Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The weight of the world is heavy

I know, I know, I've been strangely absent from the blogosphere lately. This may be in part due to the fact that I am utterly and hopelessly addicted to spider solitaire and can do little else than obsessively play it.

Oh, and also I've had a lot on my mind. Sometimes it's too much to process, ya know?

Thursday Paul called me on his way home from work and said, "You need to call your Mom. I just got a text - Ellis died." After I stopped my heart from hitting the floor and getting all dirty and germy and stuff I said, "WHAT?" Ellis was a man that I have known my entire life. His wife and my mom were best friends in high school, I went to school with both of his sons, worked with his oldest son at DHS, etc etc. Needless to say, I called Mom and yes, it was true. Not only did this family lose their husband and father, it made the situation ten thousand times worse because he was on a business trip in Las Vegas when it happened. I cannot even begin to imagine what his family went through and my heart truly goes out to them.

Thursday evening was the school carnival. I was a member of the PTC a few years ago and wow, I am so glad I was on the participant end of the carnival this year. Not that I'm saying that the carnival completed me or anything, but I got to follow my son around while he played Pin the Surfer on the Wave, shot a few hoops, fished at the fish pond and won his girlfriend oodles of stuffed crap, and nervously looked out for my oldest daughter who was allowed - for the first time - to walk around without a parent. ACK! She's growing up! Paul took Kady and I gave them both explicit instructions to NOT GET HER DRESS DIRTY and to NOT LET HER JUMP ON THE INFLATABLE JUMPING THING THAT HAS GOD KNOWS HOW MANY GERMS ON IT. Kady was a princess candidate and while her class didn't win, she looked utterly adorable up there on the stage with the little boy from her class that wore a pin striped suit and stood about four feet away from her like she had Kindergarten cooties or something. We left promptly at 7:40 in just enough time to fly home and watch LOST. Because we totally have our priorities in order.

Friday I spent the day with my husband and folks, when someone you know unexpectedly dies it tends to put everything into serious perspective. Paul and I have had some rough times in our marriage, but I honestly have to say our marriage is the best it has ever been. There were times I wanted to hang it up, call it quits, get the heck outta Dodge and just leave, but I am so, so glad I didn't. He is such a precious man and I can't express exactly how much I love him.

His schedule has changed recently and now we both have Fridays off together. I got the kids off to school, laid down on the couch and dozed awhile, then we got around and took the truck to the Dodge dealership to get the oil changed, had lunch together, bought tags for the Harley and the new van, visited with Mom at the courthouse, took the van out and traded it for the truck so it could have an oil change, too (we're equal opportunity vehicle owners) and then came home to catch our kidlets off the bus.

I like Fridays.

Mom and Pops picked the kids up around 4 and took them to town for pizza, ice cream and a sleepover. Good heavens, they were happy kids. They adore their Grammy, but now that they have a Pops, too, well, let's just say that our family is complete. Paul and I had plans to go have dinner at the Stables (free food vouchers from our birthdays, we've just been too sick to use them and no one wants to waste good expensive food when they can't taste anything) and then go see 10,000 BC.

Dinner was great, although it took somewhere around 9 hours for them to get our food to us because my husband insists on ordering his steaks well done. Ruins a perfectly good steak in my opinion, but he says he just hates to hear the sound my steaks make when I cut into them - he says the mooing is distracting. By the time we finished eating it was exactly 7:00 and the movie started at 7:05. It wasn't far to the theater and I figured we would just miss the previews, but no, Mr. Gamblypants said we couldn't make it. Now, I know my husband well enough to know that if he gets settled into a casino and starts winning (heck, even if he's losing) he doesn't want to leave. I knew that if we didn't go to the early show, we wouldn't go at all. He assured me I was wrong. Mmhmm....riiiiiight, honey. So I pouted enough that he finally took off for the door. I figured he'd just go home, but instead he said, "Okay, you don't like to gamble here. Pick somewhere else. Because we are having date night and you are GOING to have fun." So I picked The Big Fancy Casino.

He gave me $20 to start and I promptly lost it. He gave me $40 more. I put in $20 of it and cashed out with $175. Not a bad start. I gave him his $60 back and put in another $20. I cashed out with $200 that time. Then another $20 gave me $300. Over the course of about an hour I won about $1600. Yes, SIXTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. None of it was taxable because I won it all in small amounts. The most I cashed out at one time was $700. I know! It IS exciting! And my husband, who is a sore loser, took his turn pouting. So I started giving him money in an attempt to MAKE HIM HAVE FUN. We ended up blowing about $400 of my winnings before we left, but still I walked out with a good chunk of money and it was decided that I would pay Mom back the money I owed her from Christmas (She's a gem to pick up stuff for me if she finds stuff on sale) and take the kids shopping for summer clothes.

Saturday morning I got around and headed to town to get the kids from Mom's, Paul dragged out the big plastic totes full of last year's summer clothes and when we got back home we essentially trashed the living room. It looked like twelve clothing stores exploded in our house. Abby, of course, has outgrown EVERYTHING because she's AS TALL AS HER MOTHER NOW. Sam outgrew his jean shorts, pajamas and all of his shoes. Kady, as usual, has enough clothes to outfit a small third world country. She gets hand-me-downs from her big sister and from her cousin so we are never at a loss for clothes for her. After the Trying-On Of Summer Clothes 2008, we loaded up and headed for Joplin. We hit Target first and bought Sam jean shorts and pajamas and bought Abby her first real bras (God help us all) and some capris and poor Kady didn't get anything. She cried. Of course.

Instead of treating our kids to dinner at a restaurant we made them even happier by taking them to the food court at the mall. I will never understand why the food court is so awesome to them.

And then the mall shopping began. We went to Children's Place first and got Kady a sundress and some plastic Croc-looking shoes that are so adorable I wish I had size 13 1/2 feet. Abby got some more capris. Sam and Paul stood at the front of the store - Paul sighed heavily and Sam ogled the little Girl Scouts who were selling cookies out front. After that we went to Steve and Barry's and let me just say, if I could marry Steve or Barry or both of them, I so totally would. Everything in the store was $8.98 or less! How can you beat that? I mean, seriously???? Abby is totally in love with Amanda Bynes' clothing line, Dear and bought oodles of shirts because they say "Dear AB" on them. I mean, if I could find shirts with my nickname on them I'd buy oodles of them, too. Paul got three nice summer dress shirts, Abby and Kady both got new jeans, Sam whined that his feet hurt and that shopping was stupid and girls are weird for liking it. After that we went to Old Navy where Paul got some shorts, the girls got some sundresses and Sam continued whining and declaring that girls are mentally unstable. Then we hit Payless for shoes. Kady ended up crying because the first pair she tried on was too small and she busted into tears and said, "What if we can't find any that fit me and I have to be SHOE-LESS!!!" We sent Ab off to the women's section because OMG, HAVE I MENTIONED SHE IS AS TALL AS HER MOTHER AND WEARS REAL BRAS AND HAS FEET THAT ARE ROUGHLY THE SIZE OF DELAWARE?? Sam and Paul picked out two pairs of shoes in about 1.2 minutes and then sat down to gripe and complain some more while Kady and I argued and she cried and I threatened until finally we found her some shoes and no, she won't have to go shoe-less this summer. Paul's nerves were shot, Sam was just utterly exhausted (he said) so I bought everyone ice cream to shut the males up. It worked. After that it was to Bath and Body where I got two tubes of chapstick and two new lip glosses. One last stop (we thought) at the bookstore where Sam bought YET ANOTHER Captain Underpants book and Kady got a Fancy Nancy Goes to the Museum, a Step One reader, and Abby got nothing because she simply HAD to go to Claire's before the mall closed because she "SO needed a new purse! Duh!"

Did anyone notice that I won a boatload of money and I walked out of the mall with two chapsticks and two lip glosses? Anyone? Okay, just checking. I thought it was just me that noticed.

Sunday was church, a church dinner, a pizza party for the basketball team, and laundry. Lots of laundry. Because apparently we bought an entire mall the day before.

Yesterday was when the bottom dropped out and that's when the world just plopped its fat hiney down on my shoulders and said, "Here, carry me."

I went to Ellis' funeral and I'm here to tell you people, if there isn't laughing at my funeral I will personally come back to haunt each and every one of you who had anything to do with it. I think funerals should be like the one I went to yesterday - stories were shared about growing up, about how much he loved his grandkids, and what a great person he was. I'd better look down from Heaven and hear y'all talking about how dang funny I was, is all I gotta say. I sat between Mom and a girl that was in Tater's class and between the three of us we shed enough tears to float a cow, as Kady would say. Some were tears of grief, some were tears of joy, but they were tears, nonetheless.

After that I went to the office and that's where things got incredibly worser. Of course, I can't share any of the details, but let me just say that the world that had already plopped itself on my shoulders decided at that point to shift around and bounce a few times and nudge it's butt bone into my shoulderblades. Oh and it gained 40,000 pounds.

My emotions were so raw and I was so sad that when Paul came home and told me that his friend who is currently stationed in Iraq had apparently had a stroke, I lost it. I mean, just lost it. I lost my doojies all over the place and then some.

I called my mom, because who better to bawl to than your momma, and unloaded on her. I hated to do that to her because I knew she was grieving herself, but I had to get it out. About an hour later she called and said, "We're on our way out. We'll be there in 15." When I asked why, she replied, "We're gonna have a Come To Jesus meeting." Turns out, they just came out to do what parents are supposed to do - comfort and listen. Pops hugged me and said, "I heard something about you today. I heard that you are pretty tenderhearted when it comes to kids. Listen to me, that's a good thing. Don't ever stop being tenderhearted." Of course, I bawled.

We got a phone call around 10:00 last night from Daniel's wife (Paul's ex-fiance. Yeah, that's WAY weird.) They flew Daniel to Germany this morning to do some tests, but it appears that he's fine. Praise God.

When Paul and I got into bed last night he pulled me into his arms and held me while I sobbed and questioned and he said he didn't have any answers, he didn't know why things happened, but he knew one thing - that he loved me more at that moment than he had ever loved me before. Of course, that sent me into more crying because how in the world did I get so lucky?

The world is lighter today. I still feel it there, occasionally shifting its weight, as a reminder that it's there, but it's lighter. I can handle it - I have new lip gloss.


Jax said...

OH MY! Rains it pours? Bless your heart! Sorry you have had so much going on this past week. Things will get better my dear!

Melessa Gregg said...

Aw man! As if crying over every last word of Harry Potter Book 7 wasn't enough this week-you've gone and made me all sniffly too.

Mommy Needs a Xanax said...

Damn. Good post.

I cried.

That's the third time today.

CrystalChick said...

Very sorry for your Mom's friend, and Paul's friend and the heaviness of work, etc.... but how kind that your Mom and Pops came over like that. My parents are both gone and the in-laws... well... they are nice and never forget a birthday or holiday, that type of stuff, but to come over and be comforting??? NAH, not gonna happen. Oh well.

LOST rocks. We schedule our week around it. LOL

Cap'n Neurotic said...

I didn't get a chance to call my folks this weekend, and now they're off on vacation and incommunicado for the week, so I had no idea that Ellis had passed away. Kind of hard to wrap my head around, and I probably haven't seen him in close to 15 years. My sympathy and condolences go out to all of his family and friends.

Anonymous said...

Woo boy. What an emotional roller coaster. I hope things are on their way up a little. Praying for you and yours.

Anonymous said...


Lady Beekeeper said...

Hang in there.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

With new lip gloss you can face ANYTHING!
Well, that and a great family.
I was tearing up by the end. I hope that 40,000 world gets MUCH lighter. Like a feather.
Or like Someone else is carrying it.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...