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“Hard out here for a pimp”? Try being a mom.

During our recent family vacation in Hawaii, Sherri’s mother met us in LA for the flight out to the Big Island. The first few days went fine, but as the trip passed on, her mother grew more and more lethargic and kept passing on activities to stay in bed. We thought at first she’d picked up a flu, but on the day we were scheduled to fly out, we found out she was bleeding places people ought not to be bleeding from, and we made a trip to the local emergency room with her.

After an initial diagnosis of a systemic infection, it was determined Mom Tanner would NOT be traveling anytime soon. Our original plans to part company with her in LA and continue on to WA/OR to see my sisters/parents were edited – Sherri would stay behind with her mother until she was well enough to travel; Denise and I would carry on with our original plans to see my family (a visit which we very much enjoyed, and I will eventually get some highlights of posted).

A week passed, and Mom was cleared to travel about the same time that we returned home to NC. Sherri went home with her to help her travel and get life situated back home in CA. Given the testosterone-soaked environment there (Dad Tanner, Sherri’s older brother, and his teenage son being the other residents) there was not a lot of optimism she’d have the caregiving and support she needed for her recovery. (As it worked out, serious drama later ensued there, but that’s a story for another time.)

Against that worrisome backdrop, Denise and I returned home to NC with a few short days to spare before her first day of high school started. There were last-minute supplies and girly things to shop for, a mountain of mail and bills to sort and pay, and some very unpleasant surprises left on the carpet by one or more cats who appeared to have been sick, upset with us, or both. Of course, the carpet cleaners were at the shop being repaired and needed to be picked up. There was school open-houses,  fundraiser meetings, and extracurricular activities to attend, and all three vehicles needed servicing (two with DMV registration deadlines, naturally). In case I was sleeping too much, Denise started 6am daily seminary classes at church, and needed transport from there to school. “Dad, what’s for dinner?”

Somewhere during all of this I was also supposed to do my job, complete with the additional responsibilities that resulted from my former manager being reassigned away from my team about the same time we got home.  Oh yeah, and then there was this hurricane thing coming our way. I would have sprayed for locusts too if I could have found the time.

I would like to say that I handled all this with courage and aplomb and grace under pressure. Instead, I stumbled through with outbreaks of Tourette’s syndrome, inflicted concerns for my sanity upon my daughter, and spent profligately on take-out food.

Of course, I called my wife regularly to whine and wallow in self-pity – her answer: “Want to trade?” While she’d managed to put her job on hold by arranging a leave of absence, she had the worry of one very weakened woman, attending to her medical needs and doctor’s appointments, and the challenge of two and a half rather uncooperative men with serious entitlement complexes. I already know she is a patient and forgiving woman (otherwise I would not be alive to write this) – but I do not know where she found the grace to deal with the challenges she had in that household. (There was some Valium involved, to be fair).

This week, the decision was made that Mom Tanner’s recovery might be better accomplished in a less-demanding environment, and thus she and Sherri are flying to NC today – I pick them up at about midnight tonight. I and Denise are looking forward to having Grandma as a guest and Mom back in the house.

From this experience, I have a new-found deep and abiding respect for mothers everywhere, particularly single and/or working ones. The world at large doesn’t appreciate the role, because there are no big flashy accomplishments that warrant any press – just an unending stream of small but ever-so-necessary tasks to keep a household and a family functioning.

I have a few small victories that I’m proud of that wouldn’t impress anyone else. I cooked a few meals that didn’t come in freezer boxes – one even completely and properly from scratch. I got the house cleaned and the laundry and dishes done. I didn’t completely lose it and go on a drunken bender. And I think I’ve finally gotten those spots and that smell out of the carpet.

Tonight, as glad as I will be to see her, I predict that I will be too tired to do more than give her a peck on the cheek before rolling over and falling asleep.

Moms – you rock.

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The Deep Thought of the Evening

At last night’s rehearsal, while flipping between numbers in The Here and Now, I chanced to read the text of the short baritone solo, movement 5, entitled “The value of our souls”:

There was once a man who inherited a lot of money and land
But he squandered it all too quickly
Those who inherit wealth don’t know what work it took to get it
In the same way, we don’t know the value of our souls
which were given to us for nothing.

I was too overcome with emotion to be of much use singing the next few pages…

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How did we get here?

Since I’ve finally relented and joined Facebook, I imagine there are going to be a number of people asking the same kinds of questions about whatever it is I’ve been doing since I last saw them. (It is possible I am deluding myself and nobody really cares).

To this end, I’m going to do some retro-posting on my Blog under the Biography tag with dates relevant to the topics of interest.  These won’t be front-page items…

The miracle of Facebook auto-import will copy this stuff into my notes section so nobody actually need go to the blog. Still working out how not to spam everyone’s wall with the minutiae of my personal history….

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Weeds…

If you let your grass grow too long, you’ll end up with weeds…

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Good works lead to good press.

Im in the paper - for a good reason...

Okay, so I’ll admit to one bit of photoshopping – they didn’t spell my name right in the article. I took the liberty of correcting it.

But it’s better than showing up in the police blotter.

More images in the gallery

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This is a test of the blog-to-note-to-wall posting function

This is only a test. If this were an actual post we would have something interesting to say. We will initially post this with a current date, and then retro-move it to a old date to see what happens. Now have changed date to much earlier date and replaced the fine coffee this establishment usually serves with Folgers crystals. Let’s see what happens.

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