Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is it Really Thursday?

Day #4 today in Pearlington. I have successfully learned how to use a hammer-drill or drill-hammer, but not completely sure which is the right way to say it. Drilled into concrete for 2 hours and I caulked base boards, door jams, window sills, and the list goes on. I've been to Lowe's twice now and have several ideas about home projects for my own home. Not likely any of that will happen in the near future though. Took some pictures of the work crews today too. Look for those on the Mississippi blog.

I worked at a new (to me) site today and have the utmost respect for these young adults that are working right along side us this week. The are profoundly loving, caring, hard working, funny, easy to laugh with, easy to get along with, easy to work on hard projects with. I told them tonight how great I thought they were. I've been so blessed to be in their presence. The light in their eyes shines differently then it does in most adults. I hope they never lose that spark. I hope these kids are encouraged and continually loved and nurtured. They are our future. And they are amazing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Half Way Through

Wow. I'm not sure how to express in words what I have felt today. Possibly every emotion. A few of the lighter things I discovered today are:

1. I'm completely convinced that painting a primer coat on a building has NOTHING to do with priming...and everything to do with getting a practice round in first before the real deal

2. Don't sit on flimsy upside down plastic buckets--not only will they break but you'll feel like an idiot

3. The local church fed us lunch today and it was DE.LI.CIOUS

4. If the Boss Man tells you he's "Proud as punch" with the work you just did, that totally one-ups the "Atta- boy"s. Feels good.

There are some things on the home front that have me a little distracted. I feel torn. Ok but torn. Story of my life really. I don't know why I'd expect that it would ever be any different. Kinda glad I'm here and don't really have to face those demons right now.

And, oh by the way, today is my birthday. B and I and 2 other ladies took a quick detour for a birthday coffee at Starbucks today. What a treat! Dad called on my cell and was so impressed that if he called my cell from California to Mississippi that he could actually reach me. Will wonders never cease? The work I did today was very much surface work. Painting mostly. And that's how I intended the rest of my day to be too. Today may just be any other day to everyone else, but today is a day that Mama used to really make special. And I miss it. A lot. So I did surface work both physically and emotionally, keeping anything of anxiety or sadness or stress at bay. No such luck.

Let me back up just a tad bit. Summer of 95 Mama and I are in the south of France. We were there for one day only and then were to start a journey north towards Paris. We went to the beach: the Mediterranean Sea. I like the to look at cause it's pretty, but the sand kinda ruins it for me. Mom's looking at me with this excitement in her face and says, "Aw come on Meg, you've gotta stick your toes in the water!" And so I did. And it was great. And now I can say that I've had my toes in Mediterranean Sea. Cool. After working today, our whole team took an hour or so to drive to the beach. Mind you it's my birthday, I don't like sand, I'm missing Mama, trying not to be a pill, and I have no intention of taking my dirty work boots off and tromping thru the sand. But it was beautiful at the beach and I was content standing on the side of the road surface, safe from the sand. Then B looks up at me from the water's edge and says, "Aw come on Meg, you've gotta stick your toes in the water!" It hit me like a ton of bricks...

Hi Mama. Are you here too right now? Are you part of this feeling? This beauty? This moment?

I'm now completely lost in my own emotional drama, trying to take off stupid boots and sweaty socks and not sob as I'm walking out to the water. It was so beautiful. Here's one of the pictures I took right then. I sent it to hubby and a few friends. Kelly sends me a text back right away that says: "Aw, I see God there too." Spot on Kelly, spot on.

Monday, December 29, 2008

And Here Comes Day #3

The past days have each had a story, a task, learning, etc. Today there were each of these things but today was the first day I was able to see that each of these things intersects with another. We start out to do one thing, but end up led another place, exactly where God wants us. And I get to ride along. It's beautiful.

Some of the stories coming our of this Mississippi trip are amazing. Sad. Thoughtful. Hard. Compassionate.

There is a story of 2 spoons that I'll post about later. Then there's a wheelchair bound man who had a wheel chair lift installed on the new house, but it doesn't work. Craig from our team went over to look at it. Couldn't fix it. Didn't give up. Went home that night and pulled up the wiring diagram for that make and model on the computer. Later was able to determine one small part missing that could be purchased at an electronics store. He fixed it. This man will get to see the inside of his house for the VERY FIRST TIME!

Part of our team is working on the oldest home in Pearlington. It dates back to the 1800's but the real date is not known as all those documents burned in a fire at the courthouse in the 1930's.

From what I hear Pearlington was not on the "radar" after Katrina. People were stranded in their attics and rooftops for 3 or 4 days before a helicopter saw them. They didn't know there was this tiny little town of people to look for. Can you imagine?

Every block has houses and lots of land that are still ruined. Seems there was an initial call of help that was answered with work crews and money, but for the most part that faded out. There are people left with partially built new homes and no money left to finish them. But the deadline to get out of the Katrina cottages is fast approaching. If they don't have a certificate of occupancy-- they CAN'T move in. These projects were started in good faith, but have not been brought to fruition.

It's frustrating. There is so much to do. So little time. And such wonderful people. We were sent here to do more than just build. We have come to bring hope.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 2

I have a new respect for i-pods. I left mine at home: making an attempt to not shy away from things/people. Well lemme tell you, I needed an i-pod so badly. Guy and B to the rescue. No REALLY.

Today me and my little team finished putting up shelves and closet rods. It felt good to be able to stand back and see we had accomplished something. Nothing huge or newsbreaking. Just something to help this family move another load of stuff from their Katrina cottage to the new house. Every little bit helps.

I also painted today. I had on hubby's USMC sweatshirt and didn't want to get it painty, nor did I want to take it off cause it was chilly. Seems there was a seamstress/garbage-bag-transformer in our group who offered to make me a handy LARGE garbage bag poncho. I'm low on sleep, high on life, and really almost peed my pants when we were trying to get it on me cause I was laughing so darn hard.
PS: sweatshirt got painty anyhow. =( I tried to explain to hubby that I was taking his clothes to Pearlington to wear because his clothes are made to be durable--and mine are made to be cute.
PPS: There may have been a picture taken of me while I was wrangling that dang bag while standing on a paint bucket, trying not to pee, and trying to see thru tears of laughter and hysteria.

I am a bad painter. Will do it. But can't do it pretty. Aint gonna happen. Isn't in my blood. No can do.

I wore my hair in braids yesterday to keep my hair out of my face. It worked. But truth be told, when I took a shower last night all sorts of little bugs seemed to be washing out. Ew! So today I took it up a notch: braids + bandanna over the hair keeps hair and paint out of my eyes, and bugs out of my hair. Ah HAH!

It did rain today just a little bit. And oddly enough "It's raining men" (the song) managed to make its way into today's happenings. Who'd have thunk it.... on a church mission trip and all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oh Katrina

We are here. Arrived safely from a flight through Denver to Louisiana. Here's the scoop:

~The flight attendants had us laughing. When we took off they put one bag of pretzels and one bag of peanuts in the middle aisle to se which bag would make it to the back of the plane first. And they were talking over the loud speaker like we were at the Kentucky Derby.

~Car rental is a nightmare. Like really a joke.

~There's still tons to do here in Pearlington. Every turn, every corner. Houses untouches. Katrina cottages more common than standing houses.

~I need ear plugs

~A stud finder may find you more than you bargained for. HA!

~I learned the diffrerence among rown molding, kick plates, shoe moldings and something else but can't remember right now.

~I successfully used an electric saw and a nail gun and didn't injure myself or others.

~Putting crown molding up is tricky! Especially at the corners. All the angles. Oh the lack of sleep. Oh the insanity and laughing that enuses then. AND THEN finding the very equation ON THE SAW that were were trying to figure out. Special.

~my new boots are totally worth having to deal with Dad's comment.

Love to you, I'll post more later. No time for spell check.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Change of Pace

The babes are in bed, sleeping. Hubby is in his recliner. The fishies are swimming. The presents are wrapped, the stockings are stuffed. The dining room and kitchen are clean. The living room and bedroom are not. It's pouring down rain, and it is beautiful. I'm peacefully aware that this year I am making a change. I am making my mark on this little corner of the world this year.

Christmas is great and all that holly-jolly stuff. But it's so commercial. That's the part I can't stand. This year I thoughtfully picked out each gift I was to give. I was inspired as I went. I refused to feel guilted into anything. If it wasn't right, I didn't get it just so I had something to give. It's about the process to me. AND... Christmas and my birthday just feel really really lame since Mama isn't here. Who else can make you feel SOOO special than your mommy? Last year amidst unruly postpartum depression and other unfortunate chaos, I could barely make it through the holidays. Barely.

This year as I celebrate Christmas, I will not sit home and let these awful thoughts go round and round in a head they can't escape from. I can not make Mama come back. I can not change the past. But I can make a difference in the future, in the name of Jesus Christ and what better way than to leave the day after Christmas to help the folks of Pearlington, MS rebuild? I can talk till I am blue in the face. Anyone can. But instead I will hush my mouth and hush my poor-me head, and I will walk the walk. I will use my hands to rebuild and restore. I will go in the strength of my Savior alone, and I will let Him speak to me and move me and take me where He needs me. I hope for clarity but I will not seek it or wait around for it. For if I am doing the Lord's work, perhaps clarity will find me instead. I am choosing hope over fear. Reign in me, dear Lord... I am yours for the taking.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Can't Sleep - Boo Hiss For ME!

What in tarnation is going on now? Goodness gracious. Like I've got nothing better to do. Hmph. Think I've got a fever so I'm sweating incessantly, fighting off a migraine, having really SCARY nightmares and wake up screaming. Now I've got the hiccups. I thought THAT'S IT!!!! And I stormed outta bed. I'm not sure who/what I'm yelling at, but WHATEVER!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What's The Deal??

What's the deal with men? Are they NOT as insecure? Do they have any idea that talking WEIGHT with women (of any age) is inappropriate? Dad likes to get me a pair of shoes every so often for Christmas. So we met at a shoe store to find a nice pair of GOOD shoes. Dad says "These should be okay if you're not planning on gaining any more weight. You're done, right?" UGH. I never intentionally plan on gaining weight. It just happens. Geesh. Like he's one to talk. So I'm sitting here not really moping about it, just stewing. Then head to the fridge where I am faced with vanilla Slim Fast sitting right next to cookie dough from Papa Murphy's. Hahahaha.... Who am I joking? Cookie dough ALL the WAY! Can I get a hell YA!?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Things I Learned Today

* My dad has 14 (FOURTEEN!!!!) little magnetic notepads on the side of his fridge each specifically designated (like one for Costco, one for Safeway, one for the Hardware store, etc, etc.) Scary thing is that it actually is a very coordinated way of handling shopping. Excessive yet practical.

*The time we waited at PetSmart to get one fish took entirely too long.

*Middle bebe has no concept of skipping incessantly in a parking lot NOT looking at moving vehicles.

*I need to come up with a name for my new "leash," ie: blackberry for work.

*Most people always have ulterior motives. I hate it. Truth is better.

*I have much to do, but totally prefer to be wrapped up in NCIS and HGTV.

* Love hurts

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gettin Outta Dodge

I'm getting the heck outta dodge. 9 days and counting. My life has become something of an unmanageable nature. I'm hoping to take a step back and rest, and take life in with a whole new set of eyes. Rest in a different way, not the typical. I think there is something to hard, physical, manual labor that allows one to process things mentally and spiritually. It's a way of busying the body, but freeing the soul.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tips On How To Go Crazy in The World of Meg

Wake up early to get a start on a long day.

Change the cute baby who has pee peed all over her bed again, but did sleep through the night. So don't make a fuss.

Drive carefully fast on the slippery roads and make it late to a morning appt. At this appt make sure your doctor laughs right at you when you tell him you are trying to cut down on the stress. Laughing in my face is always a swell start.

Once at work realize it's cold and will definitely be a 2-coffee day. Now armed, proceed to "supervise" staff not able to log into new computer systems, complaints, and oh yes and my email is full so I can neither receive email in nor send any out. That's a super productive way to conduct business. Escape before the place self destructs.

Arrive to parent, teacher, school nurse, school psychologist, principal meeting to talk about plan of action for Big Bebe and staying on track. Put on a normal "every thing's under control" grin and nod. Careful not to speak. Who knows what will come out.

Gather Big Bebe and proceed thru almost freezing rain to car. Little feet are quickly losing feeling. Take off little wet shoes and socks. Put feet on the car heater on the right. Hang wet little socks from the heater in the middle. Think for a second you are smart. Then think again that now that car smells like smelly wet little feet. Yum.

Get to Big Bebe's Stanford appt a few minutes early. How did this happen? Almost sit back and relax, then think better of it and go thru crap in the car. Found MANY items that contribute to the smelliness of the car.

After appt get back to car to make way back to home, stopping by for a quick bite to eat. Then take windy road home so Big Bebe turns green and almost returns food.

Get home, return to car, realize almost out of gas. Stop for gas, get to practice. After, give a ride home, then pick up Middle Bebe and get on the road to pick up Bitty Bebe.

On way to Bitty Bebe, get something large and unwelcome in left eye. Try to maintain poor but working right eye vision and safe driving skills. Try not to be snappy as Middle Bebe retells every second of her entire day and will not stop talking.

Pick up Bitty Bebe. Make sure Grandma tells you exactly how Bitty was extra constipated today and describes in detail just how it all "went down."

Return home to find Big Bebe feeling better, and making a lovely science project on the once pretty dining room table. Picture here all the new glassware each filled with water and each with its own special addition, like glue, or sand, and salt, and popsicle sticks. Oh yes and there is a "control" one too.

Find Hubby very comfortably snoozing in the recliner just a few feet away.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

But I'm Back Again

That's the closing line of my favorite little kids book Noisy Nora: "But I'm back again!" said Nora with a monumental crash!
Daddy fixed my phone line (bless him) and in the process internet was lost. It's amazing what things I can get done around the house when I'm not attached at the eyeballs to the computer. Hmmm...

Just so you know: diamonds aren't a girls best friend. I know 'cause the diamond in my engagement ring (which I still wear) took a leap into never never land. I was sad. So sad. Not because of what I lost, but the feeling I thought I'd lost with it. Not true though. I'd come to terms with it. The rings had served its purpose. I had to wrangle the ring, sans diamond of my hand. Hubby took it in to get see about getting a new diamond. But he's sneaky and I should have known better. Wednesday before we met with friends for a birthday he surprised me with a brand new ring. I told him I'd love ANYTHING from him, but to boot it's really pretty and that's just fun. He wanted to show the ring to our friends but I thought no, it was another girl's bday, it was her day. So we watched a 3 hour long movie and by the end I had to pee and yes, actually ran from my seat to the bathroom. Hubby apparently told the other ladies about his good deed, so the next thing I hear is: "Meg! You might be peeing, but you can damn well stick your hand under the bathroom door and show us your ring!" Hahahaha...

We put the Christmas tree up and put little white lights in the dining room. I'm feeling so domestic. And I like it. =)

Christmas is so soon. I'm ready with the presents and stuff. I'm ready with all the exterior stuff. And in no way ready emotionally to really deal with Christmas for what it is. For what it is is the gift of salvation, but I cannot move past the loss of my mom. So I dread Christmas when it should be joyful. I know and believe she is watching down, but it pains me when I'd just like to snuggle up and lean my head on her shoulder, and have her tell me everything will be ok.

Starting tomorrow Big Bebe will have another 3 days of testing and appointments at Lucile Packard. I think I am so anxious about it all that my coping mechanism is to just not think about it. Stay busy with other things, appear happy, remember not to grind my teeth, be thankful, and most important, don't think. Don't think. Don't think. Don't think. And don't take things personally.
One final thing: Bitty Bebe said "Hi Honey," to me as I was putting her to bed tonight. Melt my heart.