Blessed are mundane things


Today started out being not such a bad day. My house wasn’t considered to be in the flood zone, and we had made some progress on going through stuff in the basement that needed to be gotten rid of or brought upstairs. There was a sense of it needing to be done, but not that we had to kill ourselves to finish up.

My Sister calls this "Frog in a Blender"

Then we went out to run some errands. Older Son came with me and on the way home, I thought it would be nice to stop at Starbucks and get us some coffee. Or, in my case, a nice Green Tea Frappuccino.  We sat outside the drive through speaker for a long time, and then a girl came out and apologized, letting us know that they were closing due to the evacuation zones being expanded.

What?!

Yep…we came right home and turned on the tv. The big news is that someone just discovered that double the water was coming our way, and those close to the original evacuation zones were to evacuate as well. Well, that threw things into a tizzy. Later on we would find out that we weren’t in an expanded evacuation zone, but that someone had jumped the gun on that announcement. We are still getting double the water, though. It’s going to be what I come to call a Prairie Tsunami.

So, Older Son and I began to get things up from the basement, double time. Younger Son was at Driver’s Ed all afternoon, but got home early. We hauled stuff up and stashed it in bedrooms, we hauled crap out to the curb for garbage pickup, and we took some stuff to a friend who had use for them. It got to be about 9:30, and I walked across the road to see what’s going on closer to the river. I could see straight down one road to a main drag that runs over a bridge across the river. It was still dry, even though the West end of town is flooding. I’m hoping to get up tomorrow and still see a dry road. We’ll see what the new day brings. Until then, time to hit the rack.

Older Son’s bed is smack in the middle of the living room, so he’ll be comfortable enough until this whole thing is over and we can get him back into his bedroom in the basement. He suggested that we watch a movie, Battle: L.A. It’s an alien attack movie, just the kind of sci-fi thing we all like to watch. I sat here earlier flossing my teeth and catching up on the news on Facebook, and realized how nice it was to just do something as mundane as take care of my teeth. Watching a movie together is a nice mundane way to try to normalize after a long day of tearing up your house, and watching your community go under water via the television.  For now, we are just a family hanging out together, discussing the best way for the protagonists to kill the attacking aliens. Run of the mill stuff around these parts.

Good night all…

 

Advertisements

Three days and counting!


Oh yes…only three more days left and then life gets good again. School’s soon to be out for the Summer!  Whoo!

What, you say? I like it when school is out? Oh yes. I have always liked it better when the kids are out for the summer.  There’s less complication, less garbage to deal with, and all around less stress.  Older Son asked me the other day why I liked it better when school is out. “Because I like you guys,” was my reply. And I do like having them around…I’ll be a mess when they move on and get their own lives!

I will admit that they are getting on each others nerves by the end of Summer Vacation, and going back to school alleviates that a bit.  This year I don’t anticipate that being a problem as they both are working.  With the different schedule’s they’ll have, they’ll be lucky to even see each other for very long at all most days. Sigh…I’ll be lucky to see them at all each day. Still, I like it better when school’s out for the Summer.

T-minus three days, and counting!

Hope really does float…grab it and hang on tight.


Yes…I’m alive! I’ve been away for several weeks, alternately running like a lunatic trying to keep up with life, and then having time and not being able to write. I just sit in front of my computer and wonder what happened to all of those interesting things that skittered across my brain during the day. It all just evaporated, right into thin air.

I had no intention of blogging today, but I read a blog post of a close friend who is going through divorce, and it inspired me to write about something that I hadn’t thought of in a long time. Her comments reminded me of something I felt, similarly to what she’s going through now, when I was  just beginning to go through the same process two years ago.  She described how she felt like she was in fast-rising, deep water…feeling overwhelmed. Here is the picture she posted as an illustration. I found it interesting for a couple of reasons, but I’ll get to that later:

I remember very well when I discovered my husband had cheated on me and then decided to leave me and the boys to be with her, rather than try to work things out, I felt like I was literally in over my head. I guess I really was…I had no idea what to do, how to deal with him, how to help the boys get through it, or what the future held. I remember very clearly waking up many mornings immediately after the initial blow and wondering what the point to breathing really was. It was probably the most demoralizing thing I’ve ever been through in my entire life.

Something I discovered after a month’s worth of flailing about was that life is a lot like swimming. I remember very well taking swimming lessons as a kid, and having a hard time with it. I really didn’t believe that I was going to just float in the water as effortlessly as the other kids did. My disbelief was the whole problem. I don’t exactly remember when I made the cross over from disbelief to swimming like a fish, but once I realized the water would hold me up if just let it, swimming got a lot easier.

Getting through divorce is so much harder than learning how to swim for a few reasons. For one, it’s not just you that you have to keep afloat when there are children involved. Secondly, a pool is a pretty well-defined area where you can see to the bottom. Getting divorced, especially at the beginning, feels a lot like having to tread water in the ocean, where you can barely see land.  And, if you’ve never done it before, the navigation of it is a bitch. How do you get to your destination when you have no map, and no idea what the landmarks you need to find look like? How do you know when it’s done, or does this hell go on forever?

Just like when I was learning how to swim, I can’t remember exactly when I let go and realized that I wouldn’t die if I just believed that everything would be OK. I do remember discovering that making small plans for every contingency gave me a measure of a feeling of security. Each and every single time I made a plan, or found a way to make things the tiniest little bit more stable, it gave me a little more hope that I would survive. I hung on to that hope, clung to it with everything I had. The alternative, hopelessness, was nothing I wanted to revisit.

Once my (then) husband moved out, after four months of having to endure him living in the house after I caught him with the other woman, the air suddenly cleared and I could breath again. The oppressive atmosphere evaporated and, while I was still left with a lot of uncertainty, I finally felt like I made it a long way closer to shore. I was no longer flailing about in the ocean looking to find purchase on a whatever sand bar or rock I could find. After that long, awful summer, I was finally standing up in the water, walking towards shore. I might still be  in neck-deep, but the end was in sight. I had a lot of hope that things would be OK after that.

Even though I felt better immediately after he finally left, it was a pretty horrible year for both of the kids and I. There were a lot of financial issues, and I was still reeling from having been dumped out of a 17-year marriage without so much as a heads up or an apology. Two years have gone by since the initial shock of discovery, and I’m still angry…but I feel more pity for him than anger a lot of days now. However, after all of that, I’m still standing, and so are the kids. We survived, and we’re doing well. I still have a lot of hope that things will get even better.

Another thing I learned while surviving divorce is how to spin something bad until I’m blowing sunshine out of my backside. No kidding…I am a full-fledged subscriber to the “Fake-It-‘Till-You-Make-It” theory of thinking. Even on days when I could barely hold my head up for feeling lost, when people asked me how I was, I would tell them “Good”, or “Fabulous” and do my best to mean it. I did my best to count up all the blessings I could find, even the smallest things count. There were many days were there weren’t enough blessings to tip the balance and allow me to feel half-way decent, but a lot of days I could dredge up enough good things to ponder on that would give me some hope to float up with. It takes some practice, but it works.

Back to the picture my friend posted on her blog. At first glance it appears that the woman is in deep water, all alone. But, if you take a closer look at it, you see that the water is crystal clear and well-lit, and you can see all the way to the bottom. Not only that, but her face has broken the water and she’s breathing without difficulty. She’s in a prone position suggesting that she’s relaxed and is moving as though taking a long relaxed swim in the morning sun…if she were struggling, the water would be frothy and broken with her movements. The woman in this picture is purposeful in her motions, has confidence in the water to hold her up, and is not alone… she’s just taking time for herself. The peace of this picture is really striking and inspiring to me. It’s my fondest hope that my friend sees the peacefulness in this picture, and can find peace for herself after long time of not having had any.

Have you ever seen the movie, Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr.? If you haven’t, give it a look-see.  For those of you who are struggling through bad times, hope really does float, so grab on tight, rise to the surface and take a deep breath. It might not seem like it now, but everything will be OK.

“To anyone who finds this letter, you are what remains of the human race.”


I was clearing out the clutter that covered my desk and discovered a piece of paper folded over at the top.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t throw away anything that might have an important note or phone number on it, so I unfolded the paper and found this:

“To anyone who finds this letter, you are what remains of the human race.”

I recognized the handwriting as being that of Older Son. In recent months he’s been writing a lot of stories, and I find snippets like this one on random pieces of paper around the house. Every once in a while he’ll bring me a story to read. The grammar and spelling are atrocious, but the stories are good. He’s got a really interesting voice that somehow shines through the clutter of his small, hard to read hand writing. I keep telling him that he should take a creative writing class, but he refuses. I get the impression he thinks that I don’t believe his writing is good enough. It is good enough, but taking a writing class could help him grow this ability into something bigger. Perhaps next year I can get him to take a class with me. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time myself.

Perhaps it’s just me, because I’m his mother, but I really want to know what caused the extinction of the human race in his mind. I’m guessing it’s zombies or a potential cause of WWIII, as those seem to be prevalent motif’s in his writing lately…he is 17, after all.  When I asked him about it, he smiled and said, “Oh, that’s where that went.” I dug a little further, but he wouldn’t tell me why…he just smiled.

Quiet morning thwarted by my own mind


Given all the excitement that’s been going on around our little house, I’ve been jonesing  for a little peace and quiet. This morning there is nothing I have to do, nobody to see and the sun is out. Finally! All I can hear is the traffic out front and the fish tank bubbling.

The boys don’t have to get up today for anything, and that means that I can just sit here listening to nothing, reading and posting to my heart’s content. Then why is it that I am drawn to think about all the things that need doing? There is always housework, and yard work, and organizing…I could go on ad nauseum about all the little things that constantly need keeping up with.  There should be some metaphysical door one can shut on thoughts of those kinds of activities so one can fully enjoy a peaceful, sunny morning like I have now. But, noooo…it seems that the way is open for intruding thoughts of work. Bugger.

Well, if it’s thoughts of work that I have, I guess I should think about what exactly it is I feel like I need to accomplish today. So, here’s a to do list:

  • Laundry (When isn’t there any? At least that can be going while I’m doing other stuff!)
  • Dusting (It’s a never-ending battle in North Dakota)
  • Cooking (I have another 8 lbs of meat that needs cooking up or it will go bad soon. Hm…sounds like meat loaf for supper!)
  • Finish cleaning out the entryway closet.
  • Clean out the hall closet
  • Organize the basement (that’s really two weeks worth of work right there, but I should get a start)
  • Crack the whip on those boys to clean their rooms this afternoon (ugh…what is it with teenage boys and stinky rooms?!)
  • Mop the kitchen floor
  • Mop and oil all the wood floors…boy are they DRY…

Ugh…I could go on and on and on. I think this list is long enough, though. First thing I think I want to do after I put a load of laundry in, is go for a walk. At least that way I can feel like I am getting something done while I’m doing something for myself!

Well, It’s 9am, and I hear Older Son stirring. It’s been a nice quiet morning while it lasted!

Sunshine on my son’s belly


Just now, Younger Son came in from outside and said, “Hey Mom, feel this”, as he’s holding out the belly of his shirt to me. So, I pressed my hand to his belly and his shirt was hot. Not warm…hot. He’d been outside for the last fifteen minutes or so in a black t-shirt and hoodie, and had soaked up a bunch of sunshine. Gods bless him for bringing it inside to share with me.

Perhaps I’m being maudlin, as has been the case my whole life, but it makes me a little sad that Younger is going to be 15 on the 21st of this month…my 6 foot tall baby. He and Older Son (aged 17) are both still in the strange limbo that is the stretch between childhood and manhood, and they seem to display a little of both on a daily basis. I seem to have come to a point in my life where I am agonizing over their loss already. Soon they will move away either for school, military, or whatever life endeavor they choose and I will be alone in this little bitty house that seems so cramped right now. When they are gone this little house will feel like an empty mansion.

The strange thing about already mourning them not being here is that I find I’m also making plans for me and the house when they are gone. What the heck?! How can I feel sad about having an empty nest and at the same time feel a little bit excited? I’ll just tamp that down a bit and examine it at a later time. It feels a little too traitorous and strange to really take that out and unpack it just yet. For the time being, I think I will just make a better effort to revel in their presence now, and not borrow sadness from the future. Even though it’s creeping in at the edges, it’s kind of pointless to wallow in something that hasn’t happened yet.

Younger has been chomping at the bit to plant his watermelons and pumpkins, even though it’s too early to plant outside in North Dakota. So, off to Menards we go today to get some plastic wrap and PVC to make a small green house. Time to take advantage of the nice day and spend some quality time with the kids rather than worrying about what things will be like when they’re gone away living their own lives.