Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ode to the Massive Rubbish Bin

A pictorial overview of our last three weeks

Jayson commutes a few days a week on his bike.

I think that is an IKEA cardboard sled, in our backyard

It would be a move-in without a bath in something other than a bathtub

Jovie, exactly three years ago, India move-in

Move-in day

Move-in night

Move-in night

Move-in day

Tra-la-la Christmas

Jayson's grandpa and Syd

Christmas Eve in Rockford, IL

Road trip! Doesn't get better than this

Or this

Goodbye Schoolcraft (Bemidji)

The bus stop.  Whew, the bus stop.  My kids’ school bus stop. I liken it to any sort of plane or train travel.  Our family is a bit notorious for mad dashes and dramatic, near misses of the plane/train/bus.  And our wee school bus stop is more of the same.  It’s about a block and a half away from our house. And it seems like every morning, as we really do have quite a bit of time to get our morning chores done, there is a frantic coats/boots/gloves/hat/backpack/lunchbox (and now ice skates, for recess) in the short minutes before the bus comes.  And all the while I ride that fine line between firm encouragement and all out shouting.  But here we are, in our new house, our new neighborhood, our new school...doing life our normal way...making it to the bus...barely.  It’s good that we carry home wherever we go.
So, the last three weeks have been filled with: Christmas near Chicago, packing up in Bemidji, and unpacking in Minneapolis. I kind of don’t want to give nitty gritty details of all the wiggles and woots that transpired.  But I will say that we have felt the love all around.  I am grateful for all the hands that participated in our last three weeks. I guess it’s really four weeks, I’m a little bit in the twilight zone when it comes to time these days.
I honestly think that’s all the things that I have to share.  Not much I know, but I am not quite sure where to start.  So, this tie I gave you the bus stop, maybe next time will be about our newly painted laundry room floor.  Who knows.  Surprises await you.
An ode to the massive move-in rubbish bin.
Oh, how I really, really liked you
      Oh, how I only needed to take you out weekly
Oh, how you took in... everything, without complaint
      Cardboard, Painting Supplies, Pizza boxes, Bubble wrap, Yucky old stuff.
            You just stood there.  Always.  Forever.  I will miss you

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Packing. PACKING. packing. PaCkInG.

Packing. PACKING. packing. PaCkInG. Packing. Packing

Packing lunches
Packing Legos
Packing backpacks
Packing the car
Packing for Rockford, Illinois (Christmas)
Packing bedding
Packing my cheeks with popcorn balls
Packing groceries
Packing dollies
Packing suitcases
Packing blue packs
Packing plastic bins
Packing boxes
Packing Zippies

This is what I did this week. My month. It’s my world. There is no other world, other than packing. I feel like it has been a part of my world off and on for the last 3 1/2 years. And there is a part of packing that is helpful. I weed out things that have absolutely no reason to be in our life. Packing helps us transition. It’s physical. You can get your head around it. But here’s the deal with packing and me. I’m kind of packing loser. This is where I go wrong with packing. I have a slight Post-Great Depression Era process that goes through my mind when packing. Tarrah’s train of thinking... “I know I will never find the other mate to that sock, but if I keep it, I could use it do dust”... That’s kind of a poor example, but you get my drift. But it’s not only with socks, it’s with sleeping bags, broken toys, picture frames, vases, etc. And that kind of issue mounts a bit when packing for a family of six.

I also kind of get nauseated when it comes to the details of packing. Road trips, travel in general, I pack light, serious light. I can pack up a car in 10 minutes flat, if all the laundry is clean. I can pack my family for a long plane ride like I get paid the big bucks for it. It’s the whole house packing that drives me to drink. And the fact of the matter is that I have stuff that has been in boxes for over 3 1/2 years that I have absolutely no recollection of. When we sold our house 4 years ago, I had 3 children under 4 and one on the way - the big deal was making sure that I tried my hardest to not leave one of my kids of the at the grocery store. That was my daily goal. So, remembering if I have any mattress pads is a bit of puzzler for me. And then we have suitcases full of our things from India that I didn’t bother to unpack that still kind of smell like India. And then there is packing up the stuff of daily living the last six months living with my folks.

Oh man.

But you know what?

We close on our house in 8 days. The kids and I celebrated their last day at a great school. My mom made popcorn balls for me, oh, I mean, for the kids. We pick up Jayson tomorrow in Minneapolis and head down to Rockford (near Chicago) to celebrate Christmas with Jayson’s family. We go ice skating often on my parent’s lake. Jayson loves his job. In 8 days, our family of 6 can live under the same room for many consecutive days in a row. We celebrate Jesus’ birth soon.

Merry Christmas friends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anyone Want to Go Bowling?

I just ironed for the first time in about three years.  Not really surprising, I probably ironed about once a year before moving to India.  But five minutes ago was the first in a long time.  I like ironing trousers way better than shirts.  So many different bits to the shirt.  The reason for this momentous occasion is that my dear husband Jayson was given a job.  (I shamelessly admit that I asked my mom to iron his clothes the first few weeks on the job.  I know, I know, what to do though.)  His first day was two weeks ago Monday. He is the associate director of ICA Food Shelf.  It serves seven different communities outside of Minneapolis. He has loved his last two weeks and we both feel really grateful.  The food shelf is a stone’s throw away from our church, which is an added bonus. 

We’ve said since the beginning of summer, that when dad gets a job, we’ll take the kids bowling to celebrate.  They’ve never been.  So, when the job came, we picked them up from school and slyly asked, “Does anyone want to go bowling?” In about two nanoseconds they all asked, “Did dad get a job?”  It was great to celebrate with them.  This season since coming back from India has been so much about the six of us walking this road together.  Not just Jayson…not just Jayson and I…but all six of us.

So, this past week, Jovie and I drove down to Minneapolis for a bit of a house looking trip.  We did come across one that we thought would be good fit for our family, we came to an agreement with the seller and the inspection is tomorrow. Whoop-whoop. We shall see if they find any trolls in the attic… if there are no trolls, we close on December 30. 

Jayson and I were talking two nights ago that the feeling that settles the most in us is gladness.  Happy doesn’t really cut it, and excitement sounds tiring. It has taken me a while to get my head around everything that I have felt and continue to feel.  It has taken me a while to call and email our friends and family about our turn of events.  It takes me a while to put my feelings into words right now.  To say that I have been sitting with this would be a good description.  We are nothing short of thankful and ready.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Do Love Subcultures

The Palm Six at a Family Wedding

In India we showed you photos of the Arabian Sea, clever monkeys in our yard, and electricians climbing telephone poles barefoot. Now the excitement is Jayson getting a free photo shoot. 

My Grandmother asked on the phone tonight when my next blog was going to be...  When Grandma asks it is so very hard to deny her. So, the moral of the story is, if you need anything of me, just have my Grandmother call and ask for you.  Her name is Eleanor and she is wonderful.  Here goes the blog.  
I left off last having a series of medical dramas in the family.  And the drama continued as we were sitting in the cafeteria of St. Mary’s hospital (connected with the Mayo Clinic) in the first hour of six of my Dad’s open heart surgery when a phone call came through saying the doctor needed to see us.  Yikes, of course we assumed that they found something even more dreadful upon “cracking” him open.  But the doctor kindly said that after a series of consultations (some sort of high intensity scope and two other doctors), they decided not to open him up.  We were all a bit stunned.  Adding further to our shock, doctor said that this happens maybe once or twice a year.  We felt grateful, extremely grateful, to be in that very small percentage.  So, my dad was awakened an hour later and was told that he could go elk hunting this year. 
I must say that while I was at Mayo I fell in love.  I do love subcultures.  Any sort really.  The bird watchers, the Trekkies, hip hop, juggling, organic, Pokemon, etc... you get the picture.  Any group of people that have their own little code.  And my newest subculture love is the Mayo clinic.  You guessed it folks.  First off, who doesn’t love a whole gaggle of people in light blue scrubs.  Second, everyone there really knows their stuff, experts to the max, and there really is something lovely about experts.  Third, the amount of organization that pulses through there is over the top.  And I am not really an organizational junkie, but man, I was convinced that I must be the biggest dummy in the world if they can effectively do hundreds of surgeries a day and I can’t figure out how to get my kids to put their shoes in the one basket I ask them to.  (Full discretion, I really don’t know how many they do, but its lots.)  Anyway, all that to say, I did ask Jayson if there was any desire within him to go to med school... 
Within our current routine I’m finding myself engaging more fully in the present moment.  And I don’t mean to say that flippantly or with cliche.  It comes from a deep place in me.  I’m learning how to be more responsive to what is.  The high’s and low’s of unemployment/job hunting; the unexpected and acute emotions that come along with my dad’s health; living in a house of a three-generation, eight-person family; and having such a dramatic change from crazy India to near calm Bemidji have continued to impress upon me the gigantic amount of energy it takes me to just stay present for this day, not having a clue what tomorrow will bring. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boxed in By Crazy Dogs

Barney's Birthday Bash. James was a bit disgruntled, his options this particular Saturday were to go to the Barney show or to go quilt shopping with Mommy

Barney and all his friends

Nothing like a good loaf of "butt bread" to start off a cozy weekend. This didn't turn out quite like I thought it would

When I went for a run or walk in India, 95% of the time I would finish with really high blood pressure.  Mainly because I feared the dogs, monkeys, cows, etc. that shared the road with me.  I remember thinking to myself that I looked forward to being able to go for a run in the States without fear.  Well, this week all my animal fears came rushing back. 

Incident number one.  It is really quite dark out at 6:15 a.m. in the morning here in Northern Minnesota.  I was starting a run and, not even out of my parent’s driveway yet, I heard a very loud and daunting huffing/snorting noise from the woods, like five feet away.  Needless to say, I bolted back to the house, and my fear kept me in my parent’s yard, running laps.  Can you believe what a chicken I was?  I knew it was a deer, there are tracks galore, but logic did not win out - irrational fear did. 

Second incident took place on Saturday morning.  Again, going for a run.  About 11:00 a.m., total daylight.  Now, let me back up a bit to India.  There was a very specific time, on a run, that I got myself boxed in by crazy dogs on one side and crazy monkeys on the other.  I chose monkeys, and ran my hardest under the trees where they lurked.  Blood pressure sky high.  Okay, back to present day.  Saturday morning, quaint dirt road on a beautiful fall day.  I came upon two dogs... I stayed calm, slowed down, got by them.  Whew.  Jogging on, came up four dogs.  Four I say.  Still, two behind me.  I totally panicked.  And a mail car passed me just then.  I started waving my hands and shouting out, “Excuse Me!  Hello!  Excuse Me, Hello!” - got his attention, so I ran up to his car.  Note: mail driver was about 20 years old, with loads of tattoos and piercings. (I am all about loads of tattoos and piercings, it just kind of makes the story that much more ridiculous.)  So, I said to him, “I am like crazy scared of dogs (I am panting and sweating mind you), umm, could you like follow my out to the main highway until I know the dogs are not going to chomp me to pieces?”  I have no pride people.  Gone.  Done.  The guy was great and said sure.  So, there I went and he followed me for a good half a mile until I was safely on the road.  He then proceeded to follow me some more, and double back once, and I thought, “Great, I got past the dogs, but now I am going to be kidnapped...”  Alas, I kept on running, mail guy continued on his route and I went back  to the house, with sky high blood pressure. 

My quaint Saturday morning running route, dogs and all

I know that was a totally long story, but I just had to share it.  It is often good for me that some of the hard things that were in India for us did not just stay in India.  They came with us.  And they are still here for us to work through.  So as to not “blame” India, but know that it’s more about me and my own silliness to work through.

Last week I mentioned my dad’s health and that he was going to be “back to his own foxy self in no time”.  Well, the foxy self will be a bit delayed, but will come in time.  After going down to Mayo Clinic last week to check on a few things after his stroke, we found out that he needs open heart surgery.  So, on Friday, my very brave Dad is going to get his chest “cracked-open” as he likes to say.  And my very brave Mom will be right there with him.  And their daughter too. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A New Week Has Arrived

Jovie's first day of ECFE with mommy
A gorgeous view of Lake Bemidji
Weekend chores - sweeping pine needles off the roof 
I was asking the kids tonight at dinner, which I lovingly prepared, what was the most surprising moment of their day.  Very quickly James fires off, “The most surprising moment of my day is that this dinner actually tasted good.”  Well, I asked didn’t I? What was the most surprising moment of your day?
The most frequented place I go these days is the grocery store.  The second is the dentist.  They just love my teeth so much that they cannot get enough of them.  Or... I had three cavities and a wisdom tooth that needed to be pulled.  You choose the correct answer.  Anyway, I was sitting in the dentist’s chair last Wednesday and I was letting him know to be careful of my canker sore that is the size of Detroit.  And as he saw it he asked, “Are you stressed out or something?”  And I awkwardly said, as his hands were in my mouth, “Well, my dad had a stroke a few days back, my husband’s been out of town working hard to find a job, and my daughter is going to have her tonsils and adenoids out tomorrow...”  I really didn’t mean to say it all, but I just did.  I felt like my canker sore deserved a minor applause.  So, it’s been a bit of a 10 days.  But it’s Monday.  A new day.  A new week has arrived and I say, Go Team!  

Sydney and I had quite the fun night in the hospital sharing the bed
So, backing up a bit, my poor dad had a stroke.  I will not give a doctor’s report, but he is rapidly improving and will be back to his normal, foxy self in no time.  But while walking alongside his trauma and my parent’s stress of his unknown health issues, I was pretty grateful to be around, to be able to hear real-time updates, to run and get him that sandwich he was craving, to be able to intercept all the phone calls of people wanting to know the latest, to be told a number of times by family and friends “if there is anything we can do, just ask”, to bring his four grandkids in a couple times to let them ask a 101 questions about the hospital room, and then to celebrate when he was able to to come home from the hospital.  I say, Go Dad!