Good-bye winter?

Good-bye winter! Spring comes today.

It’s been a long winter in Wisconsin. My kids had 8 days off of school for inclement weather. The average is 2-3. We’ve had heavy snowfall followed by subzero temperatures multiple times this winter. The salt doesn’t melt the snow on the very cold days. Some towns ran out of salt. The roads were horrible for an extended period of time.

A lot of people died on our roads this winter. A couple of weeks ago there was fatal pile up on the highway that involved 131 cars. It wasn’t even snowing that day. There weren’t any warnings or advisories in that area. It just happened to be very windy and blew snow across the highway causing white out conditions.

There were some days that school wasn’t called off when it should’ve been because we used up so many snow days. What are we to do when we live in a climate that has the potential for nasty weather half the year? We drink! Which pretty much makes our roads hazardous year round. We lock ourselves indoors chronically depressed from the lack of sunshine and stormy weather that cancels our plans.

Okay, I will try to be more positive. Winter is beautiful. I had to share some pictures of the big snow this year. I was able to go out cross country skiing a couple of times. It was a great year for winter sports such as snowmobiling. Most years we don’t get this much snow.

Do I think that winter is over because the calendar says that it is spring? Probably not. Last year we got a huge blizzard in April. That is what I hate about spring (besides seasonal allergies). It fails to deliver. Spring is my least favorite season. I like summer best followed by fall then winter. At least with winter, we know what we are getting.

The trick is to try to enjoy every season while it is happening. That is sometimes easier said than done. The first few warm days gives me a feeling of false hope. But it won’t be too much longer. Last week we had a day in the 50’s. People started putting on shorts and were driving around with their windows open. But I know we will probably get more snow in April or May.

I can’t wait for the first run outside in this new year. It won’t be too much longer. I have to keep telling myself that at the end of a long grueling winter. The days are getting longer. The birds are coming back. The bugs will soon follow. But I won’t complain, winter makes me enjoy summer more. You need a few dark days to enjoy the light.

Good-bye winter!?!!

 

Fortune cookie wisdom # 16

You will be unusually successful in business.

My husband Paul seems to get this fortune cookie every other time he gets Chinese food. My typical response is to laugh then throw the fortune away. It is true though. If Paul is a natural at anything, it’s business.

The strange thing is that I started to get this fortune. I don’t know if they made extra of these fortunes at the fortune cookie shop or what. Then I thought…why not write about it?? Maybe if I stop throwing the fortune away, I won’t get it over and over again and can get new ones. Hence more writing inspiration..

I don’t consider myself to be successful at business. I don’t come up with the ideas. I certainly don’t sell anything. I am more of the diligent working sidekick behind the scenes. I have been working with my husband somewhere around 10 years now.

This year we sold our successful start up business, but continue working as employees. We are planning on retiring in another 5 years and starting another business in an unrelated field. We both decided that we would go totally crazy if we didn’t have something to do with our time.

Paul just signed up to work on his captain’s license. We are planning on starting a sailing charter business. We’ve already had people approach us for sailing trips. This is not going to be a big lucrative money making business. It would be a hobby business.

Right now, it seems like I don’t have any time. When I am not working, I am cleaning my house, doing laundry, spending time with family, worrying, running, or blogging. If I am lucky, I can read a couple of books a year for fun or travel. Unfortunately, I have to be really selective with my free time. I have more things that I want to do than time to do them.

But in less than 3 years time, the kids will all be out of the house. In five years, I’ll retire. Maybe then I’ll have the time to do everything I want to do.

Maybe I will write a book, take a dance class, start working on genealogy again, do more traveling, write music, paint… The possibilities are endless..

Fortune cookie wisdom #4

Good beginning is half done.

This one seems rather obvious.

It serves as a reminder that my life is half over.

Midlife.

Soon I will be 44. Will I make it to 88? I think so..

It is scary to think about. Death, decline..

 

I fear death. Maybe by the time it happens I’ll be ready for it.

I fear decline even more. I want to always have the energy that I have today.

Or maybe it means that my marriage is half over. We’ve been married almost 21 years. Will we make it to 42?

I fear the death of my spouse. He is 6 years older. Plus women outlive men by 6 to 8 years. So just doing the math, I should outlive my husband by 13 years. So if I live until 88, he would live until I’m 75 which would be 46 years of marriage. My estimates based on nothing makes it pretty close to being half over.

I worry about that, I honestly do. I have longevity on my side, Paul not so much. My parents already outlived Paul’s only parent.

Maybe if I find his real father, I will find longevity on his other side. But then again, maybe not.

The first half of my life went by so terribly fast.

I think this serves as a reminder to enjoy every day of breath we are given. Don’t take life for granted. Take time to listen and love. Remember what is really important.

You will not be here forever and neither will the ones that you love.

 

Reading the fine print

I have been lying to myself.

I’ve been telling myself that everyone my age is old, except me.

Here are 3 things that happened this week that shattered my illusion that I have been drinking out of the fountain of youth:

1). I went with my best friend to the wedding store to pick out a mother’s dress for her son’s wedding. All of my friends stopped getting married and having babies a long time ago. Now their children are starting to leave home, get married, and graduate from college. Before we know it we’ll be grandparents.

2). I bought a pair of reading glasses after visiting the eye doctor. I can’t see anymore like I used to. All of the little images on my phone are blurry. I can’t make out the scribbles on receipts or read the fine print. Why is everything so tiny?

3). My husband started walking. This one really hit me hard. My husband was a runner before I was. Now he decided that he would rather walk because it is easier on his joints.

But on the flip side, I finally figured out what I want to be now that I am older. I want to be younger.

 

What’s next?

This year my husband is going to be 50.

We recently went to Thailand to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

I don’t want to do that anymore…have a reason to travel.

Our first trip out of the country together was an extended weekend in Jamaica for our 10th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t worth all the time traveling to get there late on Thursday night and head home Monday morning. We didn’t know much back then. My husband was 40 the first time he was on an airplane.

For our 15th anniversary, we took our second trip out of the country together to St. Lucia.

Our third trip out of the country was to Thailand for our 20th anniversary.

I don’t want to have a reason to travel anymore if that is something we both want to do.  It shouldn’t just be for big anniversaries. Things change. We couldn’t go before. We didn’t have the money. The kids were little. We just started a business.

Now we have financial security. We will have an empty nest in 3 years. We will be thinking about retirement within the next 10 years.

My husband will be 50. We love to travel. We have the next 10 years to do all the traveling we can before we start thinking about slowing down. Paul’s only parent died in her 60’s.

We want to get away every winter. Next year we are planning on renting a catamaran to sail around the Caribbean British Virgin Islands with friends.

I want to visit all of the continents. I’m not sure about Antarctica yet. Wisconsin winters are bad enough. I’m serious about doing this. It was scary at first. I worried about flying, being uncomfortable, not liking the food, etc… Everything new is scary at first. But if you take the first step, you’ll want to start running.

I don’t want to just visit the continents. I want to immerse myself in it. I really have a passion to learn foreign languages. I would like to be fluent in Spanish and German. I love photography and writing. I might look into what it would take to be a travel writer. I could easily write something like I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.

The time to do this is now. I can’t continue to watch the years slip away. I don’t want to look back in regret. It’s time for a second wind. I want to finish this race strong.

Its been a few days

Its been a few days since I was able to write. It’s not as if I have writer’s block or ran out of things to write about. I have a long, long list…probably longer than Santa’s…of things to write about. So many things are on my list that I am starting to cross them off not because I completed them either. Who wants to talk about Thanksgiving at Christmas?? The week of parties hasn’t even started yet…Yikes!

I have been very busy…I am standing at the kitchen counter making supper as I write. If I am lucky, I will finish this before I do the dishes and have to pick my daughter up from school. I have to start the spaghetti now.

I try to start a rough draft over my lunch hour at work. Monday at lunch, Paul and I went house hunting. We viewed the house of our dreams. But I will save that for another day. Tuesday at lunch I went to they gym. I am still running pain free!! Yeah!

Yesterday we got our first real snowfall of the season of around 7 inches. We had an employee call in. She totally freaks if there are rumors of snow. So I went home for a quick lunch so I could get back to work right away. I ended up getting stuck in my driveway. The car slid off the pavement and was tearing up the grass.

I just put the spaghetti into boiling water. I hope I don’t forget about it as I type.

So, an hour later, after my husband got my car out of the snow bank he drove me to work. Even though I stayed late, I didn’t get caught up.

Just got a text from my daughter saying that she needed to be picked up earlier. I wonder if she can catch the late bus?

Okay, where was I?

Time to layer my spaghetti lasagna. Great, I found a ride home from the late bus for my daughter so I can finish blogging supper. Supper is in the oven.

Maybe I will be able to go to choir practice tonight.

What was I talking to you about again??

Maybe I should just start folding laundry and forget about blogging for another day.

**Maybe I should let my followers know that I am alright. It has been a whole 5 days since my last post.**

Maybe tomorrow I will have the time to think about my thoughts. Now I have even more ideas to add to my list…

Who am I?

Who am I?

Sometimes I wonder who you think I am.

Have the things I told you painted a picture in your mind?

Do you know the kind of person I am by the words I write?

I sometimes think about this in the dead of night…or the early morning light..

Who am I?

Sometimes I don’t even know.

This past week I finished reading journal 4. Last year I started the project of slowly going through all of my old childhood and early adulthood journals. It has been a healing process for me…to finally come to grips with my life…my demons..

My oldest daughter has been begging to read my journals for the past year now. I now am also tasked with the duty of reading my journals with the thought that someday they will belong to my children. I want them to have a certain image of me in their minds, even after I am dead.

Journal 4 was difficult. I was angry. I could feel the rage coursing through my words. I tore out half the pages of my journal, ripped them up, and threw them out (recycling). I crossed out some of the writings with a black pen. I never destroyed a part of my life’s writings before.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t recognize myself. It was like I was reading about another girl.

Maybe I don’t really want to know myself??

I just don’t want my kids to see my darkest days. I am describing a girl that is gone now..

I just started reading journal 5 which was written before journal 4. I will probably be sharing some stories with you…

But how will you know me if I don’t recognize the old me in me anymore??

Do you really want to know the real me anyway??

Or do you think of me as a character in a book with a twisted plot?

 

What I truly want for Mother’s Day

What I truly want for Mother’s Day…

Baby, I want to hold your tiny hand in mine one more time.

I want to gather you back into the safety of my nest.

I want to be able to kiss your owwies and take away your pain.

I want you to still think that I have all of the answers and that the world is a good and magical place.

I want to sit you on my lap and read your favorite stories…I can’t seem to remember the day it all ended.

I want to laugh off the people that say it goes by so fast as I hold a crying baby in my arms.

What I truly want for Mother’s Day…

Mother, I want to see the excitement in your eyes as I give you my scribbles on a piece of pink construction paper.

I want to see the beauty of your young face and the natural color of your hair. I don’t want to see signs of you slipping away from me.

I don’t want to think that this could be our last year together like last year was for my husband’s mother.

I want to think that the little things I do or say give you lasting happiness more than flowers or a card someone else wrote on this one day of the year.

What I truly want for Mother’s Day…

Grandma, how I long to hear your voice again…to hear you sing like a bird…to tell you that you gave my daughter your gift. I want you to fully understand the influence you have had on my life and how that impacted my children.

I want to smell fresh cookies as I walk into your house and know that you made a special batch just for me.

I want you to answer the phone when I call.

I long to see your house again, the way it was before the new people moved in.

I want to smell your sweet perfume, even the scent that remains in the half empty bottle is beginning to fade.

I wish you could walk alongside of me on this journey again..

This is what I truly want for Mother’s Day.

Time, slipping away

Despite our best efforts, we didn’t make it on time.

Yesterday morning Darryl and Paul went to the nursing home to be with Martha. They each held her hand and spoke of what to do next. The nurse came in and said that she had 3 days left if they left her IV in and about 24 hours if they took it out.

They called Martha’s remaining siblings and family in for a final visit last night and decided to keep the IV in until the family came for one last visit. Then Paul and Darryl left to tie up some things at work intending to return later.

The kids were on their way home early from school and we were going to leave once they got home.

Paul received the call while we were still at work that his mother had passed moments before we were ready to leave.

We thought we would have more time.

When we got to the nursing home we went into her room and said our final good byes. It seemed so surreal. I tricked my mind into thinking she was still with us. Martha looked like she was asleep.

We had a little good bye service in the nursing home chapel.

While this was all happening, my son became seriously ill (I think he will be okay now). It was horrible timing. I was debating whether or not to take him to the ER.

I felt terrible ignoring the family to deal with another crisis.

It was one of the worst days of my life.

We almost got into two car accidents. Someone came close to sideswiping me and someone pulled out right in front of us. Then on the way home I called the doctor’s office, almost hit a fox all while driving on empty.

I felt like I was on empty too.

It was late when we finally got home.

I made a doctor’s appointment for my son first thing this morning.

I feel so sad.

My family is having a hard time dealing with this. My husband feels so lost without his mother. He said he misses her so terribly much already.

This weekend we will be picking our daughter up from college for the funeral. She is on tour right now with the music department. She was going to surprise her grandma by having the choir sing her a song, but there wasn’t enough time.

I had to stop myself from crying at the doctor’s office this morning.

I feel so confused. I’m forgetting the details which rarely happens to me. I feel like I am running on auto pilot without thinking.

I missed planning the funeral arrangements because I was at the doctor’s office.

Then I needed to stop for groceries. We have nothing to eat in the house. We have been making the hour and a half round trip to see Martha almost every day this week. There hasn’t been time to take care of all the little things.

At the store, I saw a daughter helping her elderly father shop. I almost started crying again.

This has been so emotionally and physically exhausting. We haven’t been sleeping well.

At least Paul had the chance to say good bye. Last week, he had the opportunity to visit his mother alone. He told her he loved her, that she was a good mother, and that he appreciated the sacrifices she made for him.

He said it was one of the hardest things that he has ever done, but it was a very special moment.

He wanted to put it off, thinking that he had more time.

But time has a way of slipping away faster than we can keep our hands on it.

 

 

 

A lot of praying, without a prayer

Playing the waiting game is never the fun and games it sounds like.

Yesterday my mom and Paul’s mom had doctor appointments.

As expected, my mom had the best news. The doctor wasn’t sure if she has glaucoma. She will have to do more waiting. But she does have cataracts and needs surgery.

My mom has always been the best driver that I ever knew, up until recently that is. I noticed little changes, like pulling out in front of traffic when she really didn’t have enough time or showing greater than necessary hesitation.

She is starting to forget little things too. She forgot my sister-in-law’s birthday. She forgot about my daughter’s holiday concerts. I found myself so busy at work that I didn’t have time to remind her either. The gradual decline is troubling at times.

My mother-in-law Martha’s decline has been more of a steep descent lately. She wanted to die at home which is not going to happen. She slept during her oncology appointment yesterday. The doctor decided to stop all treatment and keep her at the nursing home. He used words like keeping her comfortable.

I did start writing about two sentences of a eulogy. Oh, I already wrote it. I wrote it in my head while I was driving, running, and trying to sleep but I can’t seem to write it down on paper.

I started going through the old pictures. I didn’t realize how poor quality they are. The smiling images are not centered, blurry, or dark more often than not. I have gotten used to taking 50 images of the same event and deleting the ones that are not perfect. It’s not like the good old days where we took one or two pictures in an effort not to waste film and having them all turn out bad. I can’t part with the less than perfect images because that is all I have left besides the fading memories.

I feel depressed. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my grandma’s death, next week is the anniversary of the death of Aunt Grace. The despair of death and dying is surrounding me. It makes me feel nostalgic and melancholy on these bleak days of midwinter. This is the month that I lost the most loved ones and another will soon be added to the list.

We last visited Martha at the nursing home on Sunday. How I hate it there. I wondered how the young employees could work there day in and out without pondering their future fate. It seems like a nice place. I haven’t seen anyone mistreated.

What I hate is the joy that is robbed from having no hope. There is no hope that she is going to get better. There is no hope that her life will ever be the same. The despair of not having any hope left is emotionally draining. There is nothing we can do about it. Every time we see her, she is getting worse.

I have always clung to hope in the darkest times, but there isn’t a prayer although there is a lot of praying.

It was hard seeing Martha on Sunday. When we got there, she was laying in an uncomfortable position. We worked together to move her body. I lifted her shoulder while supporting her head. Her words came out in a mumbled whisper. She pointed and we guessed what was being said. She kept saying that her mouth was dry but she didn’t want to drink. She rummaged through her purse for aspirin although she just got pain medicine. She faded in and out of sleep.

Before we leave, we always take her for a walk to see the birds. The nurse carried her into a wheelchair and hooked her up to her portable oxygen tank. Paul pushed the wheelchair as I walked alongside with the IV. You would think that it would be easy to push the IV along but it rolled along like a shopping cart with a messed up wheel. I swerved around as I tried to avoid obstacles trying not rip or twist up her cords that were everywhere.

The birds flitted about in a relaxed manner. The residents spoke of the birds. They spoke of a man that comes around to clip the birds nails and clean out the cages. They spoke of this with great importance. They weren’t in a hurry, they were content to sit and watch the birds like it was the most important thing in the world.

It seemed like a mystery to me. The residents didn’t seem worried or to live in the hustle bustle world of deadlines and time constraints like most of us do, yet they have less time..

Tonight Paul and I will visit Martha. Darryl said that her condition has deteriorated considerably since our visit two days ago. We sense the urgency and are nervous when we hear the phone ring.

It could be any time now..