Monday, July 21, 2014

Back to Work

Administrative Assistant's prediction of a constant stream of visitors for today was not accurate, and I'm grateful.  There have only been a couple.  Treasurer and I chatted for a while.  He has some interesting things going on in his family, and we have some interesting dilemmas with the church finances.  We are dealing with some major building issues, and need to determine where we will find the money to address them.  I think we have a plan.  He also reported about a potential conflict I will need to address, and I have a plan for addressing it.  It really is good to be back to work. 

The committee responsible for worship and education is meeting tonight, and as I worked on the agenda, I realized that this could be a very long meeting.  We continue to have more opportunities, and I hope we will embrace those opportunities.  I read an article today that talks about how being the pastor of a growing church can be exhausting.  It described our situation beautifully.  I'm going to share it with the board, as we will have a discussion of their priorities for my work.  I can't do it all, much as I'd like to.  It will be interesting to see where they think I can cut back. 

Daughter called me at 7:30 this morning, and I haven't heard from her since.  She is becoming so much more independent.  It's great to see her maturing and becoming more responsible. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

One Hundred Fourteen Years of Experience

I had a wedding this evening.  The couple live across the street from each other, and their spouses died within days of each other several years ago.  Between them they had 114 years of experience in marriage.  They are a neat couple, and I enjoyed working with them.  By the time they came to talk to me, they had planned out a prenuptial agreement and agreed on the fact that their children would be responsible for medical decisions.  They sat through most of the ceremony, as standing was hard for the man.  They had a reception at the church following the service. 

They had arranged for the pianist to play a special song for the recessional.  It was supposed to be small and simple, but weddings always grow. Always.  They went from 50-60 max to over 70.  Their families were meeting each other for the first time today. 

Today we worshiped at the church.  I told them that after 3 Sundays away, I was ready to come home.  People were glad to see us back.  I told Administrative Assistant that I anticipate that I will have a steady stream of visitors tomorrow.  She agreed, and suggested I not plan on getting any other work done.  I think she's right.  I'm grateful I went in Thursday to get a head start on some things.  I'm pretty much ready for tomorrow evening's meeting, which will have a long agenda.

Daughter had a good weekend with me, and I'm grateful. 


Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Day of Depression

It seems like every time I go to see my orthopedic surgeon and look at x-rays of my unhealed radius and ulna, I come home and am depressed the rest of the day.  I saw him yesterday.  He pulled out all the previous x-rays so we could compare them.  The good news is that it's not any worst, and it may be marginally better.  Yesterday was exactly 5 months after the second surgery.   I did some research last night and found a research paper on non-union of the ulna and/or radius.  According to the paper, those treated like mine all healed within 18 months,and the median time to heal was 7 months.  Reading the paper was reassuring. For now, I continue to wear the brace and be careful what I do. 

I picked up Daughter yesterday evening, and today is a better day.  We went out to breakfast and to the grocery store, and then came back and tackled the list of things I  wanted to get done before I go back to work.  The kitchen is now clean, and I have gluten free, dairy free preservative free pizza in the freezer along with a dozen sandwiches.  There are some more things I want to get done, but we've made a great start, and if the essentials are done. 

I'm really looking forward to getting back into the routine.  I have ideas percolating for fall, so I'm looking forward to getting them fleshed out. 





Thursday, July 17, 2014

Into the Office

I went into the office for a while this morning.  The worship committee is meeting Monday evening, and I wanted to make sure that Administrative Assistant and I had a coherent proposal for some recommended tweaks to worship.  It was also good to catch up with her and some of what's going on at the church.  I have decided we're going to worship there on Sunday, even though technically I'm still on vacation.  I'm ready to be back home. 

I also need to get back into some sort of routine.  I'm still pondering how to adjust my life into a healthier routine.  It's going to take some work. 

Daughter has handled her re-entry fairly well.  There have been staff changes at her house, but she seems to be taking that in stride.  I saw some members today when Daughter and I went to the local diner for lunch.  They were glad to see us, and said they'd missed us both.  I believe them. 

It is good to be back.  Very good to be back. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Conference

Before our camping adventures we attended the conference we go to each year.  This year Daughter decided to take adult classes.  The last few  years she has been helping with the children.  A movie clip in class a number of years ago triggered her PTSD, so when the children's coordinator heard about it, she offered her the opportunity to help with one of the children's classes. 

I was delighted to hear good reports from both of her instructors.  The woman leading the Bible study said Daughter has a "wise soul."  I was pleased that she did so well, and am grateful for a nurturing, supportive community that understands her and gives her that opportunity. 

Daughter also did well with her food choices in the buffet line.  There was one morning when she selected two waffles and two hash brown patties for her breakfast.  I informed her that was too many carbs and confiscated the hash browns.  That was the only time we had an issue, and she had a very good week.

I hid the first few days.   I attended my one class and then retreated to my room, where I did some reading and rested.  I just needed some time to myself before I was ready to engage the community.  It was a healing week, and I'm grateful that we were able to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Adventures in Camping Part 2

One of Daughter's days when we were at the mall, I convinced her we should get massages at the Chinese massage place.  I got us both 20 minute chair massages.  Working that day were a woman and a man.  The woman took me and the man took Daughter.  I realized part way through that was probably not a good idea.  Sure enough, when we were done, Daughter was furious.  "That man was touching my a**!"  We were side by side, out in the open, so I know nothing improper happened.  I also know that any touch to certain areas of her body are very difficult for Daughter.  I tried to hide my amusement from Daughter, as I know for her it was really was distressing.  But the way she was saying it was rather amusing.  She normally doesn't use that type of language. 

We did a couple of short hikes, but they were all relatively close by and none led to spectacular overlooks.  I didn't want to do the driving, and I was trying to avoid the crowds,as there was a big festival in the area that had attracted lots of tourists.  The more popular hiking spots would have required longer travel through more traffic. 

Vacations can be challenging, as I want to go be away from people and rest.  Daughter isn't thrilled with the outdoors, and wants to be around people and shop and go to movies.  She loves the crowds I hate.  Obviously, on rainy days or days when it's extremely hot, we seek out things to do indoors, which thrills Daughter.  We didn't even take any of our scenic drives this year.  What I did do, which was helpful, was read.  After Daughter went to bed for the night, I sat by the campfire with my Kindle and read.  I finished Barbara Brown Taylor's new book, "Learning to Walk in the Dark,"  which I really enjoyed.  I also spent some time with my journal.  One of the things I was pondering was my level of exhaustion.  I began lists of the the things that energize me and the things that drain me.  My goal is to do a better job of balancing those things.  One of the things I realized is that having a messy house is exhausting for me.  I'm going to work  to get it in shape before I start back to work next week and then make keeping it clean a priority.

We had one night when it poured rain.  Some friends from church were camping there,and offered us shelter in their camper.  Daughter wanted to accept their offer, but I declined.  She cried when we got back to our campsite, and I think had some genuine fear about being in our tent during the rain.  I went to bed at the same time, and assured her we were safe.  Our tent stayed dry, but everything in our screen house got wet.  I'm pondering replacing the screen house before next year.  It is old and is a real challenge to set up and take down each year.  The roof has sprung a number of leaks, which limits its usefulness.  Initial research online has been disappointing, but I will continue to look. 

Today I have designated a lazy day.  I'm hoping the grass will dry enough that I can mow it this afternoon.  It rained this morning.  It was weird-- after getting used to the sound of rain on the tent, I didn't recognize it initially on the roof.  I guess I haven't adjusted completely to being back home. 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Adventures in Camping Part 1

We got home today from a week of camping.  Overall, it was a very good week.  We tent camp.  We have a tent and a screen house.  We have a fairly elaborate kitchen set-up, with a propane stove and a container that has silverware drawers, storage for plates, bowls, and such, and spice racks on the side.  This year I traded in my air mattress for a cot, which gives us more room in the tent (we can store things under the cot).  I had used a cot for years, but 14 years ago we were rear-ended on the interstate, and the resulting back pain caused me to shift from a cot to an air mattress.

Daughter was amazingly cooperative.  Our first day was rainy, so I let Daughter choose the activities for the day.  We ended up shopping and going to see Earth to Echo.  That evening some members joined us for a concert.  I had planned to prepare a meal over the campfire, but it was still raining.  It did stop in time for a fire and s'mores following the concert. 

Last year was very hot.  This year was very cool.  The temperature was down into the 40's a couple of nights.  We had to go out and buy blankets to supplement our sleeping bags.  Once we added the blankets, we slept quite comfortably. 

For the first time ever, I complained about some neighbors.  The people next to us had a small tent and screen house.  They had a huge tv in the screen house, that was on pretty much all the time.  I came back form the restroom at 2:00 in the morning and the tv was on.  Most of the time, it was down so low we could barely hear it.  There were two men, a woman, and teenage girl.  The men disappeared all day, while the others were there all the time.  I finally heard enough to realize that the men were going off to work.  They had at least one person sleeping in the screen house, which couldn't have been good the nights it was raining. 

Then came the evening that another daughter joined them.  She was either yelling or crying. The tv got turned up, and at 11:00 I went to bed listening to a documentary about ghosts-- not exactly pleasant things to listen to while camping.  At 7:00 the next morning, the screaming began.  The woman was swearing up a storm.  I looked over at Daughter, and her eyes were open and she was clearly terrified.  "Can we go to a motel now?" 

In the restroom that morning everyone was talking about it-- several asked me how we'd gotten any sleep.  I knew people were complaining, so as we headed out that morning, I added my complaint.  As we prepared to head back to the campground, Daughter kept asking to do more including things she normally hated doing.  Finally she said, "Mom, I'm afraid those people will still be there."  I told her the ranger had promised to go take care of it right away. 

When we got back, the people were packing up.  Another daughter and toddler had joined them.  They packed an extended cab pick-up truck to overflowing, then packed 7 people and a large dog into the cab and left.  As they were leaving I heard one of the daughter say, "Mom used the n-word!"  I guess they knew the source of some of the complaining.  I had explained to the ranger that Daughter has severe PTSD, and I suspect that got passed along.  Fortunately, Daughter didn't hear the comment, and I didn't care what they said as long as they left.  It was wonderfully quiet after they left.