Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Grandma Stuff

Being a grandmother to Iris is different from being a grandmother to William. William is local, and I see him pretty much daily. We talk about what is on his mind. He shows me his art. I know what he likes, what he doesn't like, his quirks, and his sense of humor. I KNOW him.

Iris is far away. I don't see her regularly, although her lovely mama is very good about sending me videos and pictures.

We saw her in early November. We had five precious days with her last week.

I got to 'learn' her. She loves to color. We took her an easel. She communicates easily, although she is signing for most of it. There are signs for 'more', for 'please', for 'stop', for 'color', 'hungry', etc. She takes people by the hand and leads them around, showing them the things that matter to her. She loves to be read to and is at the stage that the pictures matter. If there is a picture of a cat, she knows it's a cat. She recognized a rubber ducky and knows she has one in the bathroom upstairs. If you say 'nice and cozy', she picks up her soft blanky and gets a pillow from the couch and tucks herself in. She likes to tumble and she likes to move. She loves to play "Where's my eye?" or "Where's my nose?" Her baby shark puzzle is a big favorite. She likes to sing. She loves her dogs. She loves routine.

She also has a wonderful sense of humor. I screwed up my face at her, and she stared in amazement. Then she screwed up her little face. We both laughed. I stuck out my tongue. She stuck out hers. I blinked my eyes, I'm sure you get the picture. She thought this was the funniest thing ever. The following night at the dinner table, we were all talking and Iris was happily feeding herself. (She's surprisingly adept with her little fork.) I happened to catch of glimpse of Iris trying to catch my eye around the side of a large table centerpiece. When I looked at her, she made a face. I made one back. We both laughed.

5 precious days. I came away feeling like I got a chance to get to know her. My grandma heart is full and happy.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Strange Stuff.

Some very troubling signs that things are going very wrong at work. I've been transferred to another department, and am glad for it. My own department is so slow that nobody had to report Friday or this week. More layoffs are scheduled.

I keep my head down and I work, but it is hard not to feel like these events are very bad omens.

Thursday was the day that they told people that more layoffs were scheduled. They also said that no one can request vacation time on the days that people are sent home due to lack of work.  I left work at the end of the day. The place seemed eerily empty.

When I got home, Tim was not there, but it is sometimes like that. He's rewiring the house we just got. I started preparing supper and when I heard him coming in, I said, "Hey, things are looking a lot more dicey at work..." and began to tell him the details.

He said, "Take the layoff. If you get a chance, take the layoff." I turned to him in surprise. He stood there holding a piece of paper with a strange look on his face.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Nothing, he answered. "I went to the post office to pick up a registered letter. Dresser-Rand has called me back to work."

The man took a voluntary lay-off over four years ago, to see how we would fare on one paycheck. He's wanted to go back and get another year under his belt before retirement, because it will boost his pension, but when he's bid on jobs, he hasn't gotten them. We just took it as a sign that God wanted him doing what he was doing.

Evidently, God wants him to do something else right now.

In talking about it, I won't take a voluntary layoff. I'll ride this horse until it drops. Then I'll decide what to do. It will be very nice to have extra money to tuck away while we wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Good Stuff

When you don't see a 17 month old for two months, it's like you're meeting a whole new kid. We're headed to Blandon for 5 days and I'm so excited that I can hardly stand it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tough Stuff

William has a little friend at church. Her name is Clarabella.  Clarabella sits with us pretty regularly since both her parents are involved in the music program during the services. She and William send each other little notes. They share their toys. They whisper back and forth. She is a year younger than William, but she's no shrinking violet, this gal. Clarabella explained to William that he is her boyfriend and that this means he can't have any other girlfriend but her. 

He didn't seem to have a problem with that. 

She's a fourth generation church member. Her great grandmother's handwriting still appears on the organizational cards in the church kitchen. Her grandparents are members. So are her parents. 

Her grandfather has been ill for some time now, very ill. He's an extremely quiet man. He dealt with his illness in a very quiet way. He worked for the same company I did. Not long ago, I was shocked to make a call and find myself speaking with him. I'd have never guessed he was still working. 

As time passed, he seemed to get even quieter. I'd see him at coffee hour nursing his cup of coffee and looking exhausted, though he always was able to muster a cheerful word. 

William has had her Christmas gifts, but Clarabella has not been in church. Her father ducks out after the service. I haven't seen her grandparents since Christmas. 

Last Sunday, while peace was passed, I finally got up the nerve to ask the woman in the pew behind me if she'd had any word on the old gentleman. She said that she'd seen them at the hospital. She looked at me and said, "I wouldn't have recognized him if his wife hadn't been there. He's lost so much weight." 

The man has been stick thin for months now. I honestly couldn't imagine him any skinnier. 

During the prayers of the people, I offered up a silent prayer in my heart for Kurt and his family. At the end of the litany, the priest stepped forward to tell us that Kurt was dying. There was an audible gasp from us all as he offered up the prayer for the dying. 

By the end of our service, he was gone from this world. 

We got a little card for William to send to Clarabella. When we gave it to him, he signed it without comment. We addressed it for him. He stuck the stamp on. 

"Thank you, William, I said. "I'm sure that she'll be glad to get this." He looked at me with a very solemn face. "Can we stop talking about this?" he said, and he quickly left the room to scramble up on the couch next to his own grandpa. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Men Stuff

Saturday, Tim said, "Let's go to Kane after lunch. I want to show you an antique store."

I'm always game for a trip. I like browsing. Since hoeing out the house, really, I don't feel the need to buy as often as I used to, but it's still fun to look.

It was a pretty day for a drive, and I drank my iced tea and watched the scenery going by, while visiting with Tim. I'll never quite understand why it is so hard to make the time to relax and talk, but when we get the moments, I savor them.

The store is my favorite kind of antique store, a place where people stop in just to hang out and talk. The owner was repairing some veneer. I watched him carefully. I've got a dresser I need to work on. Another man stood talking with him about WWII. Every now and again, one or the other of them would stop to settle an argument by looking something up on their phones.

At one point, one of them stopped to marvel that it was 2020. The guy said, "My wife is telling people we've been married for 50 years. We haven't. We've got a couple years to go."

The other said, "I'm right behind you. I've been married for 35 now."

The response came back, "Well, you'll always be behind me. You're not going to catch up." And he made a joking comment about wives.

The younger man laughed and quickly agreed, but followed it up with, "But don't you DARE tell her I said that, because I need that woman to stick around."

I burst out laughing right along with them.

As I wandered through the store, I found a set of moon glow dishes. I'd never seen them before. They really were gorgeous. But I have a set of peach luster dishes that are pretty too, so I decided to keep on moving. I saw a table I wanted, but couldn't figure out where I'd put it.  I'm really trying to be mindful about what I haul into the house.

Next thing I know, Tim's found a five gallon Quaker State Oil can, and just that quick, he's got that down and in heavy conversation with the two fellows in front of the store, about the fact that it is in excellent condition for an old oil can and some debate back and forth as they tried to figure out a general age for the item. It had a plastic cap, but Tim was convinced it was a replacement cap. He thought the can was much older. It went on for some time. Everyone had an opinion.

I don't think I'll ever understand men. The last time that we went to a store, Tim fell in love with the grill of an old Chevy truck, heavily chromed, with a spot where you fit the crank. He dragged that thing home too.  (It's huge) And now it is another oil can. So I asked him the same question that I ask myself every time I see something.

"So what are you going to do with that?"

The answer came back: "I'm putting it in my man cave."

That's one room I'll never have to worry about hoeing out, so I shut up and kept on browsing.