Missing Things

The past few days I have been recalling things from the past. In this battened down world we live in, all climate controlled interiors and automobiles. So much concern over every thing under the sun.

It rained some this week. Not so unusual. Except I never smelled it. Once upon a time, I would smell the rain before it arrived. We lived with open windows and screen doors that were latched at night only to keep the coons out. The wooden door stayed open. When a rain shower or storm was approaching, we could hear the thunder and smell the rain coming, I miss that.

This evening, I determined to sit outside as long as the mosquitoes would allow. As the evening faded to dusk, bright thunderheads billowed above darker clouds to the east. A rumble of thunder sounded. It didn’t come close enough to smell it.

I could hear the shrieks of children playing in the neighborhood. That used to be us in this very place.

The cicadas and crickets and frogs sang a deafening chorus. Shadows darkened. The evening sky was still pale. A dark flicker appeared. Bats! A couple of bats danced across the sky.

A made my way into the house reluctantly. Wanting to stay out in the coming darkness. Needing to come in and get ready for bed. I wanted to check on him, too.

He works painfully long hours. His day job and then the cows, along with all the other chores that living requires, makes for one tired fella.

I’m not much of a cow dog for him, but I get out there and try to move the way he says. We started the morning doing just that. They all loaded right up for a trip to the vet for shots. Lucky me!

I keep trying to find the magic in the ordinary. Most days I find one or two things. Some days, I come up blank. Some days, every thing feels magic.

Advertisements

Mid-summer @54

He and the children and the tiny ones took me to the zoo for my birthday adventure. It was hot, of course. July in Southeast Texas. The zoo we visited is small and canopied with tall shade giving trees. A lot more bearable for the tiny ones and this old one.

We followed with a train ride around the little lake and then on to eat a Mexican food luncheon. The cafe gave me a caramel drenched brownie and the tiny ones helped me eat it. Actually, he fed it to the three of us since they were in my lap. The two of them beat me to most of the bites.

We had a lot of laughing and playing. What else could I wish for than to have all of them with me?

Our daughter and her tiny one spent the whole weekend with us, leaving on Monday. We went to see my Daddy’s sister for a brief visit. Didn’t get to see the other one on that trip.

Seeing my aunt filled me with such emotion. I get it every time I see either of my Daddy’s sisters or my Mama’s sisters. It is hard to describe the feeling. I liken it to the sense of being adrift at sea and finally washing up on a welcoming shore.

And yet, it starkly reminds me of the many long years he and I have been without our mothers and our fathers. Years that they might have still spent with us. That loss seems to echo in me more as the years pass, rather than less.

All I can do is love the tiny ones extra for the ones gone on ahead and then love them some more for me. And try to be a welcoming shore for them as long as I am allowed to remain.

Kitchen window. Stained glass from him for my birthday. New curtain panel stitched and installed yesterday.

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.

IMAG1602

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.

FullSizeRender (29)

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.

IMG_0131

 

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.

IMG_0131