Monday, August 22, 2011

Endings and Beginnings


Hey Peeps—

Well, much to my chagrin, I have not been struck down by some weird disease like malaria or the consumption as hoped, and it looks like I will have to head back to Nursing school tomorrow whether I want to or not. 

Three days ago I had not been having any symptoms of the aforementioned diseases, so I decided to end the summer with a bang.  And if you think I mean I had my roots touched up, you are correct.  But that’s not all we did around here!  The kids were thrilled when my sister and I met up to go to the Bay on Friday. Normally I hate big crowds and water in the same place—it seems unnatural to me, all those people walking around in swimsuits having conversations about their Christmas plans or what’s on sale this week at King Soopers.  I always feel like saying, “Can we just put some clothes on first, and then talk?” 

Somehow I managed to suck it up and make the day fun for my kids.  For five hours we sat outside watching the kids have the best day ever!  Will is six now, and finally can do one of the big slides on his own.  He would come down the shoot fast as a bullet, and as he hit the water, he flipped over each time.  The first time it happened I yelled at the lifeguard, “Please, you have to help my baby.  He’s under the water!”.  As the teenager looked my way to see the crazy mother screaming nonsense, Will popped his head up and swam over to the steps as if he’d done it a thousand times.  I managed to remain quiet the rest of the day, with the exception of clapping, and a few “thumbs up” when one of our children looked my way. 

But wait!  We aren’t done with the fun times yet!  Our friends Mark and “Fancy Boots” Alicia invited us to spend the day with their family at Carter Lake on their boat.  Personally I never pictured us friends with “boat people”--it seemed way above our social status.  I told the kids they’d have to act fancy and pretend to be boat savvy, in order to make the day successful.  Faith seemed to understand, but this confused the boys and Billy. 

The day turned out amazing.  Carter Lake is really pretty, and the weather was perfect.  Mark laid down the ground rules like, “don’t run to the back of the boat when someone is getting off the inner tube” and “wave the flag” when someone is in the water.  I was thrilled there were rules to follow.  Mark wore his “Tilly” hat and “Fancy Boot’s” wore her boating hat as well. Billy, who looked ridiculous without a hat,  and I listened as Mark explained things about boating like Zebra Mussels and pretended to understand boat culture, while knowing we’ll never be smart enough to learn how to unload a boat into water.  All of this was okay with us, as we watched all three of our children in the inner tube having the time of their lives! 

Jack seemed tentative on the tube, but you could tell he wanted to love it.  His smile spread from ear to ear as he bounced a long.  He’d motion for more speed, and then unashamedly beg for Mark to slow down!  Faith is on constant quest for adventure.   She wanted more speed, more bumps, more excitement, which scared Billy and I to death.  She never gave the thumbs down signal asking Mark to slow the boat, only thumbs up.  Will also loved the inner tube.  He began with great excitement, laughing and screaming with joy, but after five minutes of bouncing over the waves, he’d clutch his head and make a sad face.   Despite a few small headaches, he kept asking for turns on the tube, and we let him go, hoping we weren’t destroying precious brain cells.  You only live once, right?

Tomorrow morning I will wake up early and head back to my second semester of Nursing School.  I will put on a brave face for my kids, knowing that two out of three of them feel the same way about school as I do.  I want to show them that I’m not a quitter, and that even though I’m scared of what I will face, I can reach my goal of becoming a nurse. Before I walk out the door,  I’ll ask Billy to pray for me, and the five of us will tightly hold hands as we ask for God’s constant protection and guidance over our lives.  Then they’ll remind me how much they love me, and I’ll remind them I am so proud of who they are becoming.  I might cry a little, but not for long.  It’ll time to get going.  Time to get learning.  Time to face this mountain, and start climbing.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Television + Marriage =15 years of bliss


Hey Peeps—

One of my favorite shows on Hulu is Househunters.  I can’t help it.  In 20 short minutes I’ve seen another part of the country, without having to get on a stupid airplane ( aka “deathdart”), I’ve learned something about the real estate market in another part of the nation, and I’ve gathered up a few decorating tips that I might not have thought of without actually seeing it up close and personal.

Billy’s weakness on Hulu is called “Wasted Spaces”.  It’s about a crazy Australian guy who builds shelves in peoples wasted space, like attics and basements.  It’s very boring, except for the guys accent, and leaves me feeling unorganized and cranky.  But I continue to watch the show with Billy, as he does for me, even the ones he doesn’t enjoy.  Watching tv together is one of the ways we connect—Don’t go calling Dr. Phil either cause it works for us, whether it’s healthy or not.

For instance, Billy hates the news.  He hates it so much that he’d rather watch an open sore heal than sit in front of the tv and listen to the banter between Mark and Adele on Channel 9.  Now me, I love the news.  It makes me feel informed, connected, prepared for the next day’s weather…it’s an educational, and somewhat entertaining twenty minutes of my day.   Sure it can get depressing, and that’s when I’ll flip over to Seinfeld, in order to end our day on a happy note, rather than a sad one.  There’s nothing better than being reminded of the soup Nazi, or George’s Jerk store comeback. 

This week Billy and I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage.  Please, hold your applause until we reach 50 years.   15 years is good though, right?  I know early on in our dating life there were a few naysayers when they heard I’d met a grunge musician from Seattle.  Not only was Billy a musician, he had long hair, a previous marriage, and was living in his mother’s basement.  Now that I have it down on paper, I can see why people questioned my choices in dating. 

First of all I was desperate.  I had just graduated from college, and was still 100% single.  I was working in a prison for troubled teens, and was highly doubtful I’d find the love of my life in that environment.  Second of all, I had very bad skin and hair.  When Billy showed an interest in me, I thought maybe he was legally blind, and would love me for who I am, rather than my looks.  Thirdly, I chose to date Billy because my mouth muscles ached from smiling whenever I was with him for more than five minutes. 

Once my family met the guy, they knew he was a good one.  In fact, I suspect there’s few relatives who prefer him to me.  The cold hard truth is that Billy is a way better person than I am.  He’s a better parent, better spouse, is socially adept, and culturally sensitive.  I’m fine with all the aforementioned qualities, but the one that annoys me the most is his hair.  He’s always had better hair than me.  It’s thick, healthy, manageable…he’ll never need to do the olive oil treatments.  Billy is a bit of a Renaissance man, and yes, I know I am very, very fortunate. 

Let’s not get all Billy crazy though, okay?  I mean he does have a few faults, some of which I’d like to address now.  For one, he is unorganized and does not multitask well.  He never can remember what night The Amazing Race is on, and he can’t put laundry away correctly to save his life.  The biggest issue I deal with daily is that he’s a total computer geek.  Just today after church we went to lunch with friends.  We were in Boulder and after lunch the guys mentioned the Apple store, within walking distance.  Kristy and I were responsible for the six childrenbetween us, while Billy and Chris took their sweet time perusing the store.  When we got home today Billy described his time alone with Chris, among all the wonderful Apple products.  He said, “we were like a couple of schoolgirls walking around there together”.   I didn’t have time to ask if they were holding hands, because his went on to say, “We were even finishing each other’s sentences”. 

Fifteen years of marriage is something to be proud of, in my opinion.  We’ve worked through some big stuff, and are continuing to learn and grow and raise three kids who hopefully have something good to offer this world.  We know God has blessed us—not the money kind of blessings, but the kind of blessing that you can’t quite put into words.  We’re friends.  We laugh until we cry.  We love our kids more than ourselves.  We say sorry.  We are a team.  In the end, marriage is about love, communication, and compromise.  And watching each other’s shows.