Friday, July 15, 2016

The Privilege of Age

I know a sweet lady, just a couple years older than me, who has pancreatic cancer.  She is one of the funniest, warmest, friendliest,most upbeat people I know.  She and her doctors were fairly optimistic in the beginning that she could beat it, but now, six months in, she is not doing well. She is constantly sick to her stomach and in pain. I saw her a few months ago, and didn't recognize her at first. She had lost so much weight, as well as all of her hair. But she was her usual cheerful self as she described her treatment, and how she was coping with the challenges of chemo.  I saw her husband today, and with tears in his eyes, he told us how sick she is now.  She has lost another 22 pounds just this month. He described how if she has 30 minutes a day where she is not throwing up, they consider it a great day.  She is fighting a good fight, and she isn't ready to give up just yet,  but the chances of her winning this fight are not in her favor. She has a great husband, several kids who range in age from late twenties to late teens, and a few new grandbabies that she adores.  It just seems so unfair. She should have many more decades of life to complain about wrinkles and gray hair, fight with her teenage daughter, love her grandkids, and travel with her husband. It is hard to believe that someone as vibrant as she is could be struck with such terrible luck.

Thinking about this dear woman, I want to never complain again about that extra bulge that has appeared around my middle, because it means my body is working the way it should.   I want to never miss a chance to just hang out with my kids and husband, even if we are doing nothing, because doing nothing is a privilege.  I want to never take for granted getting out of bed and having a million errands to run, because I would miss those errands if I suddenly couldn't do them anymore.  I want to be thankful every day that I can help my parents out, because it means we have another day together. I want to love my wrinkles and jowls, because it means I'm still here to look myself in the eye.

My Grandpa Paulson is known for telling people that it is hell to get old. That may be true, but in my humble and still rather young opinion, it is a different kind of hell to not get to be old.  As long as I am here, and still getting old, I plan on enjoying it, especially if I have to enjoy it double for a friend who never gets the privilege.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Busier

Our little brood is back together after a few short-staffed days here at Motel Metcalf. Will and Audrey spent the past several days in Logan with their buddies up there, and Olivia went to Aunt Melissa's to hang with cousins. That left just me, Duncan and Dan to hold down the fort. And we were gone most of the time too, working, making trips to Logan to deal with rental home issues, and keeping my parents in check. Tonight is the first night in a week that me and the kids have been home together. Dan is out cavorting somewhere, but the rest of us had a nice hot dog dinner when I got home from work about 8:00,  and then we got enough chores done to keep the place from going completely to pot. The weekend will bring more time at work, a garage sale, and seeing my folks off on a flight to Nashville, which is a story in itself. There will not be much time for relaxing, or attending to the myriad of tasks to do around here, but all of that can wait, I suppose.

This was supposed to be the summer of relaxation, but so far, all we have done is run like crazy, or in my case, limp like crazy, since I got hit by a truck in case  you haven't heard. My leg is healing nicely, but it sure did put a dent in my June. Then our car decided to become temperamental about when and where it would start. Getting stranded more than a few times over the course of a few weeks convinced us pretty quickly that it was time for a new car.  So in all of our spare time between working, and taking care of family, we had to car shop with an old car that we were never sure was going to start. In fact, when we finally found a car to buy, we had to postpone the deal for two hours while we worked on getting the old car started so we could trade it in. Needless to say, we didn't strike much of a bargain in the trade in value. But we are now the proud owners of a 2011 Honda Pilot which will be known as Old Blue, because it is blue. All I can say is, it better start.

Then, it turns out that getting a kid on a mission is quite a process. We have had to apply for his passport, start visa paperwork, track down immunizations, shop, plan, shop some more, fill out more paperwork, and on and on. And oh, yeah, don't forget to get him spiritually prepared too.  And Duncan has been debating about whether to extend his mission for a few more months. We have also been finding out about job placements and benefits for him when his mission ends. It looks like he will be extending til the end of December, which will give us all time to get Will off before we have to worry about what comes next for Duncan.

Then we finally kicked our deadbeat renters to the curb, and July so far has been spent dealing with the mess they left behind. They left a filthy house full of garbage, two cars in the driveway, a bunch of junk in the back yard and garage, and an old broken down washing machine which we discovered was FULL OF WATER AND OLD MILDEWED CLOTHES that had been there for who knows how long. Who does that?? I could go on about other things we found too, but honestly, I dont't want to waste my time rehashing it all. Suffice it to say, it's been a mess in every possible way. And, we tracked down the renter's mother and told on them. So Hah. Oh, and we get to put a new roof on the house, which means we get to refinance so we can pay for the thing.  The joys of being a landlord.

So between taking nonstop calls from renters, prospective renters, car salesmen, roofers, bankers and real estate agents, the summer is passing us by with only one trip to the pool to show for it so far. I'm not confident that things are going to slow down any time soon either. But I am getting very adept at multi-tasking.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Oh, and By the Way....




MEXICO CITY SOUTHEAST MISSION!

Whew! He was so worried he was going to be called to Cheyenne.
Now all we have to worry about is drug lords, government corruption, and indoor plumbing.

Things are getting real now.
October 25 has never seemed so close.


The call came in the mail on Friday afternoon, and against Dan's better judgement, we waited to open it until late Saturday night, when our whole little family could be together.  Alisa had fortuitously planned a visit to Salt Lake, and she got into town about 10 pm on Saturday. Mitch drove down too, and we were all together to get the news.

I'm so happy we waited.


I hope this isn't the last time in two years that these six are all together.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Door Ajar

It is 11:00 a.m, I am eating my second ice cream sandwich of the day, and it is all my refrigerator's fault.

I had just settled in to a comfy spot  on the couch with my laptop and a diet Coke, to accomplish a few tasks online. I had zero intent of getting up for anything. Then suddenly,  my very intelligent fridge started beeping. Now technically, that beep means that the fridge door has been left ajar for some time. Over the years,  I have become well conditioned to respond to that beep. I don't know why the thought of the fridge door being slightly ajar is so disturbing, but it is. That stupid door alarm inspires the same type of primal, urgent response as a newborn's cry. As long as that beeping is happening, there is no way I can ignore it and focus on something else. I am compelled to go shut it up.

And you and I and the fridge all know what happened next. Really, what are the chances of making a mid-morning trip to the fridge and coming back empty handed? Those ice cream sandwiches were on my agenda before I even set the computer aside and hefted myself off the couch.  After all, I had eaten one for breakfast just an hour or two earlier. Of course my brain was tuned in to them. I swear I never even had a chance to say no.

It was such a smooth sequence of events; really a demonstration of the miracles of the human mind. Within a few milliseconds, I heard the fridge beep, subconsciously made the decision that putting forth the effort of getting up was worth the payoff of shutting the fridge, remembered the ice cream sandwiches, and concluded that I would get one.  Moments later, mission accomplished, I was back in my comfy spot and wondering what the heck had happened.

Why does my brain work this way? Why can't it respond so swiftly at five in the morning when my alarm goes off and it is time to get up and exercise? Surely early morning exercise releases at least as many endorphins as a stupid ice cream sandwich, albeit it takes a little more time and effort to get them flowing?  Maybe I should rig up my fridge alarm to my bedside alarm. Maybe if I think the fridge is open at five in the morning, I will be more motivated to get out of bed.  Of course, then I would be eating ice cream before breakfast, as well as for breakfast and after breakfast. But hey, at least I'd be up to exercise.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Waiting for a Call

Will and I are about to become really good friends with the mailman.

For the next few days, we will be eagerly anticipating his arrival, and waiting by the mailbox when we see his truck on our street.

Normally, I am not a fan of mail. Junk mail and bills are my usual fare. Ordinarily, there is really not much to look forward to in the mail, other than an occasional check or a card from Alisa.


But, THESE ARE NO ORDINARY TIMES MY FRIENDS!

Because Will is on the verge of receiving a mission call.

Take courage my soul, my baby boy will soon be flying the nest and off to serve the Lord for two years.

He has been working on all the necessary paper work and interviews for the past few months, and as of last Monday, his papers were officially submitted to the the church.  Last week at church, the bishop let us know that his official status was "awaiting assignment". Today, the bishop texted Will to let him know that his mission assignment has been made.

And suddenly, it became real. He is really going on a mission, and somebody somewhere knows where he is going and when he will be leaving. And within a week or so, we will know too.

It is all very exciting and nerve wracking and scary and fun. I'm so scared he will go to South America  AND I'm so scared that  he won't get out of the Intermountain West. I want him to go have an adventure and learn a language, AND I want him to be safe and warm and well fed. He wants to go to Japan. The bishop guessed Tallahassee, Florida, then said he has a 100% accuracy rate for guessing mission calls- he has been wrong 100% of the time. So we can probably safely rule out both Japan and Tallahassee. We just keep reminding ourselves that it's not where you serve that's important, it's who you serve.

Its all a done deal now. Now we just wait....

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Derailed

 We just got back from a tasty barbecue at the neighbors.  The wind and pouring rain quickly turned it into an indoor affair, but it was still a good time. This is the second Saturday in a row that we have been invited to a barbecue, and I feel strongly that this is a trend that needs to continue throughout the summer. I'm eyeing all my neighbors to see who I might be able to finagle into an invitation for next week. Actually, my neighbors have spoiled me pretty good lately, what with being hit by a truck and all.  They have brought me dinners and candy and flowers and nice notes- I should be inviting all of them to party in my back yard. But then I'd have to cook and clean and stuff. And I got hit by a truck, so I really should be taking it easy. Which is why SOMEBODY should invite me to a barbecue next Saturday!

I really have been trying to take it easy, per my doctor's instructions. And it sucks. The less I do, the more tired  I get.  Then I look around at everything I planned to do that has been put on hold and I get so frustrated, angry, depressed and overwhelmed.  All this angst for a little old pulled hamstring that will be all better in another week or two. 

Makes me think about my friends and neighbors though, who have had some of the big stuff happening in their lives. How derailed  must they be feeling? When you are facing a long term illness, or getting divorced, or your child dies, when suddenly your whole life is never going to look the same again, where do you even start? And how does anybody help you with that?

I just have no idea. 

Some days you just don't do anything.

Is 8:14 too early for bed?


Friday, June 10, 2016

Irregular Borders



Olivia got a new bike helmet. She likes it so much she wears it around the house. While watching television even.

She also got a mole removed this week. She was in for her regular check up and on the way out the door, I remembered that I wanted the doc to look at this weird mole. It was a cute little star-shaped mole, and I kind of liked it, but the odd shape of it make me a little nervous.

 Her doctor looked at it for about 5 seconds and announced that it needed to come off now. Like NOW. I asked if I should make an appointment with the derm doc across the lobby, but she said no, let's get it off now. Olivia was not a fan of this plan. Olivia was of the opinion that we should wait a week or two, perhaps get a second and perhaps a third opinion before resorting to such drastic measures. Olivia was out-voted by her mother and her doctor. She was also not a fan of being out-voted and  protested very loudly (VERY loudly) throughout the entire procedure.  She was mad at me for subjecting her to such torture that she didn't even have time to prepare for.  She would much rather have stewed and worried about it for a week or so and then had the chance to fight me tooth and nail over being dragged back into the doctor where she still would have screamed and hollered through the whole thing.  I just took all the fun out of it for her.

Anyhow, we now await the results of the biopsy. I'm pretty sure pediatric melanoma is exceedingly rare. Right?