Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A step at a time

There is much left to do in this day - trips to Target for bedding and pet supplies, calling doctors, dealing with insurance, thinking about school and internship starting in the fall...but there have been moments of mindfulness. I am enjoying the view out the large dining room windows, of the huge patch of coneflowers with happy bees buzzing among them. The dogs are running from window to window in each room, watching a parade of dog walkers outside, who are caring for their pets after a day of work. There was a quick game of pool in the basement (yes, we have a pool table!), and a stroll to our new mailbox with Lucy. there was a long morning walk with Jakob - my first walking meditation in weeks and weeks. It was heavenly!

We now have bookshelves and dressers. Clothes are being washed and tucked away. The kitchen is looking better all the time. The children are enjoying playing in the living room and the enormous back yard. It will be fun to have a trampoline and bikes again soon!

I have many tasks ahead of me, but there are friends who are also struggling, and doing it with grace and love. I have been working hard on encouraging quiet voices, taking turns, caring for each other and ourselves, and turning this house into a physical and emotional safe haven. It is difficult work - we are anxious and overtired and in pain. But I know it will be worth it - for each individual, for our family, for our life's work that must soon resume.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Camp from Hell

At least that's what my 12-year-old says this summer is ;). But we're in my home town, and usually I'm itching to get home, except this time, I don't have a home, so there is this free feeling of just enjoying the time here, and not rushing to do everything, because there is no rush, because there is no home to go back to (although I do miss my husband something fierce).

There is a huge Arts Festival here every year and as a teen, it was the week of freedom. It was a time to ride my bike around, have extended curfews, see lots of friends, hang out on The Wall, eat junk food, walk barefoot in the rain, and enjoy all the benefits and privileges of adolescence. I have set my own teenager free this summer, but oddly enough, she is staying close.

Trauma has made us realize the importance of each other. Of the thin thread of life that holds us together as a family and the strong love that we have for each other. Normally my kids would want to be off visiting friends and running around, and learning to take the bus, and walking miles and miles in their flip flops, but this summer, they are comfortingly nearby.

One of the reasons I came to Arts Fest this year is that I lost some things in the fire that I bought from artists over the years. Some of those artists aren't here this year, and I no longer have their business cards, which is sad. But one thing I wanted to replace was my photograph of two Yemeni girls that I bought a few years ago.

So I wanted to send a shout out to Jim Spillane, who takes these photos. Go see his booth. I also took a card from Marius Moore. I told him I want one of his photos when I have my own office when I'm a minister. He was a super cool guy, and even knew about Unitarian Universalism.

I've also been drooling over this woman's jewelry for years and found that she actually carries small bracelets, which are hard for me to find. The lotus flower means enlightenment - and this woman's jewelry is what was the inspiration for the tattoo I designed that I have yet to have done; a lotus mandala with a contemporary UU chalice in the center.

The thing I really wanted to replace was my beautiful wrap that I bought two years ago, but alas, the woman who makes them doesn't seem to be here this year. I did see some beautiful scarves/stoles that I may purchase tomorrow though, since I lost all of those too.

But really the best part of all this is just meandering through town, eating at Irving's Bagels, seeing the sights, visiting with friends and family, and having my children with me and moving at their pace. It's good to move at a child's pace - sometimes frenetic, sometimes slow and laborious. The basics become vitally important - food, rest, hugs, and being in touch with each other's emotions.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ups and Downs

A friend of mine said that recovering from a fire/flood is like being pecked to death by ducks. I found it an apt metaphor!

I got back to work today for the first time since the fire really. The drive made me very anxious. The further I got from the kids, the worse it got. But It felt SO good once I got to church. I met with a couple who I am marrying on 8/6. It was an awesome meeting - they were so incredible and we had such a great rapport. It is going to be a beautiful ceremony, filled with happy tears and excitement about NY allowing gay marriage. I am fist-pumping psyched.

On the way home, I stopped in Lyons to get some prescriptions from our regular pharmacy and had to stop at the house to grab a stroller from the garage. Oh, the heartbreak. I was just devastated by my peek in the downstairs. I grabbed a box of Emma's baby paraphenelia, because I didn't want it to get thrown out by mistake. There is a huge dumpster full of stuff in front of the garage. My garden is tooling along with just nature's rain to water it - there were healthy snow peas growing, and lettuce, and raspberries, and pumpkins flowering...but I couldn't bear to pick any of it. I just started crying. All the kids' swings and bikes and trampoline and yard toys - it just broke my heart to see everything so forlorn. I am so, so homesick for our sanctuary from the world.

As I was driving, I felt so unable to trust the world around me. I have always been a good defensive driver, but find myself more suspicious than ever of large semis and fast drivers in sports cars. I fear for the motorcyclists in a brand new way, especially after the number of traumas I saw in the ED during CPE last summer.

I feel better to be back in the hotel, oddly enough. We have a lease being worked up, but found out today that the move in date has been pushed back another four days, and there is some confusion about the cable/phone/internet account at the house. I told the placement rep that her motto should be "We protect you from the crazy!" Seriously, I love her.

My 12 year old is feeling somewhat better a week post-op. She's off the narcotics today and says she's ready to boogie to our hometown tomorrow for the big Arts Festival. Me too!

I bought a new purse yesterday that I love. I replaced my fave pair of boots today. It's the little things actually. The convenience items - my calendula cream, my armband for jogging with my iPod, my junky headphones I kept in my nightstand drawer. My nightstand! Silly, but yes, like being pecked to death by ducks. I had a moment today where I didn't even want to move into the rental - it felt like giving up on our dream of space and chickens and old houses and rural life.

But we also found out today that the house is riddled with lead paint and asbestos. So any cleanup is going to be that much more expensive and harder.

I want to run away to the DE seashore. i want to walk on the boardwalk and smell the salt air. I want to drive to Assateague and see the wild ponies. I want to take Jude to Frontier Town in Ocean City, MD. I want to body surf in the brutal waves and let nature have her way with me a bit more. I want to be back in the womb of man - the sea. Maybe I can make it happen before fall. It would be so restorative.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Snapping back

I've been feeling a bit otherwordly since the fire; not myself. Not focused or able to figure out what next.

Then on Sunday, my 12 year old fell out of a tree and broke her arm, requiring surgery and a 2-3 day hospital stay. Two nights of NO sleep, followed by 2 nights of solid sleep seem to have snapped me back into my body finally.

There's something sad and funny about a child who cannot open jello by herself. Vicodin makes her have a mental functioning delay of about 10 seconds too. Poor chook. She has been in so much pain; it's a relief to have her be even a little silly.

My youngest two are feeling the trauma of being displaced from our home. They are desperately homesick, and tired of sleeping on a pull out couch in the living room of our hotel suite. Lucy cried herself to sleep tonight, missing her bed :(.

I am looking at two rental houses tomorrow, and am hopeful that one of them will be a match. There's a third I am waiting to schedule that is a block from our home church, so that would be wonderful too!

I seem to be unable to think about seminary or church much at all, though I have sudden spurts of inspiration and functionality. So I take the kids to the hotel pool a lot and read junk fiction. I think I'm due.

I am eternally grateful for the monetary donations that have allowed my husband to be off work so much, to deal with the insurance and watch our other kids while our 12 year old was in the hospital. I am grateful for friends who watch my kids, who bring me food, who brought me toothpaste and a sweater in the ER. I am grateful for the calls, emails, prayers. I cannot even express it all. You all know who you are.