Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Archive for November, 2014

Tires and Dating my Husband

I think it’s high time we talked about tires.  I’ve been neglecting this subject for far too long.  It’s almost as if I can hear readers asking, “How long must we wait?  When can we talk tires?”

I hear you.  And, I’m answering your call.

Snow tires.  Crazy, right?  Crazy good.  I thought I needed a new car, because for the last two years, any time there was more than three flakes of snow,  my car would handle as well as if it were on a banana peel highway.

Right here is where I need to make an important announcement: Banana peel jokes are classic.  They never fail to kill me. My high school friends and I used to make jokes about leaving banana peels on the floor of the school’s hallway. We always wanted to do that, and then sit back and watch all the people try to catch their balance, and fall. We laughed so hard at this plan.  Mainly, because does anyone really know if banana peels are slippery?  And, if you walk across a banana peel, will your feet slip out from under you like you’re on a slippery patch of ice.  Because that’s what happens in cartoons, and I don’t think they’d make that stuff up.   I think you should try it, and then let me know. I’m almost 43, and that’s still funny.

But, those are just my thoughts on banana peels, and that’s not what you came here for, is it?  You were hoping for more of my auto mechanical expertise.  I will deliver. I bought these four beautiful snow tires. Snow tires are expensive, which is the main reason I’ve never had them before.


Wisconsin had its first of what I’m sure will be the next 600 snow storms this winter (except it’s still fall, technically).  When I heard the weather report, I felt my usual weather related anxiety start to percolate.  I’m not a very brave bad weather driver.   I did feel a little curious about whether the the snow tires would work.

They do.

I could tell immediately.  Anyone who has a fuel efficient vehicle like mine, a vehicle that weighs as much as  a lady bug, needs snow tires.  I’m telling you now.  These things are beautiful.  Maybe my favorite purchase ever.  After driving a while, and gaining confidence with these things,  I just started getting cocky.  I started thinking there was a pretty good chance other drivers were noticing how easily I stopped and started in the snow, and some jealousy was happening.

I got a little mean, and started rubbing it in to the other drivers.  I’d speed faster than normal to a stop sign, and then I stopped hard. No slipping.  I’d look at the other drivers, and shrug my shoulders, smile and wave.  Like, you know, what are ya gonna do?  Blessed.

I used to be jealous of semi drivers on the highway with their big, fat heavy, show offy tires. Braggers. Now, I speed by those semis, and use my little tin can on wheels to kick up snow in their windshield.  Pay backs stink, right?

I’m lying again.  And, if you’ve ever seen me drive in the snow, you’d know it.  You thought your Grandma was cautious.  Drive with me some time.  Grandma will look like a race car driver.  Not even snow tires will make me take chances.

That’s my review on snow tires. The other thing I’m thinking about is dating my husband.  I was in the Doctor’s office the other day, and by Doctor’s office, I mean, getting a manicure.  (It’s just for the holidays.  I promise. People are starving in this world, so I don’t know WHY I am getting a manicure.  I just prefer to lie about it for now).

So, AT the Doctor’s office, where I was having a pretty serious medical procedure, there was a talk show playing on TV.  The subject of the show was, “Dating your Husband”. There was this cute couple being interviewed. The couple had been married for 14-years.  The wife was crying, because she thought her husband took her for granted. She said she missed the days when he pursued her with romance.  The husband was really sweet.  He explained that between their children and his career, he just felt tired.  He said he really loved his wife, but didn’t know how to bring back the magic.

Do you realize how AWESOME daytime TV is?  I forgot.   All of us day time workers are being TOTALLY robbed.  I’m telling you that right now,   amazing things happen when you get to watch daytime TV.

So, this husband was on this show, because he wanted to woo his wife.  I was excited to watch more.  If the Doctor wouldn’t have been filing my nails, I would have taken notes.  I thought I could tell Scott about whatever I learned, and then maybe he would want to woo me.

The first thing this man did was send his wife a giant box with a bow.  The wife opened the box and the box was filled with Monarch butterflies.  Which, of course, didn’t just sit there.  The Monarchs all started flying out of the box.  There was a note in the box that said something  beautiful about the magic of flying butterflies and the couple’s love.

What do you think?

Frightening.  That  is what I thought.  I think if  a herd of monarchs came flying at me, that would be kind of an emergency in my book.  The kind of emergency where I run away screaming.  Plus, right away I was wondering if this whole butterflies in a box thing was in the butterflies best interest.  Do butterflies want to be in a box, and now flying around your house?  Is that their natural habitat?  Seems a little selfish to use butterflies as a love note.

That’s the part of the story where I realized I’m not very good at romance. I prefer the type of romance that makes sense.

Beneath the Monarchs is a lovely green dress the husband has chosen for his wife.  And, again, I’m ruining the fun for this couple, because I’m thinking husbands picking out clothes for their wives sounds like a disaster to me.

The last time Scott bought me clothes was 25 years ago.  Please do NOT ask him about this, because that guy can beat a dead horse.  He still laments about how he spent hours (or was it days) looking for just the right sweater.  He finally found it, and then spent a LOT of money on it (which I think is the part that makes him the most sorry) and then I never wore it.  This story is so old, and been told so many times, I leave the room when it starts.

Scott tells this sad tale, and he always builds up to the part of his greatest offense.  He says that after not wearing the sweater, I then ruined it with bleach.  He says I did it on purpose. I’ll always deny it.  Because, I didn’t.  At least not consciously.  Scott knows I ruin tons of things in the laundry.  It’s just that the sweater kinda looked like a team uniform.  Which I would guess now is exactly why Scott liked it.  He wanted me on his team.   And, again, I’m not good at romance.

After the dress giving from this romantic husband, there was a picnic in a theater, and then a boat ride where the couple (of course) reenacted the famous scene from “The Titanic”.  After that,  the husband got down on one knee and asked his wife to marry him…again. A big fat, shiny ring was involved, as if we thought there wouldn’t be.  The husband had then arranged for the ship’s captain to conduct a vow renewal ceremony, where these two crazy kids professed their love to each other.  There were lots of tears, and lots of loud-smacking, cringe-worthy kissing scenes.  I don’t need to see that.

What do you think?  Do you love it?

I thought I would love it, but this thing made me miserable.  I thought this show would teach me  about how husbands bring  popcorn and a movie home for their wives on a Friday night.  Or, how they go get milk so their wives don’t have to do it on the way home from work. Or, how a husband will start the car, and scrape the windshield of their wive’s car in the early morning.

That’s not what I learned.

Now, none of that stuff will even make me happy.  Not now that I know there are wives out there prancing in fields of Monarchs, to the delight of their husbands.  Wives who are hanging off the front of boats with their arms spread wide, as their husbands hold them, and romantic music plays.  Wives who are being surprised with big shiny rings, and romantic,  surprise proposals.

All I was hoping for was a crappy gallon of milk.

Maybe daytime TV isn’t as helpful as I thought.



Immigration From My Perspective

Do you remember when I blogged about marijuana?  I told a story that only I could tell.  I told a story about what I have learned about marijuana from the people in my life who have used marijuana.  I didn’t pretend to know the right laws to pass, and how to proceed in the  bigger world.  I just said that what I have witnessed is the destruction of bright, talented teenage boys who have decided they love marijuana enough to marry it.  Or, at least, trade it for their future.

I said that maybe legalizing marijuana will do what some folks say.  Maybe all sorts of problems will be solved when legalizing marijuana happens.  That’s how I’ve heard the story spun.  So be it. Maybe those pro-legalization folks are right.  But, I can’t change what I have seen.

I will continue to tell my kids that even if they see marijuana Twinkies on the shelves at Wal Mart, don’t be fooled.  (And, really, you shouldn’t be eating Twinkies anyway.)  Marijuana puts exciting, adventurous, productive young lives at risk.  I’ve seen it.

My viewpoint on immigration is also colored by my own experience.  Really, do we have anything else?  I’m not impartial.

It’s interesting to me that my thoughts on immigration have also been formed by taking part in the lives, and building friendships with teenage boys.  I should thank my husband for bringing these kids into our lives.  I’ve learned a lot from them.

I’ve been trying to listen to the larger immigration debate.  I’ll tell you straight up, I don’t have a handle on it.  I don’t know all the issues, and I don’t know who is right and who is wrong.  I can’t imagine being in a position of having to sort it all out.  It’s a lot.

My personal stance on immigrants is that I love them.  Or, at least, I love the immigrants I know.  I never realized these kids I know are immigrants.  I just thought they were awesome kids.  They are just kids I like with fewer privileges than most, and  kids who work really hard.

One day , Scott asked me if I could give one of these young guys a ride home from wrestling practice.  This boy usually rode his bike to practice in the early morning, and home at night.  I assumed he lived in town.  He didn’t.  He lived eight miles away.  Morning practices start at 6:30.  Wrestling is in the winter.  In Wisconsin.

When I dropped this boy off, I could see that our modest house was luxurious in comparison with where this boy lived.  After I dropped this boy off, I  had a rare experience.  I had no words.

Later, when I was freaking out and telling Scott how amazing this kid was for riding his bike to practice, Scott said he knew.  He also told me that the gears on this guy’s bike weren’t even working properly.  The bike was stuck in a high gear, making the hills on this boy’s route even harder.

We found that boy a better bike after that,  and made sure he had rides (in a car) as often as possible.  Because really, how many Americans don’t have extra bikes in the garage? Not many.

My kids were young,  and in the car with me when I gave that boy a ride home.  On the way home,  after my words came back, I started wishing I could make that boy understand that my kids were better people for knowing him.  I was grateful to him for teaching my kids and me about how to work harder and be more appreciative.  I was hoping I could some how pay him back for that.

This boy is just one of Scott’s many friends who came from, or who had parents who came from Mexico.  We’re lucky to know these people.

Most of these guys we know through wrestling.  Many times, these boys end up having to quit the team before their senior year.  These boys apologize, and tell Scott they wish they could stay on the team, because they love it.  But, sadly,  they can’t.  These boys have jobs, and families who need whatever income these boys can provide.

Some of these boys have made it to their senior year.  Some how their families were able to sacrifice the boys’ earning potential, and allow the boys to have this American wrestling experience.  I’d like to get to know the parents of these boys better, and hopefully be friends.  But, I don’t know most of these parents, because I never see them.  These parents work 7 days a week cleaning offices and hotels, and working in factories.

We have received thank you gifts from one single mom, for helping her boys.  Jeesh.  I’m embarrassed to even write that. Can you believe it?  I want to tell that Mom this, “I know you are as fiercely devoted to your children as I am to mine.  I know that you would do anything to protect your kids and help them succeed in life.  I know that you would love to watch your kids wrestle, if you could.  But, you have to make a choice to feed and shelter your boys over watching them wrestle.   I’m sorry that I get to watch our kids while you work.  That isn’t fair.  I hate to ask anything of you, but could I ask you to PLEASE just let me be the one who is grateful?

I’m grateful to you,  because you inspire me.  I hope that if I was in your situation I would have the grit and determination to do everything within my power to give my kids a good life.  I hope I wouldn’t feel sorry for myself, but I think that maybe I would  I see what you are doing, and I love you for it.  We are the ones who owe YOU a gift.  We owe you a gift for the lessons you’ve brought into our lives.  Valuable lessons are worth more than any possessions.”

I like living in my world.  I like a world where my kids get to be friends with people who speak a different language, and who can teach them about another culture.  It would be excellent if our family had the resources and time to travel to other countries and see families living in other cultures in person.  That’s NOT our life.   Our life is here, in a small town in Wisconsin.  So, I thank God for finding another way for us.

One boy from Mexico brought this home to Scott from his last trip to Mexico.

Hello! I’m El Chavo

This is a popular cartoon character in Mexico.  His name is El Chavo.  A large plastic version of this guy sat proudly in our living room all summer.  Scott, finally took him to his classroom.  I’m not gonna lie and say I was sad to see him go.  He was a little out of place with our current decor.  But, he was fun, and we loved that our friend shared part of his world with us.

I heard an American politician on the radio this week say that he was only in favor of keeping immigrants who were highly skilled.  He thought the rest should be sent back.  I heard and a I listened to this politician.  He certainly has a right to believe what he believes, and he has the right to express himself.  He’s probably a good guy.  But, he is NOT speaking for me.  There isn’t anything about his statement that fits my experience.  Truthfully, I am repelled by his sentiments.  Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like him as person, but there it is.

I was thinking I’d better speak for myself.

I know there should be laws to organize immigration, but, if you ask me what my opinion is, I will tell you ALL are welcome.  If it were up to me, I would tell immigrants that of course you can live in the  United States, if you’d like.   We gotta be organized about it, but we’re glad you came.  And, honestly,  I didn’t realize the permission was mine to grant.  The United States isn’t really mine, you know.  I don’t own it.  This is just the country where God decided I should be born.

One of the boys  from Mexico that we know is becoming an adult now.  He’s going to a trade school full time, and working full time too.  He is working and going to school 7 days a week,  trying to make a better life for him and his little brothers.  I’m not sure if that politician I mentioned would consider this young man a “highly skilled” person,  or not.  But, this young man is my friend.  We watched him grow up, and helped him understand all the things you could do in the United States to make a better life for yourself.  He’s doing everything Scott suggested he do, and more.

I would like to embrace opportunity, and work as hard as this young friend of ours.  I don’t think he’s been given anything that he hasn’t returned with interest. I want to live in a world with guys like this, and in a world that welcomes them.  And that’s just what my life has taught me about immigration.

I’m Not High; I’m Happy.

I am happy.  I am happy to be alive, and happy to wake up, and happy to go to work, and happy to be breathing.  I am just happy.   Happiness isn’t the best subject for a blog.  I know that.   Because, really, life just goes to crap so often, and who wants to read about some annoying lady who is happy? That’s not helping.  That’s kind of boring, and I don’t blame you for saying it.   But, I just gotta call it like I see it.  I’m not good at fake stuff.  You just have to go where you’re led, right?

Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of high.  You might not believe me when I tell you that I’ve never been high, but I’m not joshing ya. I just dealt the stuff, I was never dumb enough to take it. I’ve got a lying problem.  I’m sorry for that.  And, maybe I should try to remember that not everyone who reads my blog is a close friend, or related to me.  Some people might not actually realize that I wouldn’t be a very good crack dealer.  It’s just not my skill set.

What I’m trying to say is just that I think how I feel right now might be what feeling high is like. If  that’s true, I can see why people become addicts.

Last year at this time, life was hard.  I blogged my way through it; thank you for that.  Blogging helps.

Eddie was so sick at this time last year. Really sick.  I don’t want to say we were desperate, but we were desperate.  The whole winter was excruciating, really.  We just kept waiting for a reprieve; we couldn’t seem to find one.  Watching my son’s body be beaten by illness was bad. And, by bad, I mean soul crushing.  Physically, things were a mess.  Mentally, things were worse.  The whole ridiculous battle just felt like too much.

It’s hard watching people you love face pain and hardship. You try to fight for them, but, eventually you realize you really can’t.  They have to fight for themselves.  You watch them fight alone, and you hate it.  You’re not sure they’re strong enough to win. Eventually, they get tired.  They quit believing winning is possible.  They want to quit fighting. You hate it more.  You hate it as much as you’ve hated anything in your life.  You wish you could start from the beginning, but you can’t.  This is your life.

Last year there was a lot of fighting.  Last year there was a lot of me watching my son fight alone.  Last year there was a lot of crying, and wondering just what was so wrong with me trying to fight for him.

Last year, my counselor told me to, “stop”.  He did.  He told me to hand the gloves over to Eddie and to back out of the ring. He told me It was time for me to trust Eddie to fight for himself.   My counselor said this exactly, “A parent can never make something happen for their child by wanting it more than the child does.”

I’m not sure anyone has ever said something I needed to hear more than that.  That sentence from my counselor changed everything.  I’m still not exactly sure how, but my obsession with Eddie’s health, happiness and future, was making Eddie sicker, actually.

I’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes in my life.  I’m sorry for them all.  I’m especially sorry for making Eddie sicker.  I didn’t mean to do that.  This mistake of mine brings tears to my eyes, and fills my heart with regret. I wish I would have known.  But, some things you just can’t know until you know.

I make too many mistakes.  I know I do.  But, I also learn from them.  Once the counselor illuminated the truth, I grabbed it, and I held on to it.  I stopped.  I just stopped everything.  I stopped hovering, and planning, and calculating, and talking and obsessing.  I just quit it all, and quitting it was really hard.

Eddie was born tough.  He really was.  Both my sons are tough.  I’m not bragging.  It doesn’t have anything to do with me. Tough is how God chose to make these two.  My sons like to do battle.  When our boys were pretty little, they’d go down in the basement with Scott,  and their toy swords.  For a half hour or more, I’d hear yelling, laughing and loud THWAPS.    All three boys would eventually emerge upstairs laughing, looking like they had the time of their lives.  All three of them had raised, red welts all over their skin.  See?  Now, I think that is absurd, but boys are weird.  And stuff like that makes me 100 percent sure I’m not one of them.

Eddie likes to do battle.  He’s good at it.  Eddie is resilient and focused, and he won’t go down easy.  He’s much closer to being a man than he is to being a little boy now.  He’s so much better at doing battle than I am. It’s time I let him do it.

Eddie is feeling significantly better than he was last year.  He looks better too.  I’m not sure what’s happening.  We did so many things, maybe one of those things worked like magic.  Or, maybe Eddie is just growing up and away from this thing.  Or, maybe God just decided it was the right time for a reprieve. Or, maybe Eddie is just so much better at battling things on his own.  I don’t know, and I don’t care.  Wait. that’s not true.  I do care, and I would like to know.  But, not knowing does not lower my inner happy.  My inner happy is through.the.roof.

I guess you wouldn’t know how good it feels to come up for air, if you were never drowning.  Pain, sickness and hardships make peace so, so much sweeter.  I’m thankful for that.  I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I’m embracing today.  I’m happy.

I Guess I Don’t Get to be Fancy

I Guess I Don’t Get to be Fancy.

I Guess I Don’t Get to be Fancy

For three whole days I was fancy.  From Tuesday to Friday I was driving a 2015 model minivan.  I like being fancy.  On my commute, I noticed my fellow commuters were looking at me with envy.  I gave those folks a little smile and wave when I passed.  I’m always gracious.

red van

Good Morning inferior commuters! This van’s so fancy, I can drive no-hands!

Now I’m back to driving this:

bumper damage

Not our van…but you get the idea.

Eddie was rear ended on the highway.  Our van was totaled.   The good news is that Eddie is okay, and so are all his wrestling buddies who were with him.  The bad news is, buying a car wasn’t in our short term plan.  Or, our long term plan.

The insurance lady called me on the phone to tell me the news.  I put her on loud speaker so Scott could hear too.  She told us we could get a small sum of money, and I guess we were supposed to use that money towards a new van.  So, that’s what I thought we’d do.    We’d go from driving a van that was paid for, to driving a van that mostly the bank owned.  We’d “buy” a van that would put us further in debt.  Then I remembered I was married to Scott.

Scott did sign language at me while I was talking to the insurance lady on the phone.   I understood he wanted me to ask her if we could keep the van instead.   I rolled my eyes, and I asked.

Insurance lady said we could keep the van. The insurance company would just write us a check for a much smaller amount.   That made Scott smile.   I think he might be thinking we’re  coming out ahead.  Because, see, he doesn’t mind driving around a heap of crumpled steel.  If you want to know what I think, I believe he might actually even enjoy it.  He’s really not a normal guy.

But, I’m fancy now.  I’ve been driving in the fancy van, and people have noticed.  I don’t want to go back.

Later in the evening, after I had accepted my non-fancy fate, Scott came up to me  smiling.  He said this, “No hay mal que por bien no benga.”  Love it (lying)  when he speaks Spanish.

Translation: There is no bad thing from which good does not come. Another translation: There’s always a silver lining.  Another translation: my husband can be annoying.

I knew it. He thinks a crumpled van and a few extra bucks is a stroke of good fortune.

Have you heard of Malala?  She is the 14-year-old who just won a Nobel Peace Prize.  The Taliban shot her in the face.  Don’t worry.  It’s not like they did it for no reason.  She was trying to get an education.  Who wouldn’t be angry?


Malala wrote a book.  It is called, “I am Malala”.   This is a book I know I will read soon.

In the news this week, there was a story about how men in Malala’s home country of Pakistan were holding an, “I am NOT Malala” day.  These wise men have banned Malala’s book, and they’re trying to demonize her.  Again, don’t forget she has this coming with all the trying to go to school shenanigans she put these guys through.

As I was reading more about this story, and trying to understand, I learned that another reason these men say they hate Malala is because she made reference to Salman Rushdie in her book.  Salman Rushdie is a prize winning author.  He has written 11 books.  In at least one of Rushdie’s books, he was critical of Islam.  For this reason, the Ayatollah Khomeini (Remember that crazy kid? What a hoot.) ordered a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989.  A fatwa means, watch out.  We’re going to kill you.  These guys would make the best diplomats.  They’ve got great ideas. Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding.

The more I read about Salman Rushdie, the more interested I became in him.  I looked up all of his books, and for some reason I couldn’t understand  I was associating Salman Rusdie with humor.  Scott reminded me that I have Jerry Seinfeld to thank for that.  Do you remember the episode where Kramer thought he saw Salman Rushdie on the streets of New York?  I know.  There really IS a Seinfeld episode for everything.

So this long story getting longer is about how I ordered one of Salman Rushdie’s books, “Satanic Verses”,  the book that resulted in the fatwa.  I was so caught up in learning more about all this, that I got hasty (surprising to everyone).  I hit “buy” on my kindle before I read the book reviews.  Once I started reading the reviews, I thought there was a chance I might have a problem.

Readers said this:

“The prose is challenging, but once you become familiar it has an almost melodic quality.”

As a rule, I’m against melodious novels.  Melodious songs?  Fine.  I like my novels more straight forward.

And this:

“This book has many subtle and intertwined criticisms and twists on the Islamic faith. To understand these moments in the book the reader does need a fairly large knowledge of Islam.”

Check.  I got that (again with the lying), so we should be good.

Then I started reading the book.  Here’s the first paragraph:

‘To be born again,’ sang Gabireel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! To land upon the bosomy Earth, at first one needs to fly. Tat-Taa, Taka-thun!  How to ever smile again, if at first you won’t cry? How to win the darlings love, mister, without a sigh? Baba…if you want to get born again’…Just before dawn one winter’s morning. New Year’s day, or thereabouts, two real, full-grown men fell from a great height, twenty-nine-thousand and two feet, towards the English Channel, without benefit of Parachutes or wings, out of a clear sky.

Are you still with me?  Right.  I know.  I am SO in over my head.  What on this bosomy Earth is Salman Rushdie talking about? I read the first page, and this is how it sounded in my head:

Gobledy gooky,  wahh, wahh, peanuts in my tummy. Forsook you lass of all generations to be the true bride.  Come hither for shall thou ride elephants from sun up to grandma’s?

But, I paid for this book.  Remember Scott?

If someone who likes my blog would please pay me ten dollars, I’d owe you big.  Then,  I do not have to read this book, and I can tell Scott I got a refund. Otherwise, it looks like I’m in for the long haul.  578 pages of this melodic prose.  I should be ready to do my book report by 2025. Ho ji!  Ho ji!

Pope Rod and Hall-of-Fame Jane

I have been doing some soul searching. Don’t you think blogging is kind of weird?  I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately.

Our Pastor had some interesting things to say this week.   Was it a coincidence that he spoke to my troubled mind?  I guess I don’t think so.  Our Pastor talked about human nature a.k.a. sin. He says we can’t escape it.

Our Pastor is a kind, soft-spoken, humble guy.  He told us that he feels like he has been called by God into ministry.  He said he knows he is using the gifts God gave him to serve others and to serve God.  And, he said he also craves human praise.

Exactly.  I could’t agree more.  I mean, he really does.  I’m glad he can finally admit it.

I’m trying to make a serious point. Why can’t I ever stop clowning around?

No.  I don’t think our Pastor craves human praise; I think I do.  And THAT is really starting to get on my nerves. And, so is all this bold print I keep using.

Humble people are my favorite. Seriously.  I just love them.  I married one of the humblest people  I know.  And, I think it is only fitting that I brag about it.  I’m just attracted to humility.  It’s so magnetic.

I think about all the super awesome people I know, who have super awesome lives, and I’m wondering this: Why the heck haven’t they started a blog? Because they weren’t born a fool, I guess.

I know a lot of fantastic people who don’t like/need/want attention.  I want to be like those people.  Blogging probably isn’t going to get me there.

This stuff is the bane of my existence right now.  I am confident that I’m in my sweet spot when I’m writing and making jokes.  I feel like God meant me to use this thing I like so much.  But, my motives are NOT pure.  When someone shares one of my posts with their friends, or sends me an encouraging word, I’m just like a puppy.  My tail starts wagging, and I’m eager for more.  I’m not very evolved.

I don’t know how to escape this.  I thought a good start would be to follow my Pastor’s lead: tell the truth.  So, there it is.  That’s the truth.  I’m going to pray for myself on this one, and ask for insight.  I’ll let you know what I hear.

You know who should have a blog?  Rod and Jane Spillane.  What? You haven’t heard of them?  That’s surprising. They’re famous at our house.

Rod and Jane have been married a long time.  Rod is our Youth Pastor.  Jane is  Rod’s wife.  She is a music teacher and Rod’s helper in all things.   A long time ago, Eddie made up nicknames for these two beautiful people:  “Pope Rod” and “Hall-of-Fame-Jane”.  Eddie always makes up nicknames for people he loves.

You know that song, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.  Never going to keep me down…”? That could be the Spillane’s theme song.  They’ve had some rows with life, but they are faithful, humble servants, and they just keep pressing on…I love them.

When Eddie was home bound and barely able to get out of bed, he didn’t feel very social.   Eddie had no interest in seeing anyone other than his family.  I can’t exactly know why.  My guess is that it takes too much energy to pretend you’re not sick.   I also think being around healthy people just adds insult to injury for sick folks.   They wonder why it is so easy for other people to feel so good, and why they can’t.

During those long, sick winters, there was one person who wouldn’t take no for an answer from Eddie.  That person was Rod.  For a couple of years, I would have told you that Rod (30 years Eddie’s senior) was Eddie’s best friend.  Rod would come to the house almost every week and hang out with Eddie.  They would goof around, make jokes and Rod would try to remind Eddie to keep hoping.  It helped.  It helped so much.

Pope Rod and Hall-of-Fame-Jane do not blog, and they do not want attention.  But, that’s just too bad, because my heart is full and I want you to know how much I love them.  The other night they had the kids put together Christmas gifts for kids in impoverished countries.  It was fun:

Rod and Jane

Hello Pope Rod and Hall-of-fame Jane. Why are you so cool?

The kids all went out and bought things they thought other kids may enjoy receiving.  Here’s the loot:

Christmas child gifts

Then, somehow Pope and Hall of Fame managed to get these teenagers to wrap all these gifts, and write letters to these kids across the world who these teenagers did not know:

eddie wrapping

Hi. I’m Eddie. Don’t worry, I just LOOK like I’m going to carjack you. I’m actually going to give you a gift.

This weekend, Hall of Fame Jane and Pope Rod are taking Zeke and the other youth group kids to Chicago.  They’re going to clean for, feed and serve folks who are having a rough time of things.  Hall of Fame and Pope are the type of people who should be blogging.  And, if they’re not gonna do it, then I’ll just have to do it for them.

And, finally, I’ve got one more important thing to tell you.  Scott said the nicest thing he’s ever said to me last week.  He said they made a commercial about me.  The commercial came on and he yelled for me to come and see it.  He said the last scene especially reminded him of me.  Here it is:

I gave Scott a hug, and said, “Really?  Because that’s who I think I am too: crazy, dancing lady.”  Then, I said, “But you’d probably say my moves are a little better than hers, right?”

And there you have it: how deep introspection has taught me nothing.

Remodeling, Buddah and a Mustache

Do you remember that I told you we are finishing our basement?  That crap is crazy.  I haven’t been paying attention to the progress because life.  Yesterday, Zeke told me I should go down and look.  Wow. I guess I still just can’t believe it.  All the framing is up, and I can actually see the rooms.  This is happening.   I’m glad I remembered to take “before” pictures.  I hope you didn’t think you’d be spared the before and after pictures.  You KNOW those are coming.  This is what our basement looked like a couple of weeks ago:


Hard to believe it will look better than this


Here’s what I think might happen:

basement remodel

Can’t wait for this!

It will be so cool to have a real bar for Scott to serve me up my bourbon on the rocks after work.  Yeah.  You caught me.  There won’t be a bar, because we’re us.

There will be a living room, bedroom, bathroom and a place for a wrestling mat.  But, won’t our guests think we’re sophisticated when we ask them to join us for a drink on the mat?

I’ve decided I’m not really designed for project management.  Scott is.  He won’t admit it, but this basement thing is his baby.  He says things to me  like this, “The door to the boys’ bedroom is going to have to be shorter, because of the air duct.  The carpenter wants to know if we want the bathroom door to be the same size as the door to the boys’ room, or standard. What do you think?”

I’ll say, “Hmm…” then give it a few moments to pretend like I have on opinion.  Then, I’ll say, “Well,maybe we should have both doors the same size.”

Then, Scott says, “Well, I was thinking the bathroom door should be standard.  Why have it shorter, if it isn’t necessary?”

Then, I say, “Yep. That.  That’s what I think too.”

Being married a long time is awesome.  After a while, you finally start to understand your spouse’s unspoken words.  Like, I know now that when Scott says something doesn’t matter to him, that usually isn’t true.  Especially if we’re talking about things in our house.  He actually has very specific opinions.  He’s just not a guy who likes to be over bearing, and blather on about things.  He’s hesitant to own his instincts.  I’ve asked him stop that.  His instincts are tremendous.  I mean,  he married me.  Enough said.

Every decision Scott has made regarding a home improvement has been solid.  I can’t say the same for myself.  The truth is, I get really bored with making decisions.  I can’t conceptualize very well, so when someone is explaining the options to me, I just lose interest.  I say something like, “Yeah.  The first thing you said.  Let’s do that.”

Then, I see the end product (like our living room carpet) which I have chosen, and I think, yuck. Why did I choose that? Too late.

The answer is, because I couldn’t  stop day dreaming for 5 minutes to let some poor bugger finish his spiel.  I hastily chose the first thing I saw.

Scott likes to think it all through, and consider the advantages of every option.  He really takes his time about it. Oh man, does he take his time.

The quickest way for Scott to clear the room in our house, is to ask who wants to go to the home improvement store with him.  We all run for cover.  If Scott is replacing 50 cent outlet covers, you can believe you will be standing in the outlet aisle with him discussing the advantages and disadvantages of white verses beige outlets for 30 minutes, maybe more. It’s tedious.

When it comes down to deciding what you want on the walls, or which cushions to throw on the couch, come talk to me.  I’m more interested in the important stuff.

I get it.  I have limited intelligence, and a limited attention span.

Zeke is a miniature version of Scott.  They really get each other.    It has been a very, very long time since Zeke has asked me for help with his homework.  He’s nice about it, but it’s silently understood that he left me behind in 4th grade.

Last night, Scott was doing his crossword puzzle.  He asked me what a four letter word was for a Hindu God.   I gave him the obvious answer, “Buddha”.  I know.  That’s six letters, and probably the wrong religion, but I don’t think you need to be nit-picky about it.

Zeke said, “No, Mom.  That is Buddhism.  Hinduism is a polytheistic religion.  The answers is Rama.”

I asked Zeke, “Where did you learn that?”

He said, “I don’t know.  I just remembered it.”

I told Zeke, “Well, here’s something else you might want to remember.  No one likes a show off.”

And THAT, my friends,  is what you call a teachable moment.  I might put it in my book on how to be an awesome parent. Until then, I’m just gonna hand that kind of advice out for free.  You’re totally welcome.

And on another random note, do you ever get your eyebrows waxed?  Most of us women do.  I get it done 3 or 4 times a year.

Recently, I went to a salon to have them done, and there was new person to help me.  She was young and beautiful. When she was done with my eyebrows she said, “Now do you want me to do your mustache?”

What the?

I told this precious, precious young lamb of God, that the thing is I’ve never had my “mustache” waxed.  And, the reason for that is I do not HAVE a mustache.

She stared at me.

I said, “Fine.  Do it.”

She was gleeful.  “You’re going to love this.  Just wait until I show you the strip with all the hair on it.”

I said, “Yep.  I’m gonna go nuts over that.”

Owwwww!!!!  Mother of…that hurts.

“See?” She said.  She put the strip in front of my face.  “Look at all those hairs.  You really needed that.”

When I was done with the waxing and my hair cut, I checked out.  At this salon you pay your bill, and then you leave the tip in a separate envelope, and put the envelope through a medal slot.  I put my tip in the envelope, and wrote a few words of encouragement on the outside for the young eyebrow/mustache waxing lass.

“You suck!”

Because she does.  She really does.  I didn’t know I had a mustache.

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