Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rules of the Hay

Have you ever been digging through a drawer filled with lots of nonrelated stuff...cords to TVs you no longer own, decks of playing cards, mysterious keys that open who knows what...and found something that touched your heart and flooded your mind with warm memories? It’s funny how something like this [baggie of yarn] can bring a tear to my eyes.

From time to time, I write down stories about my boys. This story, written years ago, explains the Ziplock snack baggie, the yarn, and the misty eyes.

The Rules of the Hay
A True Story

When I was a girl, one of my all time favorite things to do during the holidays was to set up the nativity in the living room. I carefully and lovingly unwrapped the tissue from each little character that my mother bought at the dime store for 19 cents each. In my little girl mind, those made-in-Taiwan plaster figures were works of art. With 3 boys in our home, Alan and I would from time to time discover that little plastic green army guys had found their way into our nativity scene. They were “posted” around the stable behind Wise Men and shepherds - at the ready to attack any “bad guys” who might try to mess with Baby Jesus. BOYS!

As a mother, I dutifully wanted to create special memories for my boys centered on our own little nativity. So, I began what I hoped would become a time-honored Lackey Christmas Tradition. Instead of putting Baby Jesus in the manger when we placed all of the figures in the stable, the manger was to be left empty until Christmas Morning. To involve the children in learning the importance of sharing Christ’s love, they were to try to perform acts of loving-kindness for friends or family members during the holiday season. Each time they were caught in the act of being loving or good, they could place a piece of yellow yarn “hay” on the manger to prepare a soft bed for Jesus. Optimistically, I meticulously cut approximately 50-2” strands of yarn knowing that if we used all 50 I could definitely cut more!

I showed the boys the Baggie of hay that would be stored in the drawer below the nativity scene. I explained the whole “acts of loving-kindness” plan. The boys listened intently, and I thought that for a shining moment I could actually see angelic countenances on their ketchupy little faces. Then, they began to ask questions about “Rules of the Hay.” “What about sharing toys?!” “Yes! That would be great!” “What about taking turns?!” “Amazing! I think you’ve got it!” “What if we don’t hit each other?” “That would, indeed, make God...and me VERY HAPPY!”

Over the next few days, the boys seemed to earnestly perform these random acts of lovingkindness. I would hear things like... “Jonathan, would you like to play with the GI Joe I got for my birthday?” “Hey, Bryce! Why don’t you sit in the front seat this time!” and “Reed, I’ll play with you, buddy!” Upon hearing these precious words, I would respond quickly with an invitation to place a piece of hay on Jesus’ manger.

Before long, the newness of the “hay game” wore off. I had dissolved into a whining mother begging her children to be nice to each other “FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JESUS!” I actually heard myself saying things like “PUH-LEASE take turns! You don’t want Jesus to lie on that cold, hard manger do you?!” and “When you were a baby, you slept in a cozy baby bed all snuggled in the bedding handmade by your sweet Mimi!” and “Look you! It’s ugly talk like that that will give Baby Jesus lots of sleepless nights on that splintery little feed trough!” In the event that I did catch a moment of nonviolent activity, my offer of a piece of hay would be met with comments like, “Hey, Mom, would you go put it on Jesus’ bed for me on your way back to the kitchen?”

Needless to say, the little pieces of yarn became bargaining tools as the advent calendar counted down. I found myself cutting deals with preschoolers to get the legos picked up so that I could vacuum. “Boys who pick up all of the legos and don’t leave any of those little pirate heads on the floor will get THREE pieces of hay for Baby Jesus!” Those little yellow offerings became “Let’s Make A Deal” negotiation tools right under the nose of Mary, Joseph, the 2 shepherds and the 3 Wisemen who were all probably wondering why on earth Baby Jesus was suffocating in a Ziplock Baggie in a drawer below.

Finding this little Baggie of hay in the sofa table drawer brought back tender memories of my sweet baby boys. These young men standing before you no longer get into tussles over GI Joe’s ammunition belt or grab a toy from a brother and run like lightening. However, from time to time, I do still hear one of the boys call out “Shotgun!!” And, I still have to get on to them for wrestling too close to the Christmas tree.

Time Travel (from 2009 Christmas Letter)

I have a confession to make. I, Carolyn Lackey, am a bona fide time traveler. I have the ability to zip back and forth from the past to the future and all points in between. This travel is very subtle, barely perceptible to the human eye. For those of you who are curious, I will try tell you exactly what it feels like. It can be triggered by any of my five senses; however, smell and sight seem to have the strongest chrono-geographic power over me. My eyes begin to glaze over. They may even tear up a bit. I’ve been known to chuckle or laugh out loud during one of my “episodes.” To help you better understand the nature of my nomadic “condition,” I will share with you a few of my travels from the past year. Hopefully, in reading over my journeys you will discover what it feels like to free-fall helpless as a fluffy white snowflake in the middle of a blizzard to another time. Another place. Follow me.
March 6 2009 5:32PM (age 52) and May 19th, 1995 (age 38): I can hear it beginning. The laughter. The grunts and groans. “I’ve got you pinned!” Fits of belly laughs. “Nu-uh! You can’t pin me! I’m 10 times stronger than you!” I race to the living room prepared to do some battle of my own to protect lamps, small tables and knick-knacks. Bryce, enjoying the first day of Baylor’s Spring Break, and Reed, glad to have his brother home, are tangled on the floor deadlocked in a contorted wrestling hold. They are both red-faced and grinning victoriously. Pepper, our 14-year-old border collie, is sitting a safe distance from the fracas contentedly watching her boys at play. “BOYS!! Take it outside! I mean it! You’re going to knock something over or hurt yourselves!” The muscle bound hold binds tighter. The laughter becomes more frenzied. I sink down onto the couch wishing that I could just pick up the writhing, sweaty heap and throw it into the backyard. I glance out the sunroom windows. Soundlessly like a billow of smoke, I swirl slowly out the backdoor. The year is 1995. The fort is still standing and will be until years later when we pay some guy to whack it to pieces with a chain saw and haul it away. Pepper is a bouncing puppy. My 38-year-old self is standing next to the wooden fort hands on hips, head tipped heavily to the right, eyes squinted tightly, listening skeptically to “what happened.” A piece of poster board with “Bad Boyz Clob” written in crooked 3rd grade boy handwriting has been taped to the top of the fort with duct tape. Bryce (6) is hovering protectively over 3-year-old Reed whose cheeks are tear stained. His bottom lip quivers and his breath comes in tiny hiccups. “But that’s what you HAVE to do to be a member of the club!” Seven-year-old Jonathan is stating his case. “Bryce did it. Stetson did it. Even Nick did it! Now, Reed HAS to do it.” He is swinging on the swing in high swoops rapidly kicking his legs. “He has to crawl under me while I swing really high! I’m not going to be kicking him very hard at all! You can ask Bryce! Bryce, did I kick you hard?!” My 52-year-old self steps back inside chuckling with the knowledge that by May of 2007 or, perhaps even the year before, Little Reed will be a buff, athletic teenager who will be able to kick his older brothers’ butts. He will be the one who taunts and jeers. “Are you a girly-man? You think you can take ME down?! Yeah, right!” Only Bryce will boldly take up the offer. Tall, lanky Jonathan no longer engages in hand-to-hand combat. He much prefers a lively verbal joust.
July 28, 2009 7:45PM (age 52) and July 10, 1995 5:30PM (age 38): We are sitting at a well-laid table covered with a crisp white cloth in Bud and Alley’s restaurant on the main street of Seaside, Florida. We are relaxed and happy after a day of lazing on the beach with good reads and jumping in the clear turquoise waves that danced at our feet. The food is beautifully plated, and the fish is fresher than fresh. The “sweet tea” is icy cold with refills appearing before the last sip is ever taken. The boys are discussing the meaning of the word “synecdoche” and the upcoming movie “Synecdoche, New York.” Alan and I sit quiet and listen as the thoughts, ideas, and illuminations bounce across the table like ping-pong balls. “Blah…blah…blah…speaking of a part of something when referring to the whole.” “Yada…yada…general implying specific.” My mind begins to swirl as I try to comprehend even the tiniest part of the conversation. Swirl. Twirl. “Like saying ‘slice’ when you mean ‘cake’.” Spinning. Swirlity. Twirlity. “The guy in the movie who plays a theatre director builds a life sized set of New York City, and the actors get confused about what is the real New York and what is the New York set.” My thoughts whirl around like bits of paper caught up in a tunnel of wind, lift me up into the starry night sky, and plop me into the middle of Bob and Tony’s Pizza in Estes Park, Colorado, 1995, where is it still broad daylight. I’m standing behind Alan in the “Place Order Here” line and the 3 sweaty, wiggly little boys are wedged between us chirping, “Pepperoni!” “Cheese!” “Coke!” “Sprite!” The order is finally placed and we make our way through the narrow, crowded restaurant in search of a vacant table for 5 that is relatively clean. The perfume of yeasty, brown pizza crust and spicy Italian sausage envelops us heightening the boys’ immediate need for sustenance. “I’m SO hungry!” “How much longer?!” “I can’t wait any longer…I’m about to starve to death!” “Go tell them to hurry!” Then, ever so cleverly Alan begins to weave restaurant table magic by chanting, “I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE!” He squints his eyes and puckers his lips as he slowly surveys the entire restaurant panning from left to right. “Something…um…something…um…YELLOW!” The boys snap to attention and jump into the game. “Is it that fat man’s hat?” “Is it the sticker that’s stuck on the bottom of Bryce’s shoe?” Just before Alan has to resort to the tertiary colors of the color wheel, a steaming pepperoni pizza is plopped down on the table before us. As my 38-year-old self gathers the red plastic restaurant tumblers for a trip to the refill bar, my 52-year-old self quickly slips back into her seat at the peaceful, slow-paced meal at Bud and Alley’s and tries to wrap her brain around “synecdoche” and all that “synecdoche” implies.
October 16, 2009 3:00PM (age 52) and August 2, 1994 2:00PM (age 37): It’s a brisk October afternoon. The sky is a brilliant blue. The family is together for a weekend with Jonathan. As we climb the stairs of the Art Institute of Chicago, I marvel at the fact that the boys chose an afternoon at the museum during our very brief weekend in the Windy City. Bryce wants to find a particular painting mentioned in a recent Art History class lecture. Jonathan and Reed are anxious to see the works of Salvador Dali particularly the one with “all those melting clocks.” Alan and I are just deliriously happy to be there. Our tickets are purchased and we wait impatiently as Alan carefully studies the museum map to get the lay of the land. He is the planner wanting to make the maximum use of our time. I am the wanderer wanting to just…well…wander. Following his lead, we head to the modern art gallery. As we settle into a museum shuffle pace, we talk about how some modern art even merits space in a museum. The general consensus is that any one of us should try our hand at painting a giant canvas pitch black and adding a tiny white line along the bottom. Ha! Ha! Ha! We could be rich, rich, rich! Then, we approach the Dalis.
Reed launches into his ever-playing stand-up comedy routine. “OK. Solid black canvas with a tiny white line or extremely cool melting clocks? Seriously?” Studying the painting, I focus on a clock that is oozing over the side of a big brown cube. It begins. My whole body begins to ooze, melt, tick, tock. But, where could I possibly be headed? The heat of the day rushes into my face. I’m standing before Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Arlington, TX. Ahead I see my little family hurrying from the sweltering parking lot into the cool of the wax museum. I gladly follow. My 37-year-old self is skillfully navigating a stroller through the crowd as she tries to keep up with Jonathan (7) and Bryce (5). Alan trails behind studying the museum guide. The boys speed by the likes of Nelson Mandela and Ronald Reagan searching for “cool guys like Batman.” Reed (2) is smiling and waving from the stroller at everyone – wax and real. I race to keep up with the entourage. Then, I remember what is actually about to happen. NOOOOOOOOOO! STOP!!!! The boys come to a special area of the museum flanked with signs warning people with heart conditions and pregnant women to enter at their own risks. It’s the “scary” section reserved for Dracula, Frankenstein, the chain saw guy, and the like. My little family halts while the parents consider. After very little discussion, I see my younger self leaving Alan in the corridor with Reed in the stroller as she pushes through the door into the “Forest of No Return.” I know what she’s thinking. “How scary can wax people be?” She is about to find out. The hard way. I shake my head and follow. Jonathan blazes the trail through room after room of bloody carnage and sinister characters. I watch the transformation begin as little Bryce becomes more and more quiet all the while squeezing his mommy’s hand tighter and tighter. Then, it happens. The fear begins to erupt. Bryce bolts away from me (well, her) frantically searching for an exit. “I want out! I want out! I’m scared! I’m scared!” Spotting an illuminated emergency exit sign in a far corner, his speeds toward salvation. According to Mini-Me’s calculations that exit door would put them in a field in back of a very large building with no hope of re-entry. She does not want to trudge through high grass in this heat. “STOP!! I’m coming! I can get you out of here!!” Just before he hits the door, Bryce is scooped up into her arms. “Just close your eyes, and I will get you back to Daddy!” Across the room, Jonathan shouts, “Gross! Come see this guy! His head’s chopped off, but he’s still lookin’ around!” Glancing back over my shoulder, I see that I am still standing exactly in place in front of Salvador’s “Persistence of Memory.” Bryce is calmly standing next to me. There is no exit door in sight.
October 24, 2009 9:00AM (age 52) and November 5, 1977 10:00AM (age 20): Alan and I are sitting in our “baseball chairs” on the curb in front of Baylor’s Student Union Building watching the Homecoming Parade floats amble past. Behind us somewhere in the 5-deep crowd are Bryce (a Baylor junior) and Reed (a Baylor 2010 Freshman) casually sipping on Mocha Frappuccinos from the Starbucks inside the SUB. They have “outgrown” sitting on the curb catching mini Tootsie Rolls. A girl rides by on a bicycle along the parade route relaying progress reports to parade “command central” via a tiny walkie-talkie. Her green polo shirt identifies her as a member of Baylor’s Chamber of Commerce. I shake my head and blink my eyes. The scene before me melts into November 1977. I am back in “the day.” Twenty-year-old Alan is skimming alongside the parade route on a bike wearing dress pants, white button-down, and tie. A wide green grosgrain ribbon encircles his neck and disappears beneath his tie into his shirt just under the second button obscuring the mandatory pacifier that all Chamber pledges (all guys…NO girls) wear 24-7. I watch my college coed, much slimmer self’s face light up at the mere sight of him. He pulls up alongside her, and drawls his Sweetwater, Texas drawl, “I’ll pick you up for the game at 11:15!” “I’ll be ready!” she grins. As she watches him disappear behind the KOT float to find out what’s causing them to hold up the parade, I am tempted to whisper in her ear, “He is going to propose to you on February 6th, 1979! You say ‘Yes!’” I decide not to spoil the surprise. I feel a nudge on my arm. “Pinkie, [Our pet names have morphed over the years. I am currently “Pinkie” for no apparent reason.] here’s your hot chocolate! Careful, it’s really hot! When are you going to grow up and start drinking coffee?!” (I have never in my whole life had a cup of java.) I focus my eyes. Alan is handing me a Starbucks cup passed by the boys through the tangle of people. His hair is no longer jet-black and chin-length. It is now more salt than pepper. After 30 years of marriage, I still see the boy I fell in love with over three decades ago while swinging on a green and gold swing beneath the widespread limbs of a live oak tree. The father of my sons. Pledge Lackey. He is my “Schweet Baby.”
November 28, 2009 1:20PM (age 52) and February 3, 1990 (age 32): It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Across the ice rink of the Dallas Galleria, I see my men strolling out of Macy’s shopping bags in hand. They were sent to Macy’s with explicit instructions: Buy blue jeans to replace the frayed, torn, and/or patched jeans that had been confiscated by their conscientious mother. A brand new black fedora (tags attached) is perched atop Bryce’s shoulder length honey brown curls. (Think Johnny Depp in the movie Benny & Joon.) [At this point, I must interject that Bryce has not had a haircut in 2 years. No kidding. Two years. Alan and I have been “cool about it” reasoning that his major, Philosophy, warrants a Bohemian look. Also, two out of three semesters on the Dean’s list have lead us to believe that long hair does for Bryce’s brain what Samson’s did for his strength.] “Check out my cool hat, Mom!” I pause to study this new hat and realize that it does, indeed, compliment his leonine mane. But, before I can open my mouth to say as much, it begins. The noise of the Galleria becomes a loud hum in my ears. A deep sigh, and off I go…whirling, twirling, curling back to 1990. A barbershop. Twelve-month-old Bryce is sitting on a board placed across the arms of the barber chair. The blue barber’s cape snapped snuggly around his neck is framing his round baby face and falling like a tent covering the entire chair. Flash! Wind, wind! Flash! Wind, wind! Pictures are being snapped left and right. Ahhh. It’s Bryce’s First Haircut! The barber begins to carefully snip-snip away at Bryce’s pale blonde bangs. Tears well up in Brycie’s bright blue eyes and silently roll down his cheeks. Though a look of terror crosses his baby face, he sits still and silent. It is clear to all that Bryce Lackey does not like First Haircut Day. My 52-year-old self wants to swoop him up and run from the barbershop pledging a solemn vow that he will never, ever have to endure such horror again. “Mom! Mom! My old jeans are just fine! What do you think!? Is this a sweet hat, or what?!” Shaking visions of First Haircut Day from my brain, I bring his flowing, fedora-capped locks into full focus. “Yes, Bryce. That is one sweet hat. One really sweet hat.”

But For a Potted Hibiscus

Here is an account of the last few days of my life.

Monday: Before we headed back to Lubbock with Mom, we took her to see her beloved Dr. Reiss (who frequently tells her that she is cute as a button). While the nurse was weighing her on the scales, Mom had another one of her "spells." She said that she wasn't feeling well and grabbed the top of the scales. The nurse and I were trying to get her to tell us what was going on. Her head was down, and she didn't seem to hear us. We began to slowly pull her toward a nearby chair, but she wouldn't let go of the scales. They actually began to fall over. It was scary. Dr. Reiss told her that it was time for her to move to Lubbock to be near me! (He kept giving me furtive raised eyebrow looks and shaking his head and made absolutely no mention of Mom's being cute as a button.)

Tuesday: We visited the retirement megaplex, Carillon. Mom has been talking to her BFF, Rachel, about Rachel's new digs in Austin. I think that the place is brand new. It's got EVERYTHING: Tai Chi, water aerobics, movie nights, dances, sing-alongs... The list goes on and on. Mom wanted me to find a place like that in Lubbock with a comparable amenities/social package. I had no idea that peer pressure was so strong amongst octogenarians. Off we go to Carillon! We met the lovely marketing lady, Lindsey, for lunch. We hadn't been sitting at the table for more than a few minutes when Mom blurted out, "I don't like it in here! There are too many people eating in here!" As opposed to say...Cracker Barrel or Wednesday Church Supper? There were probably about 50 people in there at the time. Lindsey patiently listened to multiple accounts of Rachel's luxurious set up, all of the flowers blooming in Mom's yard, and Mom's friends who are ALL younger than she is. (Rachel is 80.) My social butterfly mother is just full of surprises. I must say that she thoroughly enjoyed the stuffed bell pepper and loaded mashed potato that she ordered from the extensive lunch menu. (She had Lindsey put her brownie in a to-go box. I'm not kidding. I personally wagged it around as we toured.) She thoroughly explained to Lindsey that she doesn't like to eat her "big meal" at noon. She usually eats a couple of apple slices with peanut butter. Can that be arranged? The ultimate deal breaker: She wouldn't have a balcony where she could have a potted hibiscus. That was the first I've heard of her lifelong devotion to the hibiscus.

Wednesday: The Sherick! The Sherick is a beautiful retirement home for women. It sits on 4 acres of beautifully manicured grounds tucked away in a neighborhood. All 24 ladies have their own bedrooms. Some have a small sitting room as well. It is beautifully moldings, lovely furnishings in the common areas. (Think: Baylor drawing rooms in the SUB) Very, very nice. Mom really likes it. She would have to start out in the smallest unit (only a bedroom) until a larger unit becomes available. (Mom: "I wouldn't want anyone to have to die so that I could get a better room." I think that's what they call "natural attrition" in senior retirement circles.) They have a lady who comes in twice a week and reads books in the library to the ladies with sight problems. ("Oh! Maybe I could get her to read the books I've bought on all my travels!" I'm thinking that the other ladies with macular degeneration may not be thrilled to hear "The History of Bryce Canyon" or "The San Francisco Gold Rush" or "Highlights of the Uffizi Gallery.") There is an old school beauty shop on site where a lady can still get a perm and a "color rinse." About every month or so, they have a mystery outing called "The Trip to Nowhere." The giggling ladies board the bus not knowing where or how they are going to spend the day. It might be a museum or a trip to Post for lunch (which totally qualifies as a trip to nowhere) or a lazy drive in the country. Apparently these outings are wildly popular. A huge perk for me: Mom could tell the lady at the front desk the day before and be taken straight to Chico's the next morning. The ladies are very pampered. Downside: Breakfast is served at 8AM. Mom sleeps until 11:00 most days. There are no kitchens in the units. She's worried about not getting her poached egg at 11:30. She may have to settle on eating meatloaf for breakfast at noon when lunch is promptly served. Last night, I had a brilliant idea. Most of the ladies have a little dorm fridge in their rooms as well as a microwave. "Mom! We could stock your little fridge with sausage biscuits!" "I don't like the way that sausage tastes."

Today: She wants to go look at a couple more places for comparison's sake. Dancing has fallen lower on her list of must-haves. She would really like to have a sort of efficiency apt. so that she can have poached eggs on demand. She also wants to bring as much of her stuff as possible. I'm hoping that this "stuff" doesn't include the piles of magazines dating back to the 70's filled with post-its marking the pages of "pretty decorating ideas" that hold the bed in the yellow bedroom up about 2 feet into the air. A couple of months ago when I was looking for some paper to make a list on, I found a package of the graphing paper I used in high school in her correspondence/photo album/miscellaneous stuff closet. It is now yellowed and kind of crunchy. Surely, she will bring the fresh sets of towels that she bought about 20 years ago that match the wallpaper in her bathroom. She bought 4 extra sets and has saved them in large ziplock bags for all these years because she would probably NEVER be able to find towels that were such a perfect match to the floral wallpaper she loves so dearly. I think that to quickly expedite this decision, I'm going to take her to some really yucky places... It's SOOOO tempting.

I told her that she reminded me of the Israelites. When they got thirsty in the desert, they whined and wanted to hightail it back to Egypt and captivity and drinking water out of hollowed out gourds once an hour while they were stacking up stones for the pyramids. I told her that God would provide her manna. It just may not come in the form of a perfectly poached, runny egg.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moving Miss Helen

Yesterday afternoon around 3:00, my mom fell in her kitchen in Waco while I was in my kitchen in Lubbock foraging for snacks. She called me at about 6:45 to let me know. She doesn't remember what made her fall. She waited until about 6:30 to call her neighbors because she finally decided that she might need stitches in her chin because it was still "bleeding a little bit." The ever faithful McGuires took her to the ER to have her checked out. No stitches. This pattern of something happening to her is becoming more frequent. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent waiting by my phone to hear from one of her neighbors what a doctor said. The people at Providence ER are really nice about hunting her down for me when I just can't stand the not knowing. "Ms. Kinzbach is collecting a urine sample." "Ms. Kinzbach is in X-ray."

Last night when she got home from the ER, she called me. In her ever-growing-tinier little voice she said, "I'm fine. I'm ready to sell my house and move to Lubbock." I actually put her on speakerphone and had her repeat those words to Alan so that I would have a witness.

She went to spend the night at the McGuire's across the street because the doctor didn't want her to be left alone for 24 hours. She was supposed to call them to come help her down the driveway and across the street when she "had her gown on."

I have been trying to get her to move to Lubbock since Kathy died. However, last night the magnitude of her decision hit me full-on in the heart. After all these years of holding tightly to her home with it's pretty pink and yellow walls and floral bedspreads and ba-zillion feminine chotchkies, she is ready to close down the House of Memories. Just the day before, she called and rattled on and on about all the amenities of the place her precious friend, Rachel, will have in her independent living megaplex in Austin. "Three meals a day!" "A nurse on duty 24-7!" "Tai chi!" "Water aerobics!" These things are high on the list of must-haves for youthful 80-somethings. I'm heading to Waco in a bit. I'm going to bring her to Lubbock to look at Senior "dorms." She will need the tai-chi-water-aerobics-no-more-cooking-movies-in-the-chapel-on-Saturday-nights package. She can stay with us indefinitely until the right thing comes along. Sweet, sweet Alan.

I'm a pretty tough old bird, but moving Bryce back to Baylor on August 10, moving Reed into his dorm at Baylor on August 19, and moving Mom to Lubbock thereafter is making me an emotional mess. Mother's love for her pretty little house and yard is going to make it hard to close that chapter. Also, so much of Kathy and Kirk is embedded within those walls. And, then, there's Aunt Wanda. Mother is going to miss her so much. "I know that she's my sister-in-law, but she's more like a sister to me." With unlimited long distance, they can still discuss Dancing With the Stars as long as their hearts desire.

I am in need of prayer. I know that God will see me to the other side of all these changes. I pray that the transitions will be smooth and happy. I pray that I can quit crying before Alan wakes up... I woke up at about 4:30 trying to remember whether Mom had really cried "Uncle" or I had dreamed it up. I feel like a big, fat baby.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Lists

Alan is a list maker.  Every Saturday morning while the rest of the house is sleeping, he gets up, reads the paper, then poises a pencil over a blank sheet of notebook paper.  Along the left column he "times the day."  8:00...9:00...10:00...  Then, he proceeds to schedule out the day.  This schedule is quite seasonal.  Today's schedule included "edge the grass."  October's list will include "blow leaves."  Each precious hour of the day is labeled with activities.  "Work out."  "Run errands."  "Eat lunch."  "Go to cleaners."  By the time I crawl out of bed with my hair wildly styled by my bunched up pillows, he's well on the way to productivity.  He is, indeed, Captain Productivity.

I, on the whole other hand, view my Saturdays and Sundays as frivolous spans of time during which I can follow my heart in whatever random direction it leads.  "Stop the car!  There's an estate sale!"  "Anyone want to go with me to Hobby Lobby to look around?"  "Where are my good scissors?  I'm going to go through my stack of magazines and cut out the good stuff!"  Most Saturday mornings I can't be expected to be up and dressed in time to pick up Alan's shirts before the cleaners bolts the doors at noon.  (See Alan's List:  9:30-9:40 - Pick up Cleaning/Drop off Shirts.  If it is to be, it is up to he!)  

On Saturdays time seems to be suspended in space.  I turn my back on piles of laundry and dirty dishes.  I much prefer lollygagging around the house with absolutely no direction.  It's the day that I can watch a Lifetime movie like "She Killed Out of Love" with a little less guilt than I would feel on a weekday.  I can wander through facebook viewing vacation pictures of long lost friends that I would have absently passed right by at someplace like Disneyworld because I didn't recognize them from Adam.  Now as a fb friend, I can become totally immersed in someone's cousin's wedding pictures.  Only when I realize that my voyeurism doesn't include the privilege of commenting on a cute picture of a flower girl sleeping on a church pew, do I realize that I have never actually met nor will I ever meet the bride and groom.  And yet, I feel like I know them.  

It's Saturday.  It's OK if I ramble.

During the time that I've spent prattling on about Mr. List and Ms. Wander, Alan has run circles around the house - inside and out - edging, washing a car, blowing the dust out of the garage, right now he's unloading the dishwasher.  It's almost 2:00.  When the little hand gets to the 2, he will head out the door for Bodyworks for his workout.  I will slink back into our bedroom, crawl into our cozy looking unmade bed, turn on the old movie channel, and drift into a deep afternoon sleep.  Not to worry.  Alan will be back at precisely 3:15.  He tells me that we're going to a movie at 4:05.

Ta Da.

It took me so long to set up this blog that I now have nothing to say.  I can't figure out how to change my font colors on the titles, etc.  I clicked on "Help."  It links me to answers out there on the web.  I can't even understand most of them.  This is really fun.


Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...