Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Month of October

This month (so far) has contained:
  • A bad cold going through nearly the whole family. Sore throats. Headaches. Fevers. Etc.
  • Dental surgery for my four year old. His teeth were so bad they simply couldn't wait until he was older, but at his age he couldn't sit still. So they put him under. He handled it fine and was up playing by that evening, but I was wiped out :-P
  • A tummy flu very slowing hitting one person at a time. I prefer everyone getting sick at once. 
  • My dad deciding he needed my mom's desk cleaned out so he could use it. 
  • My dad deciding to move Mom's toolbox to his garage. This meant working in her craft room, which I have been avoiding. 
  • My dad coming home from his vacation with the decision he wanted the kids to resume spending the night once a week. (This means my total weekly schedule changed again just as we got in the rhythm of the old/new one). 
  • My dad preformed his first wedding since Mom's death. Guess who the church's wedding coordinator used to be? Guess who her assistant was? Guess who gets the whole job now? Guess who has done the whole job before EXCEPT filling out the official paperwork? Guess who didn't know how to do it? Guess who is waiting for Dad to file the paperwork so she can find out what all she did wrong? (It was a very beautiful little wedding by the way. It was almost rained out, but the the rain quit just in time and the sun came out just as Dad pronounced them "man and wife." The best man cried at the timing :-) And the people were very nice, no fighting or anything that is normal with weddings.)
  • My birthday:-) Took the day off, except for taking care of Hubby who had the tummy bug.
So I've been pretty quiet here in blog land.

Anyway, Christmas is coming up. So is a family reunion. (Any ideas on how to make some Christmas money quickly but while still teaching school and keeping house full time?)

And the first holidays without my Mom.

Sigh. I see a couple of long months ahead of me.


  1. Glad to have you back!

    Re: the stuff with your mom -- not only is it OK to grieve (which, duh, and no one's telling you otherwise; but these are the high-quality insights that you've come to expect from me, /no doubt/.)... anyway! Not only is it OK to grieve, but also it's OK to pull back from some of the stuff that gives you really raw feelings. :)

    I say that 'cause it seems like you feel overwhelmed by dealing with your mom's possessions & spaces, but also /responsible/ for dealing with them. It sounds as if you have simultaneous feelings of "only I can do this!" and "oh my God, I can't do this at all. It's way too much for me."

    If that's the case, can I make a suggestion? You *do* have nine little helpers and one husband. :) If your dad asks you to do something and you /just can't face it/ right now, why not just say, "Y'know what? Billy is a *great* organizer -- I bet he'll do a bang-up job of that next time he's over for the night!"? Delegate like a champ, sez I!

  2. Yes, pretty much, on the feelings.

    I do put the kids to work whenever I can which helps.

    But it's the decisions. Dad doesn't care about a lot of the stuff (sewing supplies, duck collection, kitchen tools,...He just wanted her supplies out of the desk so he could use it.) So I get to decide if it needs to stay for him to use (for the above, uhhh, no, except for a few of the tools), if I am going to need them (and soon enough to justify keeping them and then where do I put them? My house is full. Keep them at Dad's?). When that is decided, do I toss it in the garbage, sell it on ebay, donate it, take it to the people in the church who might want it (but are struggling with decluttering themselves) or be a nice guy and offer to send it to my brother's families? And if they do want it, where do I put it until I can get it to them 400 miles away? (Dad''s house is about 2400' and since he built a garage for his "toys" (2000' itself) Mom used 2/3 of the house for her stuff. She kept it neat, but there's a lot of it. All of her tools for each of her many many jobs and hobbies...)

    Yeah, I feel a bit overwhelmed. I am not doing a lot, though. We are only over there once a week most of the time and then I don't always get to do anything. Just sit and visit with Dad. When I comes to my head what needs to be done with something I take care of it the next time I'm over there.Otherwise, I'm just ignoring it for now until I can make all those decisions. It does all have to be dealt with someday eventually.

  3. As regarding your unpublished comment, please email me at 8ettyTracy@gmail.com

  4. Very quick before bed: y'know, I'm really curious to learn more about your church -- I have a zillion questions! -- but I don't want to overwhelm you so that it's like AAAAH every time you log on.

    But if you can see your way clear to providing, like, a line or two of /exposition/ whenever you mention church duties in passing, I'd be mighty grateful. :) Just so I can sloooowly build a clearer picture of how your church is organized and what your duties are.

    P.S. Also: your mom had a *duck* collection? Rubber or taxidermied? I need to know. *Need* to.

  5. lol, porcelain mostly, though my grandmother crocheted her a twin sized blanket with a duck in the middle! Also a cookie jar collection, cameo collection, Santa collection, and tea pot collection. Plus she was the inherit-er of the family photos. Might take me a while to disperse all that. If Dad even wants it dispersed which we haven't really discussed yet. As I've said, her house was neat and clean just, uhhh, full.

    OK, the church. Our congregation is about 14 years old, though we have never been big. At our largest point we probably ran between 30 and 40. Right now we are running 15-20 (11 of which sleep in my house). So there aren't that many people to draw from to get things done (especially since more than half of the others are disabled in one way or another), though some things must be done no matter how big or small the church (i.e. someone has to write the check to pay the bills whether the mortgage is $800 or $8000).

    We are independent, which means we don't belong to a big organization. Our ministers (ummm, my Dad and husband) are free to follow what they believe the Bible says. No one can tell them differently (except of course we in the congregation who aren't shy about expressing our opinions). We believe, actually, that each denomination has things they have gotten right and things they have gotten wrong. We do our best to take the right from each. We make mistakes, but we are growing and learning.

    My responsibilities (beyond making sure those from my own house are clean, dressed and there on time- any parent's job) are to write those checks once a month (about an hour and used to be Mom's job), pick the music for worship service each Sunday, post it on the internet, put together the week's bulletin (print and electronic available on our web site), lead the worship service, keep up the e-prayer page on the site, coordinate the weekly potluck making sure there is enough food and a variety (it's now my job to make sure we don't have 8 veggie dishes and no meat or deserts), and to fill in the cracks where needed (Mom used to do this, but the other ladies have done a good job of stepping in taking some of her cooking). I now buy the supplies (cleaners, spices, paper plates) needed.

    I "foreman" the cleaning both after the potluck (though honestly this doesn't really mean much now that my kids are so old. They all know what to do) and the monthly deeper cleaning. Mom sort of used to do this too.

    I give the children's sermon (flannel graph) just before the main sermon. We don't have "Sunday School" classes like most churches but believe in keeping children with their parents through the whole service.

    I also record the main sermon and post it on the internet. I'm working on switching from sermon.net (audio storage/players) to youtube. My phone doesn't appear to really have enough memory for a 45 minute sermon though. Not sure what I will do about that.

    And I'm church web master (BreadOfLifeCF.com) I designed and maintain the web site and run the facebook page (though I have pretty much ignored that for a year or so now.)

    Oh, and I write articles for pamphlets as well as books, and edit and format my Dad's writing for publishing, and in the case of the pamphlets, I now will do the printing and stapling too (Mom and I used to do it together:-( I have always cared for the church "store," the place in the entry where we have a few books and CD's for sale. Not that this actually takes any work other than an occasional dusting and inventory.

    When Dad does a wedding too, I am now the wedding coordinator.


  6. Mom was the chief counselor, too. I am younger than every other woman in the church but my own daughters (which is sad in itself). In a way, though, the other ladies are now coming to me. It's different than with mom, but the same "office" sort of. Mom made sure everyone was taken care of (the just about fully crippled lady's weeds got pulled, people who needed some one with them at the doctors had that help, anyone who needed rescuing when they locked their keys in the car got rescued, etc.) I live on the other side of the church from literally everyone else by a good 20 minutes, but Dad and I are doing what we can to fill in here. My kids and I took care of the weeds for the year at her house a couple of weeks ago.

    Mom was good at training me to do all her jobs, so it's not like I don't know how. Just fitting the old in with the new while grieving that she isn't here to do it anymore is hard. The realizing she can't do it anymore is harder than actually doing it.

    Oh, and new one coming up: Mom used to coordinate the holiday meals for the church and family and the Christmas program.

    I realize this isn't "a line or two of exposition" whenever I mention the church, but maybe it will help :-) It does sort of help me to put it all down and realize why I might feel a tiny bit overwhelmed sometimes, especially Saturday night and Sunday morning.

    And just to complete the picture: My oldest plays the piano for worship. That used to be Mom's job, too, but she was my "school's" music teacher and had Joy ready to take over by the time she was diagnosed with cancer. She is also my right hand (24/7, not just for church). She isn't nearly as distractible or forgetful as I am and helps keep track of me. And she's a good cook:-)

    My second oldest puts the powerpoint together for each service and runs the sound booth and powerpoint, though he takes turns with my next two running it or playing the drums during worship.

    My next two take care of the reader board.

    My 5th (14yo) took over my mom's habit of recording who is there and who isn't each service, as well as sending out birthday cards and taking out whatever flannel I need for each lesson.

    They all help clean up after meals, pull weeds in the parking lot (not paved), organize the church library, and whatever else needs doing (including helping me with my stuff wherever they can).

    Don't the other members do things? The women help cook, more now than they used to. One works full time and is disabled, but still takes care of changing out the bulletin board each month. Another is elderly and still works full time (until she was laid off a couple of weeks ago). Another is elderly and taking care of her 96 year old mother. Dad is our maintenance man as well as doing most of the preaching and teaching and running one minister's organization while faithfully attending another in the area (and remolding his laundry room, tractoring his weeds, turning his old pickup into a trailer....). Hubby works 45+ hours a week with a long commute just to support us. He fills in where he can but time keeps him from being able to do much more than moral support and helping with the preaching. The others in the church aren't founded enough yet to depend on, though they help when they can.

    I like talking about our church :-) What else would you like to know?

  7. Ooh, you know what? I forgot to say "happy birthday!" in my first comment. Let's just... Let's just pretend it's there.

    That was a /super/-comprehensive answer and sates my curiosity almost entirely! I do reserve the right to hop back and go "Wait, actually, what about..." when I have more time to think -- am on lunch break, so I'm zipping through stuff quick as I can, lest I get back to my work and go "... I have NO idea what I was in the middle of." (See? You're NOT the only distractible one. :) )

    Did wanna add that you *are* doing a lot of work-- dang. Like, a *lot* of work. Just... lots. Daaaaang.

    -David, ever-coherent, incomparably eloquent

    P.S. Even as I got to the end of writin' that, I was like, "WAIT NO, I do have more questions!" -- but I'll try the novel approach of /sitting/ on them and seeing if they still seem quite so urgent in three days.


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