My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This Week

In the past week I've been to the Mountain.

Actually, it was more of a mountain (lower case) and it was not exactly life altering but it was scene changing and that was very good for me.

I took Little Kitty with me and that was good... I miss him when I'm away from him since I am. that. cat. lady. He spent most of the first day under the bed or behind the couch but eventually began to explore and greatly enjoyed going upstairs to the top level of the house which is completely empty except for an air mattress and a shower curtain and he enjoyed the basement which has many, many nooks and crannies to explore. He was, however, terribly afraid of the sliding glass door on the basement level because it makes you feel like you are outside and he's never really been outside. On the last morning he stood beside me, my little shadow, watching the mist rise from the lake and listening to the geese greeting each other. Later, while I was in town, he went out on the front porch with my parents. His little world is expanding! He did much better on the car ride home than he did on the way up because my mom figured out he would be happier at her feet in the front seat than in the back seat between the two big dogs (who kept sitting on top of him, not realizing that inside that soft little pet carrier was a soft little pet).

Austin and his girlfriend, Leanna have moved into the basement there with her little blind dog, Dudley (who I absolutely adore) (I mean the dog but also the girl.)
Snagged photo used without permission.

They're adorable together. She works hard and takes good care of him. Her family life was less than ideal and Austin makes good "family" because he's loyal as all get out and needs to be taken care of. Ultimately, I believe she'll be daughter-in-law number two and I'm ok with that. We enjoy her and are glad she's there. Of course, it meant that I spent a lot of time over the visit to the mountain house giving commandments for them to live by, "don't let the dishes pile up in the sink" "keep your random stuff from the common areas of the house" "don't leave a footprint" "don't dump grease in the kitchen sink" and so on and so on and so on. Austin is supposed to start work this week with a flooring contractor, a worthwhile skill for a young man to have. It's hard work and I'm not sure he'll last long but the money is good and he enjoys money.

I spent way too much money while we were there, especially after only making a tiny little paycheck last payday and with many, many things that need to come out of the next paycheck such as my car tag and a visit to the pain doctor and my very expensive meds but the kids needed things and I needed to know that they had what they needed. Pop went out yesterday and bought a washer and dryer for the mountain house because the kids need it and... well, it was something we were going to need up there eventually anyways. My parents are generous and charitable and those traits pass down to me and also to my kids. Austin would give the shirt off his back to someone in need.

And how handsome is my son? Before I had kids I wished for girls but I am so glad that God realized that I was going to be able to create, with his help, some really good-looking men who are also good partners and incredibly generous to the girls they love. Ryan with Sara, Cody with Marquee and Austin with Leanna (who we call Lulu). A wise woman once told me that mothers of sons get their daughters when their sons get married. I'm proud of the daughters that I had to wait so long to have. They are 23, 21, and 19, my daughters. My sons are 26, 22 and 19.

I ended up making several trips into town for food since Pop, our usual hunter/gatherer was not at the mountain house until Friday afternoon and had a conference call to take and then many chores to perform and items to purchase. I dealt with a good bit of pain while I was there and a couple of the trips were painful but peaceful. I love my little nest in Riverdale but the mountains are my home. It's where I draw my strength and where I feel the presence of God more acutely.

Pop's projects this weekend, with Austin's assistance were to get the porch swing hung and build a box for a raised garden bed and other little odds and ends. The electrician had come the weekend before so we no longer have to use a lamp in the basement bathroom (which was a little creepy, having a shower in dim light). The basement lights are fluorescent and needed some work.

Mom pulled down/cut down some small trees that are in the wooded area at the front of house. Austin helped.

It amuses me that Cody is the caretaker of the two houses here in Riverdale and Austin has adapted to being the caretaker of the mountain house. To have grown up mostly without the presence of their father who is incredibly mechanically inclined and also knows a little bit about how to do everything even though he, ironically, grew up without a father... and with the influence of their Pop who also grew up without a father... my kids have had a village of men who have influenced their lives and have picked up lots of little skills here and there. Straight men to teach them sports and basic knowledge of keeping a house running and how to find things in Home Depot (a place where I break out in hives, it is that far out of my element.) Gay men to teach them style and culture and how to find their way around a shoe store. Godly men to expand their spiritual lives. It's interesting to me the skills that they have by nature, instead of nurture, having had a grandfather that they never met who was an amazingly skilled individual .. and a great-grandfather that they never met who was an interior designer.

But I digress. We really made our mountain trip about three days too early. It was rainy and cool the first two days. Today my friend Natalie gets married... seven years after losing her husband in a tragic suicide... and we will miss the wedding. Tuesday Natalie's daughter Jorjanne (who is my bonus niece and featured on the sidebar of my blog page) and my biological nieces are participating in the local Kiwanis Talent Show. Little Jamie is singing Castle on a Cloud from Les Miserables and I cannot remember what Sarabeth is singing nor can I remember what Jorjanne is singing. I would hate to sit in the hard chairs in the high school auditorium but I would find a way to make it through their performances if we were there. I am hoping for videos from their performance. I am scheduled to work Monday and mama is planning to go relieve Aunt Linda who is still at Uncle Charles bedside... he is recovering but it is a slow process and I've lost count of how many weeks he's been in the hospital... maybe four? Anyways, it was impossible to extend our trip to be present for those events, unfortunately.

The timing of our trip was determined by the opportunity to keep the girls on Thursday and it was wonderful to just soak up all the wonder that is Sarabeth and Jamie. Austin taught Sarabeth how to play Minecraft (I think that's the right name) on XBox 360 and Jamie played computer games with Mawmaw and shopped online with me. She's very fashionable, that one and squealed with joy when we found a cheetah print, one shouldered one piece swimsuit with adorable pink ruffles. Unfortunately it didn't come in her size or Aunt Heather's budget but it gave me an idea of how to shop for her. We loved spending time with them.

Mama and I watched several movies as we still don't have satellite tv hooked up at the mountain house but we do have that little Roku deal that allows us to stream our Netflix account on the mack-daddy awesome tv that my brother gave my parents for Christmas. We saw The Boy in The Striped Pajamas. If you haven't seen it, you must. And we watched Gifted Hands, the story of Dr. Ben Carson, a very talented neurosurgeon who has been prevalent in the news lately by his strong statements at the National Prayer Breakfast against Obama. We watched some other things that don't stick out in my mind. I started trying to get into Mad Men as it is time for me to pick up another show. I tend to wait until a show has been on for several years before I try to watch it so that I know that the story will be told in enough detail and longevity to be interesting. However, Mad Men was a little more sexual than I had realized and it was not what I wanted to broadcast in our happy little living room.

Austin's friend Logan came over. Lulu's cousin came over with her boyfriend. My brother dropped off the girls and my sister-in-law picked them up. I visited with Nancy at the bakery. And so, even though we didn't get out much, other than my brief trips into town, I did get to enjoy the company of a few faces that didn't have fur or whiskers.

I've had a lot of pain, lower left side, mid spine, muscle spasms, piriformis syndrome giving me literally a pain in the butt and I've had a few not-quite-migraine-but-still-distracting headaches that made me a little less sociable than I wanted to be. I don't want my pain to be a part of every blog entry I write but truly, pain is an every day part of my life and if I'm transparent on my blog, and if I intend to write the story of my life here, it has to be said because it is here. This is the story of a middle aged woman living with chronic pain. It just is.

And I've had a little heartache over the past few days, sadness for a friend who is really struggling without transportation. Lots of people go through tough economic challenges, it's everywhere. Few of us are untouched by little interruptions in our life. But for this friend, she really doesn't have the kind of safety net that most of us have in the way of parents (hers are deceased) or close family members who could help her out. She is a single mom of three, her kids' dad has really gone off the deep end. Although her life that had challenges while she was married because of her ex-husband's issues, she now has insurmountable problems with her health, her finances and just basic transportation. Her car was totaled in an accident and she didn't have insurance coverage for physical damage and so she has no car. I don't mind being poor except for times like this when I just want to write a check and fix it for her. Instead , I am using the one power I truly have which is prayer and I am praying that she will be able to get a car. Somehow, someway, she needs a car. Two people that I prayed for daily for years and years that they would find a life partner have gotten married in the past few weeks and so I know that God hears my prayers. He can do this. I know He will.

So that's about it. I'm a bit melancholy. My pain meds have kicked in, had to use the strong one this morning and it is starting to work. I guess I've given you a good summary of the past few days. Hoping you all are safe and happy and enjoying life. Closing this with love and hugs and a few pictures from the past week.

Cats napping on my bed

Cats napping in my nest
Cat stealing french fries

Still stealing fries

Licking salt off his paw
The view from my nest, part one

The view from my nest, part two. 

 Austin and Lulu's room