Monday, September 22, 2008

Divine Retribution

It seems to be impossible to drive anywhere these days without being surrounded by idiots. I know my husband and at least 1 daughter have serious issues with anger when they are cut off or almost hit by careless drivers. I would say road rage, but that is a little too extreme for the frustration they feel. Just lots of comments about stupid idiots and morons. I try to set a good example by responding more appropriately, turning the other cheek and have only rarely flipped anyone off.

No matter how often I see horrible, dangerous driving I NEVER see any of them pulled over further down the highway. Well that did happen once when someone was pacing me and I couldn't merge on the freeway. They speeded up when I did and slowed down when I did and I finally had to come to almost a complete stop when my lane ran out. I was probably talking out loud at that point, maybe even using the word "idiot" myself when a State Patrol raced past me and nailed them. Talk about payback....I loved it! But one time out of all my years of driving isn't much.

This morning I was driving to Seattle to spend the day with Jack and Micah. I was in the fast lane behind at least 3 other cars and we were all passing several semi trucks in the middle lane. We were going 65 in a 60 zone (par for the course) when I noticed a car speeding up behind me. It was a lovely little silver car with a distinguished looking man with silver hair and the ever present blue tooth. He was obviously irritated that he couldn't get past me but since I couldn't get over yet and WAS going 5 mph over the limit I didn't care how irritated he was. I saw him glance over his shoulder and edge his car out into the HOV lane. I guess since it was clear sailing he decided to use that lane even though there was obviously no one in the car with him.

As he sailed past me I shook my head and thought "where are the cops when you need them?" Since they were nowhere in sight I then said to myself, oh well God can deal him later. The next
instant he pulled in front of our little group of cars and I noticed a cloud of smoke coming from him. I thought he had slammed on his brakes and was burning rubber so I prepared to make a sudden stop too. But wait a minute, he's moving into the next lane and then the next lane and I see bits of tire flying everywhere. He absolutely lost his freakin' tire and all I could think of was "Oh man, God doesn't mess around!" The hubcap sailed across all lanes of the highway and just missed me by mere inches - but even that couldn't wipe the smile off my face....

Wherever he was going in such a hurry...I don't think he made it there on time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jesus Loves Me

Sorry, I'm embarrassed and ashamed to admit it, but I haven't liked that song since I was about 6 years old. Too simple, too boring, too childish...growing up it seemed like a song that only young children should sing, but oh no - Sunday after Sunday someone asks for it and we sing it. I sing by rote, not even thinking about the words because I've heard it so often.

Then along comes Rory. Rory loves to fall asleep with someone singing to him. Even at a few months old, he would make a humming noise if no one was singing to him when he wanted to take a nap. When his mommy begins singing he especially loves it when she sings her favorite hymns, although he seems to enjoy all different styles of music.

When Rory was 3 months old, he began to spend Tuesdays with me so Lisa could return to work. He is easy to take care of and he loves to fall asleep while we rock on the front porch swing and I sing him my limited repertoire of songs. My standard songs for children and grandchildren have always been "You Are My Sunshine", "Hush, Little Baby" and "K K K Katie". But since Lisa told me Rory really settles down with hymns I tried "Amazing Grace" and finally settled on one song I know all the words to: "Jesus Loves Me".

Hmmm, it actually doesn't sound boring when I change the words to "Yes Jesus loves Rory, yes Jesus loves Rory, yes Jesus loves Rory - the Bible tells us so". Rory has heard this song every Tuesday for the past 5 months and he falls asleep to it every time.

A few weeks ago in church Rory was getting fussy and was being passed from grandparent to aunt to cousin to parent to grandparent...then he got to me. I put my mouth against his ear and started whispering "Jesus loves me this I know...." Rory froze - no movement, no sound for a few seconds then he put his head down on my shoulder and listened to me whisper the whole song to him while he fell asleep. It was a magic moment.

We spend one Sunday each month bringing a worship service to elderly residents in an assisted living center and "Jesus Loves Me" is the one song that everyone knows and wants to sing. They remember all the words and they sing with joy. I think it's possible that, once upon a time, these dear people were rocked to sleep while their grandmothers sang "Jesus Loves Me".

Suddenly I don't hate this song anymore.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Now you jump

Grandchildren are the greatest invention since sliced bread. No kidding. Just as there is no way to prepare for the surge of love you feel when you hold your own children for the very first time, there is no way to understand the pure, unconditional love you experience with your children's children.

Our oldest grandchildren are 13 and 11, then the little ones are 3, 17 months and 9 months. Obviously we had many, many years when David and Leah got all our attention, all our time and energy. During those years we took D & L on many little trips - trips to the zoo, trips to the museum, trips on ferries, trips to the beach. One year when they were were 4 and 6 we rode the ferry to Poulsbo and went to a marine museum. David wowed the tour guide by knowing the answer to every question she asked. We spent hours with our hands in the water, touching starfish, sea anemones, and all kinds of other small creatures. When we left the museum we found ourselves trapped by the annual Viking Days parade that had blocked off all the city streets so we walked over to a local drive in and watched the parade while eating lunch. One especially disturbing entry in the parade was the Grim Reaper and, if I remember correctly, it was used to bring attention to the dangers of driving while intoxicated. The kids hated it and even today David shudders at the words "Grim Reaper". We climbed to the top level of the ferry for the trip home and stayed outside in the wind for as long as we could stand it. Then David spoke the words that grandparents love to hear - "Thanks for taking us...this has been the best day of my whole life!"

Now Jack is old enough to join us on our adventures. Last summer when he was 2 we took the three of them to the Point Defiance Zoo and had a great day. This year it was Northwest Trek. They got to have a sleepover on Sunday night so we could leave early the next morning for our 2 hour drive. We timed it just right and missed all the morning commute mess. After our tram ride through 430 acres with up close and personal looks at bison, mountain goats, elk, deer and racoons we had lunch at the cafe and then continued walking through the rest of the wildlife exhibits. The trail wanders through wooded areas with natural habitat set aside for bears, lynx, wolves, eagles, beavers, otters - just to name some of the animals and birds on display.

David and Leah are incredible big cousins and Jack loves to spend time with them. We appreciate all their help since we don't run as fast as we used to and Jack moves at the speed of lightening! While walking down to the bear exhibit, David and Leah held Jack's hands and did the 1,2,3 jump game - over and over. Jack laughed and jumped each time. After several minutes of this Jack let go of David's hand and said "your turn David". David looked at Jack and said "you want me to jump?" Jack moved so that David was in the middle, took his hand and said "ok, now you jump!" What a great moment. Jack counted 1, 2, 3 jump and every time he said it David jumped. Jack was so proud of himself for giving someone else a turn to have the jumping fun.

It was my turn to say "thank you - this is the best day of my life".

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


"Staycation" is the buzz word of the summer. According to the media, the high cost of gas has driven all prices through the roof so many people are choosing to spend their vacation at home. That's not news to me - I usually have at least 1 staycation a year - and this year is no exception. I made plans to take a week off work and enjoy the last week of summer. Okay I know that the last week of summer isn't officially until the middle of September, but when school starts, my calendar says summer is over!

I planned my staycation months ago and didn't have anything on the calendar...just 1 long week of sitting in the backyard, reading and drinking mint juleps - oops wrong story - I mean iced tea! Unfortunately for me by the time my time off rolled around I was over my head in projects. It started on Saturday with catering a 60th class reunion, then Monday we took the 3 oldest grandchildren to Northwest Trek for the day, Tuesday I babysat GC #5 AND finished all my projects for the 12:30 pm appraisal, then went to Lisa's and helped her paint. Wednesday I volunteered to babysit Jack and Micah, but Lisa needed help with Rory so I took him with me to Seattle and with Leah's help, we took care of 3 kids under 3! After dinner I went back to help Lisa paint (or hold Rory) whichever came first and then on Thursday I spent the day helping her put all her furniture back and getting the house ready for Kevin's return. Friday was a day of rest and Saturday we worked at the corn booth at the Evergreen State Fair with other members of our Lions club . Sunday was church and shopping for kitchen cabinets.

By Thursday night I was truly exhausted and during my pity party I kept telling myself that's what happens when you take a staycation instead of a vacation. BUT wait a that I think about it a staycation is when you use your own home as a "hotel" and take day trips around your own local region. What I just experienced wasn't a staycation or a vacation - it was a workcation or catchupcation or projectcation or whatever you want to call it. But the good news is it ended on Saturday night. Sunday was fun - we've been wanting to shop for our kitchen cabinets for a long time, Monday we went to a casino with our $20 and walked out an hour later with our $20 - for us that's a very good day at the casino! and then we went to a matinee and saw Get Smart. Two days of R&R!

My work week always begins on Wednesday and on Tuesdays I usually do all the necessary evils of housekeeping: clean the bathroom, sweep, vaccuum, dust, laundry, etc. This morning I started thinking about all the housework I should/could be doing and then I remembered - I'M ON VACATION! I might not have gone anywhere new and exciting, I might not have spent 7 days reading and relaxing BUT on this, the last day of my staycation, I don't have to clean the bathroom...I'll let the maid do it. Oh wait, I am the maid! BUT NOT UNTIL TOMORROW!