Location: Oregon, United States

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Wind-up about everything else

While William's health has been the centerpiece of the last several weeks, life goes on around us and there are other things to update you on.

Church-hunting: I think we may have found a church. While this sounds guarded, I am excited about the possibility. It is called Our Place Church. If you want, you can check out their website at One of the advertisements for the church was: "Your Rockin' Place to Worship!". I thought, "Oh brother, how silly is that?", but the worship DOES rock and God was in it. The message was solid, applicable to today, grounded in solid theology. There are small groups, fellowship groups on Sundays, AND they have a vibrant youth ministry for our kids.

It has been interesting to watch the family get used to the idea of going to a new church. I am anxious to get plugged in - of course, this makes sense, since I am an extrovert and I'm at home all day with the kids. Alone. In the house. All day. All summer. (Can you feel the desperation?) Thomas is also ready to go, and readily came with me the second time I went so he could check out the youth program. Stephen broke down and cried and had a complete fit when I suggested he come as well. When we finally got to the bottom of what was going on, it ends up he didn't want to go because that would mean one more step away from Minnesota, and one more step toward really staying in Oregon. In short, it brought all his grieving to the surface again. So we let him stay back that week. (Once Thomas came back with a good report, Stephen was game to go and loved it the next week.) William isn't in the mood to do anything and really hates Oregon right now so it may be a long road to get him to go at all. And Paul is fine to stay home with him - he prefers to make changes gradually and there have been a LOT of changes lately.

Job hunting: I am beginning the process of looking for a job. It is unreal how nerve-wracking this is for me. I sent in one application and nearly had a heart attack when I put it in the mail. Then I looked into their requirements a little more and I'm not even sure I want it (their focus is very "problem-centered", my training has been "strengths-based" and it may not be a good match). This is disheartening, because it makes me wonder if I will run into this all around the area. If so, that would mean I would need to work in downtown Portland. This is not all bad, in fact there are a couple of jobs I would love there, but travel time would definitely increase and so far everything I've seen is full time. This makes it hard to achieve work/life balance, and I tend to be out of balance already, without the help of a job I love. The short of it is that I need to have wisdom to be able to know where to apply, what hours to work, whether to stay in this area or look downtown, etc. Overwhelming. But NOT working is bad for me. I tend to get into trouble at home because I am bored. Then I start planning projects that we can't afford, and this is even more frustrating to everyone.

Yard/house: Speaking of projects, we are moving forward with the kitchen cabinets. (Don't worry, we can afford this one). This is REALLY EXCITING to me, because right now my pantry is a bookcase, and I am using a portable table for countertop/storage underneath. The fine china is in the hall closet upstairs. Handy!

The garage is also in order - a major feat. Now there is room for the cars, but the garage door is broken and needs an opener.

The yard is challenging! I have a new appreciation for water conservation. It literally hasn't rained since early June and this is normal. Oh, wait, it rained one day in July, and that one day broke the record for monthly rainfall in July. When I planted in late April/May, it was still raining on a daily basis and I had no idea it would be like this. So now I'm running around watering plants just so they will survive. I hate this. I just want to plant stuff and then leave it. So I dug up all my annuals and stuck them in pots, and have limited my watering to the pots and a few newer bushes in order to establish them. I've also been reading a book about sustainable organic gardening in the Northwest and am totally inspired. The only downside is that I have no idea what any of the plants this woman mentions in her book look like, so it is hard to picture it in my head. Even so, I've got a scale drawing of the house drawn up, and have laid out paths and a little rock wall, and an extended patio area, and fruit trees. This would be one of the projects we can't afford right now. But I have a plan, and this makes me happy, and I can pick away at it as we can afford it.

The other amazing thing is the weather! Summer is positively gorgeous most of the time! We've had three bouts of REALLY hot weather in the 100's, but even then the temps get down in the 50's or 60's at night. During the last spell, the kids, the dog, and I slept on our new deck and enjoyed the breezes and NO bugs. For the last week and a half, we've had highs in the 70's. We call this "camping weather", and it makes us happy like we are "up north at the lake". But we are home! Cool.

Crying Days: Okay, let's face it, moving is hard. While we are doing really well here and transitioning as well as can be expected, crying days happen on a regular basis. At first, it was weekly and now it happens about every two to three weeks. I may get an email or phone call from a friend or former co-worker, or one of our guests will go back home and that is hard. (You can still write and/or visit - I just appreciate you more these days!) I consider these days a normal part of the grieving process and am allowing myself to feel the pain for the day and then move on. So far, this seems to be working well. I really missed my friends when William was the sickest. All I wanted to do was go out to coffee with someone, tell you how hard it was, hear everything that was going on in your life, cry and laugh together. And there is no one here I can do that with yet. Bugger. Again, let me stress that you don't have to worry about me - I believe this is NORMAL grieving and it will lessen with time as I get plugged in here. (If it doesn't lessen, then you can call in the mental health police.) :) But I want you to know you are missed.


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