Friday, November 30, 2007

Tis The Season of Absurdity

Thanks for your helpful "tree" comments. We'll be in heavy discussion this weekend.

I just spent the last few hours in what I have decided is total absurdity. I have 5 gifts to order for various family members who live far away. You'd think this is no big deal. Um, no, not for me. So many decisions. The diabetic relative I can't send sweets to. The relative that isn't speaking to me but I feel I need to remember the family anyway. There's the family that is all overweight and I don't wish to send more calories than necessary. The relative that we'd rather forget about but, blood is blood, you know. Oh, and gift #5 is for a relative that has really disappointed me lately, but I'm sending a gift because I still love this person.

Absurd, I tell you.

I spent way too much time figuring all this out and then, trying to get the price down to save on shipping. Searching for online coupons that never seem to be for the company I'm using. Ah, I did find one for 10% off, so that's good. But then ... more than halfway through my order, the website shut down for repairs, promptly at midnight. Heavy, heavy sigh. No, make that a really loud, silent scream (don't want to wake the kids).

It's absurd.

But maybe it's for the better. Maybe I need to compare prices more with another company. Maybe I just need to go to bed but if I wait too long, things might be sold out or unable to ship in time.

I ponder way too much. None of these people really care what I send them. But they would notice if I didn't send them anything. And to add to my misery, 2 years ago, this company that I was trying to order from tonight (whom shall remain nameless) sent a substitute gift to replace the sold-out one I had ordered. They sent 2 giant pears. I mean, what would you think if you received 2 pears in the mail? And this was to the relative that isn't speaking to me! I only found out about it because another relative had the guts to call me and ask what that was all about! It was funny but it wasn't, you know? I called the company and they apologized, saying it was all they had in the price range of the sold out gift and said they would send my original gift to this relative. So, this relative got 2 gifts and never, ever phoned me about any of it. Isn't that, like, amazing?

No, it's absurd.

This is the reason I try to get this mail order nonsense out of the way early on. I want to enjoy December. So, tomorrow, I'll be back on that website mainly because they've always tried to be good to me. I'll give them another chance. It's not their fault I'm up so late. If only I could give them the addresses and let them order for my relatives for me - but, then, that would be absurd.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Paper or Plastic? (so to speak)

Thanks (again) for your support and prayers. I am truly blessed to have friends like you!

Now, I have a silly little poll I'd like to take. Our family is debating whether to get an artificial tree this year, to save time, effort and (in the long run) money. Especially money. But we are divided on this issue. Tradition vs. practicality. I mean, Christmas trees are grown here and sent elsewhere. We can get ANY size, shape, etc, of tree we want at a reasonable price, usually. But, it's still money gone up in smoke every year (we sometimes saw it up and age it for firewood.) Then there's the needles all over the place. An artificial tree MIGHT look o.k. but would it be the same? Does it take a bite out of Christmas, so to speak? Make it less special?

Let me know what you think. I'll take your comments to the table the next time we discuss this issue.

Today we saw the biggest Christmas tree I've ever seen on a flatbed truck, complete with crane and two support vehicles. It was headed into town and I'm sorry we didn't follow it to see it's final destination. It's a small town, I'm sure I'll see it somewhere. I'd hate to vacuum up the needles that fall from THAT one!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two Things ...

I'd like to wish my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving! May the Lord bless this day in each of your homes and may He be the focus of your thoughts.

Some of you know this is a difficult holiday for me, as my father died at Thanksgiving in 1986. Strangely enough, my mother-in-law's own father died on Thanksgiving, years before that. She has learned to deal with it much better than I have. Last year was especially bad because I lost my sweet step-father just a few months prior. But this year, I'm doing better I think, at least with that awful memory. No, this year I have my husband's pending surgery to keep my mind occupied. A blessing and a curse. Which brings me to my next thought ...

We have moved my husband's surgery up to shortly after Christmas. So, after Thanksgiving is over, I would appreciate your prayers for this. Please cover everything about the surgery, the staff, my husband, me and my family. For good health and safe travel. Portland is a 2 hour drive from here so we will be staying at a guest house (I think) across from the hospital. He'll be in recovery for at least 5 days - pray that he'll be home as soon as possible. Please lift me up. I want badly to be strong for my darling. He's usually the one I count on to be my rock. I want and need to be his support. I know the Lord will get us through this. I appreciate your prayers.

Praise His Holy Name - He is so good. He's my rock and my fortress. In Him will I trust.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I "Shutter" To Think

My husband is in the process of painting our house. I'm sure you know how long such a project can take. The hardest part is aligning his days off with warm, sunny days in fall. The lady who had this house built (we are the second owners) must have loved ducks and the color purple. She had purple shutters placed on most of the windows, and a small, white duck centered on each shutter. We are finally removing the shutters as each side of the house gets finished. When giving people directions to our home, I will miss telling them that, "our house is on the corner, grey with purple shutters with ducks on them" ... well, maybe I won't miss that so much.

Anyway, several shutters have become part of the fort my kids made under the big tree in our yard, out by the street. Chad put one of the shutters high up in the tree. They've had a great time out there.

Sunday night, at 2:30 am, I heard the wind rising. I knew a big storm was coming. No joke!! It was SO loud out there - it kept me awake most of the night. I kept hearing things bouncing along the street. The wind whips right up our street, from the bay, and when there's a storm, it's really strong. Of course, our recycling bin had been put out for Monday pick up, so I imagined it was strewn all over our cul-de-sac. Or maybe blown over the hill into town. My son had done his best to secure it, though. I wasn't about to get up at 4:00 am to check on it. And then, right at 5:00 am, there was a huge gust of wind. The lights went out. The noise outside was awful - wind, debris, who knows what, flying through the air. I think we recorded that one at 46 mph. A few minutes later, I thought I heard a siren in the distance. I got up to call the power company and report the outage and as I looked out the window toward the bay, I could see darkness all over our hill. The status report said power would be restored by 8:30 am. I went back to bed and finally slept.

We all woke up around 7:30 and I went into the kitchen. As usual, I looked out the window over the sink, toward our neighbor's yard up the street. There was something odd in their front yard. As my eyes focused, I realized I was seeing a tiny duck! Oh, my gosh! It's a shutter! In our neighbor's front yard. Everyone came running to the kitchen and son, Alec, got the binoculars. We couldn't believe it! That shutter had to be blown out of the tree, tossed over our fence, then across the street, and then across the vacant lot directly across from our home. Our neighbor's yard next to that has a fence as well. The shutter made it to the other side of their yard. If it had gone over the other side of their fence, it would hit their car! I told my husband, "There might be a blog in this." We all laughed nervously, as it would have been awful if the shutter had done damage to life or property. As the wind was still howling, I sent my oldest son (Chad) out to retrieve the shutter and secure anything else in our yard. I told him to watch his back. It never ceases to amaze me, the power of wind.

When my husband first looked out the window of our bedroom that morning, he saw that the recycling bin was intact. Minutes later, when Chad went out to get the shutter, he said that the bin was blown down the street and had, in fact, spilled over. Brave Chad picked everything up, bless his heart. And before he got to the rest of the shutters, my son, Alec, and I were watching out another bedroom window and saw another shutter caught in a gust and flipping, end over end, across the yard. It was quite an unusual morning for us!

The power was restored before we got up, thankfully. I prepared breakfast for everyone, so thankful for electricity (never take it for granted!) I made my hot chocolate last and as I was putting in the microwave, the power flickered. Oh, please Lord, just another minute! God is good. A few minutes later, the power went off again. We prayed for the power to be restored soon in the area, as we knew it was widespread. I think it came back on about 9:45 am, for us anyway. 47,000 people in the Northwest lost their power and there may be some that still don't have electricity, last I heard.

A most interesting way to start the week. No wonder I'm tired!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stress and My Six Year Old

One day I was complaining to someone about my 6 year old daughter - her stubbornness, inability to make a decision, some eating issues, some other stuff I can't recall at the moment. This person asked if I had any of these issues as a child. I had to answer truthfully, well, YES! They just looked at me with a grin on their face. I blushed and felt really stupid. I realized I am dealing with me - it's payback time.

My poor parents. I was the youngest (as is my daughter) and my parents were older when they had me (I'm even older). There are too many parallels to list here. The biggest difference is that she's homeschooled and I should have been. So maybe with that difference in her life, she has a chance to overcome some of those issues that I might have developed from being sent away every day when I really wanted to be at home. Who knows? I hope so. I absolutely hated eating lunch at school and went home to eat as often as I could. At 10, I went through a time where I refused to go back to school after lunch. No one knew what to do with me. Ignore it, it'll go away. I remember in 2nd grade, I went to the nurse's station nearly every day for awhile with a stomachache. I'd lay down for awhile and then go back to class. I clearly recall counting the dots in the ceiling tiles (remember those awful white porous squares that hung up there? It always bugged me that the dots weren't in straight rows, but randomly spaced. I digress ...) One day, I came back to class and there were a bunch of "get well" cards on my desk - my sweet teacher had the class make them for me. I'll never forget that. I think she was trying to help me, probably guessing that the stomach aches were from stress.

Stress from having to go to school every day is something, I pray, that my daughter will never face. No, her stress will come from an over-anxious mother, if I'm not careful. I need to let her be and make her own decisions - decisions that I don't need to make for her. You know, stuff that's not all that important. It's so hard, though. If I don't remind her to go to the bathroom, she'll literally not go for hours. I know this is not healthy, especially after you've been asleep all night. So what do I do? Continue to remind her or let her deal with the consequences? I know this all sounds so trivial but when you live with it all day long, it gets tedious. My new doctor said I need to get away for a break. Maybe a day or so without all the little daily worries would help bring a better perspective to my life as a mom, teacher, wife, assorted other hats.

How about some suggestions? Do you take a break from time to time? What do you do? I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Oh, Good, I'm Not Crazy

Last night was the beginning of my dh's work week. This time it's 3 nights on, 1 night off, then 3 more nights. It's always difficult for me to sleep on the first night he's gone. I usually stay up too late and then I'm over-tired and find it hard to relax. As usual, I finished blogging at midnight, did a load of dishes while listening to the radio and showered. I read my Bible, snuggled in the covers and prayed. It only took 1/2 hour this time to fall asleep. I was dreaming when suddenly, I heard a knock on the window. I jerked my head up and listened. The knock started in my dream but I was sure I heard it just after I woke up. It was 3:00 a.m. I laid there listening. I finally got up and checked on the kids, then walked around the house, looking out windows as I went. As I approached the kitchen, I could hear a whooshing-roaring sound, faintly, like a cement mixer in the distance. I couldn't figure out where a sound like that would come from but decided it was machinery somewhere far away. Our small airport is across the bay from us and we often hear airplanes starting up and taking off, so I figured it must be that. I did look out and see the moon with Mars nearby, which is something I've been wanting to see but didn't want to get up at 3:00 a.m. just to see it!

Back to bed I went and fell asleep 1/2 hour later. Off to an appt. this morning, grocery shopping, lunch at home, out for a walk with the kids, talked to my mom on the phone and, finally, time to do the dishes again, around 3:30 p.m. I went to turn on the radio, like I usually do, and discovered it was already on. The volume was just turned down. Aha! THAT'S what I heard last night! It was early morning static from a radio station that hadn't gone on the air yet! So ... I'm NOT crazy! What a relief!

Even better - my dh got put on standby tonight, due to lack of patients in the Critical Care Unit. Yippee! Praise the Lord for small town life!

Oh, and that knocking on the window? I had put my cell phone on my nightstand, something I haven't done in awhile. Have you ever heard a cell phone when someone else in the area is using their cell phone? "Beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep" is how my phone sounds. I think I just heard that unfamiliar sound while I was dreaming, and thought it was knocking. That's the only thing I can figure out. The cell phone will stay in the kitchen tonight, just in case!