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Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Don't Hold Grudges, I Remember Facts...


I saw that e-card on Pinterest, and it reminded my of the other day when I was told I could hold onto a grudge longer than anyone.  It's true.  I've held a grudge the better part of my almost twenty-nine years.

I agree with that e-card so much, I'm thinking of getting it blown up poster-sized and hung behind my desk at work.  Like, seriously.

I'm honest to a fault, and if, at times, I find it hard to be honest it is due to self-preservation.  I've been asked so many damned questions in my life I didn't want to answer, mainly because I knew my answer would not appease the person doing the asking.

There has been a point coming in my life, a point I believe may well be here, when I'm sick to death of having people try to decide what I am.  I'll just tell you who I am.

I was the smart-assed high schooler that, convinced by her mother, ran for fair queen (for the scholarship only, I assure you) knowing damn good and well I was going to lose.  And I did lose.  And a member of the "organization" that sponsors this said event, told me I lost because I said nothing of going to church, and raising a family, to which I replied, wholeheartedly, because I want to do neither of those things."  And, true to my nature, after losing, went home, put on a Rolling Stones shirt and shades and proceeded to march through the damn fair smoking a Marlboro Red.

I was the girl who, despite living somewhere where everyone knows everybody's folks, when asked who my parents were, promptly pointed to my momma and another man that the whole damn town knew was not my father, and said "Them."  Then they would all talk amongst themselves and wonder why on earth I would deny my father, such a "good ol' boy."  It did no good to point out that after 5 years of counseling, he was not, in fact a good ol' boy, and that quite literally a therapist had looked right at my mom and said, "He's a heartless bastard."

I was the girl that did everything and anything I could to push my momma's buttons as a teenager.  I thought I had it all figured out, that she had been weak and stayed when she should have left.  That's what I would've done.  Because I was 14 and had everything figured out and knew the ways of the world, and doing anything less made her a selfish coward in my book. I held that grudge for a long time before I grew up and realized right and wrong sometimes can be muddled, that in the moment what feels like what's right, is only found to be gravely wrong years down the road.

I was the woman who was told I shouldn't be getting married at 22, that's too young! He's too old for you! You should be out dating lots of men, to which I promptly replied, "I'll leave the whoring to your side of the family" and promptly booked a shotgun wedding in the Smokies and married my best friend.

I was the woman who was told we weren't going to be able to have children.  I'm sure there may be a couple ex's cheering from the cheap seats at that one.  I had one person, who shall remain nameless, because this pissed my momma off to no end, tell me that if he couldn't give me kids, I should divorce and move on, because having children is what the good Lord intended.  And I'm not ashamed it pleased me, just a little, through the pain and heartache, to tell that woman that it was ME that wasn't going to be having children.  Not US.

I am the woman who will make her dad ( the REAL one, not the biological one) a hat he asked for, even if it causes me to become frustrated and I have to rip the damn thing out 8 times, and even then it's still not right.

I am the girl that is depended upon to be self-sufficient, to be able to handle my business without crawling home for help.

I am the woman who has successfully held a grudge for almost 29 years, and I am the woman who doesn't feel obliged to stop at this point.

I am the woman who naively thought I could be a good stepmom to 3 kids, and I am the woman who is brave enough to say I failed more times than not.

And I am the woman that knows damn good and well, when it's time to cut my losses and step back, to let the chips fall where they may, knowing I have done everything I could, and have still been found lacking.

The last one was the hardest to learn...

Why I Can Waste Hours on The Disposable Income Kid

Do you know what it's like to watch an image of yourself wither and die before your eyes? I I just read this on The Disposable Income Kid.  These 3 paragraphs have put into words what I have been unable to the last 10 months.

"Taking care of my grandfather was a unique meditation on mortality in that. Every day I would look in his eyes and see the iron of his soul behind a veil of defeated sadness. He put his faith in his God, and his bodily vessel in my care. I made certain to tell him every day how brave he was, and thanked him for allowing me to give service to him. I know that if it were me, I wouldn't have the strength of heart to continue. To be trapped within myself... to submit to being absolutely helpless and cared for in every way after a lifetime of service... Yes, he was brave for that. I would have just shot myself. 

When my father's father died, it was an honor to carry his body out of my grandmother's house with my dad and my brother. I have never felt anything like that. I put my hand on his cold forehead, told him thank you and goodbye. And I was happy that he could finally rest. The experience brought me closer to my grandmother, to whom I became a young anchor in our family, but also distanced me from other family who refused to be there for our patriarch in his dying days. I learned a lot about loyalty, service, forgiveness, mortality, grief, about letting go, and about taking up the mantle to rise above circumstances to do what I knew I must. 

Perhaps it's not that my family members couldn't face death... but they couldn't bear to have their IMAGE of my grandfather die. They couldn't bear the pain of seeing that proud knight so tired and defeated. It is a difficult and unique experience, watching everything that makes someone human fade and blink out, like lights being turned off one by one at closing time, until everything is dark and they finally step out, and go home... "

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bitter, Bitter Cold and Trying to Grow Up at 28

In all my time on this earth, it has never been this cold, for this long, and with windchills this low.  We burn wood to heat our house, to heat our water, to do darn near everything because it kills both of us to pay the $1500 a month to big oil to keep this 1832 farmhouse reasonably warm.  We cut wood all summer, and winter hit hard and early.  It's now the 3rd week of January and we had an emergency woodcutting trip last weekend, and one planned despite dangerous temperatures this Saturday.

It's this time of year that I'm fed up with my commute (1 hour one way and almost 54 miles one way), and my husband is fed up with trying to keep the old furnace going, trying to keep the chickens from literally dying from hypothermia, and making sure all our equipment runs.  As much as I hate winter, I think it affects Wood (my husband the most).

It's in January that we both start snapping.  I'm sick, especially this year, of wondering on every commute if this will be the day that cashes out my life insurance policy, and he's sick of feeling like he's not doing right by all of us because we are cold.  I tried telling him last night that I'm not trying to piss and moan, but it IS miserable.  When you live in a house this old, even with new windows, even with some new insulation, all that means nothing when it's -20 with 35 mph winds.  It's just not his fault that its so cold that my car doesn't even get comfortably warm until I'm 45 minutes into my commute, in a brand new car.  It's just bitter cold. Add to that our woodburning furnace has a crack in the top that either needs repaired or the whole dorn thing needs replaced, it's an uphill battle.

I'm trying to be positive, but everything is more difficult.  My hour drive is taking 1 and a half to 2 hours, so by the time I get home and care for the house and the dogs, it's getting dark and the roads are blowing shut.  I want to go see Mamaw, but it's just too darn nasty out.  I guess I'll just wait it out, but the older I get, it seems like the shorter summer gets.

In other news, I have officially lost at least 4 hours of sleep this week worrying about putting a quilt together for my niece.  For some reason, I've worked myself up thinking my machine won't quilt it, or I'll screw it up.  It's just too much money to waste by not thinking it out, but at this point, I think I may attack it and at least get it basted this weekend.  Poor kid will be in college before I get it done if I don't get started.

We are about to finish ordering seeds and such for the garden.  I'm pulling out the asparagus patch because for some reason, we have gotten sick the last 2 times we have eaten asparagus, and putting in rhubarb.  We are not doing near the garden this year as we usually do, because literally every free moment last year we spent canning, and there is just too many other things that need accomplished this year.  Also, I'm not sure where I could stick anymore green beans.  They are hidden all over the house.

Our oldest dog, Dozer, has started on MLS therapy treatments for a bum knee.  I have been looking at some research and came to the conclusion that all the treats I was feeding our babies are nothing short of preserved poison, so I have been making them myself and saving a ton of money. He has arthritis so I learned that cinnamon is good for furbabies that have arthritic joints, and to be honest, the darn things smelled delicious in the stove.

Also, a high point of 2013, we finally got the kitchen almost finished.  Only took 8 years! LOL.  All that's left is some baseboard trim and a back splash.  We never do projects that we don't have money for.  We owe a mortgage, I'll be damned if we will take out another loan to do something to the house.  So things take time.  And things get done with LONG pauses between them, because I'm OCD and I don't like starting something that we will have to wait to finish.  I like the darn kitchen.  We spend more time in our kitchen then any other room.  We both love to cook, and we both compute at the kitchen table.  I just hate sitting in the living room. It's a comfortable room, but I can't cook in there, and there isn't a fridge with bourbon in it. :)

I forgot how much I enjoyed reading all the blogs and writing when the whim struck me.  I recently deleted my Facebook account because it was just too much anymore.  I like seeing folks' updates on their lives, but I felt like for me, it was a waste of time.  There are some dynamics in my family that just don't agree with Facebook anymore.  I like my instagram, but it could be that the only people I am friends with are other people with Boston Terriers.  I just felt like where I am in my life and the things I feel are important right now don't involve Facebook.  And, to be honest, I have issues not being a dumbass sometimes.  I can't blame other people for using social media in a way that I have felt justified using it, if I'm being honest.  I just don't want to be that person anymore.  The one with pushy political posts and rants.  And the last few years have created an atmosphere in my mind where I would and have been that person.  I'm learning (albeit belatedly for some as intelligent as I am, as my momma would say), that for all the things I am capable of, sometimes having a filter and the common sense not to spout off and start wars on Facebook over politics and theology are not some of these things.  Is it embarrassing to admit this about myself?  Oh, as a proud person, yes.  Has it made a difference in how I perceive myself and those around me? Most definitely. So bear with me...If I say something you don't agree with, tell me.  If I come off whiny, tell me. Has anyone else felt like this about Facebook, Twitter, etc?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's been over two years.  More than I ever thought could happen, honestly.

I've lost two grandpas and a grandma.  The one who practically raised me passed last March.  It's amazing that given my line of work how much death I've been witness to, and yet, you never can prepare yourself.  My papaw had been on a downward descent for a good seven years.  In December of 2012, I thought for sure I was going to lose him.  His pacemaker had failed, and he either needed a new one, or we needed to watch him die.  In one of his more lucid moments, he told my mamaw he wanted to walk her down the aisle one last time for their 70th wedding anniversary the following July.  After the surgery, he was more clear headed and more himself than he had been in years.  It gave me hope.  I told myself, a gentle and loving God will grant him this...he's done so much for everybody, worked 80-plus hours a week, farmed, took care of two of his grandkids like they were his own...

There is nothing like thinking you are an adult and are intelligent enough to understand the will of God.  He struggled at home, with my mamaw, myself and my mother turning him, feeding him, medicating him, and washing him until God called him home.  Every time I think of him now, I see him in that hospice bed in the new house we moved them into, the one were they would enjoy the rest of their lives with us close by.  He never seen the gardens in full bloom.

I understand, or at least I have an understanding, that whatever my ideas on what the will of God should be, they are useless.  Even as I was a paulbearer at his funeral on a frigid March day, I think I understood that I will never be the same as I was before.

To say that it wasn't his time would be a lie.  He was 89 years old, had progressing dementia and a weakening heart.  He hadn't been able to walk on his own in at least two or three years.  I guess, deep down, my Nazarene and Baptist upbringing made me think that my papaw...who had delivered me from so many awful things in this world, who taught me that God loves us, and who I saw at 5 years old lay his hands on a young man and pray for his soul's deliverance, would have left this world in some relative peace.

Death is not peaceful.  We fight death, we wage war against disease, and we struggle.  His death was not peaceful.  My heart is not peaceful.