Things I do when my spouse is traveling

My spouse and I have been together since 1997, so when he’s out of town it is deeply weird. This time he’s in Houston for a few days, then will be back for a couple, then gone again for a few more. I have lists of food I’ll make for dinner, things we will do in the evenings, but it’s never easy when 2/5 of our household is gone.

Nights like this, I tend to draw back into myself. I read a book (tonight’s is for the UU book club: Memoirs of a Geisha) and listen to my favorite female musicians (Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Juliana Hatfield, etc.) by candlelight while the children wander in and out, foraging for food or bidding for my attention in new and exciting ways.

Sometimes I indulge in long phone calls with old friends or family members. Tonight it was my birth family. I was trying to explain about my youngest wanting a piccolo for Christmas and how that was a wonderful thing. They said it would be so loud and off-putting, but to me, it’s music and comfort and safety because I can hear the melody and know exactly which kid it is playing and where my kid is and what they are doing. Their traumas are different than mine. I am terrified of not knowing what is happening to my children, of not being present, of moments unacknowledged. My goal as a parent is that my children never spend a moment wondering if they are loved or seen or acknowledged. I spend my days making sure that they know that they are welcomed and loved and seen for who they are, and that they know that however they may change, they are still loved. There is more about all that in the memoir I am writing, of course.

Tonight there was also a brief storm, so the youngest and I wandered outside and danced in the thunder and lightning, a tradition we’ve had since he was little. The rain drops were huge and we were quickly soaked, but it is what we do. We danced and sang and when we became too cold, we came inside and burrowed in blankets on the couch, listening to the midkid practice his French horn.

And now it is growing closer to bedtime, but I am unable to sleep. I never do when my spouse is gone. I will probably stay up and watch movies he would not enjoy, while listening to one of my kids sing his Region Band music, which is identical to music I and my friends played when we were in high school. It’s funny how things go around and come back to themselves.

More organizing

I promised more organizing for the next day’s post and many days have gone by and I can’t remember any more what I organized, so I’m looking through my pictures to help me remember:

See, now my three-tiered shelf can be for pretties again!  (Temporary display for now; first things my hands came to)
See, now my three-tiered shelf can be for pretties again! (Temporary display for now; first things my hands came to)

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This is our new art storage cart. I like that it has many drawers, so pens in one, markers, crayons, pencils, etc… I also like that it’s on wheels so it can live there in peace during regular life, or move to the kids room when Greg is on an art spree, or move into my room when we have guests over for dinner. 🙂

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This doesn’t look as tidy as I’d like, but for a $3 over-the-door tie-and-belt rack, it does the job. No more lost belts & ties! Woo hoo!

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Shoes are always going missing in this house, but NO MORE. Bottom two rows are Greg’s, next two are Ben’s, and next two are next-size-up for each of them (for those days when Daddy is impatient).

Honestly, I’ve gotten nothing else done since then, except a tiny bit in my makeup & hair boxes.  Steph and I did a writer’s retreat this weekend, which I posted about here(from a writing standpoint) and here (from an RA standpoint).  Since I’m still working on last month’s holidays, I brought her her family’s gifts, and she sent some home with me for the boys as well.

There were cards & gifts from another friend in there as well.  :)
There were cards & gifts from another friend in there as well. 🙂

The kids were out of school on Monday, so we had a quiet, fun day:

Greg pulled out his science kit and we spent quite a while trying out all its tricks.
Greg pulled out his science kit and we spent quite a while trying out all its tricks.

I remember playing on this with them when they were all babies!
I remember playing on this with them when they were all babies!

This sign on the door of the bathroom at the park cracked me up!
This sign on the door of the bathroom at the park cracked me up!

and worked in the garden. Ben had scouts in the evening. I don’t know that we should call it that anymore, as he’s the only one that ever shows up any more. *sigh*

Yesterday I didn’t have to work, but I did have a bunch of errands to run: a Goodwill drop-off where I spoke to a man named Ram about how God changed his life, a grocery store run to buy lunch makings since the kids had eaten them all up over the weekend, and then my book study on Raising Resilient Kids over at the PDC. After school Ben had dance, so Greg and I hit the dollar store so he could use some of his Christmas money. Then off to piano lessons, where we got a lesson on what goes on inside the piano and how all the pedals work. It was awesome!

Our teacher is super interesting!  :)  We love her!
Our teacher is super interesting! 🙂 We love her!

Today I was hoping to sub, but haven’t gotten a call, so I’m going to go off and work on some stuff in my bedroom, which has all the boxes of “doesn’t live here” from David’s room cleaning last week. It’s pretty scary and I’m tired of looking at them! Once I get done with that, it’s time for fun stuff: writing! 🙂

I write 750 words a morning; sometimes they’re for you.*

I got up this morning, wandered through the house, and thought to myself “How is it that it all gets THIS messy in just one day of me not tidying?”  Nick said that I do more than I think I do or than maybe he thinks I do around the house.  No, the house is never totally clean, but is anyones?  I mean, other than those live-alone (or just couples) neat freaks?    I really don’t think so.

We spent the morning yesterday playing outside before heading over to the DSP for a play date with Greg’s friend B.  DSP has changed themselves up with a lobby over in the front corner near the street while their real lobby is under construction.  They have opened up this room in the middle that I always though was a classroom so that we can all easily move between the rooms and I was so interested in that room.  At one end is a stage, a real stage with doors going out the sides for entries and such.  It had a nifty ceiling and places for projectors and lights.  They’d moved some of their displays in there, things that used to be in the hallway and out here, where you can see them, the kids were delighted with them.  In the hallway, where they were, you kind of just rushed past them on your way somewhere else.  There wasn’t enough light or room to back up and look at them (plus if you were trying to look at them, you were in the way of other people rushing through the hallway).

 

So anyway, we had a play date.  Greg & his friend B. played for a little while before B. had his screaming fit.  He screamed through three play areas before B’s mom dragged him out to the car for a time out.  I don’t think I’d have lasted that long with a kid screaming and pulling on me.  Greg put on a play for me in the theatre area (not the place with the stage, but the little house in the other room) about a mechanic with a dinosaur hat that didn’t fit.  It was pretty funny, especially since he was wearing a painter’s smock with cowgirls riding horses on it.   B’s mom and B. finally came back in once he’d calmed down.  By then Greg and I were in the play car, driving to the “saladbee” place.  We still don’t know what that word was supposed to be.  Greg’s response: “The place!  Where they have the saladbees!”  No idea.  We played in the ambulance for a while after that and then let the kids roam on their own in the big play area together while we talked about Bible studies and different views on various verses.  After that we had some lunch; or rather, the boys had some lunch while B’s mom tried to get B. not to wipe his hands on his clothes and I tried to get Greg to eat some carrots (we both failed in our attempts, sadly).  Then the kids played in the toddler area, jumping in and out of that little room until it was time to go.

Greg and I came home and I attempted to eat lunch, but the tomato soup we had was fancy and weird flavored, so Nick ate it.  We watched most of an episode of Hawaii 50 before he had to go back to work.  By then I was feeling pretty puny, so I sent Greg off to watch a video while I laid down on the couch to rest.  Eventually I took my temperature because I was freezing cold and the thermostat told me that the house was hot and it turned out that I had a fever.  I think it must have just been the arthritis related fever because I am feeling lots less achy and no fever this morning.  I bundled up in a blanket while Greg played outside before we went to get the big kids.

We picked them up, brought them home, and started them practicing their piano music and theory before moving on to David’s piano lesson.  Well, it was supposed to be David’s lesson, but the piano teacher had a mostly verbal lesson to give both kids, so she did a bit of David’s lesson, then called both kids over to tell them the story of how the piano came to be.  David will have a bit of a lesson this afternoon, as will Ben.  I liked how the piano teacher incorporated the Bible into her lesson, telling the kids that in Genesis 4:20, they tell of Jubal and his brother Jabal and how one of them was a master of string and organ.  That really got the kids interested.  🙂  I need to find them a map of Italy today so that they can see where the language of music comes from.  I’m sure there must be one somewhere on the internet that shows where all the major composers came from.

*ok, so this isn’t really 750 words.  It’s not always.  A lot of times it’s more than that, but I am trying for 750 words of something every day, just to keep up the habit of writing, if not always the fiction writing.  Some mornings, like this morning, my brain is a little too scrambled for fiction.  Those mornings are lucky for the blog because then I’ll ramble about daily life instead.  Woo hoo for scrambled brains!