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…

 

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Hug your children, they may be gone tomorrow


So, what makes a hug a hug?

I think hugs don’t always  have to be two or more people wrapping their arms around each other. Sometimes hugs come in different packaging.

The reason I know this is that of my two kids, Younger Son is not a Public Display of Affection kind of guy. He’s not into hugs, and by the time he hit kindergarten holding hands with Mom was taboo. Older Son is a very openly affectionate person, in the usual manner, and has never been one to shy away from a hug.

This really bothered me for a long time until just recently, when I discovered that Younger Son hugged me all the time, just not with his arms. He’s rather a prankster at home, and I find that he often will poke my shoulder as he walks by…or nudge me. And, he likes high-fives. Lots of high-fives.

It dawned on me the other day that if I am really paying attention, Younger Son is hugging me every day, multiple times a day…just not with his arms.

This revelation makes me feel a whole lot better, especially in light of the news I received today from my dear friend “R”. She sent me a note on Facebook this morning letting me know why she didn’t make it to town this last weekend. Two of her older son’s best friends, and another friend of theirs were killed in a car accident this week. These kids were only in their late teens/early twenties. Yes, I called them kids…they are someone’s children, and so young that they didn’t have a chance to really live. Not really. Three sets of parents have just outlived a child, and will never have the opportunity get to know those boys as they grow into men and have families of their own.

“R” lives in a small community, so it isn’t just the parents who lost these boys…everyone lost these boys. Worse yet, it wasn’t like this was an expected death. These kids were strong, healthy boys who got in a car and just didn’t make it home, which makes it all that much more shocking and painful.

As I sat reading the message this morning, trying to find words to say to my friend, I realized there are no words. Nothing fixes this. They say time heals all wounds, but something I have come to understand is that grief is worn away like stones are worn smooth in a river. It takes a long time, and I only  imagine the personal hell these poor parents are dealing with.

I generally don’t do this, but today I will ask my 18 faithful readers, and everyone else who happens by this little blog,  to please send all the good vibes you can muster to these parents and their community.  They could use all the help they can get.

So, hug your kids. If you have a kid who isn’t into hugging or other obvious displays of affection, be on the lookout for those behaviors that are really hugs in disguise…like frequent high-fives.

Cutting cords while trying to hold it together


Last week, Younger Son got his first job. He’ll be working with a local landscaper, which will be good for Younger. He’s a hands on kind of kid and likes to keep physically busy. He was a little worried that his busy summer schedule would interfere with being able to get a summer job, but he got lucky and found an employer that was willing to be flexible. And, it’s close enough that he can ride his bike to work. Score!

Yesterday, he turned 16 and got his first paycheck, and I’m feeling a little strange about that. Tonight I need to take him out to buy steel-toed work boots and gloves. He’s my baby, and now he’s my gainfully employed, man-sized, baby. Uff-da.

Older Son is 18 now, and is looking for a job that will provide him more hours this summer. And, he still wants to hang on to his current part-time job.  I didn’t feel so terrorized when he got his first job two years ago because I knew that he needed to do that in order to learn how to get along in the world. Older Son was always more shy, less able to put himself out there and try new things. I pushed him and made him get a job because I understood that it would be good for his self-esteem to earn the paycheck, and he’d learn useful skills.  I’m happy to say that having a part-time job has had exactly the desired effect…he’s really come a long way and is nowhere near as shy as he used to be.

Recently I purchased a new-to-us vehicle, so that Older Son would have some independence in getting back and forth to school and work.  Now, he’s not exactly pleased with the choice I made in vehicles. What I would have liked to get him, and what he’d have LOVED to have is something like this:

Desirable, but not affordable

What he ended up with is a 1978 Dodge Adventurer SE. We affectionately call it The Beast:

So, while it wasn’t what he dreamed of, it’s something that gets him around until he can afford the vehicle he wants. Younger Son instantly fell in love with this rumbly old beater, and is terribly jealous. I’ve promised him that he can use it when Older gets a his own. I’m hoping it will only be another year or so until I can hand that over to him.

So, with all of the comings and goings, my little family isn’t going to see much of each other anymore. It makes me terribly sad that time has flown by and, all of a sudden, my little boys are now grown men. It gives me the nervous twitches just thinking about that fact that in another three years, I will most likely be the only one living at home.

I was talking with my Sister-by-Choice last night about how strange it is to sit alone in your house when your children are away from home with their other parent. When my kids are away from home, I experience a strange juxtaposition of emotions where I feel freed up to do any freaking thing I want (whoo!), and yet I feel paralyzed for wondering what they are doing and worrying if they are ok or not. When they finally come home, no matter how long they’ve been gone, I always feel myself breathing easier. Letting go of this kind paralysis-inducing worry is definitely something I am going to have to teach myself how to do. Imagine what it will be like when my kids leave home for good? I’ll have to get hobbies, and lots of them. Good thing I will have Harley around to keep my company.

Now, while I’m helping my kids grow up and become responsible people, I feel like I am handing them the scissors to cut apron strings with. In Younger Son’s case, I think he was born with a hatchet in his hand, and gleefully chops every apron string I own as soon as he discovers another one tying him down. He’s the one that is yearning to get out in the world, who isn’t afraid to put himself in new situations. He’s the one I feel like I need to hang on to a little tighter because he has no fear.

And yet, I give him the tools he needs and I stand back and watch him go.

I suppose that is the appropriate way of things, and bucking the system won’t get me very far. But, I’ll try to get away with it…just for a little longer.

Rising through the hayfever, and other sordid tales of life on the Prairie


Ah, harvest time. I love it! I love the way the ripe crops look as they wave in the prairie winds of North Dakota. I love the smell of burning fields, and fresh mown hay. Unfortunately, none of those things love me back. Sigh…Bring on the hay fever.

This year, for some reason, it’s much more pronounced that in previous years. Or maybe I’m just getting more sensitive to is as I get older? That’s probably more likely. Today I have a headache  and my sinuses feel a little like they are full of Elmer’s Glue.  I know some people who have allergies so bad that they just allow them to take over during this time of the year. I figure that I haven’t got things so bad if all I have is a headache and a stuffy nose, so I’m going to get up and continue on with my day as though there is no hay fever. In fact, perhaps I will just say it to myself repeatedly: “There is no hay fever, there is no hay fever, there is no place like home, (oops…sorry. That’s someone else’s mantra) there is no hay fever, there is no hay fever…”

So, Older Son is working today. He worked yesterday and will work tomorrow again all day. I’m very proud of him. I was a little worried that his BS-o-meter was set to go off at a little lower level, but he’s stuck with it so far. He works in concessions for a local business that handles several different venues around town. If things go as well for all of us this winter as I hope it will, we’ll be able to get a 2nd vehicle and then he can branch out a little bit. It’s hard to believe that he’s going to be 18 this Spring.

Good Gods… My baby is going to be 18!

Alright, enough of that. If I keep going down that line of script I’ll be a gelatinous puddle of sobbing goo before too long. Last I heard that’s not good for the keyboard so…moving on…

Younger Son and I are going out for lunch and then out to my parent’s house to pick up some extra green beans they have from their garden. Then I’m off to visit a friend at her house. She and her husband are putting on a wine tasting, and I was very thrilled to be invited. Her husband comes from an Italian family, and he knows how to cook the authentic stuff that most people wish they could cook. So, it will be an evening of good food, good wine, and good conversation…with adults, no less.  I can’t wait!

Tomorrow, I have some things to finish in the house and then I’m contemplating digging up my front yard, or at least a small piece of it. I have been wanting to do that for quite some time, and with Younger’s help, I bet we can get it done in an afternoon. All the extra dirt and sod will go around the foundations of the house as the dirt there has settled downwards.

If we do get around to it, I’ll show before and after pictures. I can’t wait to see what my new front garden will look like this spring. I’m hoping to plant tulips, irises, lilies and hyacinth so there is something pretty coming up right away in the Spring.

But now it’s time to get ready to go. I’ll have a glass of wine for you too! 🙂

How to celebrate Independence Day?


Younger Son was put out today that there aren’t any fireworks sponsored by the city this year, and we don’t have anywhere in the country to go where we can shoot off our own. In his view the Fourth of July is just not any good without fireworks. Of course I felt obligated to remind him that any way we choose to celebrate the Fourth of July is good because we are free to do as we choose. Being 15, he just wasn’t that impressed with my little speech. I’m going to snicker when he has his own kids and this topic (and so many others) pops up. Skip the snicker…I’ll probably fall down with a good rolling belly laugh. Anyway, I digress.

Are you celebrating without the usual fan fare? No biggie. Check this out, it will make you smile

I have seen a lot of posts about freedom and the Declaration of Independence, and I agree with all of that. I thought hard about posting something serious and history-minded, and then I realized that’s what everyone else was doing. So, I determined that I would not note the passage of this day as most others do. I’ll be a little bit different and post something silly and fun.

I am so thankful for the freedom to be silly and have fun. I live in a place that’s well protected, and that we have (for now) the freedom to do whatever the heck we feel like, within reason. I don’t believe that we’ll always have that, but at least we do for the time being.

So, kick up your heels. Lay around watching tv. Shoot off some firecrackers. Make love to your sweetheart somewhere new and exciting. However you celebrate the 4th, be mindful that others paved the way for that freedom. I think that’s all they’d ask of us today, to just be mindful.

Uh oh…I guess I went and posted something serious after all. OH well…enjoy the song and revel in its silliness!