Clarification

Spending 15 minutes discussing the realist’s perspective on world affairs and how that perspective conforms or not with Catholic teaching on the nature of man and whether or not states are sentient beings and how an individual’s value system affects his country’s behavior, while very interesting, is not at all what I had in mind when I said that we really needed to carve out some time every evening to talk.

Intelligent conversation: CHECK.

Azimuth check on how we’re spending the weekend: INCOMPLETE

Talking at you

He was going to Florida on business, leaving in the morning, driving. She had an appointment that morning, but would head to her parents’ house, in a different part of Florida, that afternoon.

Things were hectic that morning. She pulled the large green duffel bag and the small wheeled suitcase from the closet and put them in the master bedroom, tossing in a few of the kids’ things she had ready. A bit later, he went up to pack. “Which bag should I take?” he called out to her as she scurried around, getting ready for her appointment.

“The wheeled one!” she shouted from several rooms away. She wasn’t sure he heard her but figured when he saw the children’s belongings in the duffel bag, he would have his answer.

She raced off to her appointment, kissing him goodbye, knowing he’d be gone when she got back.

Hours later, he called home from the road (he was not driving, just in case anyone would like to flag him for unsafe behavior). “How are you?” he asked.

She had just gotten home and was trying to get the house shut down and the family out the door. “I’m a little crazy right now,” she answered, wondering if he needed something.

“Oh.” Pause.

“You know, I’m in that frantic, trying to make sure I get everything done and don’t come home to stinky garbage left in the kitchen stage.”

“Oh.” Pause.

“You know, that ‘Why is he calling me and keeping me from getting my work done?’ insane stage of packing.”

“Oh.” Pause. “Maybe I should go.”

“Yeah…I’ll call you when I get on the road.”

Ten minutes later, she went upstairs to pack her clothes. No duffel bag. She ran downstairs and asked the kids if they had seen it. They swore it was upstairs. She ran upstairs. No duffel bag. She ran downstairs to get the phone, which should have been upstairs, but was obviously placed to ensure a good day’s exercise instead.

“Do you…wha…why…” Pause for breath and to compose herself. “Did you take the green duffel?”

“Yes.”

“Didn’t we…what did…didn’t you…” The incoherent spluttering continued for a bit while she searched for the right words. She inhaled. “Did you ask me which suitcase to take?”

“Yes.”

“What did you hear me say?”

“Um, I didn’t hear very clearly, but I thought you said to take the duffel bag.”

“Even though the kids’ stuff was in it?”

“Yeah, I thought maybe you changed your mind.”

“You left all the kids’ stuff here?”

“Oh, yes.”

“OK. No big deal. I meant for you to take the wheeled one.” Pause. “I just want to clarify that we completely screwed this up.”

“Yeah…”

“Maybe we need to work on our communication skills?”

“Yeah.”

Or maybe we shouldn’t run around like chickens without heads.

Or both.

Flowers and diamonds

The rose bush in the front of the house first bloomed back in May or early June. When the blooms began to fade, I thought that was it. But my husband went out and cut off all the dead heads and a few weeks later, we had more blooms. Since then, he has been fairly regular in trimming away the dead flowers and as a result, we have a fairly continuous bounty of pretty flowers greeting us as we come and go.

Some gals get roses via FTD delivered to their front door for a special occasion. I get them every day.

Yesterday, as I was saying goodbye to my husband before work, I noticed the dew on the rose bush. The petals and leaves appeared to be covered in diamonds. Gorgeous.

Recap

Sometimes, you have to do more living than blogging. Of course, those are the times you most want to blog about.

Fritz’s face looks much better than it did last Wednesday. The dentist thinks all will be fine with his adult teeth, but she’ll keep an eye on them at future visits.

Peter had a lingual frenectomy. He was so good. I was traumatized, but at least I didn’t faint or vomit.

Bill’s parents came down for a visit and we did touristy stuff. Fort Pulaski. The Owens-Thomas House (free to military during the summer!!).

Last week, I had a conversation with my husband about how many days he has gone TDY since beginning this job four months ago (more than 30). He has a whole month to go until his next trip. The office doesn’t know what they will do with him. I suggested it was time to take some leave (vacation).

“Well, I do have that long weekend coming up for the 4th of July,” he said. There was a pause, and I expected him to continue with some plan to take leave. But, no, that was the end of his statement.

“No, dear, that’s a holiday. Leave is when you don’t go into the office, but everybody else does.”

So, he took today off, which was very nice. He helped me run outside and pull the clothes off the line before the torrential downpour (this is my every afternoon). Somebody found my stash of rubber bands and he’s been teaching the kids how to best aim and fire them. They have battled all day long, and my stash is now all over the floors all over the house. He washed my car, because he’s trying very hard to conscientiously practice my love language of acts of service (isn’t he great, folks?).

Part of this is because we watched the movie P.S. I Love You. Tear-jerker. I cannot in good faith recommend it to anyone whose husband is deployed, or is deploying soon, or has a brain tumor or some other life-shortening condition, or to anyone who is pregnant or post-partum hormonal, or PMSing or menopausal, or who cries easily, or who can’t bear the thought of her husband dying. And since it’s rated PG-13 for sexual content, I can’t recommend it to anyone under the age of adulthood…so pretty much I think only men should watch this movie. And since I like having my car washed just because, I highly recommend that all husbands watch this movie very soon. If your husband will not watch a chick flick without you, be forewarned that you will need tissues.

There are 18 weeks to the Army Ten Miler. Today I started the Hal Higdon 15K Intermediate training program, which is 10 weeks long. I just plan to repeat the last 4 weeks twice to get me to race day.

And that’s my life in the last week.

Morning Ritual

We stood on the front porch, Katie, Mary and I, and waved goodbye to Bill as he headed off for work. I always try to make sure he gets a grand send off.

As we turned to come in, Mary told me, “I LOVE him!”

“I do, too,” I enthused.

“He gives great hugs.”

“Yes, he does.”

Flashback

Yesterday I had the opportunity to have lunch with my husband (and no children). I insisted on checking out the DFAC (dining facility aka cafeteria) near him, since I had heard how great it is. And it was great. I mean, it’s a cafeteria, but it’s a low, flat price for whatever you want, the salad bar had an acceptable number of toppings and dressings (the spinach was fresh), and there were plenty of choices of hot entrees and desserts. I would eat there again.

We selected a bar-height table. There was a TV with CNN on.

Suddenly, eating cafeteria food in that setting brought back memories of sharing meals with my husband, long before he was my husband, at our college’s dining facility, at a bar height table, with CNN on the TV.

A decent salad bar and a tab of $8.50 for two people are definitely incentives to frequent the DFAC, but the real reason I’d go back is to imagine, for a half hour, that I am 20 again.

Little Ears, Big Mouths

Bill met me at the hospital where I was to have a needle stuck in my foot. Rather unpleasant experience. He took the kids to get haircuts (the boys) and to buy Mother’s Day presents.

I met him when I was done and we argued discussed the parking over by his office where I had to go for a meeting. His parking lot is tight and there are few free spaces. And my van is big. He wanted me to just pull up behind his car. I whined about how small his lot was, and suggested he drive the van and I would drive his car.

He agreed, although he teased me mercilessly. I believe the term he used was “pathetic.” You see how he loves me?

An hour later, after the meeting, we loaded the kids up and I pulled away. Peter pipes up from the middle row. “Mommy, why were you uncomfortable parking Moby?”

Just when you think their minds are like sieves, they prove how closely they really do listen.

The high cost of bacon

When we arrived home yesterday, Mary was napping. I really had to restrain myself from waking her up right away. Later, I decided to run to the grocery store for a few items, and wanted to be sure to be home before she awoke.

I went. I shopped. I came home and put the freezer stuff in the freezer in the garage and hauled half the remaining bags to the kitchen. Mary was still sleeping. Good.

As I unloaded the bags and Bill went out for the few I couldn’t carry, I realized I didn’t have the bacon. Billy likes bacon, and we didn’t have any last weekend. I made sure to pick up bacon at the store, but it wasn’t in the bags, not even in the ones Bill brought in. Flustered and annoyed and worried that I’d not be home when Mary woke up, I hurried back to the store, which is right across the street from my neighborhood.

I cannot drive when I’m flustered and annoyed and worried. I just can’t. So as I backed out of the drive, I backed into our mailbox, spinning it 45 degrees, and smashing the taillight on the driver side (and let’s not talk about the scratch on the rear quarter panel, ok?). Now I was even more flustered and annoyed and worried, but I trudged on to the store. The man at the customer service counter walked with me over to the appropriate cashier who remembered me (I should hope so – I had left there about 15 minutes prior).

She had bagged the bacon with some other items that went straight into the freezer, bag and all. My bacon was at home and had been all along.

Now I was flustered and annoyed and worried and really really angry at myself, but I managed to drive home without killing myself or others or destroying more property.

And Mary was still asleep. And my husband, who has to clean up my mess, was very forgiving (imagine the scene where the sinful woman is weeping at Jesus’ feet, only my hair is shorter and my husband had shoes on).

And we had bacon for breakfast.

Foot and Feathers

If you ask your husband to hang a picture and he hands you a hammer and nail, does that mean “No”?

I suspect he is tired of coddling me. {sigh}

*******

“Just don’t move,” said the MRI technician as she walked away. The table and I, with my left foot firmly clamped in a flexed position, moved into the opening. As the light flashed and the machine started doing its thing, I realized that one toe on my left foot was feeling itchy. Somehow I managed to distract myself.

I had hoped to take a nap, but I had not realized how obnoxiously noisy the thing is. Loud humming would have been fine; that’s about what my house sounds like most days anyway. But the rhythmic and arrhythmic banging had me thinking that somebody needed to be redirected to a quieter activity. Nonetheless, I must have managed to start to doze because the tech came in and chastised me for moving, and I had to do the last scan again.

Fully alert, I noticed that itch again.

*******

Today, the doctor called with the results. According to the MRI, I have cellulitis. I momentarily wondered if they did lyposuction of feet.

“Do you have a red rash on your foot or leg?” asked my doctor. I looked down past my cut off jeans to my bare feet. “No,” I answered.

“Fever? Hot flashes?”

Now I suddenly felt middle aged. Lyposuction and menopause all at once. “No,” I said again.

The doctor then said something else, which I more or less understood to mean that since I had no symptoms of a bacterial skin infection, she was not going to give me antibiotics, but that I should call her at once, even at her home, if I should develop a fever or a rash. OK, then. I’ve been checking my temperature hourly.

She also said that I had fluid in my ankle and she was going to refer me to a podiatrist. Interesting. My ankle has not been hurting me over the last four years.

In fact, since I decided to run the Ten Miler and have been dutifully doing my training program, I have felt very little foot pain. Today I ran nearly 3 miles and only stopped because I was tired and because I had to start school. It’s hard to believe that a month ago, I was convinced I would never run again.

God is good. I asked Him to fix my foot, and so far, He has. I really can’t complain about His methods.

******

Being a strong woman is all fine and dandy, but why do it if you don’t have to? Well, I suppose to avoid annoying a husband who is tired of hanging pictures when he knows you are perfectly capable with a hammer.

My “friend, with a deployed husband, who lives down the street” called tonight and asked for help because a bird had flown into her house. I told her my husband would be right down. I suppose I could have offered her some suggestions or gone down myself to cheer her on, but it just seemed like a job perfectly suited for a man.

When he returned, successful in the task, I thanked him and told him that there were many many nights when he was gone that I cried because I had had to be self-sufficient all.day.long. I just wanted to spare my friend one instance of doing her husband’s job. He nodded. I hope he understands.

I suspect, though, that the more times I send him down there, the more often he’ll be handing me the tools to do my own requests over here.

Last Minute Shopping?

“Do I need to go Christmas shopping?” this husband of mine asked me.

“No.” I said.

“The kids are all done?”

“Of course,” I assured him.

“But what about you?” he persisted.

“I have stuff,” I said, vaguely casting my mind about to recall what that might be. He would feel terrible if I wasn’t the very last person left opening presents on Christmas morning. My pile has to be the biggest one. I think I took care of that.

But I don’t really care. The snow has been wonderful, and the kids are all hyped up about that, but that’s all they seem excited about. How many more days until Christmas? Most years, it seems, the kids are losing it at this point: four.more.days. And moms, too. That long to-do list: cookies, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, stamping and mailing: only four more days!

But in this house, Christmas is already here. Not the gifts. We’ve not had a single present exchanged, not even little things Daddy might have brought home from overseas. The cookies aren’t made yet. We’ll get to it eventually, I suppose. The tree isn’t decorated: that’s for Christmas Eve anyway. Only a fraction of our house decorations are up, and I really don’t care.

We’ve been drinking eggnog and playing carols on iTunes. We’ve been relaxing and enjoying days off work and school. We’ve been eating lovely meals and snacking on candy.

We’re together. Our hearts are full.

What thing could he possibly buy that would make this better?