August Again

Here it is again.  The dog days of summer. August has started out not so treacherous.  Lower 90’s instead of near 100.

I so want to have enough energy to do more in the evenings after the 9-5.  It just doesn’t happen.  By the time I get to the house, I just want to sit and stare out the window or scroll through Instagram. I am scheduled to retire next summer.  Everyone asks me what will I do with myself retired.  I can’t seem to make them understand how important taking care of him and keeping house is to me.

I might write more. I might read more. I might be able to get my house the way I want it. I have some painting to do and some floors to recover and windows to redress.  I might even be able to get every closet, pantry and drawer cleaned out and organized.  I have some special projects still sitting in the wings.  I also have a major ambition to pursue.

With my pain level like it is, the fatigue overtakes me and then I cycle into a downward spiral.  My 9-5 job is very high stress and not rewarding emotionally or mentally.  Just an endless round of reports and meaningless data collection for the politicians. It drains me.  I hate feeling like this.  The upside is that it leads to an early retirement and lifelong health insurance for both of us.

I want to be able to do things with him and for him to make his life better and happier.  I try to research what to do, but then can’t focus long enough over the days to make the changes called for.

I am not alone in my frustrated state.  Many of my friends have the same or similar issues.  Not necessarily the pain, but the fatigue and the seeming inability to make things better despite having some vague ideas of what would help.

It is not that we have such desperately terrible lives.  I count myself among the blessed in this world.  I live in Texas. I have a solid house with hot and cold running water, two indoor toilets, a bathtub and shower. I have a well equipped kitchen and pantry and freezer full of food.  I have central air that I can afford to run.  I have good health in the sense that I don’t have to take any medications for anything right now.  And insurance if I did. My vehicle is new and I always have gas money.  My children are grown and independent and well.  Both happily married and raising healthy children.  I don’t have aging parents to take care of, though I wish I did.  They have all been gone for many years.

I guess my point is that everything should be fine.  But, somehow I have this nagging sense of unease.  And the physical pain and fatigue that no doctor seems to be able to figure out what is caused by nor how to fix it.  I have made yet another appointment with yet another doctor for later this month.  He has a reputation for non-traditional evaluations and treatments.  Maybe he won’t try to give me anti-depressants. I’m not depressed.  I just don’t feel well enough long enough to get more than the minimal tasks completed.  And that frustrates the daylights out of me.

Enough of this pity party.  I am blessed. I love and am loved.  I will do what I can and be glad for it as much as I can.  I will try to forgive myself for all I can’t seem to get done and for the anxiety that builds up and causes me distress.

The cicadas just started buzzing close to this porch window.  He will be home soon.  The evening shadows will blend into dusk.  The night will bring restless sleep, yet the coming dawn will break on a fresh, new day.  Please, Lord, help me rejoice and be glad in it.

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Armadillo Blessing

To anyone reading this who knows me and is still wondering if I am touched in the head, this will leave no doubt, most likely.

I was blessed with an armadillo under the porch. I have been hearing him over the past couple of months and finally this past Sunday morning, he was caught outside.  Caught with a bullet, by him. Not me.  But, he ran back under the porch.  So, suddenly the situation became disastrous rather than a concern. It was a concern because we have a dog and a cat. An armadillo is a potentially disease carrying critter that could become an issue with one of the pets.  Now it was a disaster because I probably had a dead armadillo under the porch.  In July. In Southeast Texas. In a heat wave. If you don’t understand from that, you wouldn’t be able to imagine.

Our house is on a slab, but the porch is pier and beam. He pulled some of the skirting off.  No sign of the critter.  He decided it was as good a time as any to pull out the back stoop that was in need of replacement.  He might be able to see from that angle.  Still no sign of the critter.

He did notice that the air-conditioned air was flowing freely between the cracks in the floor under the carpet.

Let me back up a bit.  This back room started as a screened porch. But, it was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.  We don’t have anything in between much here.  Mama had windows and a window unit a/c installed. She had indoor/outdoor carpet put down. The carpet was to keep the mosquitos from coming through the cracks that had developed between the floor boards that were just wide enough for them. We replaced the window units with central air and I just open the French doors to cool or heat it.  After all these years, the carpet is still in decent shape, but has a few stains and a lot of set in dust. I have been wanting to replace it with stained plywood.  I saw that in a place that was on Village Creek at a wedding reception years ago and I think it would be perfect here.

So he noticed the central air flowing right through the floor cracks and indicated the porch could no longer be air-conditioned until after the floor has been corrected.  It has been running in the upper 90s for a while now. I should have been upset. Remember the armadillo under the porch?  The dead one?

Another factor involved in this very complicated story is that I am on vacation, or staycation this week, if you would rather call it that.  I never work on my birthday, so I took off last Friday. And I like to be off for a week this time of year and stay home puttering around the house.  So, I am off all this week. First time I have done this in years.  My time off in recent years has been spent traveling to Hawaii, California and Houston. Traipsing after my children and granddaughters.  I have really needed this week off at home.

Here is the miracle. There is no smell from the armadillo that is dead under the porch.  Did he have a hole that deep? Did he make it out and away into the woods before he died?  There is no smell.  I thank my Heavenly Father for the very personal favor He has shown me in this matter.  I can think nothing else.

He will be replacing the back stoop in a day or two. And all the skirting will be replaced. We may have to wait till the jungle subsides in the cold for that.  And the floor on the porch will be redone sooner rather than later.  He has a lot on his plate these days.  So, the armadillo wasn’t a blessing for him. Still, I am glad for it.

Here is the blessing for me and why you will finally know I am not quite right in the head.  I have enjoyed not having a/c on the porch.  Years ago, I spent most of my summers outdoors.  As kids, we all played outside.  There wasn’t any a/c going in the house anyway.  And later as a young adult I just stayed outside.  I would take a book out to a shady spot and enjoy the heat, the sounds, the feel of summer.  I sit at a desk in a windowless office all year these days.  I love being on the porch. I love it now with all the windows open and the fan blowing and feeling the summer, again.  Oh, I have been in and out throughout the days.  I have all that puttering to do.  But, I return to sit out here and listen to the cicadas and the birds and the hum of the fan.  Feeling alive and at peace in the Texas Heat.

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Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. My father was wonderful in many ways. But, his mental illness had a negative impact on my thought processes. He wasn’t the champion and hero I needed. He loved me. He was proud of me. I love him and miss him very much.

I married a champion and hero. He and I raised a champion and hero. Our son is like him and like me, too. Strong, take charge, fearless and still a sacrificial care giver to his family.  Our daughter is the same.  The best of both of us has come together in our children. As we see them parent their little girls, it is very apparent.

I praise Him, today. He is the True Source of my joy and happiness. All the time I am wanting to be different, He is making me different.  Not my ideas, but His so much better ideas for me are working themselves out.  I am not really an adult orphan, after all.  My Father is still protecting, guiding, patiently teaching me with His loving ways.  Happy Father’s Day, Lord.

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Fathers

Today is Father’s Day.  My father was wonderful in many ways. But, his mental illness had a negative impact on my thought processes.  He wasn’t the champion and hero I needed. He loved me, though. He was proud of me. I still love him and miss him very much.

I married my champion and hero. He and I raised a champion and hero. Our son is like him and like me, too. Strong, take charge, fearless and still a sacrificial care giver to his family.  Our daughter is the same. The best of both of us has come together in our children. As we see them parent their little girls, it is very apparent.

I praise Him today. He is the True Source of my joy and happiness.  All the time I was wanting to be different, He was and is making me different. Not my ideas, but His ideas are working out in my life and more importantly in my character.  And they are so much better than what I had planned.

I am not really an adult orphan after all. I have a Father still protecting, guiding, teaching and loving me. Patiently, with His loving ways. Happy Father’s Day, Lord.

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Happy 2018!

Happy New Year!!!

Has another Christmas leaped through my life?  How fast it went!  I have started this year full of optimism.  Unusual for me to be in this place at this time of the year.  The darkness of the winter days hasn’t overtaken my mood.

Perhaps, it won’t do so at all this year.  I have been resigned to coping with the low moods all my adult life.  And yet there is always a part of me that believes it doesn’t have to be so.  If I claim I have a choice in how I feel and how I behave, then I must believe it and so prove it to myself.

I don’t have any resolutions for this year.  I have my continuing path of proving myself able to be better at each turn.

One thing I once believed has changed.  I used to believe I was strong and able to withstand pain.  I failed at withstanding. I became crushed in so many places.  Then, I believed I could never heal.  After a while, I decided I could heal, but the crushed places would ever be fragile.  Time never made a difference in the process.  Just lately, over the past year or two, I discovered something has been healing my broken places.  Love.  Just love.  Several girls have come into my life over the past few years.  First, my brother’s granddaughters brought a window of hope. Now, my own granddaughters have broken down walls.

I think about my own grandmothers.  I remember how important they are to me even now so many years after they left this life.  My aunts continue to impact my life.  If I can matter to any of these girls half as much as those women matter to me, I will be loved more than I deserve.

I wonder how things will be between all these little girls as we grow to know each other. And I look so very forward to the love that grows between us.

Happy 2018!  Happy Life! Happy Love!

P.S.  He continues to lift me up to Him.  His continued prayers for me and support of my off-beat self has no doubt had a larger impact on my current state of being than I will know in this life.  My love always loves me.  And besides………..he needs my love to keep him warm!

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First Monday

In August, I decided I would post on first Mondays.  I was preoccupied with Harvey for September’s first Monday.

I’ve been enjoying some time outside.  The intense heat and humidity has been a bit less.

I have been trying to decide on whether to expand a flower bed or not.  I have been moving toward simpler and now this would not be simpler. It would mean more to tend.  I’m not sure if I want to commit to taking care of twenty feet of border.  For years.

I read back over some posts from earlier this year.  I have continued to get rid of unneeded items.  I read the Kon Mari book.  My impression of the writer is that she has no clue what it means to be a traditional Southerner. Sentiment and keepsakes. Decorative trinkets and festive decor are part of life.  And our life has included households of deceased relatives to deal with.

He is not a minimalist.  He likes to have two and a spare for most things.  I have a problem with books and clothes I never wear among other things.

We have our daughter’s salvage from their apartment stacked here.  I can honestly say it has not stressed me having it everywhere.  If it was my stuff, I would be having a stress meltdown.

Our prayer is for she and her family to find a home quickly.  Not because of the stuff in the kitchen or the cats on the porch. But, because they need to get resettled from being displaced.  The Harvey flood effected so many.  And many of my dear loved ones.

Strength and resilience.  Now that the urgent phase is passing, the long haul through restoration is beginning.  Grief must be dealt with.  Then a new normal can grow into a renewed life.

I praise Him for being Grace and Mercy and Strength and Hope.

 

Thirty-three Years

Has it been that long?  And yet, who are those two kids in a couple of grainy photographs, getting married.  Eighteen, no jobs, no higher education, no car, no place to live.  No wonder Mother was so upset.

But, that feeling we had for each other would not be silenced.  We had to be together, no matter what.  And I didn’t want to start out living together without a license.  If we had, we might not have stuck it out.

A month later, Pasadena.  A perfect little apartment upstairs on the end.  I remember how he smelled when he would come in from work.  Like sunshine and clean sweat.  He had long brown curls and no mustache, then.  We laughed and played and fought and made up like the lovers we were.

Along came pregnancy and a lay off.  Finally, Uncle Sam put him to work and we took our baby son to California.  Our baby girl came along while we were out there.

We hadn’t been back from his service duty long when an industrial accident took most of his left hand.  People forget he has, I hate to use the word disability, but that hindrance.  After he got that business settled, we set in to making a home and raising our two little ones.

Adventure on the river during a few summers was the main thing. Then, he found a passion for longhorn cows.  The reconnection Mother made to her cousin during this time sustained me through many difficult years after Mother passed away.  She had longhorn cows and we got going with the Butler Sale the year we lost Mother.

I wasn’t long, it seems, Daddy went on to be with the Lord, our son graduated and moved off to school.  He hasn’t resided with us since. Then, our daughter graduated and moved off to school, only coming to reside after graduating and during a couple of job transitions, totally only a few months.  During, he lost both his parents a few months apart.  His father’s was sudden and unexpected. This was a dark and difficult period for those two young lovers mentioned at the beginning of this passage.

He started taking me to the deer lease with him.  Riding in the woods and learning how to hunt with him pieced our hearts back together.

Our son fell in love and got married.  Just that fast.  Our daughter married and then figured out he was not the right man.  So, we all went down and loaded her up and brought her home.  That is the night I realized my little family was going to be strong, after all.  She married the right man a couple of years later.

Our son and his bride have taken me on adventures in Hawai’i and California.  And after several years of wondering if they would, they produced a grandchild for us.  Five months later our daughter and her honey produced another grandchild for us.  Two girls.  Two suns to rise and set each day.

We are officially middle aged.  Grandparents.  We still like to have adventures on the river and in the woods.  Our favorite thing is playing with our girls.  I have a couple of great-nieces we love to play with, too.

We work hard to make sure we don’t take each other for granted.  We don’t want “settled” love.  We want to keep the passion growing deeper and sweeter with time.  I don’t know where I end and he begins.  And, yet, I am still shy to share some things with him.  His is the only opinion I truly care about.  He is the only person who can actually hurt my feelings.  He is the only person who has walked through the fires of hell with me and hauled me through the rough places not letting me quit.

So when I say Happy Anniversary to him, I really mean thank you; I love you; I can’t breathe without you; you still make my heart skip a beat; I am still trying to make sure I am pleasing to you; I need your love to keep me warm; you are my Rock. Happy Anniversary.

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