Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I believe

Without going into a lot of detail, my father is in the CCU of a local hospital after his breathing and heart stopped several day ago. He is on a ventilator to assist his breathing. His heart is strong. There are good days and there are bad days. This I wrote last night and this morning.

I believe.

He has been my teacher all of my life
The lessons ranged from simple to difficult
We have talked about life
And all the things that fill it
We even talked about the end of life
And what comes beyond

I see his lessons in the actions I take
I see his hand in numerous places in my life
Sometimes when I talk, I hear him
Saying the same words in another place
And that gives me a measure of confidence
To use the words already tried and true

One of the lessons Dad spoke of
Involved one of life’s hardest realities
He talked about a time
When he would not be here
He wasn't making plans
But knew that time’s eventuality
Would catch up to even him one day

Standing here, looking at you
More helpless than I have ever seen
I remember what you would say
If you were looking over my shoulder
I can hear the words you have spoken
And I know the reality

God is more than able
He is working all things
According to his time and plan
Be not afraid, only believe
Faith is the substance of things hoped for
The evidence of things not seen

These are the words
Tried and true
These are the words
You are still saying to me
And I believe, Dad
I believe.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

the new toy

Here is the new toy ... Well, a stock pic of the new toy .. havent had a good sunny day to take a good pic of the actual truck .. It is an '03 Trailblazer EXT w/37K miles on it .. sweet

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sliding into home

Feels like I have been running the bases for the last week.

Where do I start ?

The state agrees to allow me to sign the contract to hire a tour coach to take my students to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville. I sign and send a check for $790. The tickets are ordered and have arrived (46 tickets for $971.) We are all set to go. Well, almost, there is the matter of permission slips. I have been so wrapped up in this State approval thing that it slipped my mind to get permission slips signed by students. It was Friday, the trip was Wednesday, and I didn't have one signed permission slip.

I have to say, these guys are the worst at keeping up with, or following through with permission slips. Half of them I expected I would be calling their parents on Wednesday to get phone confirmation of their permission. (It wasn't as bad as half, but it was close.) I told the students and parents, that if school was cancelled for weather, we were still planning on going. This is a SkilsUSA trip. It isn't a school field trip. It is a co-curricular event. I told the parents that it would be at their discretion if school was cancelled to send or not send their child.

I get up Wednesday morning about 5:30 as usual. I check the school closings. Sure enough, we are closed. I call the driver of the tour bus to see if we are still on. He calls his companies garage and calls me back. The bus is cancelled. There is state-wide ice.

Students begin calling me. I begin relaying the bad news. Several asked if they could come get tickets and go on their own. Several asked about the possibility of rescheduling. I am checking on both. The ticket office doesn't open until 10AM. by then, I have heard "Welcome to Hell" about a hundred times (my ring tone.)

Eventually, we discover that we can reschedule. We will have to pay the extra $9 per ticket, as our Wednesday trip was at a group rate discount that was only available on that day. That isn't a problem. The real problem is timing. We can get a bus only on Thursday, but there is no way i can notify all my students of the change. They are checking on a bus for Friday. Then, I find out Friday won't work, because it is homecoming for the basketball team. So, no trip. $971 in tickets is lost (actually $845 as I sold 6 tickets to students at $21 per ticket) Our fundraising was for the bus fee, which is now being refunded. We will have raised $850 by the time all the money is brought in. So, we break even, sorta.

That takes us through Thursday. Friday, I was home again. This time I was sick.

Saturday finds us going to Beattyville. Chris has been moved there. It is a 48 mile drive that according to mapquest® takes 1 hour and 31 minutes. We head out about 8:30 and arrive there about 10:00. The roads were snowy and very slick. It was a tedious drive. The snow fell as we drove. Some of the stretches of road had no tracks. Most of it had just a few tracks. Still we made it there. We went to Lexington after Beattyville.

We stopped in Winchester on the way to Lexington. We went to one of the Chevy dealers there to look at Trailblazers. We drove one that drove like a tank. Then we drove one that drove great, but had aftermarket tinting done, with it's black interior, it was like a cave. There were issues with it. The gear shifter knob came off in my hand. One of the windows was cracked. All of which, the salesman assured me would be fixed. Here is what got me. He asked me what I wanted to spend. I gave him a specific number. Then he wanted to show me a GMC Envoy XUV. It was beautiful. It drove great. We were interested. We sat down at the desk and started talking price. The first words out of his mouth was the price that was $6000 more than I told him I wanted to spend. WTHeck? Quickest way to lose a sale with me is to ignore what I tell you. I know what I want. I know how much I want to spend.

From there we went to Lexington. We stopped at Motorvation to see Randy, who sold me my last two SUV's. He had a few to look at. He had a Ford Explorer. It was nice but not as comfortable. He told me he had one *a little more than I planned on spending" but well worth the price. He didn't let me test drive it until he had told me the price and made sure it was OK with me. It was, and we did. It was nice. Oh, it was nice. It was an '03 Trailblazer with 37K miles on it. It was the extended version (2ft longer.) It had third row seating. It was very nice. It drove great. It was very comfortable.

I did some quick figuring in my head as to the price with my credit unions interest. It was affordable. I wanted to stay about the same as my current loan payment. This was going to be about $70 to $80 more. It was doable. I told them to make the deal. Less than an hour later we were on the road in the new truck. We decided to keep the Bravada instead of trading it in. Trading it in would have saved us about $20 to $30 a month on the payment. That was like saying, "you can buy this Trailblazer for this much money and for an extra $30 we will throw in a nice Bravada."

We were looking for a car for Tammy anyway. She wants to put the 'ro in the shop and would need a car for a little while. we wanted to spend about $2K on a car. The payoff on the Bravada is about $2K. So, we use that money to pay off the Bravada, and she has a car she already knows all the quirks on. It only has 102K miles on it. It is a '99. Still a great ride.

Then, on Sunday, we all did the audition thing. Tammy, Chelsea, and I auditioned to sing the National Anthem at a Lexington Legends Ballgame. I auditioned last year and sang at one of the games. We auditioned individually. The CEO of the legends was one of the judges. He gave me a thumbs up. I assume that means a good thing.

Tomorrow is Presidents Day. No school for students, It is an in service day for me.

Now, you are mostly caught up.
How has your week been ?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It has been an inFLUential week

Actually ... Chella has the flu. I am sure I have it as well. I have been doing the sneezy, sniffly, coughy thing most of the week.

It has been a week away from school for the most part. There was no school on Monday because of snow. I was still there (reference-previous post.) Tuesday, there was school, for half the day. The students went home at lunch because of oncoming weather. I was not there at all because I was sick. I was still sick on Wednesday, but there was no school because of the weather again. Today there was school, but, once again, I am still sick. I could have went to work and took it easy. (Funny how my students never seem to mind if I am feeling bad and don't feel up to giving it my all. They are perfectly willing to take it easy.) I just never was one of those people that brought my plague to work to share with everyone else. Since my principal seems to have it as well, I would guess that someone at work did just that. Thanks.

The funniest thing was that one of my students sent me a text message during the time he was in class about how to hook up the cable to the TV. We have cable in the classrooms, but I disconnected mine, because, last year, every time I left the room, MTV was on when I returned. I fixed that by completely taking the cable out of the classroom. It is still available, but only if you know where the 25 ft cord is, that connects it to the TV. Chris (the texting student) is in my class from 10 til 11:27. He sent his message at 10:07. I got the message after lunch. Sorry, Chris, at 10:07, I was sleeping.

As of right now, I am thinking I feel well enough to make it to work tomorrow. However, it is snowing outside again. The 5:30AM SnowGo report will tell whether tomorrow is a school day or not.

Between snow days and sick days, I haven't seen the students for a week. I think I actually miss them. (Slapping myself back to my senses.)

We will see what the morning will bring.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Snow day snow day !

There is no school today. There was no school on Friday. Now, what that means to me is no students, but I still have to be at work at the school. It is a funny kind of twist that makes work fun. When the state wants me to be a teacher (like when it is to their advantage,) I am a teacher. When the state doesn't want me to be a teacher (like when it is to their disadvantage,) I am a state employee.

The county calls off school because of weather and all the 'teachers' get a day off. However, on those occasions, the State has decided that I am a State employee and therefore required to be at work unless the governor closes state offices.

On Friday, I took a personal day off from my annual leave. I think I have 13 or 14 days accrued. I get one annual leave day and one sick day a month. Anyway, here I am at my desk. I did come in one hour late because of the snow and ice, but am allowed to make that up sometime, anytime, in the next 4 weeks. I am thinking I will make up the 7.5 I took Friday as well, since I am always here late anyway.

The rest of my life is slowly grinding back into the routine chaos it normally consists of. The secondary charges against Chris were dropped on Friday. Sierra is still with us, but we did find a house that she may be able to rent. It is about 4 doors down the street from us. It is a little 2 bedroom house. Amazingly, it rents for only $300 a month plus utilities. Even working fast food, she can afford that (if she ever gets a job.) She is still dealing with her jerkwad hubby about taxes and such. I am sure they will reconcile. Neither has the brains to see that they have that destructive kind of love.

There are three Greek words for love. They are: Agape, Phileo, and Eros. Each has a different meaning with different connotations. I believe the best way to describe them comes from two words: Give and Take.

Eros is where we get the term erotic. It is a take/take kind of love. It is a selfish love. It is a love me type of love. It is the destructive type of love. It sucks the life out of the participants and returns nothing to the mix. It does not nourish. It generally leaves a dried lifeless husk of a person when it is finished. It is over when there is nothing left to take. It is that 'on the surface' love. It is easily shaken, rarely long lasting, and sometimes fatal. It is the love borne of lust.

Phileo means brotherly love. It is the basis of Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. It is a give/take kind of love. It is the love me as I love you type of love. We all have loves here. It is the friendship kind of love. It is affection.

Agape is the sacrificial type of love. It is a give/give love. It is the "I will love you no matter what you do" kind of love.

We all are trying to ascribe to the Agape type of love, but will usually settle in on the Phileo type.

Oops, did I suddenly go on a rant/run. Sorry about that.

Anyway, life is going on.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Someone got me thinking ...

and that is never a good thing .. lol

Actually, I was reading the blog of a dear friend, retro-girl (her blog is on my roll) and she was answering questions about various things. One of the questions (the one that got me thinking,) was about favorite childhood memories.

Let me tell you, I had a wonderful childhood. We weren't money rich, by any stretch of the imagination, but we were the richest family I knew. My parents, still married today after nearly 53 years, were exceptional. When I left home at almost 20, I had still never heard them fight. In their half century, they have spent one night apart because of anger. That was once when Mom was upset with something Dad did, and fell asleep on the couch, so even it was inadvertent. I never saw them argue. I saw them loving and playful. I would see Dad swat Mom on the bottom as he walked through the kitchen. She would say, "Oh Ronald, stop that," but it was obviously tongue in cheek.

Therefore, my childhood was filled with precious memories. I used to think, when I was young and naive, that everyone's family was this way. When I got older and discovered abuse (second hand,) it amazed me. I had a difficult time imagining the circumstances that would cause a parent to hurt a child. I know it happens, but still, it was hard. Now, let me tell you, I got 'whuppings' from my parents. "Whuppings" was the word Dad used, but they were spankings (Mostly deserved.) I remember the changes as I grew up. As a young lad, Mom would spank me when I did the occasional (yeah, right) misbehaving act. As I got older, she tended to spank me less and refer me to Dad for the spanking.

Let me tell you, Mom was a little woman, about 5'3", and weighing not much. Dad was 5'11" and weighed between 200 and 300 pounds depending on the time. However, I would rather Dad spank me any day. Dad was a softy. He would begin to administer the spanking, I would howl as if he killed me, and he would stop, figuring that he had matched the crime and punishment. Mom was a completely different story. Mom knew how much spanking you needed. I don't know how she knew, but somehow, she knew. It didn't matter how much you danced and howled, she wasn't stopping until you had received your 'just recompense of reward' for your offense.

There was never any question about how much we were loved. 'We' being me and my 4 sisters and 1 brother. Mom was a German woman, born there and lived there until she and Dad were married and she came to the 'states'. She was sometimes stoic. She wasn't a big hugger. Still, I never doubted then, nor do I to this day, how much she loves me. Dad was a show-er. He didn't say it all the time, but he showed it. Dad worked as an electrician, and Mom worked as a mother and housewife. They did a great job with my childhood. I used to feel that I should apologize to folks with less spectacular childhoods, for having such a great one, but I am long over that. I am thankful daily for my childhood.

It is filled with memories.

Once, my sister, Barbara (5 yrs my senior) was babysitting me, when I did something evil (no clue as to what it was,) and she chased me as I ran down the street. I climbed a tree about 4 houses down the street. I walked around the branches in the tree as B walked around the trunk below. At one point, a branch broke and down I went, right on top of Barb.

I remember once when we were staying with 'Lula' (Dad's stepmom) while Dad & Mom were at a preachers conference for a week. Dad was a church pastor as well as an electrician. I was 5 yrs old. That left the other ages of the others at: Barb 10, Kathy 8, Donna 4, Richard 2, and Patty was with mom at 6 months old. Papaw and Lula had an old farm house with no running water. There was a well pump that had to be hand pumped that brought frigid ground water to the house. There were no bathrooms. Out back, about a mile (so it seemed to a 5 yr old) was an outhouse.

It was the middle of the night when I awoke with the need to do '#2'. I went to the back door and peered into the murky darkness. At 5, I didn't know it was murky darkness, I just knew it was dark. I pondered the scariness of the situation and hesitated. My body did not hesitate. I messed my underwear. Being filled with the wisdom of a 5 yr old, I took off the shorts and flung them off to the side out the back door into the (yes, you guessed it) murky darkness. In my mind they were gone forever. I cleaned myself, redressed, and went back to bed.

The next morning, we were all gathered at the table to eat breakfast. Papaw and L had already been up for hours. They got up with the sun. L had prepared a great breakfast. She said, "Someone needs to say Grace, anyone but Ronnie, who messed his underwear and threw them out the back door last night." I could have crawled under the table. I was discovered. I still laugh about that day.

Dad was a church pastor as I grew up. When the church was small, he would take me out back when I misbehaved and spank me. Then he would give me his handkerchief, tell me to dry it up, and we would go back inside. I would walk in as if nothing had happened, even though the entire congregation knew I had just got my bottom busted. As the church grew, Dad was less able to stop things and spank me, or any of the other kids that misbehaved. He would snap his fingers and every kid in the church would stop doing whatever they were doing (even the kids that weren't his) and straighten up for a minute. If it was me, and it often was, he would point his finger to let me know, I had a spanking coming after we got home.

I would get into the back of the stationwagon when this happened and conveniently fall asleep. When we would get home, Dad would take me out of the car, feigning sleep, and put me to bed. It just wasn't right to wake a sleeping child to spank them. It was a good plan.

One morning, following a night when I was supposed to get a spanking and didn't, my sister Donna, came dancing down the stairs from her bedroom, telling Dad, "you forgot to whip Ron last night." I was sunk. I was undone. Dad went into the bedroom to get his belt. I knew I was going to get it.

Instead, he spanked Donna for tattling. Yes, it was a GOOD morning !!

There were trips to the mountains. There were drives to the country. There was a time we drove through a creek to get to the farm and water came in at the bottom of the door. There was ice cream on the way home from Sunday School. I had a horse (well, he wasn't mine but I was the only one that rode him .. Domino .. 14 hands,) when I was 10 and we lived in Winchester. We lived on a small farm. We had chickens.

When I was 14 we moved to Woodford County to an 11 acre place. Dad and friends built the house. I helped. It was a good time. I remember, when I was 16, we had a cow that died during the birth process. The Vet had to deliver the calf. It was a male. We kept it in the barn and fed it with a bucket that had a nipple at the bottom on the side. The bull calf was doing well. I was in the stall one particularly hot summer day and the calf was taking his dear sweet time, and mostly not nursing. I thought, "it is cooler in the garage at the house." and decided to take the calf there to feed. I picked up the calf and put him over my shoulders (front legs on one side, hind legs on the other, carrying him across my shoulders.) I grabbed the bucket with my hand and walked the 500 yards up the hill to the house.

It worked great. It was cooler in the garage (basement under the house) and the calf finally nursed. I wasn't burning up. After he was done, I repeated the carrying thing and grabbed the bucket to go down the hill to the barn. About half way there, I felt something hot suddenly running down my back. I leaned my head back to find out what it was, when I was assailed by the pungent aroma for fresh bull urine. I gagged. I threw the calf down. I puked. In the middle of the field, I was wet and heaving. I returned the calf, and ran back up the hill to hit the showers. Weehawwww !

Those are just a few of the wonderful times I had in my childhood.

Thanks Red, for reminding me to remember them.