Thursday, November 29, 2012

it's becoming almost comical...

our garage door decided to go out a few days ago. it won't open past about 18" for some reason. we spent some time looking at it tuesday night and realized that the turn wheel above the motor that the chain sits around is broken. it's still there and it's kind of working (it goes down just fine) but because there is a break in it, it can't seem to create the power it needs to lift the extremely heavy wooden door. awesome.

so i just parked the suburban outside. no big deal.

but today it rained. all day. it's still raining in fact. i like rain, for the most part. however, i got in it about an hour ago to take a quick trip to kinkos with paul so he could fax something and discovered that it's leaking. inside. on the top there's a spot to attach a big radio antenna, and apparently, the area around it is no longer water-tight. so there's water dripping down behind the a/c controller for the backseat and onto the floor.

oh, and on top of that, my defroster isn't working. everything works, but it needs freon. but the real problem is that it needs to be flushed out before new freon is put in. that costs money. and therein lies the problem. (does anyone else think it's stupid that you need freon for the defroster? clearly, i don't understand how it works...)

the underside leaks like a sieve too. power steering fluid mostly, i think. but, really it could be just about anything. i know so little about cars.

don't forget i don't have a passenger-side handle! (better than driver, right?)

we have two house doors that won't close when the weather changes due to swelling/shrinking and poor strike-plate placement. again, not really a big deal, but a pain at least.

a couple weeks ago the garbage disposal went out. i didn't want to try to fix it myself in case i messed it up. then it would be my fault and we'd be in trouble. so instead we let the property management company know and they sent a guy over. turns out it was an easy fix. just had something wrapped around it. but since it wasn't "normal wear and tear" it's now still our fault and going to cost me $36.

paul got a phone call that he was delinquent on a student loan bill. we thought it was on forbearance. apparently, it wasn't. it was sent to collections. we had to pay that somehow, and then fill out the paperwork to get the forbearance reinstated (hence the trip to kinkos). 

also, he went to ausland today to inquire in person and discovered that the VP of operations just passed away very suddenly (he was young.) he was involved in the interview process (one of the two guys that did paul's interview), so naturally the whole company is distressed and things are kind of on hold in the hiring department. so, who knows how much longer before we know about that job.

i don't write all this to whine, because honestly, i'm fine. like i said, at this point, each new thing is almost funny. really, i'm writing partly to document it (mom asked me if i'd journaled it. i should still do that, but this is better than not doing it at all), and partly to explain why i really am starting to feel like i'm at the end of my rope (you don't even want to know what my savings account looks like). i'm hoping this is all a good sign. that this is satan's way of trying to beat us down and make us lose hope because he knows something good is close if we can just keep doing what we're doing. they say it's always darkest before the dawn, right? there's always this extra-high pressure period before it's released. like a parting shot?  <~~~ actually, that kind of made me laugh.

gosh, i sure hope that's true. if not, well, somehow we'll survive. and we've been really blessed that the suburban has had so few problems in the time we've had it considering it's age. and most of this stuff is cosmetic or an inconvenience. it's been a good vehicle really. we've been so blessed in so many other ways too. and i really feel that way. 

but, really, it wouldn't hurt my feelings to have something great happen now.  :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

he's the man

for a little extra cash paul got a job two nights a week cleaning. one night he does a toyota dealership and the next he does a diner and the local bowling alley. since mom and chuck were here for thanksgiving, i went with him last night, and let me tell you, that was a whole new experience. not the cleaning part, but seeing the whole inside of a car dealership. including the service garage, the locker rooms, and the boss's private bathroom including a shower and a dresser.

the first thing i thought when we got there and paul started pulling out cleaning stuff was "wow, this sucks." which i said out loud. paul said "you didn't have to come, it's okay." but that's not what i meant. i meant, wow this sucks that after working so hard to get through years of schooling while having kids and working part time for bad minimum wage while still taking out student loans that he still has to take a night job cleaning to make ends meet. kind of. it sucks that he has a degree to do something he loves and instead does jobs that are very boring and un-stimulating because that's what he has to do to take care of his family.

 i loved him all the more at that moment, and now probably every time he continues to go out to clean and go to his regular day job because it's all we've got right now.

and you know what? he never complains. other than occasionally saying things like "i hate retail." (who can blame him?). he just does it because it has to be done. because, seriously, he's the man. oh yeah, and then, on top of that, after he's been out cleaning until 3:00 a.m. he gets up in the morning to take keith to school or feed the kids breakfast and when i tell him to get some sleep he says things like "but i want to be with you!"

if he has to work anyway--and he does because we're poor and don't have any money to our names--then i sure wish he could be doing something he loves. something that pushes him each day. something that gives him the chance to grow and magnify his talents. daddy that's happy after a rewarding day at work is much more fun than daddy who's bored and frustrated and doesn't ever want to talk about work. and i want him to be happy.

so, for this reason, and many others, i am really, really hoping paul gets this job. but either way, i hit the jackpot. seriously, this guy is gold.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


i have so much to be grateful for this holiday. so, so much. we went around the table and said what we were thankful for. i thought of the standard at first, especially family. but then, they started tumbling out. and i would feel so ungrateful not to take a few minutes to mention just a few of these things that i am almost inexpressibly grateful for.

family, especially kids that make me laugh and are quite laid back. really, they're super easy. they like to hug and kiss and cuddle and laugh.

a husband who takes really good care of his family. who does whatever needs to be done and whatever he can do to make ends meet, even when it's terribly unpleasant or a total waste of his hard-earned degree.

a house, in a great location, for a decent price, with good insulation, a good sized yard and enough space for all of us to not be completely on top of each other.

food in my cupboards and fridge. enough to feed my kids and myself and not worry if my kids will have to go to bed hungry.

a mom who loves me and loves my kids and always makes me feel that she's happy to see me. and a step-dad that treats me as his own and has patience for days, especially with my wild kids who love him so much.

a healthy family, all around. kids who have had very few problems.

a strong, healthy, capable body with so few problems that i am free to do pretty much whatever i want and not worry about how it can/will hurt.

talents, hobbies, and endless interests that keep me engaged. and things like the internet, the public library, and friends to help me learn about and enjoy said hobbies and interests.

the fact that paul has pretty much always had a job. and the times when he didn't were pretty short. that there's a job possibility on the horizon, either in his actual field (praying!) or somewhere else that's not his first choice, but pays better than his current job.

being sent to oregon where it rains a lot and it's beautiful and i've made lots of great friends.

immediate and extended family that are very supportive and constantly praying for us and sending us good thoughts vibes.

this list is short and really incomplete, but these are a few of my favorite things . . . oh sorry, had a song moment there. i have much in my life to be grateful for!! and though things could maybe be a little bit better, they could be a whooole lot worse, and i'm happy with where we are right now in life. really.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

funerals and tender mercies

a few weeks ago i got a phone call from a woman in my ward i don't even know. not because she's inactive, but because her husband is in the presidency of the single's ward so, of course, she attends church with him across town. her father had recently passed away, and they were looking for a piano player for two family musical numbers. she was given my name by the woman who has played for them in the past, but was out of town. i am so, so glad she gave her my number.

i'm always so flattered to be asked to play at funerals because they are so special to the people involved. i feel like there's a lot of trust placed in me to do it well. it's something the people involved remember for a long time to come. not that they remember my playing particularly, but the overall feeling. if i played really badly though, they probably would remember that! 

it was a group of about 25 people or so (bigger than our ward choir!), all children and grandchildren of the deceased. talk about a musically inclined family. i like to think that mom will live for another 20 years at least, and that will be our family someday at her funeral. :)

anyhoo, i got with them sunday evening to learn the song. it was a beautiful arrangement of "i stand all amazed". they learned it super quickly. i got with them again early(ish) monday before the funeral. they were amazing. there was also a small group of 3 women who sang "pie jesu" which was also just beautiful. 

they were talented, quick to learn, and the song was so much fun to play. it was a piano part with real substance. it was full of notes and dynamics and tough parts. on top of that, everyone was, of course, so super kind to me. basically, it was the most enjoyable time i've ever had playing for a funeral. they were all saying "thank you" to me, when i felt like i should be thanking them for the opportunity to play! 

today, i got a "thank you" card in the mail from one of the daughters. i don't even know which because there were so many of them and i didn't really have time to put names and faces together. thank you cards are always nice. it's nice to be acknowledged. but on top of that, there was a costco gift card inside it. wow. talk about twice blessed. it probably wasn't that big of a thing for her, but it's a huge thing for me!