A day late

Did you miss me yesterday?  I was in the car, driving home from a quick visit to see family.  All of last week was focused on trying to find ways to help them and the last section of fence, so no fun quilt progress.  

I got a few color changes on the afghan.  I'm still not a fan.  It's nice and I hope some youngster will enjoy it.  But, there's no 'keep or donate' debate going on for this one.  Now I know the pattern, I think I'd enjoy making another one in some of my favorite colors.  But, afghans are not conducive to dogs and cats that like to climb on you and we will always have pets and I hope they always want to climb on us for a nap.  

The builders installed the last section of fence along the back of the yard, between us and our new neighbor.  We'd just found out the builders would be there Thursday, and Wednesday night we saw someone at the house flicking on lights in a way that only a new owner would, so we walked over and knocked on the door (they weren't expecting visitors so it took them a long time to answer the door).  We introduced ourselves and told her the fence was coming down on Thursday and ended up standing there and having a very nice chat for 10 minutes and then, because we're not intrusive, we said good night and went back home and waved at them from our dining room window because you could see straight in that house after the remodel.  The fence fixed that.  We went as high as we could legally go.  

My fence coordinator, Rob.

When I was home, I did a little drive around to see what's changed.  I ended up by the high school.  I sat in the parking lot where the church I grew up in had stood and the only thing that I recognized about the school was the auditorium.  It's been that way since my Mom went to school there.  The only thing that's changed is the doors.  

My folks really do live in a beautiful place.  But, goodness the stories they tell about the wildlife around them sounds like they're still carving a homestead out of the wilderness.  Every kind of creature I can think of, some dangerous.  We dug a couple starter plants out of her flowerbeds and pulled some undesirable plants out by the roots. Her dirt is so soft.  I've been digging in my yard for weeks to get everything out for the fences and my soil is hard compacted clay that was dry and digging in it was work.  No matter how much organic matter I add to the soil, it's always going to be clay based.  When I stuck the shovel in my Mom's flowerbed, I did it with the force I'd have used at my house and the shovel sunk all the way to the handle.  I looked at her kind of embarrassed and we laughed and I complimented her very nice dirt.  

When I got there, I found that everything was not as dire as I'd thought it was.  In fact, my Dad's organization was inspiring.  He let me look at his filing cabinet where everything is in a labeled folder with an instruction page on top with helpful phone numbers and what to do and who to talk to and which folders to start with.  And I was ashamed because I thought he needed help and because my own paperwork is not nearly as organized.  He talked to me about his personal business and how it's set up and honestly, I couldn't find anything I knew enough about to try to help with.  And, he has an appointment with an attorney today in case there's anything he forgot.  I have made a lot of important decisions in my life and made some of the same choices my Dad made.  They're safe and fiscally conservative and I don't regret any of them.  And, now there's something else I can model after the way my Dad did it.  

My family's favorite pastime is bickering.  (And, waiting until everyone is standing up with their keys in their hands and who's riding with who has been decided and then making a totally different plan.)  I've never seen anything like it and it makes me very anxious because when Rob and I talk to one another like that, we're mad.  But, they don't appear to be mad.  It's just the way they communicate.  And, unfortunately, in the last 15 minutes of my visit, I let my anxiety get hold of my mouth and I was not my normally nice and jovial self.  Because it was the end of the visit, it's what everyone will remember.  It's unfortunate and I regret it.  

I remember being like that.  Rob remembers me being more like that than I am, but not as much as I was at my worst.  I was the master at snarky comments.  But, living in a bigger city, I learned pretty quick that people that aren't raised around bickering won't put up with it and I had to change how I addressed the world.  It's taken a long time and the biggest changes came at the beginning, when an older co-worker named Betty sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that I couldn't talk to and about people like that, and after Syd came to live with us and I started to hear my words come back to me.  I like myself better and the world likes me better too.  I walked around the hotel I stayed at and everybody was so happy.  Smiling, speaking, chatting in the elevator, talking to and about small kids over breakfast, making jokes with the housekeeping staff.  That's the world I'm used to interacting with now, and that's how I interact with it.  

They say you can never go home again because you go back as a different person.  I can say that for me, that is true.  I go back as a different person and have trouble finding my place in their day to day interactions and familiarity.  But, I keep trying.  

Be well.  Hug someone you love today, even if it's virtual.  


Suzanne said...

I did miss you yesterday! And I do really like the colors of that afghan! Good on ya for going home and seeing what’s what with your own eyes. In Psychology, there is a good amount of work that shows family/sibling birth order isn’t an identifiable feature of people's personalities, except when they are with their families of origin. That is, when we are back with our families we grew up in, we take on our old roles, even though we don’t usually act that way in the rest of our lives. For me, I try to be unsurprised when some old habits surface and forgive myself for the mistakes I make when I’m back home with my extended family.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Family dynamics are always interesting. It's great that you can see what's happening and deal with it as it comes. I think of my (very large) family as happy and jovial when we we all get together, but the truth is that we don't judge or make snarky comments because we know we are all on that same dysfunctional spectrum. No sense throwing a stone when you know it will bounce right back to you. Enjoy the day.

bets said...

Ha! I was looking for your post yesterday. The fence looks great!

Anonymous said...

I did miss your post yesterday and glad that you posted today. I'm at the age where I need to organize better for the future, when I'm not here. I have started on that job, but need to finish it. I'm thankful that you shared what your father has done and I plan on doing some of the same. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Of course we missed you. Thanks for sharing. Mary

Anonymous said...

The fence is great. Bet F. W. could not done better. lum