Monday, July 28, 2014

Yay It's Monday?!

Today's blog comes with a warning. I have no clue in what direction this is headed or what is going to slosh out from my brain, flow through my fingers and end up on the page. I think it is pretty safe to say that by the end, we are likely to all be surprised!

*Monday's are normally my "like" or "not like" blogs. Today however, I think there maybe a little like, possibly a smidge of love, a whole lot of don't like, some possible wants and maybe even a hate or two. Really though, who the heck knows what I might decide to unload? Again....WARNING!

I know I have expressed vehemently in both the past and the present, how much I really don't care for Monday's. Well, this week....Monday is so unbelievably welcome, as it means this last weekend is over! Now don't get me wrong, it didn't all suck, but the insight and perspective I ended up with after the last 48 hours was literally exhausting. It all started with a friend coming over Friday night. She and I had actually not really talked in several months so we thought WOW....what a great time to catch up. Poor girl. She had no idea what she was in for when she innocently asked, "So....what's been going on?" The last seven months came pouring out and I am very sure by the time she left she was good with waiting to see me another seven months!

My weekend continued on with me spending the better part of Saturday and Sunday, doling out sage advice to 18 year olds. Well, it sounded sage coming out. Who knew 50+ years of life experience would come in so handy and be so disregarded by those barely out of the womb? Don't correct me. Those 18 years went by fast. In my book....that's barely out of the womb! Doling out advice....sage or otherwise....always proves to be time consuming, exhausting and invariably makes my me wish my mother was still around so that I could apologize to her for being a dumbass all those years ago when I too thought I was too smart for sage advice.

On a more positive note, a big part of Davids back yard project was completed on Saturday. We now have a completed pool and deck. We capped the completion of the project off with a tween pool party that I had promised to a young girl who had spent part of her summer helping with the project. We had the pool, the fire pit and we tried the projector out for the first time. There were a couple of bugs and we learned that old pool liner puts off toxic fumes if you try to burn it in the fire pit. All in all though, the party went well.

Yesterday, when I wasn't doling out advice, I was laying on the couch sneezing, hacking, aching and feeling like crap. Not sure whether it was too much advice, too much toxic fire pit or just too much perspective on my life. Whatever the case though, Sunday wasn't one of my better days. I found myself about 3 o'clockish, longing for Monday. That's when I knew that this particular weekend had worn out its welcome and it was definitely time to move on.

So today it's Monday. Here is where all that stuff I warned you about in paragraph two* comes in. Perhaps it is a combination of what came to me this weekend, this summer and quite possibly even as far back as Dec. 31, 2013. goes nothing......

I hate doing it all alone! I didn't sign on for this.
It is no fun being a half century old and feeling like the only thing you have going for you is advice that no one else appreciates and won't.......until they too are a half century old.
I like having goals. They direct me and sometimes even motivate me.
I hate having goals because when life steps in and my goals become non-existent...I fail. I am not a fan of failing.
I like the show Extreme Weight Loss. I like watching people make goals and keep them.
I really like a new drink I discovered.....Apple Jacks. Jack Daniels and apple juice. Yummy....and no, I am not drinking one as I am typing this.
I don't like that my car tags are due in three days and I can't afford to get them.
I don't like getting tickets because I don't have my car tags.
I like the Disney show Good Luck Charlie. It makes me laugh and sometimes I need a good laugh and I am not above watching the Disney Channel to get it.
I don't like that I will be starting August financially short and overdrawn. As overrated as bill paying is, it is still a requirement to live.
I love that Disney brought back Corey and Topanga for Girl Meets World. Yes, there maybe a Disney theme developing here.
I like time by the pool not thinking.
I like doing dishes by hand and listening to music because once again....there is no thinking.
I don't like bedtime, because that's apparently when I do all of my thinking.
I love my blogs. They keep me sane.
I don't like to always have to be the one to make things "okay" for everyone else. It simply is beyond my skill set.
I hate doing it all alone! 
I want someone to step in and make everything alright for me for once. Is that really asking so much?
I love my family....immediate, extended, blood and framily and there is nothing I wouldn't do for any of them. I just wish some of them felt the same.
I want David to walk and talk and have an amazing life.
I hate that I can't give him more.
I hate being judged as a daughter, sister, mother or person. Walk in my shoes and then we'll talk.
I don't want to be rich, but caught up would be terrific.
I am thankful for all who have been so kind to David over the years. I hope someday to pay it forward.
I hate that my mom is no longer here and that I am without her sage advice. 
I hate having bills and no money.
I hate not having a job.
I hate that no one has discovered my amazing writing skills and hired me on the spot!
I hate that I am not good at more.
I love home grown tomatoes and homemade bread.
I miss my husband.
I miss our house.
I miss our family back then.
I miss sharing it all.
I hate doing it all alone! 
I hate always being the strong one.....when I am anything but strong.
I hate to cry.
I like to laugh.
I like to cook.
I like to read.
I love to dance like nobody's watching.....even if they are.
I love to sing like I can....even though I can't.
I love to hear Z sing. He actually can!
I love to hear David laugh.
I love sitting around the fire with my friends and forgetting about advice, money or the fact that not all those I love are with me.
I love knowing that each time I fall, I get up stronger.
I love that I am smart, determined and that my words can be both gentle and powerful and sometimes both at the same time.
I hate doing it all alone!
I love having the faith to know that there is a plan bigger than mine, better than mine and that things will eventually all work out.....even if I'm doing it....all alone!

So there you have it.'s Monday?! And apparently, I am feeling a bit alone!

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Mom, Dogs and Shep

My mother. She was an amazing woman and as I was looking at my two puppies sleeping on my bed.....I couldn't help but think of her. She would so have hated this. "Dogs do not belong on the bed," I heard her say at least a million times. She really wasn't a fan of them being in the house either. Yes, I know....I have dog lovers and PETA twitching as they read this. Don't get me wrong though, my mom loved dogs and more importantly, I never saw a dog that didn't love my mother, but dogs and my mother always seemed to have an understanding of where they stood with each other. I never in all my years growing up ever saw my mom cuddle with a dog or get more intimate with a dog than a pat on the head. I did however hear my mom talk to our dogs. She talked to them just like they were human. She was kind, compassionate and when she just suspicioned that one of our dogs had gotten into rat poison by mistake, she dropped everything and rushed him into the vet. This was no small feat for her because at the time money was scarce. Luckily....there was no rat poison involved. However, there was still a bill.

I think Mom's attitude towards dogs came from her farm upbringing. Growing up, her home was never without a dog and dogs were considered integral parts of life, more as workers than as family. My grandfather respected his dogs and in turn they respected him. Many were strays that wandered on the property and showed my grandfather their worth. Others though, who came on the land and were trouble makers, stock killers or aggressive to humans were shown a different kind of respect....a quick and timely death. It was the way of the world post Depression. If you lived on the farm and were given food, you had to earn your keep.

While Mom told stories of several dogs she had growing up, the dog that stood out as her constant companion from the time she was four years old on, was a dog named Shep. If my memory serves, I think another one of the family dogs came home after a daily field run with Shep at his side. While I am sure there are other details that go to this story, the important detail is that Shep loved my mother from the beginning, and she loved him. Even the family seemed to see their amazing attachment. Sheps devotion to my mother was so strong that soon he was recognized by all as her protector. Where Mom was.....Shep was always right there with her. has been awhile since I heard a Shep story and I don't think I have ever seen a picture of him, but I believe he was a shepherd/collie mix. The shepherd in him made him extremely loyal and very much a one person dog.

Like my mother, my grandfather had a way with dogs and Shep seemed to understand and obey every word my grandfather spoke, but other than him, my mothers words were the only words Shep acknowledged. In her early years, Shep was her babysitter when the other kids were either busy in the house or the field. My grandparents could tell Shep to "Stay with Mary Jane," and he would watch her with the loving eye of a protector. Mom spoke of numerous times where Sheps instincts were far better than her own and he would get between her and a dangerous situation. Knowing my mother, I have no doubt that he probably saved her life on more than one occasion.

If Sheps devotion to Mom was remarkable, his dislike of others was just as remarkable. He tolerated the rest of the world and nothing more. During Mom's school years, she rode the school bus to and from school. Daily, regardless of weather, Shep would walk Mom to the bus and watch her get on and then head back home to wait for her afternoon arrival. Just like clockwork, as time approached for the school bus to return, Shep was there waiting for Mom. As the story goes, there was always one kid who was my mother's age who tried to get off the bus first everyday.....and everyday Shep would back him right back up the bus steps and make him wait until Mom got off the bus first. Apparently this was a 12 year ritual in which none of the players ever changed their parts. According to my grandfather, long after Mom left home (Shep lived until Mom was in her mid twenties), he would still meet the bus everyday waiting for Mom's return.

Shep was an odd dog. A tail wag and a slow progression towards a person, place or thing spelled disaster for that person, place or thing. A non reaction meant you were okay. Mom's siblings (especially her two brothers just older than her) were often the recipient of Sheps loyalty towards my mother. One day Mom and Shep were out playing with her brothers and they started to be ornery big brothers. Mom having enough of it decided to be ornery herself and told Shep to go get them. Mom said Shep almost had a smile on his face as he chased both boys up a tree. After a bit, she became bored watching her treed brothers and she took off for the house. Now Mom says she forgot that Shep was still on guard at the base of that tree, but knowing my my mother, I am sure that she knew full well that Shep would stay there until she said otherwise. Once home, Mom was distracted and it wasn't until supper time when someone asked where the boys were that she suddenly remembered where Shep was and what he was doing. Sure enough, Shep had never left his spot and those boys had never left their tree. I believe there was a spanking resulting from that one.

Another time, Mom wanted to pick cotton with the older kids and the migrant cotton pickers. After much begging and pleading, my grandmother who was too busy to listen to such foolishness finally gave in and let Mom long as she took Shep. It was the last time Mom and Shep were allowed in the cotton fields. Once they arrived, Shep seemed to not trust the migrant workers and rounded every one of them up and chased them into their trucks. He was so leery of these people that even Mom could not call him off. Not until my grandfather came on the scene and sent both Mom and her sidekick home, were the workers safe to come out of the trucks. Shep quite honestly probably had good instincts about someone who was working that day and he did his job well. Mom was once again safe. 

The bond between Mom and her dog was great love and great mutual respect, but it was not a touchy feely relationship. Mom rarely petted Shep. She talked to him though, as he was her best friend and constant companion. Shep slept in the yard and Mom slept in the house but during her non-school waking hours, they were inseparable and with no one else did either have that kind of relationship. Sadly, one of the last times my mother was home before Shep died, he did not recognize her. He treated her, just as he treated others now. His loyalty now, due to age and a bit of senility, was to the property and to my grandfather. It took another dog who had become Sheps friend to stand between Mom and Shep and escort her safely inside on her visit home. It broke Mom's heart.

For my mothers standoffish devotion to her dogs, she got complete devotion in return. The two dogs of my childhood were her constant companions and much like Shep, they never left her side. They didn't care whether she petted them or whether they were allowed past whatever boundary Mom had set up. All they seemed to care about was being with her, at her side and listening to her talk to them. For her loyalty both took on poisonous snakes for her and I have no question that both would have laid down their lives for her.

So yes, as I look at my spoiled pooches, I think of Mom. I miss her horribly but I know that she and Shep are together again. I have no doubt that Shep waited many years to hear her voice and to once again...guard and protect his girl.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Project Stepping Stones for David

So the BIG project took awhile (the pool/deck) and finishing touches are still being put on it. However, there are many smaller projects that seem to have kicked into high gear. One of the those which we worked on last Saturday was the Stepping Stones for David project. This project too is a work in progress and will be drawn out for some time to come, but we got a good start on it.

I have said before that this backyard is going to be all about David and because of that we want all those who love David and have helped make this whole BIG project a reality for him, to be a part of our stone making project. I decided a few weeks back that no backyard with a pool is complete without stepping stones. They are an easy and fun way to make your backyard, well.....yours. Then I came up with the idea of having people who wanted to, to make their own stepping stone for David, so I had a Stepping Stones for David party last Saturday to get it started. Several were in attendance and many others are either making their own at home and bringing them to us or setting up times when two or three at a time can come over and we can make more.

The process itself is very easy. We used Quickrete which we mixed in a big bucket. It is approximately 5 parts Quickrete to 1 part water. Mix thoroughly until you have the consistency of thick brownie batter. We found the best way to mix was with our hands BUT please wear rubber gloves to do this as you don't want the cement mixture to get under your nails and it is very drying to your hands.

Once the cement is mixed then spray your mold(we used foil pie tins and foil 8 x 10 pans) with either WD40 or kitchen pan spray such as PAM. Then fill your mold with the cement. You want at least 2 inches in the pan to make it a firm stone. If you are doing a foot or hand print....then do the print immediately. If you are just decorating the stone, then wait about 10-15 minutes to let the mixture set up a bit. After the 10-15 minutes, then start decorating away!

Things we chose to decorate with were colored broken glass, toys, blocks, beads, tiles and some scrap booking odds and ends. One person even used nails and screws off our old dilapidated deck. There is really no wrong way to decorate. Make sure though that you get the items that are bigger, firmly pushed into the cement and push it as deep as you can. You have a good 5-10 minute window to decorate.

Once the stone is decorated, then set aside in a warm, dry place and leave for 48 hours. After 48 hours remove from the molds. Having sprayed the molds ahead of time....they simply slip out. Now leave them for another 48 hours to cure before using them.

The ones we made are more decorative than serviceable and they will serve as decoration around the pool
along with the others that will be made. We are also making more usable ones that we will paint in glow in the dark paint. These will lead from the patio to the pool and after soaking up sun all day, they will glow brilliantly in the dark.

The project was fun, quick and very easy. The hardest part was getting my hands in the cement. David supervised and loved every second of it all. And in case you are wondering, we definitely have room for more stones, so if you want to be a part of the Stepping Stones for David Project , just let me know and we can set up a time for you to come play in the cement with us.

So there you have it. Another open ended project underway. Stay tuned, because trust me.....there will be more!!!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Just Hate Mondays

Look out! It's Monday and by preconceived notion and Monday's flawless track record, I have no great hope that today will be anything less than a......Monday. Because of this, I have decided to use this day to it's fullest and unload my current dislikes of and in the world. So suit up, put on your protective gear and get ready 'cause here it comes.

I don't like getting older. Don't get me wrong, I love living, I just don't like gray hair, bad vision, sags, bags and wrinkles. It takes away from my mental illusion of being young.

I don't like Reality TV! It sucks me in, dumbs me down and gives me nightmares about the Jersey Shore as well as makes me question a world where Honey Boo Boo could be queen.

I don't like lazy baggers at a full service grocery store. Don't think you're just going to get by with bagging my twenty bags of groceries. Oh are taking them to my car and unloading them too. And by the way...yes, me walking away without my basket does mean you are suppose to follow me to the car. If I wanted to load my own groceries I would have gone to Walmart!

I hate mosquito's, ticks and wasps as all are attracted to me and none in a good way. If only men were so easily attracted. 

I am not a fan of doctors offices, ER's or hospitals and yet I have earned enough frequent flier miles at each that I should be able to travel to the Mayo Clinic with first class travel and deluxe accommodations several times over.

I can't stand rude kids who haven't been taught better and rude adults who certainly should know better. Yes...I do see the pattern. 

I despise the term Politically Correct and every time I hear it I want to say "Hey 1990 called and they want their stupid term back." Really though....they don't! 

I don't like my dryer as I spend way too much time looking for missing socks and underwear. Yes, my dryer's appetite for destruction seems to carry over to underwear too and someday I will go to Dryerland and find them all!

I hate hot cars, cold floors and dripping faucets.

I am not a fan of straight tequila, light beer or wine of any kind.

I despise seizures, Lupus and cancer and would do just about anything to eradicate them all.

I hate loss, loneliness and the urge to vacation in Pityland.....when one or both occur.

I don't like hot Spaghetti O's, cold soup or any cheese that smells like it has been stuck in my shoe for a week.

I can't stand election years, political parties or any commercial that ends with, "I am ________ and I approve this message." 

Mostly though.....I just hate Monday's. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

God's Word, Man's Interpretation.....A Stream of Consciousness Blog

The other day I was reading one of my favorite blogs and that day she chose to write a stream of consciousness post. I tucked the idea away thinking cool and second....I'm going to do that when the time is right. Well, today seems right. Here is just excerpts of what I have seen and apparently committed to memory this week about God, religion, the Bible and all things religious/spiritual. Here goes.....

In the beginning.....there was God...omnipotent, strong, generous. Then there was man...singular, dual, weak, selfish. God good, the devil bad and the apple eaten. Sin created. God and false gods. Ten Commandments. Jesus. Jews and Christians. The Bible. Gods word, mans interpretation. Israel. Prophets. Saints. Catholics, Protestants, Buddhist, Muslims, Jews. One God...many names. One faith...many religions. Religion without God. God without religion. God without Jesus. Love, hate, compassion, tolerance, acceptance, faith. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Gods word, mans interpretation.

In the name of God we love, hate, fight, curse, kill. We believe, don't believe, mock, shame and degrade in the name of whatever we choose to believe. Christians hate Christians who are not Christian enough. Others hate Christians who are too Christian. Christians mourn atheists and atheist refuse to acknowledge Christians or God. Muslims hate Christians. Christians must die. Jews ignore Jesus and Scientologist worship themselves.

Jesus began Christianity and man began religion. Religion equals church. Church is for believers, the weak, sheep, lions, hypocrites, the faithful. My soul is renewed, restored, born again, lost, never had one. Preachers, priest, ministers, clergy, scandal, respect, dead. Gods word, mans interpretation. Christian bashing, gay bashing, bullying, hate crimes, color, race, hate, acceptance, tolerance, "What would Jesus do?"

Angels, saints, sinners, repentance, forgiveness. Prayer, faith, despair. Lost, lonely, in need. "God are you there?" Unanswered prayers. God's time. Man's will. God's will. Man's ego. Heretic, false god, people of faith. Bible equals...reasons to love, reasons to hate. Gods word, man's interpretation. Evil, good, God without religion, religion without God.

God, Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, Allah....... In the name of_________I kill, I hate, I judge. Tears, sadness, prayer. I love, I pray, I have faith. War, evil, Holy War. Chips, 666, end of times. Faith. Prophets, bombs, I believe. My God, your God, no God. Are you there God? God is alive. God is dead. God never really existed. God's word, man's interpretation.

Heaven, hell. Sinners, saints. Love, hate. Prayer, mockery. Belief, non-belief. Religion, spirituality, no religion at all. Faith, faithlessness. Good, evil. God, satan. I worship.....self, ego, my grilled cheese, God. A simple God, a complex man. God's word, man's interpretation.

I believe.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Measles....They're Baaaack

In the news, at least locally....the big headline maker is all of the cases of measles that are popping up both here and across the country. In my county alone a number of cases have made the news and most can be traced back to certain local restaurants. People are up in arms and with the start of school close at hand, many are voicing loud opinions about the necessity of kids being immunized before school is in session.

Now I know that for the last decade, there has been a huge controversy about childhood vaccinations. Some parents are adamant about their kids having every vaccine known to man to prevent problems on down the line. Other parents are just as adamant that their kids NEVER have a vaccine touch their bodies. Many feel these vaccines can lead to autism, severe reactions and in some cases.....even death. The other side of that coin is that these vaccines were developed to wipe out epidemic diseases such as polio, whooping cough and yes.....measles.

I was born post polio. By the time I came along this disease had been eradicated by the vaccine and it was commonly given to kids to prevent any outbreaks. In the 1960's, the measles vaccine was coming on the scene but I don't believe it was a mandatory vaccine (by medical profession standards) at the time. As I recall, the vaccines and boosters I got as a kid were for the diseases that had potentially chronic or fatal effects. In the 60's and 70's, kids still got measles and chicken pox and while not a particularly fun time, you coughed, ran a fever and scratched for 5-7 days and then went on with life. Usually in families with numerous kids, if one kid got it.....then the parents battened down the hatches and prepared for it to run its course through the house.

Now a days though, it is a different story. There are vaccinations for everything and kids get them from almost birth, clear up to their late teens. And yes, there have been many reports of reactions and even deaths from vaccines, but the opposing argument maintains that many lives have been saved and up until the last few years, most of the vaccinated diseases have been eradicated due to the vaccines.

With the current outbreak of measles and the disease spreading so quickly I do understand the schools not wanting to start in August with this hanging over their heads. Since vaccinations are not mandatory(parents can refuse to vaccinate their kids for numerous reasons) and a lot of parents are anti-vaccine then this could wreck havoc on a new school year. However, I really didn't think measles was that big of a deal (unless of course you are pregnant or your health was already compromised.) Since millions of kids survived the disease and thrived after having it long before there was a vaccine, I decided to see what measles was really all about. I myself have never had it. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a case of it.

According to WebMD, measles can cause high fever, sore throat, coughing and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. It takes 8-12 days after exposure to come down with the disease and you are contagious from 4 days before the rash starts until 4 days after it stops. The whole disease lasts about 2 weeks and like any disease, it depends on the individual as to how bad the symptoms are. These are just the normal run of the mill symptoms. However, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), there can be side effects that are much more ominous and even deadly that go along with the measles virus. About 30% of  all those who get measles will have one of these sides effects.

The CDC states that 1 out of every 20 with the measles virus will develop pneumonia. This can be critical and even life threatening. One in ten will come down with a severe ear infection as a result of measles and in many this can lead to some form of permanent hearing loss. Severe diarrhea happens in about 8% of the cases and 1 in every 1,000 will come down with encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) which can cause seizures, mental retardation and even death. In those with encephalitis, 2-3 out of every 1,000 will die. I always figured that the measles themselves would be no fun, but I didn't know that the side effects could be so damaging. In fact, I had no idea that measles even had side effects.

I am neither adamantly for or against vaccinating but I was vaccinated as a child and all my kids have been vaccinated. With David's health already being somewhat compromised, I was curious to know if even after getting the vaccine if you could catch measles during an outbreak. Again I went to the CDC and pulled up their Measles Fact Sheet. According to their info, if you are properly vaccinated with both doses, then 95 out of 100 who receive the vaccine will remain measle free. On the other hand, if you haven't had the vaccine and you are exposed, you will almost definitely get the disease.

So now we have a summer outbreak. As of May this year, the CDC had recorded a record high of 280+ cases. This was the largest number since 1994. The numbers have undoubtedly climbed since May as we are currently having new cases pop up right and left here in Kansas. What does this mean? Well luckily I haven't heard of any deaths related to measles and from what I have heard, the cases are simply running their course. I don't know if any cases have wound up in the hospitals but I did hear that the ER's are trying desperately to keep possible cases out of their waiting rooms.

I guess the question is.....are measles making a come back? Is the choice to not vaccinate going to end up being a death sentence for many in this or future outbreaks or will it be like the old days pre-vaccine, where most people caught it, suffered with it and came out on the other side?

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Perfect Moment

It was hot. The sun was blazing down and I was about five months pregnant. I stood in my backyard hanging laundry on the clothesline as my four year old ran in and out of the sheets laughing. His laugh was contagious as he would peek out of a sheet and say "I see you mommy."

I could feel the sweat running down my back and I was almost sure the little peanut inside me was moving in reaction to the sound of his brothers laughter. Bend, pick up and hang was the rhythm that I had established though definitely not with anywhere near the speed of my pre-pregnancy laundry skills. The little one had been rousted awake and was on the move or maybe, he just couldn't find a comfortable spot inside my short, no waisted body, as I continued to do the the laundry dance.

As the mid day sun blazed and my laundry basket didn't seem to be emptying itself fast enough, I decided to pull a lawn chair under the red bud tree and give both myself and the little acrobat inside me a bit of a rest. Apparently my now available lap meant that the four year old must occupy it. He crawled up and together we sat there silently watching the world.

Yes, the four year old and I were attached both physically and emotionally. From the moment I had seen his bold blue eyes and stark white hair for the very first time, he had me.....heart and soul. He had his daddy too and magically this little guy lived a very full and almost duel life being both a mommy and a daddy's boy. Right now though, in this moment.....he was all mine. 

As the freshly hung laundry did a subtle sway in the summer breeze, he laid his head back on my shoulder and watched as the occasional car passed down the street. His blue eyes shown brightly in the sun as he was lost in whatever thoughts move through a four year olds mind on a hot summer day. He was thinking, questioning and  trying to figure out the world from the safety of my lap. Then his thoughts were interrupted by the ever so slight movement in his side. He jumped and looked wide eyed, not sure what had just happened. I smiled. "That is your baby brother," I said. His eyes widened even more. "Where?" he asked. I pointed to my stomach and put his little hand on the spot where the activity was taking place. Again, there was the movement of a foot or elbow or possibly a head trying to position itself or maybe the little one could simply feel his brothers presence and was just trying to say...."Hello!" Suddenly understanding on a very fundamental level that his little brother was with us and making his presence known, the four year old put both hands on my stomach and moved his face in close. "Hi," he whispered, "I am your brother and I am here." He then rested his head against me and waited for a response. He was not disappointed for no sooner had his head touched my belly then his brother moved. It was a gentle movement and maybe he too had put his head close with only my skin standing between the two. Then the little one calmed as if the knowledge of his brothers words and his closeness had relaxed him to sleep.

The four year old lay curled up with his head on my belly for quite some time. I wasn't sure whether he was waiting for more movement or if he too was just feeling the comfort and the closeness of the moments that passed. Again there was silence as the profoundness of  it all seemed to gently flow over me. The heat of the afternoon held the air to almost a stillness now. The clothes no longer swayed or even moved. The moisture was being sucked out of them by the heat alone. I looked down at the child in my, secure and in that moment.....getting a lesson in life. I could feel the stillness of the little one who lay inside me as my body, his temporary accommodations, was changing just for him. It was at this moment that I suddenly realized that out of the thousands of moments that I would have in my lifetime, this one would stick out. This one would forever be a part of my thoughts and my memories. I took it all in. The heat, the clothes, my children nestled together in my lap home. I knew that this place and this time were so special and never would I be able to recreate them anywhere else. In that moment.....I had everything and even though we were quickly outgrowing the house, we had almost no money and I was pregnant in the summer time with our collective 5th child......I was experiencing the perfect moment. Little did I know, it would be the last of its kind. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Project #1 In the Books....Almost!

So it appears that all other projects have taken a backseat to the MAIN project of the summer. Of course that has been David's backyard and pool! To do a little recap.....hoping to get a head start on the summer and get David swimming for therapy early, we went out to open our pool in mid May. Some wonderful people came over to help clean it out and get it ready. We were on top of things and ahead of schedule when the pool began to fill. Unfortunately, the existing liner had somehow shrunk and after running water in it overnight....I went out to find the liner had pulled away, collapsed the pool and about 2,000 gallons of water had "watered" my yard all night. Some other wonderful people came over to try and help me fix the damage (we at this time did not realize the liner was the issue.) After fixing the damage, we tried again only to come out with the same results. NOW we knew it was the liner. The necessary repairs were once again completed and I was about to order a new liner, when we had one of our famous Kansas storms, complete with wind and hail. The pool collapsed and bent to the point of irreparable. So much for being ahead of the game. 

Thanks to the generosity of some other wonderful people....a pool was donated to David. Then, the unbelievable happened. Three men, two of whom were complete strangers before the pool....decided to volunteer and donate their time to put the pool up. Thanks to them and a few others.....Davids pool was going to be a reality. Working evenings and weekends when weather permitted, the project began. No one knew that it would be more than a simple pool raising. Instead truly became a project! 

The original pool was a round pool and the deck had been built around it. The new pool however was an oval shape and thus the old deck had to be reshaped. The guys thought they would simply dismantle the old deck, save the boards, reshape it to fit the new pool and put it all back together. It sounded simple enough, but in Lisaland....nothing is ever that simple. Upon taking the old deck apart, the existing deck boards were rotted and damaged. It was a miracle no one had fallen through it. The only lumber that was usable were the actual posts. The deck also had to be reshaped and lengthened a bit to fit the new pool. So now not only did the guys have a pool to put up, but they also had a deck to basically rebuild. 

Once the old pool was completely dismantled and then removed....other problems began
to rear their ugly heads. One of the biggest problems was that the ground had to be completely redone where the old pool had been sitting. It was terribly unlevel which explained the six inch difference in levels from one side of the old pool to the other and it also explained why the liner no longer fit the old pool. The ground also had to be extended and prepared for the configuration of the new pool. We also found that rocks as well as other debris had worked its way up out of the ground over the years causing a disaster for the new liner. So the guys painstakingly had to map it all out and plant stakes to level it. Then....another kind person donated their time and their bobcat to come dig out the high spots and level it all. While doing this, the guys decided that not only was my pool site unlevel but my entire backyard was unlevel too. They were right of course and this was the main reason that having David in his wheelchair out there was almost impossible. This was when one of the guys brought in his tractor and proceeded to start leveling my entire backyard. Finally....after seven tons of sand was brought in, a couple of arguments with Lowes management and hours and hours of measurements, leveling, tractor work, shoveling sand and hauling looked as if there was going to be a pool and deck! The best part of all of this has been that David got to be a part of much of the process...rolling out onto newly leveled ground, hanging with the guys and getting his first tractor ride. He loved being a part of it all and I think it renewed the guys efforts to make this David's special place!


This last Sunday....the pool was officially finished and the deck boards were all in place. David got to try his pool out for the very first time. He loved it! In fact....he loved it so much that he stayed in until he was almost too tired to get out. It was all we had hoped it would be for him as the deck is spacious, the new stairs into the pool are amazing for him and the pool itself is big enough to give him a truly amazing workout. He kicked his legs and feet all over that 18 x 33 pool and with the buoyancy of the water, his PT exercises were a breeze. After all....everything in a pool is fun.....right?!

As far as the pool is complete and the deck is in it's final stages of completion. By
the weekend all of the railing should be completed and another amazing person will move the electrical for all the pools needs. We have had one David fan donate lights to string around the deck and we are currently looking for a couple of pole tents to give the deck a bit of shade in the midday heat. Soon though, Project #1 David's pool will be in the books. I am sure that my wonderful volunteers will be so happy to be able to enjoy the pool instead of work on it. 

Of course, my summer projects are far from over, but with the pool and deck finished.....I will now have more time to devote to other things. And remember the completed firepit? Well it is back on the project list. It seems that with the leveling of the yard, it had to be dismantled. Fear not is coming back soon....bigger and better!!! 

So there you have it! Project #1 is all but done. Like any project, it had its ups and downs but it was an amazing experience to know that people were willing to give financially and physically to make this a reality for David. You know who you are and you will never know how grateful I am to all of you! I have made wonderful new friends and learned so much about deck building and pool erecting. However, I hope it is a very long time before I have to use those new found skills again.