Hello, April! Oh Wait, That Was a While Ago

I opted on loading up the children’s bikes for a trail ride/walk this afternoon at Blue Knob instead of collapsing on my bed for a nap. Now that we are back, I have been trying to decide whether to read “Farewell: the Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century” or write. Maybe if I am really efficient, I can do a bit of both. 🙂 Gabe’s shift ends at 9:30 tonight. There should be time before he gets home.

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The weather is just glorious these days. I have real flowers being picked out of my flower beds to put on the window sill! Hallelujah! Our girlies have dragged many of their play things out to the playhouse. Hallelujah again for their room, although not so much for the lawn! When the sun is especially warm they set up camp with blankets and sleeping bags in various places. Rita hauled this slab of moss tenderly down the steep path from the top of the ridge. She is a passionate nature lover, loitering to observe textures and colors after the others have galloped down the trail.

The guys spent a good deal of time outside yesterday, working on a garden shed. Last night they came in with sunburns, and I wished I had just left the cookie dough and gone out to help them. I had asked Alex to make cookies for the weekend, with extras for the freezer. He picked an unfamiliar recipe, one of those ginormous Sugar Cookie recipes that Amish ladies describe as “gma” cookies. Usually he is very efficient and speedily churns out the goodies, but yesterday he stalled and asked me if I would bake them now that the dough is mixed. I was clearing out cobwebs in the bathroom and said, “Yeah, just run outside” without looking at what I was getting into.

I found the Kitchenaid bowl nearly brimful of suspiciously runny cookie dough. Sure enough, the test batch ran out flat, like crepes. I guess the young man had gotten discouraged with trying to incorporate flour into such a full bowl, so I dumped out half, added a cup of flour, did another test batch, still runny, more flour, test batch, finally right. I baked all those, then repeated the adding flour/test batch steps with the second half of runny dough. By the time I had about 8 dozen cookies, I too ran out of stamina and froze the remaining dough. Then I looked at all those flat, flat test cookies and had a lightbulb moment. I would make a light butter cream icing with lemon curd in it for flavoring, then I would make sandwich cookies. All was well that ended well, as Ma Ingalls said so many times. But it took a very long time. When they were wrapped, I felt both satisfied at my brilliant solution for a problem and miffed that the day was half over and I still hadn’t cleaned anything in my house except the cobwebs in the bathroom. At least I would not be watching them all disappear in one day at the “gma”.

I have been making slow but steady inroads on my stores of stuff this past month. There have been books sold on Amazon. (Ouch.) I have cleared out desk drawers and organized old pictures. I have waded through the season change clothing swap for five children, and I survived. (Although I don’t know what I will do if they dig out gloves from the tote one more time.) This week I took my maternity clothes to Goodwill. (I know, I know just what you are thinking. If that happens, I will quickly tell you. :O )My Blessed Big Boy cleared out that freezer I mentioned a while ago, you know the one where the scrapple packs were stuck in ice. He organized it, and now I like to just stand and look in until I remember that I am wasting energy and quickly shut it again.

Of all the things I can already look back and know I did wrong in parenting my oldest, there is one thing I feel blessed to have gotten right, and that was to let the very active, hands-on, please let me try child… try. I tripped over him and his ever present watching chair so often when he was a toddler. I tried hard to bite my tongue when I knew he was going to make a huge mess, and then we would clean up. In retrospect, it was not wisdom on my part so much as a desperation to keep him occupied that led me to involve him in activities that were not really child’s play at all. That, and knowing that if he was right with me, I could see what was happening, even if it was inconvenient to trip all the time. Now I see that he has confidence to try big stuff, really useful stuff. I would stub my toes on that stool by the sink 20 times a day just to have a resident freezer-cleaner-outer.

One of the reasons I was so diligently managing my household stuffs was because my husband applied for a travel nursing job early in the year. The agency accepted him and we started looking online at the posts available, and my panicky feeling of needing to condense and simplify spurred me to action. If he applied to a hospital, we could expect a move within a month, with posts lasting 3 months and then another place. It sounded exciting, paid much better, and looked like an adventure. In idealistic youthful times I used to say we should try to get all our worldly goods into a Conestoga wagon, just to keep from accumulating too much chokey stuff. Well. Our house isn’t much bigger than a Conestoga, (just kidding)  but we do have a lot of stuff that would have to litter the trail.

As is turned out, the logistics of finding short-term housing with a family and a dog, as well as switching health care plans, etc. etc. turned it into not a wise move at this time. We were happy when Gabe found a job at the bigger city hospital just 1/2 hour drive away in Altoona. This is a trauma center, where he hopes to get a lot more experience with trauma, I guess. If you say “crisis” or “trauma” to me, I run the other direction to avoid fainting. He runs toward it. I am much happier not thinking about the internal workings of the pipes and tubes in the body. When he sits beside me on the couch and strokes my wrist, I know he is romantically looking for a good IV vein. Haha.

So, we are planting a garden after all this year, instead of gallivanting across the country. Last week it seemed the soil was about ready so I went to Farm Bureau for pea seeds. Enroute it began to pour and I figured we missed our window of time. I bought them anyway, and found that the road was dry a mile from home. Good old sheltering Black Oak Ridge must have hustled the clouds to the east and north of us. It was a great day to plant since Gabe was home to exercise his super straight row making skills. The children and I dropped seeds as fast as he made the rows and we were done in short order. To celebrate, we had peas from the freezer for supper. I got out enough that everybody could have all they wanted because every year… Every year I do this. I get all happy about planting peas and feel smug when April showers fall on them. Then in June I bend and pick and pick and bend and wonder what is wrong with me and I will never grow peas again. But I do it every year because they are just so good.

Okay, I think it is time to return to the spy story before too much stream-of-consciousness spills out. Happy, happy spring to all!

2 thoughts on “Hello, April! Oh Wait, That Was a While Ago

  1. Isn’t it the most freeing thing to be in control of our ” stuff”?? Recently someone left a comment on one of your posts and referred to minimilism. I did some searching and what I found has changed my life and blessed me so do much. I have cleaned out and simplified and have a huge yard sale pile. Every bag I take out gives me another measure of freedom. Love it!

  2. “I know he is romantically looking for a good IV vein.” Fantastic husband description and I loled for real!
    I was getting all excited about your traveling job, but- well, if I were in your place I would probably heave a sigh of relief. 🙂

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