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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saved At A Funeral

Today marks four years...

And, things seem so much different these days.  I don’t feel the date weighing me down or looming over me anymore.  I feel more alive than I have in four years OR at least a whole lot less dead than I felt over the last four years.  I feel as though I can breathe again…  The kids and I have survived.  It hasn’t always been pretty and it was never very easy but we have made it this far.

I find myself looking to the future more these days.  Looking toward days filled with joy and excitement.  I look forward to going to the beach once again or driving to the mountains again.  I look forward to loving and being loved again.  I look forward to all those things that will and can be.  I look forward to sharing my life and time with someone again.  While I may never get that chance just the fact that it is possible gives me great joy.

While, it’s true that I have experienced much anguish and pain from Lisa’s loss, I have seen good come from it too.  Her loss has change many and all of those for the better.  None, more than myself I would say.  I like to think that I have become a better father and a better person in total.  Lisa touched many in life and in death.  On Sunday, Pastor Tony mentioned Lisa in his sermon.  He spoke about how even within great tragedy comes hope and good.  He told a story of a woman whom his wife, Trish, knows.  This woman told Trish how she had attended Lisa’s memorial service and right there in the service received Christ into her life.  Saved at a funeral…  Who would have thought it…

We still miss her terribly and the hole she left in our lives may never be filled.  However, the hole in our hearts has slowly healed and will continue to do so.  We couldn’t have gotten this far without the support and love of our family and friends.  Even so, I continue to be amazed at our resilience and our power to continue in our Life Without Lisa.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Moving Forward

Barry Corbin

“All the time ya spend trying to get back what’s been took from ya more is going out the door…” Barry Corbin – No Country For Old Men

That’s it… That’s all I’ve got for you but I think that’s a lot in of its self… 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take #2

Here we go again…

Baby Girl began the process of moving out to her new apartment yesterday.

Abby has been looking forward to this for some time now.  In fact I’m pretty she’s been looking forward to this since about two days after she moved back home last summer.  Who could blame her however...  I know how tuff it is to move back home after you’ve been out on your own for a while.  Heck, I had to do the same thing once I finished college.  It’s been a learning and growing process for both of us though.  I think this time, however, she is better equipped and more prepared than she was last time.

I really don’t think having her home has been THAT difficult on either one of us when I think about it.  Half the time I was not even aware she was home.  Okay, half the time she WASN’T even home.  Regardless, I’m happy and proud for her.  She has the same streak of independence that her mother exhibited.   That independent streak is what drives her forward.  She wants to be independent and free.  She wants very much to know that she can exist on her own without need from anyone.  Anyone including her old dad… 

And, little does she realize we actually both share the same goals and objectives.  We’ve been working toward the same end, all be it possibly for differing reasons.  Because, as a dad, that’s what I’ve wanted for her all along…  That independence and ability to walk her own path, in her own way and in her own time.

Don’t tell her though…  If she realizes that she’s played right into my hand she may change her mind!

But if you do talk to her… Be sure to tell her that she’s always welcome home and that she can call her old dad for a shoulder to cry on anytime she needs it.

I’ll keep a light on for you Baby Girl.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Direction?

Matt’s been gone for three weeks now and I have missed him something fierce.  I made the trip down this weekend and visited him at the VSU campus.  While talking to him I asked him if he was about ready to come home.  His answer was a resounding NO.  What the heck…!?!?  AND, he was emphatic about it and didn’t stutter when he said it.

It felt like a knife to the heart and just as I was about to take it personal, he elaborated on his answer.  He explained how he was ready to get out of Oconee county and start living a new life.  He is ready for a new place new people.  He explained that it was not about home or me but about just getting out of here in general.

I suppose that kind of woke me up to the fact that he would be leaving me soon.  Probably sooner than I would like but not soon enough for him.  It made me think about “what am I going to do with myself when he goes”.  It made me think about the fact I need to start thinking about myself a little bit more and doing things for myself more often.  Some of my friends also been nudging me in this direction and encouraging me start thinking along these lines.

I’m not complaining, I’m actually happy that this has struck me now rather than later.  I would hate to think that I would be standing there in the driveway as he drove off to school next year and then not know what to do.  So, now I just need to start figuring out what am I going to do.  Where am I going to go?  Who, if anyone, will I be with?  What will occupy my life and time?

These are not new thoughts.  I have thought about this many times before.  However, today, this time, it’s right around the corner.  It’s not years off in the future anymore.  It’s just a matter of months away.  It’s time to take a stand… I need to figure this all out and start taking some action that will prevent me from being one of those parents that constantly wines about how they miss their kids and how they never call and come home.  It’s time for me to get a life and let them take on and live theirs.

Easy to say, very easy to say…

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Okay, Okay… I know I haven’t been here in a while but I tend to think of that as a good thing in some ways!  It’s the time of year also I suppose.  You know, all those outside chores that come with spring and summer.

Of late, I see myself in the final stretch.  Abby’s planning on moving out in the Fall and Matt will be a senior when school starts back up.  Just about a year from now Matt will most likely be leaving for school.  I’m encouraging him to go away for school rather than stay here.  Not that I wouldn’t love to have him but I think we both need it.  I think it’s the best thing for him and for me.  Thing is though, what the heck am I going to do then?

I suppose that’s what has been on my mind more than anything.  Not that I’m worried about it or anything.  I mean, I’m at peace with it all but I do wonder though…

It’s been a good summer so far… Matt just returned from a weeklong leadership conference in South Georgia.  He had a great time and even came back home with a $1,000 scholarship to the school of his choice.  He heads off next week for FFA camp.  So, of course most of my time today has been spent in the laundry room.

Abby finished up her summer classes a couple of weeks ago.  Over the last week she’s been splitting her time between her boyfriend and me.  She’s been working hard and is now enjoying some down time.  I'm glad she's enjoying her time but I’m getting a little bored with her daily call around noon reminding me that she's at the pool enjoying herself while I’m stuck in my office.  I reminded her that my time is coming and that before she knows it I’ll be on permanent summer break and will be sure to give her a few calls from the pool.  Or from wherever I wind up in my Life Without Lisa.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Walking To The Beat

Lisa and I used to walk just about every evening after dinner.  Some nights the kids came with us.  Later on, when Abby got a little older it was just Matt.  Eventually, he stopped walking with us also.  However, Lisa and I kept at it… Kids or not we always took the dogs with us.  Lisa with Ally, her little Yorkshire Terrier, and me with Madison, my great big Bernese Mountain dog.

Many nights we would wind up stopping and talking with neighbors and friends.  However, more often then not it was just the two of us, walking and talking.  We would talk about kids, home, work, finances and anything in between.  Occasionally, we would wind up fussing about something but most nights it was just a great way to catch up with each other and share some quiet time with one another. 

I especially liked it when the weather turned cold.  Since Lisa was so cold natured she would get close to me and sneak her arm around mine and get as close as she could without tripping one of us up.  We would spend the entire walk wrapped arm in arm and her cheek pressed against my shoulder.

After Lisa died, I couldn’t keep up the tradition… it was just too hard to go out there without her and I quickly lost the habit.  Besides, my mind was on too many other things and I was just too overwhelmed to make the time to do it.  Okay, maybe that was a good excuse… but I truly hated walking in the evening without her.

Something changed this past week, however, and for whatever reason I started walking again.  I have been walking most nights this week and it’s really been enjoyable.  I just stick those ear buds in my ears and crank up my I-pod to keep me company.  I think I might just be getting back into an old habit that I am sure would do me some good.

Don’t get me wrong, I would certainly rather walk with Lisa but I am learning that walking with Boz Scaggs or Diana Krall ain’t so bad either.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Epic Failure

That’s one of “Baby Girl’s” favorite sayings.  My “Dude Gene” was in gear tonight and as a result, tonight’s dinner was an epic failure.

After deep-frying those delicious treats on Sunday, I decided to try my hand at some chicken strips.  After all, I had that little fryer already full of oil.  So I gave it a try and it was nasty.  That’s right I said nasty!  In the middle of the process I saw it was going so poorly that I called Matt and instructed him to stop on the way home at the local chicken spot and pick up a box of chicken strips.  Yeah, it was that bad.

I sliced, cleaned, dredged in floured but wound up with what looked like naked deep fried chicken.  Every stitch of flour just fell off the meat as it cooked.  I later learned, via a dear friend, that I should have soaked the strips in an egg wash before dredging in flour. 

There will be no picture posted or handy link to the web sight that I used as a guide.  Nor will I mention the friend whom tried to give me advise on the matter.  We will simply forget that this ever happened and pack that little fryer back in the box, set it high up on a shelve in the pantry and forget that its there. 

I’m a grill guy I guess…

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beignet Breakfast

I decided to wrap up spring break with a treat for the kids.  They have been begging me to make Beignets for weeks now.  I have been reluctant and have been putting it off for as long as I can due to the huge mess that I wind up making in their production.  I finally gave in this morning and made a double batch.

Lisa and I discovered Beignets a long time ago, before we had the kids.  We had taken a trip to the gulf coast and found a little breakfast place that served them along with very strong chicory coffee.  We fell in love with the little treats and visited the tiny hole in the wall restaurant for many years to come.  That was the only place we could ever find them.

I learned how to make them, some years later, and the kids fell in love with them also.  While I don’t mind making them I do hate cleaning up the mess.  The deal was that if I made them, Lisa agreed to clean up behind me.  Of course, now I get to deal with the cooking and the cleaning.  It’s funny how something as simple as a food brings back memories.  Beignets are like that for me…  They bring back memories, many happy memories.  I’ll have to make them again soon…

It’s been a good week with lots of naps and down time.  I’ve enjoyed my time with the kids.  My batteries are recharged and I’m good till my next break.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lizard Boy

One of the things that I’ve really tried to get across to my kids is that we can’t blame any of our problems on Mom.  We can’t use her death as an excuse to fail at something or blame loosing her for our own failures or mistakes.  In other words, if you screw up you just screwed up, end of story.  We also make our own destiny and what we decide for our futures is up to us.

Granted, God has a plan and we don’t know what that plan is but he still gives us the free will to make a future or curl up in a ball and cry woe is me… Yeah, I know that’s all easy to say but a little harder to do.  In fact, I’m pretty bad at following my own wonderful advise.  However, I do try.

Matt being accepted to GHP and the news that he will be gone for most of the summer has made me once again start thinking about the future.  I once again see our lives changing and all three of us moving toward a yet another chapter in our lives.  I continue to remain positive and look forward to these changes.  I continue to feel myself healing and getting stronger again.

I still don’t know where life is taking me.  I still don’t have a master plan.  I do know that I am moving forward.  I do know that I want a life beyond yesterday.  A new life that will once again be filled with comfort, joy and love.  There is much I miss with my old life but I think that’s what I miss the most.

We spent our last morning of fishing on the most beautiful stretch of river I have ever been on.  The stream was narrow, only about thirty feet wide in most spots.  However, it had many deep holes with soft rapids and plenty of fish.  The river was dappled with sunlight from over hanging branches of flowering dogwoods, hickory and oaks.  When I was finished and worked my way back up the stream I found Matt asleep on the bank sunning himself like a lizard.  I guess he had his fill of fresh air and fishing.  I couldn’t think of a better place to fall asleep…

We’re back home and Matt took off early today for a morning of turkey hunting with our buddy JC.  Hopefully he won’t fall asleep with a loaded gun in his lap.  As for me, I have chores to catch up on and I’m not getting them done here at my laptop.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tractors, Guns & Fishing Rods

Three days into spring break and the weather has been just fantastic.  I have succeeded in playing a bit more than I have worked this weekend.  I feel my batteries recharging and am reaping the benefit of more than five to six hours of sleep each night.  In fact, I have surprised myself in that I have not been automatically waking up at four or five each morning.

I had something good happen on Friday...  My housekeeper, Janet, returned after about a three month hiatus.  While I don’t mind housekeeping Janet had spoiled me rotten.  Not to mention, I think she tends to do a better job of cleaning than I do.  I think that might be because I attack it with the mind set that I want to finish it as fast as I can so I can move on to the next task.  And, of course, while I don’t mind it I really don’t like it much.  Anyhow, I was thrilled to have her back and very happy to have the extra help.  In particular, considering its grass cutting season and the outside chores and projects are starting to pile up.

It’s been nice to spend some down time with the kids.  Abby’s road-race on Friday night and shooting clays with Matt and his buddies.  Matt and I did take some time today to get a little work completed down at the barn.  I jumped on the big tractor and dragged the riding rink to knock down the weeds and Matt jumped on the mower and cut the grass.

Tomorrow we hit the river for a couple of days fishing.  I can’t wait to get out there and snag a few trout.  Who knows, maybe we’ll have a pan full of fish about this time tomorrow.  Maybe I’ll take a few pictures to share with you…

Monday, March 28, 2011

Running On Empty

I tend to march through the year in sections or better yet in semesters.  A week off during the summer holds me until winter break and so forth.  I tend to find that as the next break is coming up my batteries run down.  They’re running really low at this point as can seen in my lack of writing here lately. 

If I hold my breath I think I can make one more week.  One more week until spring break for Matt and a weeks vacation for me.  It’s amazing what a week off will do for me however.  A whole week of eight or more hours of sleep each night.  A week filled with trout fishing, down time, naps and no corporate structure. While I hope for good weather I could care less.  I would fish in the rain at this point.

Can you tell I’m ready for a little time off?

We received exciting news on Friday.  The finalist list for the Georgia Governors’ Honors program was posted on Friday at 4:00.  I received a text message from Matt at 4:15 that he had been awarded a slot to attend the prestigious four-week program at Valdosta State University.  In fact not only did Matt make the final cut but his best bud William also had been selected.  This is a huge honor for both of them and will be a great highlight on any college application.  I am very proud and happy for both of them.  It’s starting to sound like it’s going to be a very quiet summer around here…

That’s okay though as I am continuing to redefine myself and live my life rather than merely live my Life Without Lisa…

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shopping That Doesn't Suck

only have so much to give…

I have a full time job and can only take a finite amount of time off from work.  So, I do as I always have and save my vacation time for family time.  Of course, these days that means I save my vacation for when my son is out of school.  With spring break coming up soon I let the kids know that I would be on vacation that week.  I think that Abby had a little trouble understanding the fact that I couldn’t take a week off for her spring break AND take a full week off for Matt’s spring break, which is several weeks later.  How I explained this to her was that she’s basically grown and I’m still raising Matt.  While I think she got that I don’t think that she liked it.  Heck, I wouldn’t have liked it either…  So, I burned a day of my highly valued vacation and surprised her with a day of shopping today.  I must say we had a pretty good time.  We were both in a good mood and anxiety free.  We found some pretty good deals, which made me happy, and we found some really cute stuff, which made her happy.

I think she gets that I only have so much that I can give.  She just wants her share and then some if she can wrangle it.  Again, I don’t blame her, I would too.  After all, she’s been through hell just as much if not more so than me.  So what the heck… A day of shopping and lunch with “Baby Girl” wont be available to me forever.  Not to mention, when you think you only have so much to give, if you will just dig a little deeper or think a little harder you usually find you DO have a little more to give.

I have finally finished turning my detached three-car garage into a shop and storage area.  Two of the bays are now dedicated to woodworking and projects of all kinds.  The third bay is dedicated to storage with one third of it turned into a badly needed “seasonal closet”.  I put the finishing touches on it this past weekend with five big shelves for tub storage and on the other side an area to hang clothes and such (note the handy before and after pictures).  We can finally get all those tubs of off season clothes, boxes of Christmas ornaments, camping and fishing gear and other things out of the barn.  It’s good to have this project being me.  At times I thought that I would never finish it.  This project has been moving at a snails pace for about a year and a half now.  I just gave it what I could when I could.  I would do a little wiring here and spread a little drywall mud there.  Sometimes I could devote days to it and sometimes I could only devote an hour or two to it.  My perseverance has paid off and I have accomplished what I envisioned and set out to do. I guess all I had to do was keep digging to find that I did have enough to get it done. 

BEFORE                                                                       AFTER

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Boy and His Cow

I have to say, I really didn’t expect Matt to walk in the door from the livestock show with tears in his eyes.  I knew he had grown attached to Pancake, his calf, but this took me a bit by surprise.

The moment the door opened I could tell something was wrong.  His eyes were swollen and red.  I was immediately concerned and asked him what was wrong.  All he could mutter before he broke into tears was “I miss my cow”. 

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to laugh or tear up myself.  Of course, I wound up in tears along with him.  Who could blame him though?  That little calf had a sweet disposition and every time he went to the barn to feed her she ran to him like a big black and white puppy.  Heck I’m going to miss her myself.  I felt so bad for the boy I even offered to buy her from the dairy that had loaned her to us.  Matt declined stating that she was where she needed to be.  Besides, we might even get lucky and get her back in October.

As for the livestock show, Matt didn’t place in showmanship but he did place 6th in state for his weight class.  Not too bad considering this is the very first time he has been in a livestock show.  He’s learned a lot and is already looking forward to trying it again.

I have to say; I think that has been a great experience for him.  What a great way for a kid to learn discipline and responsibility.  At first I was concerned that I would be the one who would wind up taking care of Pancake.  You know how it is, a kid will make all the promises in the world to get a new pet and then the parents are the ones who wind up caring for the new pet.  Matt really was true to his word on the calf project however.  He bottle fed her, cleaned her stall, trained her and overall did a great job.

Sure it was a bit tough to giver her up but I tend to think that he has gained an experience that most kids never get.

And I dare you to tell me these kids don't love their cows!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stuffed Shells

It’s time for the livestock show and Matt takes off for Perry, Georgia tomorrow after school with his calf Pancake in tow.  He won’t be back home until Saturday evening so I thought I would cook him a good home cooked meal.  Considering he will probably eat his weight in junk food over the next few days I thought it was a good idea.  I told him it was his choice.  “Whatever you want”, I said.

Me and my big mouth… 

He decided that he would really like some stuffed shells like mom used to make, as he put it.  After I choked back my desire to convince him that he might like something else, I simply said, “Great, but I can’t promise you they’ll be like mom’s”.  He said that was okay since I was a pretty good cook he figured they might even be better.  I took that as a challenge…

Of course, I had no idea how to make stuffed shells.  That’s what Google is for though.  And how hard could it be, right?  I found what looked to be a good recipe and during lunch stopped by the grocery store to pick up everything.

Coming home with all the required ingredients, I dove right into it.  It wasn’t that difficult but did have several steps and took a couple of hours.  It took me until nearly 7:00 to even get it in the oven.  That might not sound like late to most folk but I usually like to have dinner on the table by at least 6:00.  Anyhow, I tossed it in the oven after snapping the attached picture and threw together a Caesar Salad.

It turned out really good.  Matt said that it was the best meal we have had all year and that they were better than mom’s stuffed shells.  I must admit that they were pretty good.  The best part to me, however, was the fact that I had another whole 9 X 13 dish full of them that I am putting into the freezer to pull out for another meal in a couple of weeks.  That really makes it worth all the work.

It’s going to be awfully quiet around here the next few days.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Milk Run

I had just about forgotten that tomorrow is Valentines day till I walked into the grocery store tonight.

If I had just not ran out of milk...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Sunday

No I’m NOT talking football.

Anyone who’s been reading this long enough or knows me personally knows that I don’t watch sports.  In particular, I don’t watch football.  I’ve never understood the pre occupation with sports and being able to regurgitate useless sports trivia.  I don’t think I will ever find enjoyment in watching a bunch of overpaid morally challenged thugs run up and down a court or field.  And before you say anything, yes I know that they are not all thugs and that some of them are pretty good men.  Be that as it may, I can find any number of things that I would rather spend my time on.

No, I’m talking about the pure and simple fact that it’s just been a super Sunday.  Actually it’s been a pretty dang good week.

I wrapped up the week spending the entire day with Matt and William at the University of Georgia.  They were both nominated for the Georgia Governors Honor program that will be held at Valdosta State University this summer.  They both made it to the state finals selection and had the final interview yesterday.  On Friday, we attended an all day event for all the state finalists that UGA held.  It was more of a recruitment exercise for UGA but the boys got a really good idea of what the college has to offer.  While the non-stop recruitment got a bit old, the overall experience was very informative and I think both of the boys have a new interest in attending UGA.

Hopefully both the boys did well with the final interviews and make the final selection.  They wont be announcing the results for some time.  The Georgia General Assembly has to approve the funding for the program on an annual basis and they wont do that for a couple of months.  Both the boys have a backup plan just in case. 

UGA has the Young Scholars Internship that they have both applied for as a backup.  I almost hope they get into that program instead.  It’s a paid internship (which is always good) and they would get to spend the summer at UGA working in the field with a research scientist for the entire summer.  They would be paired with a researcher that is doing work in an area that they have interest in.

As for today, I suppose its been super for a couple of reasons.  The day started out a bit tenuous but wound up getting better.  I was experiencing a good bit of anxiety this morning and it was a bit of work to fight it off.  Then all of a sudden this afternoon I had a clam come over me.  I felt so calm and easy it made me actually smile.  Maybe it was the music I was listening to.  Maybe it was the wonderful weather we had today.  Maybe it was something I ate.  I don’t know what it was but I sure enjoyed it.  It sure beats feelings on the other end of the spectrum that I wind up toiling with so often.  I’m still amazed at the emotional swings that I still experience. 

I don’t know why I appreciate feeling good so much, but I do.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that I’ve experienced feeling so bad for so long. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it sure feels good to feel good.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Case You're Wondering

A friend recently asked me a question.  They were wondering if I had maybe in some way elevated Lisa in my mind and maybe consciously or even sub-consciously forgotten bad memories.  The exact question was this…

I have always wanted to ask.  I have never heard a negative comment about Lisa come from your mouth. Is that a conscious decision? I know her goodness was so large.  Even I know that from the little time I knew her personally. Over time did the bad memories get over come by the grief? Every couple has their area of conflict. Just wondering...

My response was…

As for speaking negatively, I didn’t do it when she was alive and I certainly don’t have a reason to do it now.  We both had a rather low opinion of people that would speak ill of their spouse.  Even in jest, we found it to be rather childish and inconsiderate.  She, as far as I know, never spoke ill of me and I basically never spoke ill of her.  In fact, more often than not, we would tend to brag about each other more often then we probably should have.  I would say we tended to build each other up rather than tear each other down.  I was and still am extremely proud of her.  I was proud of her hard work, her unwavering standards, her success, accomplishments and high level of ethics.  I can also tell you I told her that often.  I can also tell you that she told me the same on a regular basis.

Of course we had our disagreements and issues, more than some and not as many as others.  She drove me slap up the wall from time to time.  But I also know, I had the ability to drive her nuts every now and then also.  However, we never aired our grievances in public or with other people.  We worked our problems out with each other.  I suppose we loved each other a whole lot more than we drove each other nuts.

NO the grief has not erased any bad memories.  I don’t think that I really have any “bad memories” of our time together.  We had the occasional argument and I still remember some of them.  However, there was nothing to warrant me calling it a “bad memory”.  Heck, I can remember us, after the fact, having a pretty good laugh about an argument or two from time to time.  We didn’t have any huge issues or secrets.  What your see is pretty much what it was… It was awesome…

I'll tell you a story – When we were moving into the farm house, Lisa was pretty upset about moving.  She was a mess and a bundle of emotions.  She cried more than once about leaving the Mallard house.  Anyhow, on closing/moving day I was pretty much a mess too.  The stress of the house sale/purchase along with my shoulder injury (I was still in an arm sling on moving day) had just about broke me physiologically.  I was just about in tears when Abby found me out in that nasty garage and asked me what was wrong.  I told her I was worried about Mom.  I told her I was worried that Mom was unhappy and all I wanted was for her to be happy.  I told her how much I loved her Mom and that I was just worried about her happiness.  Abby could tell that I was pretty upset.  Later that night, Lisa told me something.  She said that Abby came to her during the day and said “Daddy sure does love you a lot”.  She then told Lisa about how upset I was earlier that day.  She told me she loved me and that everything would work out, just like she did so many times before.

Like I said, what you see is pretty much what it was…

So now you all know my answer to this.  Just in case you too were wondering…

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bedroom Box

It’s been about ten days since it snowed here in central Georgia and there are still a few patches of snow here and there.  It was quite an event and one I’m sure, or at least I hope, we will not see again for quite a while.  The kids were out of school for an entire week and I’m pretty sure they didn’t mine in the least.

Given the fact it was so cold and messy outside this weekend, I spent most of my time in the house.  It gave me time to get caught up on a few things that have needed my attention for some time now. 

You see, there’s been this box sitting on the floor in my bedroom for three years and four months.  It’s a box of things that Jamie collected from Lisa’s classroom.  Just some personal items, trinkets and pictures that Lisa kept in her classroom.  When Jamie brought it to me I sat it in on the floor in my bedroom and it’s been sitting there, collecting dust, ever since.

I don’t know if it’s remained there due to a lack of courage, time or energy.  Maybe I just got sick of looking at it and telling myself I needed to do something with that stuff.  I don’t know why but this weekend I finally decided to tackle it.  It took three false starts and I even wound up throwing some things out only to dig them back out of the trashcan.  I went through it and organized it, like I do most things, and packed it up for storage.

It was just a box but it really feels good to have it out of there. 

Since the last bay of the garage is almost finished, I’ll have a place for that box along with several others soon.  I finished up the electrical and the last of the insulation and ran out of steam.  So, I hired the drywall out.  I decided my time was more valuable then the money I would spend having someone else do the work.  The annual FFA statewide woodworking competition is coming up in just a couple of months and Matt wants to enter a project. 

He didn’t get to do a project last year due to my slow progress on the cabinets that I was building for the shop side of the garage.  He is looking for some payback this year after only winning second place for that fantastic podium that he made his freshman year.  This years project is an Adirondack chair and he’s going to use a design (pictured above) that I came up with several years ago when I made one for Lisa.  I made it for her one Christmas and promised her that it was a one of a kind for her.  While I promised her that I wouldn't make another one for anyone else, I don’t think she would mind Matt borrowing the design.

I think the boy might just take first place this year…

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

I finally got Baby-Girl home.  She led the way and I followed at a safe distance.  She did pretty well until she hit the driveway.  The long incline along with all the ice was just too much for her little two-wheel drive SUV.  She got about half way up and just started sliding back down.  After a couple of attempts I finally got her to the top.  Then I realized she would have to go back down it in the morning.  So back down I went… going down was a good bit easier than going up.  Now don’t laugh but no sooner did I get her taken care of and in the house she wanted to know if I thought it would be okay to go to the gym and work-out.

Yeah I know…but I’m trying to let her make her own decisions so rather than go with my gut and shout something like “have you lost your mind” I asked her a simple question.  Is possibly having a wreck worth going to the gym?  She said yes it was and I replied well I don’t think that’s a very smart choice.

Nothing else was said but as I’m typing this she is over there on the couch playing “angry birds” and I’m pretty proud of the fact that she decided to play it safe.  After all, if she had wound up in the ditch, who’s she going to call and drag out into the dark and cold?  That’s right, me…

Maybe she’s finally figuring out that when she has a problem, most of the time it turns into a problem for me!

Its going to be dang cold again tonight but on the bright side it will get well above freezing tomorrow afternoon.  That should help thaw things out.  Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I don't find any busted pipes when the thaw hits.  The house should be fine but we have water down at the barn and no heat.  I'm just going to think positive and keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Deep South Deep Freeze

What a week…

With a good snowstorm being in the forecast for Sunday night the kids knew they would be stuck her for the day.  They also knew that I have never, not gone to work due to the weather.  It might take me a while but four-wheel drive and light foot will do a lot for you.  Since they both figured I would be heading to work on Monday they both took off Sunday to spend the night with friends.  Little did we realize just how bad things were going to get. 

I woke up at 4:00 on Monday morning to a real mess.  For the first time ever, I was I was not willing to make the drive.  I called my boss and we both agreed to close the factory we run.

It’s Wednesday night and things are not much better.  We worked a half day Tuesday and had a late start today.  Most of the main roads are clear but all our little backcountry roads are hit and miss. 

Jet, Bo (the horses) and Pancake (Matt’s calf) have been stuck in the barn since Sunday night but they seem to be happy to be out of the cold, snow and ice.  It’s been a bit challenge to keep them in water and get them fed twice a day while still working and running to see the kids and deliver clean clothes.

The picture above was taken this morning just as the sun was coming up.  It appears to be a frozen lake but is actually a photo of the pasture just outside my living room window.  It’s basically about seven inches of snow with about an eighth of an inch of ice over top of it.  I was actually able to walk on it without breaking through.

School has been closed all week and it’s canceled for tomorrow too.  Maybe, things will thaw out a bit more tomorrow and I can get my kids back home and let the animals out of the barn.  I’m not holding my breath considering the five day forecast.

But, thank goodness for four-wheel drive and friends.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Double Edged Sword

Grief is a blessing…

NO, I haven’t lost my mind or taken to drink in excess.  I have just been blessed with a mind that thinks non-stop and likes to excessively examine things and look at them from every perspective.  A, long ago, mentor once told me that knowledge is power.  He said that if you are knowledgeable about something then you can make meaningful and informed decisions about it.  He also went on to say that you can think something to death and that you will never have all the information that is available so at a point you need to let the bullets fly.  On the subject of grief, I would say that I have analyzed it and thought it to death and it may be time to let the bullets fly.  And while I am not a trained professional I have experienced my share of it.  So, here it is…

Greif is a blessing at the same time it is a curse.

It compels you to look deep within yourself as it forces you to look all around you. 

It forces you into a corner as it helps you to step out in new directions. 

It changes you for the better and for the worse. 

It will scar you at the same time it heals you.

It is noxious at the same time it is beneficial.

It has made me sad while it has forced me to smile upon things.

It rips away what is not important while building up what is really important.

It is the same for all while being different for each.

It can make you question and drive you closer to it.

It can blind you yet help you to see things more clearly.

It can help you love more deeply and make you hate more intensely.

It can harden you at the same time it softens you.

I think that some may have trouble understanding all this but I also think that those of you who have experienced what I and many others have will understand how grief can be a curse at the same time it is a blessing.

This post is dedicated to my friend Janine whom inspired it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One With One on One-One

I’m sad to say I am off for only one more day. I am one with one on one, one, eleven.  Rather apropos wouldn’t you say?

I almost feel guilty for feeling so good.  Note I said almost… It does feel good to feel good however.  And I feel rested and rejuvenated.  I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I felt rested… I guess that just goes to show you what two weeks of getting more than six hours of sleep each night will do for one.

It’s been a great two weeks and after tomorrow we are back to our normal schedules.  Oh, how I am going to miss my time off.  Of course, someone has to pay the bills so it’s back to work like it or not.

It’s been the best Christmas break in three years.  Of course I have had my moments and missed my sweet Lisa but overall it’s been pretty darn enjoyable.  Even the rain that has been falling most of the day has not dampened my spirits.

We have had many good meals with wonderful friends.  We have stayed up late most nights and been slow to rise each morning.  Most days have been productive but overall stress free.  I feel more balanced than I have in a long time.  I was able to find a balance between working in the shop and around the farm with taking some time out to play and just enjoy my time off.  That’s a triumph for me, as I tend to be so all-or-nothing with so many things in my life.

As with a lot of things over the past two weeks, I have broken with tradition and I am not taking down the Christmas tree this weekend.  Matt said it’s too depressing taking down the tree and I agreed.  There’s just something about coming home to a warmly lit Christmas tree.  It makes the house feel warm and comforting.  So, we decided we would leave it up until next weekend.

Maybe next weekend we’ll have a late New Years celebration with little bonfire down near the barn.  We can toss the tree on it for a grand finale.  Who knows, I might even drink a beer!

Happy New Year to all of you.   May your blessings be abundant in the coming year and if your heart is broken like mine, may it heal and become strong again as mine continues too.