January 31, 2011
This and That!
Sometimes events converge in a curious way. Ever since I finished paying for my remodel, I have waited for some financial recovery in order to take another step. In November, I talked to Tom, my contractor, about getting my wet bar and cabinets made and installed in my new basement room. We decided to wait until after Christmas until he finished another job. Originally I planned on buying the cabinets through Hardware Sales, but Tom made all my kitchen cabinets and thought he could do them from scratch for about the same price. Just as he went out to buy the wood, my boiler went out and the reality of needing a new boiler hit me where it hurt! The lovely Tom called and said he had not yet made the first cut. Did I want to postpone due to the cost of the boiler? That didn't seem fair since he had already bought the wood and put aside this time for my house. I figured that I could pay Tom, but still am not sure about the boiler. Now I'm looking into financing since my automobile payment is about to disappear. Never a dull financial moment. If the stock market will just continue to do better! I'm not sure I'll ever get the whole project finished with the bathroom on the first floor or the house all one color. One step at a time! I wish I could write a best selling novel. But, alas, I have the same problem with the novel as I do with winning the lottery. You simply cannot win the lottery if you do not buy a ticket. I simply cannot write a best selling novel if I do not write a novel! There must be a law that covers these things.
Yesterday was our church's annual meeting. It was the first one I have attended since Don died. I have purposely tried to stay out of church politics, but decided that enough time has passed for me to be more involved. When we hired our new pastor, the interim pastor and moderator read the constitution and found nothing that said that members only could vote. So, they opened the voting to anyone who was in the room during the meeting. Fortunately, spirits were high and most people liked Kent so the vote followed suit. However, most of us members were flabbergasted that non-members and children were invited to vote. The first few articles of the constitution are clear on that matter in my estimation -- but, as my lawyer friend says, "People do not see eye to eye on the English language which is why I have a job."
In any case, the church council offered up an amendment to clarify the matter of voting in the section on voting (even though it is clearly embedded in the third article) and we had a lively discussion from, "...but my child loved voting for Kent" to "...but my non-member friend comes to this church and she would feel terrible if she couldn't vote." Now, here is where I want to leave church altogether. I'm not proud of my response to these kinds of issues. I become critical, think people who disagree are naive, and wish I was home with a cup of tea and the Sunday paper. It doesn't seem to dawn on people that if the few people who voted against Kent because he is gay had brought a contingent to church of more conservative or homophobic Bellingham residents, we would have had a unfortunate outcome. There is a reason why people who are members, invested in the health of the church, and (hopefully) thinking adults are the people who have power to wrestle with and vote on the business of the church. My friend, Marilyn, did raise an interesting question -- should non-members who support the church get to vote. But, I still feel that people who want the privilege of voting should at least become members.
Perhaps being annoyed at church is tied up with the grief of losing my husband, but I don't think so. I used to get annoyed at times when he was pastor. The difference was that I could complain to him. I didn't win every argument, but I had a pipeline to the top because I had his ear and his respect. Although he would have heard arguments about both sides of the voting, he would have come in on the side of member responsibilities. He was straight arrow in that way. I might question his choice of hymns, whether he needed to do some little task that he avoided, or whether his strange humor might have offended someone. But, I never ever questioned his good sense and his sensitivity to what was best for the congregation even at his own expense. It was never about him - but about what he believed in deeply. He could be assertive, even obnoxious, about what he felt was right -- but it was usually steeped in the long tradition of the church and not for his own personal or emotional gain.
Sometimes I sit in church and miss him greatly. I miss the poetry of the language and the stellar sermons. I only remember a few sermons that I thought were not up to par. Usually they were because he was venturing out to try something new. But, as long as I sat in the pew from the day he preached his first sermon, I was never bored or annoyed. He continued to surprise me with his insights and language, his depth of reading, and his ability to look at mundane things in a new way. He had a gift for sure. I like our new pastor's sermons, I still like going to church, the service is often uplifting, but for me something is missing.
When we moved to our first church in Santa Barbara, we were told by the pulpit committee that it was a shame that we were beginning Don's ministry in such a beautiful place because we would yearn for it forever. Of course, they didn't know Bellingham -- but the thought that one could move on after experiencing a bit of heaven was well taken. I guess I feel that now. how can I move on when I have had the very best for so very long. With all his faults, I miss my preacher man.
A Few Photos of the Work in Progress:
January 24, 2011
When It Rains.....
The other day I went to the dermatologist to check on a lesion that had been diagnosed as pre-cancerous by my family doctor (and even treated once with another treatment to follow). I came out of the dermatologist looking like I had the measles (well maybe not that bad) because he did FOUR biopsies -- three on my face and one on my leg. Other dermatologists had looked at both my leg on the red spot on my face and dismissed them. I got the results this morning and, frankly, didn't understand most of what the nurse said -- but I think basically I have one Keratosis, two pre-cancerous places and one very early Squamous cell -- all of which he can handle in his office without scarring. However, I will continue looking splotchy for several weeks -- which I probably can handle without feeling too, too idiotic.
Then, my heater went out this weekend and I chose to put on several layers of clothing (fortunately the weather cooperated for winter) instead of calling a plumber/heating expert on overtime. Barron came out today and fixed it (temporarily) but I really, really need a new boiler. I have Barrons and Blythe coming to give me estimates -- but the top of the line is really, really expensive (like $10,000) and yet I do want one that is energy efficient. I'll have to look at all the possibilities - but I don't just want to get one like I have now if it is not efficient and I'd like to save on monthly costs.
Sometimes there are just too many decisions to make in one short amount of time. At least the Barron heating guy checked on my gas fireplace and fixed the pilot light while he was here -- that got me a bit of a bonus from his visit. I could have used that during the weekend. Oh, I have also had my contractor here ready to go the next step in my new bonus room and install the cabinets. Unfortunately, his estimate is a bit higher than he originally thought it might be. Shucks!
The good news of the weekend, however, is that Christine and Martin took Lionel to Carlsbad to show him off. They go to California every year to housesit for Christine's brother. I guess they took him into a horde of relatives - aunts, cousins, second cousins and spouses-- all adoring baby lovers. Every baby in our family has gone through the floor adoring circle. The baby lays on the floor with all the adults in a circle around him or her -- cooing and oogling -- trying for smiles and laughs. I guess it might be considered a form of family hazing. I'm just sorry I wasn't there to enjoy it. But, I'm sure that my son, the adored baby of his father's whole family, enjoyed it on my behalf.
January 13, 2011
The Day the Snow Disappeared
I have been watching the weather channel all week because I was scheduled to pick up Dani and Nico from the Vancouver airport on Wednesday at noon. It began Sunday with dire warnings of severe storm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Of course, I worried about the airport closing. But, even when those warnings continued for a day or so, the channel indicated that the temperatures on Wednesday would be above freezing. It was confusing. Then, on Tuesday's news, Seattle residents were warned to leave work early and to make it home - thereby avoiding what happened during the last snowstorm when my son-in-law was on a Seattle to Redmond bus for 10 hours before getting home. Now everyone was in an advanced flurry. The station was following each little snowflake as the weather crept northward. Since we already had snow and ice left over from the last snow still causing driving hazards, I was concerned -- but, frankly, could not understand the juxtaposition of dire warnings and warmer air coming along. Sure enough, the snow hit Bellingham in the very late evening and I looked out at 2:00 a.m. (potty break) to a winter wonderland - no street, no sidewalks, just a lovely blanket of snow. At 7:00 I awakened to sound -- not snow, I thought! Nope, rain! Snow was mostly all gone. In a twinkling of an eye, the storm was passed, over, kaput! Streets and sidewalks clear of both snowstorms. Trees clear. Roofs dusted, but mostly clear. Cars clear! Airport, here I come. Fortunately, school had been called off during the worst of our very short lived blizzard, and James could accompany me to Vancouver. It was surreal, but a lovely gift to sail into Vancouver in time to wait over an hour for Dani and Nico to clear customs.
Dani's in-laws have been staying at her house with James, and they decided to stay until Saturday giving her a chance to re-adjust to the time difference before having to get back to her mother duties hauling the lad to school and to his music activities. So, she and Nico are at my house trying to adjust. They were in bed last night by 7:00 and probably up in the middle of the night. I don't know because when I got downstairs at 9:00 this morning, they were back in bed where they are now. With my dog at her feet!
Now, most of you know that Kinsey was an abused animal that Dani rescued from the pound in California and carefully nurtured into a rather fetching pet. Unfortunately, he nipped at Nico and got banished by Charles because they could not keep Nico from wanting to roughhouse with him. And, he is not a young, playful, dog. So, Kinsey ended up living with me. He is fond of me, truly, but he is absolutely 100% loyal to Dani. So, he defends my territory, sleeps at my feet, follows me around, loves me to take him for walks -- all until Dani shows up. At that point, I am toast! He is now upstairs asleep on the bottom of her bed. He will not come back to mine until she goes home. Oh well, I think any mother is happy to play second fiddle to their own daughter.
The only other interesting news this week is that I am once more called to jury duty. It seems like this happens more to me than any other of my friends. I went on Monday and sat for a few hours for the orientation, then got sent home because the trial for my group got postponed. I am supposed to call back on Sunday. I hope, once more, to slither out of being on a jury. I have been called at least five times for jury duty, but have never made it any further - usually it all gets called off. Once I made $15.00 for going the first day. We'll have to see what happens next week.
I'm heading to my study to work on some organizing of files in preparation for taxes. I'm hoping to get a refund this year. We'll see!