Thursday, May 7, 2009


Entry for January 30, 2008

When I woke up yesterday I said a totally different prayer than I have been saying. Instead of the whole litany that I ususally go through (Oh, Jesus, please let our house sell soon, let Charlie get into a good school in MO, help us find a suitable house down there, good friends, blah, blah, blah), I simply prayed, "Lord, Your will be done." Amazing what God can do when you get out of His way...
The last thing that needs to get done to make the house move-in ready was refinish the upsatirs hallway floor. Since we are leaving soon for MO, there's very little time to do this. Joe will be home for less than 12 hours before we leave, so he can't do it. So, I decide that I am the best candidate for the job. I put out a message on the homeschool Yahoo group asking for a palm sander. I get an overwhelming response. A good friend calls and volunteers her sander and her husband drops it off Tuesday morning. I thank him profusely. I look at it and try to make sense of it. I start getting intimidated. It comes with a case of attachments. I put that in a corner without opening it up. The phone rings. It is my friend, Kerry. She's coming over with a floor sander. Whoa! A floor sander! It sounds even more intimidating than the palm sander, but it also sounds faster!
Kerry backs into the parking lot next to my house and I go out to help her carry the sander in. This thing is HEAVY. Not "Oh, gee, this bag of groceries is heavy" heavy. More like "Oh, @#%* I am going to @#%* DIE!!!" heavy. We count to three then hoist it out of the trunk. She starts to laugh. Very contagious. I join in. Here we are balancing the sander between us and just roaring with laughter. We begin to shuffle down the sidewalk with the thing and then realize that it has wheels on the bottom. Sheepishly, we lower it and push it to the porch, then hoist it up and get it in the house. Now, for the stairs. I bust out laughing again. Kerry joins in and I tell her that we are like the mice in Cinderella trying to get the key up the stairs. "Stop making me laugh!" she laughs. We compose ourselves and I get on the step and start to pull, while she stays at the bottom and pushes. (Did I mention this thing was HEAVY???) Slowly we pull it up. I am grunting like Monica Seles. Finally we get it to the top. Somehow we feel as if this was an episode of I Love Lucy. I get the curious urge to drink Vitameatavegamin while stuffing candy in my mouth and stomping on grapes. But it passes. Ethel, uh, Kerry, shows me how to use the thing. I try it out while she is with me. We both marvel at it's effectiveness. Then Kerry goes home with the promise to come get it tomorrow.
The phone rings. It is another one of my good friends. She said she heard that I am sanding today and she's bringing over dinner. I start to protest and she said she knew I was going to do that and to stop it because she's bringing over dinner anyway. Now, I stop because this particular friend happens to be an excellent cook, so I take the offer.
I round the kids up. I explain to them that schoolwork must be done independently and they must either do it in their rooms or in the classroom, but they may NOT come into the hallway. I show them the sander and how it works, to satisfy their curiosity, then send them into exile.
About 2 hours later I am done with as much as I could do with the floor sander. I shut it off and lean against the wall, exhausted. Those things are hard to use!!! The phone rings. It's Kerry. I tell her I am done. She can't believe it. Neither can I. About an hour later she shows up to pick up the sander. Now for the challenge. We need to get the sander into her van. Here we go! Down was easier than up. We take it easily to her car. As we were lifting it off the ground into the trunk we both get another attack of the giggles. It gets stuck on the bumper. We laugh harder. Finally it goes in. Just as Kerry closes the trunk, my parents show up. They want to see the floor. They are incredulous. My Mom asks when I am going to get the rest done. "Right now," I tell her. I'm on a roll. She offers to stay and make sure the kids don't do anything harmful or illegal while I am sanding. They need to be downstairs because the palm sander doesn't have a bag for the sawdust and I don't want them breathing it in. Another hour later I am done. Wow! I am feeling pretty cocky right now. I may even go for my own show on HGTV: Desperation Remodeling on a Non-Existant Budget. What do you think? I could be the creative, free-spirit and Kerry can be the organized, tech-pro sidekick. Or, we could just be Lucy and Ethel.
I go and sit down on the couch. Ouch. Someone suggested I wear knee pads when doing the palm sanding and I don't remember that little nugget of advice until now, when my knees look like two lumps of ground beef. Hey, it's an occupational hazard when you are a skilled remodeler like me, I think to myself. My mother offers to vaccuum upstairs. I let her. When she finishes I thank her and she leaves. Several minutes later, dinner arrives hot and right to my door. God bless my dinner fairy! She made chili and corn bread and fruit salad. Oh, yum! We pray for all the people who helped us that day, then dig in. Genevieve has a head cold, so she just wants the fruit. I spoon some into a bowl for her. She peers in. "But, Mom, where's the salad?" In Genevieve's world, salad is synonymous with lettuce. I explain to her that fruit salad has no salad in it. This is acceptable to her and she polishes it off immediately, then requests more.
Dinner was excellent. There was almost no clean up involved and for some reason the kids are very tired, so I decide it's bedtime. By 9:00 the house is quiet and all are abed. Before I drift off, I remember to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the friends that God has given me. I also put in that I am confused as to why He is asking me to leave them and go down to MO, but I try not to dwell. He is smarter than me. He knows what He is doing. I know that we function as His hands here on earth. Today he used the hands of four generous women to help me through. Maybe in Missouri it will be my hands he uses to help someone else...

Entry for January 29, 2008

I am SO tired. Tell you all about it tomorrow...

Entry for January 25, 2008
I was so tired today. It was like anvils were attached to every appendage. I am so weighed down by the responsibilities of single parenting, selling the house, catching up because we are behind in school, etc., that it is taking it's toll on me physically and emotionally. My energy is gone. So, we did what we call "couch school." Everyone gets on the couch under a blanket and we do school on our laps. It is a cozy way to pass a cold winter morning.
When I realized that I was nodding off, I gave the kids a break and told them to play in the livingroom while I shut my eyes for a minute. They begin to plot and plan. They leave the room. They come back with supplies. There is a lot of activity. I get no true rest. Someone taps me on the shoulder. It is Noah with a small piece of cardboard. "We're doing a TV show, Mom. Here's your remote." The piece of cardboard was decorated with channel and volume buttons and a power button. I haul my sleepy body up into a semi-sitting position and press the piece of cardboard. "Click," I say. On the coffee table is a box with a rectangular hole cut into it. The Weather Channel is on. A small hand dressed in an old sock with a face on it appears in the cut-out "screen" and delivers the weather report.
Genevieve comes over and climbs up on my legs. She asks for the remote and says. "Click." The Children's Channel comes on. Three socked hands appear and announce that today's topic is the alphabet. The sock in the middle explains that the alphabet was invented by the Phoenicians, who were also called the Makers of Civilization because they were fisherman who travelled from port to port bringing the ideas from one culture to another. Genevieve is stone still, like she's having an apparition or something. It is amazing how kids are drawn to the TV, even a fake one. The sock trio sing the alphabet and have Genevieve guess some letters. She's having a ball.
After the Children's Channel we were treated to the Animal Channel where we learned that some cats, like the Scottish Fold, have folded ears. After the was the Myth Channel where we learned the difference between a Chinese dragon and a plain, mythological one. After this, TV is done for the day. Three heads appear on the screen. I am told that today's TV was brought to me by Bella, Noah and Angelina. We clap. Genevieve says, "Click." TV time is done.
We say the rosary afterward. Charlie comes home from school. The younger 4 kids go outside (briefly, because it is COLD), then have hot cocoa. We finish up school then eat dinner. Charlie initiates a game of chase with me while Genevieve watches. She stands off to the side clapping and laughing while the two of us collapse in a heap on the floor. The other children play with Legos for awhile and it's off to bed for everyone.
My afternoon TV watching sure perked up the day. Who needs a 60" plasma? Who needs Oprah? I have the best TV in town. Maybe even the world...

Entry for January 24, 2008
We had a doll hair mishap today. Isabella's beloved Elizabeth's hair somehow got melted. Bella is very distraught. I feel terrible. That doll is so precious to her. Her Nana makes handmade clothes for the doll and Bella dresses her in them all the time. I called the company to see if we could just get a replacement head instead of buying a new one. Noah says she needs a "complete headectomy."
Noah's birthday was yesterday. He's 11 now. He was my biggest baby at 9 lbs. 1 oz. He had jet black hair when he was born and it stuck straight up in a Mohawk. He looked like a Sumo wrestler. If you saw a baby picture of him, you'd never know it was the same child now. He has sandy colored hair and is thin, but athletic. No more Sumo wrestler.
Noah was born 6 years after Charlie. Charlie was a c-section and I wanted to do a VBAC with Noah and no epidural. I wanted to offer the labor up for a specific intention and so I prayed through the whole thing. I remember being at the hospital and being in labor and doing all my hoos and hees like a good Lamazer and all of a sudden I blacked out. When I came to I was on the floor hugging a metal box. Joe and the nurses flipped me back on the bed and all of a sudden I felt like I had to push. I managed to whisper "push" to Joe between hees and hoos.
Joe: I think my wife has to push.
Nurse: Impossible. We just checked her. She's at 7 cm. She has a way to go yet.
Me: Puuuusshhhh!
Joe: (breaking out into a cold sweat) "Ah! Go get the doctor!"
Nurse: But...
Joe: GO get the DOCTOR!!!
Nurse runs out, doctor runs in.
Doctor: Holy Crow! It's the head!
The head came out. That was the easy part. You know, they always make a big deal about the head. Now, I'm laying there thinking this and realizing that there are a pair of SHOULDERS that follow the head. No one ever mentions the shoulders. I decide I am not going to do it. Too big. Joe and the doctor are cheering me on. I try to push without really pushing. It doesn't work. I pray a Hail Mary. Somehow the strength comes to me. One huge push and here he is! The big red Sumo wrestler enters the world!
Doctor: WOW! I honestly did not think you could do this!
Me: Thanks for telling me AFTER I gave birth.
Noah was so big and I needed so many stitches that we achieved sort of a celebrity status in the maternity ward. Until two days later, when someone gave birth to a 10 lb. 11 oz. baby. Ouch...
We decided to head down to Smithville again in a couple of weeks. We seriously need some family time. At bedtime, I was telling Charlie this. He said, "Missouri, west, north." I explained that it is west, but it is south, not north. I continued to talk about the trip and he began moving away from me. Then he clamped his hand over my mouth. Coffee breath. I had downed a cup right before tucking him in. I apologized and moved away. He picked up the blanket and held it over my mouth. Oh, well. Payback for all those sardine kisses he's given me...

Entry for January 18, 2008
We were studying religion and one of the questions I asked Noah was, "Why shouldn't we place our faith in horse shoes, ouija boards or fortune tellers?" Noah answered that it is because it is the sin of superstition because it attributes power to a creature and not God. (He was correct) Then Angelina chimes in, "Yes, and it could be painful for the horse!"
OK, so I absolutely could NOT take it anymore. I looked like a Beatle. Something had to be done, so I gave myself a haircut. Yes, I did. It actually came out pretty good. I had picked up a texturizing scissors awhile back and that thing is a wonder. This is not the first time I have cut my own hair. Patience is definitely NOT one of my personal virtues. And thank goodness for hair putty. Spiky, messy hair doesn't reveal mistakes as much as perfectly coiffed hair does. That's why I opt for spiky and messy.
So, for those of you who e-mailed me that you were afraid of the shrub; the shrub is gone. But beware, she'll be back in about 6-8 weeks...

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