Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My kids took all my money

Marc and I have new callings that take us to the Beehive Homes in American Fork several times a week. (He's the 1st counselor in the Branch presidency and that makes me the 1st counselor in the Relief Society.)
So we were in one of the sister's rooms the other night trying to help her reconcile her new situation.
She'd only been admitted a couple of weeks earlier and she was starting to panic.
Now, the Beehive Homes are clean and well-run and the people there seem to be well cared for.
We don't have major concerns about their well-being.
But there are a number of residents unhappy, a couple who are quite angry, about being there.
They want to be in their own homes.
They want their former lives back.
The lady we were working with on this particular night was agitated.
"I'm not sick," she cried. "Why am I here?"
As we tried to soothe her, she despaired.
"My kids took all my money and my car," she said with slumping shoulders. "I can't go anywhere."
I couldn't help but think that my father is probably saying the same things to people who visit him in the Legacy Retirement Center.
I know he believes if we just put a key back in his hand, he could be out cruising the freeway. He could be king once more.
He even says, once in a while, "I would go to (...this or that event...) but I don't have a car."
It's sad and I sympathize.
I listen to the residents we're working with and I feel their frustration.
They really don't understand what's happened, where everybody went and when they're coming back.
The same lady we were talking with wanted to know on Sunday what would happen next?
"Is that it? Do we all just sit here now and watch TV?" she demanded to know.
"Yeah, pretty much," I told her as we gathered our hymn books and purses to leave after our sacrament meeting.
I felt for her. She seems fully aware and physically capable of living on her own.
I was thinking I'd break her out if I could if I could think where to take her...
This was just before she asked me, "Are you LDS?"

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A wake-up call

Yesterday was a difficult travel and shopping day.
I had run to South Jordan to visit my dad and play a fast game of Scrabble.
I did errands beforehand so I counted the sample at Great Harvest Breads as my lunch.
So by the time I was headed home on I-15 and saw the sign warning "Crash ahead. Major delays," I was hungry.
I know, I should have veered off and taken the Suncrest road home but foolishly I thought UDOT might have got it wrong. Maybe the crash was cleared up by now. Maybe it never happened.
The traffic seemed to be flowing and I couldn't see any flashing lights.
It turned out that after an hour and a half in bumper-to-bumper traffic that inched along that I NEVER saw the accident or anything to explain my situation.
I was in the middle lane which was not moving.
Then I moved to the side lane which stopped completely.
After I finally reached the exit I needed I was angry, starved and discouraged.
That was before I started down Timpanogos Highway where I found stoplights not working and people not going.
Every intersection was another exercise in faith and frustration. No one seems to remember what they learned about four-way stops in Driver's Ed.
I got to Smith's planning to grab the frozen-food items I needed for dinner and the next couple of days. But it looked all odd.
Everything was draped in plastic and the lights were turned down low. Several aisles had shopping cart-and-orange-tape gates set up.
The voice over the loudspeaker said the power outage had prompted corporate to insist that the frozen foods be sealed off. No one could buy milk or Cool Whip or juice or meat or cheese even if they wanted to take their chances.
It was kind of scary, a vision of the future that we've talked about in church disaster preparedness meetings.
I called my husband and announced that we would be having pizza for dinner.
I drove to Little Caesar's, thinking I was so smart.
Surprise. That was everyone else's idea as well. The lines were long and the overworked, young, crew members were stressed.
It took a while to get dinner.
Note to self: pizza is NOT a good disaster plan.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Causing climate change

So Marc and I held off buying and planting our tomatoes, peppers and zucchini (yes, we're going to try again!) until this past Saturday.
We, like many of you out there, thought that we'd be good planting these vegetables on Mother's Day weekend.
We, like many of you, believed the Utah winter season was really over and it would be safe.
That was before we put them in the ground when we were delusional.
So, we were alarmed when the television weatherman warned us to cover our tender plants and bring other such investments indoors.
It was Sunday night and it was getting cold and it was windy.
I had already taken down our pricey new planters and tucked them into bed next to the house.
We were warm and comfortable and in our jammies.
Now we had to scurry about and find covers for the 10 new plants that might die of exposure if left outside unattended.
We don't buy milk in the gallon containers anymore since we are empty-nesters so we didn't have any of those hanging around.
We didn't have a bunch of paper hats on hand. Blankets would be too much.
We had to scramble.
I grabbed some vases, some baskets, a couple of old trash cans, a couple of plastic cups and a box.
Here's what it looked like:

So far (it's now been two nights of worry) we haven't frozen anything black. Our strange collection of covers seems to be working. The plants look happy when we uncover them in the morning.
But we do feel like we've helped change the weather.
What are the odds that once we purchased and planted some fragile seedling that it would turn cold again, cold enough to freeze the second week in May?
But, then again, we do live in Utah.
Perhaps we should have waited another couple of weeks to plant before we kicked off a climate change.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Mother's Day lament

I've been thinking a lot about Mother's Day this year, largely because one of my children is going through a difficult time in her life and so, consequently, am I.
I'm sad. She's sad. It's no fun for anybody.
So I've been trying to decide how to celebrate Mother's Day.
The immature, baby me wants to abandon the cause and run out into the desert to hide.
The more responsible and grown-up me thinks I should stick around and glory in the beautiful children and grandchildren who bless my life every hour and every day.
I know deep down that each child loves me and I love each of them.
But Mother's Day highlights the mothers who don't honestly least, I've yet to meet one who feels she qualifies.
I, of course, regret that I wasn't a perfect mom, that I sometimes yelled and often cried.
I wish I was that perfect lady who always had a hot meal ready, the house clean, the laundry washed and folded and enough energy to help them finish their homework even when it was 10:30 p.m.
Instead, I was more often the bag lady mom, running the kids to school with my hair all askew and my pajama bottoms dragging in the snow.
I was often late with dinner and short on temper.
I would berate the child coming too slowly out of class to the car.
I would be openly dismayed when we discovered the note in the backpack saying there was a science class project due in the morning.
It would irk me to get the call for another three dozen brownies for a class party.
I complained about going on field trips.
I loved and still love my six children. I love my six stepchildren and all 33 grandchildren.
I would do just about anything for them.
And I treasure their drawings, their handmade cards, the gifts picked out with care and a quarter.
I think being a mother and a grandmother is the very best thing to be.
I just wish we could all skip Mother's Day.