Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here's What I think...

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship," Louisa May Alcott.

When I was about 10 my dad gave me the book Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. Recently a friend gave me the book, Fifty Celebrate Fifty and I saw this quotation by Alcott and I thought, "right on sister!"....that is exactly what I think.

I have sailed through storms yet I realize my storms are miniscule next to many in this world. But, they are my storms and I'm still trying to sail through.

When I was 15 I experienced my most horrific storm of my life at that time when two of my classmates drowned at my class party at our family lake place. It was well chaperoned and a great group of kids, but it happened. Within minutes two classmates drowned. Then less than a year later a friend I had grown up with was killed in an automobile accident. Those three deaths had an impact that only those who have gone through such an experience identify with yet I know that there are many, many and did I say many more who have gone through worse, worse and I did I say worse experiences. You bet every night when I say my prayers I thank God for blessing me with an easy life in comparison.

Last summer when my son had a horrific accident that could have and I emphasize could have taken his life I thanked God for blessing us that day. There are days I feel guilty because I've been so blessed and when I start whining about life I stop and remind myself my life has been a cake walk. I am still learning how to sail my ship and some days the water is smooth and the sky is blue and then there are other days.

Do you ever think about Job? A little over a year ago I took a class at my church, Disciple One and we studied the Bible from beginning to end and I remember thinking about old Job. Wow...we know nothing do we? At least most of my friends and family know nothing. Boils, frogs, locusts... I selfishly pray every day that God doesn't test me like Job, but if He does let me suffer with the grace of Job.

This blog began with Here's What I think...so now I'm doing a 360...but it's still what I think...Does anyone think that the "Education Lottery" is an oxymoran? (I just saw a commercial about the SC Education Lottery - got me thinking). Gambling on our children's education??? Hum let me think...what's wrong with that scenario??? My husband teases me because I refuse to buy a lottery ticket (on Sunday that is)...yes, yes, I'm guilty I've bought at least one of those scratch off tickets. Robert once took me to Philadelphia - Philadelphia, Mississippi that is to the Indian Reservation (ok - I shall be PC - Native American Reservation) to gamble. I told him I would risk no more than $10 ..I ended up risking $20 and feeling guilty. I just simply think its very ironic - education/lottery... are we gambling on our children's education - literally and figuratively?

So Sail on....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Attack....

**Due to computer trouble at home this one did not get published earlier. Today "is" the day...so more on that when the computer issues get resolved. But thanks to so many of you for the Birthday wishes!

When I decided to blog I thought I could write something everyday - you know I had this kind of fantasy that once the kids went off to college and it was just Rob and me that we would actually get home from work by 5:30 p.m. have a pleasant conversation, maybe have a nice glass of wine while we prepared dinner...well that was a nice fantasy.

I LOVE my job - I've worked for nearly 20 years as a downtown revitalization professional and last fall I was fortunate enough to get a job with the state of NC where I actually get to work for five small towns who apply to be in the program. I get to go to those towns and work with both the private and public sector. I have a great co-worker who is a designer and we travel together. The operative word here is travel: while we live and work in the Western region of NC the west extends all the way to Union County and Randolf Counties of NC and when we travel there and back in one day it makes for a long day and we travel two nights a week three weeks out of the month. This week we had two towns and I just found myself letting a lot go this week - including laundry...which makes me ask: why is it that I haven't had a child at home in nearly two years and I swear the laundry seems almost as much as it was when they were home? We're either the cleanest two people I know or the dirtiest!

But, back to my work and the "attack". In the nearly 20 years of working downtown I've had some interesting experiences such as crawling through a tiny hole into a display window to help create a display and thinking once in there I was going to be the display the space was so tight, wondering if I'll end up suffering the consequences of inhaling asbestos after crawling around the second floor of a burned out building (or worse falling through the floor). I've been flea bitten, crawled onto the roof of buildings through really tight openings, encountered snake skins that made my skin crawl, smelled odors that made me wonder if Jimmy Hoffa was behind the walls, ridden an outside elevator up to the top of a building while winds were around 35 miles per hour (and I hate outside construction elevators)but I did get to see Pilot Mountain - but being attacked by a squirrel well that was a first! Did you know squirrels play possum to0...yes indeed.

I decided to forego climbing up the ladder onto the roof of the building we were evaluating and squeezing through a hole just to see what the upstairs looked liked. I really didn't want to look like Pooh Bear when he got stuck trying to get honey - instead my younger and much more agile co-worker did the honor of crawling onto the roof and through the hole (not getting stuck). While he was crawling around on the roof the town planner and I observed a squirrel that we thought had died between the power line and the exterior brick wall. Once my co-worker and the building's owner got back on the ground we pointed out the poor little creature. Sneaky little bugger - he was just bidding his time until we left. The building owner decided to poke him with a stick and you got it - he wasn't asleep at all. The squirrel literally jumped on the chest of the the building owner, ran down his leg and straight toward me. Yes, this nearly 50 year old woman can still run and so could that man who is older than me. The two young men were laughing their - well you know what off!

But - Tuesday is the "big" day. I'll be traveling to another one of our towns just above Asheville. A little town called Burnsville. So I'm really hoping a bear doesn't wander out and decide to crawl into our state car. I think that might be hard to explain to our bosses in Raleigh.

Anyway next week the family is having a little get together on the family farm to celebrate. My dad turns 79 on Friday and my brother turned 47 on Oct. 6 so we'll just have a family celebration in the old packing shed. Rob and I went over today and it was like these memories washed over me and I could just feel the presence of little Sherry, Billy and Rodney in that packing house. We even walked upstairs and I could see us with skates on our feet skating as if the upstairs of the packing house was the fanciest skating rink around and to us it was. Next to the packing shed is the old sawmill. I walked over and pretended once again to be the Capt. of the Ship. When my brothers and I were little we used to pretend the old sawmill was a ship. I always had to be the Captain and my brothers the crew. I was such a bossy little girl! We spent hours sailing the sea and no pirates ever took over our ship when I was in command.

I love the family farm. It takes me back to a childhood that was just perfect. Long summer days running around the farm. Going fishing in the evenings. Oh we did work - yes dad made us work but I don't remember it being such drudgery, but isn't that a part of the aging process??? We remember things more ideal than they probably were. But seriously I am blessed...then and now and next Saturday we'll just spend the evening remembering the past, looking forward to the future and my favorite thing...laughing. I love to laugh. Hopefully no attack squirrels though!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just thinking...

As of 8 minutes ago (current time as I blog 7:08) I have been married 26 years. Why am I not out celebrating...husband is sick..hope it's not flu. I did go by Green Life in Asheville and pick up a few ingredients to make a delicious dinner tomorrow night. I know we should go out,but I like to cook and plus one kid still in college we are still kind of on a tight budget - but the point - I like to cook or we'd go out.

Wow 26 years ago and to think I nearly married someone else - yep came within six weeks of marrying some else. Invitations ready to go, napkins for reception with our name and wedding date on them and I decided to back out. Yes, I felt guilty...the guy was nice, handsome, funny, smart - what was the problem....me. I just couldn't close my eyes and see myself growing old with him and part of that was I was 21 and had just graduated from college and while many of my friends got married at 20 and right out of college I just couldn't. I wasn't ready. I guess I was waiting to meet Rob.

Oh there have been times within 26 years I've thought what the heck did I do?? About the 4th move and in the midst of building a house and pregnant and the house collapsed in the middle of construction I thought I could have married someone else and this wouldn't have happened! But the reality is we never know...something worse could have happened.

I jokingly tell people Rob proposed by saying, "marry me and I'll take you places"...yeah - Clarksville, VA, Forest City, NC, Clarksville (again), Southern Pines, Rutherfordton, Mooresville, Meridian, MS, Greensboro and now Flat Rock, NC. We have had some adventures. I remember when he came home and said that we had to move to Mississippi or he would be out of a job. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "I'll move to Mississippi when Hell freezes over". The next thing I knew we were on a plane to take a look at Mississippi. I wasn't going to move, but felt we owed the company the courtesy of taking a look (at their expense). We flew out in February. I asked what kind of clothes to pack and he said, "light weight". When we got to Meridian the temperature started dropping. It was getting colder there. I remember waking in the hotel room and sincerely praying, "God if you really want us to move here then please somehow let me know." We looked and looked around and the day got chillier. By the time we got on a flight home and suddenly we found ourselves in freezing rain in Meridian. I started laughing and thought, "well God you do have a sense of humor - Hell has just frozen over." I looked at Rob and said, "okay, I'll move!"

Meridian was a hard move for the family, but proved to make us stronger as a family. Ten months after moving there we moved to Greensboro where our children really grew up and we met people that made it very hard for us to move again - but move again we did. This move has been one of the hardest, but hopefully it's the last. I have said, "Rob - you can move again, but me - not until you cremate me!"

I remember 26 years ago my mom and I having the best time planning the wedding. We didn't get into those mother/daughter fights. We just enjoyed. Then my dad driving me to the church and I just wasn't ready to leave him so we drove around the church with my friend Tami (who introduced Rob and me) following us. Finally I looked at dad and said, "it's time".

I know it won't be too many years before my dear husband has to walk his own daughter down the aisle and maybe one day we'll see our son get married too. Time passes so quickly now.

The one thing I can honestly say - while Rob and I certainly have had our "white trash" moments as we jokingly say and there have been some interesting times within our marriage - I can still see myself growing old with him. Marriage isn't easy - life isn't easy - children aren't easy - but if you find the right person to go through the next 26 years and counting with then it's all worth it!

Don't you think??