Thursday, February 24, 2011

Here, Lizard, Lizard, Lizard

One thing that I've been very thankful for since losing D is that I have not dealt with fear in being alone. I live in a safe neighborhood in a quiet suburb, and I have friendly yet alert neighbors. Nothing gets past their watchful eyes and near my home. Until a few weeks ago.

I was stepping into D's office from the outside deck, when I felt the eyes of an unwanted visitor. A large lizard had slipped in and was throwing himself frantically against the sliding glass door to get out. When I tried to help redirect him (with a broom), he squeezed under a piece of furniture and continued his flipping around under there. This was no Geico gecko. This was his goliath cousin from the Amazon, and I'm not sure how he ended up in central Texas. Or in my home.

I lived for two weeks refusing to believe that he may still be in my house. At one point I think I heard him performing that flipping move in my bedroom, but when I regained consciousness I did not see him anywhere. Denial: it's not just a river in Egypt.

Earlier this week I was walking through D's study admiring the sunny day outside, when I spied my arch nemesis about 6 feet up a wall just hanging around. And eyeing me. Again, I tried to helpfully sweep him out the door into the backyard, but he scuttled and flipped into the laundry room. I will really miss having clean clothes in this lifetime.

The picture above shows Plan B: stuff a table cloth under the door to the laundry room and hope the lizard relocates outside through the open garage door. I'll really miss never using that table cloth and my garage again, too.

I'm not sure how I will know when/if the lizard has left the building. Like the Taco Bell chihuahua, I think I may need a bigger box. Or a new house.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Changing and Moving On

You may have noticed that my posts have slowed down considerably since the first of the year. I'd say that is a direct result of the work I am now doing with the children's ministry at my new church. I am so enjoying being stretched and challenged by the growth we are seeing and anticipating in the future. But blogging time just isn't what it used to be.

I have spent a lot of time thinking of all the changes in my life since losing D 18 months ago, and what he would think of those changes.

I know he would be very proud of the work I've had done to finish the house and all his unfinished projects. We had done so much talking about how those projects would look finished (he was a believer of the axiom "Begin with the end in mind") that I knew exactly how he would have carried out the tasks. He had chosen the red front door I eventually had installed. He left plans for the completion of the bookcase units in the living room, the plant stands thisclose to being finished, and various other projects he didn't have the strength or days to complete. One of my toughest moments after loosing him was spent fishing drawings out of his office trash can, knowing that he had sat and literally thrown his dreams away. But now? The ones I could finish are finally done.

I also know he'd be not so happy about the fact that I now have a microwave oven and electric blanket. (Radiation issues to him, and items we had not owned during his 7 year journey through cancer.) And he'd be much less than pleased about the small fire I had in the kitchen a few weeks ago that damaged the counter. Drat.

I have also been very aware of some things I'm doing now that I would not have done while D was alive. I know I would not have taken this job at the church, but now the season seems so right. I never would have taken as many trips, or had dinners out with friends as often as I do now. The moving on is hard because, obviously, I'd never trade having him here for the things I am enjoying in my new season of life.

And today? I took a really big step into my future. I had 8 people over for lunch after church today. And I served a meal that involved turning on the stove. (You laugh. I'm pretty sure that stove has sat cold for probably 17 1/2 months.) And, amazingly, a good time was had by all. Including me. I love to entertain, and (except for that newly burned counter) my home is a good place to have company. I'm sure my guests had no idea what a big occasion today's meal was for me. I felt like I crossed the line at a marathon for all the emotional healing God's done in my heart to get to the place that I am today. A place I did not think I'd ever reach a year and a half ago.

The plans of God? They are yes and amen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Goodbye, Sweet Friend

Susan Elaine Cardwell Owen, 56 of Round Rock, Texas, passed away February 5, 2011. Susan was born in Baytown, Texas, on August 17, 1954. She was the oldest of three children born to Wayne and Katherine Cardwell.

Susan graduated from McCallum High School in 1972 and later earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston. She married her Jr. High sweetheart, Roger Owen, on April 22, 1972, and they had two sons, Starsky Shane Cardwell Owen and Clint Alden Cardwell Owen.

Susan was a person transformed by the love of Christ. She was absolutely selfless in her constant care for her family and young grandchildren. Her passion for children and Christian education was evident in her 25 years of service at Round Rock Christian Academy – where she worked as a Teacher, Principal, and Administrator. Her giving spirit was also clearly seen in the time and energy she and Roger invested in the elementary students of Central Baptist Church.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snow Day...Texas Style

This post is so late I probably would not have run it. But tomorrow we have the possibility of ice and snow again. I, for one, want to experience the delightful anticipation/possibility of a snow day again. (Because SPOILER ALERT we had a Snow Day from school last Friday!)

Taking it back to last Wednesday, central Texas temps plunged into the teens. This is very unusual for our neck of the woods. What was more unusual (make that unheard of) was a new phenomenon for these parts called "rolling blackouts." The electric "grid" was under such high usage that someone somewhere decided that electricity would come and go at will throughout the day to conserve it for people who really needed it. Apparently, my second grade classroom did not qualify, nor did the rest of the school. I had gone in early to run some papers, and found street lights, traffic lights, and in fact, all lights, off in my school's neighborhood. Children and parents eventually began arriving, and were assured that electricity would return soon. I ushered my students into a room with no light or heat, and the temperature hovered at about 40 degrees inside. The power would come on for about 10 minutes, and then stay off for 50 minutes, each hour. You may have guessed that there was little quality education going on. It's hard to write when your fingers are numb from cold. And I salute all the former inhabitants of the Little House on the Prairie for making those conditions sound like fun.

Before sending my class to lunch (where the cooks, unable to cook without electricity, were providing peanut butter sandwiches and apples ) I was told I could call my students' parents to see if they could be picked up. I had the advantage of having this class last year, and I know not only parent's phone numbers, but also grandparents, neighbors and babysitters of my students. The room was cleared in about 45 minutes and I got to go home (where there was electricity) and try to warm my hands and feet to the point that I could feel them again. (Again: Laura Ingalls Wilder: You have grown in my estimation of you for thriving during all those long, cold winters.)

We returned to a school with full electricity on Thursday, but there were rumors in the air about rarely heard words around here. Words like "ice" and "snow".

You know the drill: you wake up early to watch the news crawl across the TV to see if your district has called off school for the day due to icy roads. Usually? My district is the last to declare defeat.
This time? 5:21 am and it is NO SCHOOL! Sceptic that I am, I checked the district's website.
If you are from further north, these next pictures will probably have you rolling on the floor. If you are a reader from Canada, you are probably snorting your morning coffee. The picture above shows footprints on the sidewalk. Almost 1/2 inch deep!
And you'll notice that not even all the grass is covered with snow. But, hey: the ice landed where it was needed and the streets/buses were shut down. SNOW DAY!

We have nothing on our friends in Tulsa who are on their second week off from school. The stores are out of eggs, and I hear the only cheese left at the grocery store is mozzarella. Even Laura would not want to live in a world without cheddar.

I digress. Tomorrow, there is a possibility of icy roads in the morning. In central Texas, ice means the town shuts down. You wouldn't find me complaining about another day off of school.
And I have eggs and cheddar in the house.

Fingers crossed!