Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Hot in This Spot

It's hot.

Temperatures today are supposed to be in the high 90's, with comfort level in the low 100's.

So today, naturally, our brand-new heating and cooling system here at work set off the fire alarm.  The alarm came from a duct detector that is malfunctioning, so it shut down the whole air conditioning system.  We can't get the technicians out here for at least another hour, and when they do get here there will be problems. The alarm company says it's the heating and cooling company's fault.  The heating and cooling company says it's the alarm company's fault.

It would seem we're caught in the middle of two providers who are at odds with each other.

In the meantime, the temperature in my office is 75.7 and climbing.

Even though we are a Christian-based non-profit, it would seem we're going through our own little version of hell right now. The boss has said once it hits 80 we may just send everyone home.

Make no mistake...I AM ALL FOR IT.

Ice may be at a premium for the next few hours.

Film at 11.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Old Dogs

Earlier this year, Hubster and I decided it was time to get our financial lives in order.  After all, he's 69 years old now, and I'm 57.  We figured it was about time we grew up...at least in this regard.

To that end, we attended Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at our church.  The class was nine weeks long, and gave us a pretty firm foundation for what needed to happen. The class began in February.

We started budgeting,  paying cash for a lot of items, and snowballing our bills.  Since we began the class we had paid off two bills, put money into savings, and were well on the way to realizing our goals.

And then, Dad died.

We got some money from his life insurance policies, and I socked it away.  I wanted to make sure it was safe and we wouldn't spend it unless it was absolutely necessary.  So......

We got a bid on remodeling two of our bathrooms.

The builder came in and measured here, there, and yonder.  He figured up things on his clipboard.  He gave us costs in a ballpark fashion, and promised to email us the end costs later.

That's where The Boy stepped in.

"Who was that guy, and what was he doing?" The Boy asked, innocently.  We explained that we were looking to renew and renovate the Necessary Rooms.

And, as they say, out of the mouths of babes this came...

"What on earth do you think you're doing???  You're in DEBT.  You don't REMODEL until the DEBT is paid off!!!  Didn't you guys learn anything during that class?  Sheesh..."

Duly chastised, we hung our heads.  Point taken, Son.  Well said.

Proverbs 26:11 says, "As dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly."

Looks like these old dogs need to learn some new tricks.  We'll be taking the refresher class in September.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Only the Love

It's been a while, friends.  Much has happened over the past few months.


In May, Dad was hospitalized with end-stage COPD.  At that time, the doctor told him he had 12 - 18 months to live.  This was not a surprise.  Dad's been on oxygen for over fifteen years, gradually needing more and more.  His lungs were just giving out.

After leaving the hospital, he was transferred to a skilled nursing unit so that we might be able to get him strong enough to go to assisted living in our city.  After only a week there, he had to be life-flighted to the hospital again.  This time he was put on a ventilator.

After a few days he was able to breathe on his own.  He was transferred from ICU to his own room. People came in to visit, giving us a break and giving him some much-needed company.  Almost anyone that cared about him was able to see him during those days.

My cousin came in with her new husband, and gave him a haircut.  He walked with an aide down the hall and back.  Then he decided he wanted to take a nap.  Rather than watch him sleep, we kissed him goodbye, told him we loved him, and left.

That was the last time we saw him alive.

The next morning, June 8th, we left our in-hospital hotel room and went downstairs to the cafeteria to have breakfast. We went back to the room, packed up, and were walking down the hall when we got the call.

Dad, who was only a few hallways away, had died.

The nurse told us he had pulled off his oxygen tube as he slept.  When she came in to check on him, he was already gone.

The following days have been full.  The funeral arrangements, travel to and from his hometown 250 miles away, cleaning out his house, dealing with all the paperwork, and realizing he really is gone...all have kept us busy.  His estate was not in order, so we will have to go to court to get things completely straightened out. Thank God for Sis.  She is handling all of the estate stuff.  I just sign papers.

How are we doing?  People ask, and I honestly don't know what to say.  Dad and I had not been on the best of terms since he left Mom after almost 45 years of marriage.  We did make our peace with each other before he died, and for that I am truly thankful.

However, those years of hurt feelings, disappointments, and hardened hearts left their mark. I had already grieved my father as if he was dead when he left Mom.  It took years of prayer to finally forgive him.  But all that grieving was already done when he died.  I wanted to feel it again, but it just wasn't there.  I wanted it back because I felt as though it would show that I truly loved him if I cried, felt the heartache again.

In the end, all I felt was sorrow.  Sorrow that I could not live all those years over again with a father who truly cared about me and my sister.  Sorrow that he had a warped idea of what love truly was.  Sorrow that we were not there when he died.  Sorrow that he never accepted Christ, even though we tried time and time again to witness to him.

In the end, not much matters.  Only the love remains.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Of May and a Myriad of Other Things

Oh my word...it's MAY.

Time flies when you're having fun.

Yesterday was El Dia de la Madre (or should that be LA Dia ...)  The Boy, The Girl and Hubster went to church with me, then prepared a lovely steak dinner, complete with fresh asparagus.

(NOTE:  There will be fresh asparagus in Heaven.  And it will be grilled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt.  And you won't have to share it with anyone.)

Church was especially moving for me yesterday.  Our associate pastor spoke about dreams, and how we deal with it when they're broken.  There was a particularly personal drama about children dealing with the care of an elderly parent.  That started the waterworks on my part, and there was no drying me up. After the drama, three of my friends shared about the major alterations of their lives, and I continued to cry.  And just when I thought I was done, the band started in and reaffirmed just how good God is...and I started all over again.

I LOVE MY CHURCH.

The people and the programs and the services all connect me to God in a mighty way.

I just wish I knew when I was going to be touched so deeply, so I could at least bring along a box of Kleenex.  As it was, I dug around in my purse and found a semi-used napkin to mop up my face.

Wow.  Just...WOW.

Hoping your day was as excellent as mine!

Friday, April 25, 2014

One

I am up at first light.  I’ve been dreaming of bathrooms, toilets open to the view of anyone who passes by.  My dreams become my alarm clock, waking me to insistent urges no matter how hard I try to remain in my warm, cozy bed.

I take care of the necessary and stumble, still half asleep, toward the oasis of my mornings; the coffee pot.  Fortified by the warmth of that first cup, I hold it with both hands.  The heat glows down into the joints of my fingers and loosens the stiffness I struggle with each day.  My eyes slowly clear and I become a more coherent version of me.

My husband is out on the porch swing enjoying his first cigarette of the day and the coffee he prepared before I got up.  This is his alone time, his time to think, to worry, to talk with the neighbor that comes over to join him on the swing.  They chat about this and that, enjoying their smokes and the morning.

He turns on the television before he goes outside, listening to the weather, the traffic, the latest shooting report.  It stays on for the rest of the day unless I turn it off.  I reach for the remote and mute the noise.  I need the quiet to gather my thoughts, to pray, to find the energy it will take to get through the time I must pass until I can lose myself in sleep once again.

He comes in through the back door and begins to tell me what has been on his mind today.  We talk through life during these mornings.  We reminisce about the children, the grandchildren and our lives together.  We talk through problems, finances, everything we need to do that day.

We connect.  And in that connection, our lives become not just the two of us, but one.  One mind, one strength, one purpose, one united front against all the problems we will face today.  Two hearts joined as one.

I rise from my chair and hand him the remote.  As I go upstairs to get ready for work I hear the weather report playing in the background.


It’s going to be another sunny day.