Jeez, technology scares me.


I am 57 years old.

That’s getting up there, you know?

I remember when new technology meant that TV had more than three channels.  The cool kids were able to watch those awesome UHF channels!  Wow……

I remember when new technology meant 8 Track tapes.

Please stop laughing. I am not kidding.

I am old.

So very, very old.

I’ve done my best, though, to stay up to date and in the know.  I have a laptop (thank you school!) and I know how to use it (thank you, professional development program!)

I use Facebook. (How else can I track my kids’ every move?)

I have used Skype.  (OK, it was 5 years ago, but still….)

I have a Twitter account. (Well, I got it when Twitter was new and I was curious. It doesn’t really work without a smart phone, so……..)

And….as you know doubt know by now…..I have a BLOG!!  On WORDPRESS!  This no doubt makes me so tech savvy that I am just about ready to get myself an IT job.

At school, I am considered to be one of the more technologically adept teachers. I use Google Drive, Wikis, Educreations, Evernote, iBooks, Collaborize Classroom and Glogster.

I rock.

The thing about technology, though, is that no matter what you learn, no matter what you master, you will continuously be reminded that you are, at heart, an idiot.

Case in point:

As a very hip, up to date, cutting edge technology user, I follow a lot of blogs these days.  One of them is written by a guy named Alexey, at Inside My Glitching Mind.  This blog features incredible photos of all manner of interesting things from around the world.  One of the cool features is a collection of photos of fences.  Fences from all over the world.

What an intriguing idea!

I happen to have two very interesting fence photos myself!  Both were taken in Newport, Rhode Island, along the famous Cliff Walk.  We were on the outside (poor people) side of the fences, looking in at the glamorous (rich people) side.

“I like these photos”, I though to myself. “I will send them on to Alexey!”

Ha.

In order for my photos to be used on his blog, they have to be a certain size.  Um.   OK?  I looked at my photos on iPhoto, but couldn’t figure out how to change the size.  I asked my friend, the IT person at school, and she sent me the directions.

I was SO proud of myself when I made my photos nice and small!  Yay!!  I couldn’t wait to see MY pictures on that great site!  I wrote a nice email to Alexey and hit “send”.

Very quickly, I got a reply.  “You forgot to attach your photos”, it said.    Hehehe……

I attached and resent.

Another quick reply. “Your pics are too small. They need to be 680 pixels to fit the blog theme.”

Oh, right.

Pixels?

I prepared to give up.

“You could upload them to your blog”, came the ever patient Alexey’s reply, “And I can get them from there.”

So, here they are.  What do you think?

God only knows if they have enough pixels in them.

This kind of shows the greed, and bad grammar, of the very rich.

This kind of shows the greed, and bad grammar, of the very rich.

This shows a lovely, welcoming gazebo, just beyond the "Keep out" fence.

This shows a lovely, welcoming gazebo, just beyond the “Keep out” fence.

Internal debate


royalty-free-photos-angel-and-devil-kindness-and-evil-12174545

If I was a natural optimist, I would never have started this blog.

I mean, this whole writing exercise was the suggestion of a therapist, who probably just wanted me to stop whining and taking up valuable couch space.

I’m Italian.  I’m a Pisces.  Drama is my middle name. I gripe, therefore I am.

Lately, though, I have been trying hard to look on the bright side of things. I’ve been trying not to cry and moan and complain so often.  I smile so much at school that my cheek muscles get sore (oops! That was a complaint, huh? See how hard this is for me?) I work very hard to see all points of view and to empathize with everyone around me.  I try to speak positively and look at the future with hope and pleasure.

But you know what?   It’s March and we’re in the middle of yet another whopping snowstorm.  More shoveling, more slush, more wet-dog-smell.  I’m trying to be positive here, but its damn near impossible at this point!

I am supposed to be picking up my baby boy for Spring break today!!!!   I took the school day off, and left elaborate lesson plans all neatly queued up on my desk!

And now its a snow day.  I can’t hit the road to head west until the plows come by, and I wasted three hours of writing, organizing and copying things for my sub.  And, to add insult to injury, I have to make the day up.  In June.

Sigh.

I’m trying to be upbeat.  I am!

But I am turning into one of those cartoon characters with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. You know the ones I mean, right?  The angel whispers positive messages in the right ear, but the devil whispers bad stuff in the left?   Yep.  That’s what’s happening in my tiny brain today.  Snow is pretty-angel.  Snow sucks-devil.

Kind of sounds like this:

Look how the snow coats the trees like lovely whipped cream!

Look how the snow is breaking the branches. The yard is gonna be a mess in April.

The snow flakes look so peaceful, falling gently.

I am so bleepin sick of feeling like I live in a snow globe!  Its making me dizzy.

We can go snow shoeing!

I want to go swimming!

We can sit by the fire tonight.

All this smoke is giving me asthma.

There has been so much snow this winter; the plants will really thrive with all this moisture!

There has been so much snow this winter; we’re going to be eaten alive by mosquitos!

Gosh, how nice to have a snow day! I can catch up on some housecleaning chores.(Angels always things like ‘gosh’ and ‘golly’. Makes me want to slap them.)

Damn, another snow day! We’ll be in school ’til freakin’ July! (Devils are of course, potty mouths. I can relate.)

And on and on it goes. I want to be positive, but I also want to be a size 8 blonde, walking on a beach on Oahu. Some things are not meant to be.

Damn!  That’s a lot of freakin’ whipped cream.

Just thinking…..


SONY DSC

 

Its one of those rare days.  Long weekend, cold wind, warm fire.  Been reading a good book, catching up on some corrections, watching mindless TV, even knitting a little.  Paul had to go out for a bit, so it was just me and my doggies, snuggling on the couch.

Tucker spent a good half hour with his head on my knee, looking remarkably relaxed and serene.  As I looked into his big, chocolate eyes, and listened to his steady breathing, I felt myself relaxing and drifting off; almost, but not quite, falling into a dream.

Why is it that just as we begin to drift away and let go of the tangible world around us, our thoughts become so disjointed and crazy and interesting?  I wish I had a way to record those swirling ideas as I fall asleep.  If I tune in enough to notice them, I pop back into consciousness, and they stop floating past like gauzy scarves riding the wind.

If I listen to one of those fascinating snippets, my brain clicks back into the “on” position, and I measure the thought, weigh its clarity or its accuracy or its practicality, and then file it away in one or another of my mind’s many drawers and cupboards.

I wish I could let them go and somehow have them magically transcribed, so that I could let them flourish without my interference, but still remember them later.

I bet they would make riveting blog posts!  Maybe one or two would even prove to be the germinating seed of a story.

Of course, it’s just as likely that one or two would land me on the psychiatrist’s couch, but still!  What’s life without a little risk, right?

So here are a few of the tiny threads that floated by as I almost fell asleep with Tucker’s nose as my focal point.

Little unexpected pleasures are better than long awaited big pleasures.  Last night we had dinner with some friends and my very favorite dish, at any restaurant anywhere, was on the specials menu. I’m still smilin’.

There’s no reason why I shouldn’t try to bake a chocolate cake from scratch today. In spite of the fact that I don’t have the right ingredients, and the fact that the last thing Paul and I need to be eating is an entire cake.  And the fact that I’m lazy.

Is it creepy for me to be picturing the kids in my class and wondering what they’re doing?  Pathetic.  Gotta get me a grandchild.  Soon.

If you look at him just right, sometimes my dog looks like my Grandmother’s stepmother, a woman I haven’t seen in 40 years.  She used to scare me to death.  No explanation for that one……

My class should do a musical this year. They can write it, sing it, perform it. It will be fun.  Ah, yeah.  No.

I smell tanning lotion. Yankee Candle near my head; “Sun n’ Sand”

Just because the government tells me that I can’t speed on public roads, it doesn’t make me worry that they are going to take away my car.  Shit. Back to the gun debate.

That last one woke me up for real, even more than the scary old Italian lady memory of Nanna.

Yep.  Just another relaxing day on the couch.  The mind is a terrible thing to control.

Come on over!


I have been struggling lately with a couple of new problems. (I would say “issues”, but then I’d feel like an earnest young therapist, and we can’t have that.)

One: This blog is supposed to be about parenting, and the lack thereof.  It is supposed to be about my journey into the future, into my golden years, and hopefully my Grandma years.   I am sort of running out of ideas.

Two: I really want to be a warrior woman.  I want to change the world.  It goes back to my college years, you know?  I want to be on the front lines of a movement to change the political realities of this country.  But.  I’m a chicken and I can’t seem to get myself into the Occupy Wall Street throng.  Gulp.

So, on the advice of some friends, including other bloggers, I am turning my writing attention to another blog, which I began last October after the arrest of my kids on the Brooklyn Bridge.  It’s called “Mothering the Occupation”, because I want to be the wise woman, the voice of support and nurturing, and I want to be throwing my voice into the fray.

Please come on over and visit! Please comment, and please follow and share, if you are so inclined.

It is truly past time for reasonable people to demand civil, honest, open discourse and a return to true democracy.

Mothering the Occupation

The end of the journey?


When I started this blog, it was with the express intention of finding my way through the grief of the Empty Nest. My babies left me, and I was bereft, heartbroken, lost.  I literally could not imagine a life where my three children were not the center of every single decision.

Since that first post, I have written about my childrens’ growth, and about my own. I have recorded the feelings that I experienced when my kids left for college, and the feelings that I experienced when they came back.  It was a thick, smokey stew of emotion; my neediness mixed with theirs, their desire for independence clashing with my desire to be in control of their lives.

I have recorded moves to new houses, painful breakups and moves back home, and the tearing separation of moving away once again. Through it all, my underlying motive and wish/dream was to have my babies back under my roof once again.

I was not a very supportive Momma to these young adults. In some strange and icky way, I sort of wanted them to fail so that they could come back home and need me to take care of them.

Now, though, everything has changed.

It has been just about a year since any of my kids lived here with us.  A year since I was the Mommy with the responsibility of cooking dinner.

In that year, I guess I have gotten used to the clean kitchen, the well stocked refrigerator and the chance to walk around in my underwear.

I didn’t notice that I was letting go.  I didn’t consciously realize that I no longer felt the burning need to have my babies here beside me.  I thought that I was stuck, that I wasn’t evolving at all.

But I was wrong.

My daughter is faced all of a sudden with a need for a new place to live.  She wants to live with her boyfriend, and I can only say that I support this wish with my whole heart and soul.  They are looking for a place together.  A place that is close enough for both to commute, a place that is affordable, and a place that will accept their lively and energetic dog.

As the days tick by, and they are unable to find such a haven, we have offered to have them move in here with us. Of course we did!  What else would good parents do?

And if they did move in, we would have fun, we would enjoy our dinners together, we would watch movies, and drink nice wines and have a lot of laughs.  It would work out just fine. Or even more than fine!

It might be really fabulous.

But.

It would be a setback, for them, and for us.

At last, at long, long last, I have realized that I am actually at the end of my journey.

My nest is empty, and I am fine.

I miss my children. I love them, and I will always love seeing them.  But I realize that I am hoping very fervently that Kate and her Sam can find a place for themselves, and that they won’t need to come here to live with us.

And that is a very good thing to realize.

I think this blog is almost done.

Rose Colored Glasses


A friend of mine mentioned the other day that she had been reading my blog.  (I am always surprised when people tell me that they are reading my words. Shocked, but happy! I like it!)  She said that she was enjoying reading my posts, but that they made her feel bad because, “It sounds so great! You are such a great mom. You guys always had fun together. My life with my kids isn’t that happy all the time.”

WHOAH.  What?  Did I really write that way?

So I went back and read a whole bunch of my old posts, and guess what? She was right!  It was all sunshine, puppies, beach days and laughter.  What the heck?

This blog was begun on the advice of a therapist. She was helping me to overcome my grief and depression after my kids moved out. She suggested that I write a series of letters and little stories to my kids.  That I tell them how I was feeling, and therefore allow myself to move on.  I thought that was what I had been doing all this time, but my look back has made me wonder.

If I was really trying to let go, and trying to feel happier about my empty nest, why did I focus so much on the best of times?  Why did I only remember the great days? Wouldn’t that make it that much harder to move on?

If I wanted to feel better about not seeing Kate every day, shouldn’t I have recalled some of the, shall we say,  “less pleasant” times together? Like perhaps the entire year when she was about 3 or 4 and had one ear infection after another, and I couldn’t get her to gain an ounce of weight? Or the time, maybe, when I locked my keys in my car, had to walk 6 miles home in the rain with baby Kate in the stroller, then use a fireman’s ladder to climb in a window because the house keys were also locked in the car?

Why didn’t I write about the time we went camping, and 13 year old Kate was so argumentative that I blew up.  I hauled off and kicked a little kettle grill sitting on the ground. It was pretty stupid, because the grill was full of charcoal, weighed about 30 pounds and smashed the living hell out of my sneaker clad foot. But it was better than kicking her little butt, which is what I really wanted to do.   Why didn’t I write about that?

Why didn’t I write about the time when my little Matt refused to get dressed for daycare one morning? Paul had already gone to take Kate to the school bus, and I had to get my boys out the door in a hurry or be late for work myself. I had already dressed Matt twice, but he took off his clothes again as soon as I turned away. Finally I told him, “You have two minutes to get dressed, or I am taking you to school as naked as the day you were born.”  Sure enough, out the door I marched, with a naked screaming four year old under my arm.  In November.  He got dressed in the driveway.

Why did I always make Tim sound so charming, so funny and sweet?  As if he wasn’t a real live boy!? Why did I do that, if I was sad about missing him?

I could have written about the times when Tim would argue back at us about everything we had to say.  Or about the time when 3 year old Tim had a tantrum so long and so intense that I wrapped him in my arms and just held on.  I used a holding technique that I had learned when teaching autistic children, wrapping him so tightly that he couldn’t move his arms, legs or head (Ever been head butted by an out of control kid? So not fun!).  It worked, I guess.  Of course, I hurt my shoulder,  and Tim developed claustrophobia, but the tantrum ended, so what can I say?

Why have I left out all of the tough parts about mothering those three kids?

I guess because for me, the only way to let go is to tell myself that the job is done.  To convince myself that no one could have done it better.  I need my rose colored glasses to let me believe that it really was that great.

Otherwise, I might look back at all of my failures, faults and big mistakes, and I might decide that I need another chance to do it all again, only so much better this time.

These are my rose colored glasses, and I am keeping them on.  For the sake of my now grown kids, I am keeping them firmly on!

Just remember as you read my lovely memories, that someday I might turn around and write about the time when all three kids were throwing up and I was crying and gagging as Paul mopped up and I did the eighth load of laundry of the night.  I just might!

Lady Parts


Before I jump into this post with both big feet (note that I am allowed to label my feet), I want to offer an apology and a thanks to so many of my blogging friends.  Thank-you, thank-you for the fantastic song suggestions for my photo montage for the class, and I apologize for seeming to ignore you all for a week.   Unfortunately, just as I was about to put the finishing touches on the slideshow (including the songs “Walking on Sunshine” and “I Hope You Dance”), my brand spankin new MacBook Pro gave a gasp, froze up, and died on the spot. No slideshow for the last day, no pictures of the play, nothing.  I’m in the process of gathering up the photos from various backup locations and classroom parents so that I can give it another try! So thank-you.  And I’ve missed you!

Now to the purpose of today’s rant.  This reaction has been bubbling around in my head since I first heard about the outrageous reaction by the Michigan House of Representatives to Rep. Lisa Brown, who dared to utter the accurate name for her, ahem, “lady parts”.  Before I share my own disdain, though, I want to encourage you to read a more thoughtful and eloquent post by a wonderful writer named Trina Bartlett, who blogs at “Just So You Know.” Her latest post is called “Five Words I’d like to Ban From Any Political Discussion”.  You really have to read it!

As for me, here is what struck me when I read about how “outraged” the Michigan House Leadership was to hear this word.

I remember becoming a Mother back in 1986.  I read all the right books before my baby was born, of course, because I was determined to get it right! I was absolutely, positively going to be sure that MY baby was raised without a single neurotic hang up.  This meant that I always listened to her when she argued, (“I know, honey, but Oreos are NOT ok for breakfast.”), I always explained my reasons when I denied her requests (“I can’t let you ride on the top of the car because that would be dangerous.”), and I always talked about her body in the anatomically correct terms.

This last one was a very big deal to my generation of parents!  We had grown up thinking of ourselves with some shame, referring to our parts as “pee-pee” and “birdie” and “private parts” and “lady parts” and “man parts”. It was confusing and ridiculous! Going to the bathroom was referred to only numerically, never accurately, and don’t even get me started on how much I hated referring to my “friend” every month.   My generation had no intention of using those vague, embarrassing, inaccurate words with OUR kids.  Nope.  We said “vagina” and “penis” and “poop”. If you’ve got ’em, you can name ’em.

Rep. Brown was born in 1967, so I am going to assume that her Mom and Dad were just as enlightened as I was, and that she grew up knowing the names and functions of her body parts.  Given that I am 56 years old, I am going to assume that most of the Michigan Legislature is about my age or younger.  Meaning, of course, that most of them already have HEARD the word “vagina”, and weren’t really falling into a swoon when Ms. Brown said it in her speech.  If they really, truly were shocked senseless, and really, truly couldn’t tolerate the sound of the word, I want to see the little blackboard on the House floor where they have to sign out for the restroom by writing their initials followed by a “#1” or “#2” so that the leadership will know how long they’ll be gone.

Yeesh.

 

I need your help here……


I have never done this before. I have never turned to the blogosphere for help, but sometimes a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.

I have put together a lovely little slide show about this school year for my class.  I have only two more half days with this fifth grade class before they leave me in the dust and move on to greener pastures. I am feeling very emotional, more than a little bit clingy, and kind of just burned out.

Once again, it seems, I am being left behind by those who I helped to launch.

This is not an unusual event: at the end of every school year, the teacher has to say goodbye to the kids who have kept her awake and alert for ten months. But this year, I have been made aware (by the children and also by their disgustingly young and hip parents and my ridiculously, laughingly young and immature colleagues) that I have literally no idea of what is in style right now.

Of course, even at my best, in the laid back “what is fashion anyway” seventys, I managed to miss every musical, artistic, fashion and food trend that came along. I seem to be allergic to pop culture.  Try as I might, I cannot seem to grasp which songs/colors/foods/books/tv shows/shoe styles/movies are popular at any given moment.

So. Here is my dilemma, and here is my question for you, my blogging friends and companions.

What song should I put in the background of my slideshow for 25 upper middle class eleven year old kids? My first thought was “Forever Young” by Joan Baez, but I played “Circle Games” by her today and they couldn’t stop laughing over her “weird” voice.

Huh!?!

I thought of “See you in September”, or “Friends” by Bette Midler, but they both feel, well, really out of date.  I thought about “Bobby Jean” by Bruce, but I don’t think the parents of these very sheltered kids would approve.

“In My Life” by the Beatles?  Too serious.

“Summertime” from Porgy and Bess? …….Dude, seriously?

I am out of ideas.  So I have come to you.

I have about 36 hours to pull this off and put it all together.  Please, all you young, hip, up to date yet mature types out there.  What song should I put in the slideshow?

Tag! You’re it!


Tag??!!   Really?!  I have been blog tagged!

The whole idea makes me feel like my life is a fount of synchronicity.  Having had “football” and “pickle” banned this year because they were too “violent”, my fifth grade boys are now engaging in the world’s most intricate and…..well….violent games of “tag.” I deal with the finer points of tag every single day.

And now I have been “tagged” by Elyse at FiftyFourandAHalf  and I need to answer her very interesting and thought provoking questions.  Thanks for including me, Elyse!  I was very surprised to see my name on your blog! I am, as the kids would say, “stoked”.

You ready? Here I go:

1. It’s been a busy week.  You have 155 blogs to read and comment on tonight.  Do you:

  1. Read the new ones first
  2. Read the old ones first
  3. Pick out your favs
  4. Delete them all and hope you do a better job next week

I haven’t even found that many blogs yet!  I am still a baby in the world of blogging: I am just so excited to see “new post” by anyone that I follow, that I read them all in order. Lame, lame, lame.

2. Beatles or the Stones?   Beatles. Uncool as it is, I still have a crush on Paul McCartney. I mean, Jagger? Really?

3. Favorite vacation ever.  First trip to Assateague Island, July of 1998, with my three little kids. Hot, sunny, gorgeous beach, wild ponies, all of us together.   sigh……..

4.When you hit the “Like” button on a blog post, which posts does Word Press say are your ‘great posts worth seeing?  Do you agree that those are your best?    OK, back to what a novice I am!  I didn’t know that any posts would appear!  I have to check….. I know that there is one post of mine that keeps getting hits, and I don’t know why, even though it makes me happy.  I don’t know what posts are my “best”.  To me, they’re all just therapy.

5. All-time favorite commercial?  “Marshmallowed Meatballs!”   I think it was for Alka Seltzer. It was hilarious.  And I am older than dirt, obviously.

6. Favorite stupid comment about contraceptives.  Gah!!  The stupid comments by that asshole whose name I refuse to type. The one about the aspirin between the knees. I hope some “gal” hands him his nuts in a candy dish.

7. Things you’d rather do than watch college basketball.   Huh. Married to a college basketball fanatic.  For the past 34 years, March has been mine, all mine.  I usually shop.  

8. Most embarrassing experience. Jeez, where to begin?  When I was 9, I peed my pants on a ride at the World’s Fair.  When I was 39, I asked a young teacher when she was due, and she wasn’t pregnant.  Once I farted in front of 25 fifth graders. I have way too many choices on this one!!!

9. THE word you simply cannot spell correctly and why we should change to your version.  Huh.  I majored in Russian, a totally phonetic language. I can’t spell anything.   I’ll tell you a funny story, though. My youngest child was in third grade, and he just couldn’t spell at all.  I tried getting him to write things on my shopping list (a suggestion by his teacher to get him past his spelling fears.)  He wrote “beaf stoo”.   I tried to explain that “beaf” should be “beef” but he stomped his foot and demanded, “How do you spell meat?  E-a, right?  Well BEEF is a MEAT, so you have to spell them the same!!!”  How do you argue with such logic?

10.Your special punishment for the lame-ass individual who came up with “REALITY TV.” Easy!!  They have to be locked in a room and chained to a chair, watching endless repeats of the 5546 Republican debates from this election!

11. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?  At the risk of being too serious, I would change the way that the US pays for education.  I would move it to a national priority, with federal funding. I see public education as being just as essential to the success and prosperity of the nation as a nationally funded military.  We have federal mandates for curriculum, teacher training, and testing for student success. Put your money where your mandates are, US government, and start paying for public education.

Many thanks to Elyse!  Read her blog, and you will thank me!

Now, my questions for all of my fellow bloggers.

1. Favorite TV show, ever.

2. Do you ever wear high heels (I mean the really skinny, super tall ones).  If so, WHY, for God’s sake?

3. Cats or dogs?

4. Who would you have lunch with, if you could have lunch with anyone from any time in history?

5. Do you believe that life goes on after death?

6. If the sabers keep rattling, will you march and protest to oppose a war against Iran? Why, or why not?

So, rather than ‘tagging’ a few chosen bloggers, how about it we just open this up to all of you?  If everyone answers, we’ll have some fun and we’ll get to be better acquainted.  Please answer, and please add your questions, too!

Taking him for granted.


This morning one of my favorite bloggers ever, at “worrywort’s guide to weight, sex and marriage“, wrote about the need to keep ourselves in balance, and to keep our eyes open to the wonder all around us.  She wrote about her love for her husband, and how it took a serious life threatening illness, and almost losing him, to make her truly appreciate how much he means to her.

I can promise you that she writes more poignantly than I ever could, but reading her post this morning made me remember the moment when I discovered, completely by accident, the cure for “taking-him-for-granted syndrome.”  Since I hope to one day write this theory up as a research based couple’s therapy technique, I have decided to tell my sordid story here.  I hope that you can all relate.

I also hope that the idea gets picked up by Oprah and that Paul and I end up writing a book and going out on the lecture circuit.  The very idea of doing a book signing sends chills down my spine!

So here is how it all unfolded.

It was a freezing cold Sunday afternoon, about a dozen years ago.  There were probably three feet of snow piled up on our roof and we had had a couple of those nasty roof leaks into the kitchen and bathroom.  I was trying to make Sunday dinner, do some paperwork for school, and keep our three young kids under control.  Paul was trying to deal with the weekend chores.

I don’t remember exactly why I was feeling this way, but I was in a cranky don’t-even-think-about-it mood.  Maybe I was tired of the kids always being sick. Maybe I was tired of coping with yet another endless New England winter. Maybe I was just plain tired. Who knows?  All I know is that I was sitting on the couch, folding laundry while the kids watched a movie on Nickelodeon (see how tired I was? I mean, really….!)  Paul had gone out on the deck with a ladder to try to break up the ice dams over the kitchen window.  He opened the slider and asked me if I would mind holding the ladder for him while he chipped away at the ice.

Well.

I got up, grumbling and complaining the whole time. I dragged out my boots and shoved my feet into them, then wrapped about twenty feet of scarf around my neck and face.  I pulled on my winter coat and a pair of the thickest mittens I could find.  It was FREEZING out there that day!

In my head, I was having a compelling and intense dialogue with my own self.  It went something like this:

“I don’t how in hell I ended up living out here in the damn boonies like this!”

“Seriously.  It was his family that made you even look at houses out here.”

“I know!  And he is constantly doing boring things like fixing pipes and shoveling snow!”

“You’re so right. You should have married someone way more fun.”

“I could have done better.”

“You could have.”

I agreed with myself as I stood in the frigid air on my deck that January day, holding onto the ladder with my frozen fingers.  Paul was up on the roof, blissfully unaware of my inner turmoil, chopping at the giant wave of ice with a sledgehammer.

Suddenly, without warning……

He slipped.

From the highest point on our roof, he slid down feet first toward the edge of the deck and a drop of 12 feet to the yard below.

My heart literally stopped for a beat, then slammed into my chest with a shriek. “PAUL!!!”  I pictured him falling, I pictured myself racing to his side.  The call to 911, the ambulance ride, the weary doctor shaking his head as he came to tell me the bad news, the years of my life stretching out without him, my children growing up without Dad, without his calm wisdom and gentle hand.

His life flashed before my eyes.

And then his boot heel caught in the gutter, and his plummet to earth was halted.  I quickly slid the ladder to where he held on, and he climbed down with shaking legs.  As soon as his foot hit the solid decking, I threw my arms around him and burst into sobs.  “I do love you!  I do!”, I cried, as he stood there in total bewilderment.

I got myself under control as we both went back into the house.  We sat with the kids, warmed ourselves by the fire, ate our Sunday dinner together.

To this day, when I start to get snippy with my wonderful husband, he will give a sigh, smile just a bit, and ask,

“Should I go get the ladder?”