Saturday, June 28, 2014

Winning life's lottery!

The first pieces of furniture in our new home...
Good Morning!!  Have you missed me?  Because I have missed you!  It's been so crazy since we last talked.  In fact the past two weeks feel sort of like a lifetime has been crammed into them.

Sunset the other night after finally finding a fridge!
A mere 10 days ago we were handed the keys to our new house.  It's amazing, breath taking, and just plain beautiful.  I keep pinching myself to believe its real.  Hubby and I have been making miserably slow progress moving in.  Daughter loaned us her truck, but Mother Nature has not wanted to be accommodating at all!  Half the living room is there, random boxes from other rooms.  This was not a good time to decide to move between the weather and all the changes going on at work.  But we are making progress.

I couldn't believe how difficult it was to find a refrigerator. I have never bought a new one, please do not ask how someone reaches almost 50 without ever buying a refrigerator, because it is mind boggling to me also. After almost two full weeks of searching, burning the midnight oil to find one, we gave up. Okay, so maybe not completely gave up... we were in search of a black one, counter depth.  It was like trying to find the holy grail.  Evidently black is so last week... we ultimately decided to go with stainless (it's the new black!) and switched out the stove also, man am I gonna be doing some crazy listing on Craig's list! It was so sad to realize I could switch the stove and buy a fridge for less than a black one was going to cost.

Now we just have to wait.  Seems counter depth refrigerators are not really something that ANYONE keeps in stock.  It's okay.  I haven't had time to really cook for weeks.  Insanity has reigned supreme.  And living out of two houses, well it's not fun.

soon we will be just around the corner from her...
Today we are hoping to finally make the transition to just one house.  We finally have all the utilities switched on in the new house, today we get television and internet.  And even though we won't have a fridge, we bought a small one, that will ultimately go into the basement, that will work until we get our new one.

There isn't supposed to be rain until late tonight, so hubby and I will definitely be taking advantage of the sunshine. In fact I should be packing or at the very least painting.  I am definitely feeling a bit overwhelmed!

Stressed fur babies...

Happy grand baby...

I feel like I've won the lottery!

On the Monday before we got the keys, I was asked to accompany our teen trip this year to Brazil! Someone pinch me!!

I have always wanted to travel to South America!  For my entire life!  So you can imagine that it took me less than a minute to reply.  After making sure that it wasn't a very cruel joke.  It wasn't!!

So in the midst of moving, I have been scrambling like crazy to catch up and get ready to go to Brazil in less than a  month.  I have a feeling that August is going to be a lot like me trying to catch my breath, me trying to remember what sleep and normalcy feel like.

I am finally feeling better and not living in a sick, drugged fog.  So this is helping, playing catch up is not.

kitchen chair before...
kitchen chair after...
I haven't really had time for sleep, so you can imagine that I haven't had time for much else either. Today after we meet with AT&T for the final installations until after the fourth of July we will work on moving beds and critters to Missouri.  Tonight, the game plan is to sleep in our new home.

Our girl... the perfect reason to hurry west...
It's exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time, the familiarity will be gone.  I can walk this house in the pitch dark.  I know what I will encounter and where everything is.  The new house is so much bigger, with multi-floors and  what feels like a million light switches.  I imagine getting up in the middle of the night to let the boys out is going to be quite an experience. If you hear of a middle aged woman, falling down in the dark on unfamiliar stairs, while trying to desperately open the back door... no worries, it will just be me...

Well, as much as I want to share all the things I have learned in the past few weeks, that will have to wait.  I have boxes to pack and an SUV and a Truck to load before leaving at 7:30 this morning.  And I want to cram them full!  I am tired of driving back and forth, I need to make each trip count!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Daddy's Hands...

It's Father's Day! I am sitting here listening to the song that has always made me think of my own Daddy. Holly Dunn put so many of my thoughts and feelings about my Dad to music when she recorded it.  I've listened to it probably a million times over the years.  And I feel the same about it today, as I did the first time I heard it.

I am pretty much a self-described Daddy's Girl.  I still to this day remember being a young girl and stating quite adamantly that my Daddy was my Hero.  He was.

Please don't think that it was an easy path where he is concerned.  It wasn't and isn't.  Dad is a complicated man.  Who loves deeply, but often had a hard time showing that love. And rarely, if ever voiced it. We've had our ups and downs, we've fought, we've made up.  I am probably the only daughter that has not one or two letters, but seven all disowning me.  That was always his way of letting us know that we'd hurt him.  He never meant it, it was just his way.  I would bet my sisters have a few of their own.

Over the course of my life, I've had some rough conversations with my Daddy.  I have walked away because the hurt was too great to deal with, I have rushed to his arms when my heart was breaking.  And probably far too many times I have cursed the hurt in his life that made him a distant person, too afraid to show the love in his heart.

I wish I could lay my hands on one of my favorite pictures of my Dad and I... It was the day I graduated from High School, we were at the house before the service. I was being a clown, and in my pretty pink suit climbed into my Daddy's lap.  Mom took a picture, the love and laughter in both of our eyes still makes me smile, even though I currently can only see that picture in my mind.

My entire life I had been trying to make him proud of me.  For years it was a driving factor in all I did.  So many times I felt I let him down.  His shoes were too big, his dreams often collided with mine.  But I sure was trying hard to make him proud.

There were many times in our lives when Dad wasn't there. Mom was our Dad and filled the void many times.  She never complained about it, and she always made sure that we knew he loved us deeply.  That life, the military and demons we couldn't see where the reason he wasn't there.  Never that it wasn't his love or lack of love for us.

When Dad hit a spot in his life where he couldn't face his own demons and did some things that hurt us all, that strained our relationships to the point of breaking forever... there was always that bond. It was with a mix of hurt and joy that I was often told that I was just like my father during that time frame.

The years have dashed by, I remember so many times of laughter and tears, sadness and joy, strength and weakness.  I remember every time Mom had a health crisis his strength, even though you could see and hear the hurt and pain - the fear of loss in his eyes.  He tried his best to be strong for us girls.

I remember the sheer devastation when he himself suffered a devastating stroke and he was alone.  All of us girls were far from him and the people that should have been with him were too selfish to do so.  Us girls making our plans to go to him, one at a time based on his needs and what we could bring to the table.  We sent the nurse first... she was best able to see him through the first parts of recovery and could speak intelligently to the doctors.  She could advocate for him.  Next was the second oldest, oh I wanted it to be me, I had the time and could do it, but she had a greater need.

I was going to go next... but by then he was home and I wasn't needed.

Eventually we brought him home, back from the west.  I really hoped he'd come back to Illinois, but it wasn't meant to be.  He wanted to be where Mom was.  Life has taken twists and turns.  The stern man that was always there loving and supporting, but only saying I love you in times of crisis.  Is much softer now.  His heart shows much easier.

This Daddy's girl can now call her Daddy and talk about everything silly, serious, deep and shallow.  Yet I know each and every phone call ends with "I love you Daddy... I love you too Baby..." It took almost 50 years and much hurt and heartache to get here, but I am so glad we have.  I still want my Daddy to be proud of me, but I am strong enough in who I am to know I don't have to be the one that fulfills his dreams for us. He has a daughter that fulfilled his dreams of a college degree, he has a tomboy that keeps him in check, he has one that is his baby... and then there is me... The oldest. I have probably let him down the most, but my love for him has never wavered.

He's still my Hero...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Friday the 13th...

Like many folks I stayed up late last night to enjoy the rather rare treat of a full moon on a Friday the 13th. Not because I am superstitious nor because I don't think there will be another full moon. The moon on Thursday night was breath taking as well.  I did it simply because...

Last night the moon was so unbelievably bright that the sky itself looked dark and void of even stars.  It was nice to know that, even though at this moment in time with neither of my kiddo's even close to home, we were under the same bright moon.  Basking in its glory.

The week has been insane, running all over, in and out of different trainings, struggling to keep everything in balance while not pushing my slowly returning health.  It's been insane.

The rain this week has the grass inches higher than it should be, the ground soggy and mushy.  At one point during the week AT&T took the liberty of completely tearing up chunks of my front yard yet again.  I guess I will need to call them, because they sure didn't bother to put in any grass seed or sod to repair the massive damage they have done. I am not sure why I am even worried or concerned.  It seems every two years they come in and destroy the work we've put into repairing the previous damage.  No warning, just appear and dig up the yard, put up bright orange fencing, do their work, and haphazardly put the yard back together.  It's normal. Mowing today, is going to be an unpleasant chore.

With the sun bright in the sky yesterday, Hubby took me out for dinner last night.  Of course with the sun shining we couldn't go in the Escape... we took advantage of the beautiful clear sky, the cool temperatures (no I am not complaining about 70's in June - do you think I am crazy?).  When you are riding on the back of the Harley, the best route to any location is never direct.  And we took full advantage of it.

It's really almost a straight shot from our house to one of our favorite restaurants hop on 159 and zip straight down past a few towns and you arrive in Smithton.  It's really just a wide spot in the road, not much bigger than a minute.  And it is one of our favorite spots.  The Smithton Family Restaurant is just off 159, you can't miss it.  And last night was all you could eat walleye.  Well, I evidently can't each much, they serve so much, but it was worth the ride to get there.  When two people can eat dinner, leave full and not have spent $20 including tip... and it was delicious.  Guess you really can't complain.

Leaving dinner, Hubby decided to take me exploring through the farm land surrounding the Kaskaskia River.  As we came up on the bridge over it, despite on-going repairs, it was beautiful The area is rather suppressed economically.  That beautiful meandering river runs to and fro and often wreaks havoc as it does.  It often floods, sometimes miles of farm land end up submerged.  The blessing following those floods is that deep rich soil.

As we were riding along the smell was so refreshing.  That powerful, earthy scent that comes from rich, dark soil, full of nutrients.  I wanted to get off the bike and dig my fingers into it.  The urge to garden bubbling up from somewhere deep inside my soul.

The farm lands were so wonderful as we zipped past at a whopping 45 mph.  We are "put, putters".  Many other bikes blew past us, hurry to get to the next place.  Missing the beauty that surrounds them.  The fields of amber grains waving gently as we passed, made it very easy to understand the inspiration of Katherine Lee Bates to write what became the song America the Beautiful.  Tucked in around rolling hills filled with corn stalks and soy beans, all in various stages of growth.

At one point we drove past a field that was freshly mowed.  I don't know what was mowed, but the sweet, fresh scent whipped me back in time and place to Erie.  I always connect that sweet smell to home.  I loved the smell after Papa would finish mowing.  It means home, it means family, it means love.  I was so thankful for finding it last night.

Those few hours between dinner and sunset were perfect, there has been so much lately, almost too much.  Both of us have been stressed, the rain has prevented rides, and we have been trying to do simply too much.  That ride was not only welcome, but needed.  The gifts we found along the way were priceless.

Today will be another busy one.  The girls are coming over for a bit - they have to work tomorrow so are going to visit with Pops today for Father's Day.  We are packing, as we should get our keys on Wednesday.  And tonight Hubby is finally going to get to enjoy his birthday present.

I bought him tickets to see A Prairie Home Companion. We will stop and have dinner before we go, and after 40 years of listening in on the radio, he is actually going to see Garrison Keillor live. He was listening to NPR this morning and heard them announce that it is sold out and better yet that they will live on air during the show.  I would say he is pretty excited.  Mr. Keillor is into his 70's and has tried to retire several times, so this could be his last chance to go.  I think it is probably the best birthday present I have ever given him.  I am thankful to be able to.

So tonight as we visit Lake Wobegon and marvel at Guy Noir misadventures, Hubby's smile is what I am going to be watching for... He needs this, I need this... we both need a small break from reality... tomorrow it can come back.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A little sunshine daydreaming...

It’s almost unbelievable.  It’s June. In the Midwest and I am sitting outside enjoying the peace and quiet that break time affords.  I am in a two part training today and decided to pack my lunch and hope for nice weather.  I didn't expect the luxury of sitting outside on a slightly breezy 73 degree day.  Without rain, wearing jeans and a sweater set. 

I mean after all the Midwest is not known for its reasonable summer weather.  Usually by now it is hot, muggy and just plain suffocating.  Nothing that you want to plan much time outside in, at least not if you are me…

Yet, here I sit.  Soaking up a bit of non-people time in warmish rays of sunshine, munching on an assortment of veggies and thinking out loud – or at least in writing, sort of the perfect kind of me time.  It’s not that I am anti-social, it’s that I am one of those background kind of people.  The ones that like to blend in, and my sensory system can only take so much.  I just spent almost three hours in a room with around 50 people, multiple conversations, training, varying lights, uncomfortable chairs and swaying temperatures.  I need a bit of time to re-calibrate or I will be most unpleasant by the end of the day.

It’s kind of ironic as I sit here listening to the cars on the highway zipping along that I would find that peaceful.  But I do.

All these transitions that are going on, on so many fronts are crazy.  Or maybe I am.  During my down time, I am day dreaming about paint colors and what to keep and what to discard.  The rest of the time I am trying to focus on learning a new payroll system, a new operating system, and my ever evolving roll in aquatics.

For someone that craves the even flow of sameness, this is a bit overwhelming.  To keep my brain sane, I have really been getting lost in creating lately.  It doesn't matter the medium, I have really been focused on keeping order by creating.  My current craft bag holds a needlework project, a pair of socks and paint swatches.  I have a kitchen table and an old telephone table that I am currently involved with and there is as much paint on my hands as thread strings attached to my clothing. 

And a dining room set and hutch that are waiting in the wings, or technically my living room and hall way. As there is no way on earth that hutch is standing up in any room in my baby house.  I had a plan for the hutch, now… well… now I don’t.  I want to make sure the hutch and dining set complement each other.  And the room they will go into.  So now I am waiting.  We get the house keys on the 18th, after I compare color swatches I can start.

I can’t be the only person that can get themselves that turned around while escaping stress.  I have a deep seated need to be creative.  To surround myself with beauty that I have created the “old fashioned” way.  And when it feeds into my inborn thriftiness, well then it’s a bonus all around.  Normally I create a lot of things for others, rarely keeping many things for myself.  This year, I feel selfish.  This year, I need to complete things for us, to make a difference in mine and Hubby’s world.

I wonder if it’s all the changes, I wonder if it is feeling out of control where I am. Before I started working, Hubby and I spent many hours creating, building, crafting, together.  I have missed that time.  Until we started on all these projects for our new home, I didn't realize the intensity that I was missing them with.  I didn't realize how much I longed for those days.  Now something as simple as a few coats of poly-acrylic is something I want us to share together.  Insane I know.

We are a good team when we work together on a project, we've learned over the years to yield to the other’s strengths.  And even if we both get bull headed from time to time one of us ultimately concedes. For example, it is evidently of utmost importance to him that the underside edges of a table are painted (kitchen cabinets too), while I see no need (are you seriously expecting me to believe you are going to spend your time on my floor looking up to see if they are painted?) it really isn’t that important.  Does it drive me a bit batty, sure… My creative side doesn't like to get sidetracked by unneeded things.  But the reality is, it takes just a few minutes more and it seems to make him happy.  So… paint the underside edges… Problem solved.  By the way… I still don’t see a need for it…

I need to remind him to grab the boxes from my office today before he comes to get me. I might start packing up some things.  I am debating on it.  My boys and the girl get pretty darn stressed about changes like that, and with the loss of Z I don’t want to cause them any more stress.  Maybe I just drive myself crazy doing it all at the last minute.  I don’t know.

I haven’t moved in forever.  Never thought I would again…

Now there are boxes to pack, stuff to sort through and donate, so much to do on both sides of the river. So much… In hindsight… not sure my non-people time has helped me at all… just given me more to think about.

It's all good... I'm refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Working through the hurt...

How do you deal with pain and loss?  I will cry, until my eyes hurt and my heart feels like it will explode.  Then I will sit back and look at the remnants, feel that a part of me is gone forever and then I will plow forward keeping myself as busy as possible.  Until I fall out from exhaustion.  Now is no different.

After a couple of nightmares, waking up worried about the rest of my furbabies and my two legged ones (as a couple are on the road), drifting back into a fitful sleep a couple of times, I simply gave up.

I got up, took care of all the critters, found the camera and the coffee and headed downstairs. After starting a load of laundry, I sipped coffee and looked around at all the projects I want to do, need to do and have started.   And then... in typical devil chasing me, heart aching Belynda style... I jumped in.

The first project to get my attention was the table that I had painted yesterday.  It was going in my new front living room, but honestly, I am not sure that is my plan now.  I am still considering this decision.

It needed stained, I went with a nice cherry, I felt the kona was going to completely overwhelm the yellow.  And I wanted to warm it up. A quick coat of stain... and I was already looking for another project. I had to wait a few hours before I could wax it.

Sipping another cup of coffee... wheels turning, I pulled out Estella's table.  Ah, that beauty, she's been sitting there for a long time waiting for my attention.

Estella was our neighbor, she was amazing!  She would always crack me up when she would announce, as she headed to her car, I'm off to pick up the little old ladies and take them to buy groceries.  The fun part of that, she was in her 80's, they were in their 60's (at the oldest).  She was sparkle, energy and light.  She would tell me stories of her Albert.  He was her one and only.  He'd built her their house when they were a young couple. They'd loved each other and lived a beautiful life in that house.

Albert had been very sick and in the hospital as they neared their 50th wedding anniversary.  They had planned a huge party to celebrate that amazing milestone.  It didn't look like Albert would be coming home.  But love, well it has a way of making magic happen.  Albert came home. Albert and his beautiful Estella celebrated that remarkable day and ended it as they had ended most of their days, quietly alone.  Albert passed away that night.  Estella, treasured that memory.  She knew that he loved her enough to make it to that day.

The table that I am working on refinishing, is one I fell in love with.  She would sit at it, in her home that was built with love and work on so many beautiful quilts.  Have her meals.  She was so amazing.  She passed in her late 90's, still driving the old ladies, still quilting and cooking she finally got to join Albert finally.

My mom got the table and loved it for many years.  When she moved she no longer had room for it, and I asked if I could have it.

Hubby and I mended it's broken leg, and stripped off years of paint.  Albert made this table for Estella when they were newlyweds. It's simple and sweet, and incredibly well made.  And I've never had a place for her.

Today I pulled her out, and started working on it.  It will have white legs, and a cherry top.  The legs are painted, maybe tomorrow I will start distressing them and applying the paste wax.  I have started putting the polyurethane on the top. I love the way it looks.  I think I will end up putting 6 or 7 coats on it.  I can't wait to see it finished.

We pulled out a few more pieces that we have salvaged and saved.  Hubby and I wood glued another piece that was damaged.  It's going to look amazing....

The boys are bathed, a motorcycle ride happened, two meals cooked and all the laundry finished...

Did someone say bath?
So as I keep busy, working through sadness, at least we are making progress on the things that need done and we want done...

How do you work through sadness?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

At a journey's end...

Loves while he fought... Sweet Zorro
And then there were three... yesterday was hard.  Okay that is an understatement.  Yesterday was unbelievably heart breaking. One of our sweet furbabies went to the Rainbow Bridge.  He had an unbelievably urgent medical issue and after almost two full days of treatment he was not responding.  He'd fallen into a kitty coma.  When all hope was finally gone... we let him go.  Because we loved him that much!

I love my furbabies as much as I love my kids and grand baby.  It was devastating. As I held him in my arms, kissed his sweet baby head with my tears dripping on his little paws he took his last breath.

I want to believe when they brought him in the room that the "meom" was his calling mom... instead of just pain from being moved.  He was a talkative kitty, always had so much to say, so three days of absolute silence was hard to take.

As I snuggled him to the very end, knowing that it was more for me than him, as I don't think he knew we were there.  I simply told him how loved he was, and how much he would be missed.

I am already missing him more than there are words for.  It's quiet without all the stuff he always had to say.  His sister seems okay, more so than the dogs or us.  Funny, the boys are the ones that miss him most.

Snug... the Queen of Sassy
In my heart I know he's at the Rainbow Bridge, he isn't in pain and the jagged breathing is gone. He's there with Amber, Lucky, Rachel, Raja and Fred... they are waiting.  It's going to a be sloppy love fest when we finally go to join them.  Our sweet furbabies that have already left, that have all left their paw prints on our hearts.

Now I am paranoid, I keep looking at the remaining three, watching to see if they are all okay. Worrying about the food they are eating.  The amount of water they drink. Are they sleeping too much... and a million other things.  After we move, I am going to have all three get a complete physical by the vet, make sure there isn't something I am missing.  I will feel calmer after that happens.  For now, I fret.

Gator... my absolute baby
The Neeko! Allergy eyes and all...
Today, hasn't been as hard.  Today I have loved on my furbabies, cradling his sister a bit more to comfort her.  Today I spent time with my sisters and the kids that were close.  Today... well today is simply another day.  With a hole in it. 

Rest In Peace Zorro... we will snuggle again, one day...


The sun is just breaking over the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  Watching it set last night was breathtaking! Tomorrow I will get up and ...