Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday Slice: Seventeen inches

I emptied the rain gauge thrice last weekend, keeping track of the amount each time.  One and a half, then six, then six and a half, then three.  Seventeen inches of rain from Friday through Sunday.

We had electricity with only one "blink", running water, gas, and food in the pantry.  Our thirsty yard soaked up the water, as did the field behind us and the grassy culvert beyond.  Some blustery gusts knocked small bits of branches down without damage to our house or cars. 

Widen the circle a bit, and we had friends without power for up to twenty-four hours.  A tree was waterlogged and split in a neighbor's yard.  Flooded low-water crossings prompted official requests to stay home, or at the very least "turn around, don't drown".  We complied for the most part, my husband running some errands on Sunday but coming back frustrated with an incomplete merchandise return due to downed computers at a store.

The news to the southeast was more dire.  Evacuations of floodplains, highways under water, towns gone.  I stayed glued to Facebook for much of the weekend, checking in with friends in the hurricane's path and watching weather reports and live footage.  So far, the friends are all right, high and dry, though one family will be dealing with damage to their almost-new home.

It felt surreal to go back to work yesterday, with a two-hour delay to accommodate more rain, knowing that the sprinkles hitting my windshield were nothing compared to what our coast will continue to get throughout the week.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Slice: One less

A song from 1970 has been running through my head the last week.  It started one morning as I was emptying the dishwasher, thinking about all the drinking glasses my son went through in a day.  It occurred to me that there would be a lot less to put away once he started college.

"One less bell to answer..."  No more getting up from a comfy seat to open the door when he's locked himself out.  No more phone calls to be picked up from a friend's house, or requests for chicken and fries on my way home from work.

"One less egg to fry..."  He doesn't eat fried eggs.  But this summer of recovering from jaw surgery found us focusing on what he could eat, and trying to get as much of that in him as possible.  I'm happy to report that he's found at least one cafeteria on campus with grilled chicken he can "eat".  He knows he has to meet with a nutritionist this week to make sure he continues to gain weight. 

"One less man to pick up after..."  We just got home Sunday night from college move-in, so there's still the aftermath of packing to deal with.  We'll clean up his spot at the table, wash his bed linens for his next trip home, and do the last bit of laundry in his hamper (though I suspect he'll return with more).  But there will be no school papers strewn on the living room floor this fall, no eyeglasses left in the hallway, no sneakers to trip over.

"I should be happy...But all I do is cry."  The one line that doesn't ring true for me.  I am happy for our newest college student.  I thought I'd cry when I came home to an empty house, but have yet to shed a tear.  Chalk it up to exhaustion from the move or the chaos of starting my own school year in the library, or maybe it's the feeling that we have graduated as parents.  Our fledgling has left his little cage of home for the aviary of college, and I am looking forward to seeing him fly.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Slice: Chaos and control


The frenetic thoughts ignited by the buzzing alarm
Tiptoeing around a cluttered home
      and the pillows knocked to the floor by the couch-sleeper
Adding to the ever-growing pile of college dorm supplies overtaking the living room
Baking pans and mixing bowls left in the sink
Papers on the dining room carpet displaced by the air conditioner
Papers on my desk threatening to avalanche
Papers at work calling out to be filed
The library arranged for adults not children
Tables everywhere 
Cables in dangling tangles
Chairs stacked at odd angles
My attitude at odd angles


Getting up in the dark with time to spare
Dressing in workout clothes
Morning coffee in a favorite mug
The familiar routine of writing
Lists written and items crossed off at home and school
Emails written and answered
Appointments made and kept
My work clothes laid out the night before
Healthy food cut up and packaged for the week
Reaching for the water instead of the wine
Turning off screens and going to bed before the evening news
The grateful thoughts penned in my journal as I set my alarm.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday Slice: After the rain

The rain started around 4am on Monday, thwarting my plans for a walk in the predawn gloom.  I did a quick workout indoors after gently awakening my son for his morning dose of antibiotics and extricating him from the couch, his preferred sleep locale when his tiny bedroom gets too hot or cold.

My husband found a nail in one of my tires over the weekend, so I was forced to drive our ancient Durango in the pouring rain to my first day of work for the school year--an all-day meeting for district librarians. The rain even affected my planned wardrobe; I put aside the cute dress and lacy shoes, opting instead for jeans and rubber boots, not knowing how far away I'd have to park.

The precipitation lasted as long as our meeting.  We were rained on as we walked between portable buildings to meet with vendors, and as we stood in line at the food truck for lunch, a row of umbrellas gently poking at one another as we chatted about the details of our summer break.

The sun broke through as we left for the day, the rising temperature and humidity making for a sticky walk back to our cars.  Overwhelmed by a growing to-do list, coming home to a teenager rightfully frustrated by recent medical woes that I could not fix, I decided to go for a walk on our hike and bike trail.

Lush greens, purple martins swooping to catch the buzzing insects, and happy dogs straining their owners' leashes soothed my soul at the end of a long day.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tuesday Slice: Ninety-four

In May, when folks asked about my summer plans, I replied that my focus was going to be on getting my son through jaw surgery and helping with his preparation for college.

As my summer is winding down, I'm reflecting on where the days have gone.  I now realize the focus has been on food.  Too much for me, too little for him; every day, walking the tightrope between concern and nagging, service and encouraging independence.  Avoiding eating his favorite foods in front of him out of sympathy, but then crunching away at handfuls of chips when he's out of sight, swallowing my own worries and frustration with each salty mouthful.

I'm slowly regaining control of my eating habits, forcing myself to acknowledge what I'm feeling as I'm standing in front of the refrigerator or pantry, deciding if it's really hunger or avoidance of tasks and worrisome thinking.

But for our son, now dealing with having wired-shut jaws for two weeks after a second round of surgery, it feels like a loss of control.  He was just back to eating small bits of "real" food (he isn't allowed to chew for months) when his oral surgeon decided that the jaw placement needed adjustment, and that wiring was necessary for proper healing.  Our son was angry, but signed the papers and submitted to the procedure.  Nothing but liquids for two weeks.  The most calorie dense concoction I can come up with is a mixture of frozen custard, protein shake, and protein powder whirred together in my mini-blender.  He likes it, but his shrunken stomach can only take so much at a time, in a day.  A diet of chocolate shakes sounds wonderful until it is all you are eating.

We saw ninety-four on the scale yesterday.  I pray it doesn't get any lower.