Top 10 Excuses for the List that Almost Wasn’t

Top 10 Excuses for the List that Almost Wasn’t

Toy truck

10.  The beginning of September and the swiftly diminishing daylight hours threw me into a deep funk.

9.   For the longest time, I could only think of 9 things for the list. Call me OCD, but I couldn’t publish this until #10 came to mind.

8.   Senior moment. I forgot.

7.   The computer died.

6.   There was a power failure.

5.   My family did an intervention, and I went off social media cold turkey for the long weekend.

4.   I celebrated Labor Day by doing no work…which meant no writing or blogging for me.

3.   Because writing never feels like work to me, I spent the weekend feverishly writing the Great American Novel.

2.   Writing three books in one year led to a bad case of writers’ block, and I couldn’t think of a thing to write about.

1.   I spent the weekend playing games like trucks, fix-it, garden, and yummy soup with our adorable grandson.

How was your Labor Day weekend? Leave a comment.

What Do You Give a Woman Who’s 84?

What Do You Give a Woman Who’s 84?

Mom turns 84 today. This year, we didn’t think she had the stamina to make the trip to the Labor Day Reunion being held in northwest Iowa. So in honor of her birthday, the post written for the occasion last year has been reposted below. If you read to the very bottom, you’ll find out there is something new to give a woman who’s 84!

What Do You Give a Woman Who’s 83?

Mom’s birthday was Saturday, and as was mentioned in a previous post, we (meaning 20 people in her extended family, including her baby sister, Donna, pictured above) celebrated in style with the traditional family birthday cake. What wasn’t mentioned in the post was my personal quandary that has grown more perplexing as Mom grows older.

What do you give a woman who’s 83?

Mom doesn’t like to be given stuff because once it’s hers, she frets about it.
“What should I do with it?” she asks.
“Where should I put it?” she asks.
“Do you want it?” she asks.
Kinda defeats the purpose of giving a gift, when she wants the giver to take it back.

This year, I rationalized away the quandary this way.
“Baking the German chocolate cake is my present to her,” I thought.
“Sharing my bed with her for the reunion weekend is my present to her,” I thought.
“Hiram sleeping on the floor for the reunion weekend so she could sleep in our bed is our present to her,” I thought.
“Hosting 20 people at my house for the weekend is my present to her,” I thought.

But do you know what?

Throughout the weekend,
the more I watched her listen to the young adults describe their forays into grownupdom,
the more I saw her enjoy watching everyone play yard games,
the more engaged she became during several rousing games of Catch Phrase,
the more I realized my thoughts were not rationalization.
Instead, those thoughts were the answer to the quandary.

What do you give a woman who’s 83?
The gift of your time.
This year, the sibs and I came up with something to give Mom. We had the signed poster she received from Kairong Liu, the Chinese artist she tutored when he was college student, matted and framed. We’re taking her out to supper tomorrow evening and giving it then. So shhhh, don’t say a word!
What Do You Give a Woman Who’s 83?

What Do You Give a Woman Who’s 83?

Mom’s birthday was Saturday, and as was mentioned in yesterday’s post, we (meaning 20 people in her extended family, including her baby sister, Donna, pictured above) celebrated in style with the traditional family birthday cake. What wasn’t mentioned in the post was my personal quandary that has grown more perplexing as Mom grows older.

What do you give a woman who’s 83?

Mom doesn’t like to be given stuff because once it’s hers, she frets about it.
“What should I do with it?” she asks.
“Where should I put it?” she asks.
“Do you want it?” she asks.
Kinda defeats the purpose of giving a gift, when she wants the giver to take it back.

This year, I rationalized away the quandary this way.
“Baking the German chocolate cake is my present to her,” I thought.
“Sharing my bed with her for the reunion weekend is my present to her,” I thought.
“Hiram sleeping on the floor for the reunion weekend so she could sleep in our bed is our present to her,” I thought.
“Hosting 20 people at my house for the weekend is my present to her,” I thought.

But do you know what?

Throughout the weekend,
the more I watched her listen to the young adults describe their forays into grownupdom,
the more I saw her enjoy watching everyone play yard games,
the more engaged she became during several rousing games of Catch Phrase,
the more I realized my thoughts were not rationalization.
Instead, those thoughts were the answer to the quandary.

What do you give a woman who’s 83?
The gift of your time.

Hard to Believe

Hard to Believe

This past weekend’s abrupt switch from summer to fall was hard to believe. After all, over Labor Day, our family gathered for boating and swimming, and to throw cousins in the the lake – all the good stuff that accompanies warm summer days and nights.

But Saturday evening Hiram and I, along with scores of other guests, sat shivering and dodging raindrops at an outdoor wedding. Our teeth chattered in rhythm with the processional. Steely-eyed bridesmaids willed away goosebumps and walked down the aisle, their bouquets dewy fresh and trembling in the cold. The bride, tall and calm, came down the aisle escorted by her parents. The weather bothered her and the groom not one bit. They had eyes for each other only, and by the end of the chilly ceremony, they were as married as they would have been in a warm, dry church.

After the festivities, Hiram and I went home to a chilly house and turned on the furnace. “Hard to believe,” I said, “that we need the heater this early in the fall.” The house was still nippy the next morning, so I turned up the heat a tad before we went to church. Surely, it would be warmer there.

It wasn’t.

Apparently, the custodial staff at the the high school, where we meet for Sunday services, found the weather forecast hard to believe, and hadn’t bothered to turn on the furnace. By the end of church, I couldn’t feel my toes.“At least it will be warmer when we get home.” I hurried to the car.

But it wasn’t.

“Must have turned up the night thermostat instead of the day control.” I fiddled with the dial again, made a cup of hot tea, and put on another sweater. “Hard to believe it’s supposed to be 85 tomorrow.”

“Well, today it’s freezing in here.” Hiram checked the thermostat. “Only 66 degrees.” He went down to check the furnace and discovered the pilot light wouldn’t turn on. “You better call the furnace guy tomorrow,” he suggested. “Gonna be a cold night tonight.”

But it wasn’t.

The outdoor temperature rose throughout the night, and by morning it was nearly as warm outside as in. By midmorning, it was muggy and humid outside. But the house was cool and dry. Quite comfortable, in fact, though the temperature was no higher than during my shiverfest the day before. Hard to believe a call the furnace guy could be necessary or wise.

But it was.

And though it’s hard to believe, when the next cold snap comes and our pilot light behaves correctly, I’ll be thankful for the weather’s brief flirtation with fall.

It’s hard to believe that the bride and groom will be be quite so grateful for the turn the weekend’s weather took. But they can be proud of this: for all who attended, their wedding will be one of the most memorable ever.

It certainly was.