Sunday, May 31, 2009

What to do...

As parents, there are times that we are disappointed in our children. I’m sure that I’ve disappointed my parents during my lifetime, and I continue to disappoint my heavenly father – probably for some reason every day of my life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t try to do better or try to “not” disappoint people, but I’m sure that I do. It’s not surprising that my own children (and step-children) also disappoint us, their parents. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love them and I do get over my disappointment, but it doesn’t help the matter at the time. We’re not perfect and never will be. We just have to be the best that we can be and do the best that we can. Every day of the week, every week of the month, and every month of the year. Failure is inevitable some days, but we just have to keep on keeping on.

My son just told me to kiss his rear. Well, not exactly - but close – the “G-rated” version. He thinks that I think that he feigns illness every time he's supposed to come over. I don't. I do think that he's used it as a crutch in the past but that doesn't mean that I think he uses it to get out of things. He gets bronchitis easily. He has allergies and when something causes them to flare up, he gets sick. I know this and I accept this. But, when he's supposed to come here to help, waiting until more than 24 hours after he's supposed to be here to tell me he's sick does not sit well with me. He can't find his phone. OK - get on the computer and send me a note. I can handle that. And, when you’re sick – go to the doctor!!! Get medication for it!! Treat the allergies before they become a full-blown illness!!

What I can't handle is being talked to the way he was talking to me. I don't deserve it and it was uncalled for. He got his friend’s phone and called me and blasted me over the phone. Even when I’m upset with his actions I don’t talk to him like that. So, I told him that if he was done blasting me, I was done listening. I hung up on him. He called back and I sent it to ignore. He left a message. It was nicer.

So I called the friend’s number back and he wouldn’t answer. That’s fine. I guess that’s tit for tat. I couldn’t even talk on the phone anyway. I don’t trust my voice to not squeak or break. I can only be so tough for so long and then I have my moments of breaking, too. I’m there.

I'm just as upset with other family members who could - and don't - step up to the plate and help out. Amy could have hung around this weekend and helped me out but she chose to head north instead. It's her prerogative to do so and I'm not angry - just hurt. She said that she spent seven hours cleaning Rex’s house a couple of weekends ago. That’s great – I’m sure that it needed it. But so does ours. My house hasn’t been properly cleaned in so many months that it’s not even funny. Why don’t I do it??? That’s a very good question and I do housework. But, I haven’t had the energy to do the really deep stuff – the windows, floorboards, trim, etc. in quite a while. I’m tired. Stress will do that to you and even though I have a happy face at work and everyone says they’re amazed at how cheerful I am, I am just a good actress. I AM STRESSED almost beyond my ability to cope and deal with it.

Tim called every day when he knew that Ron was going to give him a piece of musical equipment – but couldn’t even stick around 10 minutes to visit with his dad when he picked it up. He hasn’t called since to see how he’s doing. That just hurts to the bone. When the kids were little, we did things for Ron’s mom – or asked if we could do things for her – on a regular basis. We called to check on her, ask how they’re doing, or to just chat. I can’t even think of the last time that Tim called to just chat with his dad, and even longer since he called to see how he was doing.

Aaron came over one day to work in the yard and made arrangements to return the next week. He did not show up – or call – so Ron called him and said that his reputation was the most important thing he had and that when he made a commitment to be somewhere, at least a phone call was owed if he could not make it. So, the next time Aaron did call. He’s having car problems and couldn’t drive over. I get that – I’m sorry for his car problems. But, he lives ½ mile away and could either ask me to come get him, walk, or ride his bike. We haven’t asked him to come back and I don’t expect that I will.

I feel like I’m totally at the bottom of the food chain – even a step below Ron. They all know that I’ll take care of him, no matter what. But who is going to take care of me? LOL – guess it’s just me.

I was pretty upset this morning, as I was in tears trying to figure out how to work things. I couldn’t get the rain train to work because I’m not strong enough to pull the plug. The “stop” that hooks up on the hose is behind the freezer. I couldn’t get that either. I don’t know how to empty the bagger so now that it’s full I can’t go on and mow more. Even if I knew how to empty it, I’m not sure I have the strength to dump it into the trash bag. I tried to be as quiet as I could but I had to mow right outside Ron’s bedroom window. He was waiting for me when I came back inside. I wish he had been able to sleep through it because then I could have had my melt-down in private. As much as I don’t want others to see me be weak, I don’t want him to see it even more.

It’s not like I could (or would) ask the neighbors for help. One kid who owes us $40 from last year is over at one neighbor’s on a regular basis. He’s never offered to come over and see how he could pay us. I’ve tried to get his mother to come give us a bid for the back yard but can’t get that done, either. None of the neighbors around here seem very helpful.

I don’t even know what to do anymore. I’m tired of sounding like all I do is whine any more. That’s no fun. Each of the ones who matter to me the most think that I'm trying to lay guilt-trips on them. I'm not and I will not mention my house woes to them again.

Update: Keith came over and mowed - and apologized for being such a jerk. He said that he had no right to talk to me that way. I agreed and accepted his apology. No one likes to be talked to that way and I am no different. I let him know that no matter how upset "children" are with their parents, they are showing disrespect when talking like he was. He agreed. He's really a good kid and I love him lots.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life in general

I am a bit on the stressed side. Amy told me tonight that I was edgy. Hmmm... hadn't thought of "edgy" as being such a bad thing. Oh well. Life is happening and sometimes I think it would be nice to just step onto the sidelines and watch it go by.

That's not happening. I sat down and figured our budget - income and outgo. It's not a pretty sight but it's doable. There will have to be some sacrifices made on our parts until we get other things taken care of, but with perseverance and determination I think - no, I believe - it can be done.

First, I will put us on a home-cooked meal diet. Eating out will become a thing of the past and only for special occasions in the future. Ron can learn to eat what is here or he can just go hungry. The p'zones from Pizza Hut are done. Seriously, as of tonight they're done (he had his favorite tonight while I had chicken wings). Starbucks (as if I really bought them anyway) is also a thing of the past. I don't buy much coffee out, but I do sometimes buy a McDonald's mocha or a Sonic mocha. No more. No trips to the theater (they don't happen much anyway, but they'll happen less now).

I have to figure out a plan of attack so I can focus on one thing at a time. That will be tough because things keep coming up. It would be really nice if KCI would just say that we didn't owe them any more money. That's a dream... Every time I get a statement from them, I owe them more and I'm paying $130 each month. In January they said I owed $5039; I've paid $650 since then and my last statement said I owed nearly $5500. It would be really nice if that "anonymously" got paid. LOL- another dream.

I'm going to wean myself off a couple of my medications to see if I can get by without them. Omeprazole and Estradiol are only being taken M-W-F now and I'm going to cut them back to 2x per week and see how I do. I take Welbutrin once daily (used to be twice) and I'm going to cut back to 3x per week for 2 weeks, then 2x per week for 2 weeks, and then 1x and then stop. I'll see if anxiety attacks come back or if they are a thing of the past. That's only a $15 per month savings but it is drugs out of the system and maybe my body will be healthier. I take all generics except for one, and it's $15 per month. I'd quit taking it but my blood sugar has really improved since I've been on it so I hesitate to give that one up. Maybe I can switch to every other day instead. If I did that, then I'd save another $7.50 per month. I take two different diuretics so maybe I can switch to just one and that's another $5.00 per month. Then, I take a medication for restless leg syndrome and I know that I don't want to give that up, but maybe I can cut back to one pill instead of two. That's another $2.50 per month since one prescription will last 60 days instead of 30. Let's see... the total savings for me would be $25 per month. That's about the same amount as our water bill - so worth a shot to see.

We're still getting medical bills from last summer that were either filed incorrectly or insurance paid incorrectly. Some of them I'm just paying. It's easier to pay the money (less than $50) than it is to argue that it was a covered service and filed incorrectly. Other bills, I'm going to bat for because I should only have a co-pay for the doctor's visit - not one for the doctor's visit and one for the dressing change on the same visit. I especially get riled up over that one when we also paid for the dressing (lovely KCI thing). The dressing itself was $75 and the charge for changing the dressing was $108. Not fun.

Then we owe Uncle Sam a little bit of money on our taxes. Not because we didn't have enough withheld but because we THOUGHT they were withholding the correct amount (the first half of the disbursement was correct, the second half was not). With interest and penalties, the bill was substantial. We've paid over 1/2 of it (closer to 2/3) and would love for them to take off the penalties. Or, for someone to give us $3,000 to pay it off. LOL - another dream.

And then, we have the yard. And, the river rock. And, the well. And, the sprinkler. Where's my fairy godmother when I need her? Or - Extreme Makeover, Oprah, Ellen, HGTV, or whoever to come to our rescue. LOL - I know, I know - just dreaming.

Sometimes dreaming is the only thing that keeps me going from one day to the next. I'm not complaining but it does get tiring to have to think about it all. Keith came over and mowed a couple of times and did some of the trimming (Keith - the grass along the lake has to be trimmed, too). Aaron came over another day and did some yard work. That was a big help. Isaiah and I got some ground ready for planting and then I planted (one) and Amy planted (most) some flowers. I want to dig up some day lilys from a friend's house and plant them along the utility box in the back yard.

Generally speaking, I have a good life. I have a husband who loves me, children who love me, grandchildren who love me, many good friends, and a good job. I have a roof over my head, food in the house, and a car to drive. There is so much that I have to be thankful for - and I am very thankful. There's just a lot of stuff that has stress added to it and that makes it tough. But, everyone has stress. My stress level is no less difficult for me than yours is for you - and vice versa. I would never say that I have it worse than anyone else because I don't know what goes on behind closed doors. I don't know what kinds of demons they are fighting or what kinds of sacrifices they are making. I will say that there are people who have it worse than I do and struggle every day just to put some food on the table for their families, or to find a safe place to sleep. I pray for these people and ask that God will place them in areas where they will get the help they need. I pray that I am the helping hand when God places me in the time and the place to be of His service.

Until then - and between those times - I pray that God sends us the helping hands that we need.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ugh! A new blister

I'm so disappointed.

I looked at Ron's heel on Saturday and he's got a new blister. It's not bad, but it's definitely there and has blood under the skin. I am a bit nervous about what the doctor will say on Monday.

Ron is worried that he's going to have a big setback. I don't know but I sure don't like the thought. I just don't think I can do this again right now.

I was just getting things on an even keel.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Name change

I decided that "soapymomponders" was really not very reflective of the "who" and "what" for this blog, so I changed the name.

It is now The Middle Side of Life. I'm sure it won't make sense to many, and that's OK. The premise is I'm not at one side or the other side in my life - I'm in the middle side, burning the candle at both ends and, quite often, in the middle as well.

The middle side seemed to pop into my mind and seemed to fit - for this time and place. As things progress and evolve, the name may also undergo a new transformation.

But, for now, I am in the middle and being pulled in all directions. The name fits.

For now...

Pieces of me; pieces of her

My first marriage was pretty much a disaster; so was hers.
I got two great kids out of the deal; she got one.
I met someone else and fell in love; so did she.
He wasn’t ready to commit; neither is he.
He loved me oh, so much; so does he.
Too bad I had kids; same with him.
He was afraid to be a parent; so is he.
He liked the fancy-free single life; so does he.
He’d been burned before; so has he.
I’m not the same person as the other one; neither is she.
I thought I would die inside; so does she.
Pushing away was the natural reaction; so be it with her.
Self-preservation was instinctively ingrained; same with her.
He knew I cared too much but couldn’t change; the same with him.

I was concerned about the path I followed; so is she.
My children were my first priority; so is hers.
One man did not want them; same with hers.
I couldn’t put them through it again; nor can she.
Was my love not enough to make him see; same with her?
Would he mourn the loss if we were gone; same with him?
How long is long enough to wait on love; same with her?
How long is long enough to heal the pain; pieces of me, pieces of her?

That’s kind of a convoluted comparison between two people, two generations with the same ideals, same desires, and the same luck with men. I moved on and she may, too. It’s just painful to watch because I know exactly what she’s going through. He also had a family who wasn’t terribly supportive of him bringing someone else’s children into the mix. Outwardly, they were great; behind the scenes I wasn’t so sure.

I decided that God used him for a season, and for a reason. I don’t have to know why, but once I looked at the bigger picture I decided that it was safe and it was right for me to have had those feelings. I needed the time and the freedom the relationship gave me. I needed to know that I was still able to have a normal, healthy relationship with someone and know that I was still alive. I was so afraid that I was unlovable that God had to send me someone to show that I was not. That was a stepping stone; she may be going through the same phase.

We can only hope and pray that he sees the value of this one and realizes just what he could be giving up. Is his lifestyle worth the price he’ll pay?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Opinion: Farrah's Story

Ron and I watched Farrah's Story on Friday night. In my opinion, it was very well-done and touched on a lot of facts. Although it skimmed over a few things, such as the cost of drugs and the availability of them in the US, it really gave a broad look at living with, and fighting, the ravages of cancer.

I wish it had said "how" people get this type of cancer, what to look for, what kind of screening process is it, etc. Is it a by-product of smoking or some other lifestyle that is less than healthy? Why is there so little discussion and research done on this type of cancer? What kinds of treatments are beneficial and at what stage in the disease are they done?

Sure, Farrah had the money to make the trips to Germany. I don't begrudge that at all. If she could afford it, why not do it. It's just a shame that she HAD to travel to Germany to receive this care. Her obvious struggle with the nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and over-all health were very sad to watch, but not something that I think was morbid or disgusting. Cancer is something that will touch so many lives that any publicity it gets that will generate more research and funding should be applauded, and not ridiculed.

I applaud the fact that Farrah went after the medical personnel who so callously were selling private information to tabloids. Tabloids are shameless about creating hype where there should be none and intruding into the lives of others. The public has helped to create this mad frenzy of “gotta have it” for more information, but the tabloids feed into it. If both sides were to back off, then maybe there would be room for more truthful reporting.

I am happy to see that Ryan O’Neal is by her side and I think that he truly loves her. Yes, he’s an actor and would be good at showing emotions that are not genuine, but I don’t think that anyone who lives with a cancer patient can fake those emotions. No matter how indifferent someone thinks they may be, you can’t watch someone else’s suffering and remain immune.

There is some talk about this presentation not being what Farrah had in mind. That’s too bad, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it still brought a lot of information out – just not enough in some areas. I was sad to see that the jailer felt he needed to leave Redmond in ankle cuffs for what will probably be his last visit with his mother. The fact that Farrah’s face was not shown towards the end of the show indicates just how sick she is right now.

One of the comments that Farrah made during the show was that while she knows everyone has got to die, she does not want to die from this disease and she could surely use a miracle. Sadly, it looks as if her miracle is not happening but maybe her miracle was in the extra time that she was given. Maybe her miracle was being able to produce this documentary for others to learn from.

Angels and Demons

Ron and I went to see the new Tom Hanks movie - Angels and Demons. It was excellent! I can see where it would be a bit controversial to some, but it's still a well-written piece of work and well-acted.

Tom Hanks reprises his role of Robert Langdon and this time he's called to the Vatican to help save the four cardinal who are the "chosen" ones, one of which would surely become the next pope. There's plenty of information regarding the movie in the official reviews so I won't add to it or spoil the movie.

Whereas The Da Vinci Code was a bit dragging in places, this movie was very fast-paced and the entire action took place over the span of just a short time, with the bulk of the action taking place in four hours. I own the book but haven't read it yet, but now I know that I'll need to dig it out and see how the book and movie differ. I didn't guess who the "bad guy" was until very close to the end. I was also surprised.

All in all, a great movie with good suspense, a bit bloody at times (I'm a pansy when it comes to blood), and one I'd highly recommend to anyone over 18.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life in a nutshell

I think in everyone’s lives, there comes a time when life seems to come at you full-blast and you are being pelted with “debris” from every angle. My life is no exception. Every morning is a struggle with fatigue and often a sense of dread for the day. I have to shake the cobwebs from my mind and decide that I am absolutely going to have the best day possible. That doesn’t stop the sometimes rush of the “Oh dear God – please help me” moments. Those often come on the drive to and from work. Some days I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness but can’t quite put my finger on why. Sometimes I feel my emotions are just barely under the surface of my skin and I wonder how I’m ever going to keep them hidden from the world. I think I manage most of the time and I can pretend I do the rest of the time.

I frequently hear from my supervisor that she doesn’t know how I do it and how I maintain my sense of calm. “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2” “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Psalm 121:1” Those are just two of the many verses I read every day. My desk calendar is verses from the book of Psalms and many days they are very reflective of my moods and thoughts.

There are days that I know I definitely would be a blubbering mess if I had no faith, if I had nothing to look forward to, and if I had no hope in a better tomorrow. Even knowing that this life is but a short span in the gist of things, I still long for peaceful days, calm nights, and short-term answers to long-term problems. I still long for someone other than myself to step in and help me fix things (such as the back yard, retaining wall, sprinkler system, well issues, landscaping [I need some flower beds and pretty stuff], medical bills, etc.). I still dream of taking a vacation (or the long-dreamed of honeymoon) and having Ron feel like participating in life instead of just existing through it. I still imagine life without the heaviness of Ron’s health hanging over our heads. I imagine excursions together to various places – things I’ve only dreamed about and will probably only ever dream about. I long for little getaways, probably because I know that I can shut out the world and pretend that all is well.

I haven’t balanced my checkbook in about six weeks because I don’t want to know how much is NOT there. I won’t go to the doctor or admit that I don’t feel well because what I don’t know must not really exist. I can only handle one person needing doctor appointments, and right now that is Ron. I wish I had won the mother/daughter trip to New York because I know it would have been a much needed opportunity for rest and a time for relaxation. I’ve never been to NYC and this would have been a wonderful gift. Oh well…

Sometimes, I feel like I’m wandering in a mine-field of neon signs, all flashing and screaming their warnings at me. “Do this!” “Don’t do that!” “Turn here!” “Stop!” “Proceed!” “What were you thinking!!!” “This decision is right!” “No! That decision is wrong – this one is right!” When you’re in an area of flashing neon lights, it’s nearly impossible to feel rested. This is how many of my days and nights seem, with conflicting decisions and emotions at every turn.

All I can really say is Thank God for God! I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Without faith, there is no hope; without hope, there is nothing. I may not always appear to be walking in faith, but I absolutely am. I could not go on without the hope for a better tomorrow – some day, some “tomorrow” will be better.

With that in mind, every morning on my way to work I put on a happy face, make myself have a good disposition, and pretend that all is right in my world. If I fake it long enough then that helps to make it more “true” and those around me don’t see the fake. They just see the strength of God and maybe – just maybe – it will help them face their own challenges and trials with greater strength and determination. After all, if I can do it, so can they.


Monday, May 11, 2009

"I" am the original (as far as I know) Soapymom

I've been soapymom since at least 1998, and maybe longer. I used to make and sell soap (hence, the soapymom) and other toiletries. Since I've not been as active in the soapmaking arena, I've noticed other people using the same moniker - Soapy Mom, Soapiemom, Soapy-mom, and a few others.

Some of the posts by someone who is signing "soapymom" are obviously soap opera related. Those are not me. There's a Soapy Mom on MySpace (not me), soapymom on Facebook (me, if you can find me), and some others out there.

I know if you do a search on just "soapymom" there are things that come up that are not me, and lots that are me. Anytime you see something that is "not clean" or contains any vulgarities - it's not me.

Just saying...

Note from my mother

My mom sent all of us a lovely note today. It was very nice for her to put into words what we all figured she felt.

To all my children (good name for soap)

Another mothers day has came and gone and I finally decided to put in words what I have thought in my mind for several years. I don’t write as well as my girls do, but I do mean what I say.
It is time to thank you for all the gifts, cards, and love you all have given me all through the years,
If I could start over there would be a lot of things done differently, but your dad and I did the best we could with what we knew at the time. We had a lot of discussions about that when we were older.
I am so proud of all of you and the people you have become.
May God bless you all.

My reply:

You know, this is a blog-worthy post. LOL! Do you read my blog or Isaiah's? It's not always so deep, sometimes it's down-right *itchy.

Never in a million years could I ever do enough or have done enough to "repay" you and Dad for all you did for us. I know that you both struggled terribly trying to raise seven head-strong kids with limited resources. And, we didn't always make it easy. We didn't always understand the reasons behind decisions and we certainly didn't always agree with them. But, there's not a doubt in my mind that they we well-intentioned and always with our best interests in mind.

We got the best gift of all when God chose you to be our mother.

Now that we're all parents, it's much easier to see some of the "whys" of decisions and know that being a parent is not a popularity contest. We can be our children's friends, but we have to be their parent first - and their friend second. I cherish the memories I have of the times that we've shared. I wish that there had been more and that my kids had had the opportunity to develop the memories and the bonds that Isaiah is developing with Ron and I. The "Kansas City" kids have a totally different set of memories of you and Dad than the "out of town" kids could create. But, that doesn't make one set any better than the other - just different. I'm sure that each set of memories are special to each person involved.

We love you very much and are proud and honored to be counted among your children! We're pretty proud of you, too! You persevered through many challenges as a young person and as an adult. You came out on top and proved yourself a winner in more ways than one. Writing and being able to put flowery words to paper is just a by-product of the integrity and morals that you instilled into us.

Thank you for being you!
My brother Rick's response (followed by my response to his):

I for one never thought we were slighted in any way. I don't have anything but fond memories of my childhood. I have always felt lucky. I've had a good life and it started very early in my life. I'm probably the worst at showing my feelings, but please know that I love you. You, not us have had the hard life. Living with dad and all of us couldn't have been easy. As difficult as dad was, I miss him very much, there's isn't a day that I don't think about him or see him in my dreams. I think the day he died has been the sadest day of my life. I know how you must miss him....I hope you know you not only have children that care very dearly about you, but grankids and great-grand kids as well.There has been a lot of good that has spurned from a chance meeting in front of a tree in a courtyard so very far away. If you really think thru all of this, what would the odds be that 2 people from different parts of the country meet under those circumstances. I belive God put you 2 there for a reason. And I'm so glad he did.

Love Rick

(me) Amen to that! Looks like the girls aren’t the only writers in the family! I agree 100% and I “talk” to Dad often. I brag to people how my parents met and that chance meetings and long-lasting love must run in the family.
My sister Kris' response:

What we have given you can never even come close to repaying you for all you have done for us and the love you have shown each of us. God has already blessed us.....with you.

(And her response to Rick's)
Very well said! I love all of you guys! We were very lucky. I think about Christmas and birthdays, how we were always made to feel special and important. I remember how our living room would just be buried in wrapping paper on Christmas morning because of all the wonderful gifts we got....Birthdays - how we all got to pick our birthday cake (always chocolate, with chocolate frosting and coconut). Easter egg hunts, baseball games, softball, going to the lake - lots of great times. I had a hard time keeping up with two kids - can't imagine doing it with seven AND doing it as well as you guys did.
Love ya!

{I should note here that "I" was the first to have chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and coconut. One year, we only had one chocolate cake mix and one white cake mix. My older sister made a "marble" cake for me. I was crushed - being a (probably) ten year old brat at the time. It just wasn't the same as all chocolate. Rick's cake was Chinese Wedding Cake - a white cake (made from scratch and takes about a dozen egg whites) with crushed pineapple between the layers and whipped cream as the frosting - real whipped cream.}

My response:

How about my "Incredible Edible" Christmas present when I was really too old for "toys" like that? Mom knew how much I wanted it (and I did have a blast with it - oh to find one again!) and I was ecstatic when I opened it up Christmas morning. I also fondly remember the year I got my Barbie. I think I was 7 or maybe 8 (we lived in Bowling Heights). Dana and Jimmy always got to open their gifts on Christmas Eve. They came over and Dana had a new Barbie and a whole bunch of clothes. I was so jealous! Mom and Dad let us pick one present to open and I "somehow" picked the one with a new Barbie and a ton of clothes to match! Woo-hoo! Dana and I played for what seemed like (in my memories) for hours.

How about all the vacations to places our "rich" friends never got to visit? Sure, we stayed with family but we always, always visited local attractions and amusement parks. I can't even imagine what those trips cost then or what kind of sacrifices Mom and Dad made all year so we could have our vacation. Many of my friends had never been out of state, even though they appeared to have a much more affluent lifestyle.

I have several posts that I'm going to be writing regarding "memories" and have already written a Jerry post. LOL - it's all good though. Remember the giraffe and the toy guns? Geronimo? Having to bare his backside to get him out of stores during the summer? Yeah... we had quite the life.

Like all lives, there are things that could have been maybe better - but there are a LOT of things that could have been worse. I'll gladly take what I had and not trade it with anyone.

Dear God - can I have a do-over?

Do you ever wish you could really say that and *sometimes* have it come true? I know it's not possible and there is so much that I would not EVER in a million years go back and do over. If any "re-do" meant not having my kids, my husband, my family, or my wonderful friends, there's no way I would go back and do it again.

But, I'm sure we've all made choices that were less than good. We've all made decisions that adversely impacted our future - the future that we're currently living in. {sigh} I know that I have and I live with the consequences every day. I know that Ron often contemplates the "what if" scenario in his mind.

I struggle with selfishness and the pity party just like everyone else. It helps when I see other people, much less fortunate than I, who go through their challenges with their heads up and their chins held high. They are truly role models for the rest of us.

I can't help, though, but look at others and wish that I had received the same type of benefits from the "good" choices I made. It's that human nature that continues to war with the spiritual nature that I'm trying to nurture and cultivate. Alison Krauss has a few songs that I really enjoy and their lyrics resonate deeply within every time I hear them. I know Who Holds Tomorrow, A Living Prayer, and In the Palm of Your Hand all give me a great deal of peace and calmness when I hear them. I've got them on my iPod so I listen over and over again. Her voice is very calming and serene - just like I'd like for my life to be.

Calmness and serenity are a long way from my life right now. I worry continuously about Ron and his health. What kind of life does he have left? What quality of life? What can I do to make it better and easier for him? He's walking a few feet now, but not without extreme pain. Long car rides are totally out. He looks forward to sleeping so he's not in so much pain. Medication dulls the ache, but the bone-deep pain is always there, a constant reminder of the choices he made and the repurcussions of them. He knows, as do I, that his chances of having these health problems would be much less if he'd made better choices in the past. We both also realize that his long-term survival (>5 years) is highly questionable. Even with medical advancements, we don't see anything taking away the pain. Only God can do that.

Ron has a deep faith but even he has difficulty not wavering in the face of his constant adversity. Pain is his constant companion and never lets him forget that he made bad choices in his younger days. I asked him today if he ever thought he'd like to go back and have a do-over. Of course, he did. He said God's not been talking to him too much lately, though. He's lost his "groove" and is having trouble getting it back.

So, since reality sometimes bites - a miracle, in essence a "do-over," would really be nice for Ron. As for me, I just have to keep on keeping on, pulling myself up by my bootstraps.

Pretty soon those straps are going to be at my armpits from me stretching them and tugging on them!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dedicated to mothers everywhere

It's Mother's Day morning, dreary outside, and raining. I'm sitting in my office chair, enjoying some quiet time, having a cup of coffee, and browsing the Internet. Ron's asleep, which means Maisey is keeping watch at his feet. Amy and Isaiah are not here so the house is really quiet.

As I am sitting here, I'm reflecting on my life as a "mother" and how it has affected who and what I am today. Someone sent me the joke about how after having a baby, a woman's body returns to normal after about six weeks. It goes on to say that the writer must not have been a mother because nothing returns to normal after the birth of a baby.

That is so true. As mothers, we never cease to worry about our children - their safety, their happiness, or their health. If there's a shortage of supplies in the house (mainly food), we make sure our children partake before we do. If there's TV in the house, we try to make sure what they're watching is wholesome and entertaining (we've become big fans of Noggin). We defer to their watching tastes instead of our own. We learn to cut sandwiches into triangles, squares, or even make happy faces out of them. We trim the crusts off bread, learn to hide vegetables in other dishes, and participate in make-believe tea parties. We let them experiment on us and fix our hair, paint our nails, or do our makeup (just don't go to the door before you do a mirror check).

We mend broken hearts, broken toys, and broken bodies - scraped knees, splinters, bruises, and other boo-boos. We pray that these are the most serious injuries they ever have to face. We walk countless miles, patting countless backs, soothing countless fears. We dream of happy days and fulfilling lives for our children. We comment and exclaim over the children of others - sometimes good and sometimes not.
We cry countless tears over the years - some in happiness and some in sorrow. We hide our fears and our emotions so our children never see until they're old enough to understand. We want them to stay young and innocent forever. We're happy and sad when they start kindergarten and have the same emotions (on a different scale) when they graduate from high school and move on to college.

If our children join the military, we waffle between pride and fear. Will our precious child come home, happy and safe? Or, will we only see our child again in our memories, in pictures, and when God calls us all? We pray daily for their safety, and know that sometimes in order for our own child to be safe, someone else’s child may not.

Thinking about my life as a mother, I realize that "I" am also the child of a mother. I'm sure she had some version of the same tears, fears, and happiness. Although times have changed and we have more gadgets than our mothers had, the emotions of mothers don't vary too much from generation to generation. Growing up, I'm sure I took advantage of my mom and didn't show her the respect she deserved. I was never a bad kid or really "disrespectful" as that was not tolerated. But, did I honor her every request, obey with a happy face, or recognize her sacrifices for her family? Probably not - definitely not in some instances.

If you're fortunate to have your mother still in this life, be sure to let her know how much you appreciate her and the life she provided to you. Show her that she’s important in your life and the lives of your family (especially if you’re married and she’s now the grandma). Don’t just wait for Mother’s Day to give her a call, drop her a line, or send her a card. Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to honor all mothers, but motherhood should be honored every day of the year. Without mothers, this world would cease to be. Take the time to thank your mother for the sacrifices she endured, the gifts that she gave, the integrity and morals she instilled, and the life that she led so that you could have the best she could provide.

If your mother has passed from this life, go ahead and shed a tear - and then find another mother whose children may not come around as often as they should and be a surrogate child for her. Give her a call, a hug, or a kiss and tell her Thank You for being a mom. It may be only a small thing to you but could be a really big thing to her.

Because, if you’re a mother, you know that sometimes mothering is a thankless job – it’s messy, it sometimes stinks (quite literally), and it’s a full-time job, even if you have another outside full-time job. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

Thank you, for taking on the challenge and passing with flying colors!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ode to the wheelchair travels (or some other silly title)

I'm really big on using the theme song music from The Beverly Hillbillies in things. I've written a poem about my dad and his experiences in a one-room school house in Pennsylvania using the music. I've also done just funny little ditties using the music. So, it was only natural for me to automatically think of putting the airport travels to words and this music.

Let me tell ya'all a story 'bout traveling on a plane
Unloading your own bags can sure be quite the pain

Now, add disabled man and a wheelchair to the mix
And you can see that I was surely in a fix

Bags, that is... Wheelchair, too

Now it's hard to get some help without waving lots of bucks
Doing it yourself, yes really does quite suck

I'd have gladly paid them more if they'd only volunteered
'Cause asking them for help just made me feel quite weird

Exhausted, that is... Drained of energy

When a helper did show up, lady grabs him by the hand
Says Mister, we'll use you - that is quite the plan

Mom, just have a seat and we'll get you out of here
So they loaded her on up and left me standing there

Ticked, that is... Totally frustrated

Helper shrugs his shoulders and says he'll call for help
But since the plane was late, that really was no help

Man from behind then handed me his stuff
And grabbed the wheelchair handles because it was so tough

Slow moving... Steep ramp

By the time we found connection we had minutes left to spare
Said they were closing the doors so better get on there

Rolled him down the ramp and got him in his seat
Collapsed next to him and said I think I'm beat

Exhausted, still. All done in... For sure...

When I got to the Wichita terminal to leave last week, it was quite early (5:00 am) and there were a lot of people unloading for the early morning flights. I saw there were two airport "porters" standing there waiting to help people. I told Ron that I was sure one would come over to help as soon as they saw me. They didn't, so here's how it went...
Unload wheelchair, take to door.
Go back to car, unload suitcase, take to door.
Go back to car, unload suitcase, take to door.
Go back to car, unload suitcase, take to door.
Go back to car, close hatch, tell Ron I'll go park the car and the porters will help him inside. Tell him where to go.
Go park in Timbuktu, walk back; Ron and suitcases still at the door.
Try to get it all; not happening.
Look down at the two porters still standing there and say, "do you think I could get some help here? I've got 3 suitcases and a wheelchair." One decides to saunter down to us.
We only had to go right inside the door and instead of taking the bags to the front (which is what usually happens and then they're just there when I get to the front of the line), he put the bags right behind me. I had to move a bag, move Ron, move a bag, move Ron. Luckily, there were only three people in line ahead of me.

Oh... the man got a $2 tip.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cricut Expression vs. Kindle DX

I want a Cricut Expression. I don't need one. I just want it. I think I can do more things with it than with the regular one. I want to do lettering and some big things (it does 12 x 12 or 12 x 24). It's also not terribly cheap but I found it for $269, which includes shipping and two cartridges.

Ron said to order it for Mother's Day. I won't. It just makes me feel good to know that I could order it if I so desire. I'm trying to pay our credit cards down, not add to them. The trip to Florida cost $996 for the tickets, $235 for the hotel, and we spent another $300 on incidentals. We got $600 from Elana toward the tickets and a $300 blessing from a friend. That still leaves about $600 that we have to pay for, so adding $269 to it is just not in the mix.

But, I'm content in the knowledge that he would like for me to have it and would like for me to order it. He doesn't need to know that I didn't and that I won't.

Until much, much later. I would prefer to spend the extra money on a Kindle DX for him. He would like the Bible downloaded and the new Kindle DX would be ideal for him. It's $489 but if each of the kids (Shaun, Amy, and Keith) each pitched in $100 and I paid the rest, that would be a great gift for him. If they thought they might spend $50 on me for Mother's Day and $50 on him for Father's Day, they could just do the entire $100 for him.

That would be way cool and I would be very happy that he had the Kindle DX. It can read to him!

Mother's Day contest

I found out, quite by accident, that Amy entered me in a Mother's Day contest from Victoria's Secret. It was so nice of her. I don't expect to win, but the thought is great.

Here's the link: &pbb_qsi=12041874&=PBB_LoveYouMom_431_PPIMEMAIL">>&pbb_qsi=12041874&=PBB_LoveYouMom_431_PPIMEMAIL

If you want to go vote (voting ends tomorrow - the 7th), or just read what she wrote, that would be marvy. The comments that others have written are very nice, too.

Amy - I love you, too.


It was a pretty tough trip, but not as bad as I expected it would be. Ron was pretty emotional on Saturday but overall, he handled it very well. It was hard to say good-bye to Vicki, but the body we saw was not the sister we remembered and loved. We know that her spirit has returned to God and she's in a much better place. She's no longer in pain and no longer suffering. We're grateful for that.

Elana and Dana had a much harder time of it. No matter how old you are, it's still tough to say good-bye to someone you love, especially when that someone is your mother. Each one has special memories of their mom and eventually, they will remember these times with gladness and not dwell on the sadness. They can use the prayers of all who would offer them in their behalf. The grandchildren have lost a friend and confidante; the little ones have lost the memories that could have been.

Lexie, the youngest, not only lost her grandmother, but also her godmother. As I was holding her on Saturday, I asked her if I could be her new godmother and she brightened up quite a bit and said that I could be. I've not been a godmother before so I'll have to figure out what all that entails. But, since she doesn't have a maternal "grandmother" figure in her life now, I will be happy to step in and fulfill that role. Sure, she has her mom and her brothers, but her dad died two years ago and I don't know if his family are in the picture or not. The boys have more memories of their grandmother and since she's only four, she needs more input.

Vicki left so many things undone and unfinished. It really makes you stop and think that things should be handled "just in case." Ron has a will (typed with will-making software and notarized) that is in my scrapbook armoire. I also have one, but I don't know where it is any longer. We've often said that we'd have Amy be the executor of the estate but I don't know that is a fair thing to lay on the shoulders of a child (even an adult child) who has just lost a parent. I think we really need to select someone else. I have no fear about fairness or anything like that with our estate, but it's just a lot of responsibility to place on someone who is already dealing with the emotional loss. My sister named one of my brothers, and it was even hard on him. Ron and I may need to re-think things.

We don't really have a large estate, unless you count the medical bills (LOL!)and other debt we've acquired. Anything the children have purchased for us will go back to them. We have very little of value and most of it has more emotional value than monetary value.

We definitely have a few things to think about and take care of. Not that we're planning on anything happening, but Vicki obviously did not either.