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Tense Times and Relaxation


I’m tired. It’s finally hitting me because I am sitting down, I think. Today was Ben’s dance competition in Iowa City and I had to take all the Littles with me. They are exhausting. I think it is actually harder now that they are in school because I don’t have to deal with them en masse all the time like I used to. They wear me out!

Ben’s team did awesome – gold medal winners. There was only one other team in their section that did as well as them, I thought. They, too, earned gold.

The good news is that, physically, I am feeling a lot better than when I last wrote. I think massages are the key. There was nothing relaxing about the one I had. This tiny Asian woman really worked me over, targeting my shoulders and lower back. As she worked on me I found myself practicing the Lamaze breathing I was taught 23 years ago (that I never once used for labor, but sure has come in handy for other things!). It hurt! And then for the next 3 days I felt like I’d been run over. I lived on Advil, licodaine patches hot baths, and ice packs. But even then I could tell my muscles were looser. The massage therapist said my body was “full of pain.” No kidding. I’ve done so much better this week. My shoulders and hip still hurt, but it’s not as bad as it was. I think I’m going to go in every few weeks and have the massages. It’s worth it!

I finally finished my term last Sunday night. That was the most grueling school term I’ve had yet. The classes were not horribly difficult but there was SO much required by the professors. I had a really difficult time keeping up. I did – I got everything in, but I was working right up to the Sunday night deadline every single week. I ended up with a 93% and a 94% in the classes, thankfully.

My new classes are not quite as time consuming – yet, anyway. I’m taking Conflict Management and Math for Liberal Arts. The math is…math. Ugh. After only a week of classes, my grade has already dipped to a B. Will is helping me. Honestly, if I can scrape through there with just the C needed for the credits, I’ll be content.


Some days I really, really hate being a single mom. Sam has it in his head (literally) that he wants an ear pierced. He was very polite about how he approached me, saying that there was something he needed my opinion on. I explained that male ear piercing used to be a sign of rebellion (in my generation) although now I really don’t think it is. I didn’t even realize guys were still doing that, to be honest. I thought it was something that had gone out with acid washed jeans and shoulder pads. Unless, you’re an NBA star (and black) – then, the flashier the stud, the better. I told him that was a decision for him to make when he’s an older teen. He seemed content with that – maybe. See, if Paul was alive it would be so simple. He would simply tell Sam that no son of his who wanted to remain part of the family and have warm place to sleep and food to eat would get a hole poked in his head. And that would be the end of it. But my viewpoint on a lot of things is more of a questioning one these days and I’m not so quick to say something is wrong simply because tradition demands it.

A few weeks ago Sam told me, “I think when I grow up I’m going to get a tattoo.” But then he added, “But don’t worry, I’m not going to go crazy with it. I’ll just get a small one. Maybe my birthday.” Lizzie, who was sitting beside him, snorted and said, “What – you can’t just look at the calendar?!” Ha, ha!

It’s such a different world my kids are growing up in. There’s so much sorting to do. Is something actually wrong or is it just a preference? Or are some things wrong for some people because they have a biblical conviction about it but because others are not similarly convicted and there is no clear Scriptural mandate then it’s ok? I think these were questions I was supposed to work through when I was younger. But times were different then.

My aunt died a couple of weeks ago. She was young, only 62. All her older siblings outlived her. We think she may have been saved. Maybe. She was only a teenager when I was born, so I actually have quite a few memories of her from my early years – not so many as she got older. But 17 years ago when I visited Texas she did make the several hour trip over to see me. I have several things she painted and gave me. Sigh…she’ll be missed. Hopefully, only temporarily.

Hostess has come out with ice cream based on their cake products – twinkies, etc. I bought the chocolate flavored cupcake variety with the white cream in the middle. Eh – save your money. It’s way too sweet and has an aftertaste besides. My neighbor is now David’s supervisor at work some nights that he is on duty. Last night he came home with about a half dozen boxes of strawberry filled twinkies she insisted he take. The expiration date was past and they could no longer sell them.  Better than the ice cream!
Last week at therapy, the therapist turned to me and said, “After doing this for 35 years I now have a pretty good idea after only a little while of which kids are going to make it and which ones are going to struggle all their lives.” And she left it at that! So, after a moment I said, “And, what do you see in Ellie?” “Oh, “ she quickly respoinded, “She’s going to make it! She’s already so bonded to you – you just can’t see it yet!”

What a relief!

Yesterday, I had Lizzie tag along to Ellie’s session since we’re on Spring Break (“Spring” – right. Yesterday morning we woke up to 2” snow which was considerably less than other parts of the state got!). I thought it might be good for the therapist to see how the girls interact. She agreed with me that it would probably be a good idea to get Lizzie in now, too – maybe alternate sessions with the girls since Ellie is more stable now. Just last week a friend mentioned to me that it would have been so helpful to have therapy in her childhood. She didn’t have RAD but she said she still really struggled with the idea of being adopted around the time of puberty. Since that is next for Lizzie, I want to have the therapy already in place. I think Lizzie is pretty attached but there are still adoption/trauma/behavioral related issues I’d like to have addressed.

Lizzie brought home a school project recently in which she had to talk about winter. She wrote, “Winter feels like ice cream dumped on my head.” Well, yes, I suppose it does…!

We had tornadoes last Monday, March 6. It was kind of a warmish day and the weather guys were saying there might be some storms later on. We got home that night and I struggled to get the girls in the shower. They were being especially balky. I finally got it done and not 2 minutes later the tornado siren was going off! So I had to pull them out, throw towels at them, and hustle them to the basement. David was working so I wondered if all the employees were crammed in the freezer. But he said the sirens never went off there. Instead, they lost power about a half dozen times, which made the night more interesting. The winds were so strong that it literally ripped his clip-on tie off his shirt when he was taking groceries out for a customer! We were fine. A tornado was officially sighted about 20 min. from here, but I don’t think it did any real damage. Actually, there were quite a few tornadoes across the state that night. One town was especially hard hit, but it wasn’t around here.

Oh, I got out of jury duty – what a relief! I got a notice in Feb. that I was being summoned for federal court in Des Moines. That might get icky. I know all the child porn cases go straight to federal court. I didn’t think a whole lot about it until it dawned on me last week that with David working a few nights a week now I would have nobody to pick the kids up from school and stay with them if I was serving on a jury. They don’t even allow you to bring your cell phone into the building so I couldn’t text anyone to go get them, even if I had someone available. So, over the weekend I tried to file an excuse only to have the computer tell me I wasn’t eligible for an excuse. But when I called yesterday and spoke to the office I happened to mention that I was a college student. The lady there said to send her a list of my current classes, so I did, and by afternoon I was officially excused. It’s not that I’m not willing to serve. I’ve always kind of wanted to. But this is not a good time for me right now.

The other day David said something about how he hopes I never come into his store while he’s working. I wouldn’t – I’d just text him and tell him what to bring home for me. But jokingly, I said, “Well, I think I’d like to, so you could introduce me to everyone!” David’s eyes showed sheer panic until he realized I was just joking. He then threatened, “If you ever come in while I’m working, I’m going to pretend I don’t know you!”

That’s not very nice.

It sounds like he’s fitting in, though. Kate, my neighbor and David’s sometimes supervisor, told me everyone likes him there. She thinks one of the cashiers even has a little crush on David. He said his co-workers can’t get over the fact that he doesn’t swear and that last night one was even trying to coax him into saying, “Just one little swear word – please?!” <eyeball roll here>

We had an audit at City Hall the last two days. I’ve been on pins and needles, half convinced they were going to tell me I’m doing everything wrong. But I just had a meeting with them regarding their findings and everything is fine. Their only concern is the lack of controls over the money. For example, I enter the water rates and I also pay my own water bill. Obviously, if a person was of a mind to be dishonest there would be opportunity there. But they admitted that in little towns such as ours it’s hard to have controls in place for everything that you would in a larger city. So that’s a relief. I think one of my biggest fears is getting accused of theft and having my reputation ruined.

We went to an Iowa Energy game Sunday night. It was the Special Olympics/Make a Wish night so we got tickets for $5 apiece. I really enjoyed it although David kept texting me to tell me how bored he was. Next time he can stay home. Lizzie only had eyes for the cheerleaders, of course. I enjoy basketball because I have a fairly good understanding of how the game is played – unlike football. And it's just a fun environment.

Well, I don’t think I have anything else to report. I am sorting through the kids’ summer clothes this week, so the basement has exploded with clothes and tubs all over the place. I am believing that one day it will warm up enough to wear the clothes I am sorting out!

I had hoped to start gluing the new ceiling tiles to the girls’ bedroom this week, but I don’t know if that is going to happen or not. And, I am doing schoolwork because, unlike every other college student in America, I don’t get Spring Break.

And it looks like some of my personal financial information has been breached so I’ve been busy the last day filing a police report, visiting with the sheriff (who came over today with some information), filing a block on my SS # with the SS Admin, filing credit alerts, talking to my bank, and buying Life Lock. As long as I stay on top of things for the next few years, I should be ok. Unfortunately, in the computer age we live in, it’s easier and easier for criminals to get ahold of sensitive information. Fortunately, I don’t have a need for credit right now, so that will make my life easier. If anyone does try to do something fraudulent, it will be obvious. Yesterday I was really upset. Since then, I’ve asked God to just protect what needs protecting, and I’ve done what I can. In fact, the sheriff said he was really impressed with my quick action. So, today I feel better. A little bit, anyway.

Well, I suppose I should get these kids fed. I didn’t realize it was this late!


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