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

Posts tagged ‘Iowa’

Wisconsin Summer and Opinions

Summer.  You beautiful thing.  Wisconsin is really showing up this summer.  Cold mornings, and sunny, warm afternoons.  How you like THAT, all you big show off palm tree states?  We got ya on the ropes now, suckas.

It’s clear to me that I’m getting old.  Scott is too.  I know this because we keep having more and more conversations about important things.  Like the Bluebird I saw on the fence during my walk at lunch.  Or, the Cardinals Scott is enjoying watching as they hover over our flower bed.  I think some people wake up one day, and they’re like, “Gadzooks, I’m old!  When did this happen?  I didn’t see this happening.”

I see it happening.

My parents have a little birdhouse on their porch.  My mom has hoped that a bird family would move into this little bird house for a couple of years now.  Guess what?  I have a new step-bird-sister. A little bird gal moved into that house with her husband (I’m assuming these two aren’t living in sin.  They seem like good people), and they had babies.  These creatures carry  little, tiny pieces of food in their mouths, pop through the little house’s door, and disappear to feed, and spend time with their little bird family.  I could watch this family all day.

See?  Old.

One night, while my sister, Heidi, and I were eating pizza on the deck, we were watching these bird parents feed their children.  This feeding thing seemed like so much work.  You’ve got all the hunting for worms going on, and then all the trips back and forth through the little birdhouse door.

We got feeling kinda sorry for our sister-bird and her husband. Heidi said it seemed like a shame that our sister-bird and her husband were wasting their lives with this non stop work. I agreed.  I told Heidi to roll up her piece of pizza and jam it through the little bird house door.  The bird parents would surely thank us for a night off, maybe even the whole week.  That’s how you solve problems in nature.

I heard that it has been scientifically proven that looking at a tree can help with depression.  I understand that.

My niece, Naomi, told me that the famous poet, Walt Whitman, said something similar to this thing about trees a long time ago.  My niece is smart. She likes poetry.  Scott and I slept in Naomi’s bed over the fourth of July.  We saw that Naomi has a Walt Whitman poem written on her ceiling.  After Scott and I got into bed, we looked up at the ceiling and I read the poem out loud.  When I was done reading, Scott and I were quiet and contemplative for a moment.  We meditated on the words that were just spoken.    I asked, “Did you understand that?”

Scott said, “No.  Not a word.”

What are you supposed to do when the children get smarter than the adults?   You fake it. That’s what.  I told Naomi that the poem was beautiful.  I was moved to tears, really.

That wasn’t a total lie.  It’s not like Scott and I  know NOTHING about Walt Whitman.  We do know he was mentioned in, “Breaking Bad.”  We’re not completely ignorant about literature.

Nature is what we have been enjoying this summer. The other thing we are enjoying is kids.  Our siblings’ kids, especially.  I’m so glad we had our basement finished.  I actually have only sat down there a few times.  But we ARE using it to host family, and that makes me smiley and satisfied.

Both of Scott’s brothers have come with their families from the far away land of Iowa to stay with us this summer.  All three of Scott’s siblings have little kids.  Gosh, kids are the best.

I think almost everything kids have to say is funny.  Scott’s brother Tom, and his wife Haley came to visit us before the fourth of July.  Tom and Haley have two little boys, 3 and 18 months.  One morning, I was making breakfast.  I could hear these little guys talking to each other as they walked up our steps.  Preschool conversations. That’s good stuff.

My nephew’s voices filled my heart with happy nostalgia.  I remember how our little guys wrung me dry by nightfall with their relentless energy.   Somehow, by morning, I couldn’t wait to see them again.   It’s a miracle every day.

haley and tom

I’m consciously focusing on simple, life enhancing things this summer: birds, family, kids.  I’ve been feeling a little over exposed to ideas and information lately; I need simple stuff as an antidote.  I’m not sure what is wrong with me.  I used to very much enjoy learning about other people’s opinions.  I am a pretty curious person.  I didn’t know before that other people’s opinions are like everything else: best in moderation.

In some respects, I am fairly impressionable.  I rarely start a discussion intent on proving a point.  I have a ton of questions about many things. The internet has just ruined me.  I feel like I’m trying to hear everyone, and there is so much noise.  I’m not hearing anyone at all.  Instead, I want to recommend to some folks, a special evening of trying to keep their yaps zipped.  Bless their hearts.  Of course.

I’ve become a bitter, old, bird-watching woman.

I told God what was on my heart about this subject.  I asked Him for a word.  He told me two things:

1. Stop listening to people; listen to me; take time to hear My voice. It takes practice.

2. You’re awfully noisy yourself.  You write a blog.

The second part was a little fuzzy.  He was cutting out; I probably heard Him wrong.  He might have actually said, “You should buy another hog.”

I’ll wait for confirmation on that second part.

morning walk

Cold early morning summer walk in Sheboygan, WI.

The Purge

Most married couples have their fights.  After you’ve been married a while, you realize that you’re really  just having the same fight on a different day.  Slightly different versions of the same fight.  But still, the same fight.    At least that is what Scott and I do.

A typical danger zone for Scott and me is when we are in a new place.  He is driving, and I am navigating.  I am terrible at navigation.  He is terrible at patience.   The first time Scott used GPS to navigate, he was alone with Eddie. When they arrived at their destination, Scott called me right away.  He wanted to tell me that the  GPS was marriage saving technology.

Another thing Scott and I  fight about is stuff.  Things.  Objects.  We treat stuff differently.  Scott treats his stuff very carefully.  He keeps it organized and in good repair.  He holds on to his stuff FOR.EVER.

I’m not so careful.  I think it’s just stuff.  Here today.  Gone Tomorrow.  I usually want to get rid of our stuff.

Recently, we were driving somewhere in my car.  Scott was in the driver’s seat.  He found his sunglasses that he had been looking for in the pocket of the door.  They were broken.  He was a little irritated.  He said, “Can’t we agree that you should just use your stuff, and I’ll just use my stuff?”  Then, he added, “If you do use my stuff, could you at least try to take care of it?”

I’m like, “Can we agree for you to  not be so picky?  They’re just sunglasses.   I don’t know what Scott gets all worked up about, anyway.  They work, don’t they?”

sunglasses

 

I thought Scott would never change.  For years we have been arguing about all this stuff.  I try to haul it out the door, he tries to drag it back inside.  He admits that one of his biggest fears is that we will be in need of something that we have given away.  It’s not his fault.  He grew up in the Great Depression.  Well, he didn’t, but he certainly could have.  He would have done well for himself in the Great Depression.

Scott has had an epiphany lately. This summer he is becoming a new man.  He is finally ready to get rid of stuff.  I’m shocked at what he’s finally ready to let go.  We have been tearing through the basement, and hauling away bags of silly, old stuff.

He has had these slippers for as long as I have known him.  He says he’s ready to give them away.  He was thinking to charity.  I was thinking to the incinerator.  Think of the lucky young man who will stumble across these shiny slippers at Goodwill.  The things our family does for those less fortunate.  I didn’t mean to make you cry.  I’m sorry.   Let us just be an inspiration to you and your family.  Give until it hurts.

 

slippers

 

The slippers were a huge indication of how serious Scott is about ridding ourselves of all of these things that are unnecessary.  Something even bigger than slippers happened though.  Scott said we could get rid of this:

dubuque girl

 

You know what that is?  That is a signed poster from the spokes model for Dubuque Star  Beer.   The model signed this for Scott when he was a freshman in college.  Yes, that’s a cornfield behind her.  In Iowa we laid out at the cornfield.

She wrote on the poster, “Dear Scott, you’re the hottest guy I’ve seen all day.  Thanks, Mary”

This was a big moment for Scott.  I know he had a lot of unspoken emotional attachment to this poster.  Mary was a special lady.   Scott spent some quality minutes with her while she took the time to sign this poster.

Over the years we’ve run across that poster several times.  Scott never failed to show me what Mary wrote.

“Miki, did you see what is written on this poster?”

“Yep,” I said. “I read it.  Again.”

I could tell it was a fond memory for him.  I was always impressed.  I felt like a pretty lucky person to have gotten the guy Mary thought was so hot.  The hottest.

After we cleaned the basement and threw the poster in the garbage, I told Scott I was proud of him.  I said that I knew it was a big deal for him to get rid of all that stuff, especially the memento from his special lady friend.  I said, I’m sure you really were the hottest guy there that day.

He was watching TV when I said that.  He didn’t bother to look away from the TV.  He casually replied, “Oh, I asked her to write that.”

This whole thing.  This life of mine.  It’s all been a lie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott’s Favorite Holiday

NCAA Wrestling: Division 1 Championship

This past weekend was Scott’s favorite Holiday: NCAA Wrestling Championships. When the tournament has been as close as Iowa or Missouri, Scott will take our boys out of school and they go in person. I just know those trips are going to be at the top of our boys’ lists of best childhood memories. I still don’t know exactly why.

Scott is in charge of those trips. I’m not involved. It’s a good way for me to see how things would be run in our family in my absence. Not the way I’d like them to. Let’s get that straight.

Nary a hotel reservation is made, nor a single preemptive thought is given to what will be eaten or worn on these trips. I used to let this lack of preparation worry me, but now I have been forced to admit that sometimes you don’t have to be one bit prepared to have the time of your life.

Scott started going to the NCAA Wrestling Championships with his brothers many years ago, before we had kids. He and his two brothers(and sister) have always been in agreement on a lot of things. One of the things they agree on is that there is rarely a good reason to part with money. Wasting money on a bed, blankets and pillows seemed especially frivolous to those brothers.

The brothers would attend the tournament in Iowa City and just knock on the door of some people they vaguely knew when it was time to catch a few hours sleep. Those stories horrified me.

Scott was telling our kids the other night about the time his brothers and three other guys went to the tournament together. When they decided it was time to get some sleep one of the guys they were with said his friend “Sheila” said they could crash at her place.

They went to the apartment building and knocked on her door. They knocked and knocked. Then they started getting a little annoyed. I mean, she DID offer. Finally, a strange guy, who had obviously been sleeping, came to the door. Oops. Wrong apartment.

They eventually found the right apartment. They knocked again. Another strange guy came to the door. “Sheila’s” friend in the group said to the guy, “Sheila said we could stay here tonight.”

The guy’s like, “Whatever,” and let them in.

The six guys walked in and laid down on the carpeting (which you know for a FACT “Sheila”, the girl who lets large groups of strangers sleep at her house, keeps meticulously clean). They slept until it was time to go watch wrestling again.

I told Scott it’s funny how one person’s nightmare can be what another person considers a good time.

I’d like to post some pictures of these epic trips. Because Scott definitely always remembered a camera. He took a lot of pictures, and developed the pictures right away. The pictures he took look magical they way he displayed them in his scrapbooks. That’s not true. But, you knew that.

Scott’s to do list before these trips did not include remembering the camera. His to do list included one item: watch wrestling. The rest of the details he figured out as he went along.

Now my boys have similar fun NCAA Wrestling Tournament stories to tell. They talk about how hard they laughed, how awesome the wrestling was, and how great it was of their dad to splurge and buy them a piece of gum. To share.

They’re old enough now to be able to tease their dad for his funny ways; I sense that they are also being groomed. I would guess they’re quite likely some day to submit their own children to the same atrocities of cheapness come NCAA tournament time.

This year, the tournament was too far away for Scott and the boys to attend. Instead they hosted an NCAA Wrestling party at our house. Scott said he wanted it to be like the Super Bowl party he had this year. He called me one day in January and said, “I want to have a Super Bowl Party.”

That probably sounds like a normal comment to you. It made me stop what I was doing. I’ve known Scott a really long time. I’ve never heard him suggest having a party. Ever.

I asked, “What did you say? Did you just say you want to have a party? That is awesome. Who are we inviting?”

“Zeke,” he answered.

That’s for real. That conversation happened.

“Zeke? Zeke is the only person on your guest list?” I asked. “What about Eddie? Doesn’t he get to come?”

“He can come. He just doesn’t sit still, and always gets bored after a while.”

So, Eddie’s out. Zeke’s in. And that is what Scott calls a party.

They had their party, and it got a little crazy. I won’t give away all their secrets, but let me just say some some gum was split and some soda was had.

NCAA Party

*Eddie, some wrestlers and a giant chocolate bunny crashed Scott’s party. More proof that the best fun isn’t always planned.

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