Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Deep thoughts from me and the kids

My grandma passed away today, nearly two weeks after experiencing a stroke in her brain stem. What seemed relatively minor when she arrived at the hospital progressed rather rapidly to her not having use of any of her body other than her head, less her ability to speak. Eventually, she couldn't move her head anymore and in the last couple days she mostly slept. Her temperature crept up to 105 from apparently aspirating while she was vomiting after the stroke. Pneumonia is common in this situation, but I don't think it was expected to be a direct result of the stroke, as much as being stuck in a mostly-reclined position. While in hospice-care, there is no treatment for infection. So, at the age of 84, my grandma passed away.

(Last name not published here because it is a public blog. Although followers are few, I have no idea how many readers there are. An occasional hopper does visit, as I frequent many other blogs.)

I won't use this platform right now to preach the gospel or share, in depth, our faith in God and the Bible as truth, but let's just say that we believe it to the core. My children believe and believe they do! It's amazing how profound their faith is, even at the ages of 9 and 6. (My 3 year old has some very neat things to say and questions to ask, but she didn't chime in at all on this. She does, however, have an amazing understanding of the life cycle.)

After my dad called to tell me that grandma had passed away, about 10 minutes went by when A (9) came to me with a huge smile on her face and said with pure joy, "Mom, I bet she's amazed right now at what she sees!" Then she wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly. If you're a believer, you know what she's talking about! I had a brief opportunity to talk to my grandma and pray for her (in her presence) the day after her stroke. A couple days later, there was so much more I wanted to say to her, but she was asleep. I heard God tell me that I said what I should and it was His turn now. He then told me, "Be still. And know that I am God." I know that she was embraced in His arms during her hospital stay and that she is with Him now

I thank you, God, my Father, for meeting each of us right where we are and knowing exactly how to speak to each one of us (even if we don't always listen.)

Later in the day, a neighbor child came to see if the kids could play. I heard A telling her about grandma and figured it was good for her to have friends to talk to about it and help her further process the events of the day. Now, you might have to really know my kids (B)- or any kid on the autism spectrum - to have an appreciation for bluntness. I have no idea if the neighbor girl didn't completely understand what was being said, or why she would ask the question she did, but this is the conversation I heard:

Child A (9): Yeah, so my great-grandma died today. This morning.
Friend: So, where did she go?
Child B (6): Hea-ven! She died. Get it?
{end of conversation}

So, after this emotionally draining day, I was at a loss of energy or ideas for dinner. We decided to go to Ci-Ci's pizza. Because we can feed a family of 5 there for $20. It was that or Taco Bell, the only other place we can keep it at $20 or less. On our way home, we took a route that took us on an off-ramp that goes up to an overpass. B (6) looks out her window and sees that the only thing between her side of the van and the road under the overpass is a little wall. Suddenly, she says very matter-of-fact, "Dad, be careful. The only thing between us and certain death is a tiny wall that isn't that thick. I'm pretty sure it's not that thick!"

She's absolutely right. That wall isn't that thick. The wall between our life here and our eternal life - whether it be a life in heaven or hell. And the wall between heaven and hell - eternal life or eternal death.

Do you know where you will spend eternity?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Water-soluble paint

I'm not a painter. I have very little creative talent. Analytical, yes. Creative, no.

My kitchen had been painted by the previous owners. The wooden cabinets were painted with paint. Not stained to enhance the grain, but painted. I don't agree with painting wood that way, but it was their house at the time and that's what they liked. I can appreciate that. Three years ago I decided to paint over their paint. I would have like to just replace the cabinets, but it was cost prohibitive. In an effort to make the decor a bit more my taste (after 7 years), I bought a color that was different from what it was and put the baby in the backpack and painted the cabinets - right over the paint already on them. I had no idea.

I had no idea that I needed to prep the cabinets. I did wash them, but I didn't know that I needed to "rough it up" somehow to make the paint adhere to the already there paint. (I had mentioned to the hardware store guy what I was doing and he did NOT volunteer any information, which is a bit disappointing.) I painted day after day, coat over coat, sponged some of them and left others a straight coat. With the last couple cabinet doors left under the sink, I let the 2 bigger kids (6 and 3, at the time) paint. They did a great job.

Now the paint has peeled and it looks like yuck. Some of them still look nice, but the ones where food drips or where kids run into them ... well, the paint just peels right off. Sigh. I didn't know. I had NO idea that more needed to be done. I actually have no idea how to prep the surface to re-paint either.

That being said, I openly admit that I know nothing about paint. Well, almost nothing. I mean, there is this thing called water-soluble paint. They are not water-based, but clean up easily with water. So, if you are going to do a craft with the kids or do some painting indoors and want easy clean-up, this may be the paint for you. Just be sure that you are using it on something that won't be getting wet so that your project won't be ruined. Would I use this on my cabinets? No. Because food splatters, drinks spill, and the unexpected is expected to happen. I don't want the paint streaked or dissolved.

However, apparently it's cheaper than more durable paints. And apparently no one in my state's Department of Transportation audits the local municipalities' uses of paint for painting the lines in the road. You know, those lines that separate the lanes? Not only the dotted lines between lanes going the same direction, but also those of turn lanes and the single or double-yellow lines to separate the on-coming traffic. Have you ever driven on a road. in the dark. in the rain. with no lines? It is very difficult to gage where one lane ends and another begins. Especially when the drivers around you are poor at gaging the same thing and the car next to you is way too far away from the curb and that on-coming car is clearly driving down the middle of the road!

What is my point here? That my local village, which has just about no money at all right now, has roads where the lines are completely worn away. When this was brought up for discussion at a local traffic and safety commission meeting (brought up by one of the commissioners, by the way), the village representative stated that the village uses water-soluble paint because it is less expensive than the reflective paint and reflective tape that the village cannot afford. (He went on to say that the road being discussed would be resurfaced next year, so it should get reflective tape at that time, but until then it be without lines) So, what he basically said is that the lines will wash away in the rain fade because of the type of paint and safety will be compromised and nothing will be done about it at this time.

I simply could not believe that it is acceptable in any way to use water-based paint for lane designation on any road.

(I apologize for mis-use of this blog. It is supposed to be representative of the view(s) of my child(ren), while this post is clearly my own. Regardless, I had to get this off my chest.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Little girls really do dream of being...

We tuck the girls in to bed when they go to bed, but then I re-tuck them in before I go to bed. As I tucked A in that second time, I pulled the blankets up, and tucked it in around her neck. As I kissed her on the cheek, she snuggled deeper into the blankets and, still completely asleep, asked, "Am I queen yet?"

Then, Friday morning, I was awakened at 7:20 by a very loud, deep, throaty, "ROAR" from C, who sleeps next to my bed. She was still deeply asleep, but I was not anymore.

So, if they don't dream of being a princess or a queen, apparently, they dream of being lions or tigers.