Tuesday, July 30

Groovy, Baby

I am feeling dangerously talkative. Call it the Phenergan with Codeine cough syrup if you must, but I just realized that I had forgotten some really cool things in my downward spiral into the worlds of test strips and counting sugar grams.

I can't remember if I had ever mentioned the fact that I sing here. (Well, I don't really sing HERE, as that would look a bit odd) but I am too lazy now to slog through the archives to find any past reference. SO for a moment, we will all presume that you didn't know I sang.
I sing at weddings, I sing at home, I've been asked to sing at churches for "special music" (Is that like Special ED?) and I have sung at funerals. One was my dad's, and one was a big mistake because all I could think about was my dad's service which led me to being a bit overemotional..after which I wrote a brief note to self never to do THAT again.....

So now that you know the history, you can more easily go where I want to lead you.
I've grown comfortable singing, something I didn't used to think I could do well. You know the scenario, you get up in church, sing your song and everyone raves because it was just great. What you don't realize, is that you were great, compared to the tone deaf 78 year old maiden who sang "How Great Thou Art" during last week's service accompanied my her whistling hearing aide. So, with your God-given gift, you take your talent out on the road. You enter a Karaoke Bar after 8 beers and attempt "Crazy" by Patsy Cline, and again, you receive a standing ovation. Again, what you don't realize, is that everyone else has had 18 beers and they are ready to nominate you into the CMA hall of fame.
That is where I was happy to be... Queen amongst the ranks of the drunk and deaf. Not to mention the overly emotional wedding parties who didn't care who was singing as long as "Sunrise Sunset" was crooned.

So there I was, unknowingly being set up for the biggest concert of my life. The phone rings.... it's that guy from the fair, and he wants me to sing at the beginning of the Tractor Pulls, which by the way, will be televised on ESPN.
I can already taste it.

I studied for hours, practicing, finding the right key.....tracing and retracing my steps through the song trying to sound like one person I liked, then another...

Finally the big day arrived. I had notified family members, solicited seats for them to watch, even asked my husband to come and video it for posterity. I was that ready. Pacing and sweating I waited for my time. My stomach lurching into my throat as I saw that our grandstands which can occupy nearly 8,000 people were at capacity. Tractor Pull crowds are a different sort, they would either like me, or drag me out back and have an ass whoopin'. My mouth went dry and my hands shook as I took the mike.
Looking out above the stands, into the heavens I searched for some freak act of nature to swallow me whole and release me from this hell I had agreed to. I didn't freeze, but watching the tape afterwards nearly nauseated me. All the notes were there, but they were dull and forced, you could tell I didn't have on any Depend undergarments, and I wished I had.
All in all, I did get a standing ovation, (everyone gets a standing ovation for the National Anthem, silly) but as I collapsed afterwards, I resigned to never EVER do THAT again.
That was then.
Fast Forward to this year.
In the vague recesses of my mind, I had hoped that fair-man wouldn't call again but to actually think it out loud would surely make the telephone ring. I went about my business as usual, glad that by Tuesday morning, I hadn't heard from him. (The pull is on Thursday) Surely, he wouldn't expect someone to do it on a day's notice.
Tuesday evening, brought the phone call.

I hemmed and hawed about it, but on the phone with him it was impossible to say no. He had NO OTHER music, no other singer and I caved. Upon hanging up, I realized that I had less than 2 days to out do the pitiful performance of last year. I wrestled with myself, and then decided I WOULD NOT do it. I would take him my personal CD of Whitney Houston and let him play that. You can't argue that Whitney isn't the best at anthem singing. As a plan B - I asked another singing friend of mine if she would be interested. A quick "You've gotta be nutz!!!!" "That's TOO many people" quickly extinguished that option, and reinforced my opinion that I really didn't want to open myself up to that kind of criticism again. (Not that I received any, mind you)

Well, fair-man was really dejected. He wanted a PERSON, not a CD and he gave me such a mournful sigh that I knew there was no escape this time either. I stuffed my CD in my purse and set off wondering how I was going to pull this one off.

Denial was my best friend. I completely blocked out my commitment until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. I might have practiced twice, but I wasn't going to be overtaken with fear like before. I was going to sing that song, my way and just hightail it out of there ASAP.
Maybe he would realize my miserability factor and write himself a note not to call next year.

Something he didn't tell me, was that immediately before I was to sing, a color guard with 10 members of fire and police officers were going to present a flag in memoriam to the September 11th tragedy. I was to sing while they stood in full attention, saluting the flag.
Had I known that, I would have fled.

Anyway - to make a long story even longer, I sang the song. Dwelling here and there for emphasis, hitting all the right notes, saying all the right words and doing a better damn job than Whitney herself, if I do say so. There were handshakes, pats on the back and kudos from people who were wide-eyed and even teary-eyed who didn't know I could sing. (Maybe I split their eardrums, who knows) but I was glad I was there, doing that - at that moment in time.

Funny thing about it was, this time, I didn't tell a soul I was doing it. There were no saved seats, no video camera's and no way I could have any witnesses to my public flogging.
So we are back to the old rhetorical question..... If a lady sings at the tractor pulls, and no one there knows her, did she make any noise?

How do I Live?

Is today Tuesday already? I don't know if it was the stress of fair last week, or the more intense stress of what's been going on with my husband, but as I fell into bed Saturday night, I didn't feel well. That led into Sunday, where I really felt lousy - but had already agreed to sing at a church in town as their "special music". I don't know how special it was, as my back up singers were some Kleenex and some Nyquil but everyone thanked me for (leaving?) coming. I spent all of Sunday and yesterday in bed, except for the 3 hours it took to take my husband to the doctors office and then to the pharmacy. Today I feel a little better though.

His original sugar test on Saturday was 714. Nearly 550 points higher than normal, and enough to send him to the hospital - but they decided to wait and see what the meds would do. Yesterday it was 280. High, but more agreeable to them. They gave him an additional 2 medicines and told him to start exercising regularly to try to get it down. This morning at 04:30 I awoke to find him shaking my shoulder, nearly in a panic because the machine said it was 55. I flew up out of bed, and nearly ran to the kitchen to view it, and then almost fainted....not enough blood on the strip.

A new test told us it was really 220 and I couldn't get back to sleep.

I'm still working through my feelings about this.
I really feel selfish and angry about it - I know it's not right, I know I shouldn't feel that way, I should be helpful, caring and concerned.
However so far, this is like a weeklong case of the 24 hour flu. He doesn't know what to eat, so he asks me. He doesn't know what to drink, so he asks me. He doesn't know what he should do, so he asks me. And I'll be damned if I know.
Calling everyone I know, who knows anything about diabetes has taught me that nearly every person is battling a different form of the disease. Some take shots, some take pills and some need neither but must watch their diet very carefully.

I'm really REALLY exhausted over this. I feel like he's one of my little bottle lambs in the winter that if I feed too much will die, and if I feed it too little, it will die. We are either reeling one direction or another. Hopefully my learning curve won't take me 5 or 6 husbands to figure it out like the lambs do. Now it's not nearly that extreme, but I'm feeling the responsibility resting on my shoulders to figure it out.

We went shopping yesterday. Don't try this with your spouse, EVER. While I was eyeballing the carbohydrate and sugar content of green peppers, whole grain bread and radishes, he was trying to figure out how to finagle meatloaf with mashed potatoes. We didn't dare go down the cookie isle, we would have divorced. I did cave in and give one measly allowance, I found some $4.00 ice cream that was sugar-free and fat-free. EEEK... just the thought of it makes my guts quiver. I just keep hoping that soon I will wake up and this nightmare will be over.

I shouldn't say that I am having the toughest time, he's pretty pathetic about it himself. The old "woe is me" routine lasted about 1/2 a day before I told him he better knock it off because we are looking at dealing with this for another 50 years at least, and he'd better get on the bandwagon quick because I wasn't going to be the one dragging him kicking and screaming into the hospital to have his legs whacked off. That shut the piehole real quick.

We had a treat today. I couldn't have a Pepsi, with him watching, so I bought him a caffeine-free diet Pepsi.....woo hoo.
Man, is this gonna suck.

Friday, July 26

Good with the Bad

Well, for most practical purposes, the fair is over. We loaded up the last of our lambs not to be sold and all the equipment today and dumped it all into one gigantic pile in the barn. Of course the animals went into pens...

The auction went well, each girl received over $2.50 per pound for their lambs, which is about average...maybe slightly higher than last year. The market price, is $.74 cents right now.

As much work as we put into going to the fair, I am sure glad it's over.

For the past few weeks, I have been noticing several changes - medically speaking in my husband. He seems to be drinking fluids quite a bit, and making several hundred trips to the bathroom consequently. He staved off a medical exam by blaming it all on the high temperatures we have been having. He then made the mistake of telling me that he has lost 30+ pounds since Christmas. That more than piqued my interest. The icing on the cake, was that yesterday he complained of blurry vision. That prompted me to immediately call, and have him seen today.

Diagnosis? Adult onset Diabetes. Type 2 to be exact.

I'm pretty freaked out by the whole thing, especially since I've spent several years of my life taking care of the elderly, and working in hospitals and seeing a lot of cases. Now I am a worst case scenario person, but man... All I can see is having a double amputee for a husband in about 20 years. Is that terrible? Yeah, it's all mee mee mee...but I really don't like looking down that road.
I know diabetes treatment has changed dramatically in the last few years but it's still hard to shake those images.

Right now we are in the discovery phase, and his blood tests will be back for review next week when he has a follow up appointment with his doctor.

What a total change of life we will have. I can't even begin to fathom how far reaching this disease will be to us. Okay, maybe I am overreacting right now, but I just can't put into words how scared I am that things will forever change for the worse. I hope I'm wrong.


Wednesday, July 24

And So it goes

There is a mystical aura that surrounds our county fair. Those of us who have been in 4-H or have been fortunate enough to be introduced to it by our children or families know of this special feeling. It is the largest organized activity that includes children and adults of all ages, races, sizes and shapes. In the new world of try-outs and corporate downsizing, 4-H accepts gladly what you are willing to provide, and it will reward you in kind.

You can live in the city you whole life and have never attended the fair, but step onto our grounds, take a look around and I guarantee that you will be transformed.

Most of it's charm can be attributed to the way that things seemingly change, yet stay the same.

You take a walk through the show arena and you can remember vividly guiding your animal across the large expanse, gazing nerviously at the judge who is evaluating your project. You feel your heart race as he weaves his way through the competitors even though it has been a good 20 years since you have received any ribbons. You can remember your mother watching proudly, and your dad with the worried creases in his brow as he paces alongside the ring waiting and watching.
You look up, and suddenly realize that you are now the hopeful parent, and you see your emotions in the young faces that surround you and you understand the hopes and dreams that a place like this contains.

We've gone from tents and straw bales to huge modernized buildings and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, but somehow the kids never change. They all pack up their dreams and sweat in tack boxes, wire cages and cardboard boxes and set off to the fair.
The barns and buildings have seen many champions come and go, yet they hold the spirit and hopes of all who shared them. To belong, is to become an alumni of one of the greatest fellowships available to our children. It's a memory that will last and live on forever - long after the ribbons have faded.

Fair Week is timeless. From the midway to the petting zoo, it's a tradition to be preserved and revered.
Oh, how time flies

You know how it goes. You stop and think that one minute you have it all figured out, and the next minute, you wondered what ever possessed you to believe that you had any inkling as to what you were doing.

We have been running, zombie-style headlong into the fair. There are chores to do, activities to attend, work to be done, lambs to be washed and shorn, rules to police, kids to corral.....ad nauseum. Today is my day "off". After getting to the fairgrounds at 6:00 am to do chores, I came home and tried to arrange into some sort of order the house that we call home. As you well know, the dark clothes had to be washed, dried and reassembled so they can be worn again within the next 12 hours. The kitchen had remnants of hay, straw and other assorted barn "goodies" all over the floor where we were too tired to remember to take off our shoes before entering. The bathroom looked like a troupe of dirty vagrants had assembled a delousing station, and my bedroom was a picture of a Laundromat disaster. I'm thinking we should just move, and save myself the headache of actually cleaning it. If anyone knows of a CLEAN FREAK who would love to come and clean my pit, just have them call me, I'm game.

Our lamb show was yesterday. Twelve months of preparation, breeding and other assorted joyful tasks culminating into one hectic day. I can't say we did poorly, we did well, but the "crown" escaped us yet again. If I had to pin it on any one thing, I would attribute it to the fact that our lambs weren't quite large enough to be competitive in the champion classes. That led us to winning some of the smaller classes, but not getting quite close enough in weight or size to the big prize. We had anticipated some lambs being close, but the scales said otherwise. It's aggravating to be standing in the final drive, and know you aren't the one. As always, there is next year.

Fair, to me is always a big insight into the people you think you know. It's a community thing around these parts, so you get to see your neighbors, friends and other people you know well wrestling hogs at the wash station, selling lamburgers at the booth, and looking for their kids who were last seen holding hands with a carnival worker, walking down the midway. Now you can't divorce your kids, but I've considered the option as I've watched my husband spout orders and attitude like it were D-Day to anyone who was nearby. Generally, we all turn into idiots and morons as soon as show day arrives. (In his opinion anyway) Nothing can be accomplished without a snarl and some harsh words. I grow very tired of this, as my attitude changes (or so I perceive it does) from a panic before fair, to one of "what the heck" as it gets closer. I guess I figure by show day, we'd better already have it figured out because if not, it's too late.

I think I have to have that attitude to try and neutralize all the people he offends, which is a big job sometimes.


I will never understand adult females. I think somewhere in my DNA hides one too many male chromosomes. I have all the right equipment, to be considered female of course, but generally as a breed, they consternate me. I know other women who feel this way, but we are the minority.

Tonight, at the fair, all the ladies on the Advisory Board have been asked to stay in the barn overnight. The men do it solo on other nights, but tonight is "ladies night". I have avoided it for 3 years so far, and I was cornered again this year to participate.
My skin just crawls when I think about it.
Take 6 to 8 women, with varying stages of stress, sleeplessness, hormonal imbalances and someone like me, who does not play well with others and you have a Molotov cocktail primed and ready.
When asked, I commented to our leader, "Take 8 women, over night in a 12x12 room and it's "survivor" in the worst sense."
I think I would rather be hanged, but if pushed I will probably cave in - against my better judgment.
Wish me luck.
If you don't see any other postings after today, you will know I ended up being the weakest link.

Saturday, July 13

On the Edge

You stand there, holding the hand of someone you love. Before you, are pages and pages of history that you wrote together. Gazing at the now empty space that used to be filled with the laughter and cries of a family making it's way through time, you can't help but want to simply replace all that was, and go back. You have grown there, leaving behind many lessons you've learned and phases you have survived.
As your feet echo through the passages worn by worried pacing, excited playing and furry friends you can't seem to fathom how it could feel so cold and empty now. It was just yesterday, wasn't it, that you were unpacking and excited about having this place to call your own? But now, the house has served you well, and you are saying goodbye.

The pages in this story are dog-eared and well read and you realize for the last time that this door, once closed will never open this way again. You take it all in, hoping to drain every last bit of energy left from it's presence - but after all, it's just a shell.

You remember how it held you... protected you from many winters filled with blowing snow and provided shade and security during the summer thunderstorms. You cared for it religiously, mowing it's yard, painting it's trim, making sure that it was always presentable and something to be proud of. You know it intimately.

It's not so much the structure that you are missing, it's the pieces and parts of your life that it shared with you, the way it stood silently, awating your return. It's like an old friend.

You can't pack up moments, and you can't worry about whats coming next. The only security you have is the faith that all will be just as you left it, as you unpack your new life and arrange it in the new days and weeks to come. It's all still there, wait and see.

Soon, the old will be nostalgia....a time of "remember when's", and you will gladly embrace it from your new vantage point.
The stars will look different, out a new window, and the breeze may float across your cheek from a different open window - but it will all still be there.

There is a reason that the other house felt so cold and empty.....
You've taken it's soul with you.

Wherever you go, that is where you will find home.
It was there all the time.

(I initially started to write this for some very close friends who are moving. As I started into this piece, I realized that I was reliving my trek through my childhood home, as we packed and readied it for sale after my father had died. It crushed me to leave that place, even though I was married, and hadn't lived there for nearly 7 years. My fears were that once I left that house behind, I would lose everything that I had loved about that time in my life, mainly my father's spirit and his memories. What time has taught me, since then, is it doesn't matter where you are, because your heart is always with you.)

Tuesday, July 9

News at 11

I just recently discovered that I haven't kept anyone up to date about my quazi-job at the newspaper. The last words I left anyone with described my general disdain for the overwhelming dullness that covering council meetings entails.

I must say that I have developed a taste for it, at least it isn't nearly as dreary or overwhelming as I thought it would be. What surprises me about it, is that once you get over the jitters of incompetence, one can trudge through it quite easily. Easily, as say, brain surgery.

Committees and councils are a politically correct way to describe a group of individuals who have all the answers, but dole them out on a need-to-know basis. Unfortunately, with my public interest at heart - I am considered as a never-need-to-know. My job, as a REPORTER, is to get them to cough up those answers in a public forum, which is no easy task, unless you are like me and gifted with the tongue-in-cheek, Peter Sellers approach to sleuthing.

For instance, I am just now getting to know my council members on a somewhat personal basis. They have observed me taking copious notes for the past month or so, even when they have had little to say. That is what gets their attention. "Hmmm....what is she writing about that?"...."Did I say something THAT important?"...

Right now, my focus is on the Deputy Clerk. He is the numbers guy. He can explain where the money in this fund went, when we discover together that it mysteriously had to be shifted out of this account, to pay for new toilet paper roll in the Marshall's bathroom. He also knows exactly how much money we need, to enact a 5% raise to all town employees, or to install a Ho-Ho machine in the breakroom. He's a shifty sort, and I have my eye on him...I think he knows it too, as he never seems to have enough copies of the proposed budget to spare me one. He is just a little too screwy for my radar not to start bleeping.

Writing that column is my burden.
My joy, surprisingly enough, is writing the weekly column that advises all who care to read, just what is happening in our town that is noteworthy this week. I get calls from Edna Mae, letting me know that she is intending on hosting a dinner party for some friends this week, and if I could ask them to remember to bring the salad, she would be ever so grateful.
The church calls to let me know that little Susie and her sister Betty will be singing a solo in the choir on Sunday, and that Mary Jo will be providing infant care in the nursery.
The Little League president calls to let me know that all his little urchins will be scouring the streets looking for cars to wash at the fire department on Saturday for a fund raiser.

It's not really THAT Mayberry-ish, but it's darn close.
Too bad that the monetary compensation for completing this collage of community is virtually nonexistent.
But there is money in those feature articles!

(I do think I just said that my town isn't really like Mayberry, however my first feature article will be to interview a local garage mechanic who won the "redneck lotto". By that, I mean he was the recipient of an all expenses paid trip sponsored by NAPA auto parts to Charlotte, NC to drive one of Richard Petty's NASCAR vehicles. AND BY GOD THAT'S BIG NEWS - if you are from 'round these parts)

Stop it, I hear you laughing.

I spend about 8 hours a week on these things, and I'm beginning to think it's worth it all. You read me here first folks. You can all say you knew me when.

On the sheep front...... (man, I'm about as diverse as they get, aren't I?)
We attended my niece and nephew's 4-H show today. They took a total of 6 lambs, 3 of which were ours that we bred and sold to them for their use. We are darn proud to say that our three, beat the other three that they purchased, and none of them showed less than 2nd.

We were in the Champion Suffolk drive, the Champion Crossbred drive, and the Champion Commercial Ewe drive. They didn't win any individual classes, but second place in the classes was just fine with us. Finally, maybe, we are getting where we want to be with our sheep. but that was just one man's opinion, on one day. I won't go buy my new truck and trailer just yet.

I also threw caution to the wind, and turned in my application to the "OTHER" factory. I will wait until my interview, and get all the specific details as to wages and benefits before calling our friend at the "OLD" factory and seeing what he has available. I really liked the work I did, but a family can not survive long if both parents are working 120 hours a week combined.
(At least my family can't)

So - best case scenario, I will get a call on the last day of fair wanting me to report to my new mega-dollar job on Monday...
Worst case scenario will be that I interview tomorrow for a job, and have to go in on Thursday.
Now is when I have to "Let go, and let God"

It will all work out. I know it will.

Friday, July 5

How to refocus in one easy lesson

With my continuous job saga, lack of job saga, and the surrounding angst, I have easily passed on the chores in the barn to my two girls. So my information about how the lambs look, are eating, etc. have been filtered through their collective wisdom.

I really think it's about time, as far as that goes. It's time that they learn that if you don't feed lambs, they die. (not that I would let it go THAT far, but you get my drift)

They had mentioned at one point, and I saw evidence of one of our lambs having a prolapse problem. Now to explain that to my fellow non-farming friends, that would be easily described as a very bad case of hemorrhoids on crack. Imagine 4-6 inches of your rectum protruding angrily from your anus. The remedy for this, is a simple one - of it works. I won't tell you, as I don't know how many of you have already had breakfast by now. But hasten the story to say that it didn't. And it didn't work when the vet came out and applied his schooling to it either. We are now on day two of the lamb fix it project, and he's still alive... I had to apply a few Dr. Frankenstein tips and several from Dr. Moreau and I hope that tomorrow afternoon we will be on the home stretch with him.
If not.....well......we tried.

The most rapid way to fix that problem, and to never see it again, is to deport the mother, so she will never produce any more offspring with that problem - which we did on Wednesday.

I'm glad, on several planes that we don't take human husbandry as seriously as some do their livestock breeding practices.
If I were the mother of that lamb, I would now be in the human equivalent of a glue factory. Is that really fair?
I would have to select my children's mates based on physical conformation and bloodlines.. Well, that's not such a far fetched idea now that I think of it, the British have been doing it for eons. Evidentially, Queen Elizabeth didn't look hard enough for a man with small ears.

Oh gosh....where was I? there was to be a point to this somewhere.
Maybe it will come to me later.

I had to take my husband into the doctor's office today. We have been nursing his knee for weeks now, hoping that it would mend magically, and since it hasn't, I decided that it was to be examined today. I had to decide, because he would have been perfectly happy growling about it in my general direction for another three weeks had I not insisted. There was no known injury of the joint, no misshapen or abnormal swelling, just pain right at the kneecap. The doctor examined it, poked and prodded it, and promptly acclaimed that she really had no specific idea what could be the problem gave us some vague concepts and threw some drugs in our general vicinity.

Sooooo, being the spoiled ex-employee of a physicians office, I set out to the pharmacy, expecting to be served.
1.5 hours later, they called my name, and asked if I REALLY wanted those medicines. DUH! was my reply, until she put it into more specific terms that I could understand. Just ONE of the prescriptions cost $189.00 for 60 pills. YIIIKES!
No generic, no substitutes and no guarantees that it would even help. A quick call to the doctor's office led to a substitute medicine that so far has not alleviated anything except the shock that had rocked my checkbook. So I have the remainder of the weekend to stare at a crippled husband. Isn't medicine grand?

I'm watching the clock tick closer to fair time. By then, we should be sufficiently broke, but I just can't bring myself to join the ranks yet. Day 1 after the fair, and I'm gone. But for now, I'm seeing how far the last 6 eggs we have in the fridge will take us.
(no, it's really not that bad...we have 8) (and some sour cream)

Oh yeah, my point from above, should have been -
Sometimes you have just let go, and hope that your kids can function without the sound of you screaming..

Whew , I'm glad I remembered.

Wednesday, July 3

Disco Inferno

I've jeeeeest about had it.

The weather, I mean. While I bemoan the -15 wind chill and the drifted roads in the winter, 10 days of 90+ degree heat really gets to ones nerves. In the winter when you are home stranded due to the weather, it's a different kind of annoyance than trying to concentrate while you are working livestock in the barn and leaving pools of sweat wherever you stand. I felt like a human fly-strip as the humidity made everything I touch or went near stick to me like glue.

The animals seem to be taking it pretty well, they seek the shade of the barn and their fans during the heat of the day and frolic at night. They are still eating, which is good. Sometimes extended periods of heat like this will make them go off feed - much like humans. I was talking with my friend, and she has figured out why people lose weight in the summer and gain it in the winter. Her theory is that none of the wives feel like firing up the stove when it's 100 degrees. I had to laugh, because I felt the same way. My husband came home the other night and asked what was for supper, and the only good idea I had was cold meat sandwiches or Popsicles.

The moving friends situation is going well...they are 7/8th's done shuffling little to medium things, and on Friday we will go help move the big stuff.
I see the disarray and sweat, thinking how glad I am I'm not the one having to reorganize all my stuff. Although I like to do that too - and the novelty of something *new* is exciting. I'm sure they wish it could be 75 degrees for the next few days though.

Still no moves made on the job front. I stare at the telephone number I'm supposed to call, and then at the application I'm supposed to drop off, just hoping that they will wait for me until after fair. Not to mention which one I will take if offered both. Then there is the decision of which do I want more, decent hours, or good money?. I really should call, and just go to work. It's not like the girls and the husband can't manage without me - but it would be like staying home from a family vacation on purpose. We usually live at the fair - 9 days of 5am to 11 pm. Heck, it might be worse to try to start work after a week like that. I'm just really hung up on trying to decide what I WANT to do, and what I NEED to do.

Story of my life.

We have no special plans for the 4th - probably catch some fireworks somewhere. Actually, from our home we have a really good seat to see 4 or 5 different displays, though not up close. I like going to our friend's house on the lake for the fireworks. I have done that for years. Even growing up, I remember making the trip and it just turned into a tradition. After the girls were born, we would go and spread a blanket out on the hill in front of their house and watch. Usually the girls ended up with my dad and they really enjoyed sharing that time with him. They were little then - maybe 4 and 5. The first year, after he died was really hard for me. I remember being glad that it was dark because I cried all the way through the display. It was just something I associated with our family doing together.

I'd hate to say that I have forgotten all about it - about the relationship or the memories, but I really don't dwell on it anymore. It's more like a movie I remember watching, or a good book I read. Something that I can recall if it's required, but now I have to go and find it. It's not right there in the front of my mind filtering my every thought like it used to be. I think that's good..normal if there is such a thing.

Thinking about it now, really makes me aware of how we all presume that we are here for something larger than ourselves. And if you consider God's plan, I guess we are to a certain extent, but when we leave this world all we have is what we've done and who we have become. I would help others, if I had more time. I would volunteer to do something to help someone who didn't, if I had more time.
What do we do with our time? Maybe I didn't articulate that clearly enough for everyone to understand, but my realization is that if you live for something that won't help your person, then it's all for nothing.

I don't have volumes of memories of my dad being a wonderful, spectacular father - In fact, in the fathering department it was fairly desolate. Mom was the peacekeeper and also the first battalion of the SWAT team. However, I do have memories of him as a man. He taught me many things through his actions that were never in a lecture about curfew, cleaning my room or chores.
What I am getting at, is that the way we live is a lesson to those we love and people who are close to us. That's the only thing we get to leave as our legacy.

My mother hasn't left me yet - but the gifts she gave me weren't the things she drilled into my head out of the fear that a parent has.
I watched her give to her kids, all she had. She did work, but she was also the one who cooked, cleaned, ran us everywhere - and made sure we were looked after. I gave her a hell of a time and she deserves a medal - but I think the person I've become has overshadowed the rebellious, angry, messed up piece of work I used to be.
If I could answer that riddle - as to how I became that way, and what fixed me I would be a millionaire. As I know so many kids that struggle through that stage of incompletion. I really think it's all part of the journey.

Tuesday, July 2

Independence Day

Yesterday was a "day off"
The kids and I piled in the truck, laden with floating toys, a cooler full of supplies and sunscreen. We went to our favorite watering hole and just played. Usually I'm not in swimming mode, as it goofs up my hair and leaves me looking urchin-ish, but I threw it all to the wind and had a good time. We came back sunburnt and exhausted - but I was glad to have had a good day.

while we were swimming and playing nerf ball tag in the water, my mind was evaluating this day on a parent brownie point system.
My kids are like all others, and I could turn myself into the good fairy and grant all their wishes, and yet they would still want more.
They don't consider themselves fortunate that I just didn't make them stay home in the 93 degree weather and pull weeds, or walk their lambs.

I am now, three weeks past my last week at the factory. I have 2 opportunities presenting themselves to me now, to go back to work. One of them will require a telephone call, and I would imagine that I would start immediately, and the other would want me within the next two weeks.

The frustrating part of that is, that our fair is almost three weeks away. We breed, feed and exercise sheep for 12 months out of the year to enjoy this one week of the year. It's the Christmas of livestock production. Now I am trying to figure out if we can wait that long for me to become re-employed. It's a crap shoot, but I am hoping to stall until then.

After that - the working world can have me.