Monday, August 14, 2006

dressed just right . . .

have you ever had one of those days when you just felt like something was going to get under your skin and rub you the wrong way? overall just flat-out piss you off? well, that's how i felt about today. i just had a bad feeling about it. i could say i had a premonition, but in reality i would have to admit that it was a phone call. well, actually, more than 1 phone call and from more than one person.

disclaimer -- from this point forward, the caller shall be refered to as "he" or "him" because it is inconvenient and awkward to constantly have to insert "he or she" or "him or her" to be grammatically correct. i am unwilling to just refer to "him" as "they" or "them" when in reality it was just 1 person at a time. this in no way makes a statement about the identity of the callers.

in an effort to protect the guilty and expose the innocent, the identity of the callers shall remain anonymous -- but it was the same typical BS as usual. accusations, judgments, lies, condescending attitudes, disrespectful tone of voice, attempts to manipulate and/or control others, guilt trips, inability to hear or see (or even acknowledge) both sides of an issue, obvious partiality, overblown egos, and the same old promises of a possible relationship in the future if i/he/we just did "this" or "that". maybe the caller should make a note -- no matter how loud he shouts, actions speak much louder than words.

how can a mind be so narrow as to think that there is only one side to an issue? how can an ego be so big as to think that any or all my decisions or our decisions or actions revolve around him? how can a person be so blind as to think something was done just to inconvenience or hurt him at a particular time in his life in comparison to the activities of his life? why would the caller think i care about what is going on or when it is going on for him -- or that i would even know about it?

why would the caller be so ignorant as to think that the decision to work on a relationship or to have a relationship is up to him to decide? wouldn't that involve the feelings of more than one person? why would this person think that dangling that old carrot out there "if you do what i want, when i want, how i want, and don't make any demands on me or my life . . . . maybe someday we can work on our relationship" would have an impact on the listener? and if so, why should the listener care? i know i don't care about those empty promises.

sounds more like a threat to me! what an idea, huh? "if you're not careful, i'm going to be your friend!" ugh! i don't think so. the idea that i would be so desperate for companionship that i would seek out that type of person for love/affection/acceptance/friendship -- not bloody likely.

if i could not do any better in life than to seek the friendship and trust of people of this caliber, it would be a sorry existence. but imagine the security that ego provides the person -- "well, some day they are going to be sorry that they didn't want to kiss my ass when they had the chance!" at the same time, i'm thinking "don't bet on it. i don't have the time or the desire for friends like you. after all, w/ friends like that . . . who needs enemies?"

lucky for me, i had an appropriate shirt on that just fit that day --

Saturday, August 05, 2006

father's day - 2006 - the best one ever!

fishing - father's day - 2006 - a sketch that i did w/ a black prang colored pencil.

an amazing event happened this year on father’s day, and I realized that this is the first time i have appreciated this day since my father died in 1997. yeah, i've done neat things and been w/ people i cared about on that day, but it just wasn’t as meaningful to me without my own father, whom i consider to be one of finest human beings to ever live.

this year was my first father’s day being married to jerry. let me explain my experience of last father’s day before i share the current events, so that way i know you’ll understand the significance. last year, there was a concert in kansas city that i would’ve loved to attend, but when i saw that it was on father’s day – i didn’t ask to go because i didn’t want to take jerry away from home in case one or more of his sons wanted to be with him. his youngest son still lived at home w/ him at that time.

we ended up just hanging out at his house, being available for the boys to see him or do something w/ him. he has 3 sons, but only one son called and wished him happy father’s day and visited w/ him. the oldest son, who lived away at columbia, mo, didn’t approve of his parents’ divorce, his father moving on in life, his father dating, and so on – so he only called periodically and/or when he wanted/needed something. so, no call/card/time from that son on the special day for dads. the middle son, the one most like jerry, called him and visited a couple different times, but w/ a new baby, a new house (just moved his family out from jerry’s to their own house about 6 blocks away), and 2 other children – they didn’t come over b/c they already had their hands full for the day. the youngest son, who still lived at home and spent most of the day at home (except for church), was in the same house as jerry, but didn’t make any effort to spend any time w/ him, wish him happy father’s day, or get him a card. now, this son was in a pout in life overall b/c jerry had begun to hold him accountable for his disrespectful attitude and behavior, so he was no joy to be around.

i have to admit that i was shocked that two of jerry’s sons would do absolutely nothing for him for father’s day when i knew that he had done so much for them throughout their lives. but after analyzing the family and the situation, what i realized was that they were just practicing what they had seen throughout their life – jerry was treated as if he were unworthy by their mother, so they must have thought that this was acceptable behavior. now, to point out a few things – jerry did most of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and wage earning in that family. there was even an extended period of time in the very recent past that their mother did not work (she couldn’t get a job in her career field b/c she was a trouble maker). during this time period, jerry cashed in his retirement to pay for his oldest son’s college and support his family, since she was not contributing financially like she should have been. when the divorce happened, the youngest son chose to live w/ jerry – so jerry kept the house and kept his son (without asking for or receiving child support or any financial help from the mother).

this was the man whose sons displayed such blatant disrespect to him everyday of his life, but specifically on father’s day. it was despicable. not only were they disgusting in their judgmental and condescending behavior – but these two were the “super christians" in the family. one has even had the nerve to tell us that he has "long taken the role of spiritual leader of the family"! yeah, right. more like pseudo-christians. the kind who hide behind their religion, using it as a set of laws and rules by which they can judge other people, and yet they don’t see the sin and wrong in their own lives. the kind of “christian" that makes other people hate christians.

this year, things were different. of course, things overall are VERY different this year in jerry’s life than they have been for many, many years.

*** he is treated w/ love and respect from those people around him and he knows that they find him worthy of their love and respect.
*** jerry and i are very happily married and spend as much time together as possible.
*** jerry has new family members who truly care about him and treat him w/ such love and respect.
*** jerry has a new lease on life in his new home and new surroundings where he can get back to doing many of the things that he loved doing since childhood.
*** he has many opportunities to spend time w/ his family (his mother and siblings and families) that he didn't have for years b/c his former wife did not care for his family.

we made special plans for father’s day, inviting his son/d-i-l/grandsons over to join my family (summer, lucas, raven, riahna and scott) at our house for the day. my family went to church and then planned to meet up at our house around 2. we were planning to take the kids fishing, and even though it poured rain in the night – we were going anyway. the last time we promised them to go fishing, it had rained and we changed our plans. we couldn’t do that again! so we just decided that we would be muddy and throw all the kids in the bathtub when they got back from fishing.

the afternoon started out rather hectic, as everyone was arriving at different times and seemed to be running on their own schedules. then as soon as everyone had gotten to the house, we all loaded back up in the vehicles and went in search of some worms for fishing. after all, this was a real fishing trip w/ 3 kids (5, 2, & 2) who had their own fishing poles and this was serious business. all the practicing w/ the weighted practice bobbers was about to pay off. raven had just gotten her fishing pole for easter, so this was all new to her, but she learned to cast on her own in about 5 tries that day -- so she was ready to reel in the big ones.

we ended up at my mother's house (3 miles away) to dig worms and grubs in her cattle pasture, as that's always a sure-fire place to find them. between 4 adult males, 1 baby, 3 little sports, a mommy, and a memaw (the photographer) -- we hit the pasture w/ shovels and buckets to find our bait. trouble was, it was hiding a little harder from us than it usually did. jimmie spent more time dumping the worms out of the bucket while the others were digging. finally, though, we found the right spot, filled w/ huge grub worms and earth worms. they all grabbed what they could right off the bat so we could get on to the real fun -- fishing.

we loaded up again, which is no easy task w/ 5 little ones in carseats and all 3 families in different vehicles, to head to the pond. jerry and i were in the lead in jerry's company car (2005 impala), w/ jacob and boys in the expedition right behind us, and summer/lucas/raven/riahna bringing up the rear in her sable. we pulled off the road and headed around the field and down to the pond. right as i said, "i don't think this looks too solid . . . " -- we sunk. jerry tried to work the car out of the hole on his own, but couldn't. jacob was fine in the expedition, but stopped where he was to stay out of our way. summer's car was in trouble as soon as it turned in the field, but they were able to get backed out and just left her car on the road.

jerry, jacob, and lucas all walked around his car to survey the damage and come up w/ a game plan. i just sat in the car, knowing that this was not going to be a pretty sight. growing up on a farm, i had seen these kinds of things before. jerry decided that i should scoot over and drive while the guys pushed on the car and we would just "rock it" out of there. we seemed to be making a little progress, but it was just inching along. jerry found a board to wedge under the front tire where it could get better traction and then we started again. move a little forward, gun in reverse while the guys pushed. over and over again. on the next try, jerry leaned over to see if we were making any progress . . . just as the tired came off of the board -- flipping a huge amount of soupy, slimy mud straight up his front, in his mouth, across his whole face, under his hat, and down his back.

i didn't know what to do, as i had never seen jerry in a situation like this -- but it was darned funny looking. he was spitting mud and trying to swipe it off of his sweaty face. he looked up at me, and i really tried to keep a straight face. but w/ lucas and jacob standing behind jerry and right in my line of vision and obviously laughing, even if they weren't making any noise . . . . i just lost it. i started laughing but trying not to, and then i just couldn't even have that much control. i laughed until i had tears dripping off of my chin. the boys laughed that much harder, and jerry was laughing as he wiped the rest of the mud from his face/eyes/mouth. it was hard to get back to being serious after that, but just a couple more pushes sent me rocketing backward onto solid ground.

yea . . . on to the fishing. we took off trekking toward the pond, which meant we had to cross that swamp. the guys went right on ahead, as they were dressed for getting messy. i really wasn't, but i was just along to take pictures. i had an expensive digital camera in one hand and a 6 week old granddaughter in the other hand, so i was trying to find the non-muddy spots to get through. i failed miserably! at one point, when i went to step forward, i lost my shoe. when i stepped back to get it, i slipped. my legs were going this way and that as i was now shoeless in the slimy mud. my arms were flailing as much as possible to help keep me upright, but w/ camera and baby -- i didn't have much freedom. i wasn't worried about getting muddy or even falling, if it were just myself. but i was terrified of falling and hurting the baby. i was also trying to protect the camera what i could, but if something had to be sacrificed then it would go. after a few fearful seconds (which felt like time slowed down), i was able to get it under control and back moving toward the pond.

jerry had the weedeater w/ him to tame an area of the bank for the kids to get to -- and it worked out perfectly. there was the perfect opening there for all of us to fit in where all of the kids could fish. it was rather tight quarters when you were trying to avoid 3 little sports all armed w/ fishing poles and real hooks. none of them were patient enough to let their corks settle on the water before they started reeling them in again. i guess for them, the fun was in the casting and reeling. i stayed long enough to take a bunch of pictures and watch the kids have their fun, but it was very hot holding the baby and we were expecting other company at the house very soon.

right as summer, riahna and i started for the cars, the company arrived at the house (which was just about 1/4 mile from the pond). they saw the cars down at the pond and headed down to us. summer and i were covered in mud, but we took riahna and joey (now called joe-bug) back to the house. jerry's mother and brother were dropped off to stay w/ us while his sister/b-i-l/neice went to meet some other family at chicken mary's. jerry's mother was anxious to get to see all her grandkids and get her hands on the baby, and the rest of the family would be back after dinner for home-made ice cream.

the fishing trip only lasted about 15 minutes after we left, but the kids had a blast. no fish were harmed in the making of this memory, though. we can tell that johnny is a true fisherman -- claiming to have caught a fish. that is a true fish story! as everyone got back up to the house and cleaned up, we started some dinner and ice cream preparations. we just had burgers and dogs and chips, chased down w/ strawberries and home-made ice cream a while later. the other family members came back from chicken mary's and my mother and her husband dropped by to see everyone. at this point, we had 20 people in the kitchen and living room, dodging running kids while balancing plates of food. quite a challenge!!!

since the men and children had proven that they were not that great at fishing, they decided that it would be great fun to shoot clay pigeons. everyone spilled out on the back porch to watch the action. the thrower was positioned and boxes of clay pigeons were carried out toward the field as the guns were carried out from the house. as w/ any contest of skill, there is usually more talking going on ahead of time than there should be . . . if you know what i mean! well, the last time the guys had the guns, clay pigeons, and thrower out -- they couldn't hit worth throwing for. in fact, it took several trips out into the field to pick up the pigeons that they missed! on that day, my mother and her husband had dropped by, so my mother had to step out there and "show them how to shoot". fortunately for their pride, the guys were doing much better on this day!!! johnny loved to "pull" for them, but he wasn't real reliable on his timing -- so sometimes they said "pull!" and then stood there and waited and waited and waited on johnny to decide he was ready. but hey, what can a person expect from a 5-year-old!

it was a great day of activity and visiting for all involved -- very relaxed, come and go as you please, eat where you want, sit where you want, self-serve, indoor or outdoor -- just laid back. the kids were all very well-behaved, but just absolutely exhausted. riahna was her normal self, sleeping soundly through it all and being passed from one set of "grandma hands" to another.

the house finally cleared out around 10:30 or so from the company. we had messes strung from one end to the other. after fishing, the little sports had gotten into the jacuzzi tub to clean up, but a combination of bubble bath and jacuzzi jets made so many bubbles that the kids had to be lifted out of the tub and put into the shower to get cleaned off. bubbles, mud, dirty clothes, and wet towels were waiting in our bathroom. drinks, cups, toys, ice cream freezer mess and yard furniture were all along the front porch. more yard furniture, clay pigeons, throwers, empty shotgun shells, cups and drinks were around the back yard. plates, cups, chips, snacks, and lots of dishes were strung around the kitchen and on the island.

jerry and i walked through the house and decided to call it a night, as all that stuff would still be waiting there for me the next day. jerry had to work, but i was off on summer break. something to keep me entertained, i guess you could say. as we were talking about the day and all, jerry just looked so content and so happy. he had such a good time, and was so proud to have his family come to visit him and spend time w/ him in his home. this was just one of a string of many big events in our lives, and most of them have all happened at our house w/ the people we love.

jerry gave me a hug and said, "thank you. that was the best father's day of my life." amazingly, he didn't get one gift, but he had his son and grandsons come and spend the day w/ him, his family came to visit, part of my family came to hang out, and he received 2 very special father's day cards -- 1 from his step-son and 1 from his step-daughter and family. he said that those 2 cards meant more to him than any other cards he had ever gotten. it was a perfectly wonderful day -- spent together w/ the people we love (and those who love us!). he also got a card from jacob, his son, as well.

scott's card for jerry -- designed and printed by scott himself

summer and lucas' card for jerry - designed and printed by summer

jacob's card for jerry -- couldn't have been more true if he had designed and printed this card himself!

oh, and btw, jerry did get a 2-sentence email from his oldest son and a 5-sentence email from the youngest son. of course, after the recent bout of hate-mail that jerry and i had gotten from those 2 sons, the new emails weren't too impressive! i'm sure they felt much better, though, after taking time from their busy schedules to email messages to their father on father's day. too bad they missed all the other fun from the day!