Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fifteen Days Later ...

Yeah, yeah, I know. I know. It's been a while since I blogged.

I was actually going to blog YESTERDAY ... but there was a short in our phone line. Which meant that I had to spend about 24 hours with NO internet (besides the taste that I got with my data plan on my phone). Poor me, right?

What else has gone on ...

First and foremost, my friend Kim M (the friend I mentioned being on life support?) passed away last week. She had been moved to the ICU and was doing better for a bit. She was a bit responsive. She fought off a case of pneumonia and a staph infection. She got to see her girls and visit with them. ... but she really couldn't breathe. They had to make the hard decision to let her go.
And ... I understand it. I don't have to like the fact that I don't get to see her. That, like a lot of other people, she's gone somewhere that I can't follow yet. That I can't just text or call her. That I'm aware of how much her girls and husband are going to miss her.

A friend of the family started a support group  on Facebook. Its original purpose was to help pass along information and updates about her status. They organized a fast. There's a link to a GoFundMe fundraiser. The new Compassionate Service Leader in our ward (congregation) posted an opportunity to help clean up their apartment here in town and stock the freezer with some meals (Which is why I'm currently doing a few loads of their laundry. It's really the least I can do ... and it all still smells of Kim. She always smelled really nice. Even when I last saw her and she looked so sick, she still smelled so nice.) ... I took over a meatloaf for the freezer. I wrote the girls letters expressing my sympathy and that we love their mom, their family ... that we love them very much. And that their mom loves them so very, very much.

I cry a bit. When I cook (especially when I bake), I start to miss Kim a LOT. I still owe her a baking day. We were going to do it ... but I got busy, then she was in the hospital, then she was REALLY sick ... I had every hope and expectation that she'd kick this thing in the teeth, what with being up at OHSU with the best doctors around. I mean, if that young man in our ward pulled through hypothermia so bad that his heart stopped, what, six times? If he could pull through it, OF COURSE Kim could, too. I mean, I was praying, her family was praying, our wards were praying, friends of other faiths were praying ...

But, well, sometimes prayers aren't answered in the way(s) we'd like. And you have to accept that there's something bigger (and better) planned. And that, yes, it sucks ... but there's some reason behind it. Even though I just wish that I could know that reason right now. But... well... I don't.

Today was Kim's funeral. I didn't go. I kind of wanted to. But I couldn't.
Michael did. He's representing our family and our ward (along with some other members of our ward family).
But I have things here that I need to do. (Freezer meal and laundry for the family, taking the kids to their music lesson, watching T and L [friends and school chums of Bruise and Bucket]) ... things that prevent me from being in two places at the same time.

Besides, I keep crying. And I don't want people to think that I'm trying to say that this whole situation is MY grief ... Kim was loved by lots of people. LOTS. Because she's awesome. And, even though I really wasn't able to say goodbye in any REAL fashion, going to the viewing wouldn't be the same. She wouldn't smile or joke. She'd smell different. I couldn't give her a good, decent hug. It'd just be her body, not HER.
I figure that I'd rather cry by myself. This way no one thinks I'm trying to insinuate that I was closer to her than I was (friend and past Visiting Teacher) or trying to steal attention away from her family and closer friends. I know. I have issues.

.... I really wish that I'd been a better friend. For most of the summer, I wasn't aware that she'd be in the hospital. And, when she got out, I didn't know/realize that she was still so sick and could have really used a lot of help. I wish that the school schedules for her girls' school and my kids' school had been just a little more different, so I COULD have easily made pick-ups/drop-offs for both schools.  Because that would have been one less thing for her to fret about.

But ... well ... there's really no use griping about that now. It's not doing anyone any good.

But, yes, that's been a forefront thing on my mind.
And I realize that I need to get life insurance. Just in case.

Okay, okay ... other news. You don't come here to "listen" to me be all dour and melancholy. You come for the laughs, the sarcasm, the stories ... and I should get to all those kinds of things. Because writing about them is nice and light and fluffy.

This last payday, we've spent restocking our pantry and freezer. We've done so well at that, we hardly have room for all the good stuff. And I put together some freezer meals. We ate "Cafe Rio Chicken" last night (with a side of scalloped potatoes ... out of a box). It was good. Next time, I need to cut down on the cumin. There was quite a bit of heat to it. Good times. But I also have a few other meats-in-marinades in the freezers -- a pork roast with pepperoncinis, Italian-marinated beef roast, Chicken Tikka, French Chicken, Italian Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken ... stuff like that. (Gosh, I'm boring.)

These last few weeks have been pretty hard on our ward. One sister's father was in an accident. He barely survived. She and her sister are taking care of him. It's pretty stressful.
Our RS president's mother passed (she was of an age ... and was having end-of-life care at the home she was in. Still tough, but not entirely unexpected. Sister P is taking it rather well. But it's still not easy by any long shot). That funeral is Friday. ... One of the elders (guys) at church was canning tomatoes with his wife. There was a leak in the propane hose. His sons calculate there was a 30-foot fireball -- part of it got the house. This brother is sporting 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns. But he's in very good spirits ... and for how bad those burns could be, he's looking quite well (small miracles everywhere, you know?). He has a VERY strong testimony of the power of priesthood blessings and of the protection that wearing the garment can give (Seriously, I saw him shirtless. You can totally see where his garment was and was not. It's quite uncanny).

There's been a PTC (Parent Teacher Club) meeting. I chatted with our Principal a bit. And with the teacher that's the PTC-Site Committee liaison.

The kids had fun at the latest Kids' Club at the mall -- there was a magician. And origami. And painting. Bucket and I went to Claire's and I bought some peacock-feather earrings. Ended up being only a dollar (Clearance purchases for the win, right?).

Taught my nursery lessons. Those last three went SO much better than the first one. Oy.
I'm a little worried about one of the older kids in Nursery.
Seems like the child could REALLY use early intervention ... but, well, apparently that's not happening. I'm rather worried for this kid.

We fed the missionaries (sisters) dinner last week. Per Sister P's request, I made clam chowder. And cheddar biscuits and a salad to go along with it. Apparently, it's her favorite dinner ... but until lately, she'd been paired with companions who don't care for fish at all. Poor kid.

Grandma I and Aunt S (Michael's mom's mom and one of her sisters) have come out for a visit. We went over on Friday evening and spent some time visiting with them. Bubbles, not having had a nap, was a little stand-off-ish. Good thing they'll be staying for a couple weeks. That'll give us the opportunity to visit some more.
... And I've been charged to write letters to Grandma I more often. With requests for physical photographs. ... I'm given another opportunity for growth, see?

Like I mentioned earlier, Bruise and Bucket started music lessons this morning. He'll learn the cello. She's opted for violin. (Once we get a bigger house, I should practice the piano again. It's a nice outlet. Not as easy as singing, though. ... I should sing more. Just for practice and fun.)

I'm officially no longer ANY bit of the Compassionate Service Leader for our ward. I have a replacement. And she's amazing. Took off right away with everything. She and I even had a meeting where I passed on what I had ... and we talked about what I did. And she brought LOTS of GREAT ideas to the table. Sister P is very lucky to have Sister R as CS Leader. (Sister R ALSO brought over fresh apple crisp to our little meeting. Did I mention that I adore her?)

I'm about half-way through the laundry. It still smells like Kim.

(I wonder ... how do I smell to other people? ... I mean, I'd HOPE that I smell okay. But Kim always smelled REALLY GOOD. Her whole house smelled like her. Heck, I stepped into their apartment today and started welling up.)

Bucket and I went to the General Women's Meeting last Saturday. It was nice. I'm glad that they lowered the age to attend right in time for her to make it to the first one (in April). We continued what's now our tradition -- dinner out (at Applebee's so far) before the Meeting. Then she takes some cookies/treats home for Bruise and Bubbles. Sister R sat with us this time. (Last meeting, it was just Bucket and me on our regular pew ... creatures of habit. This time, we sat in a different pew.)

As I mentioned above, I had issues with the phone line this week.
I called, via my cell, yesterday morning as soon as the kids were off to school.
Talked to THREE different CSR (customer service reps).
The first one, Ashton, was nice -- personable and professional. "Hey, I'm going to butcher your name. Um ... Ah-LANN-ah?"

Me: "Actually, it's 'uh-LAW-nuh."
And he got it right from that point on. Friendly, kind ... good employee, you know?

He had to transfer me to another gal. (From all the scammer calls, it does not help that she has a bit of an accent) ... who called me "Allie-ah-na." REPEATEDLY. And had me doing contortions to unplug/replug lines from/into the wall socket (couldn't she just say, "Hey, if that's not really doable, just unplug/replug from the modem or phone itself"???? I mean, I haven't gone to modem-tech school or whatever ... but it's not rocket surgery, now is it?).

THEN I was transferred to ANOTHER GUY (also strong accent). He would talk over me and, even though I corrected him MULTIPLE TIMES (seriously, at least three. Maybe as many as five times), KEPT calling me Allie-ah-na.
"No, it's Uh-LAW-nuh."
"All right, Allie-ah-nah."

THEN, after we scheduled a repair tech to come out (because as I could have told them, nothing I do plugging and unplugging my modem will fix NOT GETTING A FREAKING DIAL TONE, y'all), he's all, "And before I let you go, do you have any questions?"
"Yes, I --"
"So, you have no questions?"
"But, I have a que--"
"If there's nothing else that you need ..."
"... yes."
"OKAY. *breath* If I need to cancel the appointment that MIGHT end up costing a minimum of $80 if the error is on our end, what phone number do I call?"
" ... ###-###-####."
"Thank you. *mutters to self* 'Was that really so hard? Really?'"
(Mom's right. I should ask to speak to a supervisor after a telephone conversation that irritating. And I should take names, for sure.)

I called Michael and vented/appraised him of the situation.
I had to repeat myself a lot, since I was VERY FRUSTRATED (i.e., crying).
He ended up bringing me flowers and chocolates when he came home.
(Also can you tell that someone just might, possibly, be having the painters in? [e.g., "I'm in a glass case of emotion!!!"])

This morning, I got the kids up earlier than usual (so we could be on time to music lessons). They got dressed, made their lunches, packed their backpacks, got teeth brushed, shoes on. We had our morning devotional-thing (Sing a hymn. Read the scriptures from the references at the bottom of the page. Read the history of the hymn. Have a prayer. Read a bit about etiquette). I packed up all the library books to return. We headed out for the car (the kids almost didn't grab their backpacks), took them to music lessons (at their school). Once they were settled, Bubbles and I ran by the library to return the books, then to the store to get WIC stuff (better last second than never). By the time we got back home, it was still about a half-hour before the window for the repair tech.

But he was there! Working on the phone box! We chatted. He came in and checked the jack (and had trouble reaching that. Went back outside to check things. Got a dial tone inside. Checked one more thing. Power-cycled the modem. HUZZAH! We're back in business.

Oh, I could have hugged him.
He was supernice. Very professional. Quite wonderful.
I did get his card and his supervisor's number. Called and left a message praising his work and manner.

He also told me that if it gets to the point where we need to power-cycle our modem often (like once a day), then replacing the modem is in the near future. Which is really good to know.

Then I fixed a freezer meal (a meatloaf, since Kim said that her husband is a real meat-and-potatoes kind of guy), chatted with Sister R via IM, talked to my mom ... headed over and picked up laundry to wash/dry/fold, vacuumed our front room (since Bruise and Bucket's friends will be over today).

Bubbles hasn't had a nap ... I say that, then look over to where she's on the couch. Asleep. She crashed while watching Wall-E. (It's a very soothing soundtrack.)

I should go make something yummy for the kids as a snack.
Or I'll just give them popsicles. Either or.

I'm about ready for a nap, myself. Not going to happen.

I should figure out dinner.

I don't know when Michael's getting back tonight.
Kim's funeral was at 10 AM in Hermiston. I don't know how long it lasts. I just know that he'll be home tonight ... and working tomorrow morning.

Is it just me ... or is it a common thing ... when things get bad, I just want to curl up in someone's lap. Maybe cry, maybe not.
But I'm far too ... um ... zaftig, per se, to be able to fold myself up decently, let alone fit in most laps.

Well, I have laundry to fold and dinner to figure out. And ... something ... something to bake.

I really like having working phone and internet. Even though I did get some reading done, I really like having wi-fi. It's just rather comforting knowing that I can look up things on my computer and my tablet without having to type it all on my phone or chance using up all our data for the month.

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