Sunday, March 30, 2014

Little Things

We were having a discussion around tables at a fellowship meal following worship today.  We were talking about the future of the church.  It was interesting-- they were discussing what attracts younger members.  Daughter finally spoke up, and pointed out that the important thing was the message, not all the other things.  I was impressed. 

One of our members posted a picture of the first crocuses of spring on FaceBook today.  Another member commented, "God is doing a new thing," and tagged me in it.  Over 3 1/2 years ago I preached my first sermon here.  I talked about all the new things we would be facing together.  The symbol I chose for new things were crocuses.  I'm delighted that she still remembers and makes the connection.  We certainly have had a number of new things in the past 3 1/2 years. 

We are working on writing a new vision statement for the church.  I have 4 people who are meeting with me at 8:00 every Sunday morning as we work on this.  I'm really excited about the direction it's taking.  It's been a long winter, but I still love being here and the ministry we are doing together. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Folk Music

We went to see a folk musician over in the area of the university last night.  The concert was wonderful-- Daughter enjoyed it, and didn't do her usual game of trying to convince me to leave at intermission.  I think Daughter was the youngest one there.  It was interesting to see the crowd-- lots of Priuses, and many of the men had gray beards.  Of course there were some political songs, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  There is a series of these concerts, and I intend to check some more of them out. 

Today has been a kitchen day.  I'm working on food for the freezer.  I've made 14 sandwiches (3 different varieties), and have some pasta sauce simmering.  There aren't many prepared foods I can eat, so I am making my own convenience foods.  Daughter did some house work today, which was nice.  It will be nice not to have to leave at 7 tomorrow morning to pick her up before church. 

Last night she asked me to put away some food and lock it up.  I'm glad she asked me to do it, and sorry she doesn't trust herself to resist eating available food. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Waiting for Spring

I'm still waiting for spring here.  I hope it comes soon.  Some grass has appeared in my front yard, but the back yard is still mostly snow covered.  I'm hoping once spring arrives my energy will improve and I'll feel better.  Snippets from the past week:

When I took Daughter home at about 1:30 on Sunday, no one was at the house.  Home Owner didn't respond to phone or text messages.  I brought her back home with me.  I had intended to take a nap, but didn't want to lock everything up, so while I dozed off (sitting up in my chair), I didn't get a  real nap.  She'd call the house every so often, and about 3:30 finally got an answer.  They'd gone to church and out to lunch, and had just arrived home.  Home Owner took them.  I keep reminding myself this is one of the better houses.  That's a scary thought.  The staff that didn't cook supper a couple of weeks ago is now off work and seeking medical treatment for unknown medical issues.  Home Owner is spending a great deal of time at the house, and there is a new staff member. In response to an email, HO has promised to let me know if they plan similar outings. 

Daughter turned 27 this week, which is hard to believe.  We'll celebrate today.  I'm taking her out to dinner and then we'll go to a concert.  It should be fun. 

The church is still torn up.  The restoration company is waiting for approval from the insurance company to proceed with the repairs.  I spent time with some colleagues this week, and one of them made our building issues seem minor.... 

Daughter is becoming increasingly helpful in the church office during her Thursdays there.  So much so that Administrative Assistant recruited someone to help her move the refrigerator back into the kitchen so we could lock it up.  Daughter had raided the freezer last week, and I was thinking I wouldn't let her work again until the repairs were done.  AA wanted her in the office.  I stopped by the office today, and AA was finishing up some work her Friday volunteers had begun.  It turns out she has to go behind them and double check their work.  Daughter is more accurate than they are.  That's frightening! 

Today I saw my surgeon.  There was good news and bad news.  It looks like there is new bone growth, which is very good news.  I can plan the piano again, which pleases me.  I can lift up to 20 pounds.  He said it would be 3 months before I could work in the yard.  That was depressing news.  I lost last summer to this arm, and don't want to lose this summer, too.  I go back in a month, and am going to see if there are some things I can do. Maybe the x-ray will look so great that he will tell me I can do whatever.  For now, though, I still have to protect it.  I so enjoy working in my gardens, so I am very frustrated. 

I hope to get back into the routine of posting regularly.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Peace and Chaos

There is peace on the Daughter front these days.  The phone calls are fewer, and she seems happy.  It's kind of nice.  I never did hear back from Home Owner about another emergency contact number.  I understand she has new staff in training, so maybe there will no longer be just one staff member at the house.

The church front is not quite as peaceful.  We've had a number of people who have fled winter to places in the south, and the ones who went for shorter trips are beginning to return. They stop by the office, and then they have to catch up with one another. I think spring may come eventually.  I actually can see a bit of grass in my front yard today.  We also have a continuing stream of people passing through as they continue to work on various building problems.  The restoration company is ready to begin putting the building back together, and hopefully will get started on that soon.  Administrative Assistant and I really miss having a kitchen upstairs. 

I let our website coordinator work on my computer for a while today.  Her laptop has died, and one of the computers that was available didn't have new enough software, and the other wouldn't stay on line.  Our retired I-T professional is trying to figure that one out.  The fix he tried today didn't work, but he will figure it out.  We are trying to get members to use our website more, and have posted information about our visioning process there, and invited their feedback. 

I continue to be careful about my priorities.  I slept for over 9 hours last night.  That helped some, but I still tire easily.  Tomorrow will be a long day.  I've decided to skip my breakfast meeting since I will have to be at the church in the evening.  I do think I'm healing, it's just a slow process.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Orthopedic Wing

There are 4 of us at the church who have had orthopedic surgery in the last two months, and 2 more who are scheduled.  We've joked about needing to open an orthopedic wing at the church.  Today there were 3 of us in worship who are recovering from surgery.  The other 2 had their surgery before mine.  Both of them were complaining about lack of energy and being tired. 

It used to be that after almost any kind of surgery you were off work for 6-8 weeks.  I took 5 days off for my surgery, including the day of surgery.  Now I'm not back doing everything, but I am back to working full-time.  I think I need to have a bit more patience with myself as I recover. 

Daughter was concerned about how tired I was Friday evening.  Yesterday she called and told me was tired and didn't have any energy, so she didn't know if she could come to worship or not.  I suggested she call me this morning and tell me what she wanted to.  She didn't call, but she did respond to my text asking if she was going to go to church with a yes.  I figured that would be the case.  She loves going to church, and her attempt to elicit great concern from me didn't work. 

On the way home today she was again expressing concern about my tiredness.  I explained that the other 2 individuals who had surgery were also complaining of being tired, and a portion of our energy was going to healing, leaving less energy for other things.  She thought that made sense.  I'm still frustrated with my energy level.  It will improve. 

Friday, March 14, 2014


I slept over 10 hours last night, and have done nothing today.  Well, almost nothing.  I went to the church to lead the singing and tell the story for the Friday night children's program.  Daughter was staying the entire time, so someone else will take her home, probably Administrative Assistant.  AA and I each have one day alone in the office.  The idea is that those will be quiet days when we can be extra productive.  Of course, like my Monday, her Friday was not quiet.  With all the building issues right now, we have a steady stream of people through the building. 

I am a little concerned about how tired I am.  I know, though, that I'm still healing.  My wrist is still swollen and sore.  Hopefully, as it heals, my energy will return. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Handling Chaos

Tuesday night the staff member at Daughter's house went into her room and stayed there, not responding to Daughter's knocks on her door.  Daughter contacted me about her concerns when their supper was over an hour late.  It took another hour to get Home Owner to respond to her texts and phone calls.  When she did get in touch with Daughter, she immediately headed to the house.  The women were probably without supervision for over 3 hours.  Their supper was 3 hours late, which wasn't good for the two diabetics in the house.  Home Owner was the one who ended up preparing their supper. 

I emailed Home Owner yesterday, asking if she could provide another emergency number to Daughter, since Daughter was unable to reach her for an hour the previous evening.  I cc'd Case Manager.  I've heard absolutely nothing from Home Owner.  Case Manager wanted to know what had happened, and so I called her and filled her in.  She was not happy, and promised to investigate and get back to me.  I haven't heard from her, either. 

This morning I picked up Daughter for her volunteer day in the church office.  They forgot to give her the pills she has to take at supper time, so I dropped her back off at the house before supper, and she missed choir.  In a way, I was relieved, as I'm exhausted.  Daughter told me that Home Owner has been at the house a lot since Tuesday-- spending the night there.  If she's not around, a senior staff member is.  The women were told the staff member was just over tired. 

There has been a great deal of change at the house this week, and while it has bothered Daughter, she has handled it remarkably well.  In fact, I think she handled it better than I handled the chaos at the church, where we have had people in and out all week working on the building.  It's just one more thing that has added to my exhaustion this week.  I told Daughter she couldn't call me until after 8:00 tomorrow morning, as I plan to sleep in. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Yesterday and today Daughter did her 30 minutes of exercise without calling to yell at me and tell me she shouldn't have to exercise and it was all my fault.  I had gotten very good at hanging up on her.  At one point she called back to tell me she was never going to talk to me again.  Unfortunately, that only lasted a couple of hours. 

This evening she was concerned because the staff at her house is in her room and not responding and dinner is 90 minutes late.  I've been impressed with the way she has handled the situation.  Of course Home Owner is not answering her phone or responding to Daughter's text messages.  She said the staff member finally responded to Daughter's knock on her door, but she has yet to come out to feed the women.  It is a concern, obviously.  At some point she may have to call 911.

The work began on repairing the water damage today.  They also discovered that the drain line for the sump pump was frozen.  Four of our property guys are vacationing in the south right now.  The property team leader ordered back today to help deal with building issues.  For some reason they didn't immediately head home.  In fact, two of them responded with a picture of them golfing with their wives and the comment that they may never come back. 

We have more snow on the way.  The predictions on the amount of snow we'll get this time range from 2 to 8 inches.  I'm hoping it's closer to 2.  One of the men promised to bring warm weather back with him-- but not until the end of the month. 

Monday, March 10, 2014


We are promised several weeks of chaos at the church.  The restoration company was in today to deal with damage caused by last week's ice dam.  They are going to be working in the hall right outside the office.  The kitchen will be deconstructed.  They have to remove the cabinets and open the wall to dry things out.  They will also be working downstairs, so we may have to move some groups that meet down there.  The work will take several weeks.  As the leader of the property guys observed, it's not exactly the best time for this work. 

The property guys are in the process of replacing the workings in all the toilets in the building.  They are trying to get control of our water usage, which has been steadily increasing.  A new retiree told me yesterday he wants to give 8 hours a week to the church during Lent.  He is going to come in and start doing the inventory we need for our disaster plan. 

I still continue to struggle with exhaustion, so I'm not thrilled with the fact that we will have steady stream of people through the church, and some of them will be generating noise and dust.  It will all work out. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Daylight Savings Time

I hate the change to Daylight Savings Time.  It doesn't help that I've been dragging anyway.  My goal was to pick Daughter up at 7:15 this morning so I could be at the church well before my 8:00 meeting.  That didn't work so well.  There was a railroad crossing where the gates were down and the lights flashing and no train in sight.  Some people were going around, but the challenge was that the signal light beyond it was going to be red until the gates went up.  By the time I got Daughter and got around the railroad crossings (there was another one that was also stuck down), I got there at the same time the others were arriving.

Administrative Assistant did an amazing job with the visual displays for Lent.  Some of our folks who have been away were back today, but a number of others are on vacation.  This winter I understand why people head south in the winter.  It's been brutal.  I know that is not helping my lack of energy.  I'm hoping that we are going to begin experiencing more spring weather.  I'm more than ready for spring.  If we had to lose an hour of sleep last night to daylight savings time, then it should be spring. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hints of Spring

I still have a couple of feet of snow in my yard, but it was above 40 today.  The sun has been shining this week, which has been nice.  It has also been a stressful week, and I'm tired.  While my recovery is going more quickly this time, I am still tired, and I am lacking energy.  Wednesday the property guys met.  They had two main issues to address-- the ice dam on the roof and the steadily increasing water bill.  I realized that when they don't know how to solve a problem, they get rather contentious.  One of the men volunteered to take on the water bill.  He decided he needed 2 years worth of water bills so he could chart usage and analyze it out.  He also decided he'd stop by and record what the water meter said. 

The ice dam was more problematic.  They had decided there was nothing to be done until the ice was gone, but had identified a couple of experts they wanted to come assess the situation.  They have done a number of different things in an attempt to solve the problem, and while they thought they'd made progress, they definitely had not solved the problem.

After they left, as the sun moved over the roof, the water began to flow from the roof into the building.  I found water the telephone closet, and began mopping.  Administrative Assistant was trying to figure a way to direct the water into a bucket.  I called one of the property guys, and told him he was needed.  He wasn't thrilled, but came.  By the time he got there, we had discovered a river running through the basement hallway.  We ended up with 3 property guys at the church.  They got out a couple of shop vacs and began doing battle with the water.  They weren't able to keep up with the flow into the building.  Someone suggested we contact our insurance company.  The insurance company told us to get a  roofer over to get the ice off the roof. 

It became a very stressful afternoon as we tried to finish preparations for the Ash Wednesday service amid the chaos.  The guys were there over 3 hours, and finally rigged a way to collect the water.  The claims adjuster called as the readers were arriving to practice for the evening service.  Thursday the roofers were back.  They said the ice dam was the largest they had ever seen.  They spent the day putting salt on the ice and slowly chipping it away.  It was noisy, and there was a steady stream of people through the church.  The water bill investigator discovered we'd used 1600 gallons of water overnight, and acknowledged we had a serious issue.  They targeted one of the toilets as a probable cause.  They cut the water off to it, and made plans to repair it.  I managed to get the sermon done, but I was dragging.  Administrative Assistant offered to take Daughter home after choir, so I could come home early.  I took her up on the offer.  I knew she was tired too, but she encouraged me to go home and get some rest.

Today was my day off.  The surgeon is pleased with my progress.  He gave me permission to rejoin the hand bell choir.  I took my largest hand bell to the appointment, and he checked out the weight before saying it was okay.  I'm thrilled.  I called Administrative Assistant.  She looks forward to quiet Fridays at the church.  It wasn't quiet today.  There were three men there working on toilets.  She said one went home to get a saw.  We aren't sure why they needed a saw to repair the toilets.  The insurance adjuster came by to assess damages, and recommended two restoration companies.  They are going to have to open some walls to dry things out.  I'm not looking forward to working in a construction zone. 

I've hung up on Daughter a couple of times this evening.  She's mad because she has to exercise.  She's blaming me, and was getting abusive, so I hung up.  She's apologized, but I'm tired of it. 

I'm grateful for the hints of spring, and hope that as the weather warms up and the sun shines, my energy will return. 

Monday, March 3, 2014


I received a phone call this morning that Daughter's appointment with Psychiatrist for today had been cancelled.  Daughter handled the change pretty well.  I was relieved.  I continue to be tired and find that I wear out easily.  Yesterday afternoon I took a nap, something I don't normally do on Sundays. 

Lent begins this week, and this year we are planning to work on a new vision during Lent.  The pieces that require coordination are a bit overwhelming, and I tire easily right now as I continue to recover from my most recent surgery.  We had more snow yesterday morning, and attendance suffered as a result.  This winter has been brutal, and it has had a big impact on our attendance.  We are fighting leaks around the building that are the result of ice dams on the roof.  It has taken a toll on everyone.  The property guys are meeting this week, and one of them confessed his plot to escape the meeting early.  He said he didn't want to be around grumpy old men. 

We are all tired and grumpy, and so generating energy and excitement will not be easy.  We also have an unusually large number of our members who are planning trips to the south this month.  I sometimes think I should join them....

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"You Might as Well Give away my Room"

Daughter called  yesterday after her program, and asked what I was doing this weekend.  I told her I'd be doing laundry and cleaning.  She wanted to come help.  I reminded her she couldn't come here, and asked if she remembered why.  "Yes, because I screwed up.  I always screw up.  You might as well give away my room." 

I assured her that I had confidence in her and I knew she would figure out how to take responsibility for her own safety.  She was skeptical.  I'm not going to tell her that I am, too. 

Not having her here is something of a pain.  I'll have to leave here at 7:15 tomorrow morning to pick her up for church, and of course, we're supposed to get snow tonight, so it could be a fun drive.  When I picked her up Thursday, it was in the midst of the heaviest part of that snow-- and the visibility was very poor.  I am so ready for spring....