores of candles that would light its branches. He heard stories of the mysterious benefactor who made it possible each year.
The little boy's eyes opened wide at the mere thought of all that splendor. The only Christmas tree he had ever seen was through the fogged windows of other people's homes. There was even more, the children insisted. More? Oh, yes! Instead of the orphanage's regular fare of gruel, they would be served fragrant stew and crusty, hot bread that special night.
Last, and best of all, the little boy learned, each of them would receive a holiday treat. He would join the line of children to get his very own....
Jean turned the page. Instead of a continuation, she was startled to read: "Everyone needs to celebrate Christmas, wouldn't you agree? Watch for Part II." She refolded the paper while a faint smile teased the corner of her mouth.
The next day was so busy that Jean forgot all about the story. That evening, she rushed home from work. If she hurried, she'd probably have enough time to decorate the mantle. She pulled out the box of garland, only to drop it when the doorbell rang. Opening the door, she found herself looking at a red gift bag. She reached for it eagerly and pulled out the piece of paper. get his very own orange, Jean read. An orange? That's a treat? she thought incredulously.
An orange! Of his very own? Yes, the others assured him. There would be one apiece. The boy closed his eyes against the wonder of it all. A tree. Candles. A filling meal. And an orange of his very own.
He knew the smell, tangy sweet, but only the smell. He had sniffed oranges at the merchant's stall in the marketplace. Once he had even dared to rub a single finger over the brilliant, pocked skin. He fancied for days that his hand still smelled of orange. But to taste one, to eat one? Heaven.
The story ended abruptly, but Jean didn't mind. She knew more would follow.
The next evening, Jean waited anxiously for the sound of the doorbell. She wasn't disappointed. This time, though, the embossed gold bag was heavier than the others had been. She tore into the envelope resting on top of the tissue paper.
Christmas Eve was all the children had been promised. The piney scent of fir competed with the aroma of lamb stew and homey yeast bread. Scores of candles diffused the room with golden halos. The boy watched in amazement as each child in turn eagerly claimed an orange and politely said "thank you."
The line moved quickly, and he found himself in front of the towering tree and the equally imposing headmaster.
"Too bad, young man, too bad. But the count was in before you arrived. It seems there are no more oranges. Next year. Yes, next year you will receive an orange."
Brokenhearted, the orphan raced up the stairs empty-handed to bury both his face and his tears beneath his pillow.
Wait! This wasn't how she wanted the story to go. Jean felt the boy's pain, his aloneness.
The boy felt a gentle tap on his back. He tried to still his sobs. The tap became more insistent until, at last, he pulled his head from under the pillow.
He smelled it before he saw it. A cloth napkin rested on the mattress. Tucked inside was a peeled orange, tangy sweet. It was made of segments saved from the others. A slice donated from each child. Together they added up to make one whole, complete fruit.
An orange of his very own.
Jean swiped at the tears trickling down her cheeks. From the bottom of the gift bag she pulled out an orange -- a foil-covered chocolate orange--already separated into segments. And for the first time in weeks, she smiled. Really smiled.
She set about making copies of the story, wrapping individual slices of the chocolate orange. There was Mrs. Potter across the street, spending her first Christmas alone in 58 years. There was Melanie down the block, facing her second round of radiation. Her running partner, Jan, single-parenting a difficult teen. Lonely Mr. Bradford losing his eyesight, and Sue, sole care-giver to an aging mother....
A piece from her might help make one whole. -- By Carol McAdoo Rehme
I admit, I cried like a baby while I was listening to this. I was in the choir loft, awaiting my turn to sing our selection  of songs when, THUMP I get hit in the chest with this story that was so obviously aimed directly at me. I can see myself as the new orphan, feeling as I never quite had what others did, and that I would never own what so many around me took for granted. The tangible items - clothes, books, toys, friends - those were there, but not the same. The intangible items - love, comfort, security, self esteem, - again, I knew what they should be but I didn't truly own any of them, not for a long time.

The second main character, Jean, is someone I also know well. Feeling overwhelmed, stretched thin, unable to gather the heart to do things that I usually love to do; seems to be a normal day around here. My reasons are much, much different that hers, but I can still feel it. Knowing that you will not be able to do everything, you are less and less inclined to do anything at all. Helplessness becomes lead blocks tied to your feet, making any forward movement more difficult by the moment.

Lately, my life has been a bizarre mixture of these two faces. One minute, I see that I have nothing and I am so weary. After that, I find something that might potentially bring everything back into focus, but it slips away like mist.  I want to have the bare minimum that ANYONE should have - food, shelter, work, security, health.  I don't have those. I picked up and moved 75 miles away from anything I knew looking for those things. I am here and I still have none of them. But, while listening to this story, I realized, I have a lot more than I was realizing. A whole orange made of the slivers gathered from everyone else? Looking in my living room, I can clearly see that right under my tree.

So many people have given us "just a few things, they aren't much" but they all are, all piling up next to each other under and around the tree. A few filled stockings with lip gloss and bath bubbles, pieces to make trinkets and jewelery . It already looks like Santa's been here and we haven't even put our gifts under the tree yet.  It isn't strangers and passing acquaintances who have made this possible. It is the family we choose and the family that chooses us. Friends who have been friends so long, they are morphed into Aunts and Uncles have given us pieces and kits so we can give gifts we were not able to afford. One sister is giving to another a thing she already owns, but knows her sister would love more. She wraps the item in a box and puts it under the tree. WP, hand making special and individual gifts for each grandchild, using the precious resources of his fixed income to make sure there will be at least a few more things under the tree Christmas morning. Our dear friends the Pastor and his Wife gifting the girls and I with tickets to Holiday in the Park with the youth group, and making sure she could give us snacks and drinks without it once feeling like a charity offering. The Wife, again, going beyond what she should have to, invites the family over and pulls out her collection of flutes and pipes and recorders and makes sure each girl leaves with one.

It already looks to me, that I have a beautiful, whole orange, juicy and fragrant, just waiting for Christmas morning. All of the gifts given for my girls make me realize that even if not one more thing shows up, there will still be the amazing feeling of Christmas morning sharing and joy.

DH is now inspired. He has begun sewing and jewelery making, and crafting. His amazing talents are being put to use in order to make the items that so many people have asked of him over the past few months, that he hasn't had the time to get to. He's also giving himself permission to make for himself the things that he has been gathering materials for, but just hasn't been able to make the time do. Allowing him that time (with as few interruptions as possible) is my gift to him.

Another slice of the orange.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last minute scramble

Man, I love it when this happens.
Me: LH, do you have everything ready for the concert tonight?
LH: Sure, mom, I have everything I need. I have the dress, but I just need black shoes, and tights, and a jacket to go over the dress because it is sleeveless...
Me: So, really you only have the dress and you still need to find everything else>
LH: Well...yeah

God love her,  the child drives me nuts some times. Mostly because she is just like I was at that age. Scatterbrained and naive, with the attention span of a butterfly and the heart of a lion. I have cause to be a little more "in her business" than my parents were with me. I would love to give her the same freedoms I had at that age, but she is not who I was. It is a good thing that I hover over her shoulder as much as I do. Otherwise, I would end up missing a lot of little stuff, like...her school band scheduled events, and tests, and report cards. You know, the little stuff.

Seriously, though, I do worry that I hover too much and I fear that I am overprotective. LH is growing up to be quite the teenager these days. Out of no where she decided that she wants to wear  little make-up now and then. (Not that she needs it, or that you can ever tell when she does.) Last week she determined that her hair looks better when she washes it at night (when before, she never really cared if it was brushed, let alone clean.) Today, she is getting ready for her band concert and after getting into the dress, tights, and shoes, she declared to the mirror, "I'm so pretty!"

It makes me laugh to hear her say stuff like that. It is one of the things that really does remind me that we can be so different. I would have been too self-conscious to say something like that out loud. She is completely unashamed and unrestrained by fear. As she gets older, I can see her start to compare herself more and more to the other girls around her. Unlike myself, though, she very seldom finds herself lacking in the comparison. There are times when I hear her wish out loud that she wishes she were normal. She doesn't like her waist (her belly is still round and distended from blood pressure imbalance) and she does not like her pale skin and freckles (although I think it adds to her charm.) These things do not make her doubt her overall worth, they way I did  when I was 13, though. I remember looking in the mirror and being so critical of every inch of myself. LH, however, shrugs off her imperfections. She can attribute them to something real and tangible - something that isn't her fault, that she can't change. She can disregard them and move on. Oh, if I had been able to do that as a young girl!

Watching her teach this confidence with her little sisters makes me so proud. They are growing up taking for granted that it is okay to love who you are. Neither TD nor EG are plagued with the insecurities that I was while I was growing up. The fact that they are so different from each other (in their own eyes, at least) helps this concept along, I think. Each of them have their own strengths (and weaknesses) but I have tried so very hard to keep them from comparing themselves to each other. I'm sure I compare them to each other unconsciously, but I try not to.

After LH came along, I was actually scared to have another one. Her personality is so sparkling and memorable. I was afraid that any other child in the family wouldn't be able to compete and might feel inferior. How could I possibly love another child as much as I loved her? Then, TD came along and I was shocked to realize I had grown another heart. I must have, since I loved BOTH of them with all my heart. As they both got older, I realized I had worried for nothing. TD was just as amazing in her own way and managed to hold her own next to the super sized personality of her big sister. When I found out I would be having EG (although I had no idea as to the level of Evil or Genius that was in store) I was so excited and curious about what differences this child would have compared to her two sisters. Sure enough, as opposite as LH and TD seemed to be, EG managed a completely different facet of the spectrum.

Now, looking at them, I see three completely different girls, but they also have one wonderful thing in common. They love each other as much as I love them. That isn't something that can be taught. It just IS. That might be what makes me the proudest of all.

Monday, December 6, 2010


My DH is back! How I have missed him!Technically, he hasn't actually been anywhere. He just hasn't been himself and I missed that so very much!

Before we made this big move out to the country, I made a decision that I would start making and effort to include him in our financial situation a little more. Things are really no better or worse than they have been for the past few years, but the burden of taking care of it on my own has been a huge stress for me. Just letting him know where we are and what needs to be done (even if I do it anyway) takes a major weight off my shoulders. I think this has a lot to do with why I am finally recovering physically and getting stronger.

Unfortunately, sharing the information also means sharing the worries. I kept things to myself for so long because DH tends to worry about it day and night. When things aren't going well, he tends to become withdrawn and negative and depressive. I guess for him, ignorance was bliss, but for me it was toxic.

The last month has been especially hard. My starting school means that I spend more money on gas, which of course, makes it even harder than it was before. DH's van broke and the repair bill is more than a month of rent. Since we were already behind on bills by a few weeks, we had to put off paying for the repairs and getting the van back. Being restricted to only one vehicle made things even worse when DH's boss was forced to end all work-at-home privileges. Boss Man isn't happy that he had to do it, but it came from above him and he couldn't fight it. So far it hasn't meant any other negative changes are due. It just sucks for everyone.  Now we BOTH have to commute more than an hour twice a day, and I had to ask WP to borrow HIS car to do that. Our schedules are off by just enough now that I have to get up after he leaves in the morning and he has to go to bed before I get home at night.

This does NOT make for a happy couple situation.

I thank God every day that he and I aren't the bickering/arguing/fighting type. When things get stressful we don't take it out on each other. However, there is only so much support and happiness you can give when you aren't even in the house and awake at the same time. It doesn't take very long for us to feel like strangers when we only get a few words to each other over the phone or e-mail.

This past weekend, DH was invited to go to a scouting event a few hours north of here. He rode with the other members of the Drum and he even scored a bit of cash for it. I admit, I was not 100% happy about it at first. I was asked to work at my on-call job and I had to cancel because he was out of town. (I also had the first migraine I have had in three months, and that put me out of commission, too.) Very often, when he goes to these scouting events, he comes home exhausted from the work and worn out just from the politics of attending it. In his own area, there are too many people who have either been there too long and hold on the to the wrong ways because they are easier, or they are new to the organization and try to cut it and hammer it to fit their own needs. For someone who loves the heart of the organization the way DH does, it can create a political hell storm. The patience, dedication, and support he gives in the face of backstabbing, cheating, and lying is a testament to the type of man he is. It is one of the many reasons I love him so much.

Sunday morning, when he came home I was completely surprised by his attitude. He was truly a different man than he was when he left. Instead of the same, backwards, obstinate group he usually has to deal with, he was asked to teach and perform by a different group who were thankful, supportive, attentive, and extremely gracious. He was able to teach things the way he was taught to, and he had boys and adults who were willing to listen (and were excited to learn!) Feeling appreciated for doing what he loves to do made such an amazing difference for him. He smiled, snuggled the kids, and kissed me like my husband for the first time in weeks.

The friend he rode out there with stayed over for the rest of the day and all three of us sat and talked like grown-ups. He started talking about his weekend and for once he didn't have anything negative to say. I made lunch and we all worked a bit on some of the crafts that DH does. We got to reconnect as adults and talk about things we all knew about. By the time the afternoon was nearly gone, I felt recharged and energized, too. We didn't talk about money, or crappy jobs, or anything truly negative all day. I can't remember the last time I had a guest over without panicking over the state of the house and worrying about everything else, too.

Around 4:30, we had been talking for almost four hours but we were due at the church to practice for the Christmas program. Last week DH agreed to help the men out by singing, even though he has never actually sung in a choir before. Instead of backing like I really thought he would, he went with me, sang, and even lent his skills with the trombone to the caroling practice. After that we spent some time talking with the other members and decided to grab a pizza for dinner. (We happen to have an excellent and inexpensive pizza place nearby but it is pick up only - no delivery - so we haven't gone there much since we moved. Pizza has become a treat again instead of a last minute alternative for forgetting to go shopping.)

We brought pizza home for the kids and DH's mood was infectious. I was smiling and happy and laughing. All of the girls did their chores without fighting (EG even went above and beyond, just because she wanted to.) Bedtime was a breeze and before we realized it, it was 10:00 and DH and I had been talking with each other all night.  For the first time in a long time, I didn't want to go to bed and go to sleep. I just wanted to stay up all night and talk about anything and be happy with him. Before bed, DH reached in, grabbed my face to pull it close to him and gave me a long passionate kiss. My throat got tight and tears sprung up as I realized just how much I had missed that. I remembered again all the reasons I love this man and why he still makes me smile after all this time without even trying.

Tomorrow, December 7th, is Pearl Harbor Day, the day that America was forced into participation in World War II by the Japanese bombing of our fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It also happens to be the day that DH and I first met 15 years ago. We both kind of chuckle because it is known as "the day that will live in infamy." I suppose that is as true for us as it is for the rest of the world. We had a rocky start all those years ago and we didn't get here the easy way, for sure. I know that the reasons we are together today are hard work, dedication, forgiveness, compassion. tolerance, and especially love. My heart knows that The Universe had a special purpose for us; that someday we would be together and the little pool of life we live in would be touched by the ripples of what we are and who we are.
I know I could never make those ripples without him. I am thankful for every drop of every day we have together.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paths to choose

So many decisions coming up! It seems like months of sitting and wishing for things has all come together all at once. Coupled with the changes to the routine I already have to make, my head is spinning!

First, I finally landed a real interview with a real company that employs workers at home. Yeah, it isn't the most glamorous or high paid, but it IS a real job. It isn't brain-bending difficult, and it means  I would be able to work without commuting. They would send me a computer and phone to use. I would only need to supply the monitor and headset. So, what's the catch? The hours, and the atmosphere. Currently, my position is slotted for the "evening" time - right around dinner and into the late night. That means I'll be taking calls at the same time the girls will be at home. Can I trust them to respect the office space and noise level? I'm not sure. I will find out tomorrow if they offer me the position, so I guess I'll have to figure this one out pretty quick.

One thing I also have to consider is school. Right now I am going to school at night and I'm not doing so well with that. I've missed enough class that I am in danger of failing regardless of my grades (which aren't that great, either.) I have already arranged to take morning classes next session. On one hand, it means I'll be in and out of class early so I can take care of whatever else I need to. On the other hand, I don't have a great history of getting up and getting going in the morning. With an hour long commute in rush hour traffic, it is going to take a lot of coffee to get me moving in the morning. I really pray that I surprise myself and my passion for cooking pushes me beyond my hatred for the hours before noon.

If these were the only things to ponder, I might be having a pretty easy day, but no. Medical and physical issues are pressing me as well. About a week ago I quit one of my  meds. I know it isn't a good idea to quit these things cold turkey, but I have been slowly dropping it for some time. The benefits of taking it (less body pain, headaches, and more energy) are less and less attractive considering the detractors (massive weight gain, exorbitant cost.) So, is being thinner and having more cash better than being pain free and awake? Only time will truly tell, but I think I am leaning towards skinny and cash-laden. I think I can manage the pain other ways. Besides, extra pounds cause pain, at least some of it. I am positive that any weight loss will contribute at least a little to feeling better, in general.

Another option I am being presented with, concerns a certain procedure that The Country Doc recommended to me. Apparently, there is a solution that can be injected into the knee joints to help relieve the pain caused by reduced cartilage. Usually, this is called arthritis and it happens just because you get older. In my case, it started a long time ago, wasn't found until I was in high school, and has only gotten worse since then. It has actually gotten MUCH worse recently, and I have had to make a lot of concessions to it. Imagine me, looking young-ish, riding in the electric cart at Wal-Mart, while my DAD walks along beside me. The Elderly Power Walkers were giving me dirty looks. Not every day is that bad, but a lot of days are. Stairs, shoes that I have to tie, and walking more than a block are all on my list of Not To Do.

When I told The Country Doc about this, he suggested I let him inject my knees with this stuff that would act like a cushion in my knee joints. It is a natural substance extracted from a rooster's comb and it apparently has been in use for many years. I would need them in both knees, of course, and I would need to get around five sets of injections to feel relief. Some people get months or even years of benefit from it. Research online shows a lot of good stuff about this, and not many detractors, unless you are allergic to chicken or you have a problem with people sticking really long needles into your joints. I'm not allergic to chicken, but I'm not gung ho about being poked THAT much. It could be what I need to get moving and be able to walk again. It also means five office visits and co-pays and probably a nasty deductible, too. I think I will wait until after the New Year and see if we can't handle this with Flex Pay. Now, how can I manage to fit the appointments and recovery time into my schedule. THAT will take some magic, I think.

Right now, I get to put all of that aside for a few hours. Our little town is having the tree lighting and parade in a few minutes and Tiny Dancer is scheduled to the show choir. It is getting pretty cold out there so I need to get bundled up and get there early enough to find a parking spot within three blocks of down town. I'll bring the camera and see how many shots I can get in the twilight.
Also, tomorrow, I may have a surprise for everyone. LH has been writing play scripts again and got a hold of the video camera today. With a little editing, I think we have some classic blackmail material on our hands!