About Me

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Watkinsville, Georgia, United States
We lost my beautiful wife of 20 years on 9/12/07. Lisa was my world she was my everything and now she is gone. We are learning to live without Lisa now. I say we because I am not alone. My children are stuck in this mess with me. These are my notes, my vent, my way of letting you all know that we are doing well (some days). This is for myself, my friends and my family that want to know how we are doing and what we are up to. Along the way I hope this might also help someone else who has been dealt a similar hand.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Returns


One holiday down and one to go.  All I need to do is get New Years behind me and I am good to go for a while when it comes to Holidays.  The main task laying ahead of me at this point is returns and exchanges.  I am caught up on all the house work and other chores so this is pretty much it.  That is except for Matt's bathroom...  I have been putting this off for as long as I can but I don't think it can be put off much longer.  There are things growing in that bathroom that Lisa would have loved to study.  After all, she was a science teacher.  There are things in that bathroom that I have never seen before but I am sure most of it can be killed with a couple applications of bleach or Tilex!  I have found that Tilex can kill just about anything up to and including small animals.

Now if I can just get that little turd out of the bed, we can hit the stores before things get too crazy.  My plan is to complete as many exchanges and or returns as we can before the masses come out.  I suppose the only things worse than shopping for gifts is completing returns and exchanges.

Maybe I'll bring a bottle of Tilex for a defensive weapon!

Wish me luck people.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve


I know I have not wrote much the last week or so.  I am fine...I have just been busy with the run up to Christmas.
We just got back from Callaway Gardens and it is Christmas Eve.

I am missing Lisa very much and don't have much to say...

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful friends and family.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Surprise Factor

As much as I would like to avoid Christmas, the kids won’t let me. For the past three Christmases they have insisted that we put up a tree and decorate the house.

That first Christmas was the worst… I almost imploded and gave up at more than one point along the way. Yet, I plowed on through it and we made it happen. Last year was not much better but was still not as traumatic. This year has been a bit easier and I have no doubt that as the years creep on by, it will become somewhat less difficult each time it rolls back around.

The kids, in particular Matt, refuse to let me off the hook for much when it comes to Christmas. I know there is no Santa and they know it too. Matt, nevertheless, asked me to not put out all the gifts. He said that I need to keep some back under a blanket in my closet. “That’s how mom did it” he tells me. I have not heard that phrase in a while.

He still wants to be able to get up on Christmas day and see a surprise pile of gifts that have miraculously appeared under the tree. I suppose in his mind that while he knows there is no Santa, that surprise pile of gifts gives him some sort of hope that maybe he is wrong.

I don’t blame him. I miss getting a few surprises myself. Lisa was a great gift giver. It was like she could read your mind and find just the thing you actually wanted. In all actuality, it’s not the gifts I miss. What I really miss is knowing that someone is there that cares enough about me to find just what I wanted. When I get up on Christmas morning, I know that there will be no surprises for me from Lisa. There will be no box tucked away in back of that pile that she will pull out and hand me. There will be no hand holding or snuggling on the couch as the kids rip open their gifts. There will be no us, just me…

I guess that’s my depressing thought for the day…

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dough Boy



I used to give Lisa a lot of crap for not being a better cook.  I always thought that it was due to the fact that she really did not care about food.  She could have cared less about food… In fact, her view was that food was a pain in the rear.  It was a pain to shop for it, it was a pain to prepare and it was a pain to clean up.  She never found comfort in food and seemed to only eat because her body would not have it any other way.

On the other hand there’s me… I love food.  Food is my friend.  I have a pallet that is excited by flavors of all different kinds of food.  Simply put I like to eat… However, I like to eat good food. Not fast food, not bagged food, not boxed food…
I also have a bit of a sweet tooth and enjoy a little something sweet after dinner.  Just a cookie or two will usually suffice.  Due to this, over the years I have consumed my share of the mass produced dry and crumbly store bought cookies.  I would from time to time ask Lisa to make cookies, Toll-House cookies to be exact.  The kind mom used to make when we were growing up.  It seemed every time I asked Lisa for them, she would laugh at me.  She would walk off laughing.  Not some wimpy laugh either.  She had this full laugh that came from the depths of her being.  It drove me crazy when she did that to me.  She would just keep laughing as she walked off.

So, last night it was my turn.  I decided I was going to make Toll-house cookies.  Not the kind you find in the refrigerated section of the local grocery store.  The real kind with lots of butter and extra nuts.  I even found a recipe that suggested increasing the flour by fifty percent in order to have a fuller more cake like cookie.  That’s the kind I like…

Everything went pretty well except for one tiny thing.  When they say add the flour to the butter, eggs and sugar slowly, they really mean very, very slowly.  Here’s the thing, I used the big Kitchen-Aid mixer that sits on our counter and for the most part just collects dust.  All was going well… I mixed the sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract as per the directions.  What you wind up with at this point is a somewhat fluffy paste.  As things progressed I found that if I turned up the speed on the mixer the fluffy paste looked better and seemed to have a better texture.  I was at about half power when I figured that the mixture was good to go and it was time to start adding the flour.

Since its kind of difficult to pour the flour straight from the bowl into the mixer while it is running, I figured I would just use a big spoon.  I also figured since the directions said add it slowly, a spoonful at a time would be my best bet.  The first couple of spoonfuls were not too much of a problem.  However, on about the third spoonful I guess the mixture had not had time to absorb the previously added flour completely.  Not to mention, I decided to add a great big heaping spoonful and had turned the mixer up to about three quarter full power.  As I added that big heaping spoonful of flour, I guess I got my spoon a bit too close to the mixing blade.  The blade caught the spoon and the whole mess quickly became a cloud of flour dust.  It was kind of a perfect storm in the cookie making process I suppose.  While things started to unravel a bit from there, I quickly figured out that the mixture really needs time to completely absorb each addition of flour before it can safely and without consequences take on more and more flour.

I quickly rebounded and finished up the process and cleaned up the mess.  The cookies were delicious and Matt thought that I was some kind of super hero.  He said that it had been so long since he had tasted real homemade cookies that he had forgotten how good they were.  Matt finished up his cookies and as he walked out of the kitchen he said that I should consider making some peanut butter cookies.  I just couldn’t help myself, I just laughed at him and turned and walked away.

Sometimes, things become a lot clearer when you when you are forced to look at life through someone else’s eyes…

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong








One of the last things that I think I need to teach my kids is how to be financially mature.  While I believe it may be one of the last things, I think it’s one of the most important.  Even with the world that we live in today.  A world that seems to think that it is owed something and if you get in trouble, so what, someone will come and bail you out.



That’s what I am struggling to help "baby girl" understand at this point.  I have over the past year or so, found that my constant hovering and advise in this area has been seen as just a nuisance.  Every time I’ve spoken on this topic I can see her eyes roll back in her head and then I know what I will hear next.  I know that I will hear that dreaded comment.  The one that has haunted me since middle school “I know daddy”.  That statement cuts me to the bone and sends chills up my neck.  That comment just drives me up the stinking wall “I know daddy”.  Well if you know, why do I have to talk about it so dang much??


So I stopped…  I finally gave in and let her run free without adult supervision.  Go little one, go spend freely… Show me how smart you are… show me how superbly you can swipe that little plastic card through the scanners at Target, Wal-Mart, Bulldog Sports and every fast food joint from Watkinsville to Milledgeville.  Show me how you “I know daddy”!


So how did that work out?  Not so fricking well…  I looked yesterday for the first time in about a month and found that her spending had spiraled out of control.  I think her shopping is her new hobby or even her drug or choice.


Seriously sweet heart, Target called and wants to know if you would like them to set a sleeping cot for you in the stockroom!!  Since you have basically lived there for the last month, why not??


Anyhow, I digress… 


We have had a couple of text conversations and one or two not so cordial discussions.  The crying is over and she is ready to sit down and talk about how to get this under control.  She’s a smart girl and I saw this coming so I am ready.  Tonight we will have dinner and talk.  I am armed with plenty of experience and patients.  I think I will start with the Need vs. Want lecture and see how things go from there.  As for me, I am going to sit down and read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” this weekend and garner some much needed guidance for myself.  Wish me luck as she truly inherited her Mothers stubbornness and tenacity.  Fine traits to have at times, but this is not one of those times!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mulligans

I am totally bummed out… I missed super club again! That appointment I had last night ran over, way over... This is the only social event that I have. It’s the only place that I go and can be surrounded by adults and forget about everything for a little while. Other than church, it’s the only thing I do just for me. It’s my own fault and I can’t blame anyone else. When I made the appointment I just assumed that I would be able to finish in time to get to the dinner. Once again my lack of skills in balancing my schedule and not biting off more than I can chew came back to haunt me. To top it off, I had to deal with roommate drama from baby girl.

I wish I could start yesterday all over again!

Well, I suppose if I could do that I would go back to September 12th 2007 and lock Lisa in the house for the day. Unfortunately, there are no do over’s or mulligan’s in the real world. So, I suppose Ill stop winning and move on. After all, there is always next month for super club.

This has made me think about a few things, however. I think my new year’s resolution will be to find more to do for ME. I don’t know what that will be but I have to find something. Maybe I can find a woodworker’s club or take a class of some kind. Hey, maybe I should look for a class that teaches flower arranging? I might meet an interesting woman that might want to tutor me in the fine art of flower arraignments. Nah, with my luck they will all be 70 years old and/or married. I don’t know what to do but I know I need to do something. Missing dinner last night and knowing how that has made me feel tells me that I need to start taking care of me as much as I have been taking care of the kids. It takes me back to a divorced lady that I know. We had a discussion some time back in which she told me not to just focus on the kids. She told me how after she got divorced she did nothing but take care of her son and work. Now, her son is gone, she is alone and has zero social life. She said that if she had it to do over again she would do it differently. Well, like I said, there or no mulligan’s in real life!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Define Covered Dish

Dinner Club is tonight. It’s my big once a month social event and I may not be able to make it. I have a late evening appointment that I must make and am afraid that it may cause me to be too late. Matt has been great about encouraging me to go. He hates to eat alone ( I totally understand that ) but has encouraged me to go anyhow. The last couple of months he has even tried to make dinner plans with a buddy just so he does not have to eat alone and I am more inclined not to use his eating alone as an excuse not to attend. So, I hope that things work out and I can attend this last dinner of the year.

Dinner Club is always a enjoyable event. It’s great to be around a group of adults for one evening. Also, it’s a nice distraction from my otherwise total lack of social activity. I have only been able to go to a few of the dinners this year but have enjoyed each one of them. There is one older lady that has figured out that I am single. I think she has got it in her mind that she might be able to fix me up with someone. I am pretty sure that she makes it a hobby of fixing folks up. I don’t want to ruin her fun so I just play along and answer the myriad of questions that she always asks me. Little does she know that I am getting back to my old self and really have no interest in “dating”.

What is my old self? Well adjusted, confident and secure and comfortable with my life. Dare I say, even content…! I totally have no interest in “dating”. That’s not to say that I am not interested in finding someone that I would enjoy spending time with. Like I told my friend Janine earlier this week, I don’t want someone else but I don’t want to be alone either. That might, and very well may not, make sense to many. Basically, I am at the point if someone comes along, great! However, if that doesn’t happen that’s fine also. Lisa and I always lived by the mantra “if it’s meant to be – it will be”. I still believe that to be true… So, while I have not closed any doors, I am also not out seeking either.

I am supposed to bring something for supper club. It’s really a covered dish dinner where everyone is supposed to bring a dish. There is no way I can pull that off this month. Like I said I’ll be lucky to make it at all. I wonder if a bag of chips is considered a covered dish?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Paper & Bows

I have not gotten any better at wrapping gifts… Lisa always wrapped all the gifts. Heck, I can even remember her wrapping my brothers gifts for him a couple of times when he was still single and spent Christmas with us. He would roll in on Christmas eve and have bags full of stuff for the kids. Lisa didn’t approve of his wrapping paper which consisted of big black hefty bags and some of those pre-made bows. She would wait until the kids went to bed and then she would wrap his stuff for him. That was some years ago and now he has a family of his own and a wonderful wife that wraps his gifts for him.

Yesterday evening Matt was out and I was alone again. I decided to spend some time at the kitchen table wrapping the few gifts that I have found time to purchase. It was pretty quiet so I did the same thing Lisa did. I put on some Christmas music went to work on the gifts. The memories flooded back to me. I tried to live in the moment and just enjoy the task at hand. I could imagine her in my mind tenderly wrapping each gift and making the bows by hand. I was always amazed at how wonderful her wrapping looked and how beautiful her bows were.

I could think of nothing but her and all the years that we had spent together. It continues to get easier to think about her without it hurting so very much. Two years ago, this task would have meant a melt down and the feeling of complete and utter devastation. Yesterday, though, it felt good to think about her. I was comfortable in my thoughts and delighted with her presents in my mind. Yesterday it was almost like she was there looking over my shoulder with disapproval as I stuck those tacky little pre-made bows on the packages. I am sure, however, she was approving the fact that I at least did not use those big black hefty bags for wrapping.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tree Time

Well our tree is up and Lisa would be proud that I got it completed on her normal schedule. As we always have, Matt and I got out early Saturday morning and found a tree. It’s a bit depressing finding a tree for our little farm house. In years past, when we lived at the old house, we could buy the biggest tree on the lot and it would fit. The old house had a very high vaulted ceiling, in contrast, the farm house has eight foot ceilings.

Matt and I reminisced a good bit Saturday. He remembered the year that we cut a huge Leyland Cypress tree off of our friends farm. That thing had to be about twenty foot tall. It reached to the top of the staircase just outside of Matt’s old bedroom. He talked about how he used to look down on the tree and how different it looked from up high looking down. I suppose all those memories got him to thinking about his mother. Matt never talks about his mother but this weekend for the first time that I can remember he told me he was “missing mom” . We talked about that for a little while. As you can imagine, that’s the sort of thing that hits you right in the gut and leaves one without any appropriate words of comfort. I just told him that I too missed her and that I missed her every day. I reminded him how much she loved him and told him that I understand his pain. He and I continued to plow through the process and got the tree fitted to the stand and brought in the house. That’s about all either of us could stand for the day. Although Abby had told me to go ahead without her, we decided to wait on her to decorate our little tree.

Sunday evening we finally got together and decorated that tree. Abby insisted that we put on some Christmas music to listed to while we worked through things. Probably the hardest part of the whole process is unwrapping each of the ornaments. So many of them have a special meaning and bring back particular memories. With this being our third Christmas without Lisa, I think the kids have gotten used to the fact that I can only do so much and that I need to work through the holidays in short stages. We got the tree finished and I told them that the rest of the house would have to wait till I could emotionally recharge a little. I finished the night out by making the kids some strawberry crepes.

With getting the tree up it dawned on me that I have not done the first bit of Christmas shopping. I have been so focused on getting things done around the house and farm that I had complete missed the fact that Christmas is only a short four weeks away. With that in mind, I scheduled my little shopping buddy (Abby) to spend this coming Friday at the mall. “Yippy Skippy” ! There is nothing I hate more than spending the day at the mall. On the bright side, I do get to spend the day with my baby girl Abby.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving


The holidays are always the most difficult days of the year and Thanksgiving is one of the hardest of the holidays for me. Our first Thanksgiving without Lisa was only about two months after the accident and I was a basket case. In thinking about it this morning, I realize how far we have come since that first Thanksgiving. I still desperately miss her and a day doesn't go by that I don't think about her. However, I don't become overwhelmed with sadness when I think about her anymore. When I walk past a picture of her I get a big smile on my face. It feels good to be able to do that. This Thanksgiving feels so much better than that one two years ago.

I even made the decision to stay put this year. We have traveled the last two years mostly because I was running away from the depression of being here without her. I just wanted to stay home this year and get some work done. I don't get a lot of time off so I thought this would be a good chance to get a few things done. I was going to cook the entire dinner myself but caved in at the last minute. I decided we would have our dinner with Roy & Diane. I did, however, cook two blueberry pies and a sweet potato soufflé. Matt had requested both dishes and I did not want him to be disappointed.

While this year is better than the last couple it's still, non the less, strange and unnatural to be without her. There is that huge empty spot in my heart and life. Its hard to explain... I am hoping that one day Thanksgiving will not feel so empty. I know it will never be the same as in the past but I do hope that it wont feel so unfamiliar and hollow.

For now, I just thank God for what I have and try not to dwell on what I don't have.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cold & Rain


This will be a dull posting to say the least.

It's been one of those days... Rainy and cold, the kind of day that makes me wish that I had just stayed in the bed.  It's hard to get motivated on days like this but I just kind of plowed through it.  Matt and I spent most of the day together starting with church and then dinner out.  A load or two of laundry wound out the afternoon.  I am looking forward to a short work week.  I only have a two day work week and then I am done.  As always, I am looking forward to the time off.

The only plans for the break are to enjoy the kids and spend some time in my little work shop.  Abby has been asking me to make her an adirondack chair for a couple of years now.  I don't know where she will put it as her apartment is already full.  Hopefully I can knock her one out over the break.  Other plans include getting the house decorated for Christmas and putting up the tree.  I have learned to loath putting up the tree.  Lisa always handled the tree trimming.  My job was to simply to put the tree up and get the heck out of the way.  Like I said though, the kids insist on having a tree so I am happy to comply.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Patton & Tora Tora Tora


Lisa was famous for certain sayings.  One of them was “make every day count” and she did.  That dear woman packed more into a day than most pack into a week.  I continue to hear her say “make every day count”.  It is part of what drives me to make progress on the shop, house and farm overall.  It is in part what has helped me stay on track with the kids and not quit parenting and doing.  However, I’m tired.  I am tired of being a single parent.  I am tired of being forced to make all the decisions alone.  I am tired of going to bed alone and waking up alone.  I am tired of having to do it all by myself. 
 
I am on vacation today.  I don’t want to make today count.  I am going on strike for the day.  I am going to take Matt out for breakfast and then I am going to do nothing.  Today, I am going to watch old war movies eat a bunch of junk and lay on my butt.  I am not going to pay any bills, do any yard work or house work.  I am not going to go shopping or do any cooking.  I am not going to do any laundry or make the bed.  I am not even going to work in the shop.
 
Today I goof off.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Toothpaste & Hairspray


Some may find this odd or even callus, however, it’s how I am dealing with things.  I feel that, in order for me to continue to heal and get on with my life, I need to cleans myself of a lot of things.  I am simply talking about material possessions and that’s all.  You see, there are still a couple pockets of Lisa’s things that I have, as of this point, not been strong enough to let go of.  One particular area is her side of the bathroom vanity.  It’s contents include things like her lipstick, hair brush, barrettes and other such items.  I’m sure you get the picture.  The thing is I can smell her every time I open one of those drawers on her side of the vanity.  I smell her perfume, makeup and hair spray and it reminds me of her.  Sometimes this is good but sometimes it is not. 
 
Often it’s the little things that mean the most and hurt the worst.  Take for instance my tooth brush.  I have a little contraption on the bathroom sink that holds my tooth brush.  It took me a long time to get used to seeing just one toothbrush in that little apparatus.  It was, for the longest time,  a constant reminder of my loss and that I was alone.  I have over time gotten used to seeing just one toothbrush on the sink and it doesn’t stir emotions like it used to. 
 
I suppose I worry about going too far with all this cleansing.  After all, it’s not like I want to erase her from memory and pretend she never existed.  However, that’s what I feel like I might be doing if I let all these simple material possessions go away.
 
While I have found a home for most everything else, the perfume, hairspray, makeup and such are still there in the drawer.  I will, at least for now, let them remain there and every now and then open that drawer to fill my nostrils with what I consider to be the most wonderful aroma in the world.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turkey & Tree

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner.

Time seems to be slipping through my fingers these days. The kids will be out for Thanksgiving break in just another week and a half. While I don’t look forward to holidays much these days, I always look forward to having time off to spend with the kids. I know Matt is also looking forward to the break but not necessarily for the same reasons. I think he is just ready for a break from the day to day grind of school and being forced to get out of the bed prior to 11:00 a.m. every day.

I suppose the only problem I have with the time off is forcing myself not to work the entire time. I find that I have to make myself set aside time to relax and just hang out with Matt. It’s easy to say but hard to do when every fiber of me wants to make progress on my “to do” lists. I don’t like down time. I like to be occupied with a project or task. It keeps me from thinking about things that I don’t want to think about. It keeps me from thinking about how much we wish Lisa was still here and how much we miss her. It helps me not to think about the fact that she should be in the house cooking a big Thanksgiving meal and pestering me to get out the Christmas decorations.

Lisa had a specific schedule for the holidays, like everything else. We always put the tree up on Thanksgiving weekend and we always took it down on the New Year’s weekend. The last thing I want to think about right now is any of that. However, I know the kids expect it and look forward to it. So, I will stick to the schedule for them because I love them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mending Fences


It has been a tough past week or so but I am fine.

I have been pushing myself pretty hard the last couple of weeks to get things done and just pushed a little too hard.  I have been exhausted this past week but am better now.  It's amazing what a little rest can do for one.

The weather has been so wonderful I have tried to find any excuse I can to be outside.  Yesterday, Matt and I spent most of the day outside.  We got the fence that I destroyed put back together and got the filter in the well house swapped out.  I also managed to get caught up on some house cleaning and we took in a movie last night.

David came by yesterday to show me the plan he came up with on the kitchen remodel.  As much as I wanted to say yes to his plan, so that he could get started, I had to ask him to go back to the drawing board.  I think it is important that we don't get rushed and do it right.  I am hoping that we can get started on it and finish before Christmas but that may be an unrealistic goal.

Today, I am skipping church and for the most part going to take it easy.  Of course, my definition of taking it easy is a bit different from most.  I am just going to knock out a couple of easy tasks and then cook a nice dinner for me and Matt.  Maybe I can talk Abby into joining us too.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pain

I am so very tired of hurting. I am so very tired of this constant pain that I have no way to suppress or eliminate. The constant throbbing and aching of my heart is old, very old. I just want it to end but it won’t. The torment continues day after day, week after week, year after year. Two years and two months and it is still there. All be it, not as predominant and not as intense but still there.

What will change this, what will end it, what will eliminate it…

I feel the only thing that will change, end or eliminate it is forgetting. That’s not an option though. I can’t just forget her and pretend that she never existed!

So I continue, exhausted, one foot in front of the other, day by day by day…

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meat Loaf & Mashed Potatoes



Another productive weekend, short but productive.  I had to work at my day job Friday so I only had a two day weekend instead of my normal three this week.  I can, however, scratch two items off my long list of things that I need to get done. Unfortunately, I'll need to add one new item.

The weather has been beautiful here the past week or so.  It's been in the  in the mid 70s and sunny.  It's the kind of weather that makes you want be outside working.  Thats a big reason why I worked outside most of the weekend.  I had a friend come over Saturday morning to cut fire wood.  There was one very big oak down near the barn that needed to be cut down.  It was dead for the most part and Todd needed the fire wood.  Well, It would seem that my aim is not what it used to be when it comes to dropping a tree.  I dropped that big oak right on top of my fence.  As you can see I busted up my fence pretty good.  I was not upset, however.  In fact I thought it was pretty funny and got a pretty good laugh out of it.  It wont take too much to fix the fence so it's not that big a deal.  I will just add it to my long list of things that need to be done.

Once I got the tree on the ground for Todd, I got back to pressure washing the house.  It took the rest of the day but I am finished except for the decks and the white picket fence that surounds the patio outside my bedroom.  I will knock them out today after church.  I just want to stop early enough to cook some dinner.  Matt and I have been eating out every night for the last week or so and it's getting pretty old.  For some reason I really want meat loaf with green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gods Plan vs My Plan

I don’t know what’s gotten into me but I am on a roll.

After my last posting I sat down took a look at what I else I need to be working toward. I realized how much time has been wasted over the last two years. Well, maybe wasted is too strong a word. I suppose I have been bogged down by the whole grief process. Grief is, after all, hard work. It takes a lot out of a person physically and mentally. Anyhow, at this point I do have a number of irons in the fire and hope that I can keep them all hot.

I suppose the new roof and getting the shop near completion has really spurred me on. The place looks so much better with the new roof. No longer do I come home and dread looking up at the rotted gutters and nasty old roof. I am proud of how the house is starting to look and it is way past due.
The other thing that I thought about was that I better be careful not to go too far in the other direction. I need to slow down just a little bit and take stock of what I am doing so as not to make a costly mistake. I don’t want to start ripping down walls and such until I have thought out the long term plan and included everything in that plan that I need to.

The thing is, I have a hard time making plans these days due to the demolition of the plans that me and Lisa had made. I have learned that my plan might not be Gods plan. So, I have tended to shy away from making too much in the way of long term plans. I have to force myself to think in the future now whereas before it came easily. I always knew, or thought that I knew what the future would be for me. Now that I realize that my future plans may not even come close to becoming reality, it really is hard to put the effort into that thought process.

Be that as it may, I don’t want to slow my forward progress too much and certainly don’t want to see it stop. It feels too good seeing the payoff that I get from these things that I am working on.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Got Lists of Lists


The weekend has come and gone yet again.  This was however a very productive one.  This is the most focused and productive I have been in a while.  I have, believe it or not, finally finished the drywall and electrical in the shop.  I have moved all my machines and tools into the main shop and out of the cramped little single bay on the other side of the wall.  I seemed to get so much done on Friday night I worked out there until almost 10:30 that night.  When I finally stopped I was shocked at the time.  Saturday I continued to get a lot done out there and am basically ready to start on the base cabinets that I want to build for the shop.  Once I get them built I can put most of what else remains in the single bay and can start on finishing it out.  That and some new overhead doors to replace the old dilapidated ones that I currently have and its done.  Easier said than done I am afraid.

Thats okay... All things in due time.

Sunday was just as productive.  After church, I got the pressure washer out and started cleaning the house.  I was amazed at house dirty it was.  It looks like I put a fresh coat of paint on it.  As soon as I can get the rest of the house and decks washed I can  cut loose a painter to take care of that new facia that the roofers installed.  Additional, David Lainey stopped in with his wife this afternoon and he has some very good ideas on what to do with the undersized and overused kitchen.  David and Lane are going to put together some drawings for me and see what we can do.  Yeah after two years I am overcompensating in the get things done category.

Roof & Facia, Paint, Landscape and Hardscape, Shop, Kitchen yeah I suppose I have a few irons in the fire.  My list has grown very long over the last two years so I have some catching up to do.  No Im not trying to do it all at one time but like I said, I have some catching up to do.  That reminds me, I need to get the house insulation upgraded!  Better add that one to my ever growing list.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thinking Out Loud


Something that I have been thinking a lot about here of late is happiness. I came across this picture of Lisa and I recently and it reminded me of how happy we were. No, it’s not the most flattering picture of either of us but it says a lot to me. It reminded me of how happy we were together and reminded me of how much I miss that shear happiness. Lisa was a happy person and found joy in so many simple things. Her happiness was contagious at times. She loved to laugh and smile. I loved to make her laugh and smile. Shoot, just seeing her laugh and smile made me laugh and smile.

Sure we had our days… I know there were days that I made her just want to scream and pull her hair out. There were also days that she made me want to put my head in that big vise I have attached to my workbench. However, overall, day in and day out, we were pretty dang happy. Not just content but happy.

I miss being happy… Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am un-happy. Sure we are doing alright but who the heck just wants to be okay. I want more than okay… I want to be happy again and I don’t know how to get there from here. I don’t even know if I CAN get there from here.

I suppose I should just try to find the happiness that life, in and of itself, brings to me but sometimes I have trouble seeing the forest for all the trees in the way. I guess what I am saying is that maybe I need to get back to being thankful for what I have and finding happiness in that. Easier said than done when I know what would make me happy but cannot have it or attain it. I know that, at least in this life, I cannot have her back. So if that’s the one thing that would make me happy and I cannot have it, how can I then be happy again. I have two choices… Find something else that would make me happy again or never be that happy again. Is it that simple or do I have another choice? Maybe that’s not the only thing that would make me that happy again. I find that hard to believe…

Have I lost you? Have I confused you? Well, welcome to the club!

Life without Lisa is and is not a lot of things. It is not filled with that sheer happiness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Roof



All I can say is WOW…

I got home last night and all the trucks, trash, and workers were gone.  In just two short days these guys put a new roof on the garage, house, well house and gazebo.  It looks like a new house and it looks like they did a really good job.  No it’s not perfect… not every miter joint on the new fascia board is perfect and not every nail was countersunk but all in all it looks like they did a great job.  I walked around the house and did not find one nail or scrap of old shingle or felt.  The place looks great.

Now all I have to do is get that new fascia board painted and get some new gutters on the house and we are good to go.  This really worked out pretty well.  No, I still don’t like the idea of having to pay others to do things that I am more than capable of doing for myself but that’s just the way it is now.  I can only hope that the rest of the remodeling that the house needs will go as smooth as this did.

My landscape architect, Chuck, has delivered a plan that looks really good.  We are going to replace that nasty mulch path with a stacked stone wall and cobblestone path.  That’s the next big project along with the painting and gutters.

Still, WOW on the roof…

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rough Roof



Things got a little nutty around here starting Sunday night.

The roofing company called Sunday night and said we just want you to know that we are starting work on the roof in the morning. In the morning!?  Of course my anxiety spiked out of control.  How was I going to make arraingments to be here and keep an eye on things to make sure it was done right.  I quickly figuered out that I just had to let it go.  Lisa always said, "What will be, will be".  So I am trying to let go a little bit.  

I was able to take a late long lunch and come back out to the farm for a while.  I got home to find the work progressing at a rapid pace and things look like they were going well.  No, they were not doing everything like I would have done it.  I just took a deep breath got back in my truck and went back to work.  I am sure everything is going to be fine and it will all work out.

When Matt got home he told me that our little inside dog, Ally, was a nervouse wreck.  I am sure she was since she always jumps at the slitest sound and scampers to the door barking like crazy.  I can only imagine what she thought about all that commotion on the roof.  I wonder how long she went on like that this morning before she thought the house was falling in.

My first inclination when I got home was to throw on some work clothes and go climb onto the roof.  I decieded the better option was to cook some supper and just let these guys do the work.  Yeah, Im a bit of a control freek and believe that if you want something done right you need to do it yourself.  Or at least stand over others and tell them the correct way to do it.  The crew worked right up till dark which was about 7:00.  I suppose they are trying to get in some extra hours due to all the rain we have had.

Crap... I hope it doesn't rain tonight since I don't think they nailed those tarps down.  See I should have gone up on the roof!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Work Weekend



Mom and Dad came up for the weekend.  Mom did a lot of work cleaning and cooking in the house while dad and I worked on getting my shop cabinets hung.  Having mom take care of things in the house while I am on other projects is great.  Its like I have been cloned and am getting twice the work done in half the time.

Dad and I worked all day Friday and got the cabinets on the wall and even got the under cabinet lighting install and wired up.  I enjoy working with dad in the shop.  It's great working with him.  He knows his way around a shop and always seems to come up with good ideas.  Its good to work with someone that knows what they are doing.  I only wish we could do it more often.  Its, typically, a great stress free way to spend time together.  I think he respects my talents and I respect his.  Sometimes we don't even have to tell each other what to do.  We just know and don't have to say anything.

Saturday Me, Dad and Matt did some of the dreaded shopping I needed to get done.  Matt had outgrown his winter coats and needed a good one.  I don't know why, but shopping stresses me out.  I always get uptight and the anxiety kicks in.  If it were not so much trouble to return things when they don't fit, I would make all my purchases on the internet. Not to mention it rained all day Saturday and the rain tends to bring me down also.

Anyhow, tomorrow starts a new week and its back to work.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Guilt & Tennyson

I feel a little guilty about the fact that I am doing so much better emotionally these days. I know it’s nonsense to feel any guilt but I do… Yeah, I know Lisa would not want me to feel that way. However, for some strange reason I feel it. I suppose it’s a bit natural to feel this way but I also know I have nothing to feel guilty about. It’s been a long difficult road that I also know will never really end.

My friend Cindy has pointed this out to me on a couple of occasions but it has never really sunk in until now. It never will be completely over or gone. My love for Lisa was so strong that it has been etched into me to the point that I really will never be able to feel the same way about anyone else. I am beginning to be okay with that because I don’t want to feel that way about anyone else. That part of me was for Lisa and it will always belong to her. I am also okay with that because I see so many others around me that never have and probably never will have the opportunity to feel the same way. I count myself one of the luckiest men in the world to have been given such a wonderful gift.

As Tennyson put it, “ It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all ”… I understand that much better these days. It is better that I was blessed to have her for the time that I did, rather than to never have had her at all. For that I am eternally grateful. She forever changed me, made me better and enabled me to experience what many will never have. A deep and enduring love. The key word there is enduring, for Cindy is right, it will never go away… It will always be there… And that’s okay…

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bonus Post

Since its raining and I have some time on my hands this afternoon I thought I would post a couple of pictures.  Here is a a before and after picture of the cabinets that I have been working on.  The pictures really don't do them justice.  I suppose if I used a real camera rather than my phone camera they might look better but my phone pictures seem to load a lot faster on my slow internet connection.  Maybe some technowiz out there can tell me what I'm doing wrong!

Before                                                                                                         After

Fall Break Day 5


Yesterday was a great day. I walked into my shop at around nine in the morning and did not come out until about four. The sun was shining and I worked with the doors up and windows open. The weather was just perfect.

I worked on the cabinets that I had scavenged from my friend Judy. I got all of the doors and cases striped, scraped, sanded and painted. I made a lot more progress than I expected. In fact, I had not even planned on painting them yesterday. When I got to the point I was ready to paint, rather than run to the hardware store and get a custom color, I found an old can of paint that worked just fine. It was a left over gallon that was used to paint the house some time back. Now all I need to do is clean up the old hardware and get them hung on the wall. Dad should be here next weekend and that will make a great project for the two of us to work on together. Not to mention, Dads pretty dang good with all the electrical and he will be able to help finish all that up.

I probably would have stayed out there into the late evening but I was pretty tuckered out and had not even stopped to eat. Besides, I had friends coming at six for dinner.

My friends Mike and Barbie came over and we just ordered pizza. It was nice to have some folks over for the evening and even better that it was Mike and Barbie. After supper Barbie agreed to take the last of Lisa's clothes for me. Lisa and Barbie are about the same size so I think she will be able to use a good bit of what I had left. I know she will find a good home for any thing she can't use. I have found that it's just too hard to put any of it in the trash so it was good to have her take it for me. While some of it had a good bit of dust on it there were a number of items that still even had the store tags on it.

Today it's raining like crazy again and I am kind of at a loss as to how to spend my day. Its one of those days that I did not have anything planned and I am already walking in circles. It's the last day of Fall Break so I think we are just going to take it easy. While I am blessed to have a great job, I sure wouldn't mind having another five days off!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Break Day 3 & 4





Not much to say about yesterday... I spent most of the day doing house work and shopping. Had dinner (Chinese) with the kids and me and Matt took in a movie. We saw couples retreat with Vince Vaughn. We love VV.

Today is for me. I am skipping church and I am going to do what I want today. I am not doing housework or hanging out with Matt or shopping or anything else like that. I am going out and spend the day in my shop. What I used to tell Lisa was "I'm gong to make some saw dust".

I have the used cabinets cut up how I want them and I am ready to get the repainted. I have to sand down the last of the drywall and paint it and install the last of the lights. I have a lot I want to get done and only a limited time to do it.

We have some of our favorite folks coming for pizza and board games tonight so I have to quit working at a decent hour and get cleaned up. So, I going to stop burning daylight and get out in the shop.

Maybe I will make this a double post day and put something on here later tonight if I am not too tired.

Oh and the attached picture... Thats from the world of coke, Matt claims that the tee-shirts were supposed to smell like the soda. I'm not so sure...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Break Day 2

Another very long day with the boys. We took off early for Perry this morning and spent the day at the Georgia National Fair. It was our first time. A good time was had by all. We ate way too much junk! We were also successful in finding a deep fried Twinkie. Heck we found just about anything you wanted deep fried. Like I told the boys, anything dipped in batter and deep fried is good! Matt tried the deep fried cheese cake. I think it was better than the Twinkie.

The boys rode plenty of the rides on the midway. I was happy to just watch them ride. We ran into several of our friends while we were there. In fact we saw our little buddy Camille win the best in showmanship award at the lamb show. She is a sweetheart as was thrilled that we had come to see her. Don't tell her we really came to find the Twinkie.
I suppose now its time
that I got back to the
business of being an adult and parent. Bills have to be paid and there is plenty of housework that I have been putting off. Not to mention I need to do my favorite thing and get some shopping done tomorrow. I also need to
go check on my baby girl. She has been running a fever for the last couple of days and been holed up in her apartment. I'm sure she will be fine but I am also sure that a visit from dad might also be appreciated.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Break Day 1



Day one of fall break was a long day. So no deep and thought provoking discussion tonight. I am too tired and ready to put my feet up.

Me, Matt and his buddy William spent the day in Atlanta. We did the World of Coke, The Atlanta Aquarium and took this picture just outside the CNN complex.

It was a good "guy" day. The boys are a lot of fun and they constantly see humor and fun in everything.

We have another big day tomorrow at the Georgia National Fai

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Send Me A Text God!

Here lately, I suppose the overwhelming question that I have is the same question that I have had for many years. That is, what is God’s plan for me. It is easy to see in hind sight what his plan has been for me. I just never seem to know what is to come or what he wants of me next. That is what is gnawing at me now. Some people just seem to know what their path is and what God wants of them. I know several people that KNOW they have been called on by God to do something. I don’t ever seem to know what my path is until I’m already on it.

I suppose I am not much different from most other folks except all my plans have been destroyed and I don’t know what I am going to do now. What I mean is that we had a long term plan. We knew, at least we thought we knew, what we wanted to do and where we wanted to be long term. I was going to start a new career and Lisa was going to continue to teach until she was ready to retire. We were going to make the farm house what we wanted and enjoy traveling, each other and maybe one day be involved and loving grandparents. All that changed in a blink of an eye. So what now? I barely know what I am going to do next week, much less what I will be doing five years from now. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. I’m a private sector corporate guy. I’m always supposed to know what my five year and ten year plan is. We corporate types have been trained to think like that so it is very engrained in us that we need to have this plan.

That’s my struggle… What do I do now? Do I continue my work on the farm house? Do I remain single and alone? Do I dare to leave corporate life for something else? What if by some miracle I do find someone special? Will my plans change again? Maybe I should not ask these questions. Maybe I should not try to make any plans. Maybe all that corporate brainwashing for the need of a plan is crap. Maybe I should just live one day at a time and let what will be, be. Maybe I should just wait it out, wait God out and hope, hope, hope that he will show me my new path.

My prayers have been changing… Instead of begging God to get me through the next day I have been thanking him for doing so. Now they are changing again to asking God what he wants of me. I am begging God to show me what he wants me to do next and where he wants me to be.

I sure wish God had an I-Phone…

Monday, October 5, 2009

Decisions - Decisions

I am slowly learning to make decisions on my own. As I have mentioned before, I have struggled time and time again with making decisions of most any kind in life without Lisa. After 20 years of getting input and working through decisions with Lisa it has been hard to retrain myself.

I am getting there however. I have made two really big decisions here lately. One was what color shingles I wanted for our the new roof on the old farm house. I know that does not sound like much to the average bear, but it’s something that I personally have really struggled with. I suppose you can relate if you have been married for any length of time. The second was to hire a landscape designer to come up with a plan to get rid of the mulch path that we use to come in the kitchen entrance. This mulch path has been a real pain. When we purchased the place I thought it was quaint and natural. Now I just think it is an eye sore and a mess. It’s horrible when it rains and we track all that crap into the house. I have decided to replace this mess with a nice stacked stone wall and paved path. I have hired a very nice local guy to come up with a plan and get the job done for me.

It’s actually going to be nice to see some things getting done around here without me being the one to do it. I could get used to this idea of paying people to do stuff rather than me working non-stop all weekend on projects. The next big items are remodeling the kitchen and baths. I know I am going to have to hire out the kitchen and already have someone lined up to talk to on the matter. I might even have them do the bathrooms also. Like I said, I could get used to this…

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shop Weekend

It's been a decent weekend. The air has been cool and crisp just the way I like it. It's not too hot and not too cold. It's my favorite time of year.

I worked almost all weekend in my shop trying to finishing up the drywall, electirical, painting and installing a stationary postition for my radial arm saw. One more weekend of dry wall work and I should be able to wrap it up. This job has been so long and drawn out that I don't even remember when I started it. It will be good to get it finished so that I can move on to making the cabinets and countertops. I recently secured some used cabinets from a friend who is remodeling a kitchen. I was able to reclaim the old upper cabinets to go into the shop. They are not exactly what I would have wanted but they will save me a ton of time, labor and money. Besides, if I don't like them I can just take them back down and build my own. I was able to get them cut up into usable sections and tossed what I can't use. I am excited to see my shop starting to take shape and very much look forward to being able to work in it without having to drag machines around.

It has been a bit of a tough weekend emotionally at night. Matt was out on dates both Friday and Saturday night leaving me home alone. I really don't mind being alone some but I hate eating alone. I don't know why I hate eating alone so much but I truly do. I suppose I should have planned ahead and made some plans with friends but I just was not thinking about it. By the time I thought about it, all my friends had plans. I found myself feeling very much alone Friday and Saturday night as a result. I need to start facing the fact that I am going to be alone full time before long.

I suppose I have been so busy making sure that the kids are taken care of that I have forgotten about my self. I reckon I had better start thinking about the long term for myself. I don't really know how to do that, however. The thought of "dating" still turns my mind to mush.

Both the kids slept in this morning so I attended church on my own. I found myself thinking of Lisa so much that I was moved to tears. When this happens I try very hard not to draw attention to myself. I don't dare even wipe my face for fear that I will draw unwanted attention. There was a song with lyrics that say that God is all I need and he is enough for me. As much as I try to believe that, I can't help but stand there thinking that he is not. I can't help but stand there with tears running down my face thinking that she was all I needed and she was enough for me. I found it so hard to say those words with any conviction this morning. I found myself missing her so very much. Once again I am reminded that some days are just plain harder than others.

So for now, I am looking forward to a short three day work week and then five days off. I need to get Matt's attention long enough to finalize our plans for the coming long weekend. We have discussed everything from skydiving near Atlanta to the big state fair down in Perry. It should be a good weekend together but we need to get the plans nailed down. Maybe if he is not too busy with yet another date tonight we can do it this evening.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Small Change

Prior to Lisa’s death, we didn’t use cell phones very much. Lisa had one and only turned it on when she wanted to talk to me. She would immediately turn it off after the call. That drove me nuts since I would tend to remember something I needed to tell her after the call was over and her phone was off. Abby had gotten one just a year or so prior and was supposed to use it only when needed. Otherwise she was supposed to use the house phone. Matt didn’t even have a phone yet. Of course, after his moms accident, the first things I did was get him a phone so that he could be in touch with me at any time he needed or wanted to be. As for myself, I leapt from keeping a cell phone in my brief case to having it with me and turned on 24-7. I literally have not turned my phone of for two years now. I suppose that’s a small indicator of how our lives have changed and what life is now like without Lisa. Maybe in the not to distant future I will feel comfortable enough to turn my cell phone off at night.

In my lifetime we have gone from one corded phone in the house to a cordless phone in every room and a cell phone in every pocket. There are so many distraction for kids these days it’s a wonder they even know what the outside of a home looks like. There are countless ways for them communicate with each other including but not limited to cell phone, e-mail, Facebook, my space, twitter, texting etc… I have been forced to become the communication Nazi since every time Matt sits down to do homework I constantly hear his phone vibrate. He lacks the self control to keep it in his pocket so I have been forced to put some controls on it. I have started forcing him leave his phone on the kitchen desk whenever he starts working on homework. I just hope I don't have to also unplug his television, confiscate his I-pod touch (it has wireless capabilities) and turn off the computer in the study. The only saving grace is that kids these days are oblivious to the fact we have a home phone. Of course if they did realize there was a phone in the kitchen they would not be able to use it since they would have to get the needed phone number from their cell phone. You have to laugh at them…

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Star Gazing

It feels good to have September behind me. With the exception of Thanksgiving at the end of November I basically have two months to enjoy without significant date reminders of our loss.

It feels so good to just feel good. To NOT feel overwhelmed or distraught is a welcome relief.

I have come to know what is really important in life but I still find myself not taking time out to enjoy those important things. Some days I have trouble following my own advice… However, I did this morning for just a moment or two. I was on the way out of the house going to my truck for my daily commute to work and realized how cool and dry the air felt. I just stood there for a few minutes letting the cool morning breeze wash over me. Since it was only five in the morning the stars were still out. I just stood there looking at the stars thinking about Lisa and grinning like a big dummy. I find these days that when I think about Lisa momentarily I just get this big unexplainable goofy grin on my face. I love to just stand there in the dark some mornings and enjoy a quiet moment to myself. Just those few moments can be so rejuvenating and comforting. Taking a few minutes like this gives me time to ponder all sorts of issues and topics. It gives me a quiet moment to pray and give thanks. Thanks for all that I have and all that I have had.

School will be out for fall break soon and I have made Matt a promise that I will not work the entire time. I promised him that we would at least take a couple of day trips and spend some quality time together. While I have an overwhelming desire to spend the entire five days working around the house and in the shop, I have promised him that I would not do that. I think it is important that we spend a few days together just being father and son. No work, no school, no chores and for sure no cooking. After all, in just two short years he will no doubt be going off to college himself. At that point I will have more time on my hands than I know what to do with.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No More Coffee!!!

So often folks tell me what a great job I am doing and how much of an inspiration I am to them and others. One’s head could grow quite big from such a cult fan following. However, I don’t think that I have earned the praise that is so kindly given. To me, I am just doing what must be done.

Yes, I have experience a devastating loss and yes it has been truly one of the most difficult times of my life. However, let’s face it, I have one “grown” child that has moved out and is holding her own at this point. I have one in high school that is now a driver and can get himself around. They both are good kids with a solid head and good hearts. They give me little if any trouble. Granted I am stretched a bit thin at times trying to take care of all the mom stuff and still not let my dad stuff suffer too much. However, all in all, I could have much more on my plate.

All I have to do is look around just a little to see how much more others have on their plates. Plates, heck for some it’s more like a platter full. If you have been reading much of my ramblings here, you know my motto these days is “things could always be worse”. There are many out there that have it much worse. I don’t have to look very far... I have an employee who had a daughter that just died. The daughter was a single mother that just had a baby about a month ago. The employee also lost her mother to cancer this past year. The father of the child is nowhere to be found. Now here is this lady that is almost 45 taking on the responsibility of a newborn baby. When this baby is 18 she will be 63. This is the one that will deserve the praise not me.

We have a family friend that has been diagnosed with ALS. She has two wonderful daughters that are far too young to be without their mother. There is, I am afraid, too much of a chance that she may not be with them much longer. Shane her husband will no doubt be devastated and broken. He will be the one that will need and deserve the praise.

So, no, I really don’t feel like I am doing anything that magnificent or difficult at this point. This is a far cry from where I was two years ago. Two years ago I thought that I had the world on my shoulders. Turns out it was not the world but just a tiny portion of it. I have no doubt that two years from now I might even wish that I had the kids back at home needing me very much.

On a darker note... I am so bummed out... They closed the only Starbucks in Madison where I work. I drove past it every night on the way home and on some nights boy has it been a life saver!! No longer can I sip on hot strong coffee on the way home! Color me crushed and sleepy!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Enough Said



Just when you think they don’t get it…they get it…

I was just sitting there minding my own business this afternoon when I got a text message from Abby. It said, “I love you. Thanks for being my dad. Thanks for getting up every day and making the most of life! Thanks daddy!”

How cool is that?

As Abby likes to say on her facebook status – Enough Said…

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baby Steps

Coming home Thursday night I found a little surprise.

On the ceiling just above the sink in the kitchen I saw that unmistakable sign of a roof leak. It's been raining here for what seems to be for the last week. Of course the first thing I did was climb up into the attic to see what was going on. Sure enough, just what I thought, the old rubber boot around one of the vent stacks was leaking. Thankfully, it is small and can be cured with just a bit of caulking. However, I am taking it as fair warning and getting quotes for a new roof.

When Lisa and I purchased this house we knew there was a number of things that needed to be done. Being capable in all forms of construction and carpentry it went without saying that I was going to tackle most of the jobs myself. The roof included... So, I find it difficult to hire out the work. It was all I could do just to call a couple of guys to give me quotes on the job. It pains me to no end to hire work like this out. Unfortunately, I just have to face the fact that I don't have the time and have to keep my eye on other things.

Abby was kind enough to come over and bring me some lunch Friday. She knew I was stressed out by the turn of events and came by to take my mind off things. It was good to have her come by for a little while and take my mind off of things. She has her own unique way of helping me put things into perspective. After Lisa's wreck, Abby would not dare drive hardly anywhere. Just the thought of driving somewhere new drove her to tears. My counsel to her at that time was to "take baby steps". I told her to just go a little further with each try and to "take baby steps" toward eventually driving wherever she needs to. It made a lot of sense to her and now she, of course, goes anywhere and everywhere. Her counsel to me was the same she just said, "baby steps daddy, baby steps".

The weekend has flown by and I feel like I have been working to make up ground all weekend. I even went to our early church service this morning in hopes of being more productive today. While that helped, there is still a growing list of things that I need to and want to get done. While there is always next weekend, I am sure that I will be stuck spending precious time with roofers. With hurricane season well underway I am sure that more rain is on the way. I best take a baby step and hire one of these roofers before things get worse.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brace Yourself

I grew up hearing the same thing every night at the dinner table. Get your elbow off the table, don’t talk with your mouth full and don’t chew with your mouth open. One of my mother’s favorite lines was put some food in your mouth and don’t talk with your mouth full. That was her way of saying that she wanted us to shut up and eat our dinner.

I remember, a few years ago, having lunch with Matt at school. I noticed that most of the kids at the table ate with their mouths open. I thought it was pretty gross and could not understand how so many kids from such great families did not have manners enough to eat with their mouths closed. I figured it out fairly quickly. Soon after, Abby got her braces and started eating with her mouth open. I remember chastising her one night about this and she explained to me that it was due to the braces. She said it hurt her mouth to eat with her mouth closed. Most of the kids at that lunch table had braces so it all made sense to me.

Matt has had the same affliction for the last couple of years. I can’t stand to be around him when he starts chewing on a stick of gum. Over the years I have learned to be a bit less sensitive to this.

Well we have reached yet another milestone. Matt got his braces off today. I can now resume my parental torment and every night tell him to chew with his mouth closed, until it once again becomes habit.

Now if I could just come up with some logical reasoning that requires him to have his elbow on the table maybe I can cure that also.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We’re Getting There


Saturday marks the two year point in our life without Lisa.

The past two years have been a rollercoaster ride of emotion and changes.

With September here, as you can imagine, I have been doing a lot of thinking about where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. I can’t help but think about all the trips that we have taken with the kids over the years and I keep coming back to the well know phrase “Are We There Yet”. My response was always, “We’re Getting There”. That always drove the kids crazy. After a while, as she got older, Abby would hear Matt ask the inevitable question “Are We There Yet” and before I could reply I would hear her, from the back seat, say in a questionable tone “We’re Getting There”.

That’s kind of where I think we are these days, “We’re Getting There”… We have made great strides over the last two years but yeah, we are still “Getting There”. We all three still have our days or even weeks, but overall, “We’re Getting There”. I also think overall we have done pretty well. Sure we have made mistakes, or at least I have, but nothing that horribly bad.

Thinking about the first six months after the accident really puts things in perspective for me. I was a mess back then, a nervous wreck. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my battles and problems but in comparison to back then I am in pretty good shape. My ups seem to last a lot longer and my downs seem to come and go a lot faster these days and for that I am very grateful.

I suppose time does heal all wounds… or at least lets a scab form over them.

For now I remain positive and try to look to the future. I look forward to what life has in store for me and the kids.

Today Abby reminded me that last year on the 12th we all three got dressed up and went out for a nice dinner alone. She wanted to know if we could do that again this year. I think that’s what we will do again this year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Parenting 101.2

Back to my discussion about parenting. Like I said in my last entry, it’s a little harder being a parent on your own when you have had the support of someone else for as long as you can remember.

Case in point…

Abby made a mistake Monday it was nothing earth shattering nor anything that will scar us for life. Just a mistake that many of us have made ourselves. Well, she finally came by the house last night. She was not in the door two minutes when I asked her about it. Big mistake… My mistake… Things went down-hill pretty fast and she made a bee line out the door and headed off to the sanctuary of her apartment. Apparently she had beat herself up enough over the last day or so and was in no mood to hear a lecture from daddy.

If Lisa had been around she would have warned me not to do that. She would have cautioned me to at least let her get in the door and say hello and whatnot before I jumped her about the mistake. Who knows, if I had just kept my mouth shut for about ten minutes she might have brought it up herself. Not me… Not Mr. Dad… I jumped right in there and wanted to discuss and cuss it. Big mistake dummy…

Hind sight is truly 20-20… I did the right thing and sent her an apology this morning. Low and behold she also apologized. We are going to have dinner together tonight and then knock out some shopping that I have been putting off. I suppose I am not going through anything every other Dad is going through I’m just doing it by myself when I thought that I was going to have my backup with me.

My role as a father has been static up until the last two years and in the last two years it has changed, changed and changed again. It has changed so much so fast that I have had a lot of trouble keeping up with it. I am trying to keep up with it but sometimes it’s like trying to put on wet socks! You know how it’s supposed to work but you can’t just pull them on like you always have done. That’s how it is, I know how to be a parent but I just have to keep changing so that it I can get it to fit the stages that Abby is moving through at what seems to be lighting speed.

I once told my Dad that he was an idiot until I turned 30 and then overnight he became the smartest person in the world. I can only hope that it does not take Abby as long as it took me.

I wonder if being a parent is covered by the Geneva convention or considered a harsh interrogation technique???

Matt Update

Matt is doing so much better… His mood has improved and he seems to be very engaged in school. His grades are fantastic and he is showing a lot of interest in his extracurricular activities. We have had several good talks over the last week or so and I am comfortable with his mood at this point.

That’s a tremendous weight off my shoulders and gives me a lot of comfort…

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Parenting 101

Sometimes I wonder if I just put too much pressure on myself to have everything perfect.

In talking with a friend this weekend I pretty well lost it. Not a major meltdown but I think that I finally got to the point where I just had to let some emotional steam off. My poor friend was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I remember that I was jabbering something about the fact that I am so tired of doing all this by myself. Carrying the burden of two by myself was just taking a toll on me and I was missing Lisa something fierce. My friend made a couple of pretty good points. Will Matt really know or care if the house is properly dusted? Will he care if the rugs have been shook out properly and the floors cleaned properly. No he would not was my answer. So, why is it that did not give me the comfort that I sought? I finally figured it out.

I am way too OCD… I don’t really do it for Matt. Well I do and I don’t… I do all this house work and cleaning and try to keep things like Lisa did because it matters to me. Thing is, why the heck don’t I take the time to get someone to come in and do some of the work for me. It’s not like I can’t afford it. I don’t know why but I don’t.

It’s not just the Mom or Dad work that is so draining. It’s the parenting also… I worry that I am going to screw this up in the 11th hour. I worry that I am going to miss the mark with Matt. Sure he is a great kid but I worry about him constantly. I am constantly second guessing myself on everything from a parenting point. It was so much easier with Lisa. We parented as a team. We would back each other up or redirect each other when one of us was missing the mark or taking the wrong approach. Like they say, two heads are better than one. I suppose learning to parent on my own has been, and continues to be, one of the biggest challenges that I am still learning to come to grips with. If I had to sum it up I would say It’s like learning to parent all over again. It’s like I have gone from graduate level parenting back to parenting 101. Now I just wish I could find the stinking text book for the course.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

And The Beat Goes On

The thing I don't get is how I can be so fine for a while and then all of a sudden feel like I have for the past week. I had been feeling so good! I had been doing so well. What gives? I will shake this off I know but I just want to crawl under a rock until I do. I suppose thats why I have not been writing much lately. The really crappy thing is I know this will happen again sometime in the future. I think the only thing I can hope for is that it does not last as long and is not as strong next go around.

I am, I think, ready to finish up my shop. I just have a little bit more electrical and drywall to take care of and I can start on the cabinets and such. I really do want to get the shop put together and orderly by this winter. I really want to get out there and start on a few projects but can't until I get that shop straight.

Today however, church and then cut the pastures. The bitter weed is taking over the pastures and I really need to get it cut back.

It will be Monday all over again soon and it will be a short week due to the coming holiday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

September Sucks!

As you know, my adage these days is “things could always be worse”. That’s my way of reminding myself that I could have it a lot worse than I do. Heck a lot of people do…

However, Some days it’s just hard to remember that things can always be worse. It’s hard to remain positive and upbeat all the time. To make matters tougher, Matt seems to take on my moods. That makes it even more important that I remain on the positive side of things. When I am upbeat, through it would seem, like osmosis, Matt is more upbeat also. When I am not….well, you know the rest.

I seem to go through cycles of tough times and seem to be in the middle of one of them right now. I don’t want to do anything right now. I don’t want to write, go to work, cook, cut grass or even work out in the shop. I just seem to be in a slump. I hate feeling like this but short of taking pills (that’s what I had to resort to last September) only time seems to get me out of a slump.

I thought of something this morning. You know I miss Lisa, God knows how much I desperately miss her, but I think I am also just missing loving someone. I am not sure if that makes sense but that’s how I am feeling. Pure and simply I just miss loving someone… Having someone to share with… someone to walk and talk with… someone to share life with… I think I am missing getting to love someone. Sounds a bit corny but that’s where I am at today.

Okay, enough of that…off my pity pot I go…

With the cooler mornings we are having it feels like fall is almost here. I love cool weather and that’s just what I think I need to get me out of this slump. Cool weather seems to invigorate me. The heat and humidity is so draining at times. Maybe we will get an early fall cool down and I won’t have to make a run to the pharmacy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two Years Or Ten

It has been a difficult past few days.

I have been working hard to complete the room that Abby left empty. I hate that I don’t do a better job of knowing when to quit my “Dad” work and do my “Mom” work. I know that sounds a bit sexist but that’s how things have always worked in our house. Lisa took care of certain things and I took care of others. When I get wrapped up in a project like this, I like to work for as long as I can since I know my time is limited. The problem is, I wind up working so long that I don’t feel like doing all the other things I need to when I do finally stop. You know, things like cooking a decent meal. I worked on this empty room Friday, Saturday and Sunday and all three nights we wound up having to eat out because I did not feel like preparing a meal when I finally stopped working. I used to work right up until dinner was on the table. I would stop long enough to eat. Once I ate I would give Lisa a quick kiss and a thank you and promise not to work too far into the night. Off I would go to put in a few more hours work on whatever project I was working on at the time. I do like a good project…

I am struggling with picking out, yet another, bed and bedding however. I thought that I had it all figured out but keep second guessing myself. At this point, I am thinking the best thing to do might be to have Dad come up one weekend and help me just build a bed. It sure beats spending a lot of cash on something that I don’t even like.

That’s not why it has been a rough past few days however. I think the reason that I have been struggling a bit the last few days is due to the fact that we are quickly coming up on the two year mark. September 12th will be two years. Two years!! Seems more like ten…

As the date gets closer I tend to think about Lisa a lot. I tend to look at old pictures and that’s never a good thing for me to do.

Hopefully the day will come and go without incident, but, who knows

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Picture This

Today was picture day at school. The day most school age kids dread. Most children don’t seem to like this day because mom wants them to look their best which translates into not being able to wear what you want and not looking as cool as you might think you could otherwise. It means that a shower is mandatory and one day of neatly combed hair is compulsory. Certainly no ball caps today. No tee-shirts with snappy verbiage or hip logos will work today. A shirt with a collar will be the order of the day. I can picture kids all over the county fussing with mom about the whole affair.

Picture day for us has always been a little different. Our kids have always looked forward to picture day. Since Lisa was a teacher the kids and her always got two pictures. One by themselves and one with each other. Some of my favorite pictures have been the school pictures of Lisa with one of the kids at her side. I have some very good ones of Lisa and Abby. They loved the fact that they could have their picture taken together. I think it made them feel special in the fact that most of the other kids wound up with that one goofy picture of themselves slouching in front of the camera with a forced half smile.

Last night I reminded Matt that today was picture day. He said that he knew and had already planned on dressing for the occasion. He said that he was going to wear his favorite blue button-down with a pair of jeans. He said that he had been saving the shirt for just this day. That cracked me up because it told me all my harping was paying off. It told me that he is finally starting to concern himself with his appearance. It also told me that he understands that he should not wear the same shirt too often. Actually it made me feel pretty good since it was only about a year ago I got a call from a close family friend and teacher that was concerned about Matt’s hygiene. She told me that she had ran into him a couple times that one week and noticed that he kept wearing the same tee-shirts and that he did not look like he had been brushing his teeth regularly. This was not long after Lisa died and I was still getting my hands wrapped around taking care of the kids. I started paying more attention to these things and noticed she was correct. I took some steps to change this. I started making sure he brushed his teeth regularly and enlisted Abby’s help to make sure he did not leave the house in the same tee-shirt every day. Additionally, when I washed his clothes I would not let him take them to his room until the following week. That forced him to pick out something else to wear. I suppose my diligence is starting to pay off.

I don't think Matt thought about all this very much. I don't think that it dawned on him but, for me, picture day is just one more reminder that Lisa is not with us. I will no doubt get my package of pictures in a couple of months and be reminded yet again that our lives have changed and will never be the same.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Painting Blues


Okay I finally decided on a room color. You can see the color I chose in the picture attached. You can also see the ugly yellowish greenish color I covered over. I found a color that I thought would work with what I want to do with the now vacant bedroom. It was a somewhat light blue with a hint of grey in it. I say "was" because I made the mistake of asking Matt what he thought of the color. He said that the liked the color but wanted to go two more shades darker with it. I told him that I thought it might be too dark. I don't want it to look to cave-like after all is done. At the last minute standing there at the paint counter I decided that Matt knew more about decorating than I did and went with his color. I got stark white high gloss for the new moldings and it really is looking good. Who knew Matt could decorate?

However, (there's that word again) I finally got in touch with my good friend Linda. Linda is telling me that now I should not go with the black finished bed. She says it will be to masculine and after all, don't I want Abby to feel good about coming home when she wants to. Do I... I guess... Maybe... Yeah I do. Linda has a point I suppose. So I will likely not get the black bed.

Who knew decorating could be so difficult!

I suppose this exercise is good for me. Maybe if I can make some simple choices like this I can learn to handle the larger things that will be coming my way. If I can learn to put on my big-boy spider-man undies and make decision without a partner, well that might just help me in my healing process.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Am I Rambling


I suppose the toughest thing about this whole process that we are going through is the mental challenge. The mind is a powerful thing. It can be my biggest adversary and my most valuable ally. Those of you who are regular readers know that these quiet mornings alone are some of my hardest times. It is during this time that I must wage that mental war against letting my mind take me to places that are not healthy. No, I'm not talking about anything as dark as the S word. I'm talking about basic stuff like being alone. It's not healthy for me to fixate on that sort of thing as it leads me to become depressed and unappreciative of what I do have. Like I tell Matt, we have to focus on what we do have and not what we don't have. Again, the mind is powerful and getting it to work for you rather than against you can be a difficult chore.

Faith, family and friends have been the most important things that have helped me continue to win battles in this ongoing war. You can't have enough of any of the three if you are going to win the war. These three things are what help me continue to keep my mind working for me rather than against me. I have told a number of people that I find grief to be a very powerful and addictive drug. It can drag you into places that you would have never thought you would go. Grief can make your mind work against you in more ways than you could ever imagine.

So this morning I chose to have my mind work for me rather than against me. As I found myself walking, yet again, in circles this morning, I realized that I have to get back to some old habits. I need to get back to my lists. I have gotten away from making lists. To Do, Shopping, Meal and Project lists keep me focused. They keep it right there in front of me and help me prioritize my days and keep me productive. They take the thinking out of the process a bit and help me make descitions that I need to make. When we moved here to the farm one of the first things that Lisa and I agreed to do was remove the hideous wall paper in the kitchen. One day Lisa was making a list and could not find a pad of paper. I told her to just write it on the wall. She did and it is still there with almost nothing completed. More folks have laughed about that list than I can count. I love that list...