March 19, 2016
So, I turned 45 yesterday. And what a relief that is! There are very few “40” numbers I like. In fact only 40, 42, and 45 are really acceptable. 48 is borderline. It only slips in because 4 is half of 8. I was commenting about this to Sara earlier this week and mentioned how turning 49 will be just awful and she nodded sympathetically and said, “Oh, I know because 50 will be right around the corner then!” But that’s not it at all. I would prefer to be 50 rather than 49. 50 is a nice number – even and full of fives and zeros. But 49 is terrible because 9 is the worst digit of all. It has been suggested to me more than once that I’m a little weird about numbers…
And even though I am now halfway to 90 (as my brother reminded me yesterday) I am very pleased to be this age. I don’t know, I guess I’m even a little curious about what the next year will bring. I feel like I’ve been “asleep” for so long and I’m finally beginning to wake up a little bit – still plenty groggy, though!
My birthday was actually a very nice day, despite the melancholia that tends to accompany celebratory dates. I think that’s just part of losing someone who made those days so special. I imagine it will become less of a factor with time. Or not. I don’t know. We already had plans for the Littles to go to Merritts yesterday so I ran them up there in the morning. Then I went down to the Jordan Creek area and did some fun shopping. I wandered around Ulta and Charming Charlie’s and Christopher and Banks. I was going to go to Kirkland’s, too, but I needed to get home and get some schoolwork in. Besides, I’ll be going to a big craft show with Kathy in two weeks.
Then, when Arien arrived, we headed up to Urbandale and picked up the kids. We went to a new restaurant we’d never tried before called Smokey D’s. Will’s professor had told Will that, in his opinion, Smokey’s is better than Jethro’s. So, we tried it and while it is good, it just didn’t compare to Jethro’s! Afterwards I wanted to do something so we ended up going to the Brass Armadillo.
Now, I did that with a certain amount of trepidation. Antiquing was always something Paul and I did together. When we went to S. Dakota 11 months after his death, I briefly went into an antique shop up there just to prove to myself that I could do it without falling apart. I didn’t fall apart, but I haven’t been in an antique store since, either. But, I did ok last night. Of course, it seemed like Paul’s presence was never stronger (I mean that metaphorically) than when in there, though. I saw things like Red Wing crocks and I remember how he had always wanted to get me one. And then I stumbled across a restored Hoosier cabinet and I remembered how we always talked about finding the right one someday and putting it in the spot where the pie safe is right now. I wasn’t really sad, but I thought sadly to myself last night, “There just wasn’t enough time!” But then, is there ever, really? I don’t know – maybe. Maybe when couples reach their 80s and 90s together they can look at each other with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that they accomplished all that had desired and are content to ride out the rest of their lives together in their rocking chairs. But maybe not – maybe there is always a sense of unaccomplished dreams and plans between couples, no matter how many years they get to be married.
David said he was having a bit of a hard time, too. Paul dragged all those boys in enough antique stores that he has memories, too!
So then we went home and had cake and presents. I had a nice shower and used my new sugar scrub from the kids. I watched some tv and fell asleep.
I’m thinking about getting a different headboard for my bed. I saw one at the antique store last night that I really liked. It’s too small for my bed but it got me thinking that maybe it’s time to switch out the one I have for something else. I don’t know. We’ll see.
Sara, Dan, and the girls came Monday. We had a nice time together. We always go out to the mall and that meant I got to get my “Walking Chedd” zombie burger. So, so, good…I thought I’d save money this time and get my drink and fries at another restaurant. So I just ordered the sandwich alone and it was still $9! Holy cow…it’s definitely worth it, but I think that will have to be a more rare than common treat!
I made a list, which is incomplete, at best, of all that needs to happen before Ben’s party in 8 weeks. I’m already feeling panicky. I’ve been trying really hard to not let myself get all hyper on the outside, though, when I get overwhelmed. I’ve noticed that’s a trait of mine and I’ve been working hard the last few months at controlling that. But it’s going to be hard to try to keep it together for something this big! I’m thinking that if I assign bits of my list to every week then it won’t seem so overwhelming. Hopefully.
Lizzie has spent a lot of this week watching my Anne of Green Gables dvds. I haven’t even watched them yet! I’m terrible about taking the time to sit down and watch movies. I keep thinking I’m going to get sick one of these days and then I’ll have all sorts of time to lay in bed and watch. But so far, I have been very healthy all winter! I don’t know if Lizzie is enjoying the orphan aspect of Anne or if she relates more to Anne’s higher plane of thinking. Maybe it's just that she’s just all girl!
Tuesday Lizzie had to go to the orthodontist in Iowa City. He wants to put her in braces, probably this summer. It would just be for her top teeth. Apparently, having those two canines pulled didn’t do what he was hoping. He said we could try a retainer, but I really don’t want to do that. I think she’d have trouble keeping it in her mouth and more than likely, it would be lost by day 5, anyway. It all hinges on insurance approval, but the dentist didn’t seem to think it would be a problem since she has a really messed up mouth.
Afterwards, we went bra shopping – for Lizzie. It’s time. It’s become more of a modesty issue – even though she’s only 7. They make little, itty-bitty camisole-type bras for her size so we picked up some of those. Ellie is quite jealous.
When we got back from Iowa City I picked up Sam and Ellie and we went and wrapped up their spring/summer wardrobes by stopping at several consignment stores. Of course, now the temperatures have plunged back down into the 40s so they have all these new clothes they can’t wear yet!
When we got done with that we went to the pet store and Sam picked out a new hamster. We had a really good employee help us find just the right one. He urged us away from the larger ones (about twice the size of the one he had before) saying that they are “aggressive.” They also had mini hamsters but the guy pointed out that it wouldn’t take much to lose one of them permanently. We ended up picking out a little gray and white female from a litter. This one was so curious, poking her nose up over the enclosure, when the employee opened up the door. Sam named her “Smokey” because of her coloring. She is so adorable! If I just look into the cage, she immediately comes to where I am, poking her nose out and sniffing. She’s very interested in people. And she is so cute with her food dish. She stands there and chucks out certain types of feed, leaving only the smaller pieces in the bowl. I can’t keep myself from cuddling her! This is probably a commentary on my life…how excited I get about a rodent…
This was spring break week for the kids, so I spent a lot more time with them than normal. Lizzie was sure on a roll all week long. I was grocery shopping Thursday with her and with Ben and she was being so outrageous that I soon started jotting down notes of all she was saying. The thing is, she wasn’t deliberately trying to be funny – just letting her tongue go.
I could have cheerfully strangled her when we were in the baking aisle and a nice-looking, middle aged guy walked through. Lizzie loudly (because she has no other speaking level) exclaimed, “Oh, look Mom – that guy could be your next husband!” I don’t know if he heard her or not, because I immediately turned around and pretended to be very interested in chocolate chips. Oh, for goodness sakes…
I haven’t even said anything to the kids about my aborted foray into the world of on-line dating (a widowed friend of mine is into it now and someone commented to her today that it’s a “full-time job” sorting through all the requests and getting to know someone – another reason it’s not time right now for me! Who has that kind of time?) so I don’t even know how that was in her head. All three of the younger kids have made comments in recent months that I need to get moving to find them another dad. If only it were as simple as going to Amazon, reading the reviews, and putting one in my cart...
I think I’ve mentioned before how the Walmart we go to has a lot of Muslim employees. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that probably a third of their female employees are dressed in floor sweeping skirts and head scarves. And you don’t have to ask too many for assistance before discovering that English is not their first language. I hate Walmart so much. I’ve asked for help and I’ve had employees just look at me, shrug, and walk away. I was in there again yesterday, quickly developing two pictures and I needed to pay for them. A sign on the photography counter said to go over to Electronics if assistance was needed. I did, but, of course, there was nobody there to help, either. So, I put 60 cents on the counter and slipped the photos in my purse.
Phooey. I don't have time to wait around like that.
So, our clerk was obviously mid-Eastern – big and swarthy. He had a name that began with “Mohummad.” He was halfway through my order when Lizzie leaned over to me and asked, “Do you think he knows how to talk?” I just hoped he couldn’t hear! But Lizzie was right. That clerk never said a single, solitary word to me the entire time he checked out my 100 item order. He didn’t even tell me the total – I had to read it off the screen. I don’t know if it’s because he couldn’t speak English well or if it’s something to do with Islam – maybe they’re not supposed to talk to western, uncovered, women. I don’t know!
We were walking down an aisle while still shopping and Lizzie pointed out a covered employee and said, “Look, Mom – she’s from Muslimland!” And then in the next aisle she exclaimed, “Another one from Muslimland!” And then as we got closer she stage - whispered to me, “I sure hope she doesn’t try to kill me!”
I’m thinking we may need to re-visit just what is I’ve told the kids about Islam and those that blindly follow its teachings…
At another store that same day I was buying vodka to make vanilla. It’s the only thing I ever purchase alcohol for but all the kids seem to get a real kick out of it – probably because I wouldn’t ever drink it for real. Well, I got carded. Lizzie wanted to know why I was having to show my license to the clerk and I told her it was because the clerk was trying to flatter me! She still didn’t understand so I explained to her that a person has to be 21 before purchasing alcohol. Lizzie then exclaimed to the clerk, “Oh, well, my mom is a LOT older than that!”
She may be a loud mouth at times, but she has wound her way into my heart completely. While we were still at Walmart we waited on a bench while Ben used the bathroom. Lizzie leaned her head on my shoulder and so softly that I could barely hear, sighed, “I love my mom!”
And I love this girl.